A German church group has caused controversy by releasing a calendar using nude models to portray bible scenes.

The calendar, on sale for £8 in the Katzwanger church in Nuremburg, contains photos such as a naked Eve holding an apple between her breasts for Adam.

Other pictures portray the baptism of Jesus, Lot’s daughters, the dance of Salome and the sacrifice of Isaac – many involving nudity.

Stefan Wiest, 32, spokesman for the Katzwang Evangelical Youth group, said: "We wanted to bring old religious paintings to today’s people by translating them in a contemporary context.

"We did not intend to cause any provocation and have received more positive responses that negative."

Mr Wiest added that most of the criticism has come from the USA but said it has not slowed sales since the release: "Our first 200 have already sold out and we are printing another 300 today to meet demand."

But the feedback page on the group’s website has been taken down due to the number of comments the calendar has caused.

Winfried Roehmel, a spokesman for the region’s Catholic archdiocese, said: "It is not acceptable to pose naked in a church. The right way to approach the Holy Scriptures is not by pulling your pants down."