Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #6 An old, yellowed, rectangular, linen sheet about 4.4 x 1.1 metres

This is part #6 "An old, yellowed, rectangular, linen sheet about 4.4 x 1.1 metres," which is part of my PowerPoint presentation-based series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!" The previous post in this series was part #5 "What is the Shroud of Turin?" See parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" for more details.

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Attached are quotes that expand on this topic in date order (oldest first):

"Before them was a long, narrow piece of cloth that had once been white, but now had the tone of old ivory. It was about fourteen feet in length and less than four feet wide. From one end to the other it presented a bewilderingly mottled appearance: a series of large and small patches, darkened areas, discolorations and brownish stains. The gaze of the onlookers immediately went to the stains: though vague and diffused, they gave an irresistible impression of a human body. On one half the length of the sheet could be dimly seen the front of the body, with head, arms, chest and legs discernible. On the other half, the back of the head and the broad expanse of shoulders tapering down to hips and legs were visible. The figures had no sharp outlines. Yet, somehow, the stains, fading here and darkening there, managed to convey the image of a man. Smears and trickles of a darker hue, like blood, marred the figure in places. The face was a grotesque thing, mask-like and expressionless. Owlish white spots indicated the position of the eyes. The nose was a dark line running down the middle of the face from arched brows, the mouth a small, dark blob beneath which stains seemed to form a beard. Separately, another stain straggled up from the level of the beard, over the head and down the other side of the face. Long hair." (Walsh, J.E., "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY, 1963, pp.7-8).

"... the Turin Shroud ... This length of ivory-coloured cloth measures 14 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 7 inches, or 4.36 metres by 1.10 metre. Its exact age has not yet been determined, but it is at least six hundred years old, and there is nothing in its fabric or weave to invalidate the claim that its manufacture is of the first century AD. From the purely textile angle it can be described as a three-to-one herring-bone twill, the material being linen with a small admixture of cotton (as the Belgian Professor Gilbert Raes reported in 1976 after his microscopic examination of carefully selected and extracted threads of it in his textile laboratory at Ghent University). The presence of cotton fibres in the weave is considered by experts to be conclusive in ruling out a European provenance for the fabric of the Shroud, since cotton was not grown or used in Europe in any possible epoch of the manufacture of this cloth. But it is entirely consonant with a Palestinian provenance, as the fibres are of the Gossypium Herbaceum variety which is cultivated in the Middle East. The total absence of wool in the Shroud's composition is instructive to anyone versed in the Mosaic Law with its prohibition of textile mixture, for Leviticus 19:19 commands: `Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.' The presence of even one wool fibre would have excluded this cloth from ever having been a Jewish burial shroud." (McNair, P., "The Shroud and History: fantasy, fake or fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.21-22).

"What is it pilgrims see when, during the seldom recurring expositions of the famous Relic, they flock by the thousand to the Cathedral of Turin? A long strip of yellowish cloth (14 feet 3 inches long and 3 feet 7 inches wide) variedly marked with stains, burns and patches, forms the great centre of attraction for those eager and reverent eyes. .... The spectators perceive two rather vague imprints of a human body in natural size, placed head to head, outlined in the centre of the linen. ... The two dark streaks that run parallel to the sides of the Cloth are the traces left by a fire which nearly destroyed the Relic at Chambéry [France] in 1532. At that time, the Shroud, folded eight times lengthwise and four times crosswise, was kept in a silver chest. When the chest was rescued from the flames, one side had already been partly melted. A corner of the folded Shroud was charred where a piece of the red-hot metal had fallen, and the scorching reproduced itself symmetrically through all the several layers of the Cloth. Other stains were made by water poured on to quench the fire. The mended portions are the work of the Chambéry nuns who used altar linen in repairing the precious Cloth. The burns, patches and water stains, and even the many creases on the Cloth, tend to divert the eye from what should be its great point of attraction: the two shadow-like images in the centre of the Shroud. On the fourteen-foot length of cloth it is not easy for the viewer to grasp and interpret their significance. Photography has made it possible for us to view the Shroud as a whole, at one glance and yet correctly, reducing that long expanse of cloth into small compass. Yet even when seen on photograph these images appear somewhat blurred and formless: they are the imprints of the Body of our Saviour. ... The reader ... I do not expect him to be impressed to any degree from his study of this picture. Perhaps he may even be disappointed. He may have already thought that those shadow-like imprints constitute no portrait of Jesus at all; that it takes no small effort of the imagination to see in those stains the traits of the Crucified One. This is all very true. The images of the Shroud are both meaningless and disappointing. The detail of the face as seen on the Shroud ... is even more disconcerting; it looks unnatural, expressionless, more like a mask than a face. It is certainly not a portrait. ... And rightly so, for on the Shroud the images are shown reversed in light and shade and position from what they are in reality. They are a perfect negative, and they look as meaningless and grotesque as would the picture of any one of us on a negative film. We know this because photography gave us the positive version of the Shroud's mysterious imprints, thus revealing to us the true nature and significance of those stains that make the Turin Shroud the most precious cloth in the world." (Rinaldi, P.M., 1978, "The Man in the Shroud," [1972], Futura: London, Revised, pp.25-27).

"The linen, although ivory-colored with age, was still surprisingly clean looking, even to the extent of a damasklike surface sheen. It was possible to study closely the herringbone weave of the linen. In the areas untouched by the ravages of history it was in remarkably good condition. Even when examined under a magnifying glass, the fiber showed no signs of disintegration. The texture was also surprising. Some writers have described it as 'coarse.' This is quite definitely not so. Although any handling was officially disapproved, the temptation was too great not to touch the linen gently when at close range. It was light and almost silky to the touch. The dimensions of the cloth are impressive: 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. It was created in a single piece, apart from a strip approximately 3½ inches wide running the length of the left-hand side and joined by a single seam. It is the imprint of the all-important `double image' that principally draws the eye. There, like a shadow cast on the cloth, is the faint imprint of the back and front of a powerfully built man with beard and long hair, laid out in the attitude of death. To anyone who has not seen a photograph of the Shroud before, the two figures could only appear most curious, until one understands the manner in which the image seems to have been formed-that the body was first laid on one end of the cloth, with the remaining half of the cloth then drawn over the head and down to the feet. The sixteenth-century Italian artist Clovio illustrated this beautifully in an aquatint of the Shroud in which, below the angel-borne cloth, he painted Joseph and Nicodemus wrapping Jesus in just such a manner after the descent from the cross. The astonishing aspect of seeing the Shroud itself rather than a photograph is discovering how pale and subtle the image appears. The color of the imprint can best be described as a pure sepia monochrome, and the closer one tries to examine it, the more it melts away like mist." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.21).

"Along these same lines has been a study of the shroud's dimensions as recently made by an expert in early Syriac, Ian Dickinson, from Canterbury, England. [Dickinson, I., "Preliminary Details of New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud: Measurement by the Cubit," Shroud News, April 1990, pp. 4-8] Curious at the shroud's, by British units of measurement, anomalous 14 foot 3 inch by 3 foot 7 inch overall size, Dickinson wondered if these dimensions might make more sense if converted to the cubit measure as prevailing in Jesus's time. Establishing that the first-century Jewish cubit was most likely to the Assyrian standard, reliably calculated at between 21.4 and 21.6 inches, Dickinson found that if he chose the lower of these measures there was an astonishing correlation, accurate to the nearest half-inch:

 Length of Turin shroud 14 feet 3 inches
 8 cubits at 21.4 inches 14 feet 3 inches
 Width of Turin shroud  3 feet 7 inches
 2 cubits at 21.4 inches 3 feet 7 inches

Such conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits is yet another piece of knowledge difficult to imagine of any medieval forger. It also correlates perfectly with the `doubled in four' arrangement by which we hypothesized the shroud to have been once folded and mounted as the `holy face' of Edessa, for the exposed facial area of this latter would have been an exact 1 by 2 Jewish cubits." (Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.181).

" The Turin Shroud is, in fact, a rectangular sheet, strong and solid, made of pure flax of a yellowish colour .... The Shroud is 4.36 metres long and 1.10 metres wide. Originally it was probably longer by about 30 centimetres; there are various reports of small fragments having been cut from the relic and then distributed to churches and monasteries. One of these relics is to be found in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Perhaps concessions of pieces from the Shroud continued for years and it proves that the Shroud was an object of veneration even in much older times. The thickness of the cloth, about one third of a millimetre, is greater than that of cloth usually used to make covers for mattresses; this does not prevent the linen from being soft and easy to fold. The Shroud was woven in one whole piece in a diagonal weave shape of `three to one': the transversal thread of weft passes alternatively over three and under one of the longitudinal threads of the warp. This type of weave helps to guarantee its strength. The twill that runs along its length varies its inclination at every centimetre, giving the cloth its characteristic `herring-bone' aspect. A nearly 8 centimetre wide strip, incomplete at its extremities, forms part of the sheet on the topmost side. The missing pieces were 14 and 36 centimetres long. This side strip is made from the same twilled cloth of the Shroud, of which it originally formed part; in fact, the irregularities of the weave, clearly visible in the principal section, extend exactly to the side strip, as can be seen from the radiographies carried out in 1978 ..." (Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, pp.161-162).

"The `Holy Shroud' is a large, oblong linen cloth, of great but contested age, which is normally housed in a chapel built especially for it in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Turin, in northern Italy. It is displayed only on rare occasions, contained in a frame that shows the length of the cloth parallel to the ground. The cloth, marked by various blemishes and stains, measures fourteen feet three inches long and three feet seven inches wide - or, according to the measurement in use in the Middle East in the first century, eight cubits by two. [Wilson, I., "Holy Faces, Secret Places," Doubleday: London, 1991, p.181] Experts in the field of textiles have determined that the threads were hand-spun and the fabric hand-woven in what is known as a `three-to-one herringbone twill.' This was a type of weaving practiced in the Middle East at least as far back as two thousand years ago." (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.11).

"The occasion of the Shroud being housed in this new case, immediately prior to the expositions of 1998, also saw the removal ... of a blue satin frame-type surround that had been sewn onto the Shroud in the nineteenth century, and its replacement by a new white cloth. This removal enabled the original cloth's dimensions to be measured rather more precisely than had been possible before, at 437 cm long by 111 cm wide. In describing its most salient features, we shall use terms such as `left', `right', `top' and `bottom' to refer to the mode in which it was displayed in 1998, that is landscape-wise, with the imprint of the front half of the `Christ' body ranged to the left, and the back half imprint ranged to the right ... This has the virtue that it is also the mode in which it has most commonly been displayed since as early as the 1350s ... When the Shroud is viewed in this `landscape' way the two `Christ body' imprints appear somewhat incongruously head to head. Yet, as was deduced by artist-copyists nearly four centuries ago, this is actually very readily explained. Whether the Shroud is authentic or a forgery, the theory behind the imprints' origination is that the `Christ' body was laid on the half of the cloth that now bears the `back' imprint, the other half of the cloth then being brought over the head and down to the feet, thereby creating the `front' imprint. Inevitably the more impressive of these two imprints is the left, or 'front-of-the-body' half, on which can be discerned a ghost-like front-facing face, complete with hair, nose, beard, moustache and eyebrows. The coloration of this and all related so-called `body' imprinting is so subtle and evanescent that it is extremely difficult to describe. `Sepia' was the term that I adopted following my 1973 viewing, but `straw-yellow' was preferred by the STURP scientists of 1978 ... But in any event the body image's prime characteristics are its lack of apparent substance (as from any pigment), also its failure to exhibit optically meaningful contours, and its imperceptible fading into the background colour of the natural cloth itself, without any defined edges.." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.18-19).

"THE Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth of ivory color measuring fourteen feet three inches long by three feet seven inches wide or eight cubits long by two cubits wide, according to first-century Jewish measurements. (A cubit is equivalent to 21.7 inches.) The cloth is made of a three-to-one herringbone weave with a `Z' twist. Parallel to one side of the cloth is sewn a six-inch-wide strip of the same weave pattern. It is generally believed that this piece was added to the Shroud in order to insert a rod to facilitate its exposition. The Shroud bears the frontal and dorsal image of a naked, crucified, bearded man, approximately five feet eleven inches tall, between the ages of 30-35, weighing about 175 pounds. Many people believe that this Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ." (Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.1. Emphasis original).

"Ian Dickinson, a researcher from Canterbury, England, was struck by the fact that the measurements of the Shroud-14'3" by 3'7"-seemed odd. Research indicated that the international standard unit of measurement at the time of Jesus was the Assyrian cubit (21.4 inches). When measured in Assyrian cubits, the Shroud is 8 cubits by 2 cubits, a strong indication that this standard unit was used to measure the linen cloth. [Dickinson, I., "Preliminary Details of New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud: Measurement by the Cubit," Shroud News, 58, April 1990, pp.4-7]" (Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.115).

"The Shroud of Turin has been described as the single most studied artifact in history. Whether this is true or not it is certainly one of the most controversial subjects of all time. To the true believer it is the burial shroud of the crucified Christ, left in his tomb at the time of the Resurrection. ... The Shroud has given rise to its own branch of science, known as sindonology. To the sceptical it is a piece of mediaeval trickery which has been fooling the gullible for the last six hundred years or more. The Shroud itself is an ivory-coloured cloth with a herringbone weave. It measures 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. These measurements may seem a little odd. They make far more sense when converted into first-century Jewish cubits. Using a measure of 21.4 inches to the cubit, based on the Assyrian standard, the measurement of the Shroud converts to exactly 8 cubits in length by 2 cubits in width. It was made in a single piece, apart from a strip approximately three and a half inches wide running the entire length of the left-hand side of the Shroud. This strip is attached to the Shroud by a single seam. ." (Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, pp.3-4).

The next post in this series is part #7 "Kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578."

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign Jesus is Jehovah!

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