Copyright © Stephen E. Jones
This is part #41, "The Shroudman and Jesus were wrapped in a linen shroud," of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!." For more information about this series, see the "Main index #1" and "Other marks and images #26." Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.
- The Bible and the Shroud #33
- The Shroudman and Jesus were wrapped in a linen shroud #41
Jesus was wrapped in a linen shroud (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53)[SH81, 80; BM95, 18, 48; GV01, 31, 37; TF06, 64]. In Mt 27:59 & Lk 23:53 the Greek word translated "wrapped" is enetylixen, which means "to wrap" or "to fold"[GV01, 37], to "wrap around"[ZS92, 595-596]. In Mk 15:46 it is eneilesen, meaning "wrapped" or "confined"[GV01, 37], to "wrap up in"[ZS92, 588].
The man on the Shroud is Jesus
• If the Shroud is not a forgery, then the man on the Shroud is Jesus Shroud sceptics admit this:
Herbert Thurston (1856-1939):
"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 in spite of the darkening of the whole fabric. If this is not the impression of the Body of Christ, it was designed as the counterfeit of that impression. In no other personage since the world began could these details be verified"[TH03, 19; WE54, 40].Joe Nickell (1944-) and Steven Schafersman (1948-):
"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[NJ87, 141]. Asks Steven Schafersman: `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No, and here's why. Both Wilson[WI79, 51-53] and Stevenson and Habermas[SH81, 121-129] 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[Ibid, 128] 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). I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus'"[SS82, 42].• Probability of the man on the Shroud not being Jesus. This is the probability of all the major independent features of the Shroud occurring together, which is found by multiplying their individual probabilities[ZT84, 31]. For example, the probability of a head or tail in a toss of a coin is 1/2 each. The probability of tossing a coin and getting 3 heads in a row is 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 = 1/8. My estimates of probability below are conservative. The reader can substitute his/her own.
Shroud Most crucifixion victims were criminals (like the two robbers crucified alongside Jesus[Mt 27:38; Mk 15:27]), who were not individually buried in a shroud. They were either left on their crosses to rot and/or to be eaten by animals, or they were thrown into common graves. The crucified man on the Shroud had an individual burial in a linen shroud[SH81, 127; ZT84, 31]. Probability 1/100.
Expensive The Shroud's three-to-one herringbone twill weave would have been rare and expensive[IJ98, 13; WI10, 74; DT12, 98]. Normal first century Jewish practice was a simple shroud, even for a member of the priestly aristocracy[TS10] But Jesus was buried by his disciples as their King[Jn 19:39-40]. Probability 1/100.
Survived Only one fragment of a first century Jewish woollen burial shroud has survived[SO15], out of the many thousands of shrouds. A shroud would have decomposed with its body. Also first century Jews practiced secondary burial where after the body had decomposed its bones were placed in an ossuary. Jesus was resurrected so his body did not decompose[Ps 16:10; Acts 2:27, 31; 13:34, 35-37]. Jesus' shroud was recovered and kept by his disciples (see Prehistory). Probability 1/1,000.
Beaten severely Jesus and the man on the Shroud were beaten[SH81, 126]. This was not part of Roman crucifixion. The Gospels record that Jesus received three beatings [Jn 18:22; Mt 26:67-68; Mk 14:65; Lk 22:63-64; Mt 27:30; Mk 15:19; Jn 19:2-3]. Probability 1/100.
Scourged severely Jesus and the man on Shroud were severely scourged[Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15]. The Roman governor Pontius Pilate (r. 26-37), before whom Jesus was on trial, intended Jesus' scourging as an alternative to crucifixion[Lk 23:20-25; Jn 18:38-40; 19:2-6]. Having been severely scourged with over 100 scourge wounds (see Bible), Jesus was too weakened to carry His crossbeam[Mt 27:31-32; Mk 15:20-21; Lk 23:26], and Pilate was surprised that Jesus had died so soon on his cross[Mk 15:43-45]. Probability 1/100.
Crowned with thorns Jesus was crowned with thorns to mock his claim to be the King of the Jews[Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17-18; Jn 19:2-3]. History does not record anyone else being crowned with thorns, and there would be no reason for there having been anyone else. Probability 1/1,000.
Crucified with nails Jesus and the man on Shroud were crucified by nails[Jn 20:25; Col 2:14]. The alternative was rope and nails were expensive. Probability 1/2 = 5/10.
Legs not broken Jesus'[Jn 19:33] and the man on Shroud's legs were not broken. This, the crurifragium, was a normal part of Roman crucifixion, to break the lower legs of those hanging on a cross to bring about their immediate death by asphyxiation (see Man on the Shroud). The two thieves crucified alongside Jesus had their legs broken[Jn 19:31-32] and so did Jehohanan, the only Jewish Roman crucifixion victim known to archaeology. Probability 1/100.
Speared in the side. Jesus[Jn 19:33-34] , and the man on the Shroud were speared in the side. However, it may be that if a crucifixion victim's legs were not broken, he/she was always speared in the side. Probability 1/1.
1/100 x 1/100 x 1/1,000 x 1/100 x 1/100 x 1/1,000 x 5/10 x 1/100 x 1/1
= 1/(100 x 100 x 1,000 x 100 x 100 x 1,000 x 5/10 x 100 x 1)
= 5/(100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000)
= 1/(20, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000)
That is, the probability that the man on the Shroud is not Jesus, based only on these 9 major features of the Shroud, estimated by me conservatively, is 1 in 20 thousand, million, million, or 1 in 20 trillion!
This far exceeds the current world population of 8 billion plus[WP22], let alone the estimated first century world population of "between 150 and 330 million"[EFW]. So unless the man's image on the Shroud is a forgery (and there is a chapter 19, "Problems of the Forgery Theory" in my book), the man on the Shroud is Jesus!
1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. This is from chapter 20, "Is he Jesus?," of my book, "Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus!" (see 06Jul17, 03Jun18 & 04Apr22). I am not fully referencing my book at this stage, so I don't yet have references for all of these points. [return]
AM00. Antonacci, M., 2000, "The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY.
BM95. Borkan, M., 1995, "Ecce Homo?: Science and the Authenticity of the Turin Shroud," Vertices, Duke University, Vol. X, No. 2, Winter, 18-51.
GV01. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL.
DA99. Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO.
DT12. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, pp.108-109.
EFW. "Estimates of historical world population," Wikipedia, 25 May 2023.
HR14. "High Resolution Imagery: Image of Full 2002 Restored Shroud," Shroud University, Peachtree City GA, 2014.
IJ98. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY.
NJ87. Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY, Revised, Reprinted, 2000.
SH81. 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.
SH90. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN.
SO15. Shamir, O., 2015, "A burial textile from the first century CE in Jerusalem compared to Roman textiles in the land of Israel and the Turin Shroud," SHS Web of Conferences, Vol. 15, No. 10.
SS82. Schafersman, S.D., 1982, "Science, the public, and the Shroud of Turin," The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring, 37-56.
TF06. Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition.
TS10. "Tomb of the Shroud: Latest News," Current World Archaeology," No. 39, January 6, 2010.
TH03. Thurston, H., 1903, "The Holy Shroud and the Verdict of History," The Month, CI, January, 17-29.
WE54. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," , Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
WI10. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.74-75.
WP22. "World population hits eight billion," Al Jazeera, 15 Nov 2022.
WS00. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B.M., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London.
ZT84. Zeuli, T., 1984, "Jesus Christ is the Man of the Shroud," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 10, March, 29-33.
ZS92. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994.
Posted 29 May 2023. Updated 15 July 2023.