Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #10 His death and burial matches the Gospels' description of that of Jesus Christ

This is part #10, "His death and burial matches the Gospels' description of that of Jesus Christ," which is part of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!." The previous post in this series was part #9, "The man has wounds and bloodstains which match the Gospels' description of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ" For more information about this series, which is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing, see parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" .

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Here are quotes under the categories of "Death" and "Burial", and within those categories in year order (oldest first), which serve as references to the above statements:


"Rigor Mortis After death the Body of Christ remained suspended on the cross for hardly less than two hours. Under the circumstances, it must have grown rigid much more rapidly than is normally the case. It was probably rather thoroughly stiffened by the time it was taken down from the cross. The body enveloped in the Shroud was already rigid. This is suggested by the general appearance of the two figures, but there are more precise indications. The arms had been brought down from their extended position, but the hands remained as they had been on the cross, stiffened with the spontaneous curvature of the fingers and the inward bend of the thumbs illustrated by Dr. Barbet's experiments. The feet also were stiffened in the position they had on the cross, sloped forward and inward. It is an unnatural position which could not have been maintained if the feet had been normally flexible. The left foot had been crossed over the right. This caused a bend in the left knee, which grew rigid in that position and remained bent upward while the body was enveloped in the Shroud. One looks in vain for realistic details like these in art. They are present in these imprints because the Shroud registered with the utmost fidelity the condition of the body that rested within its folds." (Wuenschel, E.A., "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, 1954, Third printing, 1961, pp.46-47. Emphasis original).

"The shroud was made of ivory-colored, almost yellow linen, and was disfigured in several distinct ways. Wrinkles zig-zagged the 14½ -foot length and 3½-foot width of the cloth whenever it was hung for exposition. Burn marks from a fire in 1532 ran down the cloth's sides. Water marks resembling rough-cut diamonds, made when the sixteenth-century fire was doused, could be seen with the naked eye. Also appearing on the shroud were two softly diffused but distinct impressions of a body. They were difficult to see up close, but at a distance they stood out in subtle brown. It was as though the cloth had been wrapped around a body - not in mummy fashion, but lengthwise - beginning at the heels and proceeding up the back to the base of the skull, then over the head and down the face to the toes. The face was owl-like, almost grotesque. The eyes were open and staring, with what looked like pinholes for pupils. The nose was long and thin-a line in the center of the face. The mouth was a smudge beneath the nostrils. The hair appeared coarse and stringy, and hung almost to the neck in what appeared to be two braids. Between the hair and the sides of the face there was a curious space. The feet appeared to be missing from the frontal image, and the legs were little more than lines tapering from the trunk. But the thighs, knees, and calves could be discerned, and the hands were folded over the loins in repose. The stomach, chest, and arms were easily recognizable on the frontal image, whereas the head, shoulders, and buttocks stood out on the dorsal. The dull red stain of blood was everywhere. Large droplets from under the hairline suggested the entrance points of thornlike instruments. Small lacerations all over the body could easily have been the result of indiscriminate and interminable flogging. Wounds from nails resulted in large seepages on the hands as well as thin trickles on the arms. The gash in the side showed the most bleeding; blood had gathered around the hole, then flowed down the sides of the body and across the small of the back. These were the images Secondo Pia expected to see as he peered into the tray of chemicals and waited for the negative plate to develop. The year was 1898, and he had been commissioned to make the first photographs ever of the shroud. But what he saw as he held the dripping plate up to the red light was something far different. The face was alive with expression; its details were almost portrait-like. The eyes were closed and tranquil as though the figure were asleep. The mouth was full, with mustache above and beard below. The nose was long and prominent, with gradations of shadow down the sides. The hair, strands of which were matted with blood, appeared soft and smooth. What Pia was looking at were positive images, and what he saw on the cloth itself, the photographer concluded, must be negative images. Exactly how these images had been transferred to the shroud he could not say. What was clear was that Jesus had left not only his `photograph' on the shroud but also a visual record of what happened to him in the bloody hours before his death." (Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, pp.3-4. Emphasis original).

"THE SHROUD OF TURIN is a linen cloth, fourteen feet long and three and a half feet wide. The threads were hand-spun and the fabric hand-woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill. On the long fabric are two faint, straw-colored images, one of the front and the other of the back of a nude man who was apparently scourged and crucified, with the hands crossed over the pelvis. The images appear head to head, as though a body had been laid on its back at one end of the fabric, which was then drawn over to cover the front of the body. The cloth has many burn holes and scorches; the holes have been patched. There are also large water stains. Although the cloth appeared in France 630 years ago, its history is obscure." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.vii. Emphasis original).

"The conventional argument that the image on the Shroud is the true image of Jesus assumes that we all agree, as perhaps we may, that the image came from a dead man's body. Most reasonable investigators have firmly ruled out the possibility that the image was painted, and they are also persuaded that it could not have been effected by means of a scorch from a hot statue. In addition, experts in anatomy and forensic medicine have concluded that the image on the Shroud could only have come from a human body, and in fact from the body of a man who had died (rigor mortis is evident) the violent death indicated by the visible wounds. These conclusions, as we have seen, were first reported by Delage in his 1902 address to the French Academy, and they have often been confirmed: in greatest detail by physician Pierre Barbet, and most recently by Robert Bucklin, deputy medical examiner of Los Angeles County in California." (Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Allanheld: Totowa NJ, p.27).

"From the ankle, a rill of blood appears to have broken away directly onto the cloth, and it is the seemingly post-mortem nature of this that has caused most interest. While all previously discussed bloodstains have theoretically flowed while the body was upright on the cross, dried on the body, then somehow become transferred after death, this ankle rill must have been of a different nature, presumably an accidental spillage as the body was laid on the cloth for burial. There is even a counter-impression where the cloth would appear to have been slightly wrinkled at the time. The fifth and final of the Shroud's visible injury groups is indicated by an elliptical wound 4.4 centimeters wide immediately adjacent to one of the 1532 fire patches and, on the body of the man of the Shroud, locatable in the right side. Even to the layman this looks obvious as the entry point of some spear, from which blood appears to have flowed for some 15 centimeters while the body hung upright on the cross. But it is inevitably the pathologists for whom, again, the injury is most meaningful. There is general agreement that the exact point of injury would have been in the fifth intercostal space, immediately above the sixth rib, and it is to be noted that the wound is angled perfectly for such a between-the-ribs location. Some investigators even see slight interruptions in the flow of the blood downward exactly corresponding to the spacings of the middle ribs. The most dramatic aspect of this injury is that, as in the case of the foot wound, there is a post-mortem spillage associated with it, in this instance in the form of a copious and intricate splashing of blood visible right across the small of the back on the dorsal image, extending out to each side. Among the pathologists, there is general agreement that this spillage would have occurred as the heavy body was inevitably heaved onto the cloth at the time of burial." (Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.24,26).

"If the Shroud is genuine, obviously such a dramatic chest injury must have been caused by a blow intended to cause death. But, quite aside from this, doctors and pathologists have pointed to other evidence that the man of the Shroud was indeed dead when laid in the cloth. As Professor James Cameron of the London Hospital has observed, if the man of the Shroud had been still breathing when laid in the cloth, the natural effect of his inhalations would have been to suck the linen into his mouth and nostrils, as indeed occurred in one modern case which Cameron was called upon to examine. This would inevitably have distorted the Shroud facial image; yet it shows no sign of this. Cameron also interprets the already noted stiffness of the arms in the burial position as due to rigor mortis. He argues that the arms had become fixed in the attitude of their suspension on the cross, and those who took the body down therefore had forcibly to break this rigor at the shoulders in order to place the arms in the burial position. Cameron also offers an interesting explanation for the oddly skeletal appearance of the hands. He points out that a nail through the wrist would be likely to hit not only the median nerve but also the main artery, thereby partially draining the hands of blood and creating an early post-mortem tissue-drying effect he refers to as `de-gloving.'" (Wilson, I., 1986, pp.25-26).

"There are at least three signs on the Shroud that Jesus was dead when He was buried. First, the body of the man in the Shroud is in a state of rigor mortis, in which the muscles stiffen, keeping the body in the position the person occupied just prior to death. Such a state is complete in about twelve hours after death, begins to wear off in twenty-four hours, and disappears in thirty-six to forty hours. Of course, these times are variable and imprecise, and therefore somewhat unreliable. Closely related to rigor mortis is a state called cadaveric spasm, an immediate stiffening, a rather sudden contraction of the muscles that occurs quickly after some violent deaths. Rigor mortis is observable on the Shroud in several places. The head was bent forward, the feet were somewhat drawn up, and the left leg in particular had moved back toward its position on the cross. Especially visible in the three-dimensional image analysis of the Shroud are the retracted thumbs and the `frozen' posture of the chest and abdomen. As was also noted by Bucklin, the entire body was quite rigid and stiff, occupying some of the positions it did on the cross. The second evidence of death in the man of the Shroud is the post-mortem blood flow, especially from the chest wound. If the heart had been beating after burial, the blood literally would have been shot out onto the cloth. But the blood oozed out instead. Also, a comparatively small quantity of blood flowed, and there was no swelling around the wound. Finally, the blood from the chest, left wrist, and feet separated into clots and serum and was much thicker and of much deeper color than it would have been prior to death. Zugibe also mentioned a third piece of evidence based on his medical experience. If Jesus had been alive after the spear wound, the soldiers and others at the site would have heard a loud sucking sound caused by breath being inhaled past the chest wound. Zugibe related that when answering a distress call after a man had been stabbed in the chest, he heard the loud inhaling of the unconscious man all the way across the room. He saw this phenomenon as `a direct refutation of the theory that Christ was alive after being taken down from the cross." [Zugibe, F.T., "The Cross and the Shroud," Angelus Books: New York NY, 1982, p.165]" (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.113. Emphasis original).

"There are essentially four categories of injuries that anyone, whatever their viewpoint, may reasonably `see' and identify on the Shroud: (i) a set of injuries as from a severe whipping (ii) a set of injuries as from various forms of incidental abuse (including apparent `crowning with thorns') (iii) a set of injuries as from piercing at the hands and feet (iv) a single injury as from the driving of a bladed weapon through the chest To which may be added as a final category: (v) evidence of apparent post-mortem blood spillages from (iii) and (iv)" (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1998, p.31).

"Which brings us to the fifth and final category of readily visible injury marks on the Shroud, apparent post-mortem spillages, that is, bloodflows that do not appear to have come from the body during life or its immediate expiry, but which broke loose from it while it was being laid in the Shroud. Two examples of this may be cited, both readily visible on the back-of the-body image. First, by the right foot there can be seen a spillage that has broken away at the level of the ankle, extending several centimetres laterally ... Second, right across the small of the back can be seen a large, similarly lateral splash of blood ... In the case of this latter, from its position and from the absence of any other obviously related injury, it can only have come from the lance wound in the chest. As interpreted by Dr Joseph Gambescia, a professor of medicine at the Hannemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, this: `... makes sense only if the body were tilted on its side with the side-wound oriented momentarily toward the ground and then turned up on the other side so that the flow could make its way transversedly across the back toward the ground." (Wilson, 1998, p.38).

"Further evidence of the man's death on the cross is found in the numerous identifications of rigor mortis apparent on the Shroud image. Rigor mortis develops because of complex chemical processes that cause all body muscles to stiffen. The actual stiffening typically begins four to six hours after death and continues for another twelve hours. Once complete, rigor mortis gradually declines over the next twelve to twenty-four hours and the muscles relax again. The onset of rigor mortis can be accelerated by muscular exertion before death, an elevated body temperature, or warm weather. In cases where physical activity has been strenuous and intense, as would be the case in a crucifixion, rigor mortis can set in immediately after death, especially in a hot climate. If the corpse were then placed in a cool environment, such as a tomb, rigor mortis would tend to remain longer. When looking at the back of the man's legs and feet, we see that his left leg is raised slightly and that both feet, especially the right one, are flat and pointed down. For the lower extremities to have remained in such an awkward position indicates that rigor mortis set in while the man remained crucified. Moving up the back of the man, we notice that the thighs, buttocks, and torso are not flat, but instead are stiff and rigid. If rigor mortis had declined and the muscles had relaxed, these parts of the body would appear flatter and wider. On the frontal image we see the chin drawn in close to the chest and the face turned slightly to the right. For the head to remain in this position inside the burial cloth without rotating further to the side requires the presence of rigor mortis. The man's expanded ribcage is a sign of asphyxia, and the enlarged pectoral muscles drawn in toward the collarbone and arms provide evidence that the man had been pulling himself up to breathe. That these parts of the body remained in such positions further indicates that the onset of rigor mortis occurred while the man hung suspended. Rigor would also maintain the thumbs in the positions held during crucifixion. ... All of the data gleaned from extensive study of the pathology evident on the Turin Shroud tells us this piece of linen was wrapped around the corpse of a man who was crucified and died while still nailed to a cross. We also know that the man's corpse lay inside the burial linen for no more than two or three days. Had he been there longer, decomposition stains would be present on the cloth, but the Shroud contains no signs of bodily decomposition." (Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, pp.32-33).

"J. Malcolm Cameron, British Home Office pathologist, notes that the arms of the Man on the Shroud were forcibly bent across the lower abdomen to break the postmortem rigor (muscle stiffening) of the shoulder girdle (a common problem for morticians regardless of the cause of death, in order to get a body into position for burial). Drs. Jackson and Jumper of the STURP scientific team noticed, when their computer projections were developing three-dimensional images from the Shroud data, that the head was bent forward as a result of rigor mortis. Knees bent by the rigor are also observable, especially the left. Moreover, their three-dimensional images have further special value for medical studies of the Shroud because they show, for instance, the degree of swelling in the right cheek, and the overextension of the chest and abdominal muscles." (Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.100).

"Did Jesus die on the cross or after he was taken down? This has often been raised by skeptics and critics of the Shroud. Scientists studying the Shroud no longer have doubts on that point, for a variety of reasons. Professor Giovanni Tamburelli of Turin University has used the computer in his study of blood flows on the Shroud. For instance, he has found that all streams of blood on the face flow down the face; none of them flow toward the ears or back of the neck or head. Thus it is clear that the death of the Man of the Shroud caused the blood to stop running while he was still on the cross. If he were alive when removed from the cross, the blood would have still been flowing, and as he lay on his back it would have flowed toward his back. Tamburelli also noticed a drop of blood from the right nostril that did not fall because its weight was not sufficient. The drop was pointed, not round, proving that the blood ceased to flow because of death while he was still on the cross. Another significant characteristic is that the Shroud bloodstains have a `halo effect' that is typically suggestive of the separation of blood and serum, which happens after the heart has already stopped-evidence of death on the cross." (Tribbe, 2006, p.101).


"If genuine, the Shroud is a record of a burial, a Jewish burial that reputedly took place nearly two thousand years ago of none other than Jesus Christ. Among the key questions therefore to be considered are the extent to which it is compatible with known Jewish burial customs of the time and, above all, the specifically recorded burial of Jesus Christ. In entering this field, we come upon one of the most difficult areas of Shroud studies. From the rise of the Herodian dynasty to the first half of the second century A.D., Jewish burial custom would seem to have been first to wash the body, a practice normal in most cultures. Then it was dressed in clean linen clothes, generally the white garment worn by the deceased for festivals, and bound at the chin, wrists, and feet. Such a custom would seem to be quite explicit from the description of the raising of Lazarus in which we are told, `The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, let him go free"' (Jn. 11:44). So far this seems reasonable enough. Had Lazarus been swathed in bands, mummy fashion, it would have been impossible for him to move at all. Instead he appears to have been at least able to shuffle forward at the command `Come out,' requiring only the chin, hand, and foot bindings to be severed for him to resume normal life." (Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, p.38).

"Some of the details visible on the Shroud are consistent with such practices. As in Jewish custom we can be reasonably sure that the man of the Shroud was laid out flat and intact in some sort of prepared tomb. ... The position of the body with the hands across the pelvis is also identical with Jewish burials of the Essene sect ... in the area of Qumran. We can also detect that, as in Jewish custom, the man of the Shroud seems to have been bound at head, hands, and feet. On the Shroud there is a distinct gap between the frontal and dorsal images of the head, almost certainly indicating the presence of a chin band tied around the face. At the region of the wrists we may perceive that there is an apparent break in the blood flow immediately to the left of the covering hand. A binding cloth or cord at this point would almost certainly have been functionally necessary to counteract the effects of rigor mortis, which according to some medical opinion would have tended to return the arms to the original crucifixion position. In the area of the feet, the possible presence of a similar cord or binding cloth is less obvious, but there is a blank in the image at precisely the most likely position." (Wilson,1978, p.39).

"... 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., "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, 1978, pp.21-22).

"Jewish Burial Customs. The first point of comparison is the cloth itself. The gospels say that Jesus was buried in a cloth (or cloths); the Shroud of Turin appears to be a burial cloth which medical experts say once held a dead body. The image reveals a man lying on his back with his feet close together. His elbows protrude from his sides and his hands are crossed over the pelvic area. We can ascertain that the linen sheet was wound lengthwise up the front and down the back of the corpse. ... Is this kind of burial compatible with the New Testament reports? It is at least compatible with Jewish customs as we know them from extrabiblical sources. Recent archaeological excavations at the Qumran community found that the Essenes buried their dead in the way represented on the Shroud. Several skeletons were found lying on their backs, faces pointing upward, elbows bent outward, and their hands covering the pelvic region. The protruding elbows rule out an Egyptian-type mummified burial. Also very instructive is the Code of Jewish Law, which discusses burial procedures in its `Laws of Mourning.' It instructs that a person executed by the government was to be buried in a single sheet. This is another parallel with the Shroud." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, p.46. Emphasis original).

"Ancient Jewish Beliefs Regarding Death, Burial and Resurrection Let us first provide some background on the evolution of ancient Jewish theological thought, especially during the Second Temple Period regarding death, burial and the idea of resurrection. ... When an individual died, the family was required to bury him as quickly as possible because of the climatic conditions favoring the onset of decay. Primary burial involved burial in either a wooden coffin in the ground or in a shroud in a cave-tomb cut from the soft limestone rocks. In the area of Jerusalem, most people were buried in the cave-tombs carved out of the soft limestone outside and near the walls of the city. Cemeteries were required to be outside the city walls. .... The body was usually enveloped in a shroud (a large linen sheet called a sindon in the New Testament) and laid on a stone shelf in the cave-tomb. ... The burial of Jesus was consistent with the primary burial procedures of the Jews. The New Testament relates that Joseph of Arimathea (a distinguished member of the Sanhedrin - the Jewish religious ruling body) buried Jesus in a cave-tomb cut from the rock nearby the crucifixion site on Golgotha (Calvary) and enveloped Him in a shroud. `Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and placed it in his new tomb which he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away' (Mt 27:59-60). Rt. Rev. John A.T. Robinson notes: `The corpse of Jesus enfolded in a simple linen cloth passing lengthwise over the head and covering the whole body back and front is not, I submit, what any forger with medieval or modern presuppositions would have thought of; but it makes complete sense of the texts and conforms with the other ancient evidence.' [Robinson, J.A.T., "The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Albuquerque NM, 1977, p.25] It was not customary in the ancient or medieval world for an artist to paint on linen, and painting Jesus naked was unheard of. The Shroud represents a true Jewish burial in a linen shroud." (Iannone, J.C., "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, 1998, pp.75-76. Emphasis original).

"Lazarus died a natural death. In accordance with normal Jewish practice he would have been washed, interred fully dressed in his Sabbath best, tied up with a few binding strips to keep his jaw and limbs suitably together, and provided with some kind of face cloth for screening purposes. Jesus, in contrast, died a very bloody death, and stark naked, his clothes having been removed from him at the time of his crucifixion. [Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:23] In his case Jewish law prescribed something very different. As has been carefully explained by Jewish-born Victor Tunkel [Tunkel, V., "A Jewish View of the Shroud," Lecture to the British Society for the Turin Shroud, London, 12 May 1983] of the Faculty of Laws, Queen Mary College, University of London, the belief among the Pharisees of Jesus's time, shared by Jesus's own followers, was that everyone's body would be physically resurrected at the end of time. This meant that as far as humanly possible everything that formed part of that body, including particularly the life-blood, should be buried with it. As expressed in the Jewish Code of Laws, `One who fell [e.g. in battle] and died instantly, if ... blood flowed from the wound, and there is apprehension that the blood of the soul was absorbed in his clothes, he should not be cleansed.' [Gansfried, 1927, Vol. IV, ch. CXCVII, Laws Relating to Purification (Tahara nos 9 and 10), pp.99-100] In these circumstances, therefore, those preparing the dead person for burial had to wrap a `sheet which is called a sovev' straight over any clothes, however bloodstained. This sovev had to be an all-enveloping cloth, that is a `single sheet ... used to go right round' the entire body. Such a sovev readily corresponds to the `over the head' characteristics of Turin's Shroud. " (Wilson, I., "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, 2010, p.52).

The next post in this series will be part #11 "Science has been unable to explain how the image was formed on the cloth."

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

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