Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The Shroudman and Jesus were buried in a rock tomb #42: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #42, "The Shroudman and Jesus were buried in a rock tomb," 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.

[Main index #1] [Previous: The Shroudman and Jesus were wrapped in a linen shroud #41] [Next: The Shroudman and Jesus were resurrected! #43]

  1. The Bible and the Shroud #33
    1. The Shroudman and Jesus were buried in a rock tomb #42
The Shroudman was buried in a rock tomb As per my post of 22Mar13:

Dirt on foot In 1978 STURP members, husband and wife, Roger (1933-2021) and Marion (Marty) Gilbert (1933-2023), while carrying out reflectance spectroscopy on the Shroud, discovered an unusual spectral signal from the heel of the right foot on the dorsal side and

[Above (enlarge): bloodstains and image of the right foot, on the dorsal side of the Shroud[LM10]. The heel is lower left.]

nowhere else on the Shroud[WS00, 93]. As we saw in "2.5. The bloodstains" there is a clear imprint of the right foot only and that only on the dorsal side of the Shroud[WI79, 42]. When the area was examined under a microscope, dirt particles could be seen deep between the threads[HJ83, 112-113]. It is logical to find dirt on the foot of a man who wore sandals, as Jesus did (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:7; Jn 1:27), and who would have been barefoot before he was crucified (Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:34; Jn 19:23)[HJ83, 113]. That the dirt is not a later contamination is shown by it being under the bloodstains on the foot[WI10, 67]. But the dirt is not easily seen with the naked eye[WI10, 66], so no forger would have put it there[HJ83, 113].

Limestone In October 1978 STURP, as part of its five day intensive scientific investigation of the Shroud, took thirty-two samples[WI98, 4] of surface material on the Shroud by pressing a specially formulated sticky-tape onto body image, bloodstain, waterstain and non-image areas of the cloth[WM86, 59]. Los Alamos chemist Ray Rogers (1927–2005), was responsible for this task and so he took the sticky tape samples back with him to the USA[WM86, 59-61]. In 1982 Rogers gave some of the sticky-tape samples to optical crystallographer Joseph Kohlbeck (1927-2022), for him to make photomicrographs of them[WM86, 104]. Kohlbeck became interested in some crystals of calcium carbonate (limestone) he found on some of the tapes[WM86, 104]. Under his microscope he found from their crystalline structure that they were of the comparatively rare travertine (deposited from springs) aragonite variety of calcium carbonate rather than the more common calcite[WI98, 105]. Kohlbeck knew that travertine aragonite limestone was typically found in limestone caves in Palestine[RC99, 103]. The question then occurred to him whether their chemical signature might match the limestone of the tomb in which Jesus was laid in Jerusalem[WI98, 104]. Kohlbeck realised that it might be difficult obtaining samples from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem but he reasoned that limestone from other tombs around Jerusalem should have the same characteristics[WI98, 104-105].

An archaeologist, Eugenia Nitowski (1949-2007), who had made a study of ancient Jewish tombs in Israel, was able to obtain for Kohlbeck limestone samples from a number of tombs in and around Jerusalem[WI98, 105]. Kohlbeck found that that the calcium carbonate in the Jerusalem samples was indeed of the same rare travertine aragonite variety as the samples taken from the Shroud[WI98, 105]!

To confirm whether or not the Jerusalem tombs limestone did have the same chemical signature as the Shroud samples, Kohlbeck asked Prof. Ricardo Levi-Setti (1927–2018) at the University of Chicago to compare them using the University's high-resolution scanning ion

[Above: Prof. Ricardo Levi-Setti's scanning ion microprobe comparisons of Jerusalem limestone and limestone on Shroud[KN86, 23-24].]

microprobe[WI98, 105]. The Shroud sample tested was from the same foot area of the Shroud where Roger and Marty Gilbert had found the abovementioned dirt because it had a larger concentration of calcium carbonate than other areas[WI98, 105]. From their spectral patterns it was clear that the Shroud and Jerusalem tomb limestone samples a were very close match[WI98, 106]. Both the Shroud and the Jerusalem samples contained small amounts of iron and strontium, but no lead[WI98, 105]. They would have been an even closer match but for a slight organic variation due to particles of flax which could not be separated from the Shroud's calcium[WI98, 106].

This is further evidence (if not proof beyond reasonable doubt) that the aragonite limestone dust on the foot of the Shroud man came from a Jerusalem limestone tomb[WI98, 105]. The onus is on the Shroud sceptics to explain how limestone which specifically (if not uniquely) matches that found in and around Jerusalem came to be on the Shroud[DT12, 115]. It is a major problem for the forgery theory to explain how the barely visible dirt on the heel of the Shroud man, `just happens' to contain the same rare travertine aragonite limestone found in and around Jerusalem. A medieval would not know that Jerusalem limestone was travertine aragonite and he would not have included such details as they could barely be seen by him or his contemporaries[GM98, 79].

Jesus was buried in a rock tomb
Jesus was laid in a new tomb that had been cut out of the rock The body of Jesus had been taken down from the cross by his disciples Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (Jn 19:39) and laid in a new tomb that had been cut out of the rock (Mt 27:59-60; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:52-53). It was nearby (Jn 19:42) to Golgotha the place of Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 27:33-35; Mk 15:22-24; Jn 19:17-18)[RJ77, 24; WI10, 5].

Jesus' tomb still exists today! As per my post of 08May18, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built over the site of Jesus' Tomb (and also over the site of His crucifixion-see below). The Gospels state

[Above (enlarge)[CS17]: Cross-section showing that the Church of The Holy Sepulchre was built over both the Tomb of Jesus and the site of His crucifixion (L. Calvary, Gk. Golgotha - Mt 27:33; Mk 15:22; Jn 19:17): "Today's Church of the Holy Sepulcher sets over two sites: Calvary and the tomb of Jesus. Both these sites were in the same garden outside the walls of Jerusalem in 30 AD, and now they are under one roof. John wrote that they were close to each other: `At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.' - John 19:41-42 [NIV]"[CJ14].]

that both Christians (Mt 27:60-61; 28:1-8; Mk 15:46-16:8; Lk 23:50-24:12; Jn 19:38-20:18) and Jews (Mt 27:62-66; 28:11-15) in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' death and resurrection knew where His tomb was. The early church historian Eusebius (c.260-340) recorded that there were Christians living in Jerusalem up to immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70, when the Christians, warned in prophecy, left Jerusalem to live in Pella across the Jordan River:

"The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella"[EEH, 86].
That Christians had returned to live in and/or around Jerusalem soon after AD 70 is evident from there having been 14 Jewish Christian Bishops of Jerusalem from 107 up to the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-136[JBW]. Then from 135 to 325 there were 24 Gentile Christian Bishops of Jerusalem[GBW]. So from 30-325 there never was a time when Jerusalem Christians could have forgotten where Jesus' tomb had been!

About ten years after Jesus' death, King Herod Agrippa I (r. 41-44), the "Herod the King" of Acts 12:1-23, began the construction of Jerusalem's Third Wall[WJW], which enclosed within the city the Tomb and Golgotha, which at the time of Jesus' death were outside Jerusalem's then wall (Heb 13:12; Mk 15:20; Jn 19:17)[BM99, 1]. In 130 the Roman Emperor Hadrian (r. 117–138) visited the ruins of Jerusalem and decided to rebuild it as a city dedicated to the god Jupiter and renamed Aelia Capitolina[TJW]. Then in 136, following the crushing of the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-136, Hadrian formally reestablished Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina and forbade the presence of both Jews and Christian in the new Roman city[TJW]. From 136–140 Hadrian built a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount and also a temple to Venus on the site of Golgotha/Calvary[TJW]. The Tomb was buried under the rubble of the ruins of Jerusalem used to level the site, but the location of nearby Golgotha was marked by the temple to Venus[BM99, 1]! After Hadrian's death in 138 his successor, Emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161), relaxed the restrictions on Christians' presence in the city[TJW].

In 325 Macarius, the Bishop of Jerusalem (r. 312-335), at the Council of Nicaea, petitioned Emperor Constantine I (r. 306-337) to demolish Hadrian's temple to Venus and uncover the tomb of Christ[CJ14]. So Macarius knew, presumably from accurate but now-lost traditional sources, where the Tomb was underneath the rubble[PP85, 925-926]. Constantine granted Macarius' petition and in 326 Constantine's mother, Empress Helena (c. 246-c. 330), travelled to Jerusalem and having been told by Macarius the exact location of Golgotha/Calvary and Christ's tomb[CJ14], ordered the demolition of Hadrian's Venus temple and their excavation[HEW]. That by 326 these sites were inside Jerusalem's wall but Scripture states that Jesus was crucified and buried outside the city's walls [see above] adds credibility to Macarius' correct identification of these sites[CJ14]. Then in 326 Constantine ordered the construction of two churches, connected by a great basilica (the Martyrium) an enclosed colonnaded atrium (the Triportico) with the site of Golgotha in one corner, and a rotunda which contained the Aedicula (Edicule), which in turn enclosed the rock-cut Tomb that Helena and Macarius had identified as the burial site of Jesus (see above)[HCW]. Construction of the Church of Holy Sepulchre was completed in 335[CCW].

In 614 the Church was damaged by fire when the Persian king Khosrow II (r. 590-628) invaded Jerusalem [see "614"][CDW]. In 630, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (r. 610-641) restored Jerusalem and rebuilt the Church[CDW]. But then in 1009 the Muslim caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (996–1021) ordered the complete destruction of the Church[CDW]:

"... the 'basilica of the Lord's Sepulchre [was] destroyed down to the ground'. ... everything was razed 'except those parts which were impossible to destroy or would have been too difficult to carry away' ... The Church's foundations were hacked down to bedrock. The Edicule and the east and west walls and the roof of the cut-rock tomb it encased were destroyed or damaged ... the north and south walls were likely protected by rubble from further damage. The `mighty pillars resisted destruction up to the height of the gallery pavement, and are now effectively the only remnant of the fourth-century buildings'"[CDW].
In 1048 partial reconstruction of the ruined Church by order of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (r. 1042-1055) was completed[CRW]. But despite spending vast sums on the project, construction was concentrated on the rotunda and its surrounding buildings, leaving the great basilica in ruins[CRW]. The rebuilt Church consisted of a court open to the sky, with five small chapels attached to it[CRW]. In 1099 Jerusalem was recaptured by soldiers of the First Crusade [see "1095"][CPW]. The crusaders unified the chapels on the site by placing them all under one roof, completing their reconstruction

[Above (enlarge): The Church of the Holy Sepulchre today. The large dome on the left is over the Tomb, the smaller middle dome is over the church itself (the Katholikon) and the small dome below and to the right of the latter (not the one in the courtyard) is over the site of Golgotha/Calvary[BM99, 3], i.e. the Rock of Calvary-see "8" on this plan.]

during the reign of crusader Queen of Jerusalem, Melisende (r. 1131–1153) in 1149[BM99, 3] [see "c.1149"].

In 1555 Franciscan friars rebuilt the Edicule and extended it to create the ante-chamber[CLW]. A protective marble sheath was also then installed over the Tomb[CLW]. A fire in 1808 caused the dome of the rotunda to collapse and smash the Edicule's exterior, but these were rebuilt in 1809–1810 by a Greek architect Nikolaos Komnenos[CLW].

[Above (enlarge): The rotunda (which contains the Edicule, which in turn contains the Tomb of Jesus-see future below) and its ante-chamber extension, from the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre[RK17].]

The current dome of the rotunda dates from 1870 and was restored during 1994–1997, as part of extensive modern renovations to the Church[CLW]. During the 1970–1978 restoration works and excavations inside the building, and under the nearby Muristan, it was found that the area was originally a quarry, from which white meleke limestone was mined[CLW].

In 2016, restoration works were performed in the Edicule, including temporarily removing the 1555 marble cladding (see above) which

[Above (enlarge): A restorer removes debris beneath a broken marble slab to expose the original limestone rock surface of the burial bed of Jesus[RK17]! The Shroud has limestone dust adhering to it, particularly its underside, which matches the limestone of Jerusalem cave tombs [see 22Mar13]!]

protected the burial bed of Jesus[RK17]. The original limestone burial bed of Jesus was revealed intact, meaning that the Tomb location had not changed and confirming the existence of the original limestone cave walls within the Edicule[RK17]! The Tomb was then resealed shortly after[RK17].

In conclusion I want to reflect on what an amazing `coincidence' it was

[Above (enlarge)[Video "Church of Holy Sepulchre Explained" in CJ14]: Sketch of the excavated site of the Tomb and Golgotha in 325, showing that the distance between the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial was very close (43 metres or 141 feet[WG23]).

that Joseph of Arimathea `just happened' to have a new, unused tomb that was "nearby" to Golgotha, the site of Jesus crucifixion. Because: 1) The sabbath was about to begin[Lk 23:54], 2) If there had been no ready-to-use grave which `just happened[' to be "nearby" to the site of Jesus' crucifixion[Jn 19:41-42], Jesus could not have been buried on that first Easter Friday, which would have meant that He could not have been resurrected on that first Easter Sunday! Yet 3) Joseph did not plan for his tomb to be used to bury Jesus. Rather he bought the site for his own burial and had it cut out of the rock[Mt 27:60; Mk 15:46], which had to have been well before Jesus' burial. So it was no coincidence. God had worked through (Concursus Dei) Joseph's choosing and acquiring that site for his tomb[Php 2:12-13] without Joseph then realising it! And further proof that Jesus was and is the man on the Shroud! Because a mere man could not have had arranged years before his tomb to be less than 50 metres from the place he would be crucified as the sacrifice for the sins of the world[Php 2:12-13]!

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]

BM99. Biddle, M., 1999, "The Tomb of Christ," Sutton Publishing: Stroud UK.
CCW. "Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Construction (4th century)," Wikipedia, 25 August 2023.
CPW. "Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Crusader period (1099–1244)," Wikipedia, 25 August 2023.
CDW. "Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Damage and destruction (614–1009)," Wikipedia, 25 August 2023.
CJ14. "The Church of the Holy Sepulcher," Jerusalem 101, 2 December 2014.
CLW. "History of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Later periods," Wikipedia, 25 August 2023; "Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Ottoman and later periods," Wikipedia, 25 August 2023.
CS17. "Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Jerusalem, Israel," Steemit, 2017.
DT12. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London.
EEH. Eusebius, "Ecclesiastical History," Book III:V, Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1966.
GBW. "Early bishops of Jerusalem: Gentile Bishops of Jerusalem," Wikipedia, 27 June 2023.
GM98. Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK.
HCW. "History of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Construction," Wikipedia, 25 August 2023
HEW. "Helena (empress): The `True Cross' and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre," Wikipedia, 22 August 2023
HJ83. Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA.
JBW. "Early bishops of Jerusalem: Jewish Bishops of Jerusalem," Wikipedia, 27 June 2023.
KN86. Kohlbeck, J. & Nitowski, E., 1986, "New evidence may explain image on Shroud of Turin," Biblical Archeological Review (BAR), Vol 12, No. 4.
LM10. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical,"
PP85. Perkins, P., "Sepulchre, Church of the Holy," in Achtemeier, P.J., et al., eds, 1985, "Harper's Bible Dictionary," Harper & Row: San Francisco CA.
RC99. 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.
RJ77. Robinson, J.A.T., 1977, " The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," 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, 23-30.
RK17. Romey, K., 2017, "Exclusive: Age of Jesus Christ's Purported Tomb Revealed," National Geographic, November 28.
TJW. "Timeline of Jerusalem: Late Roman period (Aelia Capitolina)," Wikipedia, 8 July 2023.
WG23. Galyn Wiemers, Email 5 September 2023 to S.E. Jones, "One more ... Re: What is the distance between Golgotha and the Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?"
WI10. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
WI98. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY.
WJW. "Walls of Jerusalem: Jewish postexilic city," Wikipedia, 14 August 2023.
WM86. Wilson, I. & Miller, V., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London.
WS00. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London.

Posted 23 August 2023. Updated 22 March 2024.