Sunday, January 30, 2011

Re: Why couldn't Joseph of Arimathea have taken the Shroud?

I no longer maintain that Jesus' shroud [Greek sindon] was among the graveclothes left behind in the tomb after Jesus' resurrection, for the disciples to recover. See my series starting with, "Servant of the priest (1)."

M.R. Minkler

Thanks for your comment under my post "Turin Shroud goes on display for first time in 10 years, etc."

[Right: Icon of St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, with the Holy Grail and the staff that flowered, by the hand of a Monk of the Brotherhood of St. Seraphim of Sarov. See below that the story that Joseph of Arimathea visited Britain is a confusion by the Venerable Bede (c.672-735) with the Shroud as the then tetradiplon (doubled in four) Edessa Cloth being at "Britio Edessenorum" in Edessa (now Sanliurfa,Turkey).]

As I commented in reply, I have decided to respond to your comment in a separate post. Your words are >bold to distinguish them from mine.

----- Original Message -----
From: M.R. Minkler
To: Stephen E. Jones.
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2011 7:32 AM
Subject: [The Shroud of Turin] New comment on Turin Shroud goes on display for first time in 10 ....

>Why couldn't Joseph of Arimathea have taken it? He owned the tomb

First, for the authenticity of the Shroud it doesn't matter WHO recovered Jesus' burial clothes, including the Shroud and the Sudarium. What matters is that they WERE recovered.

Having said that, the prime candidates to have taken Jesus' burial clothes, including the Shroud and Sudarium were (not in any order):

1. Joseph of Arimathea. He both owned the tomb (Mt 27:59-60; Mk 15:44-46) and had bought the burial clothes (Mk 15:46). But while Joseph's allowing Jesus' body to be buried in his tomb would not be a relinquishing of ownership of the tomb (since typically many bodies were buried in Jewish family tombs, including non-family members), Joseph's covering Jesus with the linen burial clothes he bought would be a gift of them to Jesus and so a relinquishing of Joseph's ownership of them.

2. Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary as Jesus' mother and therefore His next of kin, would presumably inherit His earthly goods, including His burial clothes. Mary was at the Cross (Jn 19:25) and later on the Day of Pentecost "Mary the mother of Jesus, and ... his brothers" (Acts 1:14) were still in Jerusalem praying with the other disciples.

3. John. The Apostle John's mother Salome was actually Mary's sister (Mt 27:55-56; Mk 15:40; Jn 19:25), making him Jesus' cousin (Mt 27:55-56; Mk 15:40). This explains why Jesus on the Cross told John that Mary was now his mother, and why John took Mary to live in his home from that time on (Jn 19:25-27). So if John recovered Jesus' graveclothes he could have given them to Mary (and vice-versa).

4. Peter. Peter with John first discovered Jesus' discarded burial clothes in the empty tomb (Jn 20:3-8). So either or both could have collected those clothes. And they probably would have since it is highly unlikely they would just have left them there for grave-robbers to loot out of the now open tomb, along with the large quantity of valuable spices (Jn 19:39-40).
Of the above, I favour John because of his connection with Mary, i.e. John (with Peter) collected Jesus' burial cloths and gave them to Mary, Jesus' next of kin.

>and according to Scavone may have taken the shroud to Britain as it was mistakenly referred to as the Holy GRAIL (a misinterpretation according to Scavone).

No. Historian Daniel Scavone does not say that the Shroud was taken to Britain. He has showed how by a verbal confusion of Edessa's "Britio Edessenorum" (citadel) with "Britain", the Holy Grail never existed but was actually the Shroud which was then in Edessa (now Sanliurfa, Turkey) and never was in Britain:

"My paper now adduces further documentation as evidence that Joseph was never in the West, but rather that the earliest reference placing him in Britain was in reality a reference to Edessa, whose royal palace complex (citadel) was called Britio Edessenorum. The confusion arose from the similarity of the names. Also, a 5th c. Georgian (Russia) MS relates that Joseph captured Jesus's blood as it dripped from his crucified body not in a cup-Grail--but in the burial shroud itself. Grail and shroud are here identified!" (Scavone, D.C. "Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud," 1996).
Watch also Scavone's "Origins of the Holy Grail--Lecture Given at Ohio State--May 24, 2006" and/or "Shroud Report Interview with Dr. Daniel Scavone."

>This would explain why the disciples didn't talk about it as Joseph had it and they were busy dealing with after resurrection appearances of Jesus to them! Then they had to go out and disciple the nations, leaving them little time for shroud keeping.

Joseph of Arimathea was one of the disciples:

Mt 27:57. As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.

Jn 19:38. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders.
And as I explained in my "Re: John Calvin on the Shroud #1" and #2, there is a much better reason why the disciples did not publicly mention they had the Shroud:
"... the tiny, persecuted minority that the early Church was, would have very good reasons to keep secret from its then far more numerous and powerful enemies, the Romans and the Jews, that it had Jesus' bloodstained Shroud on which, `the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen.' The Jews and/or Romans would have demanded they hand it over, or suffer torture and death until they did. Especially when it would support the chief priests' official explanation, that the disciples had stolen Jesus' body ..."
>It would make practical sense to me that Joseph simply picked it up when he went back to the tomb after the resurrection. Surely he went straight to the tomb when he heard of it and would have easy access since he owned the tomb. After all, in his mind he probably felt he had a right to take the shroud since he bought it!

It's possible (see above) but it is more likely that John and Peter took it the first time they found it (Jn 19:25-27). They would not know that if they left it for Joseph of Arimathea or any other disciple to take, that the guards or grave-robbers would not come to the open tomb before them.

>Joseph would understand the true value of the shroud and have the means to keep it safe. He would know how to care for fine linen, to protect it.

So would John and Mary.

>The fishermen probably would not have.

John was not the average fisherman. He writings reveal a high intelligence (at least the equal of St Paul in my opinion) and he was "known to the high priest" (Jn 18:16). There is a tradition that John was a priest, i.e. while his mother Salome as a sister of Mary (see above) was of the tribe of Judah, his father Zebedee was a Levite. Ordinary Jewish priests in the first century were part-time and had secular occupations.

>It just makes sense to me but of course I have no evidence.

As I said above, for the Shroud to be authentic, the very burial sheet of Jesus, it does not matter WHO recovered it, only that it WAS recovered.

But having once favoured that it was Joseph of Arimathea who took Jesus' burial clothes, including the Shroud and Sudarium, I now lean towards that it was probably the Apostle John (for the above reasons) and him giving them to their rightful owner Mary, who lived with him.

Again thanks for your comment.

Posted 30 January 2011. Updated 18 September 2023.

1 comment:

A.A.M. van der Hoeven said...

I also think that Jesus’ burial shroud was taken from the grave by John. But I think he took it because it used to be his own temple garment. On January 24, 2011, I posted the following comment to your blog discussion with John N. Lupia (

A.A.M. van der Hoeven : I claim the Turin Shroud was the unique Jewish-Roman tallit of the priest and secret disciple John Mark, before he had to leave it in the hands of the temple officers in Gethsemane, it was used by these officers to cover up and beat Jesus in prison, and before Joseph of Arimathea bought it from these temple officers to use it as Jesus’ priestly burial garment and thus bury Jesus “as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19,40), namely in a garment. On the early morning of Easter John Mark “saw and believed” (John 20,8); he saw his tallit in the empty grave, “rolled up in one place” (John 20,7), just as a priest’s temple garment was always rolled up and put in one particular place in the temple, namely at the head of the sleeping priest, and believed that only a risen Jesus could have done this for him. He took it form the grave – Jerome says that Jesus gave it to the servant of the priest (De Viris Illustribus II)-, removed the corners and its fringes, to prevent that anyone would recognize the rolled up cloth as his unique tallit, hid it and remained a priest and secret disciple, just as Jesus had commanded him – “remain until I come” (John 21,22) -, and later took it to Ephesus with Mary.
If you wish, read the arguments and details from Bible and Talmud and Shroud research in my free biblical article “The seam and missing corners of the Turin Shroud as characteristics of John Mark’s temple garment” on my site, or else my more elaborate free article, which contains the same thesis, “John Mark – Author of the Gospel of John with Jesus’ mother”. The articles are also available and free in Dutch.
I am sorry I didn’t know about Mr. John N. Lupia’s book, or about this site, until today.

God bless.”

It has to be stressed that many of the sources, details and extra arguments for my short article
The seam and missing corners … are only in my long article John Mark … .