Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Shroud of Turin: 3.4. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were beaten

Continuing from part 21, "3.3. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were scourged" of my series, "The Shroud of Turin," with this part 22, "3.4. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were beaten." See part 1, "Contents" for more information about this series.

© Stephen E. Jones

Introduction The man of the Shroud was beaten about the face[1], as the Gospels record that Jesus was[2].

The man on the Shroud was beaten about his face The man on the Shroud had been severely beaten[3] about the face[4]. His facial wounds include: swelling of both eyebrows, a torn right eyelid, a large swelling below his right eye, a swollen nose, a triangular-shaped wound on right cheek with its apex pointing to his nose, a swelling to his left cheek, a swelling to the left side of his chin[5]. His right eye is nearly swollen shut, and his nose is twisted[6].

[Above: Enrie 1931 negative photograph of the face of the man on the Shroud, showing the large swelling of the cheek under the right eye[7].

The swelling of the man's cheek, under his right eye-socket, was probably caused by a blow with a stick, estimated to have been about 1.75 in. (44.5 mm) in diameter[8].

Some of the man's facial injuries may have been the result of unprotected falls onto his face with his arms tied to a crossbeam behind his head, including the separation of the nasal cartilage from the nasal bones[9]. We will cover this in more detail in "3.7. The man on the Shroud fell."

One of the benefits of discovering by the use of a VP-8 Image Analyser that there was three-dimensional information encoded in the Shroud image[10], was the realisation of the degree of swelling of the man's right cheek[11].

[Above: Three-dimensional enhancement of the Shroud face, by Mário Azedvedo of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil[12], showing the extreme degree of swelling of the man's right cheek, under his right eye.]

Jesus was beaten about his face The Gospels record that Jesus was struck in the face on three occasions[13]. The first was at the night session of the Sanhedrin, when Jesus was first sentenced to death[14]. Then He was struck [Gk. rapisma] by one of the Jewish attendants of the court (Jn 18:22-23)[15]. The second occasion was the morning after that session, when the sentence of death was ratified before the full Sanhedrin[16]. Then the Jewish guards blindfolded Jesus, spat in His face, struck Him [Gk. errapisan] and asked Him to prophesy who did it (Mt 26:67-68; Mk 14:65; Lk 22:63-65)[17]. The third occasion when Jesus was struck in the face was after He had been scourged, when mock homage was paid to Him and He was crowned with thorns[18]. Then Jesus was spat on by the Roman soldiers and then struck [Gk. etupton] on the head with a reed (Mt 27:27-31; Mk 15:16-20; Jn 19:3)[19]. The terms used by the Gospel writers signify heavy blows with the hand, fist or rod[20]. A "reed" [Gk. kalamon] can be also a staff[21].

More problems for the forgery theory Byzantine artists in their Christ Pantocrator ("ruler over all"[22]) icons, drew an asymmetric face with one cheek concave[23]. Examples are the Christ of a mosaic at St. Apollinare Nuovo at Ravenna where Christ is portrayed with the left cheek concave, Christ Pantocrator in the Convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, and the mosaic of Cefalu, Sicily[24].

[Above: "Christ surrounded by angels and saints" (526 AD), in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy[25]. Note the asymmetrical face, with the cheek under the right eye convex and the cheek under the left eye concave. Note also the lopsided nose. There would be no reason for the artist to depict Jesus this way, unless the Shroud was the artist's model and he was struggling to interpret the swollen right cheek and bent nose of the man on the Shroud.]

[Above: Christ Pantocrator, St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai (6th-7th century)[26]. Again, note the asymmetrical face, the concave left cheek and the bent nose.]

[Above: Christ Pantocrator, Cathedral of Cefalù (ca. 1150)[27]. The artist has gone out of his way to highlight Christ's concave left cheek and the asymmetry of the face and eyes.]

[Above: "Christ Pantocrator in Hagia Sophia Cathedral, Constantinople, Turkey (13th century)[28]. Note again Christ's convex right cheek and concave left cheek. Again, why such a strange artistic tradition, persisting from the 6th to the 13th century, if it were not that the Shroud was the artists' model and they were trying to depict Christ's beaten up face as it is on the Shroud?]

This is yet another problem for the forgery theory. The existence of Christ Pantocrator icons from the 6th century that `just happen' to match the facial injuries of the man on the Shroud is further evidence that the Shroud was in existence in at least the 5th century[§20]. And why would a medieval forger depict Christ's face severely beaten up when it is not so described in detail in the Gospels?[§21]. How could (and why would) a medieval or earlier forger encode three-dimensional information of Christ's bulging right cheek and eye such that it could not be fully appreciated until the late 20th century when three-dimensional information encoded in a photograph could be discovered by advanced computer technology?[§22].

That the man on the Shroud's face has been badly beaten is especially a problem for Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince's theory that Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) forged the Shroud[29], and moreover that the face on the Shroud is actually Leonardo's[30]. But that would require Leonardo to have had his face specially beaten up to match the man on the Shroud's injuries[31]!

Conclusion The man on the Shroud has facial injuries which closely match the Gospels' description of the blows about the face which Jesus was subjected to. Christian artists since the sixth century have depicted Jesus with an asymmetrical face, a bent nose, a concave left cheek and a convex right cheek which matches the facial injuries of the man on the Shroud. This adds to the already overwhelming weight of evidence that the Shroud of Turin is not a forgery, but it really is Jesus' burial sheet and the image on it really is of Jesus!

1. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.119. [return]
2. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.88. [return]
3. Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.85. [return]
4. Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.2. [return]
5. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.36. [return]
6. 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.44. [return]
7. Latendresse, M., n.d., Shroud Scope: Enrie Negative Vertical. [return]
8. Barbet, P., 1953, "A Doctor at Calvary," Earl of Wicklow, transl., Image Books: Garden City NY, p.90. [return]
9. Heller, 1983, p.3. [return]
10. Jackson, J.P., Jumper, E.J., Mottern, R.W. & Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "The Three Dimensional Image On Jesus' Burial Cloth," 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, pp.78-81. [return]
11. Jackson, et al., 1977, p.92. [return]
12. "Shroud Dimensional Data Dramatically Visualized By Brazilian Experimenter," Shroud.com, August 15, 2003. [return]
13. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, p.40. [return]
14. Ibid. [return]
15. Antonacci, 2000, p.119. [return]
16. Wuenschel, 1954, p.40. [return]
17. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.44. [return]
18. Ibid. [return]
19. Antonacci, 2000, p.119. [return]
20. Wuenschel, 1954, p.40. [return]
21. Bauer, W., Arndt, W.F., Gingrich, F.W. & Danker, F.W., 1979, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Second edition, p.398. [return]
22. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, pp.1093-1094. [return]
23. Pfeiffer, H., 1984, "The Shroud of Turin and the Face of Christ in Paleochristian, Byzantine and Western Medieval Art: Part II," Shroud Spectrum International, Issue #10, March, pp.14-15. [return]
24. Ibid. [return]
25. "Christus Ravenna Mosaic," Wikipedia, 12 September, 2006. [return]
26. "Spas vsederzhitel sinay," Wikipedia, 25 December 2011. [return]
27. "Cathedral of Cefalù, Sicily, the apsidal mosaic: Christ Pantocrator," Wikipedia, 15 June 2010. [return]
28. "Jesus-Christ-from-Hagia-Sophia," Wikipedia, 31 March 2006. [return]
29. Scavone, D.C., 1996, "Book Review of `The Turin Shroud: In Whose Image?'", Shroud.com. [return]
30. Picknett, L. & Prince, C., 2006, "The Turin Shroud: How Da Vinci Fooled History," Touchstone: New York NY, Second edition, p.87. [return]
31. 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.212. [return]
§20, §21, §22. To be further examined under "9. Problems of the forgery theory". [return]

Continued in part 23, "3.5.The man on the Shroud and Jesus were crowned with thorns."

Posted: 6 August 2013. Updated: 13 July 2024.