Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Shroud of Turin: 3.7. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried (1)

This belatedly is part 25, "3.7. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried (1)" of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." My previous post was part 24, "3.6. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were crucified." See part 1, the "Contents" page, for more information about this series.

© Stephen E. Jones

Introduction Both the man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried, individually, hastily, and in fine linen[1].

Both the man on the Shroud and Jesus were taken down from their cross Jesus died on the cross shortly after "the ninth

[Above: "The Deposition" [of Christ] Pray Manuscript, fol. 27v, National Széchényi Library of Budapest, Hungary[2]. The dark stain near the foot of the ladder is on the original)]

hour" (Mt 27:46,50; Mk 15:34,37; Lk 23:45-46), i.e. 3pm[3]. Only after the Roman soldier had found Jesus already dead and pierced His side with a spear did Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish ruling council[4], go to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to request permission to take down Jesus' body from the cross and bury it (Jn 19:31-34,38)[5]. Pilate sent for the centurion in charge of the crucifixion and only when he arrived and confirmed to Pilate that Jesus was indeed dead did Pilate grant release of Jesus' body to Joseph (Mk 15:43-45)[6]. Joseph then purchased a linen shroud for Jesus' burial (Mk 15:46; Mt 27:59; Lk 23:53)[7]. Therefore the body of Jesus must have been hanging dead on the cross for at least two hours before it was taken down by Joseph of Arimathea[8] assisted by Nicodemus[9], another member of the Jewish ruling council[10] (Mt 27:57-59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:50-53; Jn 19:38-39)[11]. Having died a violent death and exposed in the hot sun, Jesus' body would have stiffened under rigor mortis[12] and have become fixed in the last position Jesus' body had been on the cross just before His death[13].

The body of the man on the Shroud is also in a state of rigor mortis[14]. His whole body is extremely rigid[15]. The rigor of the arms had been

[Right: Depiction of the the man on the Shroud's body, fixed by rigor mortis, as he was taken down from his cross[16].]

forcibly broken to cross them over his body[17]. His legs are fixed in the position they were when nailed to the cross, with his left foot (apparently right but actually left because the Shroud image is laterally inverted) crossed over the right , causing a bend in his left knee, which remained bent upward when his body was covered by the Shroud[18]. No medieval art has such realistic details[19].

The Shroud man's body is fixed in a slight forward lean which was only detected by three-dimensional computer analysis[20]. That there was no decline in the rigor mortis is evident by there being no flattening of the back and blurred or double imprints[21]. And since rigor mortis usually wears off between thirty and forty hours after death, this is evidence that the Shroud covered the man's body only between those times[22], as did Jesus' burial shroud cover His body for at most 36 hours[23].

As mentioned above, the man on the Shroud's left leg is bent, due to his left foot having been nailed over his right and it then remained fixed by rigor mortis in that crucifixion position[24].

[Left: The man on the Shroud's left leg appears to be shorter than his right[25].]

This presumably is the source of the 11th century Byzantine legend that Jesus actually had one leg shorter than the other and therefore was lame[26]. And also the source of the strange design of the Russian orthodox cross, which has a footrest angled with the left side higher than the right which fits Christ's perceived shorter left leg on the Shroud[27].

[Above: "The Adoration of the Cross," Second half of the 12th century, The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia, Cat No. 14245[28]. Since this icon is dated from the "second half of the 12th century", i.e. 1150-1200, and if its strange inclined cross footrest is based on the Shroud, then this is further evidence that the "medieval ... AD 1260-1390"[29] radiocarbon date of the Shroud is wrong!]

As this form of the cross is universal among the Russians[30] it must date from the beginning of the national conversion to Christianity, when missionaries in 988 came from Constantinople[31]. But then the Shroud would have been in Constantinople in the tenth century[32]. Which agrees with Ian Wilson's Mandylion/Shroud theory that the Shroud arrived in Constantinople in 944[33] folded eight times[34] in the form of the Mandylion portrait[35].

Closely related to this is what is known as the "Byzantine curve" in

[Above: "Byzantine Crucifix of Pisa," ca. 1230[36]. Note that Christ's right leg (corresponding to the Shroud's left leg) is shorter than the other leg and His body is curved (the "Byzantine curve") to compensate.]

Christian iconography[37]. After the year 1000, a striking change occurred in the Byzantine painted depictions of Christ on the Cross[38]. Christ's two feet were nailed separately at the same level but his right leg is shorter than his left (based presumably on the Shroud but not realising the Shroud's image is laterally inverted) which meant that His body needed to curve to compensate[39]. This "Byzantine curve" became the established form of Eastern depictions of Christ at the beginning of the eleventh century and made its way also into the West and became the recognized form in Italy in the early mediaeval period[40]. As with the strange design of the Russian cross, so this strange belief that Jesus had to have a curved body on the Shroud because one foot was shorter than the other and the Romans would have crucified Jesus' feet at the same level[41], has its most likely common origin in the Shroud[42]. But then again that means the Shroud was known in the Byzantine world (the centre of which was Constantinople), in the year 1000, nearly three centuries before 1260, the earliest possible radiocarbon date of the Shroud[43]!

Problems for the forgery theory Since no medieval art depicts rigor mortis in Christ's dead body, this is yet another problem for the forgery theory to explain[§34]. It is most unlikely (to put it mildly) that a medieval forger could have encoded into the intensity levels of his composition information which accurately depicted the forward lean of a crucified body, fixed by rigor mortis, which could only be detected by three-dimensional computer analysis more than 600 years into the future![44, §35]. The forgery theory needs to have a better explanation of the Russian cross' strange inclined footrest, and the equally strange "Byzantine curve," both of which match the apparent shorter left leg of the man on the Shroud; or else explain how a forger created the Shroud at least three centuries before the earliest radiocarbon date of 1260[§36].

Conclusion Jesus' body, having died a violent death and then hung dead on the cross for at least two hours, would have been in state of rigor mortis when He was taken down from the cross and enfolded in his burial shroud. And the man on the Shroud was in state of rigor mortis when he was enfolded in his burial shroud, the Shroud of Turin:

"The scientific team [STURP] pathologist and other medical doctors determined that the man was crucified and was dead, with his body in a state of rigor mortis. The more the wounds were studied, the more it became obvious that this man's injuries were the same as the gospel reports of Jesus' crucifixion"[45].

This further adds to the mountain of evidence that the man on the Shroud is Jesus!

1. Habermas, 1984, "Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.158. [return]
2. Berkovits, I., 1969, "Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, XI-XVI Centuries," Horn, Z., transl., West, A., rev., Irish University Press: Shannon, Ireland, plate II. [return]
3. Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.78. [return]
4. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.75. [return]
5. Bulst, 1957, p.79. [return]
6. Ibid. [return]
7. Bulst, 1957, p.79. [return]
8. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, p.46. [return]
9. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.56. [return]
10. Antonacci, M., 2000, "The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.119. [return]
11. Robinson, J.A.T., 1977, " The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, p.24. [return]
12. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.168. [return]
13. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, pp.112-113. [return]
14. Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.112. [return]
15. Hynek, R.W., 1951, "The True Likeness," Sheed & Ward: London, p.31. [return]
16. Ricci, G., 1978, "The Way of the Cross in the Light of the Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, Second edition, Reprinted, 1982, p.61. [return]
17. Bucklin, R., 1970, "The Legal and Medical Aspects of the Trial and Death of Christ," Medicine, Science and the Law, January. [return]
18. Wuenschel, 1954, p.47. [return]
19. Ibid. [return]
20. Jackson, J.P., Jumper, E.J., Mottern, R.W. & Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "The Three Dimensional Image On Jesus' Burial Cloth," in Stevenson, 1977, p.92. [return]
21. Meacham, W., 1983, "The Authentication of the Turin Shroud: An Issue in Archaeological Epistemology," Current Anthropology, Vol. 24, No. 3, June. [return]
22. Hynek, 1951, p.31. [return]
23. Wuenschel, 1954, p.49. [return]
24. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.196. [return]
25. Latendresse, M., nd., "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical". [return]
26. Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.111. [return]
27. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London, p.65. [return]
28. "Christian Art: Icons, Murals, Mosaics," The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia, 19 January 2014. [return]
29. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615. [return]
30. Barnes, 1934, p.65. [return]
31. Barnes, 1934, pp.65-66. [return]
32. Barnes, 1934, p.65. [return]
33. Wilson, 1979, p.116. [return]
34. That is "doubled in four" [Greek tetradiplon]. "Doubled then doubled twice again (thus making 4 X 2 folds)" (Wilson, I., 1974, "The Shroud in history," The Tablet, 13th April, p.12. [return]
35. Wilson, 1979, p.120. [return]
36. "Byzantine Master of the Crucifix of Pisa," Wikipedia, 5 May 2013. [return]
37. Barnes, 1934, p.66. [return]
38. Barnes, 1934, pp.66-67. [return]
39. Barnes, 1934, p.67. [return]
40. Barnes, 1934, pp.67-68. [return]
41. Barnes, 1934, p.68. [return]
42. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.195. [return]
43. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.141. [return]
44. Jackson, et al, 1977, p.92. [return]
45. Habermas, 1984, p.158. [return]
§34, §35, §36. To be further examined under "9. Problems of the forgery theory". [return]

Continued in part 26, "3.7. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried (2)"

Last updated: 5 May, 2014.


George said...

Joh 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
Joh 20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Sorry body. There was no one-piece shroud.
- An evangelical Christian convinced, from the Bible, that the Shroud of Turin is a Satanic hoax

Stephen E. Jones said...


Thanks for your comment.

>Joh 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
>Joh 20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

>Sorry body. There was no one-piece shroud.

That there were "linen clothes" (plural) means there was at least one linen cloth (singular).

Just as that there were "two angels" in the empty tomb (Jn 20:12; Lk 24:4) does not mean there was not one "angel" (Mt 28:5).

Most (if not all) Shroud pro-authenticists, including me, do not claim that the Shroud of Turin was the ONLY burial cloth in the Tomb.

In fact most Shroud pro-authenticists, including me, claim that the Sudarium of Oviedo, is "the napkin" ("face cloth") in Jn 20:7.

>- An evangelical Christian ...

As my blog's masthead states, "I am I am an ... evangelical Christian" too, but one who is "persuaded by the evidence that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus Christ and bears His crucified and resurrected image."

>... convinced, from the Bible that the Shroud of Turin is a Satanic hoax

Many (if not most) Bible-believing Jews of Jesus' day thought that Jesus was "a Satanic hoax" too:

Jn 7:20. "The crowd answered, `You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?'"
Jn 10:20. "Many of them said, `He [Jesus] has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?'"

The Shroud (or rather the image of Jesus on it) has brought countless non-Christians to faith in Christ; and has strengthened the faith of countless more who already were Christians (including me). Why would Satan be behind a hoax that increases God's kingdom and reduces his own kingdom?

Remember Jesus' reply to those Jews who claimed that His casting out demons was the work of Satan: "How can Satan cast out Satan?" (Mk 3:23; Mt 12:26; Lk 11:18).

As evangelical Christians Stevenson and Habermas, in response to the question asked by Christians, "Couldn't the Shroud be a satanic deception?" point out, "why would Satan allow for any reason the depiction of the emblem of his ultimate defeat-the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?":

"Q. Couldn't the Shroud be a satanic deception? A. ... countless numbers have written to me to proclaim that they have come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus through the story of the Shroud. ... Besides, why would Satan allow for any reason the depiction of the emblem of his ultimate defeat-the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?" (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," p.153).

Also, it is atheist/agnostics who are most opposed to the authenticity of the Shroud. Why would those are most under the power of Satan be against a work of Satan?

You no doubt mean well, but you might consider the Apostle Paul's observation that it is possible to have "a zeal for God" which is "not according to knowledge" (Rom 10:2). And Gamaliel's warning to his fellow Jews, that it is possible in one's well-meant zeal for God to "fight against God" (Acts 5:34-39) without realising it.

Stephen E. Jones