Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud" #2

Continuing from part #1, here is part #2 of my comments on the paper, Barcaccia, G., et al., 2015, "Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud," Nature, Scientific Reports 5, 5 October. The article's words are in bold.

[Above (enlarge): "An archive negative image of the Shroud of Turin (L) in full length next to one created by Luigi Garlaschelli"[1]. Except that these are not "full length," (i.e. not front and back, head to head as the Shroud is) let alone self-evidently not a true replication of the Shroud.]

This study was reported in, "Shroud of Turin Offers Some DNA," GenomeWeb, October 6, 2015. News articles (updated) on this paper include (in date order): "Shroud of Turin DNA Comes from All over World," RealClearScience, October 12, 2015; "Turin Shroud: DNA and pollen from all over the world found on cloth, new study finds," The Independent, 14 October 2015; and "Mystery of the Shroud of Turin deepens: Genetic study reveals the fabric contains DNA from plants found all over the world," Daily Mail, October 19, 2015; "Shroud Of Turin DNA Indicates Global Origins," The Huffington Post, October 19, 2015; "Shroud of Turin's DNA traced to India and plants found 'all over Earth,' new study says," Christian Today, 20 October 2015; "Here's What DNA Analysis of Dust Particles From the Shroud of Turin Found," TheBlaze, October 20, 2015; "The Shroud of Turin: Controversial Cloth Defies Explanation as Study Shows it Has DNA From Around the World," Ancient Origins, 21 October, 2015; "Mystery Engulfs Shroud of Turin: DNA Found From All Over World," The Christian Post, October 21, 2015; "Is It a Fake? DNA Testing Deepens Mystery of Shroud of Turin," LiveScience, October 23, 2015, etc. I will comment on these in my October Shroud of Turin News.

Introduction. The Turin Shroud (TS) is a linen cloth, 4.4 m long and 1.1 m wide, bearing the double image of a man ... This alone is sufficient to establish that the Shroud is authentic. No forger would even attempt to depict Jesus’ "double image" front and back, head to head, on a "4.4 m long and 1.1 m wide" fine "linen cloth". A medieval forger would only have done what Shroud sceptics who claim to have replicated the Shroud have done: depicted only the face of Jesus (Joe Nickell) or at most only the front body image (e.g. Luigi Garlaschelli - see above). Why would a medieval forger depict also a naked full rear view of Jesus?

... who suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion after being beaten, scourged and crowned with thorns1,2. It could have added that the image can only be of Jesus, either His actual body or a forged counterfeit of it. This has been conceded by leading Shroud anti-authenticists. In 1903 Fr. Herbert Thurston (1856–1939) admitted:

"As to the identity of the body whose image is seen on the Shroud, no question is possible. The five wounds, the cruel flagellation, the punctures encircling the head, can still be clearly distinguished ... If this is not the impression of the Christ, it was designed as the counterfeit of that impression. In no other person since the world began could these details be verified" (my emphasis)[2].

And in 1982 modern day Shroud sceptics, Steven D. Schafersman (and Joe Nickell) who cited him approvingly) also conceded:

"As the (red ochre) dust settles briefly over Sindondom, it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic (naturally or supernaturally produced by the body of Jesus) or it is a product of human artifice. Asks Steven Schafersman: `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No, and here's why. Both Wilson[3] and Stevenson and Habermas[4] go to great lengths to demonstrate that the man imaged on the shroud must be Jesus Christ and not someone else. After all, the man on this shroud was flogged, crucified, wore a crown of thorns, did not have his legs broken, was nailed to the cross, had his side pierced, and so on. Stevenson and Habermas even calculate the odds as 1 in 83 million that the man on the shroud is not Jesus Christ (and they consider this a very conservative estimate)[5]. I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus.'" (my emphasis)[6]

TS is the most important relic of Christianity because the Catholic tradition identifies this burial cloth as that in which the body of Jesus Christ was wrapped before being placed in a Palestine tomb approximately 2000 years ago. "Catholic tradition" maintains that the Shroud is authentic, but the Vatican refuses to confirm (or deny) that the Shroud is authentic. But then as devout Roman Catholic Donald M. Smith pointed out in his 1983 book, "The Letter," which was actually a letter to Pope John Paul II, bound as a book, if the Shroud is not authentic then it can only be the image of someone else tortured and crucified to make it look like Jesus:

"If the carbon-14 dating test was allowed to be conducted on the Shroud of Turin and if it was actually determined that the life of the flax which was used to manufacture the linen of the Shroud was terminated after 100 AD., then two conclusions must follow: 1) The linen of the Shroud of Turin was manufactured after 33 A.D. and after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. 2) The human being whose image is shown on the Shroud of Turin is not Jesus of Nazareth. ... Your Holiness, if the Shroud was dated to an era after 100 AD., there is another conclusion which also must follow: Sometime between 100 A.D. and 1357 A.D., an evil, cruel and sinful act occurred. A human being was actually made to go through the exact same torture and agonizing death as suffered by Jesus and as reported in the GOSPELS, for the sole purpose of producing a valuable relic ... If the goal of producing a likeness of the only begotten Son of God by such evil means, could in any way be condoned, then the whole principle is based on the theories that `the end justifies the means,' and that `power makes right.' These are the same set of principles of men with character the likes of Nietzsche, Machiavelli and Adolf Hitler. Your Holiness, I believe that it is indeed important to know if the identity of the human being whose image appears on the Shroud of Turin could in no way be that of Jesus, but was in fact a victim who was sacrificed for the sole motive of greed. How can Christians use a physical object as a vehicle to promote the teachings of God's only begotten Son when the physical object was created by evil means and motivated by greed? For we know if the linen was manufactured after the crucifixion of Jesus, there had to be a human victim other than Jesus, who was not only robbed of his life, but who was forced to undergo the agonies of crucifixion. It is not right to venerate an object if that object was created by evil means and for the motive of greed."[7] (emphasis original)
Leaving aside Smith's naive view of radiocarbon dating (as the pro-authenticist archaeologist William Meacham noted, the Shroud's radiocarbon date could have been "4th or 5th centuries [AD], owing to some intractable contamination"[8] yet be authentic), Smith is morally exactly right, that if the Shroud were not authentic, then (given that its image is that of a real human body[9]), it is that of, "A human being [other than Jesus who] was actually made to go through the exact same torture and agonizing death as suffered by Jesus. For the Vatican to not care if the Shroud was the result of such "an evil, cruel and sinful act" is to operate on the "principle [of] `the end justifies the means'," which was the principle "of Nietzsche, Machiavelli and Adolf Hitler." It definitely would "not [be morally and ethically] right to venerate an object if that object [the Shroud] was created by [such] evil means ..."!

Such a scenario is supported by numerous scholars who believe that the journey of TS began in Jerusalem in the year 30 or 33 AD3. The years AD 30 and 33 are the only two in that time period in which the Sabbath was also the Passover[10] as Jesus' death was on the eve of both (Mt 28:1; Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54; Jn 19:31 & Mt 26:2; Mk 14:1; Lk 22:1,15; Jn 18:28,39; 19:14).

After concealment for years, TS would have been first moved to Edessa (now Şanliurfa in Turkey) ... That is, according to Ian Wilson's theory that the Mandylion or Image of Edessa, was the Shroud "doubled in four" (Gk. tetradiplon)[11] which (with the possible exception of the "first" before "moved to Edessa"[12]), most Shroud pro-authenticists (including me) accept.

... and then to Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey) in 944 AD. That the Shroud moved from Edessa (irrespective of when it as the Mandylion/Image of Edessa first arrived in Edessa) to Constantinople in 944 is well-established by: 1) In 943 Constantinople's Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos (c. 870–948) sent an army led by General John Curcuas (or) Kourkouas (fl. c. 915–946) to Edessa and laid siege to it, offering to lift the siege and to pay twelve thousand silver pieces, for "the cloth with Jesus's imprint"[13]. That the offer was reluctantly accepted is confirmed by Wikipedia:

"In 943 Kourkouas invaded northern Mesopotamia and besieged the important city of Edessa in 944. As the price for his withdrawal, Kourkouas obtained one of Byzantium's most prized relics, the Mandylion, the holy towel allegedly sent by Jesus Christ to King Abgar V of Edessa."[14]
2) The day after the Mandylion/Shroud had arrived in Constantinople from Edessa on 15 August 944[15], Gregory Referendarius, the Archdeacon of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia cathedral[16], after having had the opportunity overnight to personally examine the Mandylion/Shroud close up, preached a sermon in which he said:
"But Jesus, undergoing the passion of his own free will, believing that human nature fears death – indeed death comes upon the very nature that was made to live – taking this linen cloth he wiped the sweat that was falling down his face like drops of blood in his agony. And miraculously, just as he made everything from nothing in his divine strength, he imprinted the reflection of his form on the linen. ... This reflection, however – let everyone be inspired with the explanation – has been imprinted only by the sweat from the face of the originator of life, falling like drops of blood, and by the finger of God. For these are the beauties that have made up the true imprint of Christ, since after the drops fell, it was embellished by drops from his own side. Both are highly instructive – blood and water there, here sweat and image. Oh equality of happenings, since both have their origin in the same person. The source of living water can be seen and it gives us water, showing us that the origin of the image made by sweat is in fact of the same nature as the origin of that which makes the liquid flow from the side" (My emphasis)[17].
The mention by Gregory of "blood" is a significant advance on the traditional Edessan explanation of the Mandylion's image being due to Jesus' sweat having been imprinted on a towel during His ministry[18]. That night of 15 August 944, alone with the Mandylion/Shroud in Hagia Sophia cathedral, Gregory presumably noticed blood on the image's face and attempted to explain it away as having been imprinted on the cloth in the Garden of Gethsemane when "his [Jesus'] sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44)[19]. But that would not explain his reference to "drops from his own side" and "blood and water" which occurred after Jesus' death on the cross: "one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water." (John 19:34)[20]. So Gregory presumably partially undid the Mandylion's fastenings to examine it more thoroughly and discovered that behind it was at least part of the full-length Shroud? This is consistent with a depiction (below) in a work by Greek historian John Skylitzes (c. 1040s-1101) of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos receiving the Mandylion in Constantinople, and behind it is a full-length, folded, Shroud[21]!

[Above (enlarge): "Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos accepts the Mandylion in Constantinople. A miniature from the so-called Madrid manuscript of `Synopsis of Histories' by Skylitzes"[22].]

A burial cloth, which some historians consider the Shroud, was owned by the Byzantine emperors but disappeared during the Sack of Constantinople in 12044. Leading art historian Hans Belting (1935-)[23] and most, if not all, pro-authenticist (including me) consider that the "sydoines [Old French for sindon] in which Our Lord had been wrapped" which crusader Robert de Clari (c. 1170-1216) saw in Constantinople in 1203:

"... there was another church which was called My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, where was kept the sheet [sydoines] in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday rose up straight, so that one could clearly see the figure [figure] of Our Lord on it; and no one, neither Greek nor French, knew what became of this sheet after the city was taken" (emphasis original)[24]
and which disappeared after the crusaders' sack of Constantinople in 1204, was the Shroud[25]

After this event, TS would have been taken by the crusaders and transferred to Athens (Greece) ... This is the most likely explanation of the Shroud's 151 "missing years" between its disappearance from Constantinople in 1204 to its reappearance at Lirey, France in c. 1355[26]. Othon (Otto) de la Roche (c. 1170-1234)[27] was a Burgundian knight[28] and a commander in the Fourth Crusade (1202-4) which sacked Constantinople in 1204[29]. He commanded Constantinople's District of Blachernae within which was the church where the Shroud was kept[30]. Othon was later made Duke of Athens[31] by the leader of the Fourth Crusade, Boniface I, Marquess of Montferrat (c. 1150–1207)[32]. Evidence that the Shroud was taken from Constantinople to Athens includes a letter of of 1 August 1205 to Pope Innocent III (c. 1160-1216) from Theodore Komnenos Doukas (c. 1200-1253) also known as Theodore Angelus, protesting about the looting of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade[33], and in particular the "most sacred of all the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death" which was "in Athens":

"In April last year a crusading army, having falsely set out to liberate the Holy Land, instead laid waste the city of Constantine. During the sack, troops of Venice and France looted even the holy sanctuaries. The Venetians partitioned the treasures of gold, silver and ivory, while the French did the same with the relics of the saints and, most sacred of all the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before the resurrection. We know that the sacred objects are preserved by their predators in Venice, in France and in other places, the sacred linen in Athens. So many spoils and sacred objects should not be taken contrary to all human and divine laws, nevertheless in your name and in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, albeit against your will, the barbarians of our age have done just that" (my emphasis) [34]
Theodore later became the ruler of Epirus in then northwestern Greece, a successor state of the Byzantine Empire established in the aftermath of the fall of Constantinople[35]. Theodore's statement to the Pope, only a year after the sack of Constantinople, that he knew the Shroud had been taken to Athens[36] is supported by a letter written in 1207 by Nicholas (or Nikolaos) of Otranto (c. 1155-1235), the Abbot of Casole monastery in southern Italy[37] In 1205 Nicholas, who was fluent in Latin and Greek, accompanied as his interpreter a new Papal legate, Benedict of St Susanna, through Greece to Constantinople[38]. In his 1207 letter, Nicholas wrote:
"When the city [Constantinople] was captured by the French knights, entering as thieves, even in the treasury of the Great Place where the holy objects were placed, they found among other things the precious wood, the crown of thorns, the sandals of the Saviour, the nail, and the spargana which we (later) saw with our own eyes."[39]
The word spargana usually denotes the swaddling clothes of an infant (e.g. Lk 2:7,12), but it is also used of burial linen wrappings[40] and since Nicholas is listing relics of the Passion, he must mean burial linens[41]. Nicholas does not say where he had seen the spargana[42] and the word "(later)" is in Nicholas' Latin, but not in his Greek, version[43]. But in 1206 he and Benedict had traveled through Thessalonica and Athens, so his claim that "we saw with our own eyes" (plural) Jesus' burial linens would more likely apply to Nicholas and Benedict seeing the Shroud recently in Athens rather than Nicholas only seeing them years before in Constantinople[44].

... where it remained until 1225. In 1225 Othon transferred his titles and lands to his sons Guy I (c. 1205-1263) and Othon V (c. 1206-1254) and returned to Burgundy with his second wife Elisabeth de Chappes (1175-1236) and the two youngest children of Othon's first wife, Isabelle de Ray (c. 1190-1212)[45]. The simplest assumption is that Othon then took the Shroud with him to Burgundy[46], although there is a 1750 anonymous handwritten document (MS 826) which states an opinion that Othon had sent the Shroud to his father Pons I de la Roche (1145-95) in 1206, who in turn entrusted it to Amadeus de Tramelay, Archbishop of Besançon (1197–1220)[47]. But this is anachronistic because Othon's father Pons died in 1195[48], before the sack of Constantinople in 1204[49]. However, in the tenth century Ray-sur-Saône chateau in which Othon lived after his return from Athens[50], there is a 13th century wooden chest which according to de la Roche family tradition, was used to transport the Shroud from

[Above (enlarge): Wooden chest preserved in Ray-sur-Saône chateau, which is claimed to be that in which Othon V de la Roche brought the Shroud from Constantinople (see below).[51]]

Athens to France, and indeed a label on it in modern writing states the family tradition that it was used by Otho de Ray to bring the "the Shroud of Christ ... from Constantinople [in] 1206":

"13th century coffer in which was preserved at Ray Castle the Shroud of Christ brought by Otho de Ray from Constantinople. 1206"[52]
However, the style of the carving is late 14th century, although the bottom of the chest may be original[53]. The inner dimensions of the chest in centimetres are ~37.5 long x 16.5 wide x 25 deep[54]. This would neatly fit the 437 x 111 cms Shroud[55], if it were folded twelve times long and eight times wide, i.e. 437/12 = 36.4 cms x 111/8 cms = 13.9 cms[56]. This twelve by eight folds is a simple and economical folding arrangement of the Shroud, and since Othon's family would be unlikely to know the true dimensions of the Shroud if they had never owned it, this ~37.5 cms long x 16.5 cms wide `floor plan' of the bottom of the Ray-sur-Saône chateau chest, which is claimed to have once held the Shroud, is strong evidence that Othon de la Roche really did bring the Shroud with him from Athens (and before that from Constantinople) to his Ray-sur-Saône chateau in Burgundy, France in 1225!

Official documents attest that it was in France at Lirey around the years 1353 to 1357 ... There is a direct ancestral link between Othon de la Roche and Jeanne de Vergy (c. 1332-1428)[57], the second wife of Geoffroy I de Charny (c. 1300–1356), who was the

[Above: (enlarge): Pilgrim's badge, bearing the coats of arms of Geoffroy I de Charny (left) and his wife Jeanne de Vergy (right)[58], from the first undisputed exhibition of the Shroud at Lirey, France in c.1355[59].]

first undisputed owner of the Shroud. "Jeanne was ... a great-great-great-great granddaughter of Othon de La Roche (descended from the marriage of Henri de Vergy and Isobelle de La Roche, granddaughter of Othon"[60]. That direct ancestor-descendant line was as follows: Othon (Otto) IV de la Roche, Duke of Athens (1170-1234) → Othon V de La Roche-sur-L'Ognon (1206-54) (1205-63) → Isabelle (Elisabeth) de La Roche-sur-L'Ognon (1235-78) → Jean I de Vergy (1248-1310) → Guillaume III de Vergy (c. 1290-1360) → Jeanne de Vergy (c. 1332-1428)[61]. From c. 1355 Geoffroy and Jeanne exhibited the Shroud at Lirey church until Geoffroy was killed in the Battle of Poitiers on 19 September 1356[62]. Despite Geoffroy's death, Jeanne continued the first Lirey Shroud exhibition until at least 1357[63]. Following the French defeat at Poitiers, marauding bands of English soldiers formed `companies' and attacked French towns for loot, including nearby Troyes in 1358[64]. So Jeanne presumably had by then taken her young son Geoffroy II de Charny (1352–98), and the Shroud, from Lirey[65] south to the comparative safety of her castle at Montfort-en-Auxois[66]. In about 1359, Jeanne married Aymon IV of Geneva (1324-88), an uncle of Robert of Geneva (1342–94), who in 1378 became Pope Clement VII[67]. Jeanne then took Geoffroy II and the Shroud to the safety of Aymon's lands around Anthon, High Savoy, France. Following Aymon's death in 1388[68], Jeanne returned to Lirey with the Shroud where she and the now adult Geoffroy II exhibited it for a second time at Lirey from 1389[69] for an unknown period, but presumably no later than 1396 when Geoffroy II left to fight in the Battle of Nicopolis, Bulgaria, in which he was fatally wounded and died in 1398[70].

... and then was kept at Chambéry from 1502 to 1578, where passed into the hands of the Dukes of Savoy3,4,5. The Shroud already had been transferred to Duke Louis I of Savoy (1413–65) in 1453[71] by Geoffroy II's eldest child, the twice-widowed, childless and aged[72] Marguerite de Charny (c.1392-1460)[73]. The transfer took place in Geneva[74], but the Shroud would presumably have then been moved within days to the Savoy's administrative centre, Chambéry castle. In 1502 the Shroud was installed by Louis's grandson, Duke Philibert II (1480–1504), in the specially built Sainte Chapelle royal chapel in Chambéry[75].

From 1578, apart from some brief displacements in an effort to hide it during war periods, TS was kept in Turin (Italy) and later placed in the royal chapel of the city Cathedral inside a specially designed shrine where it has been permanently conserved from 1694 to the present. See my "Locations of the Shroud: Chambéry 1471-Turin 1578," "Turin 1578-1694," "Turin 1694-1918" and "1918-Present."

To be continued in part #3 of this series.

1. Pullella, P., 2009, "A new taint on the Shroud of Turin?," FaithWorld, October 6. [return]
2. Thurston, H., 1903, "The Holy Shroud and the Verdict of History," The Month, CI, p.19 in Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.52. [return]
3. Wilson, 1979, pp.51-53. [return]
4. 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, pp.121-129. [return]
5. Stevenson. & Habermas, 1981, p.128. [return]
6. Schafersman, S.D., "Science, the public, and the Shroud of Turin," The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring 1982, pp.37-56, p.42 in Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY, Revised, Reprinted, 2000, p.141. [return]
7. Smith, D.M., 1983, "The Letter," DMS Publishing Co: Rancho Palos Verdes CA, pp.24-25. Emphasis original. Footnotes omitted. [return]
8. Meacham, W., 2005, "The Rape of the Turin Shroud: How Christianity's Most Precious Relic was Wrongly Condemned and Violated," Lulu Press: Morrisville NC, p.87. [return]
9. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.223; 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.27; de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.148. [return]
10. Finegan, J., 1964, "Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, p.296. [return]
11. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.113-114; Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, pp.141-142; Wilson, 1998, p.152; Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.140-141; Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.110-111. [return]
12. Markwardt, J., 1998, "The Fire and the Portrait,"; Markwardt, J., 1999, "Antioch and the Shroud," [return]
13. Wilson, 1998, p.148. [return]
14. "Romanos I Lekapenos: Campaigns in the East," Wikipedia, 21 October 2015. [return]
15. Wilson, 1998, pp.148-149; Scavone, D.C., "Underscoring the Highly Significant Historical Research of the Shroud," in Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.xxvii. [return]
16. Wilson, 1991, p.143; Scavone, in Tribbe, 2006, p.xxvii. [return]
17. Guscin, M., 2004, "The Sermon of Gregory Referendarius," [return]
18. Wilson, 1991, p.143. [return]
19. Wilson, 1991, pp.143; Wilson, 1998, p.154, 268. [return]
20. Wilson, 1991, p.143; Wilson, 1998, p.154. [return]
21. Scavone, in Tribbe, 2006, p.xxvii. [return]
22. Juliusz Maszloch, nd., "The Holy Face, il Volto Santo di Manoppello." [return]
23. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.176-177. [return]
24. de Wesselow, 2012, p.175. [return]
25. Wilson, 1979, pp.95-96, 168-169; Wilson, 1986, p.104; Wilson, 1991, pp.155-157; Wilson, 1998, pp.124-125, 142-143; Wilson, 2010, pp.186-187. [return]
26. Wilson, 1979, pp.172-191; Maloney, P.C., "Researching the Shroud of Turin: 1898 to the Present: A Brief Survey of Findings and Views," in Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC, p.34; Tribbe, 2006, pp.26-40, 194; Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, pp.100-114. [return]
27. Jones, S.E., 2015, "de Charny Family Tree," (members only). [return]
28. Scavone, D.C., "The History of the Turin Shroud to the 14th C.," in Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, pp.171-204, p.198. [return]
29. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.96. [return]
30. O'Connell, P. & Carty, C., 1974, "The Holy Shroud and Four Visions," TAN: Rockford IL, pp.7-8; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.9. [return]
31. Guerrera, 2001, pp.9-10. [return]
32. Guerrera, 2001, p.8. [return]
33. Piana, A., 2007, "The Shroud's `Missing Years'," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 66, December, pp.9-25,28-31. [return]
34. Currer-Briggs, N., 1988, "The Shroud and the Grail: A Modern Quest for the True Grail," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, p.148. [return]
35. Oxley, 2010, p.100. [return]
36. Scavone, 1989, p.96. [return]
37. Oxley, 2010, p.101. [return]
38. Ibid. [return]
39. Oxley, 2010, pp.101-102. [return]
40. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London, p.51. [return]
41. Scavone, D., "The Shroud of Turin in Constantinople: The Documentary Evidence," in Sutton, R.F., Jr., 1989, "Daidalikon: Studies in Memory of Raymond V Schoder," Bolchazy Carducci Publishers: Wauconda IL, p.325. [return]
42. Oxley, 2010, p.102. [return]
43. Scavone, in Sutton, 1989, p.325. [return]
44. Scavone, 1989, pp.96-97; Scavone, in Sutton, 1989, p.325; Scavone, in Berard, 1991, p.198; 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.62; Guerrera, 2001, p.10; Piana, 2007; Oxley, 2010, p.102. [return]
45. Oxley, 2010, p.104. [return]
46. Oxley, 2010, pp.104-105. [return]
47. Scavone, 1989, p.98; Ruffin, 1999, p.62. [return]
48. "Pons I Heer van La Roche-Sur-Ognon, Flagey, Maizières en Ray," Web: Netherlands, GenealogieOnline Trees Index, 1000-2015 (in Dutch)". [return]
49. Piana, A., 2010a, "`Missing years' of the Holy Shroud," Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Frascati, Italy, 4-6 May 2010. [return]
50. Piana, 2007. [return]
51. Extract from slide 25 of Piana, A., 2010b, "The `Missing Years' of the Holy Shroud," Frascati (Rome), 5th May 2010. [return]
52. Oxley, 2010, pp.105-106. [return]
53. Piana, 2010a. [return]
54. Ibid. [return]
55. Wilson, I., 2000, "‘The Turin Shroud – past, present and future’, Turin, 2-5 March, 2000 – probably the best-ever Shroud Symposium," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 51, June. [return]
56. Piana, 2010a. [return]
57. Ibid. [return]
58. Latendresse, M., 2012, "A Souvenir from Lirey," [return]
59. Wilson, 1979, p.194; Wilson, 1986, pp.5,12; Wilson, 1991, pp.20-21; Wilson, 1998, pp.126-127; Guerrera, 2001, pp.103-104; Tribbe, 2006, pp.42-43; Oxley, 2010, p.49; Wilson, 2010, pp.221-222. [return]
60. Scavone, in Berard, 1991, p.198; Oxley, 2010, p.105. [return]
61. Currer-Briggs, 1988, pp.39,38, 35; Piana, 2010a. [return]
62. Ruffin, 1999, p.64; Guerrera, 2001, pp.10-11; de Wesselow, 2012, pp.14-15. [return]
63. Wilson, 1998, p.128; Guerrera, 2001, p.12; Oxley, 2010, pp.50,53. [return]
64. Wilson, 1998, p.278; Wilson, 2010, p.229. [return]
65. Wilson, 1998, pp.229,278; Wilson, 2010, p.229. [return]
66. Crispino, D.C., 1983, "The Castle of Montfort," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 8, September, pp.35-40. [return]
67. Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ, p.33; Guerrera, 2001, p.12; Wilson, 1991, p.18; Wilson, 2010, p.229. [return]
68. Wilson, 1998, p.280; Wilson, 2010, p.230. [return]
69. Wilson, 1979, p.260; Guerrera, 2001, pp.14-15; Wilson, 1998, pp.280-281; Wilson, 2010, pp.302-303. [return]
70. Wilson, I., 2007, "1: The Tombstone of Geoffrey II de Charny at Froidmont," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 66, December; Wilson, 2010, p.235. [return]
71. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.130; Wilson, 1998, p.117; Guerrera, 2001, p.16. [return]
72. Wilson, 1986, p.12; Crispino, D.C., 1988, "To Know the Truth: A Sixteenth Century Document with Excursus," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 28/29, September/December, pp.25-40, p.28; Wilson, I., 2012, "Discovering more of the Shroud's Early History: A promising new approach ...," Talk for the International Congress on the Holy Shroud in Spain, Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain, 28-30 April, 2012. [return]
73. Jones, 2015. [return]
74. Wilson, 1979, p.214; Currer-Briggs, 1988, p.46; Wilson, 2010, p.241. [return]
75. Moretto, G., 1999, "The Shroud: A Guide," Neame, A., transl., Paulist Press: Mahwah NJ, p.19; Ruffin, 1999, p.67; de Wesselow, 2012, p.16. [return]

Posted 25 October 2015. Updated 13 October 2023.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yarn #7: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!


Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is "Introduction: Yarn," part #7 of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!" As can be seen on the "Introduction #2" page, "Yarn" should logically have preceded "Weave #4," but at the time I did not think of the significance of the

[Above (enlarge): Ultraviolet-fluorescence photograph of the Shroud man's hands, showing colour banding of different hanks of yarn in the linen[2], both weft (widthwise) and warp (lengthwise) on the loom[3].]

yarn's banding (see below). This is an example of how the chronological order of posts in this series will not necessarily be the same as their logical order in the index pages.

[Main index] [Previous: Selvedge #6] [Next: The man on the Shroud #8]

  1. Introduction #2
    1. Yarn #7

Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, including weaving[4].

Linen yarn is spun[5] from the cortex[6] fibres of the flax plant[7], Linum usitatissimum[8].

Retting is the process of separating the fibre from the rest of the plant in water[9]. It relies on the fermentation[10] action of microorganisms and moisture to rot and dissolve away the cellular tissues[11] leaving the almost pure cellulose of the flax fibres[12]. Ancient retting of linen was in natural bodies of water, whereas its medieval counterpart could also have been in large vats of water[13]. A consequence of ancient retting of linen in natural bodies of water like rivers and lakes, is that the linen takes up ions of strontium, calcium and iron from the water[14].

Bleaching Ancient linen yarn was, as described by the Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), after spinning laid out in hanks to be mildly bleached by the sun[15]. Medieval linen was, by contrast, mildly bleached in the sun as the whole cloth, mostly in "bleach fields" in the Low Countries, hence the name "Holland cloth" for the medieval

[Above (enlarge): Medieval Holland Cloth backing of the Shroud, visible in its bottom left-hand corner[16]. As can be seen, this medieval linen cloth is homogeneous and has no variegated colour banding, unlike the Shroud (see photograph above and to its right in this photograph).]

linen backing of the Shroud[17]. Each hank of ancient linen yarn was bleached separately, and so they each have slightly different, banded, colours[18]. Medieval linen, again by contrast, was bleached as a whole cloth after being woven, not before[19], and so is homogeneous, with no bands of different coloured yarn[20]

The Shroud shows bands of different-colored yarn in its weave (see photograph above), unlike medieval linen which is homogeneous[21] (see photograph of the Holland cloth above). The Shroud also has particles of strontium, calcium and iron uniformly distributed throughout its fibres[22], which can only have come from ion exchange during retting in a natural body of water[23]. While the latter is consistent with the Shroud being either medieval or ancient, the former is consistent only with the linen of the Shroud having been spun in antiquity and not the Middle Ages[24].

Problem for the forgery theory That the linen yarn which comprises the Shroud's weave is banded in variegated colours and therefore was spun from flax in antiquity, not the Middle Ages, is yet another problem for the medieval forgery theory (see #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 & #6).

Again (see #5 & #6), an anti-authenticist could still (like a drowning man clutching at a straw) cling to to the pre-1988 fall-back position of the late leading anti-authenticist Walter McCrone (1916-2002), that:

"... a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image"[25].
But then again that would be then admitting that the "1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud" claim:
"The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390"[26]
was wrong. Whether anti-authenticists admit it or not, because of this Shroud yarn colour banding, and a mountain of other evidence (see for example parts #3, #5 and #6 of this series and much, much, more to come), the "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud was wrong (and indeed the result of a computer hacking)!

Continued in part #8 of this series.

1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to quote from any part of this post (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. Rogers, R.N., 2008, "A Chemist's Perspective on the Shroud of Turin," Lulu Press: Raleigh, NC, p.19. [return]
3. Zugibe, F.T., 2005, "The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry," M. Evans & Co.: New York NY, p.176. [return]
4. "Yarn," Wikipedia, 1 October 2015. [return]
5. "Spinning (textiles)," Wikipedia, 11 October 2015. [return]
6. 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]
7. "Linen," Wikipedia, 17 October 2015. [return]
8. "Flax," Wikipedia, 19 October 2015. [return]
9. "Retting," Wikipedia, 21 May 2015. [return]
10. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.91. [return]
11. Ibid. [return]
12. Case, T.W., 1996, "The Shroud of Turin and the C-14 Dating Fiasco," White Horse Press: Cincinnati OH, p.36. [return]
13. Wilson, 1986, p.91. [return]
14. Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.174. [return]
15. Rogers, 2008, p.18. [return]
16. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002: Vertical.," [return]
17. Rogers, 2008, p.18. [return]
18. Ibid. [return]
19. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.110. [return]
20. Rogers, 2008, p.18. [return]
21. Rogers, 2008, p.18; de Wesselow, 2012, p.110. [return]
22. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.187. [return]
23. Wilson, 1986, p.91. [return]
24. Rogers, 2008, p.18; de Wesselow, 2012, p.110. [return]
25. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, p.141. [return]
26. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]

Posted 20 October 2015. Updated 3 June 2024.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Were crowned with thorns #5: Bible and the Shroud: Jesus and the man on the Shroud: Shroud of Turin quotes

Shroud of Turin quotes #5:
Bible and the Shroud
Jesus and the Man on the Shroud:
© Stephen E. Jones

This is the "Bible and the Shroud: Jesus and the man on the Shroud: Were crowned with thorns" page #5 in my Shroud of Turin quotes series. For more information about this series, see the Main Index.

[Above: (enlarge): Model of a "helmet" of thorns in the permanent exhibition of the Shroud of Turin in the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center[2]. The bloodstains on the head of the man on the Shroud are consistent with him having worn such a `cap' of thorns (see below).]

[Main Index] [Previous: Were scourged #4] [Next: Were struck in the face #6]

  1. Bible and the Shroud #2
    1. Jesus and the man on the Shroud #3
      1. Were crowned with thorns #5
"Let us now consider the imprints on the Shroud with an especial reference to marks of identification. In the first place, there are the clear and unmistakable marks of a crown of thorns round the forehead and temples. There is no record in history of a crown of thorns being given to anyone under sentence of death except Our Lord Himself." (Hynek, R.W., 1951, "The True Likeness," [1946], Sheed & Ward: London, p.93)

"St. Luke does not mention the crowning. St. Mark writes: `Perititheasin auto plexantes akanthinon stephanon-And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon Him' (Mk. XV, 17). This gives no indication as to its shape. St. Matthew and St. John are more precise: `Plexantes stephanon ex akanthcin, epethekan epi tes kephales autou-And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head' (Mt. XXVII, 29, Jn. XIX, 2). St. John says `te kephale,' but with `epethekan' it comes to the same thing." (Barbet, P., 1953, "A Doctor at Calvary," [1950], Earl of Wicklow, transl., Image Books: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1963, p.93)

"St. Vincent of Lérins [d. c.445)] (Sermo in Parasceve) was to write at a later date: ... They placed on His head a crown of thorns; it was, in fact, in the shape of a pileus, so that it touched and covered His head in every part,' and he affirms that Our Lord's head received seventy wounds. The pileus, among the Romans, was a sort of semi-oval head-dress made of felt, which enveloped the head and was specially worn during work. ... St. Brigit declared later on in her revelations that the crown tore the whole of the head of Jesus. This states in precise terms what St. Matthew and St. John clearly insinuate: that the crown was a sort of cap made of thorny branches, and not just a head-band. This cap would have to be fixed round the head with some kind of band. A quantity of thorns are to be found throughout the world, said to belong to the crown, and which have been distributed throughout the centuries, so as to satisfy the devotion of the faithful. It is generally admitted that they belong to a thorn-bearing tree which is common in Judea, the Zizyphus spina Christi, a kind of lote-tree. It is probable that there was a heap of its branches in the praetorium, used for firing by the Roman cohort. Its thorns are long and very sharp. The scalp bleeds very easily and very vigorously, and as this cap was driven against the head by blows with a stick, the wounds must have caused much loss of blood." (Barbet, 1953, pp.93-94).

[Above (enlarge): "Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf."[3]]

"The Crowning With Thorns `And plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed into his right hand ... and they took the reed and kept striking him on the head' (Matt. 27:29-30; Mark 15:17-19; John 19:2). The form of the crown is not described, but the soldiers must have woven it rather roughly with thorn branches. It was no artistic effort. They were merely regaling themselves with a play of cruel mockery, suggested by Christ's claim to be the King of the Jews. In the imprints there are the marks of punctures on the brow, with four clots of blood and a trickle in the form of a reversed 3. Other punctures at the front of the head are covered by the hair, in which several streams of blood clotted. At the back of the head the punctures were more numerous, and they extended almost to the base of the skull, as can be seen from the many trickles of blood that clotted in the hair. One cannot tell whether the top of the head was injured, since there is no imprint of this part. At certain points about the head the flow of blood was hindered by some obstacle, probably a circle of some kind that held the thorn branches in place." (Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, pp.41-42)

"The marks on the head constituted the third group of injuries. On the front of the face, in the forehead, there are several blood prints. One of these has the shape of a figure 3. On the back of the head, circling the scalp, is another row of blood prints. These were left by the crown of thorns. High on the scalp are similar blood stains which can be explained if one assumes that the crown of thorns, instead of a circlet, was shaped more like a cap and that there were branches and thorns laced over the top of the cap. The thorns were of the Zizyphus spina species and were approximately one inch in length. Passing through the skin and subcutaneous tissues of the scalp, they lacerated vessels and, as is well known of scalp injuries, there was a considerable amount of bleeding because of the retraction of the torn vessels." (Bucklin, R., 1970, "The Legal and Medical Aspects of the Trial and Death of Christ," Medicine, Science and the Law, January)

"The Crowning with Thorns The fact of the crowning with thorns and the way in which it was done are expressed concisely but precisely by the Gospel of John: `And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head' (Jn. 19,2). Students of law may be surprised by this punishment, which was not contemplated by the penal procedure of Rome. No other crucified man in history, in fact, is known to have been crowned with thorns! The way in which it was done, on the hand, implicates the artists, who have universally represented a type of crowning borrowed from the customs of Orientals, who crowned their kings with precious mitres placed on their heads. ... But the way in which it was carried out is unexpectedly documented by the marks on the Shroud: the whole top of the skull, in fact, from the occiput to the bregma, is covered with trickles of blood, while the dark colour of all the same area makes one think of sweat mixed with blood, in which the mass of the hair was steeped, creating the conditions for the resulting imprint." (Ricci, G., "Historical, Medical and Physical Study of the Holy Shroud," 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.67-68. Emphasis original)

"Then there are the extraordinary bloodstains round the head, as if it had been spiked. `Then the soldiers took him inside the courtyard [the Governor's headquarters] and called together the whole company. They dressed him in purple, and having plaited a crown of thorns, placed it on his head. Then they began to salute him with, `Hail, King of the Jews!' They beat him about the head with a cane and spat upon him, and then knelt and paid mock homage to him' (Mark 15:16-19). A crown of thorns, followed by a beating about the head! Think what that implies. It certainly explains the bloodstains on the Shroud, and what are the chances of another man having been given a torture that could have left those same marks? Already the agreement between the facts as we know them and the evidence of the Shroud is astonishing." (Hoare, R., 1978, "Testimony of the Shroud," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, p.41)

"First let me stress the 'if'. There will never be final proof that this is the actual cloth that wrapped the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Even if all the tests proved positive there would only be a very strong possibility that it was the burial cloth of this man. If the date of the linen were to come out correct, then there is a pretty powerful concurrence of evidence that would point to this conclusion. Clearly it carries the image of a man, almost certainly a Jew, of the right age, who suffered death by crucifixion. Though most of the marks of this barbarous punishment would not point distinctively to this one man, the evidence of severe injury to the scalp by a `crown of thorns' surely cannot reasonably be posited of any usual victim: it was a mock coronation as King of the Jews." (Robinson, J.A.T., "The Shroud and the New Testament," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, p.76).

"The first clear traces of spilled blood are again from a group of wounds that we have no trouble in identifying. In David Willis's precise medical terminology: `... Turning to the front, there are similar puncture wounds with their counter-drawings of bloodflows but not so numerous as on the back. There are four or five that start from the top of the forehead moving down towards the eyes and the remainder are tangled in the masses of hair framing the face. The most striking of these flows is one in the shape of a reversed three and repays detailed study, so true to life is it. It starts just below the hairline to the left of the midline from a single wound; the flow then moves down to the medial part of the arch above the left eye following a meandering course obliquely and outwards. As the stream descends it broadens and alters course twice, finally building up and spreading out horizontally to the mesial line. Immediately below but separate is a `tear' of blood close to the eyebrow, which is presumably part of the same flow, or possibly from an independent wound. The reason for the meandering course of this vivid mark indicates that it met some obstruction in its downward course, and most likely this was due to the reflex contraction of the muscles of the brow from the pain of the wounds, furrowing the surface.' [Willis, D., unpublished notes, c.1976] As Dr. Willis found, it is quite impossible to talk sensibly about wounds such as these except in the context of a crown, or as it seems most likely to have been, a cap of thorns as described in the mockery of Christ as King of the Jews. Equally, as one reads such a description from a qualified physician, one cannot fail to be caught up by his own conviction of the sheer physiological logic of these wounds. Willis was not alone in this regard. Vignon too was fascinated by the thorn wounds, particularly the one shaped like a numeral three, which he too found entirely faithful to scientific and physiological detail. As he remarked, `No painter, in his most elaborate work, has ever risen to such exactitude.' [Vignon, P., 1902, "The Shroud of Christ," London, p.30]." (Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, pp.23-24)

"The Romans also mocked Jesus for his claims to be the Son of God and the Messiah. The soldiers placed a purple robe on him and put a reed in his hand in order to jeer him, pretending to address him as king. They even bowed down to him, imitating worship. Then, to further scoff at him, they made a crown out of thorns and forcefully placed it on his head (Matthew 27:29; Mark 15:17-20; John 19:2). This is another close parallel between Jesus and the man in the Shroud. Numerous puncture wounds can be observed in the man's scalp. Close examination reveals that these wounds differ from those caused by the scourging and were independently inflicted. [Willis, D. in Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin," Doubleday: New York NY, pp.36-37]" (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.122)

"It is very unusual that a man to be crucified as a criminal would be crowned with thorns beforehand. Romans participated in formal emperor worship. How likely is it that they would routinely crown condemned criminals and slaves with thorns, and pretend to worship them? Crowning indicates majesty and a crown of thorns would, of course, mock that proclaimed majesty. Jesus was crowned with thorns for this very reason - to mock his claims to be the Son of God and the Messiah, thus the `ruler' of the Jews. The man buried in the Shroud was also pierced throughout the scalp. If the man in the Shroud is not Jesus, what are the chances that this man, probably a criminal or slave, would have been crowned with thorns? By any estimate, this is an improbable occurrence. [Ricci, G., "Historical, Medical, and Physical Study of the Holy Shroud," 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.67]. A conservative guess would be 1 in 500. We will choose a figure of 1 in 400." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.126)

"The Crown of Thorns THREE evangelists speak in their Gospels of the Crown of Thorns, but, unfortunately, give no description of it. It is principally in the western world that we think of the crown as a circular band similar to a wreath, but in the Orient, crowns took the shape of a cap or helmet, that is, one that covered the whole top of the head. This theory that the crown was really in the shape of a cap is supported by sindonologists who have studied the Holy Shroud, including the scientists of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, who studied the cloth in 1978. St. Bridget described a similar crown based on one of her revelations in which she maintained that the crown tore the whole head of Jesus. This design of the crown is likewise supported by St. Vincent of Lerins (d. 445), a priest described as `preeminent in eloquence and learning.' The saint wrote, `They placed on His head a crown of thorns. It was in fact, in the shape of a pileus, so that it touched and covered His head in every part.'" (Cruz, J.C., 1984, "Relics: The Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, the Blood of Januarius. ..: History, Mysticism, and the Catholic Church," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.34)

[Above (enlarge): "The crown of thorns of Jesus Christ was bought by Louis IX from Baldwin II. It is preserved today in Notre Dame de Paris."[4].]

"The crown as it is now kept consists only of a circlet devoid of thorns. It is believed that the upper part and all the thorns were distributed as relics. The earliest writers of the Church have written about the crown. St. Paulinus of Nola (354-431) wrote that, `The thorns with which Our Saviour was crowned was held in honor together with the Holy Cross and the pillar of the scourging.' The crown is mentioned as having been found in the Holy Sepulchre. Cassiodorus (c. 570) spoke of the crown being at Jerusalem: `There we may behold the thorny crown, which was set upon the head of the Redeemer.' St. Gregory of Tours (d. 593) asserts that the thorns of the crown still looked green, a freshness he said that was `... miraculously renewed each day.' Antoninus of Piacenza in the 6th century clearly states that the Crown of Thorns was at the time shown in the church on Mount Sion. Moreover the monk Bernard, in the Pilgrimage, states that the relic was still at Mount Sion in 870. It is certain that what was purported to be the Crown of Our Lord was venerated at Jerusalem for several hundred years. The crown was transferred to Constantinople during the reign of French emperors about 1063, but in 1238 Baldwin II, the Latin emperor of Constantinople, anxious to obtain support for his unsteady empire, offered the crown to King Louis of France. It was then actually in the hands of the Venetians as security for a large loan once made by Baldwin. The loan was satisfied by Louis, who claimed the relic. The crown was carried in 1239 by two Dominicans to France. King Louis, with many prelates and his entire court, met it five leagues beyond the Sens. The pious king and his brother, both dressed humbly and barefoot, carried the crown into the city to the Cathedral of St. Stephen. Two years later it was taken to Paris, where it was placed in the Sainte Chapelle which the saint had built for its reception. Every year on August 11 the transfer of the relic from Venice to Paris was celebrated in the Holy Chapel. During the Revolution the crown was kept in the Bibliotheque Nationale, but was eventually restored to the Sainte Chapelle in 1806 through the efforts of Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Belloy of Paris, who was then in his 90s. Napoleon was so pleased with the successful transfer that he obtained the cardinal's hat for the archbishop, which Pope Pius VII placed on the prelate's venerable head in a consistory held in Paris. The crown is now kept in a magnificent reliquary in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and is shown once a year during services in commemoration of Good Friday. Studies have shown that the crown is from the bush botanically known as Zizyphus Spine Christi. This grows to heights of 15 to 20 feet and is found in abundance along the waysides around Jerusalem." (Cruz, 1984, pp.34-35)

"Still in the same group, but far more obvious to the layman, are a series of blood spillages clearly visible around the front and back of the head. Four or five streams of blood seem to start from the top of the forehead moving downward toward the eyes. Other streams appear clotted in the hair. The face image has one particularly striking flow, shaped like a reversed figure 3, that starts just below the hairline, then meanders obliquely downward, seeming to meet some obstruction in its descent. The back of the head features some eight or more downward-flowing rivulets, each expanding and sometimes dividing along the way, and similarly being interrupted by some obstruction. Obvious to anyone is that some irregular spiked object-something very like a crown or cap of thorns-would seem to have been responsible for these wounds. But what has so impressed pathologists is the true-to-life appearance of the injuries. Some even see among the rivulets clear distinctions between arterial and venous blood, each behaving in the manner a modern specialist would expect." (Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.20)

"Finally, the shroud image is nontraditional. For instance, the nail wounds are in the wrists and the crown of thorns appears to be a skullcap." (Habermas, G.R., in Habermas, G.R., Flew, A.G.N. & Miethe, T.L., ed., 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?: The Resurrection Debate," Harper & Row: San Francisco CA, p.119)

"The pitiable looking, inhumanely beaten Jesus, whose body was severely distorted and racked with pain from the terrifying scourging, his vision blurred, barely able to stand, was led into the praetorium by the soldiers, where "they clothed him in a purple cloak and plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on him and they began to salute him, `Hail King of the Jews' and they struck his head with a reed and spat upon him" (Mark 15:17-19). After all, had he not claimed to be King of the Jews? This was all the soldiers needed. They called in all of their cohorts, where they created a hilarious parody or burlesque of his kingship. This ludicrous imitation included a purple cloak, the imperial purple symbolizing royalty or high esteem in which they held him. Kings and victorious leaders wore such vestments following major victories. In addition, they plaited a crown of thorns in the form of a cap and placed it on his head to continue the mock coronation. The burlesque continued by placing a reed in his hand as a scepter. The soldiers filed past Christ, kneeling before him, spitting on him, and striking him with the reed against the crown of thorns, the nose, and the face, as they paid false homage to him (an imitation of Ave Caesar Imperator). His face was bruised and his nose broken. What fun they were having and how they attempted to ridicule him for their own enjoyment! (Zugibe, F.T., 1988, "The Cross and the Shroud: A Medical Enquiry into the Crucifixion," [1982], Paragon House: New York NY, Revised edition, p.19)

"Now that we have a basic knowledge of the characteristics of the plant used to plait the crown of thorns and a brief familiarity with the anatomy of the head region, with some insight into the effects of irritating the nerves that supply pain perception to these areas, let us now examine the probable effects of the crown of thorns during the mock coronation of Christ. Scriptures relate that the soldiers filed past Jesus, taking the reed from him and striking it down on the crown of thorns. It is important to note that the crown was made by interweaving (plaiting) the thorn twigs into the shape of a cap. This placed a large number of thorns in contact with the entire top of the head, including the front, back, and sides. The blows from the reed across Jesus' face or against the thorns would directly irritate the nerves or activate trigger zones along the lip, side of the nose, or face, bringing on severe pains resembling a hot poker or electric shock lancinating across the sides of his face or deep to his ears. The pain would stop almost abruptly, only to recur again with the slightest movement of the jaws or even from a wisp of wind, stopping Jesus `dead' in his tracks. The traumatic shock from the brutal scourging would be further enhanced with each paroxysmal pain across the face bringing him to his knees. Exacerbations and remissions of throbbing bolts of pain would occur all the way to Calvary and during crucifixion, being activated by the movements of walking, falling, and twisting, from pressure of the thorns against the cross stipes, and from the many shoves and blows by the soldiers. Because the head region contains a plethora of blood vessels, the blood would run freely down the face. This is very dramatically depicted in the Turin Shroud, which shows images representing rivulets and seepage points running down the forehead and confirms that the crown of thorns was plaited in the shape of a cap and not a circlet ..." (Zugibe, 1988, pp.27-28)

"Details of the Crucifixion Found in the Gospels Before we leave the Gospel accounts, let us recall some other details of the story. The way in which these details compare with information gleaned from the Shroud itself gives us strong historical evidence for the genuineness of the Shroud. We read that Jesus was crowned with thorns. The Roman soldiers mocked him with the `crown' for pretending, as they thought, to be King of the Jews. Artists always depict this as a wreath, and Matthew and Mark do say that the soldiers `twisted together' a thorny crown. But look at the puncture wounds on the scalp of the Shroud man. They cover his whole head, not as a Roman victory wreath would, only around the forehead, but as a clump of thorns would if pressed into the scalp. Such thorny `tumbleweeds' must have been a familiar sight to Romans and used as kindling for their guard fires. Some arranging or twisting would be necessary, but it does not seem probable, when one thinks about it, that a soldier would take the time and effort, as well as the pain of pricked fingers, to carefully lace together a wreath of thorns, when a `tumbleweed' was so available. And the larger and more grotesque the `crown,' the greater would be their joke, and their laughter. Thus from the Shroud we picture a crown of thorns which is different from those depicted by artists, but apparently more accurate." (Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, pp.71-72. Italics original).

"Let us not forget the real importance of the crown of thorns in judging whether the Turin Shroud shows Jesus' portrait. The Romans mocked Jesus as a `king' with a crown of thorns. There could not have been many other `kings' who were crucified and who would have been similarly mocked. Of the thousands of victims of Roman crucifixion, the man of the Shroud ranks among a very small number who might have left this imprint on a burial cloth. This certainly improves the chances that he really is Jesus." (Scavone, 1989, pp.72-73).

"One of the most unusual similarities between the two men is in the head wounds. Since the Romans were, to some extent, emperor worshipers, it is plain that they crowned Jesus with thorns to mock His claims to be the Messianic ruler or King of the Jews. But would this treatment be given to the average criminal who was to be crucified? Probably not. Yet the man in the Shroud had injuries a crown of thorns would create all over his scalp." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.90)

"After the fall of Constantinople, the traffic in relics was so widespread that the Fourth Lateran Council tried to regulate it. Canon 62 says, `Ancient relics may only be exposed in reliquaries; they must not be put up for sale; as to new ones, no one may expose them for public veneration without the pope's approval.' ... Although this canon is one of several dealing with financial matters, its tone seems more to seek to regulate, rather than to ban, the trade in relics. If it was intended to stop the trade it failed for, shortly after the Council, which was held in November 1215, Baldwin II, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, finding himself in extreme financial difficulties, offered the Crown of Thorns to Louis IX of France in exchange for a large sum of money. Although the transaction was made to look like a loan, Baldwin was, in effect, selling one of the East's holiest relics. Louis wasted no time. He sent two friars to Constantinople to bring the relic back to France, but in the meantime, Baldwin had had a better idea - or so he thought. He offered the Crown of Thorns to his own family and several other royal and imperial families seeking the highest bidder and placing a reserve on it of 13,134 golden solidi. Unfortunately, these families could not or would not raise the cash, so Louis's friars snapped it up for 10,000 solidi and sped off home with it. The Crown of Thorns reached Paris on 19 August 1238. There it remained until October, when it was solemnly transferred to St-Denis to wait until the king had built the magnificent Sainte Chapelle in which to house it permanently. It is quite clear that Louis IX had no intention of returning the relic to Constantinople, and in 1247 Baldwin conceded that it truly belonged to the French king, who handed over a final payment of 21,000 pounds of silver. Neither the papacy nor the French bishops disapproved. On the contrary, the arrival of the Crown of Thorns in France only confirmed God's special favour on Louis IX." (Currer-Briggs, N., 1995, "Shroud Mafia: The Creation of a Relic?," Book Guild: Sussex UK, pp.5-7)

"The image of the back of the man on the Shroud is covered with wounds from the scourging he received before being crucified. The wounds on the man's back are obviously not reproduced on the sudarium, as this had no contact with it. However, there are thick bloodstains on the nape of the man's neck, showing the depth and extent of the wounds produced by the crown of thorns. This crown was probably not a circle, as traditional Christian art represents, but a kind of cap covering the whole head. The thorns were probably of the species ziziphus vulgaris, a long, hard and sharp thorn which would produce deep and painful wounds. The stains on the back of the man's neck on the Shroud correspond exactly to those on the sudarium." (Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, pp.30,32)

"Jesus was Crowned (Capped) with Thorns The governor's soldiers stripped Jesus and crowned Him with thorns: "Then they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and after having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this, on His head" (Mt 27:27-29; also Mk 15:27 and Jn 19:1-2). Bucklin tells us that Jesus forehead and scalp were pierced with many sharp objects with blood visible in the hair on top of Jesus' head, on the sides of His face and on His forehead. Blood is also visible on the hair at the back of His head. The bloodflow on the back of the neck shows seven of twelve trickles directed to the left, three to the right and two perpendicular. The hair on the left is, soaked with blood. This is consistent with the manner in which Jesus' head was tilted on the cross. Such wounds are consistent with a capping of thorns. Capping with thorns was a unique event in crucifixion history and no other victim, to our knowledge, was ever recorded as having been capped with thorns. Herein is one part of the `signature' of Jesus' Crucifixion. Artists, medieval and otherwise, have traditionally depicted a circlet or crown of thorns, and not a cap, but the evidence on the Shroud indicates it was a cap pressed on the top of Jesus' head." (Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.54. Emphasis original)

"There are images of plants and flowers on the Shroud that were placed with the body for quite another reason, and which bear witness to the identity of the Man of the Shroud. These are the plants that were used in the mocking prior to the Crucifixion, the ones that make up the crown of thorns. They would have been bloody and in touch with the body at the time of death. On the anatomic right shoulder image there is the image of one end of a structure that goes up, around, down, and back again. Making up this structure are at least six stems with thorn and flower clusters of a very thorny plant called Gundelia tournefortii. This plant has a very limited geographic distribution, but is found in Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area. There is also a round flower and thorn cluster of another thorn species in the center of the structure, and there may be the image of yet a third kind of thorn. Alan duplicated the drawings of the thorns in Flora Palaestina, taped them together to form the structure whose images we see on the Shroud, then glued the resulting structure to a sheet of clear rigid plastic. We then placed this model of the crown of thorns on a lifesize photograph of the Shroud which shows the front, top, and back of the head to see how well the size of the crown and the position of the thorns would match the blood stains on the Shroud. The match is quite good. History records only one person who wore a crown of thorns-Jesus of Nazareth." (Whanger, M. & Whanger, A.D., 1998, "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House Publishers: Franklin TN, pp.84-85)

"There are also four or five other trickles above the eyes, one of these seeming to derive from a puncturing of the artery to the right temple (hence apparent arterial blood in this instance), while others seem to run down the hair. If we had any doubts how to interpret these, reference to the back-of the-head area on the dorsal image quickly provides the answer, for here can be made out at least eight more streams of apparent blood, not counting those which have divided on themselves. Some veer to the left, others to the right, as if from a head that has tilted from one side to the other. All the flows cease along a line convex to the back of the head. The only reasonable interpretation is that these flows came from injuries that were caused by something spiked that was worn on the head, their path checked by the band which kept this in place. And in looking for what that 'something' could have been it is virtually impossible not to envisage an object very like a crown of thorns. When we look to artists' depictions of Jesus's crowning with thorns, whether from the Middle Ages or from any other time, it is absolutely impossible to find any example with bloodflows even remotely as convincing as those that we see on the Shroud. ... Equally unconvincing are the 'bloodflows' added to the modern-day replication of the Shroud' produced by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince of 'Leonardo da Vinci faked it' theory." (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.33-34)

"In this respect a prime researcher on the `blood' image- making process has been the American physician Dr Gilbert Lavoie, a former consultant to the World Health Organisation. After repeated experiments Lavoie, in partnership with his wife Bonnie, was able to demonstrate that transfer images of blood clots onto cloth very similar to those visible on the Shroud could be successfully made, providing that the contact between the cloth and a moist clot took place no more than two and a half hours after cessation of the bleeding. Lavoie and his wife also found this transfer process to be quite separate from whatever was responsible for the body image imprinting. To demonstrate this the Lavoies created a John Jackson-type replica of the facial portion of the Shroud, cut out all the `crown of thorns' bloodflows from it, then draped it over the face of a bearded volunteer model, carefully positioning it so that the facial features matched it point for point. Then, in the exact manner of a stencil, they applied red paint wherever the replica had `bloodflow' holes. To their astonishment, when they removed the cloth, instead of some of the bloodflows being in the volunteer's hair, as it seemed they ought to be from the Shroud image, they were actually on his forehead, temples and cheeks. The strong implication was that the Shroud body and `blood' images were created by two quite separate processes, the former having transferred by normal contact, the latter by something quite different, the two not necessarily being in perfect register." (Wilson, 1998, p.39)

"The Shroud victim was forced to wear a cap of thorns. In Matthew we are told that the soldiers platted a crown of thorns (see Mt 27:29). John likewise tells us, `And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head...' (Jn 19:2). Scripture does not tell us how the crown was shaped. The crowns worn by some kings and princes were wreath-like circlets, while others were like caps or turbans - the shape of the gruesome headgear inflicted on the man of the Shroud." (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, pp.42-43).

"Plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head (Matthew 27:29; see also Mark 15:17-20 and John 19:2). Jesus was mocked as King of the Jews, and part of this mocking consisted of placing a crown of thorns upon his head. Such a crowning has not been found among any of the recorded tortures of the condemned prior to crucifixion, except in the case of Jesus. The man in the Shroud has numerous puncture wounds all over his scalp, and evidence strongly suggests he wore a full crown, of the type used in the East in ancient times." (Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, pp.119-120)

"... all around the Shroud man's forehead and again around the back of his head, we noted a series of reddish-coloured, irregularly spaced trickles, as if something spiked had caused his scalp to bleed in several places. Even for a layman, these fairly obviously suggest the 'crown of thorns' that all four gospels describe as having been thrust on Jesus' head to humiliate him - although the Shroud indicates that this was very much more like a crude, tangled clump of some barbed plant, than the neat circlet imagined by most artists. However, it is again the medical specialist. who notes not only the medically convincing character of each blood trickle - with even venous and arterial flows being distinguishable from each other relative to the location - but also what would have been the accompanying trauma. As Dr Zugibe remarked, the densely distributed blood vessels to be found all around the human head are intertwined with an equally complex distribution of nerves, as a result of which the pain would have been of the kind when nerves are touched by a dentist's drill." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.57-58)

"Jesus was crowned with thorns (Matt. 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2). The head of the man on the Shroud is covered with numerous puncture holes with blood trickling downward, which suggest a cap of thorns. This covered the entire head and was not just a circlet as is often depicted on a crucifix. According to Dr. Jackson, `these puncture-type wounds are consistent with thorns from a Jerusalem plant with vicious one to three-inch spikes.' [Scott, C., 1994, "The Shroud of Turin: Who Is This Man?" in "Holy Shroud Research Continues in Colorado," Sindone Press: Colorado Springs CO, p.16]" (Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.38. Italics original)

"The soldiers' 'fun' began right after the brutal scourging, just before bringing Jesus back before Pilate. Mark relates, `And they clothed him in a purple cloak and plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on him and they began to salute him, 'Hail King of the Jews' and they struck his head with a reed and spat upon him' (Mark 15:17-19). After all, had He not claimed to be King of the Jews? This was all the soldiers needed. They called in all of their cohorts and created a hilarious parody or burlesque of Jesus' kingship. The purple cloak was the vestment worn by kings and victorious leaders following major victories. It, along with the plaited crown of thorns, contributed to the mockery of Jesus' position. A mock scepter made from reeds was placed in His hand. The soldiers filed past Christ, kneeling before Him, spitting on Him, and taking away the reed and striking His crown of thorns, nose, and face with it, as they paid false homage to Him. His face was bruised and His nose injured." (Zugibe, F.T., 2005, "The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry," M. Evans & Co.: New York NY, pp.27-28)

"Shroud data show that the crown of thorns worn by the Man of the Shroud was a cap, not a wreath or circlet. In Greece and Western Europe the latter seems favored, but in the Orient, when crowning kings, they always used a caplike crown, sometimes called a miter, that enclosed the entire skull." (Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, pp.96,99).

"The next group of injuries visible on the Shroud comprises the blood flows all around the head, back and front, as if something irregular and spiked had caused the scalp to bleed in many places. It is almost impossible to talk about these blood flows except in the context of a crown or cap of thorns of the kind reported during Jesus's maltreatment in the Roman Praetorium: 'They dressed him up in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on him. And they began saluting him, `Hail, king of the Jews!' [Mark 15:17-18] Worthy of emphasis here is that crowning or capping with thorns was never a normal part of Roman punishment procedure. Nor was it in any other culture throughout human history. On the occasion of which the Christian gospels write it seems to have arisen from some unknown Roman soldier's whim, perhaps after sighting some thorn-branches gathered for firewood, which prompted him on the spur of the moment to add to his prisoner's pain and humiliation. And because Jesus is the only individual in known human history ever to have received such a punishment, to see this very injury on the Shroud - and to see it so graphically - renders highly unlikely the idea that the cloth might have belonged to some other unknown victim of crucifixion. The Shroud has either been deliberately faked as the shroud of Jesus or it is the genuine article. There is no viable option in between." (Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.44).

"The bloodstains on the head, then, are traces of a crown of thorns, removed from the head of a man who was crucified in the Roman manner and buried according to the custom of the Jews. Historically, we know of only one Roman Jew who was crucified wearing a crown of thorns: Jesus. The implication is that the Shroud is the very cloth in which Jesus was wrapped for burial." (de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.132).


1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to extract or quote from any quote, one at a time (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. Danin, A., 2010, "Botany of the Shroud: The Story of Floral Images on the Shroud of Turin," Danin Publishing: Jerusalem, Israel, p.59. [return]
3. "Flora of Israel Online by Prof. Avinoam Danin," 2003-2015[return]
4. "Crown of thorns," Wikipedia, 17 October 2015. [return]

Posted: 19 October 2015. Updated: 11 June 2021.