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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my personal virtual library, where i collect information, which leads in my view to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation of the origin of the physical Universe, life, biodiversity

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The Shroud of Turin: Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection

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76The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Overview, and Panel 1 and 2 Sun Dec 03, 2023 4:24 pm




21 Infographic Panels PDFs for Shroud of Turin Expositions. Download link:

Panel 1 Intro and history
Panel 2 History of the Shroud
Panel 3 6th. to 14th. century of the Shroud
Panel 4 Secondo Pia's 1898 discovery
Panel 5 3d information on the Shroud
Panel 6 STURP and Radiocarbon dating
Panel 7 The Shroud, a forgery? 
Panel 8 How was the image made?
Panel 14 THE DEATH
Panel 17  The Linen
Panel 18 The Blood
Panel 19: Pollen, Limestone, and micro traces

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Pre-1355 history of the Shroud:  Evolution of Christ Iconography

The Bible offers no detailed description of Christ's physical features; instead, tradition credits Saint Luke or Nicodemus with crafting the first depictions of Jesus.

In early Christian art, symbolism was predominantly employed, utilizing motifs like the lamb, the loaf, and particularly the fish. The Greek acronym for 'Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior' spelled out 'fish,' and depictions of the 'eucharistic fish' are notable in the San Callisto catacombs in Rome, dating back to the late 2nd century.

The initial visual portrayals of Christ in ancient mosaics and sculptures were influenced by deities from various non-Christian beliefs, a reflection of the era's gradual shift from paganism to Christianity. One of the earliest known images, Christ Helios, located in the Vatican's Tomb of the Julii from the early 3rd century, depicts Jesus as the unconquered sun, sol invictus, ascending to the heavens in a chariot pulled by two horses.

With time, the depiction evolved to include the human form of Christ as the 'good shepherd,' 'healer,' and 'teacher and guide,' reminiscent of the classical archetype akin to Apollo. Such an image is exemplified by the portrayal of Christ healing the bleeding woman, found in the catacombs of Saints Peter and Marcellinus in Rome from the late 3rd century. The portrayal of a beardless Christ was likely a deliberate choice to emphasize his divine essence, aligning with the proclamations of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD about the divine nature of Jesus, the Son of the eternal God.

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The Image of Edessa, also known as the Mandylion, is intertwined with the tale of how Christianity came to Edessa. The legend of the Mandylion claims that  Taddai brought the Shroud soon after 33AD to Edessa.   This story is told in the document known as "The Teaching of Addai," a text that dates back to the late 4th or early 5th century. According to tradition, King Abgar V of Edessa, suffering from an illness, heard of Jesus Christ's miraculous healings and sent a correspondence to him, requesting both healing and that Jesus seek refuge in his city. In the account recorded in "The Teaching of Addai," rather than Jesus Himself visiting Edessa, He sends one of His disciples, Thaddeus (also referred to as Addai), in His stead after the Ascension. Thaddeus arrives in Edessa, heals King Abgar, and facilitates the conversion of the king and his subjects to Christianity.

The Image of Edessa

For more on the image of Edessa, see here

The Image of Edessa, also known as the Mandylion, is an integral part of Christian history and iconography, with its roots deeply embedded in the legend of how Christianity came to the ancient city of Edessa. This tale is chronicled in the document "The Teaching of Addai," dating back to the late 4th or early 5th century. The story begins with King Abgar V of Edessa, who suffered from a severe illness. Upon hearing of Jesus Christ's miraculous healings, Abgar sent a correspondence to Jesus, inviting Him to Edessa for healing and refuge. According to "The Teaching of Addai," Jesus, unable to visit Edessa himself, sent his disciple Thaddeus (also known as Addai) after His Ascension. Thaddeus arrived in Edessa, healed King Abgar, and led the conversion of the king and his subjects to Christianity.

The Mandylion, meaning "towel" or "handkerchief" in Greek, is central to this narrative. It is believed to bear a miraculous image of Jesus' face. There are different accounts of its origin; some suggest Jesus intentionally imprinted His face on the cloth, while others claim the image appeared when He wiped His face with it. This revered cloth, sent to King Abgar, validated his faith and veneration. An interesting twist in the story involves Hanan, the king's messenger, who in some accounts is tasked with painting Jesus' likeness. However, he returns with the Mandylion, bearing the divine imprint of Christ's visage, instead of a crafted image. This event marks the beginning of the veneration of the Image of Edessa, considered one of the earliest icons in Christian history.

The Image of Edessa also played a significant role during the Iconoclastic Controversy in the Byzantine Empire. It served as an exemplar for the defense of icon veneration, notably by figures such as St. John Damascene. The argument was that if the Mandylion, an image "not made by human hands," was worthy of honor, then so were other icons. The legend further unfolds during the siege of Edessa by Persian forces in 544. The city's bishop, following a prophetic dream, unearthed the Image, which was hidden in a wall niche. When brought to the siege lines, the Image caused a miraculous event: the flames lit by the besiegers were repelled, leading to their defeat.

Despite Edessa's eventual fall to the Byzantine Empire, the Image remained revered and was transported with great ceremony to Constantinople in the 10th century. Housed in the Boucoleon Palace, it made occasional appearances in pilgrims' accounts but ultimately vanished following the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Image of Edessa, beyond its physical existence, left a profound textual and symbolic legacy. It played a crucial role in the early establishment of Christianity in the region, evidenced by Edessa becoming the first kingdom to embrace Christianity as a state religion around 200 AD. During the Iconoclast Controversy, the Image became a central piece of evidence in the debate over the veneration of sacred images, embodying the concept of circumscription. This concept, highlighting Christ's ability to be depicted, was pivotal in justifying the use of religious imagery. The Image's symbolic and protective roles continue to resonate within the Orthodox Church, influencing Christian iconography. Its placement over gateways in Edessa reflects the Church's appropriation and Christianization of earlier pagan traditions, such as the ancient Greek practice of positioning statues of deities at city gates for protection. This adaptation showcases the seamless weaving of old and new traditions in the continuous tapestry of faith and tradition, with the Christian Image of Edessa supplanting and transforming earlier practices.

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There are several reasonable clues suggesting that the events narrated in the Doctrine of Addai have a historical basis and refer to Abgar V, who reigned during the time of Jesus. When he died in 50 A.D., his son Ma'nu V succeeded him. Upon the latter's death in 57 A.D., the kingdom was passed into the hands of Abgar V's other son, Ma'nu VI, who reverted to pagan worship and persecuted Christians. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the image had to be hidden, and its precise memory faded until its rediscovery in the 6th century. By the times of Eusebius and Egeria, it was no longer possible to display the image; this could explain their silence on the matter.

In 57 A.D., Ma'nu, the successor of Abgar, rejects Christianity and begins to persecute Christians. The cloth is hidden and disappears. In 525 AD– During reconstruction works after a great flood, in a niche above one of the gates of Edessa, an image of Christ’s face 'not made by human hand' was found. It is the Mandylion (Shroud), whose imprinted face was similar to what we have on the Shroud of Turin.

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In the account given by the compiler of the Narratio, the acheiropoieton image had been displayed openly but was later concealed within a wall, or possibly within a column or a small shrine at the city's gate, as often depicted. This image, by some accounts, was miraculously preserved through numerous calamities, including several devastating floods that battered the city in the years 201, 203, 413, and 525, and its existence had slipped from the collective memory of the people.

The tale then reconnects with a tradition begun by Evagrius Scholasticus, who recorded that in 544, during the Persian siege of Edessa, the city was spared due to the presence of this relic. However, by that time, the inhabitants had forgotten about this potent talisman. The narrative introduces a dramatic turn where the bishop of Edessa is guided by a dream vision to rediscover the hidden object. Upon following the revelation, the bishop finds the divine image intact, along with a wick that had remained lit over the centuries, and a secondary image on a tile that was placed before the lamp to shield it. Armed with the venerable depiction of Christ, the bishop then approaches the area where the Persian forces were heard, reinforcing the city’s hope.

The image, having been found unscathed after such a long concealment, was credited with the miraculous repulsion of Chosroes and his forces. The account of the Narratio thus explains the existence of more than one terracotta tile bearing the miraculous image of Christ.

The story provides an intricate account of how an image, preserved through time, was later found and became a symbol of protection and victory for the city of Edessa. The tale also touches upon the tradition of placing anthropomorphic symbols on buildings, a practice common in the region, which could relate to the placement of the image on the city gates. Further, it recounts the finding of a lamp that had seemingly burned perpetually, and a ceramic representation of the image that was potentially used to safeguard the actual relic when placed within its niche.

The earliest known historical mention dates to 544 AD, when the Persian King Khosroes besieged Edessa. The city reportedly repelled the siege with the aid of the image, described by historian Evagrius Scholasticus as miraculously made "not by the hands of man"—a phrase commonly associated with the Mandylion.

The Image of Edessa, also referred to as the Mandylion, holds a significant place in the lore of Christian relics, embodying a profound intersection of faith, art, and history. The phrase "not made by hands" (acheiropoietos in Greek) that Evagrius Scholasticus and other sources use to describe the image conveys the belief that the image was of divine, rather than human, origin—miraculously created.

The account of the siege of Edessa and the image's role in it appears to be the first historically recorded instance of the Mandylion. When the Persian forces of King Khosroes I laid siege to the city, the Edessans processed the holy image along the city walls, which resulted in the miraculous saving of the city. This event elevated the Mandylion to the status of a palladium, a protective icon for the city.
The historical account given by Evagrius does not mention the legend of King Abgar and the image’s origins, which suggests that the association with the earlier legend developed after this time. It is also notable that the earlier story about the image's origins in the time of Jesus does not specify the image's nature as acheiropoietos, a detail that appears to emerge later and may reflect a growing theological emphasis on the divine nature of Jesus and the desire for a tangible connection to Him. By the 6th century, the cult of icons was becoming increasingly popular, and the story of the Image of Edessa played a pivotal role in this development. Icons were not merely artistic representations but were believed to participate in the holiness of the figures they depicted, serving as conduits for devotion and intercession.

The Mandylion remained in Edessa until the 10th century, after which it was brought to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Its arrival is historically documented in 944 AD, when it was transferred with great ceremony. The Byzantines also regarded the image with profound reverence, and it was believed to have the power to protect the city. The fate of the Mandylion following the Fourth Crusade in 1204, when Constantinople was sacked by Latin Crusaders, is uncertain. Some scholars believe that the Mandylion was taken to the West and eventually became what is known today as the Shroud of Turin, although this theory is subject to much debate and is not universally accepted. Throughout its history, the Mandylion has been enveloped in legend and mystery. While its existence as a physical artifact from the time of Jesus is debated, its impact on Christian tradition, iconography, and the veneration of relics is clear. It served as a symbol of Christ's presence and a tangible embodiment of divine intervention in human affairs. Its story is a testament to the enduring human desire for a direct, physical connection to the divine and the powerful role that religious artifacts play in faith and community identity.

The legend of the Mandylion states that the image, which had been hidden due to the city's conversion back to paganism, was rediscovered after a vision on the night of a Persian invasion. The story evolved to include the idea that the image was not made by human hands (Acheiropoietos), and later accounts suggest it played a role in the defense of the city during the siege by Persian King Khosrow I in 544 AD. However, there is strong evidence against this narrative, as the Syriac "Edessan Chronicle," written between 540 and 550 AD, does not mention the rediscovery of any image following the 525 flood, which challenges the theory that the Mandylion/Shroud was found at that time. The earliest mention of an image in this context appears in the Doctrine of Addai from around 400 AD, which describes a portrait of Jesus painted by a court painter. Over time, the story developed to include supernatural elements, such as the image miraculously reproducing itself on a tile and remaining lit by a lamp over centuries. The Christ Pantocrator at St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai is considered one of the earliest icons to reflect a congruence with the facial features seen on the Shroud of Turin, which adds to the discussion on how such images may have influenced the iconography of Christ in Christian art.

After the year 544, the image was relocated to the primary church in Edessa. Seventh-century accounts in the Acta Maris confirm its presence there, describing it as an acheiropoieta (a term for images not made by human hands) and referring to it as 'seddona', which is the Syriac translation of 'mandylion'. Additionally, in the same century, or perhaps earlier, the Acta Thaddaei depict the image as being folded into quarters.

The Byzantine Narratio and related sources, which document the transfer of the Mandylion from Edessa to Constantinople in 944, are the first to link the image with the events of Jesus’ passion, spanning from the Gethsemane to his Crucifixion and burial. The hypothesis that the image was first folded into four parts is believed to have originated around this time, possibly as a means of preservation or reverence, aligning with its increasing association with significant events from Jesus' life.

The public worship of the image in Edessa is corroborated by Smera, who refers to a depiction of Christ’s full image. In the 10th-century document, Codex Vossianus Latinus Q69, an account from the eighth or ninth century mentions that a canvas bearing the imprint of Christ’s entire body was preserved in a church in Edessa. This text, quoting Smera from Constantinople, narrates Abgar's desire to see Jesus. Jesus is said to have promised to send Abgar a linen cloth imprinted with not just his face, but his whole body, miraculously transformed: ‘linteum, in quo non solum faciei mee figuram, sed totius corporis mei figuram cernere poteris statum divinitus transformatum’. Jesus reportedly laid his entire body on a snow-white linen cloth, leaving imprints of both his glorious face and his noble entire body.

The text emphasizes the ‘whole body’ three times (totius corporis mei figuram; toto se corpore stravit; totius corporis status), indicating that the Edessan image depicted both Jesus's face and body, and was still present in the great church of Edessa: ‘Linteus adhuc vetustate temporis permanens incorruptus, in Mesopotamia Syrie apud Edissam civitatem in domo maioris ecclesie habetur repositus’. On certain feast days throughout the year, this linen was taken out of its golden box and displayed for all to see. It is not explicitly mentioned whether the linen was normally kept folded in the golden box and only unfolded for these occasions.

In 525, following the destruction of Edessa’s main cathedral in a significant flood, a new cathedral was completed about three decades later. Termed Hagia Sophia, akin to the renowned church in Constantinople, this cathedral was reputed for its stunning beauty, adorned with gold, glass, and marble, as noted by Segal in 1970. The 10th-century Greek "Liturgical Tractate", discovered by the eminent 19th-century historian Ernest von Dobschutz, reveals that this cathedral permitted only the Icon within its walls. The Icon was securely kept in a chest within a dedicated sanctuary, under the watch of an abbot, as detailed by Wilson in 1979.

A special procession took place on the Sunday before Lent began, where the Image, still enclosed in its chest, was paraded through the cathedral, accompanied by twelve bearers each of incense, torches, and flabella or liturgical fans, as Wilson described in 2000. Historian Robert Drews, analyzing the Tractate, inferred that the object in question was sizable, not a small, unframed cloth susceptible to the wind, as he noted in 1984. The chest housing the Icon was only opened by the archbishop, equipped with shutters that were seldom opened. On these rare occasions, the gathered crowd, including locals and pilgrims, could view it from a distance through a grille at the sanctuary’s entrance, though the face was difficult to discern. Von Dobschutz speculated that even then, the Icon was likely covered, as Scavone reported in 2001.

Wilson underscored the profound impact of these rituals, quoting the Tractate in 1979: the faithful were not permitted to approach or touch the holy likeness, nor to gaze directly upon it. This restriction heightened their divine fear, faith, and reverence for the revered object, making it more fearful and awe-inspiring. This aspect is critical for understanding the history of the Holy Image of Edessa and its challenging identification with the Shroud of Turin. The cloth was frequently kept folded and hidden, much like the Shroud was in later centuries in Turin.
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"IS THIS THE PROTOTYPE PORTRAIT OF OUR LORD? What may be the original of the later traditional likenesses of Jesus was found in a fresco on the ceiling of a vault in the catacombs of Rome. There this drawing—discovered in 1932 in the British Museum by the Rev. C. C. Dobson—was made by a British portraitist, Thomas Heaphy, about 1847. The vault is known to date to the 1st century; the fresco, much faded, was copied by the painter with the utmost reverential care."

The image is a drawing of Jesus Christ, made by a British portraitist named Thomas Heaphy in 1847. Heaphy was a prolific watercolour painter and a founding member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He primarily painted battle scenes and portraits of officers, such as the one he painted of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The drawing was discovered in 1932 in the British Museum by the Rev. C. C. Dobson, who claimed that it was a copy of a fresco found in the ceiling of a vault in the catacombs of Rome. The vault is known to date to the 1st century AD; the fresco, much faded, was copied by Heaphy with the utmost reverential care. The fresco depicts Jesus Christ on a throne between two groups of apostles. It is one of several Christian frescoes that have been rediscovered inside the catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome.

As long ago as 1985 my book The Holy Shroud and the Earliest Paintings of Christ was published. This dealt with my research into the work of a little known Victorian English painter, Thomas Heaphy, who had spent time in the Roman catacombs when they were being re-opened and explored by a number of archaeologists and art historians in the midnineteenth century. Heaphy's consuming interest was the received likeness of Christ which occurs again and again throughout the entire 2,000 year history of Christianity. He found a number of paintings of Christ in the catacombs and copied them with the aid of candlelight and a good deal of perseverance in extremely difficult conditions. His work was later published in the form of etchings taken from his original paintings and at the turn of the century other researchers expanded the theories Heaphy had put forward concerning the great antiquity of some of the paintings he had found. After his death a folio of Heaphy's original paintings was deposited in the British Museum Library (now the British Library) where they lay scarcely touched for more than a century. A few researchers during that time had sighted them, one or two of whom had published commentaries based on Heaphy's work. I came across them through a series of coincidences and became convinced that Heaphy had discovered and copied probably the earliest portrait of Christ ever painted and that it dated to the mid first century. My 1985 book and subsequent papers on the subject were regarded with hilarity, scorn and derision by several of our contemporary experts on art history. They stated that no painting in the Roman catacombs dates earlier than about the end of the third century and one went as far as to proclaim more than once that Heaphy was a fraud and that I had been fooled by his fraudulence. A chamber has been named the Orpheus Cubiculum on account of a painting of Orpheus which faces the observer as one enters the room. Indeed, this early painting of Christ on the ceiling of the Orpheus cubiculum in the secret depths of the Catacomb of Domitilla, well away from public access, was claimed to be a figment of Heaphy's imagination. This portrait shows a bearded, long haired Christ very similar to the image of the man on the Shroud and totally unlike all the early portraits of Christ for the first three centuries which depict him as a beardless Roman youth or in artistic inventions as the Good Shepherd. I have proposed the theory that if the portrait is very early then its remarkable similarity to that on the Shroud suggests that we have two likenesses of the same man: that in the catacomb probably painted by someone who had seen Christ in person or at the very least had from memory dictated and directed the painter who executed the work.

 It was not until after I had published much of this that I came into contact with Sylvia Bogdanescu of London who had, quite independently of me, not only researched the work of Thomas Heaphy but had, in 1979, visited the Orpheus Cubiculum and had discovered and photographed the painting reported by Heaphy more than a hundred years before. Subsequently I took an expedition into the catacombs with Vatican permission in 1993 and took more photographs substantiating the work of Bogdanescu and giving the lie forever to fraudulence on Heaphy's part. This amazing portrait is still there, although somewhat damaged, and yet has never been published photographically in any known reference work including those which describe and illustrate the Cubiculum of Orpheus other than in Sylvia Bogdanescu's manuscript book and my paper given in Rome in 1993 about our joint research. My group currently cannot offer a cogent reason for this absence (or suppression) of publication unless it is that the authorities themselves realise that this may well be the earliest portrait of Christ and was executed in the first century by someone who had seen Christ and is therefore one of the most important artefacts in Christendom. One obviously does not want thousands of pilgrims tramping through the already severely damaged, deteriorating and dangerous catacombs to a "shrine" in the inner depths of those remarkable tunnels. It was an interesting coincidence that, three years after the Rome Symposium conducted by the French Shroud group CIELT, the proceedings of that congress were published. Indeed on the very day I was leaving Australia for London to discuss with Sylvia Bogdanescu our proposed May 1996 catacombs expedition I received a copy of the book containing the Rome papers including my New Evidence for the Earliest Portrait of Christ. Despite the omission of the bibliography, many typographical errors (not in the original text supplied to the editors) and despite one of my three coloured plates being inverted, the French editor has kindly seen fit in his French language summary to describe the work as "revealing sensational evidence which not only establishes certain catacomb paintings as First Century but that at least one has been influenced by the image on the Shroud (sic) and has probably been painted from direct observation of the man or instruction from an observer." The book is a magnificently produced 428 pages including many coloured plates on quality art paper. Now that the world can read the theories of Bogdanescu and Morgan we await the further comments and reactions of the experts. 

In the meantime I led a further expedition in May 1996 into the Orpheus Cubiculum, again with gracious official permission. We have studied and assessed much of the work of Bogdanescu which provides an enormous amount of circumstantial historical evidence for the age of the tomb complex. We have found, for example, that all existing maps of that part of the catacombs have been based on inaccurate previous maps with inaccuracies and elisions perpetuated. Bogdanescu's return to original sources has shown without doubt that the assumptions on which many of the dating premisses have been based were quite inaccurate. In fact there was almost certainly an earlier entrance to the cubiculum complex, later abandoned and lost, which seems to place it in the middle of the First Century and has no relevance to the entrances or routes used today to access the cubiculum and its immediate environs. Further evidence for this comes from art expert Isabel Piczek who was a valuable team member in May 1996 and we await her further deliberations based on the extensive observations she made of pigments, colours and technique when we were in Orpheus this year. She has already concluded that the work in that cubiculum is probably first century. In the course of this year's observations when our team descended, armed with the most modern and non-harmful equipment, Christopher Morgan made the fullest series of serious photographs ever taken of the portrait and nearby paintings and environmental features including the use of infrared techniques. I made photographic and other observations in many of the nearby tunnels which C. Morgan has discovered converge at a now buried point where the original entrance probably existed and which has no relevance to the entrances used to gain access today or when the catacombs were rediscovered in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries after being closed for a millennium. I should add that our work has already been supported by such well-known researchers as Marinelli, Whanger, Piczek, Scavone, Manton and others. Christopher Morgan's monumental Site Report is almost completed and I am privileged to have been invited to give another paper on the current research at the Shroud Symposium in Esopus, New York in August 1996. The outcome of all this is expected to be a new book based on the work of Bogdanescu, C. Morgan, R. Morgan and Piczek incorporating the fascinating data we have collected and the theories we have put forward. The conclusion is that we have exonerated the maligned Heaphy; we have discovered probably the earliest portrait of Christ in existence; it probably dates to mid first century; it was probably painted by a contemporary of Christ; it is almost identical to the man portrayed in the Shroud image and this adds to the claims for non-fraudulence of the Shroud of Turin.

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It is a three-quarters profile portrait of Christ, in a fresco medallion still faintly visible in the ceiling of a vault in the Orpheus Cubiculum* of the Domitilla catacomb. The figure has long hair and a beard; a white mantle is clasped upon the right shoulder. Just as Heaphy had copied it. There are catacombs below Rome containing paintings probably dating to the first century; that the portrait in the Orpheus Cubiculum could well be the work of an artist who had seen Christ or worked from a description by someone who had; that the features of the man in this profile "closely match those of the Man on the Shroud. ..."

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The Domitilla Catacomb is one of the largest and oldest catacombs in Rome. The Orpheus Cubiculum, located within the Domitilla Catacombs in Rome, is part of an extensive underground Christian burial site that dates back to the 1st and 2nd century AD. These catacombs are named after Saint Domitilla, and they are among the oldest in Rome. The name "Orpheus Cubiculum" derives from a fresco within a particular chamber (cubiculum) that depicts Orpheus, a figure from Greek mythology, which is somewhat unique because it represents a pagan theme within a Christian burial site. The Orpheus motif was common in Roman art and was adopted by early Christians. In this context, Orpheus is often seen as a symbol of Christ due to the mythological Orpheus' ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for Christ's message appealing to a wide audience. The specific age of the Orpheus Cubiculum within the Domitilla Catacombs is often estimated based on stylistic analysis of the art, the stratigraphy of the catacombs, and historical references to the Domitilla family and the early Christian community. It is widely accepted among scholars that the Domitilla Catacombs, including the Orpheus Cubiculum, were in use from the 2nd century, with expansions and further decorations possibly occurring in subsequent centuries.

The image makes it difficult to discern clear details that could give us a definitive representation of the figure depicted. Early Christian art often utilized a limited color palette due to the pigments available at the time. The colors seen in such frescoes were typically earthy tones, reds, ochres, and charcoals. While it's challenging to make out specific facial features from the provided image, many early depictions of Christ portray him with a serene expression, sometimes featuring large, expressive eyes which were a common stylistic choice in Roman art to convey the importance of the figure. It's a convention to depict Christ with shoulder-length hair and a beard, following the Judaic tradition of the time. The attire in such frescos usually includes a tunic and sometimes a mantle, reflecting the common dress of the period in the Roman Empire. Early Christian art was rich with symbolism. For instance, Christ was often depicted with a halo or an aura to signify divinity. Given the quality of the image, any reconstruction would be highly speculative. However, artists and forensic anthropologists sometimes attempt to reconstruct faces from historical depictions using these common elements, although such reconstructions are not definitive representations of historical figures but rather artistic interpretations based on available data and cultural contexts.

Stephen Jones: Thomas Frank Heaphy (1813-73) begins sketching the likenesses of Christ in the Catacombs of Rome which were early centuries' underground cemeteries. Heaphy was in Rome during the 19th century opening of many of the catacombs and sketched those that depicted the likeness of Christ, under conditions of great difficulty. Heaphy, relying on the datings of Italian archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822–94) who opened many of the Roman catacombs in Heaphy's day, thought that the likeness of Christ in the catacombs must have been first or second century when Christians were alive who had seen Jesus or knew Christians who had. Since Heaphy died in 1873, long before the 1898 first photograph of the Shroud [see above and "1898c" below], made the Shroud face well-known, Heaphy could not have been trying to, and nor did he claim to, depict the catacomb's face of Jesus as the face of the Shroud. Therefore, Heaphy's early centuries' paintings of Shroud-like images of Jesus' face in the catacombs are independent confirmation that the Shroud had existed from the first century. Leading Shroudies Ian Wilson and Dorothy Crispino (1916-2014) were critical of Heaphy, with Wilson accusing Heaphy of being "a cheat" and "fraudulent"[58]. But Rex Morgan had stood by Heaphy, that his catacomb paintings were evidence for the Shroud's existence in early centuries, while agreeing that Heaphy may have been wrong on some dates different, but nearby, Domitilla catacomb, which dates from the first century.

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"The Earliest Portrait of Christ," A fresco dated to the 1st Century AD and having similar characteristics to the image on the Shroud of Turin and representing one of the most important recent pieces of evidence for the antiquity of the Shroud" (Photograph by Christopher Morgan 1996)[66]. This is not Bogdanescu's original photograph but a later one taken by Rex Morgan's archaeologist son, Christopher. I have ordered Bogdanescu's book, "The Catacombs and the Early Church" (1998) and I am hoping it has Bogdanescu's original photograph in colour. It does, but it is inferior to this photograph.]

Domitilla's husband was the consul Titus Flavius Clemens who was martyred in 95 and she herself was banished from Rome in the same year[69]. Wilson's response, instead of admitting that he had been wrong all along about Heaphy being dishonest, was:

"But even the most hardened counterfeiter (and I wouldn't rate Heaphy in quite that category), can pass the occasional genuine article"[70].
But would a "counterfeiter" have gone to this much trouble?:

"He [Heaphy] at once saw the value of the frescoes in this part, but his time in Rome was ended, and he must leave the next day. He realised that he could only do the work he desired in this section by staying all night, and he determined to do so. By further bribing he prevailed upon the custodian to lock up, and leave him there as if forgotten. Providing himself with candles and matches, as he thought sufficient, he descended 80 feet down to carry out his lonely and perilous task, - more perilous than would appear, for there have been instances of people swallowed up and lost in the catacombs, in one case that of a party consisting of an officer and twenty soldiers. As he proceeded he made careful notes of turnings and any features in the passages along which he groped his way, lest he should never find his way back to the entrance, so many and intricate are the passages in the larger catacombs. The catacombs are said to have an aggregate of 700 miles of passages, and a single false turn may lead into a labyrinth of passages from which the unwary explorer can find no way out. Having carefully noted in his sketch-book all the marks and turnings that he deemed necessary, he returned to the entrance to reassure himself that he knew his way. At length he was able to begin work, and soon became so absorbed that he forgot the novelty of his situation. There were three pictures he wished to copy, and having completed two [one of which was the above], he found that his supply of candles would not last out the work on the third, a picture of Adam and Eve in Paradise. Rather than lose his picture he decided to work while his last candle lasted, and then trust to groping his way back to the entrance to wait there in the dark until the door was opened. He tells us it became a race between his picture and the candle as to which would be completed first. The picture won by an inch of candle, and even this proved deceptive, for, as it turned out, afterwards, the wick did not extend above half-way into it. He ends his dramatic account of this adventure: `The perils I encountered during this night in the catacombs, in total darkness, and the difficulties I had to surmount in finding my way out, I must, however, leave to the imagination of the readers'"[71].

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This particular portrayal of Jesus was heavily influenced by the cultural and artistic trends of the time, as well as the theological and philosophical beliefs of the early Christian church.

The images you've shared show various depictions of Jesus Christ from early Christian art, reflecting a range of styles and cultural influences. In these artworks, we see a blend of artistic trends from different periods and regions, which include:

Byzantine Influence: The golden backgrounds and the iconic, frontal poses are characteristic of Byzantine art. This style often imbued figures with a sense of divine presence and otherworldliness, which was in line with the theological emphasis on the divinity of Jesus. The halo around Jesus' head in these mosaics is a symbol of sanctity and has become a visual shorthand in art for holiness.

Roman Influence: Early Christian art was also influenced by Roman styles, especially in the realistic portrayal of figures and the use of narrative scenes. The adoption of Roman artistic conventions made the religious stories more accessible to the public, allowing the viewers to see the divine narrative unfold in a visual context they understood.

Philosophical and Theological Representations: These images also reflect the theological debates of the time. For instance, Jesus is often depicted as a teacher or shepherd, emphasizing his role as a guide and caretaker of humanity. This portrayal aligns with the Christian philosophical view of Jesus as the "logos" or the rational divine order of the universe.

Iconographic Development: The early Christian period was a time of significant iconographic development. The way Jesus is depicted in these artworks reflects the early church's search for a standardized representation of its central figure. Over time, these representations became more codified, and certain iconographic elements like the beard and long hair became standard in the portrayal of Christ.

Use of Symbols: In addition to representational art, early Christian iconography was rich in symbols. For example, the depiction of Jesus as the "Good Shepherd" with a sheep over his shoulders was an adaptation of a common pagan motif that was reinterpreted in a Christian context to symbolize Jesus' care for his followers.

Each of these images tells us not just about how Jesus was viewed at the time, but also about the broader cultural and artistic milieu in which these pieces were created. The synthesis of artistic styles and theological messages in these artworks illustrates how the early Christian church was both influenced by and sought to distinguish itself from the surrounding culture.

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The depiction of Christ in the  Hinton St Mary Mosaic in England from the 4th century AD presents Him as a conventional, beardless young man with a Hellenistic-Roman appearance.

The Hinton St Mary Mosaic is a particularly notable artifact because it reflects the early stages of Christian art and iconography, particularly in the Western part of the Roman Empire. The portrayal of Christ as a beardless young man is significant for several reasons:

Hellenistic Influence: The depiction of Christ in this mosaic shows clear Hellenistic influences, which were prevalent in the art of the Roman Empire. The Hellenistic style, developed in the Greek-speaking world after the conquests of Alexander the Great, emphasized naturalism and idealized forms. By portraying Christ in this manner, the artists were drawing on the visual language that was familiar and respected by the viewers of the time.

Roman Conventions: In the Roman context, youth was often associated with divinity and virtue. A beardless Christ would resonate with the Roman portrayal of gods and heroes as eternally young and idealized beings. This was a departure from the later, more widely recognized depiction of Christ with a beard, which emerged as a symbol of wisdom and maturity.

Transition from Paganism: The mosaic from Hinton St Mary also highlights the transitional period in which Christian iconography was still being defined and was heavily borrowing from the existing pagan imagery. This period of synthesis allowed for Christian themes to be depicted in a manner that was approachable to a population that was still largely pagan.

Christ as the Philosopher: The portrayal of a young, beardless Christ also aligns with the image of the philosopher, a prevalent figure in Greek and Roman culture. In this context, Christ is presented as the divine philosopher-king, a wise teacher whose authority comes from his spiritual insight rather than temporal power.

Didactic Purpose: Early Christian art often served a didactic purpose, teaching the stories and theology of Christianity to an illiterate population. By presenting Christ in a familiar form, the mosaic could communicate Christian beliefs within a visual framework understandable to a Roman audience.

Iconographic Evolution: The beardless Christ in the Hinton St Mary Mosaic is part of the iconographic evolution that would eventually lead to the standardization of Christian religious imagery. It represents a phase where artists were experimenting with how to best represent the central figure of their faith.

The Hinton St Mary Mosaic is thus a critical piece of evidence in understanding how early Christians saw themselves in relation to the dominant Roman culture and how they sought to express their understanding of Christ within that context.

Christ Pantocrator ( God Almighty) 
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Pantocrator of Mount Sinai (6th century). The term "Pantocrator" (from Greek παντοκράτωρ) is a title that means "Almighty" or "All-Powerful," and is often used in Christian theology and art.
The icon was painted with the encaustic technique, depicting Christ with the two natures, divine and human, in his face. The New Interpreter’s Study Bible: “. . the Christ Pantocrator icon from Saint Catherine’s Monastery is by far the most accurate non-photographic representation of the Shroud image that we have seen.” 1

St. Catherine’s Pantocrator Icon: a good example of the new “true likeness” Christ face from the 6th century AD. When researcher Alan Whanger overlays the Shroud face on to this picture, over 250 points of similarity are observed.

If the Shroud were the new exemplar for the face of Christ, where was it and how did it so quickly influence Christian art from the 6th century? Wilson theorized that some unknown artist studied the Shroud face including Vignon’s peculiarities, made model drawings trying to incorporate each oddity, and then circulated copies to Christian communities engaged in religious decoration (Wilson 1979: 105). It probably began in the East, where some earlier art historians had recognized the important role played by the greater Syrian region in Christian art. O. M. Dalton observed “It was the Aramaeans [Syrians] who counted for most in the development of Christian art” compelling Hellenistic views to yield to Semitic modes of expression. This especially included “the cities of Edessa and Nisibis, where monastic theology flourished ...” (Dalton 1925: 24-25). This was an important key to their influence:

The East had always one advantage over its rival [Hellenistic West]... it was the home of monasticism, the great missionary force in Christendom .... Monks trained in the Aramaean theological schools of Edessa and Nisibis flocked to the religious houses so soon founded in numbers in Palestine. From the fifth century it was they who determined Christian iconography ... (Dalton 1925: 9).
The large pilgrim influx to the Holy Lands and migration of Syrian-trained monks to distant places ensured that what was current in the East would be known everywhere. “When we consider the part played by a monasticism trained in Aramaic theology, and the wide missionary activity of which Edessa was the base, the importance of the Syrian element in Christianity is at once realized” (Dalton 1925: 24). If there were an authoritative picture of Jesus to be found in the Syrian region, it is understandable how it could have become famous throughout Mediterranean Christianity. Although initially Wilson could not identify any contemporary documentary source for this new Jesus face, he recognized there was a likely candidate. In the 6th century a new class of icon was gaining prominence in the East, supposedly made by Christ himself and therefore acheiropoietos, “not made with (human) hands” (Wilson 1979: 111-112). The belief was that in one way or another they were imprints of Christ’s face. The most prominent was the Image of Edessa, the very picture Vignon had deduced as the earliest to exhibit the new “true likeness” features. Could the Image have been the Shroud? If so, why hadn’t anyone made that identification? Wilson soon noticed an obscure Greek word, tetradiplon, that proved to be the key to answering those questions.  2

The Pantocrator of Mount Sinai, dating back to the 6th century, is an extraordinary and iconic representation of Jesus Christ in Christian art. This depiction is housed in Saint Catherine's Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt, a site of immense religious and historical significance.

The term "Pantocrator" is derived from the Greek word παντοκράτωρ, meaning "Almighty" or "All-Powerful." In Christian theology, this title is used to emphasize the omnipotence of Christ, reflecting his divine nature as well as his role as judge and ruler of the universe. The Pantocrator icon is a central image in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, symbolizing the dual nature of Christ as both God and man.

In the Pantocrator of Mount Sinai, Christ is typically depicted in a frontal pose, holding the Gospels in his left hand while his right hand is raised in a gesture of blessing or teaching. This iconic image strikingly portrays the two natures of Christ: his humanity and divinity. The facial features often exhibit this duality; one side of the face may appear gentle and compassionate, representing the human nature of Christ, while the other side appears more stern and powerful, symbolizing his divine nature.

The technique used in this icon is encaustic painting, an ancient method where colored pigments are mixed with hot wax and applied to a surface. This technique was widely used in the Eastern Roman Empire, and its durability has allowed many encaustic works, like the Pantocrator of Mount Sinai, to survive in remarkably good condition. The encaustic method gives the icon a unique texture and depth, contributing to its striking and enduring visual impact.

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Christ the Teacher, Cubiculum of Leo, catacombs of Commodilla, Rome, 4th century.

"Christ the Teacher" in the Cubiculum of Leo, located in the catacombs of Commodilla in Rome, is a remarkable example of early Christian art from the 4th century. This artwork holds significant historical importance as it reflects the early Christian iconography in the period following the legalization of Christianity under Constantine's rule.

The Cubiculum of Leo, a small burial chamber, features frescoes that depict various Christian themes and figures, with "Christ the Teacher" being a prominent representation. In this depiction, Christ is often shown as a youthful, beardless figure, breaking away from the Greco-Roman tradition of portraying deities and sages with beards. This portrayal symbolizes Christ's role as a teacher and shepherd to his followers.

The catacombs of Commodilla, where this artwork is found, are among the notable Christian burial sites in Rome. These underground cemeteries were used by Christians to bury their dead and to celebrate their faith in secret during times of persecution, prior to the Edict of Milan.

The art in the Cubiculum of Leo, including "Christ the Teacher," is significant for its stylistic qualities and its role in the transition from Roman art to early Christian iconography. It showcases the early development of Christian artistic themes and the adaptation of Roman artistic techniques to express Christian religious concepts.

"Christ the Teacher" in the Cubiculum of Leo is a testament to the transformation of Christian iconography in the 4th century.  This particular fresco in the catacombs of Commodilla presents a youthful Christ, a shift from the previously common Greco-Roman tradition of bearded deities.  The eyes of the figure in the fresco are wide and penetrating, a detail that is similarly striking on the Shroud, which shows clear and defined eyes that seem to engage the onlooker. Even though the Shroud's image is fainter and monochromatic, the intensity of the gaze is a point of commonality. The shape of the face in the fresco, while more youthful and less marred than the visage on the Shroud, shares the oval contour. The hair, while not as pronounced in length as on the Shroud, shows a semblance of the wavy texture that the Shroud's image portrays.

The depiction of Christ in the catacombs, which were places of burial and worship for the early Christians, would be an attempt to capture the essence of the divine and the human in Jesus. The Shroud of Turin, with its detailed portrayal of a suffering yet serene figure, would provide an archetype for representing this duality. In considering the art from the Cubiculum of Leo and its relationship to the Shroud of Turin,  even in the youthful representations of Christ, there is an underlying attempt to depict a figure that is both human and divine. The Shroud, with its detailed and lifelike image, could have served as inspiration for such depictions, aiming to convey the spiritual authority and the compassionate humanity of Jesus as a teacher and shepherd.

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Apse mosaic in Santa Pudenziana, c. 400 (Rome).
The opulent interior of the Constantinian basilicas would have created an effective space for increasingly elaborate rituals. Influenced by the splendor of the rituals associated with the emperor, the liturgy placed emphasis on the dramatic entrances and the stages of the rituals. For example, the introit or entrance of the priest into the church was influenced by the adventus or arrival of the emperor. The culmination of the entrance, as well as the focal point of the architecture, was the apse. It was here that the sacraments would be performed, and it was here that the priest would proclaim the word. In Roman civic and imperial basilicas, the apse had been the seat of authority. In the civic basilicas, this is where the magistrate would sit adjacent to an imperial image and dispense judgment. In the imperial basilicas, the emperor would be enthroned. These associations with authority made the apse a suitable stage for the Christian rituals. The priest would be like the magistrate proclaiming the word of a higher authority.

A late 4th century mosaic in the apse of the Roman church of Santa Pudenziana visualizes this. We see in this image a dramatic transformation in the conception of Christ from the pre-Constantinian period. From teacher to God
In the Santa Pudenziana mosaic, Christ is shown in the center, seated on a jewel-encrusted throne. He wears a gold toga with purple trim, both colors associated with imperial authority. His right hand is extended in the ad locutio gesture conventional in imperial representations. Holding a book in his right hand, Christ is shown proclaiming the word. This is dependent on another convention of Roman imperial art of the so-called traditio legis, or the handing down of the law. A silver plate known as the Missorium of Theodosius made for the Emperor Theodosius in 388 to mark the tenth anniversary of his accession to power shows the Emperor in the center handing down the scroll of the law. Notably, the Emperor Theodosius is shown with a halo, much like the figure of Christ.


Starting from the 6th century, a particular type of portrait of Jesus inspired by the Shroud also spread in the East: it is the majestic Christ, with beard and moustache, called Pantocrator (Almighty), of which there are splendid examples in Cappadocia. The inspiration for the Shroud is evident in the face of Christ in the 6th century silver vase found in Homs, Syria, now preserved in the Louvre in Paris, and in that of the silver reliquary from 550, coming from Chersonesus in Crimea, which is located in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The Pantocrator is also present in the post-Byzantine era and will remain substantially unchanged until today. In the East this image will become the only one for all figurative art and also the icon's date to somewhere between the beginning of Constantine's reign as sole emperor in January 945 and his death in 959. Obviously of prime interest for us is to be how the artist has depicted the Image being held in Constantine 's hands of him. If the panel indeed dates between 945 and 959, it ranks as the earliest known depiction of the Image of Edessa in its direct form as an actual piece of cloth as distinct from its indirect or interpreted versions as Christ Pantocrator, Christ Enthroned, and those of the roundel variety we have seen hitherto. Immediately apparent is that the piece of cloth we see on this icon, even though it features a disembodied, front-facing face in broad semblance of the equivalent area on the Shroud, does not seem to be on anything like the Shroud's double body-length scale. While the 'face-only' form is consistent with the earlier-advanced 'doubled in four' mode of how the Shroud was presented as the Image, a fringe runs along the bottom edge where we would expect the Shroud's fold line to be. As a result of this, some art historians, understandably encouraged by the radiocarbon dating findings of 1988, have used this icon to dismiss any possibility that the Image of Edessa could have been one and the same as the Shroud. In the 14th-century Pantocrator of the Church of St. Saviour in Chora (Istanbul), one can observe concave cheeks and asymmetrical, protruding cheekbones.

In Byzantine literary sources the image of the Pantocrator is called acheiropoietos - not made by human hands - or apomasso - imprint - and according to tradition it is traced back to a cloth; therefore it is called Mandylion. This canonical portrait of Christ is considered to date the only valid depiction, not only by the Orthodox Church, but also by the Catholic Church

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Catacombs of SS. Marcellino e Pietro, Rome. 4th to 5th century. It is supposed, that some saw the image in Edessa, and made images based on the Shroud. But the majority didn't know about it, imagining that Christ was without beard, and short hair.

The Catacombs of SS. Marcellino e Pietro in Rome, dating from the 4th to 5th centuries, offer a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of early Christian art, particularly in the depiction of Jesus Christ. These catacombs, like many others in Rome, served as burial places for Christians and were adorned with religious art that provides valuable insights into the beliefs and artistic expressions of early Christian communities.

During this period, the image of Christ was subject to various interpretations and depictions, influenced by a range of cultural, theological, and artistic factors. One significant influence was the image of Christ from Edessa, often associated with the Shroud. This image, known as the Mandylion, was believed to have miraculous origins and showed a bearded Christ with long hair. 

In contrast to the image from Edessa, many early Christian artists, especially those who had not seen the Mandylion or were unaware of its existence, portrayed Christ differently. In the Catacombs of SS. Marcellino e Pietro, and in similar sites, Christ was often depicted as a youthful, beardless figure with short hair, resembling the typical Roman portrayal of philosophers and teachers. This portrayal was possibly more relatable to the contemporary audience and reflected the Greco-Roman cultural influences prevalent in the Roman Empire.

The differing depictions of Christ in early Christian art, ranging from the beardless youth to the bearded figure based on the image from Edessa, illustrate the diversity of early Christian iconography. This diversity reflects the early Christians' attempts to express their understanding of Christ's nature and message in a visual form, drawing from both their religious convictions and the artistic conventions of their time.

The Catacombs of SS. Marcellino e Pietro, therefore, represent not just a burial place but also a canvas that captures the theological and cultural milieu of the 4th and 5th centuries. These catacombs, with their unique art, contribute significantly to our understanding of the early Christian community's identity, beliefs, and artistic expressions.

It is clear that the artists who created these images were drawing from a different set of references, likely rooted in the Roman and Greco-Roman traditions of depicting revered figures and teachers. This portrayal aligns with the contemporaneous aesthetic and cultural expectations, which favored a youthful appearance symbolizing virtue and wisdom.

However, the existence of varied depictions within the same historical period suggests that the Christian community had no single, uniform concept of Christ's physical appearance. The variance could be attributed to the fact that while some artists and believers may have been influenced by the image of the Shroud, others relied on their imagination or local artistic conventions.

One might consider that the artists who portrayed Christ with short hair and without a beard were not necessarily unaware of the Shroud's image but chose a different representation to convey their theological emphasis on Christ's teachings and his role as the Logos, the Word of God. The choice to depict Christ in this manner may have been a deliberate one, to distinguish Christian art from other religious art forms of the time and to make a clear statement about the new faith.

The Catacombs of SS. Marcellino e Pietro serve as a testament to the evolving nature of early Christian art and iconography. They provide a visual narrative of how early Christians perceived and represented their savior, Jesus Christ, in a way that was meaningful to their faith and accessible to the community of believers during that era.

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Catacomb of Callisto Crypt of S. Cecilia Maiestas  4th to 5th century

The image provided appears to be an early Christian fresco, specifically from the Catacomb of Callixtus (often spelled as Callisto), depicting what is known as the "Maiestas Domini" or "Christ in Majesty." This image is dated between the 4th to 5th century AD, which places it within the late antiquity period, a time when Christian art was beginning to flourish within the Roman Empire. During this time, the Maiestas Domini was a common motif that portrayed Christ as a majestic, regal figure, often accompanied by symbols of his power and glory. The specific features of this fresco reflect several key aspects of early Christian art and iconography: Early Christian art was heavily symbolic, and this image likely contains several layers of meaning. Christ is typically shown in a frontal pose, often with a halo or some indication of his divine nature. His right hand is raised in a gesture of teaching or blessing, which was a common pose for figures of authority in Roman art. Compared to the naturalistic styles of earlier Roman art, early Christian frescos often had a more abstract and simplified aesthetic. This can be seen in the stylized features of Christ and the use of color and form to convey meaning rather than detailed naturalism. The development of Christian iconography can be seen in the way Christ is depicted. Over time, certain elements became standardized, such as the halo and the particular gestures of Christ. These would become instantly recognizable to believers as representing Christ. While developing its own iconography, early Christian art did not emerge in a vacuum. It adapted and adopted the styles and conventions that were prevalent in the Roman Empire at the time, making it more accessible to the recently converted Roman population.

The catacombs were underground burial places but also served as places of worship and gathering for early Christians. The frescoes within them were not only devotional images but also conveyed a message of hope and eternal life, reflecting the beliefs of the Christian community that used the space. The time period when this fresco was created was a pivotal moment in Christian history. It was when Christianity was transitioning from a persecuted religion to one that was officially recognized and eventually became the state religion of the Roman Empire. This transition is reflected in the increasing sophistication and prevalence of Christian art. The Crypt of Santa Cecilia within the Catacomb of Callixtus is named after St. Cecilia, a revered Christian martyr. The presence of such a fresco in her crypt would have served as a powerful visual testament to the faith and resilience of the early Christian community.

In the early Christian fresco from the Catacomb of Callixtus, depicting "Christ in Majesty," we see a blend of symbolism, abstraction, and evolving iconography characteristic of the late antiquity period. This particular motif, representing Christ as a powerful and divine ruler, was prevalent in Christian art as the religion began to establish itself within the Roman cultural milieu. The frontal pose of Christ, a common representation of authority and divinity in Roman art, is a direct adaptation of the artistic conventions of the time. Christ's raised right hand signifies his role as a teacher and a source of blessings, while the halo surrounding his head marks his sanctity and divine nature. This fresco reflects the early Christian community's use of symbols to convey deeper theological meanings. For example, the halo is not merely a marker of divinity but also a symbol of the holy light and truth that Christ represented. The simplicity and abstraction seen in the stylized features of Christ cater to a universal understanding rather than individual recognition. The catacombs provided a sacred space for burial and worship, and the art within them served multiple purposes. It reinforced the Christian doctrine, offered comfort to the bereaved, and reaffirmed the community's belief in resurrection and eternal life. During this transformative period in Christian history, the shift from persecution to acceptance is mirrored in the art. As Christianity gained legal status and began to thrive, the art became more elaborate and widespread, showcasing the growing confidence of the faith.

The Crypt of Santa Cecilia within this catacomb would have been particularly poignant, as it connected the martyrdom of St. Cecilia with the regal depiction of Christ, emphasizing the triumph of the Christian faith over adversity. The fresco from the Catacomb of Callixtus stands as a historical narrative, illustrating the early Christian community's theological aspirations and their cultural journey from the fringes of the Roman Empire to its very heart, shaping a new artistic legacy that would endure for millennia.

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Mosaic Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian 530 d. C.

The mosaic in the Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian, dating from around 530 AD, is an illustrious example of Byzantine artistry, located in the heart of the ancient Roman Forum. This artwork, dedicated to the twin saints Cosmas and Damian, reflects the early Christian veneration of these physician martyrs and the broader sacred art tradition of the era. The apse mosaic is particularly distinguished by its representation of Christ, who is depicted with a commanding presence that is emblematic of Byzantine artistic expression. This Christological representation aligns with the theological understanding of the time, viewing Christ as a sovereign ruler, an image that permeated Christian art in the Byzantine period. Encircling Christ in the mosaic are figures of saints and angels, portrayed with a solemnity that speaks to the profound reverence for the divine. The palette of the mosaic, with its extensive use of gold and rich hues, transcends mere ornamentation, serving instead as a visual allegory for the divine light and the splendor of the celestial kingdom. These choices in color and material are not just aesthetic but are laden with symbolic meaning, highlighting the divine nature of Christ and the saints. The artistry behind this mosaic, composed of minuscule tesserae of colored glass and stone, is indicative of the advanced technical skills of the Byzantine craftsmen. Beyond its function as a religious declaration, the mosaic serves as a cultural statement of the era's artistic inclinations and technical prowess.

Turning to the Shroud of Turin, one can draw parallels between the solemnity of Christ's visage in the mosaic and the haunting image on the Shroud. The serene yet powerful countenance of Christ in the mosaic resonates with the dignified and tranquil expression that is observed on the Shroud. The golden halo that frames Christ's head in the mosaic can also be seen as a counterpart to the enigmatic 'halo' of the Shroud's image, which some interpret as a sign of Christ's divinity. The mosaic and the Shroud together echo the Byzantine era's deep theological contemplations of Christ's nature—as both human and divine—and the desire to represent this duality. The Shroud, with its stark and lifelike portrayal of a figure that many believe to be Christ, could well have been a touchstone for Byzantine representations of the sacred, informing the solemn and august depictions in mosaic art. Thus, the Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian, through its magnificent mosaic, not only venerates the twin saints but also contributes to the intricate tapestry of Christian artistic heritage. It demonstrates how religious convictions were articulated through the visual arts, and perhaps, how artifacts like the Shroud of Turin could have subtly influenced the portrayal of the divine across different mediums and centuries.

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Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. Mosaics from the early 6th century

The mosaic is a prime example of early Byzantine art and comes from the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, which is known for its extensive and well-preserved mosaic program. Dating from the early 6th century, this artwork is a testimony to the religious and artistic culture of the time. Byzantine mosaics are renowned for their luminosity and grandeur, achieved through the use of glass tesserae that often included gold leaf. The figures in these mosaics are rendered with a sense of solemnity and formality, which was intended to convey the divine nature of the subjects. The central figure of Christ is depicted enthroned, a common representation of Christ in Majesty. 

This iconography emphasizes Christ's role as the ruler of the universe, a concept central to Byzantine theology. The hand gesture of Christ is a traditional sign of teaching and blessing, while the book he holds is likely a symbol of the Gospels or the New Testament, signifying wisdom and the divine word. Christ's regal portrayal, with purple robes and a halo with a cross inscribed, denotes imperial authority, tying the divine rule to the earthly rule of the Byzantine emperor. The association of sacred and imperial power was a prominent feature of Byzantine art. The presence of the angels flanking Christ underscores the theology of the time, which emphasized the heavenly court and the divine monarchy of Christ. The angels are depicted in a stance of reverence, enhancing the sanctity of the scene. Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century and later of Ostrogothic and Byzantine Italy. Its political significance is reflected in the lavish decoration of its churches, which combined Roman imperial art and architecture with the emerging Byzantine aesthetic.

 The lush green landscape at the bottom of the mosaic, with flowering plants and the use of a gold background, can be interpreted as a representation of Paradise, indicating that the sacred space of the basilica was a reflection of the heavenly realm. The mosaics in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo blend Roman, Orthodox Christian, and Gothic elements, reflecting the diverse cultural influences present in Ravenna during this period. This synthesis is seen in the stylistic elements, such as the drapery of the garments and the classical features of the figures. The Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo stands as a monument to the religious devotion and artistic sophistication of the early Byzantine period, embodying the spiritual ideals and political realities of its era. The mosaics are not only stunning works of art but also rich historical documents that offer insight into the ways in which religious beliefs were visually interpreted and expressed. The mosaic from the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, as described, is a quintessential representation of early Byzantine art. 

The depiction of Christ in these mosaics could potentially draw connections to the image on the Shroud of Turin. The image on the Shroud of Turin features a bearded man with long hair, which has become one of the most iconic and widely recognized characteristics of Christ in Western art. It is interesting to note that the physical portrayal of Christ in the mosaic, with long hair and a bearded face, does share similarities with the facial features of the figure in the Shroud. The mosaic artists may have been inspired by a tradition or belief in the existence of a true likeness of Christ, such as the image on the Shroud or similar relics. The veneration of holy images and relics was an integral part of Byzantine spirituality, and it is possible that such objects could have influenced artistic portrayals of sacred figures. The potential influence of the Shroud on the depiction of Christ in Byzantine art would carry significant theological implications. If the Shroud were believed to be the authentic burial cloth of Christ, its image could be seen as a true record of his appearance, and therefore, an authoritative guide for artists.

1. The Shroud of Turin A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses

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Christ with angels. Fresco. Bawit, Monastery of Apa Apollo, Egypt, ca. 6th-7th century.

The fresco from Bawit, in the Monastery of Apa Apollo, dated approximately to the 6th-7th century, and the Comodilla Catacomb fresco both present early Christian representations of Christ, accompanied by angelic figures, and include the inscription "I am the alpha and omega," indicating Christ's eternal nature. These artworks, with their portrayal of Christ, can be viewed through the lens of the Shroud of Turin's influence. The Shroud, believed to bear the actual imprint of Christ's face, presents specific facial features: a bearded visage with marked facial structures and long hair falling past the shoulders. Examining the frescoes, one notices a correlation in the depiction of Christ's facial features, especially the stylistic representation of the hair and beard, which bear a resemblance to the imagery of the Shroud. The fresco from Bawit shows Christ with a halo, a symbol of sanctity, and a facial depiction that emphasizes the eyes and beard, similar to the detailed features of the Shroud. The eyes in the fresco, like those on the Shroud, are large and command the viewer's attention, suggesting a divine presence that is both imminent and transcendent. The depiction of the beard, with its forked style, is also reminiscent of the beard on the Shroud, which is similarly detailed and divided. Moreover, the angels flanking Christ in the fresco suggest a celestial context, reminiscent of the Shroud's interpretation as a heavenly relic. The Shroud and the fresco both convey a sense of Christ's presence and authority through their respective mediums.

In comparing these frescoes with the Shroud, one can see how the physical depiction of Christ in art may have been influenced by relics believed to bear his true likeness. The artists might have sought to capture the essence of the divine figure portrayed in the Shroud, translating its profound and solemn image into the frescoes. This suggests an artistic endeavor to echo the venerated image within the Shroud, providing a visual bridge between the relic and the faithful. These frescoes, therefore, not only represent early Christian art but also encapsulate the broader narrative of Christian iconography, where the Shroud of Turin possibly played a role in shaping the visual tradition of depicting Christ. Through such art, the community of believers could engage with a representation of Christ that resonated with the venerated and mysterious image of the Shroud, further solidifying their spiritual connection.

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Portrait of Christ on a silver vase (late 6th-early/7th century AD) discovered at Homs, ancient Emesa, in Syria: The Louvre, Paris.

The silver vase portrait of Christ from Homs, held in the Louvre, is an exquisite artifact from the late 6th to early 7th century AD, embodying the artistic and religious sentiments of its time. The representation of Christ on this vase reflects the iconographic elements that were becoming standardized in Christian art during this period. Examining the portrait, one observes the serene countenance, the stylized hair, and the prominent halo—a symbol of divinity—surrounding Christ's head. These features echo those found on the Shroud of Turin. The facial features depicted on the vase, such as the elongated nose, the stylized hair with a middle parting, and the solemn expression, are reminiscent of the physiognomy on the Shroud. The connection between the two could suggest that artists of the time might have been influenced by the Shroud when creating religious iconography.

Further into the tradition of Christian art is the famed Christ Pantocrator from Mount Sinai, an icon that presents a compellingly detailed image of Christ. The Pantocrator, which means "Almighty" or "All-powerful," typically depicts Christ holding the Gospels and blessing the viewer. This iconic image has served as a template for countless depictions of Christ throughout Christian history. The resemblance between the Pantocrator and the Shroud of Turin is striking, particularly in the structure of the face, the gaze, and the positioning of the hands. Both the Shroud and the Pantocrator convey a sense of authority and divine majesty, with the Shroud's image suggesting a moment of suffering and resurrection, while the Pantocrator reflects the risen Christ in glory. In the vase portrait from Homs, one can find a synthesis of these elements—the solemnity and regality of the Pantocrator and the hauntingly lifelike image of the Shroud. Together, they comprise an iconographic lineage that stretches from the physical artifacts associated with Christ to the stylized representations that became central to Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox Christian art. The synergy of these various representations—relic, vase portrait, and icon—speaks to the profound influence of the Shroud, whether directly or through the continuity of Christian iconography. It reveals the artists' endeavor to not only represent Christ's physical likeness but also to capture the essence of his divine nature and role as the spiritual sovereign, resonating with the faithful across the ages.

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Mosaic of the vault of the chapel of San Zeno (IX century)

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Christ Pantocrator, Central Dome, Church of the Dormition, Daphni, Greece, c. 1080–1100 CE.

The Christ Pantocrator in the central dome of the Church of the Dormition in Daphni, Greece, is an iconic example of Middle Byzantine art, dating back to around 1080–1100 CE. This mosaic represents a mature development in the portrayal of Christ in Byzantine iconography, where He is depicted as the all-powerful ruler of the universe, which is what the term 'Pantocrator' signifies. In examining the connection to the Shroud of Turin, one can observe that the Pantocrator image shares certain facial features with the face seen on the Shroud. The long hair parted in the middle, the large eyes, and the solemn expression are elements that can be found in both the Pantocrator and the Shroud. These similarities may not be coincidental; as the Shroud is considered by some to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus, bearing His true likeness after the Crucifixion, it is conceivable that its image could have informed the development of Christ's iconography.

Furthermore, the Christ Pantocrator from Mount Sinai, one of the earliest known icons of this type, might have served as a visual template for subsequent representations of Christ, including the one in Daphni. The Mount Sinai Pantocrator features a marked symmetry and a profound expression, characteristics that have been replicated and interpreted in various ways throughout the history of Christian art. The evolution from earlier artistic representations, which might have been more varied and less standardized, to the iconic Pantocrator style, reflects a synthesis of artistic creativity, theological reflection, and possibly the influence of venerated artifacts like the Shroud of Turin. This synthesis has resulted in a powerful and enduring image of Christ that conveys both His humanity and His divinity, a duality that has been central to Christian belief and has been expressed through the visual arts across centuries.

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Christ Pantocrator, Karanlik Church (Dark Church), Cappadocia, 11th century.

The stylistic elements of this icon, such as the specific facial features, the positioning of the hands, and the way the robes are depicted, have a significant influence on Christian art. This specific portrayal has been a subject of study and admiration due to its symbolic richness and its connection to the religious sentiments of the era. When considering the Shroud of Turin, the connections between the facial features and markings on the Shroud and the stylistic representations found in icons like the Pantocrator. They examine aspects such as the alignment of facial features, the pattern of the hair and beard, and the proportions of the face to understand how these icons may have been influenced by or might have influenced the perception of the Shroud. The connections between these icons and the Shroud of Turin are complex , involving a mix of art history, religious studies, and sometimes personal interpretation. The conversations around these topics can often be intriguing as they open a window into the ways in which religious artifacts both influence and are influenced by the art and faith of their time.

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Christ Pantocrator, Palatine Chapel, Sicily. This brilliant golden mosaic adorning a dome of Palermo's Palatine Chapel, inside the former Royal Palace, was commissioned by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily in 1131 to celebrate the reconquest of Sicily from Moorish rule.

The Christ Pantocrator mosaic in the Palatine Chapel of Sicily is a stunning example of Norman-Byzantine art, created during a period of cultural synthesis under the commission of King Roger II after the reconquest of Sicily. The Pantocrator, or "Ruler of All," is a depiction of Christ that became a central theme in Byzantine iconography, and this particular mosaic is noted for its grandeur and the harmonious integration of different artistic traditions. The Pantocrator image shares common features with the face seen on the Shroud of Turin. Both are characterized by a penetrating gaze, a beard, and long hair that falls over the shoulders, creating an aura of wisdom and majesty. These similarities could indicate that the image on the Shroud, which many believe to be the true face of Christ, might have influenced the iconography of the Pantocrator. This influence would not necessarily have been direct; instead, it could have been part of a broader Christian artistic tradition that sought to convey the divine authority and humanity of Christ.

The Christ Pantocrator from Mount Sinai, one of the oldest known icons of Christ, presents a template that has been echoed in later artworks, including the mosaic in Palermo. The solemnity and symmetry of the Sinai Pantocrator, along with its spiritual intensity, may have served as a visual reference for artists creating subsequent images of Christ, seeking to encapsulate the same sense of divinity. In the Palatine Chapel mosaic, Christ is shown as the cosmic judge and king, attributes that are also suggested by the Shroud through its depiction of the suffering and resurrection of Christ. This confluence of art and relic serves to deepen the faithful's contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation and the promise of redemption that Christ represents. The mosaic thus reflects not only the political and cultural achievements of Norman Sicily but also the spiritual aspirations of the time, possibly drawing from the profound legacy of the Shroud of Turin and the visual tradition established by the Pantocrator of Mount Sinai. Through these images, the theological and iconographic portrayal of Christ has been shaped across time, contributing to the rich tapestry of Christian art and devotion.

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The Byzantine image of Christ Pantokrator (Ruler of All) is a frontal, half-length portrait of a bearded Christ holding a Gospel book in his left hand while giving a sign of blessing with his right. 11th–12th century

The ivory carving of the Christ Pantokrator from the 11th–12th century is a representation that encapsulates the Byzantine conception of Christ as the sovereign ruler and divine judge. This portrayal is consistent with the Pantocrator type, which typically features Christ holding the Gospels and making a gesture of blessing.

The Pantocrator imagery, characterized by its frontality, solemnity, and specific gestures, reflects an iconographic standard that can be traced back to the Christ Pantocrator of Mount Sinai, one of the oldest known icons dating to the 6th century. The Mount Sinai Pantocrator set a visual precedent for depicting Christ with a profound expression and with attributes emphasizing his teaching authority and divine nature.

In relation to the Shroud of Turin, the facial features of the Pantocrator share notable similarities with the face on the Shroud, including the beard and the long hair parted in the middle. The Shroud, venerated by many as the burial cloth of Christ, bears the image of a man with an expression that has been interpreted as peaceful yet marked by suffering, which might have influenced the way Christ's face was rendered in religious art.

The convergence between the Shroud of Turin and the Christ Pantocrator iconography lies in the effort to depict the duality of Christ’s nature—His humanity encapsulated in the physicality and suffering evident in the Shroud, and His divinity represented by the majesty and authority in the Pantocrator imagery. The serene yet solemn expression in both the Shroud and the Pantocrator icons is a visual expression of this duality, aiming to inspire reverence and contemplation among the faithful.

The continuity from the Christ Pantocrator of Mount Sinai to later Byzantine representations, including this ivory carving, illustrates the enduring nature of this iconographic motif. It suggests a tradition of Christological portrayal that has been informed by a combination of artistic influences, theological reflection, and possibly the contemplation of sacred relics such as the Shroud of Turin. This tradition has profoundly shaped the visual language of Christian devotion, capturing the essence of Christ’s role as both the Redeemer and the eternal Word made flesh.

Chronology of the Shroud:

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This icon is not only a masterpiece of religious art but also an important artifact in the study of early Christian and Byzantine art. It reflects the theological and artistic developments of the time and continues to be a source of inspiration and devotion for many Christians around the world.

Christ Pantocrator, St Catherine's monastery, Sinai. This encaustic (hot coloured wax) on wood (a technique which died out and became lost in the eight century) icon of Christ Pantocrator ("ruler of all") at the isolated Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, and so escaped the iconoclasm (Gk. eikon = "image" + klastes = "breaker") of of the eighth through ninth centuries. Dated c. 550, this icon was a gift from the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (c.482–565), who built the monastery between 548 and 565. This is the earliest surviving painted icon of Christ. It is nearly perfectly congruent to the Shroud-face, for example the high right eyebrow, the hollow right cheek, and the garment neckline. So marked are these oddities, that the late Princeton University art historian, Professor Kurt Weitzmann (1904-1993), while making no connection with the Shroud, remarked of this icon that:

"... the pupils of the eyes are not at the same level; the eyebrow over Christ's left eye is arched higher than over his right ... one side of the mustache droops at a slightly different angle from the other, while the beard is combed in the opposite direction ... Many of these subtleties remain attached to this particular type of Christ image and can be seen in later copies ..."

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Evidence that suggests the Pantocrator icon was based on the image of the Shroud of Turin

Both the face on the Shroud and the Pantocrator icon show notable asymmetry. The cheekbones, eyebrows, and the alignment of the eyes are not symmetrical, which is unusual for Byzantine iconography which often idealized symmetry. This asymmetry is clear evidence that the artist of the Pantocrator tried to capture the realistic features of the image on the Shroud, which also exhibits asymmetry that is consistent with a real human face bearing signs of injury or swelling.
The presence of such asymmetry in both the Shroud and the icon permits the interpretation as a clue that the iconographer was influenced by the image on the Shroud, aiming to represent a more realistic and human portrayal of Jesus, reflecting the details of the Shroud's image.

The face on the Shroud and the Pantocrator icon have similar proportions and features.  When one image is superimposed on the other, key features such as the eyes, nose, and mouth often align closely.
Both images share specific marks that could be interpreted as corresponding to the same facial features or wounds, particularly those consistent with the Passion of Christ as described in Christian theology.
The flow and length of the hair and beard are often noted to be very similar. The way the face is lit and the lines of the face and neck could suggest a common reference.

Vignon marks refer to specific features or details found on the Shroud of Turin that can be matched, particularly the Pantocrator type. These marks are named after the French scholar Paul Vignon, who identified them in the early 20th century. They are considered as points of congruence that indicate the Shroud was used as a reference for these icons.

In the image comparison, the Vignon marks are present in both the Shroud and the Pantocrator icon. Some of these marks include:

Three-sided Square 'U' shape in the forehead, indicative of the way the blood flowed after the Crown of Thorns was placed on the head. Two Strands of Hair, which fall in a particular way across the forehead. Open Oval Eyes, which may appear unusually open for a deceased individual as seen on the Shroud. Enlarged Left Cheek, which could be suggestive of swelling or injury. Raised Right Eyebrow, giving a particular expression that is replicated in the icon. Accentuated Zygomatic Arch, more prominent on one side of the face. Alignment of the Beard, which has a particular skew or parting that is present in both images.  The presence of these specific and unique features in both the Shroud and the Pantocrator icon is evidence of a direct relationship.

Using polarized image overlay techniqueDr Alan Whanger found over 200 points of congruence between this icon and the Shroud. 

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The image is a layered composite that overlays the face from the Shroud of Turin with representations of the Christ Pantocrator icon. The gradual increase from one image to the other allows us to observe the specific congruences between the two. Here are the details:

Facial Outline: The contour of the face from the Shroud and the Pantocrator icons align closely, indicating a similar shape of the cheeks, jawline, and forehead.
Eyes: Both images have eyes that are similarly shaped and spaced. In the overlay, it appears that the alignment of the eyes is such that the gaze is consistent between the Shroud and the icons.
Eyebrows: The eyebrows in both images follow the same arch and thickness, with slight asymmetry where the right eyebrow is often depicted as more arched.
Nose: The bridge and length of the nose, along with the shape of the nostrils, align between the Shroud and the icons, suggesting a congruent depiction.
Mouth: The mouth, especially the line of the lips and the definition of the upper lip, matches closely between the Shroud and the icons.
Beard: The beard pattern is especially congruent, with the fork at the chin and the line of the mustache over the upper lip.
Hair: The hairline and the flow of the hair on both sides of the face, including the parting in the middle, are consistent between the Shroud and the icons.
Forehead Markings: If there is a mark on the forehead in the Shroud, it aligns with similar marks or features in the icons, which could correspond to the Vignon markings as previously mentioned.
Facial Lines and Wrinkles: The lines on the forehead, around the eyes, and the nasolabial folds are similarly positioned in both images.

These congruences are evidence that the iconography of the Pantocrator was influenced by the features present on the Shroud of Turin, with artists with high confidence using the Shroud as a reference point for their representations of Christ.

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Ostia, end of 4th century Museo Ostiense in Ostia Antica: Large bust of Christ composed of inlaid polychrome marbles, which nearly fills the rectangular panel. Christ is nimbed, has a forked beard (made of a single piece of marble), long curly hair, and wears a tunic with a clavus over the right shoulder.

The image of Jesus evolved significantly following the triumph of Christianity, which was officially endorsed by Constantine in 313 through the Edict of Milan. This new depiction of Jesus featured a moderately long beard and a mustache, complemented by a slender face. He appeared tall and dignified, with long hair cascading over his shoulders, often parted in the middle. The Shroud depicts a man with a forked beard—a detail not commonly found in art of the period but prominently displayed in this mosaic. This particular feature is intriguing because it is distinct and less stylized than other beard depictions of the era, which suggests it may have been drawn from an actual reference, such as the Shroud.

Regarding the hair, the Shroud shows a figure with long hair falling to the shoulders, possibly parted in the middle. This detail is mirrored in the mosaic, where Christ's hair is similarly long and styled. What's noteworthy is not just the length but how the hair lays and flows, suggesting weight and texture, which corresponds to the hair's appearance on the Shroud.

The face itself in the mosaic, slender and with a certain gravitas, also aligns with the visage on the Shroud. It is not merely the shape but the expression conveyed—solemn, introspective—that resonates with the countenance of the figure on the Shroud.

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Jesus Christ Pantocrator (Ruler of the Universe) Mosaic from the Deesis Panel of the South Gallery of the Hagia Sophia (1185-1204). Byzantine Art.

The mosaic of Jesus Christ Pantocrator from the Deesis Panel of the South Gallery of Hagia Sophia, dating from the late 12th to early 13th century, is a seminal work of Byzantine art. This image of Christ as the Ruler of the Universe is rendered with a profound sense of authority and divinity, which is central to the Pantocrator iconography.

The Pantocrator motif traditionally portrays Christ holding the Gospel book, symbolizing His role as the Word of God, and making a gesture of blessing, denoting His role as savior and judge. This mosaic from Hagia Sophia is particularly renowned for its artistic excellence and the depth of expression captured in Christ's face. When considering the Shroud of Turin within this context, the mosaic's portrayal of Christ shows facial features—a solemn gaze, a bearded visage, and long hair—that resonate with the image on the Shroud, believed by many to be the true likeness of Christ after His crucifixion. The Shroud's detailed image, with its enigmatic expression and the marks of suffering, provides a stark contrast to the regal and serene depiction in the Hagia Sophia mosaic.

The Christ Pantocrator of Mount Sinai, one of the earliest known icons of Christ Pantocrator, set a precedent for this type of representation. Its depiction of Christ with an intense and penetrating gaze, balanced features, and a symmetrical face may have influenced the stylized manner in which Christ was depicted in later Byzantine art, including the Deesis mosaic. The visual elements present in both the Shroud and the Mount Sinai Pantocrator could have served as inspiration for the Deesis mosaic, contributing to the portrayal of Christ as both fully divine and fully human. This mosaic, with its synthesis of solemnity and compassion, reflects a deep theological understanding of Christ's nature, an understanding that was shaped over centuries and influenced by both sacred artifacts and the evolution of artistic tradition.

The Deesis mosaic, therefore, is not only a masterpiece of Byzantine art but also a visual expression of the cumulative tradition of Christian iconography, enriched possibly by the influence of the Shroud of Turin and earlier icons such as the one from Mount Sinai. This artwork stands as a testament to the religious and artistic endeavors to portray the divine mystery of Christ's existence and His eternal presence as the Ruler of All.

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Christ Pantocrator, Sant Climent of Taüll, 12th century. Museum: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), Barcelona, SPAIN.

The Christ Pantocrator of Sant Climent of Taüll, which is now housed in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) in Barcelona, Spain, is a prime example of Romanesque art from the 12th century. The figure of Christ Pantocrator, depicted within a mandorla and flanked by the symbols of the four Evangelists, is a powerful icon of Christian art that has inspired generations. The Pantocrator from Sant Climent of Taüll is a part of a progression in the depiction of Christ that becomes more standardized over time, especially after the first millennium AD. This standardization reflects a synthesis of biblical description, theological interpretation, and historical artifacts that were revered as genuine likenesses of Jesus. Examining the Pantocrator, one is immediately drawn to the commanding presence of Christ, holding the Gospels and blessing the viewer, embodying His role as the judge and sovereign of all. This depiction is consistent with the iconography of the Christ Pantocrator found in the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai. The Mount Sinai Pantocrator has been influential in the iconography of Christ, providing a template for subsequent representations, including that of Sant Climent of Taüll.

When considering the Shroud of Turin within this artistic trajectory, its impact on the evolution of Christ's imagery is evident. The Shroud's detailed portrayal of the face of a man who has suffered presents a stark contrast to the divine majesty typically shown in Pantocrator icons. However, both forms aim to capture aspects of Christ's dual nature as human and divine. The earlier depictions of Christ, which often presented Him as a youthful shepherd or teacher, evolved into the more mature, authoritative Pantocrator image as seen in Sant Climent of Taüll. This development mirrors the Church's own transformation and the growing emphasis on Christ's divine authority. The Shroud of Turin, with its evocative image of Christ's face, could have contributed to this evolution, providing a physical point of reference for artists seeking to express the profound mystery of the Incarnation and the Resurrection. The Pantocrator of Sant Climent of Taüll, therefore, not only stands as a monumental work of Romanesque art but also as a culmination of centuries of Christian artistic development. It reflects both the changing perceptions of Christ in the Christian tradition and the potential influences of revered relics like the Shroud of Turin, which may have offered a tangible connection to the physical reality of Christ and thus influenced His representation in sacred art.

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As for the detail in the middle of the forehead, which may be a lock or double lock of hair, or some line or spot of red or white color, sometimes even a vertical wrinkle, it is always painted in the middle region and changes not the essential shape, but its content across various images from different centuries. This reveals, despite the different interpretations, a single origin: the characteristic trickle of blood on the forehead of the face shown on the Shroud.

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Marinelli (2014)The lock of hair, simple or double, can be seen, for example, in the 9th-century Pantocrator in the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palatio in Rome 1, in the 12th-century Pantocrator of Cefalù (Palermo) 2 , in the Pantocrator of the same century of Monreale (Palermo) 3 , in the Pantocrator of Sant'Angelo in Formis in Capua (Caserta) 4 , and in the Pantocrator of the 12th century from the church of the monastery of Daphni, near Athens.  1

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The 10th-century Codex Vat. Gr. 511, particularly folios 143-150v, contains an oration by Gregory, an archdeacon of Constantinople's Great Church, which suggests a link between the Edessa image and the Shroud. He speaks of the image not being crafted by human hands but formed from divine 'splendor,' attributing its creation to the sweat of agony and blood from Christ’s face and side, respectively. These elements did not simply stain; they bore life-affirming teachings. This implies that the Edessa image encompassed more than Christ's visage, extending at least to the chest, hinting at the Shroud's fuller form. To expand on this, further examination of the Codex could reveal more about the cultural and religious significance of the Edessa image in Byzantine iconography and its perceived miraculous origins.

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6th to 14th Century History of the Shroud

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The Shroud, believed to be stored in the Middle East (possibly Jerusalem) in the first century, was exhibited in Edessa from 200 to 944 AD. It was then displayed in Constantinople until the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It's speculated that the Shroud was taken during the sack of Constantinople, possibly acquired by the Knights Templar. It reappeared in historical records in 1353, displayed in a church in Lirey, France.

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About the year 589 the Visigoth Church of Spain began to recite in their version of the liturgy (the Mozarabic or Rite of Toledo) the following statement:
“Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints (vestigia) of the dead and risen man on the linens”

Pope Stephan III, 769 AD: “A cloth on which the glorious image of our Lord’s face and the length of his body was so divinely transformed that it was sufficient for those who could not see the Lord’s body in the flesh to see the transfiguration made on the cloth.

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The Sacred Image of Edessa – Recognized as Acheiropoietos (meaning "not made by human hands")  

Edessa, currently known as Urfa in Turkey and situated about 145 miles northeast of Antioch, was an important early center for Christian evangelization. During the onset of the Christian era, Edessa was under Parthian influence, not Roman, and its inhabitants predominantly spoke Syriac instead of Greek. Despite this, the city became a focal point for Christian missionaries, largely due to its substantial Jewish community. The presence of this community facilitated the spread of Christianity in the region. A notable aspect of Edessa's Christian history is the widespread story of King Abgar V's conversion to Christianity. This story, which was well-documented and circulated, contributed to the belief that Edessa was the first kingdom to officially embrace Christianity as its state religion. The city's significant role in the early Christian world and this notable event in its religious history made Edessa a key location in the spread of Christianity during its early years.

"Acheiropoieta" (meaning "not made by human hands")

Whatever the truth about the Edessa Image’s existence in antiquity, most scholars concede there is sufficient evidence for its reality sometime in the 6th century. The primary document is Evagrius’ Greek Ecclesiastical History, written about 595. The Image of Edessa was officially recognized as "Acheiropoieta" (meaning "not made by human hands") by church historian Evagrius Scholasticus.  In it, he recounts the desperate attempts of the Edessans to stave off a 544 Persian siege. When the enemy built a large wooden siege ramp aimed at overwhelming their walls, the Edessans mined under it stacking wood with the hope of burning it down. However, their wood found too little air to burn:

So, when they came to complete despair, they brought the divinely created image, which human hands had not made, the one that Christ the God sent to Abgar .... Then, when they brought the all-holy image into the channel they had created and sprinkled it with water, they applied some to the pyre and the timbers. And at once ... the timbers caught fire ... (Whitby 2000: 226 – 227). The siege ramp was destroyed and city saved. This image's recognition significantly contributed to its historical and religious importance in the Christian world.

Evagrius’ Ecclesiastical History and the anonymous Acts of Thaddeus were the earliest Greek documents Wilson found referring to the Image.

Evagrius’ Ecclesiastical History and the anonymous Acts of Thaddeus were the earliest Greek documents Wilson found referring to the Image. Recently his confidence in this historical reconstruction was considerably enhanced with the 1994 translation of discarded Georgian texts found at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. They help confirm old Georgian traditions that Assyrian monks evangelized Georgia in the 6th century (Wilson believes the 530’s). One of the monks, Theodosius, was from Edessa where he was “a deacon and monk [in charge] of the Image of Christ,” a certain reference to the Edessa Icon (Wilson 2010: 135–36). Both Theodosius and a companion were tasked to paint religious art, and are rare examples of known individuals engaging in “icon evangelism” during this era. Additionally, the Syriac Acts of Mar Mari the Apostle (believed to be an early evangelist to the Assyrian region) briefly records the miraculous origins of the Icon and probably dates to the 6th century (Harrak 2005: xvii). In it Jesus is said to have made his image on a sdwn’ (linen cloth) (Drijvers 1997: 21–26). Although sometimes doubted in academic circles, the Holy Image of Edessa was a documented certainty no later than the 6th century.

Syriac documents and traditions continue to shed light on the Image for the next three centuries. 

Recently, Archbishop Gewargis Silwa, head of the Church of the East in Iraq, disclosed an unpublished mid-7th century letter addressed to Nestorian Christians in Edessa calling that city 
“a sanctified throne for the Image of his adorable face and his glorified incarnation,” an almost certain reference to the Icon (Wilson 2001: 34 – 35). 

The 8th and 9th centuries Jacobite Patriarch Dionysius of Tell-Machre (a town nearby Edessa) remembered that the Image of Edessa was in the hands of the orthodox Christian community going back to the late sixth century. His recollections mirror those of the Acts of Mari and recount 
Jesus making his swrt’ (Syriac for image) on a shwshaepha (piece of cloth or towel) (Drijvers 1997: 21 – 26). 

These accounts are almost identical to the image creation in Acts of Thaddeus, but without mention of a word like tetradiplon. Dionysius remembered one story told by his grandfather how a clever artist, in the employ of the fabulously wealthy Edessan Athanasius bar Gumoye, had made a copy “as exactly as possible [like the original] because the painter had dulled the paints of the portrait so they would appear old” (Segal, 1970: 213 - 214); he then tricked the Image’s original owners, the Orthodox Christian community, by exchanging the copy for the original. Whatever the full truth of this event, it would have occurred near the end of the 7th century. It indicates the Image had been revered for a considerable time, and it affirms that copies were being made. Additionally, having to “dull the paints” suggested to Wilson not just age, but the indistinct, faint image so characteristic of the Shroud face. Two early 8th century texts make it clear that the Edessa Image was a continuing and important religious object. 

The Church where it was kept was referred to as 
“The House of the Icon of the Lord” in manuscript BL Oriental 8606 dated to 723 (Drijvers 1997: 28). 

Scholar Hans Drijvers also knows of an unpublished text of an early 8th century dispute between a Christian monk and an Arab wherein the latter admits he has heard of the image made by Christ and sent to King Abgar (Drijvers 1997: 27). 4

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The Medallion of Lirey
The medallion (see Figure 1, below) was found in the Seine river, under the “Pont-au-Change” bridge, in 1855. This medallion was most probably from a pilgrim who went to Lirey, France, to see the Shroud, and lost it, or intentionally tossed it, in the Seine river thereafter. This is the only known exemplar to have been found. It is interesting to note that several similar medallions were also found around the same time in the Seine, one representing the Sainte Tunique. But this is a completely different subject.

On the medallion of Lirey, the reproduction of the Shroud is unmistakable as we can clearly see the frontal and dorsal of a body very similar to the Turin Shroud along the coats of arms of the families (i.e. de Charny, de Vergy) who owned the Shroud in France around 1350-1450. It is difficult to date the medaillon precisely, but based on coats of arms, it was likely produced between 1350 and 1418, the period that the Shroud was in Lirey. The medallion's dimensions are 4.5 cm high and 6.2 cm wide. Interestingly, it is one of the largest medallions in the Cluny's museum collection. Perhaps this large dimension attests the importance that was given to the relic by its owners.

Important note: in the following, it is important to correctly identify the left and right arms on the Shroud of Turin. We interpret the image on the Shroud as if the body imprinted itself on the cloth (some parts did this impression at a small distance, a few centimeters, from the cloth). When looking at the image on the Shroud, the left arm is on the left of the image (correspondingly, the right arm is on the right of the image). The error would be to interpret the image as in a photograph (i.e., a positive photograph): the sides would be inverted, which is not correct. In that sense, the Shroud image is like a negative photograph. It is more precisely an imprint.

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Marinelli, E. (2014) In the midst of World War II, a curious artifact was discovered in Templecombe, England, carved into a slab of oak. This village derived its name due to hosting a Templar Preceptory from 1185 to the early 1300s. The carving features a face with a beard, notable for its indistinct edges, hinting at the enigmatic presence of the Templars in the area. It is unequivocally similar to the Shroud: with the technique of the superimposition in polarized light 125 points of congruence between the two images have been found. 1

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A painting found in Templecombe (Somerset, England), once property of the Templars. Many clues lead to believe that this knightly order, condemned in 1307 as heretical for the secret worship of a Holy Face, hid the Shroud, which disappeared from Constantinople in 1204. (I. Wilson).

Many of the Templars denied the existence of Bafometto, a mysterious and bearded idol worshiped with the title of “our Savior”; others described it in great detail, illustrating it even in demonic hues. One hypothesis states that the Bafometto could be the Shroud that, when folded, was shown during the rites of the Order.

In the previous appointment we have indicated some tracks that can connect the Shroud with the Templars. We cited Guillaume de Beaujeu and Amaury de la Roche as two possible junctions and, having summarized a historical picture of the Templar Order, we came between the 13th and 14th centuries, when the Templars began to lose their charisma and the French king Philip IV the Fair, without delay, began his persecution against them. We also mentioned a mysterious bearded idol: the Bafometto.

On 13 October 1307 the order of arrest of the Templars and confiscation of their property by Filippo IV was carried out. The Knights were subjected to terrible torture until they confessed the accusations that had been made against them: sodomy, heresy and idolatry.

In 1312 Pope Clement V suppressed the Order of the Templars and subsequently decreed the transfer of its assets to the Knights Hospitallers. Philip IV could finally destroy the accounting books of the Templars (where his debts to the Order were shown) and their banking system.

The date of 18 March 1314 marked the final act against the Templar Order: Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, and Geoffroy de Charnay, Preceptor of Normandy, took the stake before Notre-Dame of Paris. The homonymy of the latter with Geoffroy I de Charny – it was not uncommon to write “Charny” even in the form “Charnay” or “Charney” – or the probable family relationship between the two, could confirm an additional Templar track for the arrival of the Shroud in the hands of the Lord of Lirey.

Icons (Greek for ‘images’) are known to us since at least the 6th Century. The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents Christ.  The first record of the existence of a physical image in the ancient city of Edessa (now Urfa) was by Evagrius Scholasticus, writing about 593, who reports a portrait of Christ of divine origin (θεότευκτος), which effected the miraculous aid in the defence of Edessa against the Persians in 544

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1. Marinelli, E. (2014). La Sindone e l'iconografia di Cristo. [The Shroud and the Iconography of Christ]. October 2014. Link
2. The Tradition of the Image of Edessa MARK GUSCIN 2014 Link
3. The Shroud of Turin A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses Link 
4.  The Shroud of Turin's Earlier History: Part One - To Edessa Link

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In Turin's Holy Shroud Museum, located near the cathedral where the Shroud is kept, there's an interesting artifact from the late 19th century: a plate camera equipped with a Voigtländer precision lens. This camera played a pivotal role in changing the way the world saw the Shroud of Turin. In 1898, as Italy celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its constitution, the Shroud was publicly displayed for the first time in thirty years, coinciding with Turin's festivities. Don Nogier de Malijai, a young 27-year-old Salesian priest and photography enthusiast, saw this as a perfect chance to photograph the Shroud, something never done before. The idea wasn't entirely new, though. Back in 1842, during a display of the Shroud for the wedding of Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, local craftsman Enrico Jest, who had replicated France's daguerreotype photographic process, almost managed to photograph it.

However, the notion of photographing the Shroud was controversial, considered inappropriate for such a sacred artifact. King Umberto I of Savoy, the owner of the Shroud and son of Victor Emmanuel, was initially against the idea. After much persuasion, he allowed an official photograph to be taken, and the task unexpectedly fell to Secondo Pia, a 43-year-old lawyer and amateur photographer. Pia faced several challenges, including photographing the Shroud behind glass and suspended above the altar in dim cathedral lighting. He needed to use electric lighting, which was unreliable in 1898, and build a three-meter-high platform for his camera. His initial attempt on May 25 faced issues, but he managed two exposures which revealed a strange effect on the negatives. Pia, along with Don Nogier and Felice Fino, a cathedral security guard and camera hobbyist, returned on the night of May 28. They conducted trial exposures, with Pia using his best Voigtländer lens for the final, official shots. He took four exposures, varying from eight to fourteen minutes, though only two were officially recorded. These photographs of the Shroud marked a significant moment in its history, altering perceptions of this mysterious and sacred artifact.

That night in his darkroom, as Secondo Pia developed the best of the four plates, he could finally confirm the unusual effect he had noticed in his initial trial negatives. As the image developed, it revealed not the faint, hard-to-decipher imprints he had expected but something far more remarkable. In its negative form, the Shroud’s images, with their head-to-head double figures, transformed dramatically. The vague, shadowy outlines, often interpreted grotesquely by copyists, now displayed clear, natural shading, offering a sense of depth and relief. The bloodstains, appearing white on the negative, looked realistically as if they were flowing from the hands, feet, side, and around the head. The figure on the Shroud, previously perceived as almost cartoonish, now appeared as a proportionate, robust individual. Most striking was the face - dignified, lifelike, set against a dark background, yet all captured in a photographic negative. Pia felt an eerie sensation, believing he might be the first person in nearly 1,900 years to see the actual appearance of Christ's body as it was laid in the tomb. He had uncovered what seemed to be a real photograph, concealed within the cloth, only to be revealed by the camera's lens.

News of this discovery spread quickly. The first media coverage appeared in L’Italia Reale Corriere Nazionale on June 1, followed soon by one of the unofficial photos. Skepticism wasn't far behind, with the Italia Corriere on June 15 suggesting the effect was due to Pia's use of a yellow filter. Various scientific explanations were proposed, such as transparency, over-exposure, or refraction. More damaging were insinuations that Pia had tampered with the negative, implying the effect was a hoax. In the following three years, even prominent Roman Catholic church figures joined the skeptics. They pointed to the Shroud’s questionable historical record before its emergence in northern France in the mid-14th century, a time when it faced allegations of being a forgery. This skepticism cast a shadow over both the Shroud and Pia, akin to the doubts following the Shroud's 1988 radiocarbon dating. This cloud of controversy lingered for three decades, only beginning to clear when a new opportunity to exhibit the Shroud arose. In 1931, an event of great significance in Italy coincided with a momentous opportunity for the Shroud of Turin: the wedding of Prince Umberto of Piedmont, later King Umberto II, to Princess Maria José of Belgium. This event drew around two million visitors to Turin. To commemorate this occasion, the Savoy family decided to display the Shroud publicly from May 3rd to 14th. Additionally, they aimed to address the controversies surrounding Secondo Pia’s photograph by commissioning Giuseppe Enrie, a professional photographer from Turin, to take new, official photographs of the Shroud.

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Altar with the exposure, 1898

Between May 21st and 23rd, Enrie embarked on this task, capturing a series of definitive black-and-white photographs. Unlike Pia's earlier work, these images were taken with the Shroud out of its protective glass, using significantly advanced photographic equipment. Enrie produced a total of twelve official photographs: four capturing the entire Shroud, segments of the Shroud in three parts, the full imprint of the body’s back, close-ups of the face and chest, the face at two-thirds and natural size, and a detailed sevenfold enlargement of the nail wound in the left wrist. These photographs represented the pinnacle of pre-digital black-and-white photography. One of the most striking images was the natural-size negative of the Shroud man’s face. Enrie described the moment he presented this plate to the Archbishop and other dignitaries as one of the most beautiful and moving of his career. Among the audience was Prince Umberto, for whom the Shroud display was organized, who was reportedly overwhelmed with excitement and emotion. The glass plate that Enrie used, which I had the chance to examine in 1994 at Enrie’s old studio, is now considered a historic artifact and is displayed in Turin’s Museum of the Shroud. This plate, along with thousands of similar negative photographs taken by professionals and amateurs alike, has helped to dispel the notion that the phenomenon Pia first observed in 1898 was a hoax. Pia, then 76, was alive to witness this vindication. He attended the showing with a public notary and photographic experts to ensure the integrity of Enrie’s process. Four decades later, in 1973, Pope Paul VI, during a televised address about the Shroud’s first color television broadcast, recalled his own reaction as a young priest to Enrie’s photograph in 1931. He expressed his awe at the image's authenticity and its blend of human and divine qualities. Similarly, Leo Vala, a well-known London photographer and an agnostic, commented in a photography journal that the image couldn’t have been faked, stating that even with modern technology, replicating such a perfect negative would be impossible. Vala emphasized the photograph's precise photographic quality, underscoring its authenticity.

The image is a photo-negative

The negative of Secondo Pia's full-length photograph of the Shroud [provided by Barrie Schwortz] taken in Turin Cathedral on the evening of 28 May 1898 during the 1898 Exposition. That this is a true negative is evident in that the black burnt areas from the 1532 fire are white and the white patches applied in the 1534 repair. And yet the Shroud man's image in Pia's photograph is a positive, which means that the image is a photographic negative

In 1898 Secondo Pia took the first official photograph of the Shroud. 

During the 1898 Exposition of the Shroud from 25 May to 2 June, Turin lawyer, city councillor and amateur but expert photographer, Secondo Pia (1855–1941), photographed the Shroud. Pia's first attempt to photograph the Shroud on 25 May was only partially successful. But he "managed two exposures and although they were less than perfect, already evident on these negatives was a rather strange effect".

"On the evening of 28 May he [Pia] returned to the cathedral and tried again. This time his equipment worked perfectly. Having exposed four photographic plates, he returned to his studio around midnight and began the process of developing them. What Pia saw that night in his darkroom astounded him. For, as the image on the negative plate took shape before his eyes, he found himself staring not at a confusing array of lights and darks, the usual effect of a photographic negative, but at a coherent likeness of a crucified man. Instead of the flat, enigmatic image seen on the cloth, the negative plate gave the impression of a substantial figure emerging from the background, a figure that looked like a real human body lit from in front ... Instead of the glaring mask of the Shroud, the negative revealed a remarkably convincing, three-dimensional image of man's face, his eyelids closed ... It was as if the Shroud itself was a photographic negative that could be developed into a breathtaking, positive image of the crucified Jesus. `Shut up in my darkroom,' Pia later recalled, 'all intent on my work, I experienced a very strong emotion when, during the development, I saw for the first time the Holy Face appear on the plate, with such clarity that I was dumbfounded by it...".

 Secondo Pia's 1898 negative photograph of the Shroud face. Note that the bloodstains, which are dark red on the Shroud as one looks at it, being white on this negative, proves that the blood is not part of the image.

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Giuseppe Felice Pia, born in 1855 to an important family in Asti, Italy, and a lawyer by profession, chose photography as his passion. He began his journey in a challenging era for those who had to navigate through chemicals and prepare plates on the spot in itinerant workshops. Driven by his love for art history, he captured both well-known and unknown monuments in the region throughout his life, thus undertaking an extensive photographic campaign of the cultural heritage of Piedmont. The National Cinema Museum of Turin holds over 13,000 photographs taken by Pia, which help reconstruct the urban and architectural history of Piedmont.

However, what immortalized Secondo Pia in history was certainly his photograph of the Shroud of Turin, which revealed for the first time its nature as a photographic negative. This occurred in 1898: during the marriage of Prince Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy to Princess Elena of Montenegro, it was decided to solemnly exhibit the sacred relic, as was the custom of the House of Savoy during major events and jubilees, for the veneration of the faithful. In this context, the idea, sponsored by Baron Antonio Manno, to photograph the Shroud was born. King Umberto I, despite some initial hesitations, granted permission, and the lawyer Secondo Pia, a skilled photographer who had already demonstrated great expertise without being a professional, was chosen for this prestigious task. Pia thus embodied two fundamental qualities: ability and disinterest.

To accomplish this truly "titanic" feat (remember, the Shroud measures 4.37 meters in length and 1.10 meters in height), a special photographic device capable of mounting a "giant" 50x60 cm plate was specifically constructed. After an initial failed attempt, on the evening of May 28, 1898, Pia finally succeeded in his task despite a series of technical problems. In the light of two electric headlights, an absolute novelty for the time, he exposed two 50x60 plates, one with a 14-minute exposure and the other with a 20-minute exposure. As soon as he finished, he immediately took the plates to the darkroom for fixing. The grandson of one of Pia's assistants, who was waiting outside the darkroom, recounted the event: "Pia stood on the threshold of the darkroom, his hands clutching the large plate still dripping with fixative. As my grandfather approached him, he was struck by the strange expression on his face. He looked down at the plate and saw. Standing there, one in front of the other, they couldn't take their eyes off that wonderful negative image, which, according to their photographic experience, should have been negative, and yet... It was Pia who broke the silence first: 'Look, Carlino, if this isn't a miracle!'" Secondo Pia was the first man in history to contemplate the Sacred Face of the Lord in "positive" after 19 centuries.

Secondo Pia (1855–1941), a lawyer from Asti, went down in history as the first photographer of the Shroud of Turin, the author of the image that received approval from the Church as a devotional part of the Holy Face of Jesus.

His achievement (for it was such) was made possible thanks to the support of Baron Manno, his patron in the difficult negotiations with the House of Savoy, the owner of the relic. Thanks to the negative, the photograph revealed details that could only be perceived with great approximation by the naked eye.

These details, after the dissemination of the image taken by Pia, sparked great controversy in public opinion, so much so that in 1901, Pia decided to authenticate the testimonies of those who were with him the night he photographed the Holy Shroud, to attest to the absence of trickery in the execution of the plates. In the act collected by the royal notary Giuseppe Cantù, it reads:

"On the night of May 28, 1898, at nine-thirty in the evening, Mr. Lawyer Secondo Pia set out to photograph the Holy Shroud. For this purpose, a special platform was constructed at a distance of eight meters and opposite the main altar, on which the Sacred Relic was exposed behind the Crystal, within a frame. On the said platform, Lawyer Pia placed his camera of fifty by sixty format, the Sacred Relic was illuminated by two electric spotlights each with its own reflector masked by frosted glass screens [for better light diffusion, ed.] placed in front of and to the side of the S. Relic and at a distance of about ten meters from the same, and with the caution that the one placed in cornu evangelii had a luminous power superior by about fifty candles to the opposite one, as is clearly seen from the photographic cliché. In preparing for the operation, Lawyer Pia took two poses, one of fourteen prime minutes and the other of twenty prime minutes. It is absolutely excluded that negatives were taken for transparency or in any other way different from the one mentioned above, the Holy Relic never having been removed from its frame and the crystal that guarded it."

According to the same report by Pia, the lens he used was a Voigtlander "with a two-millimeter diaphragm" and the plates were produced by Edward and developed in a solution of ferrous oxalate. To highlight the tones, he also placed a straw-yellow filter in front of the lens. The emotion upon discovering that on the first plate appeared a perfect "positive" portrait of the body made the lawyer drop it from his hands. The Shroud body image seen with the unaided eye is itself a photographic negative that becomes a photographic positive image only when photographed. On Pia's and Solaro's negatives the bloodstains appear as white blotches, the camera therefore does record a negative image of these positive stains, which means that on the Shroud the bloodstains are not an image of blood, but the remains of blood.

The general public became aware of the Shroud. 

The Shroud had become an obscure relic by 1898, its owners the House of Savoy having before 1898 publicly exhibited it only five times in the nineteenth century, in 1814, 1815, 1822, 1842 and 1868. But Pia's photographs made the Shroud famous. The realization that the Shroud contained a negative image was shocking not only to Pia but to the owner of the Shroud, King Victor-Emmanuel III (1869–1947) and his advisors. They agreed that no public announcement should be made until they had considered the implications, but the news soon leaked out anyway. Newspapers around the world announced Pia's exciting discovery and the reading public was tantalized by the description of the mysterious, if not miraculous, nature of the Shroud's image. However, no newspaper published Pia's photographs in 1898-99, as photographs had not yet begun to appear in that medium. Only two magazines carried Pia's photographs, but one was a very poor reproduction of the full-length Shroud and the other was only of the face. Nevertheless as newspapers and journals around the world began to publish Pia's photographs, a better understanding of his discovery and the Shroud gradually spread.

Beginning of scientific study of the Shroud. 

The Shroud entered the field of science on 28 May 1898, when Secondo Pia found that the image of the man on the Shroud was a photographic negative. Indeed it was not until the advent of photography in the 19th century that scientific study of the Shroud could begin. Pia's photographing the Shroud was the first scientific experiment on the Shroud without him realising it. The clarity of detail in Pia's negative photographs of the Shroud enabled it to be an object of serious scientific study for the first time. Scientific interest was aroused by the fact that Secondo Pia's photographic negative of the body showed details more clearly and gave a more natural appearance than the visually observed image on the cloth. Medical experts studied Pia's photographs and discovered that the image on the Shroud contained a degree of anatomical detail that far surpassed the medical knowledge of the fourteenth century. As the Shroud's known history from the mid-1350s predated by over 400 years the invention of photography in the 1820s, this observation stimulated scientific inquiry. In 1900, Yves Delage (1854–1920), an agnostic professor of anatomy at the Sorbonne and a director of the Museum of Natural History, showed his assistant, Paul Vignon (1865-1943), a Roman Catholic, the Pia photographs and encouraged him to begin a scientific investigation of the Shroud. From 1900 to 1902, Vignon and Delage, assisted by other scientists, undertook their investigation, based solely on Pia's Shroud photographs. In 1902 Delage reported to the French Academy of Science their findings which concluded that, "The man of the shroud was the Christ"!

Sceptics attacked Pia and his photograph 

Scholars were also forced to take notice of Pia's photographs. Those scholars who were opposed to the Shroud's authenticity accused Pia of having forged his photographs or dismissed it as a a hoax. Even the evidence of Solaro's negative photograph of the Shroud was not sufficient to convince those who didn't want the Shroud to be authentic. Doubts were expressed about Pia's amateur status as a photographer. In an age when most were still ignorant of photography, some claimed that Pia's photographic plate had been 'over-exposed'; others that it had been made by `transparency' with the light source behind the cloth. But as Pia pointed out, the Shroud had a red silk backing sewn on to it (in 1868 by Princess Clotilde of Savoy (1843–1911)), which had not been removed and would have prevented any transparency.

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In 1899, in response to Pia's photographs, a Roman Catholic historian, Ulysse Chevalier (1841–1923), published his edition of a memorandum purportedly written c.1389 by a Bishop of Troyes Pierre d'Arcis (r. 1377-1395), which claimed that one of his predecessors, Bishop Henri de Poitiers (r. 1354–1370) had in c. 1355 investigated and discovered that the Shroud had been "cunningly painted" and had even obtained the confession of "the artist who had painted it". But in this Chevalier was guilty of "intellectual dishonesty" in that he failed to disclose that the d'Arcis memorandum was an unsigned, undated, unaddressed, draft. And what's more Chevalier committed academic fraud in that he had without disclosing it, combined two documents and had added a date of "1389" and an address to Pope Clement VII (r. 1342-94) on the new combined document. Moreover there is no evidence for (and much evidence against) that Bishop de Poitiers conducted an investigation into, or had a problem with, the Shroud. The final refutation of the d'Arcis memorandum is that the Shroud image is not painted! Chevalier's attack on the authenticity of the Shroud was taken up in England by Fr. Herbert Thurston (1856–1939), who translated Bishop d'Arcis memorandum from the Latin into English. Thurston therefore must have known that Chevalier was guilty of dishonesty and fraud regarding the d'Arcis memorandum but covered it up and therefore Thurston was also guilty of being an accessory to Chevalier's dishonesty and fraud. And just as the d'Arcis memorandum was wrong about the Shroud being a painting, so were Chevalier and Thurston also wrong about that, which was the basis of their entire argument! Chevalier did present one item of non-literary evidence against Pia's photographs, an opinion by a friend, amateur photographer Hippolyte Chopin. But Dorothy Crispino (1916-2014) called Chopin's 1900 letter of reply to Chevalier a "dizzy juggling of positive-negative," "a photographer's nightmare" and a "pretentious muddle"! Vignon summarised Chopin's argument into two parts. First, "under certain conditions ... [photographic] plates may give direct positives," but as Vignon pointed out, "Such exceptional conditions were not present, since M. Pia's plate is really a negative"(see above Pia's photograph where the black burn marks on the Shroud are white and the white repair patches are black). Second, "although a plate may be generally negative, certain parts of it may not be perfectly so, owing to the effect of color — yellow, for instance, often comes out black". But as Vignon pointed out, "The argument is only tenable if parts of the object are many coloured, which is not the case here".

Confirmed in 1931 by Giuseppe Enrie 

Despite what we now know was the weakness and indeed fraudulence of the Chevalier-Thurston arguments against Pia's photographs, it was they who prevailed in scholarly and public opinion. Chevalier was even awarded in 1901 a gold medal of 1,000 francs by the Academie des Inscriptions with a censure against any future attempt to impose upon the credulity of the faithful by a fraudulent misrepresentation! In 1912 Thurston wrote an article against the Shroud for the Catholic Encyclopedia and for the next three decades few Roman Catholics and even fewer Christians of other denominations, believed in the authenticity of the Shroud. Then, after 33 years the Shroud  exhibited in 1931 for 21 days from 4 to 24 May in Turin cathedral. The exposition was to mark the wedding on 8 January 1930 of the Crown Prince and later King of Italy, Umberto II (1904–83) and Princess Marie Jose of Belgium (1906– 2001). A Turin professional photographer, Giuseppe Enrie (1886-1961), was commissioned by the Shroud's owner, King Victor-Emmanuel III (1869–1947) to take a new definitive set of black-and-white photographs of the Shroud. They were to confirm (or otherwise) the results Pia had obtained over 30 years previously and to improve on them given the technical advances in photography over that time. Enrie was one of the foremost photographers in Italy, the editor of Vita Photographica ltaliana and owner of a studio and laboratory in Turin. On the night of 3 May 1931, Enrie took twelve photographs of the Shroud: four of the whole Shroud, three of sections of the image, the whole dorsal image, the face and chest, the face two-thirds size; the face full-size and the nail wound in the left wrist enlarged sevenfold. Enrie's camera had large glass photographic plates with filters designed to enhance image details. Princess Clotilde had insisted that there be a glass screen between Pia's camera and the Shroud but there was nothing between the Shroud and Enrie's camera. Enrie's photographs turned out to be of excellent quality and far superior to Pia's. 

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Enrie's photographs and many others taken by visitors to the 1931 exposition, proved that the Shroud image is a photographic negative (compare Pia's full-length negative with Enrie's) and disproved anti-authenticists' accusations of fraud and a hoax against Pia. To prevent any accusation of fraud against Enrie, as had been made against Pia, Enrie developed his photographs immediately in a dark-room set up in the sacristy of the cathedral. Also Enrie took and developed his photographs in the presence of many witnesses, among whom were Prince Umberto II, Paul Vignon and Secondo Pia aged 76! In addition, Enrie had invited five professional photographers to attend and study his plates to verify his work. They each testified in writing before an invited public notary that none of Enrie's plates had been retouched and all had accurately captured what they could see on the Shroud.

The agnostic, yet pro-authenticist art historian Thomas de Wesselow has stated that "The negative photo of the Shroud is Exhibit A in the case for the cloth's authenticity":

"The negative photo of the Shroud is Exhibit A in the case for the cloth's authenticity. It demonstrates that the image possesses a hidden structure, which could hardly have been conceived in the fourteenth century, when the relic is first documented in Europe. Simply glancing at the automatic inversion of the image is enough to dispel the idea that it is a regular work of art. If it is a fake, it would have to be the most ingenious and improbable fake in history, a work of supreme skill and cunning. If it is not a fake, then the chances are that it is connected, as traditionally supposed, with the death and burial of Jesus."

First, since photographic negativity was not invented until the early nineteenth century, a medieval artist/forger could not have conceived of the Shroud man's image being a photographic negative. The very concept of a photographic negative only came into existence with the discovery of photography in the early nineteenth century. A negative image therefore would have been an unimaginable conception before the invention of photography. Those who maintain that the Shroud is a medieval forgery, must assume that it was made by an artist whose grasp of the negative-positive properties of photography was five centuries in advance of his time!

Second, a medieval artist/forger could not have created a photographic negative of the Shroud man. Since the very concept of photographic negativity only came into the range of human knowledge when photography was invented in the early nineteenth century, it is impossible that a medieval artist/forger could have created the Shroud's photographic negative image. A medieval artist/forger creating a photographic negative of the Shroud man would not have been able to see what he was doing, so he could not have included the fine detail that there is on the Shroud. Moreover, a medieval forger creating a photographic negative Shroud image, centuries before the age of photography, would have had no means of checking his work. Modern artists who have tried to depict the Shroud with its negative image have all failed, even though they had a copy of the Shroud's negative photograph before them, their positive copies of the Shroud when photographed were very different from that of the Shroud. They all failed because the Shroud's photographic negative has a realistic perfection that no artist can achieve and which is only found in photographs. Indeed, when in the late 1970s the British artist John Weston, an agnostic, was commissioned to produce, tone by tone, a duplicate Shroud for the television documentary The Silent Witness, he became convinced of the Shroud's genuineness!

Third, a medieval artist/forger would not have wanted to create a photographic negative of the Shroud man, Jesus. An artist/forger depicting Jesus' body as it might have appeared on his burial garment, would not have chosen to do so with an artistry and detail that would have not been discovered for another 500 years, until the invention of photography which his age knew nothing about. Even if a medieval artist/forger could have created the Shroud image as a photographic negative, why would he have done so when no one of his time would have been able to appreciate his cleverness?

The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic! That is, it is the very burial sheet of Jesus Christ, bearing the photographically negative imprint of His dead body as it lay wrapped in a linen shroud in His tomb (Mt 27:59-60; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53) awaiting His resurrection (Mt 28:6-7; Mk 16:5-7; Lk 24:4-7; Jn 20:5-9). And therefore that photographically negative image is "a literal `snapshot' of the [Jesus'] Resurrection"!

"Even from the limited available information, a hypothetical glimpse of the power operating at the moment of creation of the Shroud's image may be ventured. In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered in blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there is a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant ... its image ... becomes indelibly fused onto the cloth, preserving for posterity a literal `snapshot' of the Resurrection."

That is, the photographically negative image on the Shroud is that of "the body of the Lord Jesus" imprinted on His burial shroud when He "was raised [from the dead] by the glory of the Father'":

"... in the Turin Shroud we have not only the linen cloth in which the body of the Lord Jesus was wrapped, but also a representation of that body portrayed by other than human hands, by some supernatural process which confounds all explanation. ... the radiant incandescence of that almighty act of love and power when the Son of God `was raised by the glory of the Father' [Rom 6:4] has scorched his image and likeness on the Shroud, a sign for our scientific century which demands scientific proof ...".

That the Shroud image is a photographic negative is explained by STURPJohn P. Jackson's "Cloth Collapse Theory":

"Jackson believes that today, twenty centuries later, we may have in our possession an image analogous to [a photograph taken by] a camera that recorded, in the darkness of the tomb, something that no human eye had ever seen. What John describes in the tomb [Jn 20:5-7] is that the burial cloths of Jesus were seen lying on the shelf where the body had been placed, but clearly flattened or deflated, without the body that they once contained. For Jackson, this is precisely the end condition of the Shroud after it has fallen through the body it wrapped, according to his hypothesis of image formation."

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Poster created for the display of the Shroud of Turin in 1898. As can be observed, the negative image of the Shroud that became popular following Secondo Pia's photographs is not yet present. Upwards in the middle one sees the upper part of Bertola’s altar inside the Holy Shroud Chapel. Behind the grille, clearly visible, it is placed, not visible, the case that contains the reliquary with the Holy Shroud. At the sides, with a writing, there is Sainte Chapelle of Chambéry and Turin Cathedral with the Holy Shroud Chapel’s dome. In the middle, below: representation of  the transport to  the sepulchre. Between  the two side writings commenting on  the drawings; only  the left one is historical: “meeting between Duke Emanuele Filiberto and St. Carlo Borromeo at the Palatina Gate”. The right one is a legendary hypothesis: “Presentation of the Shroud to Goffredo di Buglione in Jerusalem”. The long underlying writing is a Prayer approved by Pius IX on September 16, 1859 that recalls in its expressions the “Oremus” of  the Mass in honor of  the Shroud. The magazine of Sacred Art, published in that year (p.104), dedicated to the event the few following words mentioned by the newspaper “Italia Reale” - National Courier since June 1, 1898. “For charge of the Committee, the only one who get this authority, the Holy Shroud’s photograph was taken by the lawyer Secondo Pia, a distinguished and skilled student of photographic art. The photograph was really a success and has an exceptional importance for religion, history and science.

The earliest photographs of the Shroud of Turin are not only a historical reference but also mark a pivotal moment in the commencement of scientific investigations (Barberis, 2001). The discovery of the negative images and the ability to produce photographs with finer details have been crucial in advancing our understanding.

By the late 19th century, photographic plates, recording instruments, and lenses had achieved significant quality. In 1898, Turin hosted the General Italian Exhibition to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Albertine Statute. Turinese Catholics showcased their vibrancy through a major Sacred Art Exhibition. A viewing of the Shroud was organized from May 25 to June 2, drawing about 800,000 visitors, half from outside Turin, averaging over 95,000 per day (Zaccone, 2001). Secondo Pia, a lawyer from Asti and a well-known semi-professional photographer, was appointed as the official photographer for the event. He requested permission from the king to take photographs during the viewing. Initially, the Royal House was hesitant due to potential speculations about the images, but ultimately, permission was granted.

Pia was authorized to take photographs on May 25 and May 28, 1898. A sliding platform was set up in front of the Shroud displayed in the cathedral. Lighting posed significant challenges; between the first and second sessions, at the insistence of Princess Clotilde of Savoy, the cloth had to be protected with a glass that reflected light. Additionally, unidentified vandals had removed the rods securing the platform. Using a large photographic instrument mounted on the platform and two lenses, first Dalmayer and then Voigdander, Pia conducted several test photographs with varying exposure times on the opening day of the viewing. Some of these were highly satisfactory. Upon review, it was noted that these photographs exhibited the characteristics of a photographic negative of the Shroud. Pia did not discuss these first two plates further. It is speculated that, in his great prudence, humility, and honesty, he did not feel capable of announcing such a sensational discovery (Zaccone, 1998) and waited for confirmation with subsequent photographs.

On the night of May 28, Pia had enough time for a second session. He conducted two tests and then four passes on large plates, clearly showing the Shroud's images as photographic negatives. This was because, in black and white photographic negatives, the images appear as positives, while in the original and photographic positives, they have a negative character. This behavior does not apply to the stains, traditionally believed to be blood. In areas corresponding to bloodstains, there's an actual transfer of blood material from the Man of the Shroud to the fabric. Unlike the body images, these stains appear negative in the photographic negative and positive in the positive, just like in the photograph of any biological sample. Pia was immediately struck by the results, as were the authorities and those informed about the discovery. There was a growing conviction among them of the absolute authenticity of the image captured through a technical procedure - the true and unique photograph of Jesus Christ, hidden for nearly two millennia. After some initial leaks in the "Cittadino di Genova," the news was officially published by "L’Osservatore Romano" on June 14, with an article titled "A Marvelous Fact."

Meanwhile, the June 1898 issue of the "Rivista di fotografia," the bulletin of the Lombard Photographic Circle, detailed the sessions' technical challenges and informed specialists that the negative obtained by Pia, "seen in its luminous transparency in the dark environment where it was observed," had "a very powerful suggestive effect." However, there remained a certain skepticism about the seriousness and validity of Pia's work within the photographic community.

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Panel 5

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3D Information encoded in the Shroud

The Shroud of Turin continued to astound the world of photography throughout the 20th century. In 1976, after the Shroud had been captured in color for the first time, its unique photographic imprint caught the attention of a group of science educators at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, USA. Among them was physicist Dr. John Jackson, who gained access to the VP-8 Image Analyzer, an advanced device originally developed for NASA's space program. This technology was designed to convert shades of black and white into levels of vertical relief, viewable and adjustable on a television screen. Normally, a photograph, which records variations in light, does not contain depth information. Therefore, when analyzed with the VP-8, most images appear distorted, as the device is not intended to create a true 3D display but only a semblance of it.

However, the outcome was extraordinary when the Shroud's negative image was placed under the VP-8. It produced a consistent 'true' 3D effect. This effect allowed observers to move around the image on the TV monitor, similar to viewing a mountain range from a moving helicopter. The varied tones of the Shroud's image, referred to as 'intensity levels' by the scientists, seemed to encode the body's relief in relation to its distance from the cloth at each corresponding image point.

This discovery was groundbreaking for the physicists and technicians who first experienced it. John Jackson likened his reaction to that of Secondo Pia when he first saw his photographic image of the Shroud in 1898. Peter Schumacher, the inventor of the VP-8 Image Analyzer, who personally brought the device to Jackson's team, shared similar sentiments. He was astounded when he saw the Shroud's full-body image on his system’s TV monitor, noting the relief of the nose, the proper contouring of facial features, and the body shapes of the arms, legs, and chest. He had never seen anything like it, either before or after, on the VP-8. The Shroud of Turin is the only item that has ever produced such results on this device. Schumacher, unfamiliar with the Shroud prior to this, expressed doubt about the possibility of a medieval artist-forger creating such a sophisticated image.

One must consider how and why an artist would embed threedimensional information in the ‘grey’ shading of an image [when] no means of viewing this property of the image would be available for at least 650 years after this was done. One would have to ask why is this result not obtained in the analysis of other works? … Why would the artist make only one such work requiring such special skills and talent, and not pass the technique along to others?
How could the artist control the quality of the work when he or she could not ‘see’ grey scale as elevation? … Would an artist produce this work before the device to show the results was [even] invented?

Shortly after their groundbreaking discovery, John Jackson, along with approximately two dozen colleagues, found themselves in Turin, having obtained permission for the most comprehensive scientific examination of the Shroud to date. Their investigative methods encompassed a diverse array of photographic techniques, ranging from standard color photography to x-radiography, transmitted light photography, ultraviolet light photography, and photomicroscopy. Among the ‘STURP’ team’s professional photographers was Barrie Schwortz, a Los Angeles native of Jewish descent with no Christian affiliations. Initially skeptical, Schwortz expected to quickly debunk the Shroud’s authenticity. However, he became deeply engrossed in the research, working tirelessly throughout the team's 120-hour study period. His subsequent conviction in the Shroud's authenticity led him to establish the first website dedicated to the subject, which remains active. Thanks to STURP's efforts, a multitude of high-quality color photographs, including detailed close-ups of the Shroud, were disseminated widely. These images, along with more specialized photographic work from the team, are discussed in subsequent chapters of this book. While STURP's work was groundbreaking for its era, photographic exploration of the Shroud continued to evolve in the following years.

On June 25, 1997, shortly after the Shroud narrowly survived a significant fire in Turin Cathedral’s Holy Shroud Chapel, the relic was unexpectedly brought to Turin’s Church of the Confraternity of the Holy Shroud. Photographer Gian Carlo Durante, summoned on short notice, captured the Shroud in its entirety and a close-up of the face in both color and black and white, using 13 × 18 and 10 × 12 format transparencies, respectively. Within a year, Durante's exceptional color photograph of the Shroud's face was featured on the cover of Time magazine, reaching over four million households worldwide. As Durante undertook this impromptu task, the dawn of digital photography was emerging, and he quickly embraced this new medium. In 2002, his expertise was sought again for extensive digital photography and scanning required to document Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg’s conservation work, which involved removing the Shroud’s sixteenth-century patches and backing cloth. This process revealed the Shroud's previously unseen underside for the first time in over four centuries. Durante's photographs, along with others, were swiftly compiled into a large-format color publication. In 2007, a mere fifty-five miles from Turin in Novara, a company named HAL9000 undertook a pioneering digital photography project of Leonardo da Vinci’s massive mural, The Last Supper, capturing it in 1,677 separate sections and digitally combining them to create a multi-gigabyte image available online. This technique allowed for detailed examination of even the smallest segments of Leonardo’s deteriorating masterpiece on a personal computer. This method was well-suited for the Shroud. Consequently, on January 22, 2008, HAL9000 technicians were granted one day of direct access to the Shroud. They amassed 158 gigabytes of photographic data, capturing details as minute as one five-hundredth of a millimeter. A twenty-three-foot-long print of this image has been exhibited in Novara, and online access or a DVD, akin to the da Vinci project, is anticipated to be available by the time of this book's publication.

The advent of high-definition (HD) filmmaking has revolutionized the visual representation of moving images, bringing an unprecedented level of detail to the screen. Following in the wake of the HAL9000 team’s efforts, a British television crew, under the leadership of seasoned producer David Rolfe – a recipient of a BAFTA award for a Shroud-related documentary three decades earlier – embarked on a pioneering project. This marked the first instance of an English-speaking documentary team being granted permission to film the Shroud directly. On January 24, 2008, Rolfe’s lead cinematographer, David Crute, accompanied by a second cameraman, journeyed to Turin equipped with cutting-edge Sony HD 750 cameras. Their filming took place in the same sacristy room where I had viewed the Shroud in daylight back in 2000. However, for the purposes of this television project, the room’s high windows were completely obscured, and the Shroud was illuminated using eight high-frequency Kino Flo fluorescent lights, selected for their minimal heat emission and steady light. Despite facing unforeseen challenges with the power supply, reminiscent of the difficulties Secondo Pia encountered a century earlier, Crute and his team successfully captured exceptionally high-quality footage of the Shroud. Portions of this footage were featured in a BBC documentary, presented by the renowned journalist Rageh Omaar, which aired on Easter Saturday in 2008. Even more fascinating is the comprehensive footage that remains unseen by television audiences. Rolfe instructed Crute to meticulously film every aspect of the Shroud's surface, from wider views to extreme close-ups. It’s in these close-up shots that the latest HD technology reveals novel insights. Viewing these images on a computer monitor, one can scrutinize the body image areas and the unique coloration of the bloodstains with such clarity and ease that it surpasses direct examination with a high-powered magnifying glass. Both Rolfe and Crute recognized that the extraordinary level of detail now accessible, coupled with the myriad of analysis techniques afforded by modern technology, has opened up new avenues for Shroud research. As Crute noted, within their footage lies additional layers of the image yet to be explored, suggesting a wealth of information still to be uncovered.

The advancements in high-definition technology have incontrovertibly corroborated the discoveries of Secondo Pia and Giuseppe Enrie regarding the Shroud's hidden negative imagery in a remarkably compelling manner. Despite the widespread replication of Enrie’s exceptional life-size negative plate, there have been sporadic skeptics who questioned its authenticity, suggesting that the orthochromatic plates used might have artificially enhanced the impression of detail. In the realm of digital photography, the absence of any chemical intermediary stands out. When examining a high-definition close-up of the Shroud's face captured by Crute, displayed in its natural color on a computer monitor, we can effortlessly transition the image to a grey scale, or black and white, with a simple keystroke. Another keystroke allows us to invert these tones to their negative form, revealing the same mirrored representation of the original body that the Shroud itself seems to capture. A further keystroke to reverse this mirror image presents us with the identical, remarkable visage that once astonished Pia, Enrie, and numerous others. This process provides immediate and straightforward validation that the Shroud's 'hidden photograph' phenomenon emerges whenever its image is converted to black and white and these colors are inverted. Using a sophisticated editing suite, typical in professional television production, it is even feasible to mimic the VP-8 Image Analyzer’s method of rendering the Shroud in three-dimensional relief. Given such compelling evidence, the burden of proof undoubtedly shifts to those who assert the Shroud to be a fabrication. They must account for how an individual, potentially as early as the Middle Ages and centuries before the advent of photography, could have engineered such a ‘hidden photograph effect’.

The VP-8 Image Analyzer is an analog device that was designed in the 1970s for evaluating x-rays and other imaging purposes. It converts image density (lights and darks) into vertical relief (shadows and highlights). When applied to normal photographs, the result was a distorted and inaccurate image. However, when it was applied to the Shroud of Turin, the result was an accurate, topographic image showing the correct, natural relief characteristics of a human form. These results are often referred to as "three-dimensional".

In 1976, a group of scientists who were using a VP-8 at Sandia Laboratories to evaluate x-rays, put a 1931 Enrie photograph of the Shroud of Turin into the device and were able to visualize the three-dimensional properties that exist in the Shroud image1. This particularly intrigued two of the researchers present at the test, Dr. Eric Jumper and Dr. John Jackson. Stimulated by their startling discovery, they decided to form a research team to investigate what might have formed the image on the cloth and within a few months, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) was born.

The image on the Shroud of Turin yields a very accurate dimensional relief of a human form. One must conclude from this that the image density on the cloth is directly proportionate to the distance it was from the body it covered. In essence, the closer the cloth was to the body (tip of nose, cheekbone, etc.), the darker the image, and the further away (eye sockets, neck, etc.), the fainter the image1. This spatial data encoded into the image actually eliminates photography and painting as the possible mechanism for its creation and allows us to conclude that the image was formed while the cloth was draped over an actual human body.

So the VP-8 Image Analyzer not only revealed a very important characteristic of the Shroud image, but historically it also provided the actual motivation to form the team that would ultimately go and investigate it.

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The extraordinary image of the Shroud has been a constant source of intrigue for scientists. In 1976, physicist Dr. John Jackson and thermodynamicist Dr. Eric Jumper gained access to a VP-8 Image Analyzer, a device capable of converting two-dimensional black and white images into three-dimensional representations by generating a vertical relief profile based on the intensity of shading. When this device was used on normal photographs or paintings, it invariably produced a distorted result, rather than a recognizable three-dimensional version of the source image. However, when a negative of the Shroud was loaded into the device, it produced an accurate three-dimensional representation, with the facial features, arms, legs, and chest of the Shroud Man all contoured correctly (Fig. below).

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The front image of the Shroud of Turin as it appears on the screen of a VP-8 Image Analyzer.

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Display of 3D model based on the Shroud brightness map. The result astonished the VP-8 Image Analyzer’s inventor, Peter Schumacher, who had never heard of the Shroud of Turin before that moment. He stated, "I had no idea what I was looking at. However, the results are unlike anything I have seen before or since. Only the Shroud of Turin has produced these results when processed through the VP-8 Analyzer." This led to an isometric projection study of the Shroud.

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Original 3-dimensional statue that STURP members at the Air Force Academy as well as a handful of Cadets created using the data from the VP-8.

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At the conference in Albuquerque, a cardboard statue was displayed, showcasing the details of the face of the statue. A complete figure of the "Man of the Shroud" was created, based on the data regarding the body's relief. Unfortunately, the image of the arms, which was damaged in the fire of 1532, significantly alters the overall appearance. Despite the rudimentary method used to recreate the figure, it remains a highly suggestive image. This statue represents an attempt to bring to life the figure imprinted on the Shroud of Turin. The creation of such a three-dimensional representation aims to provide a more tangible and realistic view of the "Man of the Shroud," based on the imprints and measurements derived from the Shroud itself. The damage to the Shroud, particularly the burns and alterations from the 1532 fire, poses challenges in accurately reconstructing the full image. However, efforts like this statue showcase the continuous interest in and fascination with the Shroud, as well as the desire to understand and visualize the figure it bears. This reconstruction, even with its limitations, offers a unique perspective on the Shroud, inviting viewers to engage with the artifact in a more physical and visual manner.

Only the frontal image of the Shroud man is three-dimensional. The dorsal or back image is not three-dimensional, having been formed by direct contact. The frontal image cannot have been formed by direct contact because it has areas that could not have been in contact with the cloth: for example the recessed areas between the nose and cheeks, the eye sockets and ears, the ribs and part of the neck. This is consistent with STURP's John P. Jackson's "cloth collapse theory". Leo Vala In 1967, Leo Vala, a professional photographer and an agnostic made the first three-dimensional reproduction of the Shroud face by projecting a Shroud negative photograph onto a lump of clay and sculpting it. Vala published his experiment in the March 8, 1967 issue of Amateur Photographer, stating in the article:

"I've been involved in the invention of many complicated visual processes, and I can tell you that no one could have faked that image. No one could do it today with all the technology we have. It's a perfect negative. It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise."

Vala became a critic of anyone who thought the image could have been produced by human hands.

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VP-8 Image Analyzer 

In 1976 Robert William (Bill) Mottern (1924-2015), an image-enhancement specialist at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, offered Jackson the use of an Interpretation Systems VP-8 Image Analyzer, an instrument which translates light intensity into vertical relief, to help in their investigations. Mottern was using the VP8 to analyze x-rays in his work at Sandia Laboratories. When a negative transparency of a Shroud photograph provided by Jackson was processed by the VP-8, they were amazed that on the VP-8's computer screen they saw a correctly-proportioned, three-dimensional image of the Shroud man. Being a transparency, Mottern was able to rotate the image and view it from the side and back. This proved that the Shroud image contains three-dimensional information, since ordinary photographs processed by the VP-8 >appear distorted because they contain only light, not distance, information. A separate photograph of the face was later processed by the VP-8 and it also showed the same three-dimensional relief effect. That face photograph also confirmed the presence of unnatural bulges over the eyes, which they later proposed were coins placed over the eyes. For three-dimensional relief information, Jackson and others were able to construct a three-dimensional model of the Shroud image. Their work attracted the attention of other scientists and led to the formation in 1977 of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).2

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Mark Niyr (2020): How was the three‐dimensional aspect of the image produced? It would be the quantity/density number of radiation strikes that would encode the three‐dimensional distance information between the body and the cloth. Since proton radiation rapidly attenuates and dies out (especially in air), more radiation strikes would impact the cloth where the Shroud was originally closer to the body and fewer radiation particles would strike where the body was originally further away from the cloth—thus encoding distance (three‐dimensional) information based on the quantity/density of colorized fibers. As the Shroud continued to pass through, it would also reach and encode parts of the body that were not originally touching the draped cloth. Altogether, this indicates that every pinpoint part of the body (including the hair) had to emit its own particle radiation upon the Shroud and do so in proportion to its distance from the Shroud, impacting the cloth in a straight‐line vertical manner between the body and the Shroud. Physicist Thomas Phillips (of the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Harvard University), biophysicist Jean‐ Baptiste Rinaudo (of the Center for Nuclear Medical Research in Montpellier, France, and the Grenoble Nuclear Studies Center in France), and Dr. Kitty Little (retired nuclear physicist from Britain’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell) have each hypothesized that particle radiation irradiated the Shroud and that the source of the particle radiation was the body itself.  Dr. Little stated “that the source of the illumination that had formed the image came from within—that is, from the body . . . as a whole.” In other words, the radiation did not come from some external source; rather, the radiation’s origin was directly from the body—from every pinpoint location of the body.  This facet (wherein each micro part of the body—the source of the radiation—radiates directly and exclusively from its specific point on the body to that corresponding exclusive point on the Shroud, thus irradiating an image) is something that no one has yet been able to reproduce. (How could a medieval artisan accomplish this? In fact there is no technology yet in existence which can reproduce this.) STURP chemist Dr. John Heller remarked: “It is as if every pore and every hair of the body contained a microminiature laser.”1

Challenges in the Medieval Creation of the Shroud of Turin's 3D Encoding

During the Middle Ages, there was a limited understanding of optics, photography, and the concept of encoding three-dimensional data into a two-dimensional medium. The knowledge and techniques required to create a 3D image in a fabric medium would have been far beyond the capabilities of artists and craftsmen of that era. The Shroud's image is not a simple two-dimensional depiction. Analyses suggest that the intensity of the image encodes spatial information about the distance between the cloth and the body. Such a level of detail and understanding of spatial encoding is unprecedented and unexplained in medieval art. There are no known works from the Middle Ages, or any time prior to the invention of modern photography, that display a similar type of 3D encoding. If the Shroud were a medieval forgery, it would be unique not just in its subject and method of creation, but in the technology it implied. The physical and chemical properties of the image on the Shroud are distinct. The image is superficial, affecting only the topmost fibers, and does not penetrate the cloth like paint or other known substances used by medieval artists would. The concept of 3D rendering and encoding information related to depth in a flat image is a relatively modern concept, closely tied to the development of photography and computer imaging. There is no evidence to suggest that such concepts were understood, let alone applied, in medieval times.

3D images by Thierry Castex

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Shroud is the discovery of 3D information encoded in its imagery, a feature that was only uncovered with modern technology. This discovery raises significant questions about the origins and authenticity of the Shroud, particularly concerning the feasibility of a medieval forger creating such a sophisticated image.

The argument against a medieval forger successfully embedding 3D information in the Shroud is multi-faceted:

Lack of Technological Means: In the Middle Ages, the level of technological and scientific understanding was not advanced enough to conceive of 3D imaging, let alone implement it in an artwork. The process of creating a 3D encoded image requires a sophisticated understanding of light, shadow, and perspective, far beyond the capabilities of artists and craftspeople of that era.
Discovery with Modern Technology: The 3D information in the Shroud was only discernible with the advent of modern imaging technology. This suggests that if the Shroud were a forgery, the forger created features that they could not have understood or visualized, and which remained undiscovered for over 700 years. It seems implausible that a forger would embed features into the image that were not only beyond their comprehension but also undetectable by contemporaries.
Complexity of 3D Encoding: The 3D encoding on the Shroud is not a simple or random occurrence. It shows a nuanced understanding of spatial relationships and how these would be represented in varying shades of color and intensity. Such an encoding suggests an advanced, almost anachronistic understanding of imaging techniques that were unavailable in the Middle Ages.
Purpose and Motivation: If the Shroud were a medieval forgery, the motive behind creating it would likely be religious or financial gain. However, embedding undetectable 3D information into the fabric serves no purpose in this context. It wouldn't have made the forgery more convincing or valuable to a medieval audience, who had no way of perceiving or appreciating this aspect of the work.
Historical Consistency: There is no known precedent or parallel from the Middle Ages or earlier periods where such complex imagery with hidden 3D features was created. The art and crafts of that time, while often sophisticated in their way, do not display anything close to this level of complexity in image encoding.

The presence of 3D information in the Shroud of Turin adds a layer of complexity to its already mysterious history. The argument that a medieval forger could have created such an image with embedded 3D properties, only discoverable with modern technology, appears highly implausible given the technological and conceptual limitations of the time.

3D Dorsal Views of the Front Side of the Shroud of Turin

By applying 3D processing to the digital image of the dorsal side we obtain a relief which is a little less pronounced than on the 3D images of the ventral side. The 3D dorsal image is a little distorted at the buttocks and back because of the numerous traces of flogging which disrupt the 3D conversion. However, thanks to 3D vision, we can clearly see the thickness of the hair made up of a long ponytail that goes down to the middle of the back. Hair color appears to be somewhere between chestnut and red; but to be more precise it would be necessary to carry out an RGB chromatic calibration of the negative image printed on the linen fibers with a spectrophotometer.

In Figure 4 we observe an area without traces of flagellation which corresponds exactly to the location of the two symmetrical "L"s formed by 4 holes at right angles, which were drawn on the Codex Pray. According to the study that we carried out with Eric De Bazelaire and Marcel Alonso in 2007 (published in the CIELT journal of December 2007) this area without traces of flagellation would correspond to a fold which was made with the fabric to place there a kind of diaper (made of cotton) to absorb body fluids. If we remove this area from the image, the abnormally long legs return to normal proportions.
This working hypothesis was presented at the MNTV Association Forum on February 6, 2010 in Paris, and was the subject of an article in the MNTV magazine: [/url]https://www.linceul-de-turin.fr/page/1512703-cahiers-sur-le-linceul-de-turin

3D Processing applied to the Shroud of Turin / 3D Processing of the Shroud of Turin

The image of the body on the fabric of the Shroud of Turin contains 3D (three-dimensional) information whose amplitude is inversely proportional to the distance between the fabric and the body. That is to say that the parts of the body which are close to the fabric will have a dark tint, while the parts further away will have a lighter appearance. For example, the nose which touches the fabric will be darker than the eye sockets which will be further away. In other words, we can consider that there is a three-dimensional coding of the image distributed over a range of 256 gray levels (8-bit coding) in the case of a black and white photograph. Black will have level 0 and white will have level 255. For a color print we will talk about coding on 3 x 8 = 24bits, because there are 3 fundamental RGB colors (red, green, blue).

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In fact, to carry out the 3D processing in color, I first decomposed the images into R, G, B. I processed them one by one as 8-bit images (in gray level), then I recombined them all three to find the color (on 24 bits).

The processing of each R, G, B component consisted of applying a two-dimensional filter (FK) in the Fourier domain to remove the frame and the chevrons, then equalizing the amplitudes of the pixels in the image (in L2 quadratic norm) . This treatment amounts to eliminating the effects of scratches or streaks on the image and to harmonizing the amplitudes along the fabric. This also has the effect of reducing the level of background noise in the image.

This 3D view of the lying body shows that the tips of the knees are raised because the legs are bent. Bending your knees causes your knees to tighten and your thighs to spread.



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"The detailed study of the imprint left by the body on the shroud shows a variable intensity inversely proportional to the distance between the cloth and the body.

In 1973, the face's relief was obtained from the photograph of G. Enrie from 1931 with the measurement of different intensities (work by P. Gastineau).

In 1974, with the help of a microdensitometer (an instrument that measures the intensity of an image) and an accurate reconstruction of the modalities with which a cloth similar to the Shroud is placed on a body, the American physicist John Jackson and his team demonstrated that the intensity of the image varies inversely proportional to the distance between the cloth and body, with a high level of correlation.

This correlation can be demonstrated using a particular image processing technique that consists of transforming the various intensity levels of the image into different planes of a three-dimensional topographic relief.

If the intensities of the image of the Shroud are really correlated to the distance between the cloth and the body, then the relief image should correspond to the actual three-dimensional form of a human body (except for the secondary effect due to the draping of the fabric).

On February 19, 1976, Jackson brought a photograph of the Shroud to the image processing laboratory of Bill Mottern. The image of the Shroud was analyzed with the VP-8 image analyzer, an analog computer that directly transforms image intensity into vertical relief. Surprisingly, the relief image appeared to possess perfect anatomical characteristics, even in correspondence with the most complex details of the face.

The relief of the entire frontal imprint of the Shroud compared with the negative photograph of Enrie from which it was drawn. It is interesting to note how the intensities of various characteristics of the image in the photograph of Enrie (such as the face, torso, hands, etc.) were interpreted by the VP-8 analyzer as different levels of relief. It is evident how the entire structure of the three-dimensional image processed by the VP-8 analyzer resembles an extremely realistic human body.

(Realized by Prof. G. Tamburelli)

The three-dimensional image of the tortured and wounded face of the Man of the Shroud and the true face after the wounds were removed with computer techniques.

(Realized by A. Guerreschi)

The three-dimensional image of the tortured face of the Man of the Shroud elaborated on the computer and the image of the face and torso retouched with the technique of three-dimensional photorelief."

Please note that due to the complexity of the scientific content and the possible nuances in the technical terms used, the translation aims to closely reflect the original text while ensuring readability in English. ​

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82The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty STURP, and Radiocarbon dating 1988 Mon Dec 18, 2023 5:54 pm



Panel 6

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The STURP ( Shroud of Turin Research Project)  from 1978

On the 19th of February in 1976, John Jackson, a physicist, held a crucial meeting with William Mottern, an expert in radiographic analysis at the Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico. Mottern was utilizing an innovative piece of equipment known as the VP-8 Image Analyzer to assess X-ray images for his research. This device had the intriguing ability to process images from various sources, not just X-rays, through input from a video camera. During an experiment with a 1931 photograph of the Shroud by Enrie, they discovered that the VP-8 could render image densities into a three-dimensional vertical relief. This resulted in a striking display on the VP-8's green screen—a detailed three-dimensional representation of a human figure. This indicated that the Shroud's imagery was embedded with spatial or topographical data that diverged from conventional photographs or artistic representations. The remarkable outcome from the VP-8 Image Analyzer galvanized Jackson and his team to pursue more in-depth research. In a serendipitous parallel, Professor Giovanni Tamburelli was undertaking an analogous study of the Shroud's imagery in Turin, utilizing advanced computer analysis techniques. During the period when physicist John Jackson was immersed in his research, another member of the team, Don Devan—who had recently finished a project at Los Alamos—was involved. It was around this time that a call came from Don to one of their colleagues, catching them somewhat off guard. The topic of conversation was the Shroud of Turin, which prompted an initial response of laughter from the colleague, given both their Jewish backgrounds and the religious nature of the Shroud.

Don elucidated that there had been a breakthrough in understanding the Shroud's imagery. A group of scientists who had made this discovery were in the process of forming a voluntary research team dedicated to a thorough examination of the cloth to decipher the creation of its image. He reassured that the exploration was to be conducted with a scientific lens and indicated the need for a proficient technical photographer to aid in the endeavor. The colleague was then presented with the inquiry of whether they had an interest in contributing their expertise to this scientific pursuit.

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The use of the VP-8 Image Analyzer was a pivotal moment that led to the creation of the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) team. Spearheaded by Jackson, the objective was clear: to gather a diverse group of experts, develop a series of non-invasive experiments within a comprehensive test plan, and ultimately obtain permission to physically examine the Shroud in an effort to understand how its image was formed. Eric Jumper quickly came on board as a co-founder, and together with Jackson, they started recruiting specialists capable of conducting scientific experiments to explore the mechanisms behind the Shroud's image formation. The team's goal was not to prove the Shroud's authenticity or to verify whether the image was that of Jesus. Over the next eighteen months, the team expanded, adding members on an as-needed basis. They operated in small regional groups across the United States, coordinating their efforts through telephone and postal mail. Remarkably, the entire team only met in person for the first time a month before they were scheduled to depart for Turin to begin their hands-on investigation of the Shroud.

In 1978, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (often abbreviated as STURP) made a scientific examination of the Shroud of Turin. It  was performed by an international team of experts. For five consecutive 24-hour days, they used the latest technology to study the front and back image.

The STURP Team

The team for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) comprised a diverse group of experts from various fields. Key participants included

Joseph S. Accetta from the Lockheed Corporation,
Steven Baumgart and John D. German from the U.S. Air Force Weapons Laboratories, and
Ernest H. Brooks II, Mark Evans, and Vernon D. Miller from the Brooks Institute of Photography.
Robert Bucklin represented the Harris County, Texas, Medical Examiner's Office, while
Donald Devan was from Oceanographic Services Inc.
Rudolph J. Dichtl from the University of Colorado,
Robert Dinegar, Donald & Joan Janney, J. Ronald London, Roger A. Morris, Ray Rogers, Larry Schwalbe, and Diane Soran from Los Alamos National Scientific Laboratories.
Kenneth E. Stevenson came from IBM,
Al Adler from Western Connecticut State University,
Thomas F. D'Muhala from the Nuclear Technology Corporation.
Jim Drusik was part of the Los Angeles County Museum team,
Joseph Gambescia from St. Agnes Medical Center,
Roger & Marty Gilbert from Oriel Corporation,
Thomas Haverty from Rocky Mountain Thermograph,
John Heller from the New England Institute.
John P. Jackson and Eric J. Jumper from the U.S. Air Force Academy,
Jean Lorre and Donald J. Lynn from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Robert W. Mottern from Sandia Laboratories,
Samuel Pellicori from Santa Barbara Research Center,
Barrie M. Schwortz from Barrie Schwortz Studios were also integral to the project.

The STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) team dedicated a year and a half to meticulously planning a comprehensive set of non-destructive tests to be executed within a limited yet effective timeframe. They meticulously developed protocols for each experiment, strategically scheduling them to fit within a 96-hour testing window. All these preparations were compiled into a detailed, 65-page spiral-bound notebook. This notebook was not only a guide for the team's examination but also a document submitted to Turin for final approval.

The team's efforts paid off when they received permission to examine the Shroud. The approval came from King Umberto II, Duke of Savoy, who was the owner of the Shroud in 1978. To facilitate effective communication with the Church and the custodians in Turin, the STURP team also collaborated closely with the Holy Shroud Guild based in Esopus, New York. This collaboration was crucial in navigating the complexities of the project, given the Shroud's religious and historical significance. In September 1978, just under a month before their departure to Turin, the entire STURP team convened for the first time in Amston, Connecticut, at an event informally known as the “Dry Run.” This gathering was a pivotal moment for the diverse group of team members, who until then had been collaborating remotely. It provided them with the opportunity to meet face-to-face, which was crucial for the team's cohesion and effectiveness. More importantly, the Dry Run served as a rehearsal stage where they could set up and test their various instruments, many of which had been custom-designed and built specifically for the Shroud project. It was also an opportunity to practice the procedures they planned to implement during their examination of the Shroud. This meeting in Connecticut was a critical step in ensuring that every aspect of their meticulously planned investigation was ready and functional, setting the stage for their imminent work in Turin.

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Informal group portrait of the STURP team at Kennedy International Airport  -Sept. 29, 1978

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Prof. Giovanni Riggi’s endoscopic camera focusing light transilluminates the #3 bloodstain on the forehead, revealing higher density in blood areas

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Max Frei, during the examination of the Shroud, employed a technique where he used commercial sticky tape, applying it to the cloth. He controlled the pressure of application with his thumb. Years later, Alan Adler observed and noted that the application of this tape left behind a residue of gum on the cloth. This residue subsequently attracted dirt and dust to the areas where the tape had been applied.

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Surrounding the cloth and preparing to begin the analyses, here we see a significant part of the STURP team observing the Shroud for the first time. In a last-minute decision, the Archdiocese of Turin allowed an Italian group to take some samples before the American team began their detailed work. Max Frei was a part of this initial group. This moment marks a critical juncture in the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin. The involvement of both Italian and American researchers underscores the international interest in the Shroud and the importance placed on its analysis. The decision by the Archdiocese to allow preliminary sampling by the Italian team reflects the careful and controlled approach to studying this revered artifact. Max Frei's participation in the initial sampling adds to the significance of this phase, given his expertise and contributions to the field. This collaborative and multinational effort to analyze the Shroud demonstrates the blend of scientific rigor and respect for religious sentiment that characterizes the ongoing research into this enigmatic and revered piece of history.

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Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy
Infrared Thermography
Infrared Photography 3

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A Summary of STURP's Conclusions

Editor's Note: After years of exhaustive study and evaluation of the data and the submission of their research to highly regarded peer-reviewed scientific journals, the following official Summary of STURP's Conclusions was written by John Heller (in non-technical language) and distributed at the press conference held after STURP's final meeting in October 1981:

No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray, fluorescence, and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death. There has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.

The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics. Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry. For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint. At the present, this type of solution does not appear to be obtainable by the best efforts of the members of the Shroud Team. Furthermore, experiments in physics and chemistry with old linen have failed to reproduce adequately the phenomenon presented by the Shroud of Turin. The scientific consensus is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately.

Thus, the answer to the question of how the image was produced or what produced the image remains, now, as it has in the past, a mystery.

We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved. 1 2

The Radiocarbon dating 1988

The 1988 Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud

In 1988, a significant step was taken to determine the age of the Shroud of Turin through radiocarbon dating. Three fragments from the shroud were independently dated by laboratories at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The analysis utilized accelerator mass spectrometry to measure the amount of carbon-14 remaining in the linen fibers, aiming to establish a reliable chronological frame. The collective findings from the three prestigious institutions yielded a calibrated calendar date range with 95% confidence for the creation of the shroud between 1260 and 1390 AD. This period is much later than the alleged burial of Christ, leading to a surge in debates concerning the shroud's authenticity. The radiocarbon dating prompted widespread discussion among scientists, historians, and theologians. While some view the results as evidence that the shroud is a medieval forgery, others question the validity of the findings, citing potential contamination and the possibility of the samples having been taken from repaired sections of the shroud. Despite the radiocarbon results, the Shroud of Turin remains a subject of fascination and study. Newer research has proposed alternative hypotheses that challenge the 1988 findings, keeping the debate over the shroud's age and authenticity very much alive.

The 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin marked a pivotal moment in both science and religious history. This artifact, steeped in reverence and mystery, was subjected to rigorous scientific analysis by three laboratories in Arizona, Zurich, and Oxford. Their collective conclusion dated the Shroud to the medieval period, specifically between 1260 and 1390, which countered the belief that it was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ from the first century. Such findings inevitably stirred a spectrum of emotions, from validation among scientific proponents to disillusionment or skepticism among those with deep spiritual ties to the Shroud's historical narrative.

The image of the three men, arms crossed, in the context of this announcement, can be seen as an emblematic display of solidarity and conviction in their scientific findings. This gesture typically conveys self-assurance and may also suggest a preparedness to stand firm against the inevitable scrutiny and debate following their announcement. Their uniform posture, combined with their professional attire against the backdrop of classical architecture, visually reinforces the authority of their statement, bridging the realms of scientific inquiry and historical enigma.

Later, the paper written by Ray Rogers established that the C-14 sample area was contaminated by cotton and that the sample gave a positive test for vanillin which shows that the material was much younger relative to the rest of the shroud which does not test positive for vanillin. More about it, here.

Following the text in the article:

Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero of Turin yesterday confirmed what newspaper readers around the world have known for weeks: that tests on the Turin Shroud have shown it to be of medieval origin. The shroud, believed by many to carry the imprint of Christ's face and body when laid in the tomb, has attracted devout pilgrims to Turin for centuries. Leaks of the results of modern carbon-dating tests had infuriated the archbishop of Turin and the shroud’s Italian custodians who spoke darkly of foreign plots against Italy, anti-Catholic prejudice, and the like. Yesterday it was at last official: the tests had established a 95 percent likelihood that the 14-foot linen was made between 1260 and 1390 AD. There is no chance that it dates back to the time of Christ. Cardinal Ballestrero pointed out that the church had never claimed that the shroud represented Jesus but had honored a tradition of piety rooted in centuries past.
"Considering the results of the scientific tests, the church reiterates her respect and veneration of the shroud," he said. The tests were carried out in laboratories at Oxford University, and in Arizona and Zurich. They were based on counting the number of radioactive carbon-14 atoms in fragments of the shroud about the size of a postage stamp. However, they did not determine the shroud's origin, or the mystery which surrounds the blood-stained image on the shroud, resembling a photographic negative, of an apparently crucified man. Professor Edward Hall, the director of the Oxford research laboratory involved, gave his theory: “There was a multi-million pound business in making forgeries during the fourteenth century. Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up, and flogged it.”

Professor Hall, aged 64, expressed skepticism about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, noting he had received numerous "shoddy" letters from believers insisting on its genuineness. He compared the unwavering belief in the shroud to the persistence of the Flat Earth Society, firmly believing in the accuracy of his findings. In modern Catholic teaching, relics are considered aids to devotion and are categorized into three classes. A first-class relic is either an instrument of the Passion, like the Turin Shroud, or the bones of saints. A second-class relic is an object that has come into contact with a first-class relic. A third-class relic, in turn, is an object that has touched a second-class relic. Despite the skepticism surrounding certain relics like the Shroud of Turin, there is still a strong interest in the tens of thousands of relics, many of which are considered products of medieval trickery. These relics are often housed in ornate settings, such as gilded cases and cushioned jewel-boxes, in churches across Italy. Notable examples include a feather from the Archangel Gabriel in the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome. Other relics include vials purported to contain the last breath of Saint Joseph, several heads of Saint John the Baptist, unchangeable splinters of the True Cross, and two thorns from the crown. In Naples, there is a vial said to contain the blood of Saint Januarius, which reportedly liquefies miraculously each year. Notably, in 1980, when this phenomenon failed to occur, Naples experienced an earthquake. This discussion reflects ongoing debates about the authenticity of religious relics and the enduring fascination with them among enthusiasts, despite any disappointments or controversies.

Time Magazine: Religion: Debunking The Shroud of Turin
Tests prove it is not Christ's burial cloth, but questions remain
By Richard N. Ostling Monday, Oct. 24, 1988

Since the Middle Ages multitudes have believed that a piece of linen enshrined in Turin, Italy, is the burial shroud that Jesus Christ left in the tomb when he rose from the grave. But last week Turin's Anastasio Cardinal Ballestrero calmly announced that scientific testing proves the yellowing 14- ft.-long fabric is only six or seven centuries old and could not have dated from the time of Jesus. Thus ended the most intense scientific study ever conducted on a Christian relic. The new findings may please skeptics, but the shroud saga is not a major embarrassment for the Roman Catholic Church. Shortly after the earliest known exhibit of the shroud, in 1354, a French bishop declared it to be a fraud. Through subsequent centuries the church refused to confirm its authenticity. The examination that finally discredited the shroud was conducted with the full blessing of the church, in an unusual alliance between honest faith and objective science. When Pope John Paul was informed of the negative report two weeks ago, he ordered, "Publish it." Ballestrero had initially agreed to an extraordinary series of scientific tests on the shroud in 1978, but refused to permit carbon 14 testing, which was crucial to determining the fabric's age. Handkerchief-size samples needed to be cut out, which, to Ballestrero, was unthinkable for such a revered historical item. After technical improvements made it possible to use samples the size of postage stamps, however, the Cardinal allowed cuttings to be taken last April.

Testing was done simultaneously at the University of Arizona, Britain's Oxford University and Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Each laboratory received four unmarked samples: a shroud cutting and three control pieces, one of which dated from the 1st century. The samples were chemically cleaned, burned to produce carbon dioxide, catalytically converted into graphite and then tested for carbon 14 isotopes to fix the date by calculating the amount of radioactive decay. Only London's British Museum, which coordinated the testing, knew which samples were which. Arizona's Physicist Douglas Donahue says that the three laboratories reached a "remarkable agreement," all estimating dates within 100 years of one another. Averaging of the data produced a 95% probability that the shroud originated between 1260 and 1380 and near absolute certainty that it dates from no earlier than 1200. However, some Catholics held out the slim hope that there was a scientific oversight and the shroud might be redated someday. The dating dispute may be settled, but the shroud remains as mysterious as ever. Reason: it bears an inexplicable life-size image of a crucified body, which is uncannily accurate and looks just like a photographic negative -- occurring centuries before photography was invented. The elaborate 1988 testing failed to produce any agreed explanation of how the image, which is indistinguishable from close up, could have been imprinted. There is, for instance, no evidence that it was painted.

Ten years on, the debunked Turin Shroud gets a second coming
Andrew Gumbel
Sunday 01 February 1998 00:02 GMT

IT MUST have been the most humiliating moment of his life. On 13 October 1988, the ageing Cardinal Archbishop of Turin, Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, was forced to make the grave announcement that the Shroud of Turin - the mysterious imprint of a crucified man on a linen cloth kept in his own cathedral - could not, after all, be the image of the dead Christ in his tomb. Three universities, Oxford, Zurich, and Tucson, Arizona, had performed carbon-dating tests on samples of the cloth and had concluded that the Shroud dated from some time between 1260 and 1390. One of the great mystical objects of modern times had been shown up as a fake. Or had it? Nearly 10 years later, Archbishop Ballestrero - long since retired - has a very different view of those carbon tests. According to his office, they were the result of a "overseas Masonic plot" designed to discredit both the Roman Catholic Church and one of its most revered relics. Nobody, he thunders, should ever have been taken in by the carbon- dating, which was sloppily carried out and is in any case a notoriously unreliable means of testing historical artefacts. Archbishop Ballestrero is far from alone in his opinion. Ever since that dark day in 1988, the whole Roman Catholic Church has endeavoured to explain away the carbon-dating results and cling to the mystery of the Shroud. Paper after paper has appeared in the considerable corpus of Shroud literature, dismissing Oxford, Zurich and Tucson universities as incompetent or malicious.

Now, the secular world is beginning to adopt the same point of view. Last week, the non-religious Giovanni Agnelli Foundation organised a meeting of academics in Turin to discuss the issue, and the different specialists were remarkably uniform in their verdict. "The carbon-dating test is far from definitive," reported Piero Savarino of Turin University. "There are many well-known cases of relics whose real age differs significantly from the result of a carbon-dating test." He and others pointed out that woven materials are prone to atmospheric contamination. And nobody should forget that the Shroud has twice been exposed to fire - once in the House of Savoy's palace in Chambery in 1532, when it was scorched and then doused in water, and a second time nine months ago, when the glorious baroque chapel housing the Shoud burned out and the cloth only survived thanks to the heroic intervention of a local fireman. So the Sindonologists, as the near-fanatical scholars of the Shroud are known after the Italian for shroud,"sindone" - are back to square one. They still don't know how old the cloth is. They still don't know how a three-dimensional photographic image could have been imprinted on to it. They don't even know for sure where the Shroud came from, except that it passed into the hands of the Dukes of Savoy sometime in the mid-15th century. Their work, nevertheless, remains intense. Computer technology has intensified their reading of the three-dimensional image, including the stigmata that are invisible to the naked eye. In recent years they have claimed to have found traces of first-century pollen, and even the imprint of a first-century coin. Biochemical analysis has revealed real blood - group AB - mingled in with myrrh and aloe.

Roger Morris He held the Shroud of Turin in his hands APRIL 26, 2023
In 2002, Ray Rogers, still part of the international Shroud of Turin research community, sparked new interest in the relic when he published information claiming radiocarbon testing on the shroud — which was eventually allowed on a small scale in the years immediately following STURP — was done incorrectly.  Ray — who died in 2005 — contended that the material used in the tests was taken from areas of the shroud that had been replaced over the ages. His findings, based on a measured lack of vanillin — a natural aromatic compound found in plants — in the linen flax fibers of the artifact could mean the cloth is close to 3,000 years old. Vanillin decomposes over time, making it possible to derive estimates on the age of plant-based fibers. In other words, less vanillin equals an older shroud. 4

1. https://www.shroud.com/78conclu.htm
2. https://docplayer.net/49057880-The-shroud-of-turin-research-project-1978-scientific-examination-of-the-shroud.html
3. https://sabanasanta.org/carbono-14/
4. https://discover.lanl.gov/publications/heritage-series/heritage-series/roger-morris/?fbclid=IwAR3BEAhdtNSOVRLpjpdEvWg5eJOMWls9hqvxhGYrrjYYUXSN6hQUDmU0iww

Last edited by Otangelo on Tue Dec 26, 2023 1:01 pm; edited 4 times in total




Panel 7

Could the Shroud be a forgery ?

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Panel_23

Various hypotheses - all fail

The Chronicles of Frank: The Mastermind Behind the forgery of the Shroud:  Millennium's Greatest Riddle

Once upon a modern Monday, I, a brilliant yet underappreciated inventor, decided to unravel history's most persistent prank—the Shroud of Turin. So, I cranked up my time machine (which closely resembled a retrofitted refrigerator) and set the dial to Ye Olden Times.

Whoosh! With a sputter and a cough, the machine deposited me into a medieval atelier where I found an artist, let's call him "Frank," a man whose beard was as majestic as his ambition. Frank was in the middle of creating the biggest oopsie-daisy of the millennium.

There he was, dabbing away at a piece of linen with the focus of a cat chasing a laser pointer. Little did he know, his paint concoction had the magical ability to embed 3D information, a feature that would bamboozle scientists for ages.

I approached Frank, clearing my throat. "Good morrow, sir! I see thou art crafty with thine brush."

Frank, startled by my sudden appearance yet proud of his work, puffed out his chest and declared, "Behold, the future marvel of the world! It shall be my greatest masterpiece!"

"I'll say," I replied, inspecting the cloth. "Your work will cause quite the stir in... um, future art circles."

Frank grinned, a twinkle in his eye. "Oh, it's just a little something I whipped up between other, less important projects—like inventing the toothbrush."

I chuckled. "Well, you've certainly outdone yourself. Scholars will scratch their heads, scientists will squabble, and historians will haggle over this little number for centuries."

Frank looked puzzled. "Really? But it's just a mix of wine, berries, and a pinch of—"

"No, no, don't tell me! The mystery is half the fun," I interrupted, winking. "Plus, you wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for all those PhDs."

As I prepared to leave, I couldn't help but admire Frank's unwitting genius. His artistry would become a time-traveling troll, a historical hiccup that echoed through the ages. I hopped back into my time fridge, leaving Frank to his devices, his brush still in hand, and his destiny as history's greatest artistic prankster assured.

And so, with a flicker and a flash, I returned to the 21st century, just in time for lunch. As for the Shroud, well, let's just say it remained the ultimate conversation starter at every science convention.

While the whimsical tale of Frank and his medieval artistry makes for a delightful romp through time, the reality of the Shroud of Turin's authenticity is subject to serious debate and scientific inquiry. The hypothesis that the Shroud is a medieval forgery, crafted by a talented artist capable of embedding 3D information into the cloth, is not plausible by any means and should cause skepticism.  The level of scientific knowledge and artistic sophistication required to create a forgery with 3D encoding capabilities would be anachronistic for the Middle Ages. No known artistic techniques from that time could accomplish this feat. Medieval artists often created works for financial gain or ecclesiastical commission. A forgery of such complexity, without clear financial or social reward, would be unusual for the time. Pollen grains found on the Shroud are from plant species native to the areas surrounding Jerusalem. The weave and style of the linen cloth also correspond to ancient textiles from the Near East, rather than European methods prevalent in the Middle Ages. The image on the Shroud contains no pigment, suggesting it was not painted. The coloration of the fibers is only superficial, affecting only the topmost fibers, which would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with known medieval techniques. While radiocarbon dating tests performed in 1988 suggested a medieval origin, subsequent analyses have pointed out potential flaws in the testing process, including the possibility of contamination or the testing of repaired patches rather than the original cloth. The image on the Shroud displays detailed anatomical correctness that would be unlikely for a medieval artist to fabricate, given the limited medical knowledge of the time. Despite numerous attempts, modern artists and scientists have been unable to replicate the Shroud's imagery fully, using either medieval or modern techniques. While the middle age forgery hypothesis presents an entertaining narrative, the complexities and peculiarities of the Shroud of Turin are not plausible. The evidence points to the authenticity, and a correct date back to 33D, when Jesus left his imprint as testimony of his supernatural power, and truthfulness of the biblical identity, and historicity.

Requirements for a Hypothetical Medieval Forger of the Shroud of Turin

Knowledge of 1st Century Crucifixion: Understand Roman crucifixion methods, including nail placement and crown of thorns.

Multi-Disciplinary Expertise: Master over 100 scientific fields to ensure detail accuracy.

Modern Medical Insight: Possess advanced medical knowledge comparable to a contemporary surgeon.

Unparalleled Artistic Technique: Utilize an unknown art process to create a detailed negative image with 3-D effects.

Predictive Photographic Understanding: Anticipate principles of photographic negativity before their invention.

Ancient Cloth Acquisition: Obtain and use authentic Middle Eastern cloth from the relevant era.

Heat-Resistant Coloring Agent: Employ a unique, heat-resistant coloring substance.

Inclusion of Microscopic Details: Incorporate minute details visible only under modern scanning technology.

Authentic Blood Application: Accurately apply blood from a trauma victim.

Matching Sudarium Creation: Craft the Sudarium of Oviedo with corresponding features to the Shroud.

Specific Geological and Botanical Materials: Source Jerusalem limestone and specific Middle Eastern pollen, especially from thorn-bearing plants blooming in spring.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 G245310

The Shroud of Turin Genuine artifact or manufactured relic?

Jack Kilmon

1. The forger first painted the bloodstains before he painted the image.

2. The forger integrated forensic qualities to his image that would only be known 20th century science.

3. The forger duplicated blood flow patterns in perfect forensic agreement to blood flow from the wrists at 65° from vertical to suggest the exact crucifixion position of the arms.

4. The forger "painted" the blood flows with genuine group AB blood that he had "spiked" with excessive amounts of bilirubin since the forger knew that severe concussive scourging with a Roman flagrum would cause erythrocyte hemolysis and jaundice.

5. The forger "plotted" the scourge marks on the body of the "man in the shroud" to be consistent under forensic examination with two scourgers of varying height.

6. The forger also duplicated abrasion and compression marks on the scourge wounds of the shoulders to suggest to 20th century forensic examiners that the "man in the shroud" had carried a heavy weight following the scourging.

7. The forger, against all convention of medieval artistry, painted the body he was "hoaxing" as Jesus of Nazareth, nude to conform to genuine Roman crucifixions.

8. The forger, as the forensic genius he was, illustrated the nails of crucifixion accurately through the wrists rather than the hands as in all other conventional medieval representations. He also took into account that the thumbs of a crucified victim would rotate inward as a result of median nerve damage as the nails passed through the spaces of Destot.

9. The forger was clever enough to "salt" the linen with the pollens of plants indigenous only to the environs of Jerusalem in anticipation of 20th century palynological analysis.

10. The forger was an artist who surpassed the talents of all known artists to the present day, being able to "paint" an anatomically and photographically perfect human image in a photographic negative manner, centuries before photography, and be able to do so without being able to check his work, close up, as he progressed.

11. The forger was able to paint this image with some unknown medium using an unknown technique, 30-40 feet away in order to discern the shadowy image as he continued.

12. The forger was clever enough to depict an adult with an unplaited pony-tail, sidelocks and a beard style consistent with a Jewish male of the 1st century.

13. The forger thought of such minute details as incorporating dirt from the bare feet of the "man in the shroud" consistent with the calcium carbonate soil of the environs of Jerusalem.

14. This forger was such an expert in 20th century biochemistry, medicine, forensic pathology and anatomy, botany, photography and 3-D computer analysis that he has foiled all the efforts of modern science. His unknown and historically unduplicated artistic technique surpasses all great historical artists, making the pale efforts of DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli appear as infantile scribblings.

If the Shroud of Turin is a forgery of the 14th century, as the radiocarbonists claim, and not a genuine artifact of the 1st century, all of these qualities of the purported medieval "forger" must be accepted.  If the Shroud was "forged" it would have to have been painted.

Required Knowledge for a Medieval Forger to Create the Shroud of Turin and the Probability of Its Forgery


How to create image that is completely inverted (perfect negative)

The pathologic details of death by Roman crucifixion including
-Flagra markings and dimensions
-Blood Present on Cloth Before the Image
-High blood bilirubin content indicative of trauma victim
-Nail in wrist center causes thumb adduction
-Lancea spear dimensions
-Nails at appropriate sites
-Specific goniometry of blood flow patterns from wrist
-Post mortem pooling of blood
-Distinct blood stains over cap of skull suggestive of “cap of thorns”

1. The Shroud of Turin is renowned for its unique characteristic: it bears a negative image of a man, where the dark and light areas are inverted compared to a normal photograph. This inversion means that what would typically appear light in a regular image appears dark on the Shroud, and vice versa. Replicating such an image requires a deep understanding of photographic negative techniques, a challenging feat in both historical and contemporary contexts. In traditional photography, negatives are used to achieve this effect. In these negatives, colors and brightness are inverted, making dark areas in the real world appear light, and light areas appear dark on the negative. However, translating this concept into painting or drawing is a much more complex task. It demands a meticulous and counterintuitive approach to the standard practices of art. An artist would need to intentionally reverse the usual patterns of light and shadow. This process requires visualizing the scene as if it were being viewed through a photographic negative, with every tone and shade flipped. Creating such an inverted image by hand, especially in historical times, presents a significant challenge. It necessitates not only exceptional artistic skill but also a profound understanding of how light interacts with objects and how this interaction would be represented in an inverted format. This knowledge of photographic techniques, which were not widely understood or available until centuries later, makes it exceedingly unlikely that a forger, particularly from an earlier historical period, could have accurately produced such an inverted image. The complexity involved in creating a perfect negative image by hand adds to the mystery and ongoing debate surrounding the Shroud of Turin. It underscores the enigmatic nature of the Shroud, contributing to its status as an object of enduring fascination.

2. The pathological details of crucifixion as observed on the Shroud of Turin provide a compelling, albeit gruesome, insight into the methods and consequences of Roman crucifixion practices. These details align with historical accounts and forensic analysis, adding a layer of authenticity to the Shroud's depiction.

Flagra Markings: The Shroud displays markings that are consistent with wounds inflicted by a Roman flagrum. This whip typically featured multiple leather thongs with metal balls or bone pieces at the ends. The markings on the Shroud reflect the distinctive size, shape, and pattern of these tips, suggesting a repeated lashing that was standard in Roman scourging practices. This would result in deep, contused lacerations across the body, particularly the back, buttocks, and legs, reflecting the brutal efficiency of the flagrum in inflicting pain and injury.The presence of flagra markings on the Shroud of Turin not only suggests the use of a Roman flagrum in the infliction of wounds but also raises a profound mystery about how these marks were accurately transferred from the body to the cloth. The Shroud displays a detailed and precise set of markings consistent with the size, shape, and pattern of a flagrum's tips, indicating a repeated lashing. These markings, observed as deep, contused lacerations, are especially pronounced across the back, buttocks, and legs, aligning with the known brutality of Roman scourging practices. The enigma lies in understanding how these detailed impressions could have been transferred onto the fabric of the Shroud with such accuracy and clarity. Traditional methods of contact transfer, such as pressing a cloth against a wounded body, are unlikely to yield such precise and well-defined imprints. Furthermore, the nature of the wounds, involving contusions and lacerations, complicates the idea of a simple direct transfer mechanism. Several theories have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, but none have been conclusively proven. Some suggest a chemical interaction between the body (possibly through post-mortem changes) and the fabric, while others hypothesize a yet-to-be-understood physical or energetic process that occurred at the moment of the body's wrapping or thereafter. What adds to the mystery is the consistency and uniformity of the wound imprints on the Shroud. If they were the result of a direct transfer from a body, the distortion and variance due to the folds and drapes of the cloth would be expected. Yet, the markings on the Shroud display a near-photographic precision that defies simple explanations based on known physical and chemical processes of image transfer from a three-dimensional body to a two-dimensional cloth. This unexplained aspect of how the flagra markings were accurately transmitted from the body to the Shroud remains one of the many enigmatic features of this ancient artifact, contributing to its enduring intrigue and significance in both religious and scientific communities.

Blood Evidence and Bilirubin: The presence of high bilirubin levels in the bloodstains on the Shroud could be indicative of severe physical trauma. Bilirubin is a byproduct of the breakdown of red blood cells, and its elevated levels are often found in individuals who have experienced significant physical stress or injury. In the context of the Shroud, these high levels suggest the individual had undergone severe physical abuse prior to death, consistent with the brutal nature of Roman crucifixion and scourging. The hypothesis of high bilirubin levels in the bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin, indicative of severe physical trauma, adds a layer of complexity to the discussion of the Shroud's authenticity and the challenges a potential forger would face. If the presence of elevated bilirubin is accurate, it implies that the individual whose image is on the Shroud experienced extreme physical stress or injury, consistent with the brutal practices of Roman crucifixion and scourging.

To authentically replicate the bloodstains with high bilirubin levels, a forger would need access to the blood of a person who had undergone severe physical trauma, akin to the brutality depicted in Roman crucifixion. This requirement presents not only a logistical challenge but also a deeply unethical and criminal one, essentially requiring the forger to be complicit in murder or severe abuse. During the time periods when forgery of the Shroud is often hypothesized to have occurred (Middle Ages, for instance), there was no known scientific understanding of bilirubin or its relationship to physical trauma. A forger would have to possess advanced biomedical knowledge that was centuries ahead of its time, making it highly improbable. From a forger's perspective, there would be little to no benefit in going through the considerable trouble of obtaining blood from a tortured individual. The nuances of bilirubin levels and their implications would not have been understood or appreciated by observers at the time. Using blood from any source would have achieved the visual effect of bloodstains without the added complexity of ensuring it came from a specific type of trauma. The act of obtaining blood from a tortured individual would carry immense risk and complexity, far exceeding the challenges of traditional forgery techniques. It would involve not just the act of forgery, but also engaging in or commissioning acts of extreme violence, which would significantly increase the risk of exposure and punishment. In light of these hurdles, the theory that the bloodstains on the Shroud were the result of a forgery becomes increasingly implausible. The specific details, such as the elevated bilirubin levels indicative of severe trauma, add layers of complexity that would be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to fabricate with the knowledge and resources available in historical periods when such a forgery could have been attempted.

Nail Wounds: Contrary to popular depictions of crucifixion, historical and anatomical evidence suggests that nails were driven through the wrists, not the palms. This method was more structurally sound for supporting the weight of a body during crucifixion. The Shroud shows evidence of nail wounds in the wrist area. Moreover, it depicts a specific detail - the adduction of the thumb (inward movement towards the wrist) - which is a known anatomical reaction when nails are driven through the wrist's median nerve. This detail corroborates the historical accuracy and physiological realism of the Shroud's depiction. The depiction of nail wounds in the wrist area on the Shroud of Turin, as opposed to the palms, is a significant detail that adds to the debate over its authenticity. This anatomical accuracy, particularly the specific detail of the thumb adduction (inward movement towards the wrist), is a crucial element that aligns with modern medical understanding but would have been highly unlikely for a forger from the Middle Ages to know or understand. During the Middle Ages, the common artistic representation of crucifixion almost invariably showed the nails being driven through the palms of the hands. This was the widely accepted and depicted method, influenced by religious iconography and theological interpretations rather than anatomical accuracy. A forger in this era, therefore, would likely have followed this conventional depiction and placed the nail wounds in the palms in any fabricated relic. The level of anatomical detail necessary to depict the effects of nailing through the wrists, including the thumb's adduction due to median nerve injury, was far beyond the medical knowledge of the Middle Ages. This specific detail is consistent with modern medical understanding but was not known or understood until much later. Therefore, a forger from this period would not have the requisite knowledge to accurately represent this detail. The medical understanding in the Middle Ages was rudimentary compared to modern standards. Knowledge of the intricate details of nerve damage and its specific effects on hand movement was not within the scope of medieval medicine. The depiction of such details in the Shroud suggests a level of anatomical and physiological understanding that would be extraordinary and highly unlikely for a forger of that era. Artists and craftsmen in the Middle Ages were heavily influenced by religious and cultural norms. The portrayal of crucifixion in art and artifacts was more about theological symbolism and less about historical or anatomical accuracy. A forger, seeking to create a believable relic, would likely adhere to these norms rather than deviate based on anatomical accuracy. If a forger had, by some chance, stumbled upon this anatomical detail, depicting the crucifixion in a manner contrary to the accepted norms would have been a significant risk. It could have led to skepticism and disbelief, as it would have contradicted the widely held and depicted beliefs of the time.

Lance Wounds: The Shroud features a side wound, likely inflicted by a Roman lancea. This type of wound is consistent with the historical use of a spear to either hasten death or confirm death in crucifixion victims. The size and shape of the wound on the Shroud align with the dimensions of Roman spears used during the period. The location of the wound, traditionally near the heart, suggests a deliberate action to either cause death or verify it, which was a common practice in Roman executions to ensure the victim did not survive the crucifixion. Each of these details - from the flagra markings to the lance wound - contributes to a forensic narrative that aligns closely with what is known of Roman crucifixion methods. The accuracy of these details in the Shroud suggests a deep familiarity with these practices, further intensifying the mystery and historical significance of this enigmatic artifact. The depiction of a side wound on the Shroud of Turin, consistent with being inflicted by a Roman lancea, poses significant challenges for a hypothetical forger, particularly from the Middle Ages.

The precise replication of a wound inflicted by a Roman lancea requires detailed knowledge of Roman crucifixion methods and the tools used. In the Middle Ages, detailed historical knowledge about Roman execution practices was limited. A forger would need to have a very specific and accurate understanding of these practices, which were not commonly detailed in historical texts available at the time. The wound's location near the heart is anatomically significant. It suggests a deliberate action to either cause death or verify it. For a forger to accurately place this wound, they would need advanced knowledge of human anatomy, specifically the location of vital organs, which was not common knowledge in the Middle Ages. Medical knowledge of the time was rudimentary compared to today, and the accurate placement of such a wound would be unlikely. The size and shape of the wound as depicted on the Shroud are consistent with the dimensions of Roman spears. Replicating this would require the forger to have access to accurate replicas of Roman weapons or detailed knowledge of their design, which would be uncommon and difficult to obtain during the Middle Ages. If a forger were attempting to create a believable relic, deviating from the common perceptions and artistic representations of crucifixion at the time would have been a significant risk. During the Middle Ages, crucifixion was often depicted in a stylized, non-anatomical manner in art. A more accurate depiction, such as the side wound consistent with a Roman lancea, would have been out of the norm and might have invited skepticism and scrutiny. Creating a realistic-looking wound on a linen cloth that mimics the appearance of an actual spear wound is a complex task. It requires not just artistic skill but a deep understanding of how such a wound would appear on fabric after coming into contact with a body. This level of technical skill and understanding of forensic pathology would be highly unusual for a forger in the Middle Ages.

Blood Flow Patterns: Understanding the goniometry (measurement of angles) of blood flow from wounds, including those on the wrists and head, is crucial. This involves knowing how blood flows and pools under gravity, especially post-mortem. The accurate representation of blood flow patterns, including the goniometry (measurement of angles) of blood from wounds, presents a considerable challenge for a potential forger, particularly in historical contexts like the Middle Ages.  Accurately depicting blood flow patterns from wounds requires a sophisticated understanding of how blood behaves under various conditions, including the influence of gravity, body position, and the effects of injury and death. In the Middle Ages, such knowledge was not well developed or understood. This lack of understanding would make it exceptionally challenging for a forger to replicate realistic blood flow patterns, especially those from specific wounds like those on the wrists or head. Post-mortem blood flow is particularly complex. After death, blood pooling and flow are affected by factors like gravity, the rigidity of tissues, and the cessation of circulatory pressure. Replicating the nuances of post-mortem blood flow on a linen cloth, as seen on the Shroud, would require not only artistic skill but also a deep understanding of forensic pathology. This level of knowledge was not available in the Middle Ages. The goniometry of blood flow refers to the angles at which blood flows from wounds, influenced by the body's position and the force of gravity. Accurately representing these angles on a flat surface like the Shroud would require a forger to understand and calculate how blood flows from wounds on a three-dimensional body and then realistically transpose this onto a two-dimensional surface. Such calculations are complex and were beyond the scope of knowledge in historical times when forgery is suspected. The blood flow patterns on the Shroud are consistent with wounds inflicted in a crucifixion, including the specific locations and types of wounds. A forger would need to replicate not just generic blood patterns, but specific ones that correspond to known wounds, like those on the wrists and head from crucifixion. This requires a level of detail and anatomical accuracy unlikely to be possessed by forgers in the past. Beyond the scientific understanding, the technical execution of painting or imprinting blood flow patterns on fabric in a way that remains realistic over centuries is a significant challenge. The Shroud's bloodstains have been preserved in a manner that still allows for forensic analysis, suggesting a level of sophistication in the materials and methods used that would be atypical of medieval forgeries.

Cap of Thorns: Distinct stains on the head area of the Shroud suggest a cap or crown of thorns. These markings would reflect the pattern of such an object being pressed onto the scalp. Creating convincing stains on the Shroud of Turin to represent a cap or crown of thorns involves challenges that would have been extremely difficult for a forger to overcome, especially in historical times like the Middle Ages.  The pattern created by a crown of thorns would be complex and irregular, with multiple points of contact causing various wounds on the scalp. Replicating this pattern accurately would require a detailed understanding of how such an object would interact with the human head, including the specific points where thorns would penetrate the skin and how blood would flow from these wounds. Blood flow from scalp wounds behaves differently compared to other parts of the body due to the scalp's unique structure and blood supply. A forger would need to understand these specific dynamics to create realistic bloodstain patterns. In the Middle Ages, knowledge about the circulatory system and blood flow dynamics was limited, making it highly improbable for a forger to accurately replicate these patterns. If a forger attempted to create a physical crown of thorns to make the pattern, they would need to construct an object that closely mimicked the real thing in terms of size, shape, and the distribution of thorns. This task requires not only artistic skill but also a deep understanding of the morphology of such a crown, which was not a common object and had no standard design. Transferring the blood pattern from a three-dimensional object like a crown of thorns onto a two-dimensional surface like a cloth in a realistic manner is a complex process. The forger would have to master the technique of transferring bloodstains from the three-dimensional contours of a scalp onto the cloth without smudging or distorting the pattern, which would be a difficult task given the technology and materials available in the Middle Ages. The bloodstains suggesting a cap of thorns on the Shroud are consistent with what would be expected anatomically if such an object were pressed onto a person's head. A forger would need a sophisticated understanding of anatomy to ensure that the stains matched the locations where thorns would realistically penetrate and cause bleeding on a human head. The depiction of a cap or crown of thorns is specific to the narrative of Jesus' crucifixion. A forger would have to be motivated not only by the desire to create a convincing relic but also by the need to align it with specific theological and historical narratives. This requires a deep understanding of Christian iconography and the cultural context of the time.

Overall Image Creation: The Shroud is a full-body image, front and back, of a crucified man. The overall creation of such an image involves not only understanding these specific details but also how they interact to create a coherent, life-sized image. The creation of the full-body image on the Shroud of Turin, representing both the front and back of a crucified man, presents a series of significant challenges that would make forgery particularly difficult, especially in historical contexts like the Middle Ages.  Creating a life-sized, full-body image that is anatomically proportional and consistent from both front and back views is a complex task. It requires not only artistic skill but also a deep understanding of human anatomy and proportion. In the Middle Ages, while there were skilled artists, the level of anatomical precision needed for such a task was not commonly achieved. The Shroud depicts a three-dimensional figure on a two-dimensional surface. This requires sophisticated knowledge of perspective and shading to convey depth and form accurately. Such techniques were not fully developed or understood in the Middle Ages as they are in modern art. The image on the Shroud shows a consistent placement of wounds and bloodstains that align from the front to the back of the body. Achieving this level of consistency would be extremely challenging, as it requires precise alignment and understanding of how wounds would appear on a body subjected to crucifixion, including the effects of gravity and body positioning. The technique by which the image was transferred onto the Shroud is still a subject of debate and research. It is not consistent with painting, rubbing, or any known medieval image-making techniques. For a forger to create such an image, they would have needed to discover and apply a sophisticated and unknown method of image transfer. The Shroud displays detailed and accurate pathological features consistent with crucifixion, such as nail wounds in the wrists, scourge marks, and a side wound. Replicating these features with historical and medical accuracy would require knowledge that was not available in the Middle Ages. The image on the Shroud, despite being full-body, is remarkably uniform in its intensity and detail. This uniformity is difficult to achieve in a forgery, especially on such a large scale, as it would be easy to introduce inconsistencies and irregularities in the image-making process. The image on the Shroud lacks the stylistic elements typical of medieval artwork. It does not resemble paintings or drawings of the era but instead appears more as a detailed, photographic negative. A forger would have to consciously avoid any contemporary artistic styles, which would be an unusual and difficult approach.

Historical and Artistic Context: Understanding the historical context of Roman crucifixion methods and the artistic techniques available during the time believed to be the origin of the Shroud is also essential. When considering the historical and artistic context of the Shroud of Turin, especially in relation to the skills and knowledge available during the period believed to be its origin (often argued to be the Middle Ages), several factors significantly complicate the notion of it being a forgery. The Shroud depicts details of Roman crucifixion with a level of accuracy that would require detailed knowledge of these practices. During the Middle Ages, the comprehensive understanding of Roman execution methods, especially the specifics of crucifixion, was limited. Detailed information about practices like nailing through the wrists, the use of the Roman flagrum, or the spearing of the side was not commonly or accurately recorded in available texts. The artistic techniques available during the Middle Ages were largely incapable of producing the detailed, photonegative-like image seen on the Shroud. Medieval art, particularly in the realm of lifelike representation and detailed anatomical accuracy, was not as advanced as what the Shroud's image would require. The Shroud lacks brushstrokes, pigments, or other indications of being a painted or drawn piece, which were the common artistic methods of the time. The Shroud displays a detailed and anatomically accurate full-body image. In the Middle Ages, the understanding of human anatomy was rudimentary, as dissections and detailed anatomical studies were rare or even forbidden. The level of anatomical precision evident in the Shroud was not typical of the artistic or scientific knowledge of that era. The accurate representation of blood flow patterns, wounds, and the effects of torture on the Shroud would require advanced knowledge of forensic pathology, which was not available in the Middle Ages. The understanding of how blood flows from specific wounds, how it pools post-mortem, and how wounds inflicted by specific implements like the Roman flagrum or nails would appear, was beyond the scope of medieval knowledge. One of the key challenges for a forger would be to avoid anachronisms – that is, the inclusion of details or elements that did not exist or were not known during the supposed time of creation. The Shroud, however, does not display such inconsistencies, further complicating the notion of forgery. The Shroud had to align with the religious and cultural expectations of its time to be considered authentic. A forger would need not only the technical skill to create the image but also a deep understanding of the theological and iconographic elements relevant to the narrative of Christ's crucifixion. The Shroud is made on a fine linen cloth, and the image is embedded within the fabric in a way that is not consistent with known painting or image-making techniques of the Middle Ages. Creating such an image on linen without modern tools or chemicals would be exceptionally difficult.

Calculating the Odds of Forgery

For a forger to create the Shroud of Turin in the Middle Ages, they would have to possess advanced knowledge of Roman crucifixion methods, human anatomy, forensic pathology, and artistic techniques far beyond what was available at the time. They would also need to meticulously avoid anachronisms and align the image with contemporary cultural and religious beliefs, all while executing the image on linen in a manner not consistent with the art-making technologies of the era. These factors make the notion of the Shroud being a medieval forgery highly implausible. To provide a speculative calculation on the likelihood of the Shroud of Turin being a forgery, we need to consider several factors and estimate the probability of each being successfully forged in the medieval period. It's important to remember that this calculation will be highly speculative and not based on precise statistical data, as the actual likelihood involves a multitude of unknown and possibly unknowable variables.

Creating a Perfect Negative Image: Let's assume the knowledge and skill required for this would be extremely rare in medieval times. Probability of successful forgery: 5%.
Accurate Pathological Details of Crucifixion: Given the limited medical knowledge of the time, accurately representing these details would be quite difficult. Probability: 10%.
Flagra Markings and Dimensions: This requires specific historical knowledge and skill. Probability: 15%.
Blood on Cloth Before Image Formation: Replicating aged blood stains accurately would be challenging without modern chemical knowledge. Probability: 10%.
High Blood Bilirubin Content: This detail would be virtually impossible to replicate intentionally in the medieval period due to lack of biochemical knowledge. Probability: 5%.
Nail Wounds and Thumb Adduction: Accurate depiction would require advanced anatomical knowledge. Probability: 10%.
Lancea Spear Dimensions and Wound Representation: Requires specific historical and anatomical knowledge. Probability: 15%.
Appropriate Placement of Nails: Some historical knowledge required, but possibly achievable. Probability: 20%.
Goniometry of Blood Flow: Complex understanding of physics and anatomy needed. Probability: 10%.
Post Mortem Blood Pooling: Understanding of post-mortem physiology would be rare. Probability: 10%.
Blood Stains from a 'Cap of Thorns': This requires both artistic skill and a creative interpretation. Probability: 20%.

Using these speculative probabilities, we can calculate an overall likelihood. However, these probabilities are not independent - the likelihood of achieving one could affect the others. For a simplified calculation, we could multiply these probabilities. But in reality, the interdependence of these factors would make the actual calculation much more complex. The speculative calculation, based on the individual probabilities assigned to each factor, results in an extremely low overall probability of about 0.000000225% that the Shroud of Turin could have been successfully forged in the medieval period with all these specific details accurately replicated. To achieve one successful outcome with this success rate, approximately 440 million trials would be necessary. ​​

This calculation illustrates just how unlikely it would be for a medieval forger to possess the necessary knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines to create the Shroud as it exists today.  This is a highly speculative and simplified calculation, not taking into account the complex interdependencies between these factors or the unknown aspects of medieval technology and knowledge.

This calculation, despite speculative, underscores the unlikelyness of a forgery from medieval times. ​

The intersection between faith, and tangible, verifiable evidence

We are told that John entered the Tomb, where Jesus was buried, and “he saw and believed” (εἶδεν)17 (v. 8 ). Ὁράω serves well as a climax for all that has proceeded. This verb communicates the idea of “mental and spiritual perception.” It is sometimes used for the “supernatural.” Second, we should take note of the fact that there is no object for the verb ὁράω in verse eight: “He saw and believed!” But what exactly did he see? We are not told!  The burial Shroud was lying on the stone slab undisturbed, exactly as it had been before (bound with a couple of thin, linen wrappings), except now lying flat—“sunken down”—without the body.  The scene conveyed the conclusion that, somehow, the body had literally dematerialized and passed through the burial cloth to release itself from the bonds of death and imprisonment. Also, the identity of the “face cloth” is crucial in understanding this passage,
but a crux interpretum concerns what one decides to do with the perfect tense of the verb “rolled up” (ἐντετυλιγμένον) in verse seven.

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The body had not been stolen! Contrary to what Mary had concluded from her quick appearance at the tomb earlier in the day, the grave clothes are lying in such a way that theft of the body is ruled out. Besides, who would first unwrap the body and then take only the corpse, leaving the Shroud behind? And even if so, the cloth would have appeared smeared with blood, which, as we can see on the Turin Shroud, was not the case.  Second, no one had unwrapped the linens to set Jesus free! His glorious, resurrected body is now able to pass through shut doors. His glorious body had done the same regarding its captivity with the Shroud! His body had dematerialized and passed right through the linen. John could see how the bands of cloth used to secure the corpse to the Shroud were still tied. It is as though the body had somehow vaporized and gone right through the cloth! Now the linens are lying there entirely undisturbed in any way.

This is consistent with the only explanation that begins to answer how the image on the Shroud of Turin was formed (with all its inexplicable characteristics). Based on extensive scientific research over forty years, physicist John Jackson put forward an unconventional hypothesis:
I propose that, as the Shroud collapsed through the underlying body, radiation emitted from all points within that body and discolored the cloth so as to produce the observed image.
The face cloth had probably been used by Joseph of Arimathea when taking the body down from the cross. Once inside the tomb, before enveloping the corpse with the Shroud, the face cloth was removed, rolled up, and set aside.
Since the face cloth was not on the corpse when the Resurrection took place, it does not have an image on it like the Shroud of Turin.
This is in keeping with the Sudarium of Oviedo, a face cloth that has been in Spain since 616 AD. Scientific tests done on both the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo demonstrated that “both cloths touched the same face.”
The subsequent story of “Doubting Thomas” should not be divorced from our current passage.

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:24-29. is a unique account in the New Testament, emphasizing the relationship between belief and having seen. Thomas wasn't present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after His resurrection. Upon hearing from others that Jesus had risen, Thomas expressed skepticism. He declared that he would not believe it until he saw the nail marks in Jesus' hands and put his finger where the nails were, and his hand into Jesus' side. A week later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time with Thomas present. He invited Thomas to touch His wounds and stop doubting but believe. Thomas responded by acknowledging Jesus as "My Lord and my God!" Jesus then spoke of the blessedness of those who have not seen and yet have believed. This account emphasizes the importance of faith and belief, even in the absence of physical evidence. This incident is unique to the Gospel of John and does not appear in the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—where Thomas is mentioned only in the listings of the apostles. It's noteworthy that this story illustrates a significant moment of personal transformation for Thomas, moving from doubt to profound faith upon encountering the risen Christ.

In John 20:27, the Greek word used for "see" is ἴδε (ide). This word carries the sense of visual perception or observation. When Jesus tells Thomas to "see" His hands, He is inviting Thomas to not just look, but to observe and understand the reality of His resurrected body. This invitation is a direct response to Thomas's earlier expression of doubt, where he stated he wouldn't believe unless he could see and touch the wounds of Jesus. The use of ἴδε in this context is significant as it addresses Thomas's skepticism and the need for physical proof of Jesus' resurrection. Jesus' words "reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing" further emphasize the call for Thomas to move from doubt to belief through physical and visual evidence. This moment highlights the compassionate and understanding nature of Jesus, as He addresses Thomas's doubts directly and provides him the evidence he sought to believe in the resurrection. The exegesis of this passage often focuses on the interplay between faith and doubt, sight and belief. While Jesus provides the physical proof to Thomas, His words also stress the blessedness of those who believe without seeing, thus setting a foundation for faith that goes beyond physical evidence.

The narrative showcases Jesus' understanding of human doubts and His willingness to meet people where they are, providing what they need to move towards faith. This incident with Thomas thus becomes a powerful example of how Jesus responds to human frailty and skepticism with grace and patience, inviting a deeper, faith-based understanding beyond mere physical perception. The incident with Thomas in the Gospel of John highlights Jesus' understanding and compassionate response to human doubts and skepticism. This narrative showcases a significant aspect of the Christian faith: Jesus' willingness to meet people at their point of need and doubt, providing tangible evidence to nurture faith. This approach underscores a profound respect for the human condition and its inherent fragilities.

The Shroud of Turin provides us tangible, physical evidence of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, much in the vein of Jesus' response to Thomas's doubts. Powerful evidence indicates that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus, bearing the image of a man who suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. The Shroud of Turin aligns with the perception that Christ understands and accommodates human needs for physical evidence. Just as Jesus invited Thomas to touch and see His wounds, the image on the Shroud offers physical evidence of the Gospel narratives. Faith comes ultimately by the action of the holy spirit, by hearing the word of God, but is also a result of the careful, rational examination of physical evidence in the world around us. As the apostle Paul writes in Romans 1.19-22:  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.

This passage offers a perspective on how the physical world and human reasoning can lead to an understanding of God's existence and attributes.  The creation of the world reveals God's "invisible qualities," specifically His eternal power and divine nature. By observing the world around us, its complexity, beauty, and order, we can infer the existence of a divine creator. The natural world acts as a testament to God's power and divinity, and through reason and observation, humans can come to an understanding of these attributes. This passage has been influential in shaping Christian thought on how faith and reason interact. It suggests that faith in God is not irrational or based solely on internal belief but is also supported by rational observation of the world.  Paul's message in Romans 1:19-22 is a call to observe the world and use reason as tools to understand and acknowledge the divine. It is a reminder that the physical world is not just a backdrop to human existence but a canvas that, to those who believe, reveals the handiwork of a divine creator.

The Shroud of Turin, much like the concept discussed in Romans 1:19-22, provides a physical, tangible element that invites observation and study, potentially leading to rational inferences about Christ's historicity and biblical identity. The Shroud represents a convergence of faith, history, and science, offering a unique opportunity for believers and skeptics alike to engage with the Christian narrative in a tangible way. The Shroud can be physically examined, studied, and tested. Its existence provides a tangible connection to the past, a physical object that can be scrutinized using scientific methods. The Shroud offers a direct link to the events of the Gospels, serving as a material witness to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. It engages with the human desire for concrete evidence, particularly events of such significant impact. Over the years, the Shroud has been subjected to various scientific analyses. This scientific engagement embodies the interplay of faith and reason, where faith does not negate the need for rational inquiry, but rather, invites it. The Shroud offers a focal point for personal reflection on the life and suffering of Jesus. This aspect resonates with the notion that the physical world, in all its complexity and mystery, can lead to profound spiritual insights and strengthen faith. The Shroud provides an opportunity to meditate on the nature of Christ's sacrifice and the central tenets of the Christian faith. The Shroud reflects the dynamic nature of faith, which accommodates questioning, discussion, and diverse viewpoints. This debate can be constructive, as it encourages deeper exploration and understanding of the historical foundations of Christianity. The Shroud serves a function similar to the role of the natural world as described in Romans 1:19-22. It stands at the intersection of faith and reason, inviting individuals to explore, question, and reflect. The Shroud challenges to consider the historical and spiritual dimensions of the Christian narrative, integrating scientific inquiry with spiritual contemplation.

The distinction between the creation of images and the prohibition against idolatry in the Bible is an important one, particularly when considering representations like those based on the Shroud of Turin.

Exodus 20:4-6 and Deuteronomy 5:8-10 explicitly forbid the making of idols. This commandment is rooted in the belief that God is transcendent and beyond any physical representation. The concern was that creating images or idols could lead to them being worshipped as gods, which would be a form of idolatry, a practice strictly forbidden in Judaism.  The New Testament does not specifically address the creation of religious images. Any image, icon, or representation should not be an object of worship. Images based on the Shroud of Turin are not objects of worship but aid in a deeper understanding of the suffering of Christ. These representations are not meant to be divine or to possess any power in themselves. Instead, they are reminders of the historical Jesus and his sacrifice.In the history of Christianity, particularly within the Orthodox and Catholic traditions, the use of religious images (icons, statues, paintings) has been a common practice for centuries. These images are not meant to be worshipped. The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 AD addressed the use of icons and distinguished veneration from worship, which is due to God alone. While some Christian denominations avoid the use of religious images almost entirely, others embrace them as powerful tools for spiritual engagement and education. This diversity reflects the broader Christian understanding that the relationship with God is personal and transcends physical representations. While the Old Testament prohibits the creation of idols for worship, the New Testament and Christian tradition do not explicitly forbid the creation of religious images. Instead, these images, like those based on the Shroud of Turin, aid in understanding, provided they are not themselves objects of worship.

Larry Stalley Is the Shroud of Turin in the Background of John’s Resurrection Narrative? (John 20:1-10) (2020) Link

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Panel 8 

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Characteristics of the Image on the Shroud

• Superficial—penetrates only top 2 micro-fibers
• No directionality such as brush strokes
• No outline to image
• No cementing of fibers as with paint
• Uniform intensity
• No variations in density as with known art works
• No particles between the threads (dust rubbing)
• No capillary action (except for blood)
• Negative image present
• Blood from actual wounds
• AB blood type, human male DNA

1. **Superficiality**: The image on the Shroud is remarkably superficial, affecting only the top two micro-fibers of the cloth. This suggests a delicate and precise mechanism of image formation, unlike conventional painting techniques. The image affecting only the top micro-fibers suggests an extraordinarily delicate formation process, unlike any known artistic method from the medieval period. This could imply that the image was formed by a process not understood or replicable by medieval artists.

2. **Lack of Directionality**: The absence of brush strokes indicates that the image was not created by standard artistic methods. This challenges the notion of the Shroud being a medieval forgery, as some have proposed. The absence of brush strokes or any directional marks typically associated with painting challenges the idea that it was a crafted artifact. It implies a formation process that is more complex and less human-driven.

3. **No Outlining**: Unlike typical paintings, the image on the Shroud does not have clear outlines. This contributes to the three-dimensional quality of the image when analyzed using modern imaging techniques. The lack of clear outlines is not characteristic of medieval painting, which often emphasizes outlines. This feature adds to the mystery of its creation, suggesting a process that is not manually controlled.

4. **No Cementing of Fibers**: The fibers are not glued or stuck together, as would be expected if paint or other typical artistic media had been used. The fact that the fibers are not cemented together as they would be with paint demonstrates that the image was not painted. This is a significant point against the forgery theory.

5. **Uniform Intensity**: The image's intensity is remarkably uniform. This uniformity is hard to achieve with conventional artistic methods, where variations in brush pressure and paint application typically result in different intensities. Achieving such uniform intensity across a large cloth would be extremely challenging with medieval technologies, implying that the image was not the product of conventional artistic methods of the time.

6. **No Variations in Density**: Unlike known artworks where density varies, the image on the Shroud shows a consistent density, further supporting the idea of a non-conventional formation process. This consistency across the image is not typical of hand-made artworks, where variations are almost inevitable. It suggests a process that is uniform and not subject to human error or technique.

7. **Absence of Particles Between Threads**: The lack of particles between the threads (like dust rubbing) suggests the image was not formed by powders or applied materials. The lack of extraneous particles indicates that the image was not formed by any applied substance, like powders, again suggesting a non-artistic process.

8. **No Capillary Action**: Capillary action, typical in fluid-based images, is not evident on the Shroud, except for the bloodstains. This is unusual for an image formed by liquid mediums. The absence of capillary action in the image formation, except for blood, indicates a process distinct from typical liquid-based image creation, like painting.

9. **Negative Image**: The Shroud's image is a negative, meaning it shows more detail when viewed as a photographic negative. This characteristic is unique and baffling, as it implies a complex formation mechanism. The presence of a negative image is perhaps one of the most compelling aspects. This feature is highly sophisticated and would have been unknown in the medieval period, suggesting the image was not deliberately created by artists of that time.

10. **Blood from Actual Wounds**: The bloodstains on the Shroud correspond to wounds depicted in the image, suggesting a real human body as the source. This has been a significant point in arguing for the Shroud's authenticity. The bloodstains correspond to the type of wounds one would expect from a crucifixion, consistent with the narrative of Jesus Christ's death. This correlation provides a compelling connection to the Shroud's purported historical context.

11. **AB Blood Type, Human Male DNA**: Analysis has indicated the presence of blood type AB and human male DNA. This is intriguing, especially considering the rareness of AB blood type in the general population during the medieval period. The presence of human male DNA and particularly AB blood type, which was very rare in the general population during the medieval period, adds a layer of authenticity. It suggests that the bloodstains originated from a real person and not from an artist's materials.

These features collectively build a strong case for the Shroud's authenticity. They suggest a formation process that is extraordinarily delicate, sophisticated, and not replicable with known medieval art techniques. The combination of these unique characteristics makes the Shroud of Turin a compelling and mysterious artifact that continues to intrigue and inspire debates among scientists, historians, theologians, and the general public. 

The image
was not 
made by:

X Paint
X Stain
X Dye
X Oil
X Acid
X Powder
X Heat / Burn

The image was made by radiation

The distinct straw yellow hue of the image on the Shroud of Turin exhibits an extraordinarily fine superficiality when examined under a microscope. A single thread from the linen shroud is composed of approximately two hundred individual fibers, each with a diameter of about 20 microns. Remarkably, the discoloration attributed to the image does not extend beyond the very outermost layer of these fibers, penetrating less than 0.2 microns deep. This level of superficiality is consistent across all the colored fibers and does not affect the fibers that lie beneath the surface or are obscured by other fibers. The hypothesis involving radiation suggests a mechanism that could account for this extremely localized color change. According to this theory, a form of radiation could have caused a chemical alteration in the very thin, topmost layer of the fibers, affecting only the outermost surface to a depth of 0.000008 inches. This would mean the image is not a result of substances applied onto the surface, such as paint, but rather a transformation of the linen's fibers at a molecular level due to some form of radiant energy. This theory aligns with observations of the image's properties: its extreme superficiality, the lack of penetration beyond the surface-exposed fibers, and the absence of coloration between the fibers, which would be present if the image were formed by liquid dyes or pigments. If such a radiation event occurred, it would have been finely tuned to affect only the most minute layer, suggesting an event that is not easily replicated or explained by contemporary science. This specificity has led to a variety of interpretations, ranging from those based on naturalistic explanations to those invoking miraculous events, all of which continue to be subjects of analysis and debate within the scientific community.

At the Grenoble Nuclear Studies Center in France, Dr. Jean‐Baptiste Rinaudo conducted experiments involving the radiation of proton beams onto white linen using a particle accelerator. These experiments were aimed at replicating the straw-yellow coloration observed on the external image fibers of the Shroud of Turin. Remarkably, the experiments yielded results consistent with the Shroud's characteristics: the exterior of the fibers turned straw-yellow, while the interior part remained white. Dr. Kitty Little, a retired nuclear physicist from Britain’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, conducted similar experiments. She also observed comparable effects of radiation on linen, leading her to conclude that radiation might have played a role in forming the Shroud's image.

Fine-tuning of the radiation energy to produce the image on the Shroud

The need for fine-tuning the radiation energy in these experiments arises from the unique characteristics of the Shroud's image. The image is only superficial, affecting only the topmost fibers of the cloth. This suggests that whatever process caused the image did so without penetrating deeply into the fabric, which requires a very precise application of energy. Too much energy and the radiation would penetrate too deeply, affecting more than just the topmost fibers. Too little, and the color change might not occur at all. Therefore, achieving the correct balance is crucial to get the Shroud's unique image properties. This fine-tuning of radiation energy is significant because it points to the complex and delicate nature of the image formation on the Shroud, suggesting a process that goes beyond simple physical or chemical reactions. If we wanted to describe the precision more quantitatively, we could discuss the proportion of the fiber affected by the coloration compared to its total diameter:

- The diameter of an individual fiber is approximately 20 microns.
- The depth of coloration is less than 0.2 microns.

Less than 1% of the radius of each fiber was affected by the coloring. This ratio points to a highly precise radiation mechanism since it would require a source of energy capable of causing changes in such a minute area without affecting the rest of the material. A particular radiation energy level had to be responsible. The energy had to be precisely enough to cause a chemical change in the top layers of the fibers without transferring enough energy to penetrate and affect the lower layers and blurring the image.

1. The diameter of an individual linen fiber is approximately 20 microns (20 x 10^-6 meters).
2. The depth of the coloration on the Shroud is less than 0.2 microns (0.2 x 10^-6 meters).

This ratio, 0.01 or 1%, indicates that the coloration process would have had to be extremely finely tuned to affect only 1% of the radius (since the radius is half the diameter) of the individual fibers, assuming uniform coloration around the fiber. This fine-tuning would suggest an incredibly precise and localized energy distribution. It implies that the radiation source would have to deliver energy that is sufficient to modify the very surface of the fibers but not powerful enough to penetrate beyond this extremely thin layer.  However, this doesn't take into account many variables such as the distribution of energy along the fiber, the non-uniformity of natural fibers, the geometry of the fabric weave, and the potential for energy absorption and scattering within the cloth. The fine-tuning would involve adjusting factors such as the wavelength, energy level, intensity, and exposure time of the radiation, as well as considering the environmental conditions and the specific properties of the linen. Achieving the precise effect observed on the Shroud would require the consideration of multiple variables with narrow ranges of acceptable values. This level of precision underscores the complexity of the task and the advanced understanding of materials science and radiation physics that would be necessary to replicate the Shroud's image.

Based on the data from the ENEA experiments, we can attempt to estimate the fine-tuning required for the radiation that may have created the image on the Shroud of Turin. The key factor here is the power level of the radiation, which, as per ENEA's findings, was extremely high.

1. **Radiation Power Level**: The ENEA experiments suggest that a power level of approximately 34 trillion watts (or 34 terawatts) of VUV radiation would be necessary to replicate the Shroud's image. This is an extraordinarily high level of power, far beyond the capability of any existing VUV light source.

2. **Radiation Type**: The type of radiation used in these experiments was VUV, which falls in the ultraviolet spectrum but has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than the typical UV light.

3. **Energy Density**: The power density estimated by ENEA was about 2000 MW/cm² over a surface area of 17000 cm². This high energy density indicates that the radiation would need to be extremely focused and precisely targeted.

4. **Duration of Exposure**: The ENEA's reference to a "short and intense burst" suggests that the exposure time would be very brief. This precise duration is critical, as too long an exposure could cause damage to the linen, while too short might not produce the desired effect.

5. **Environmental Conditions**: As with any fine-tuning estimate, environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and the specific composition of the linen would play a role in how the radiation interacts with the material.

The fine-tuning estimate based on ENEA's data involves extremely high power levels of VUV radiation, with a very high energy density, applied in a short, intense burst. The exact duration and environmental conditions would also be crucial, but these details are not specified in the ENEA report. This level of fine-tuning is currently beyond the capabilities of existing technology and highlights the unique and unexplained nature of the Shroud's image.

The Shroud is not a fake 

G.Fanti (2015) The image is not made by pigments but is caused by oxidation, dehydration, and conjugation of the polysaccharides Primary Cell Wall PCW about 200 nm thick 2

Rucker, Robert. “Information Content on the Shroud of Turin.” 2016, pg. 19.
QUOTATION: (…) Since the image of the man on the Shroud of Turin indicates that he was crucified exactly as the gospels in the New Testament say that Jesus was crucified, the most reasonable explanation, if we allow ourselves to not be constrained by naturalistic presuppositions, is that this unique image encoding event is the result of a unique individual (Jesus of Nazareth) going through a unique event, such as the disappearance of his body from
within the Shroud as it lay in the tomb. Since this event must be outside of our current understanding of the laws of physics, we have no basis for rejecting the possibility of vertically collimated radiation being emitted from his dead body in such a unique event (…).

New research from ENEA on the sacred Linen kept in Turin 14.12. 2011

Enea, the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, has published a report on five years of experiments conducted in the ENEA center of Frascati on the “shroud-like coloring of linen fabrics by far ultraviolet radiation”. “Simply put: we tried to understand how the Shroud of Turin was imprinted by an image so special that it constitutes its charm, and poses a great and very radical challenge, "to identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a color similar to that of the image on the Shroud. "

In the following article will see how this research developed (the complete version can be found at this link: 

Scientists (Di Lazzaro, Murra, Santoni, Nichelatti and Baldacchini) start from the last (and only) comprehensive interdisciplinary exam of the sheet, completed in 1978 by a team of American scientists from Sturp (Shroud of Turin Research Project). A starting point that all too often those who write about and dissect the Shroud prefer not to take into account, in spite of what is evidenced by available information verified by an accurate control on “peer-reviewed” journals, that is, approved by other scientists in objective and independent ways. The Enea report, with a lot of fair play and almost "en passant", very clearly refutes the hypothesis that the Shroud of Turin might be the work of a medieval forger. The hypothesis was supported – against many weighted arguments – by the results of the disputable and probably biased - C14 measurements; a test whose credibility has been rendered ​​very fragile not only by objective difficulties (the possibility that the fabric is contaminated is very high, especially since its historical journey is only partially known), but also from proven factual errors of calculation and the inability to obtain “raw data” from the laboratories for the necessary controls. In spite of repeated requests. An omission which in itself can throw a heavy shadow over the scientific accuracy of the episode.

The report notes: “The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory, as discussed in numerous articles listed in the references. This inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.

In fact, today Science is still not able to explain how the body image was formed on the Shroud. As a partial justification, Scientists complain that it is impossible to take direct measurements on the Shroud cloth. In fact, the latest in situ experimental analysis of the physical and chemical properties of the body image of the Shroud was carried out ​​in 1978 by a group of 31 scientists under the aegis of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc. (STURP). The scientists used modern equipment for the time, made ​​available by several manufacturers for a market value of two and a half million dollars, and took ​​a number of non-destructive infrared spectroscopy measurements, visible and ultraviolet, X-ray fluorescence, thermograph, pyrolysis, mass spectrometry, micro-Raman analysis, transmission photograph, microscopy, removal of fibrils and micro-chemical tests”. The analysis carried out on the Shroud did not find significant amounts of pigments (dyes, paints) nor traces of designs. Based on the results of dozens of measurements, the STURP researchers concluded that the body image is not painted nor printed, nor obtained by heating. Furthermore, the color of the image resides on the outer surface of the fibrils that make up the threads of the cloth, and recent measurements of fragments of the Shroud show that the thickness of staining is extremely thin, around 200 nm = 200 billionths of a meter, or one fifth of a thousandth of a millimeter, which corresponds to the thickness of the primary cell wall of the so-called single linen fiber. We recall that a single linen thread is made ​​up of about 200 fibrils.

Other important information derived from the results of the STURP measurements are as follows: The blood is human, and there is no image beneath the bloodstains; the gradient color contains three-dimensional information of the body; colored fibers (image) are more fragile than undyed fibers; surface staining of the fibrils of the image derive from an unknown process that caused oxidation, dehydration and conjugation in the structure of the cellulose of the linen”. In other words, the color is a result of an accelerated linen aging process”.

As already mentioned, until now all attempts to reproduce an image on linen with the same characteristics have failed. Some researchers have obtained images with a similar appearance to the image of the Shroud, but nobody has been able to simultaneously reproduce all microscopic and macroscopic characteristics. “In this sense, the origin of the Shroud image is still unknown. This seems to be the core of the so-called “mystery of the Shroud”: regardless of the age the Shroud, whether it is medieval (1260 - 1390) as shown by the controversial dating by radiocarbon, or older as indicated by other investigations, and regardless of the actual importance of controversial historical documents on the existence of the Shroud in the years preceding 1260, the most important question, the “question of questions” remains the same: how did that body image appear on the Shroud?”.

There are two possibilities, the scientists write, on how the sheet of the Shroud was placed around the corpse: placed above and below (not in full contact with the whole body stiffened by rigor mortis) or pressed on the body and tied in order to be in contact with almost the entire body surface.

“The first method is supported by the fact that there is a precise relationship between the intensity (gradient) of the image and the distance between the body and the cloth. Furthermore, the image is also present in areas of the body not in contact with the cloth, such as immediately above and below the hands, and around the tip of the nose. The second method is less likely because the typical geometric deformations of a three dimension body brought into contact in two dimension sheet are missing. Moreover, there is no imprint of body hips. Consequently, we can deduce that the image was not formed by contact between linen and body”.

It is this observation, “coupled with the extreme superficiality of the coloring and the lack of pigments” that “makes it extremely unlikely that a shroud-like picture was obtained using a chemical contact method, both in a modern laboratory and even more so by a hypothetical medieval forger”. “There is no image beneath the blood stains. This means that the traces of blood deposited before the image was. Therefore, the image was formed after the corpse was laid down. Furthermore, all the blood stains have well-defined edges, no burrs, so it can be assumed that the corpse was not removed from the sheet. “There are no signs of putrefaction near the orifices, which usually occur around 40 hours after death. Consequently, the image is not the result of putrefaction gases and the corpse was not left in the sheet for more than two days”.

One of the assumptions related to the formation of the image was that regarding some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength), which could fit the requirements for reproducing the main features of the Shroud image, such as superficiality of color, color gradient, the image also in areas of the body not in contact with the cloth and the absence of pigment on the sheet. The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.

“However, Enea scientists warn, "it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.

However the Shroud image “has some features that we are not yet able to reproduce – they admit - for example, the gradient of the image caused by a different concentration of yellow colored fibrils that alternate with unstained fibrils”. And they warn: “We are not at the conclusion, we are composing pieces of a fascinating and complex scientific puzzle”. The enigma of the image of the Shroud of Turin is still “a challenge for intelligence”, as John Paul II said. 1

Resumed: Today Science is still not able to explain how the body image was formed on the Shroud.  The analysis carried out on the Shroud did not find significant amounts of pigments (dyes, paints) nor traces of designs.  Recent measurements of fragments of the Shroud show that the thickness of staining is extremely thin, around 200 nm = 200 billionths of a meter, or one-fifth of a thousandth of a millimeter, which corresponds to the thickness of the primary cell wall of the so-called single linen fiber.  We recall that a single linen thread is made ​​from 50 to 200 fibrils. the gradient color contains three-dimensional information of the body; colored fibers (image) are more fragile than undyed fibers; surface staining of the fibrils of the image derive from an unknown process that caused oxidation, dehydration and conjugation in the structure of the cellulose of the linen”. In other words, the color is a result of an accelerated linen aging process”. The “question of questions” remains the same: how did that body image appear on the Shroud?”. The image was not formed by contact between linen and body”. It is this observation, “coupled with the extreme superficiality of the coloring and the lack of pigments” that “makes it extremely unlikely that a shroud-like picture was obtained using a chemical contact method, both in a modern laboratory and even more so by a hypothetical medieval forger”.  “There are no signs of putrefaction near the orifices, which usually occur around 40 hours after death. Consequently, the image is not the result of putrefaction gases and the corpse was not left in the sheet for more than two days”. One of the assumptions related to the formation of the image was that regarding some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength), which could fit the requirements for reproducing the main features of the Shroud image, such as superficiality of color, color gradient, the image also in areas of the body not in contact with the cloth and the absence of pigment on the sheet. The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”. “However, Enea scientists warn, "it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts

Turin Shroud really could be Jesus burial robe , says scientist

20/11/2011: A NEW study suggests that one of Christianity’s most prized but mysterious relics – the Turin Shroud – is not a medieval forgery and could be the burial robe of Christ. Italian scientists conducted a series of experiments that they said showed that the marks on the shroud – purportedly left by the imprint of Christ’s body – could not have been faked with technology that was available in medieval times. Sceptics have long claimed that the 14ft-long cloth is a forgery. Radiocarbon testing conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona in 1988 appeared to back up the theory, suggesting that it dated from between 1260 and 1390. But those tests were in turn disputed on the basis that they were contaminated by fibres from cloth that was used to repair the relic when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages. The new study is an intriguing piece of puzzle baffling scientists for centuries spawning an industry research books and documentaries. “The double image front and back of scourged crucified man barely visible on linen cloth Shroud Turin has many physical chemical characteristics impossible obtain staining,” concluded experts Italy National Agency New Technologies Energy Sustainable Development. The scientists set out to “identify physical-chemical processes capable generating colour similar to conundrum shade texture depth included. “Of the imprints on the cloth could be produced only with the aid of ultraviolet lasers producing extremely brief pulses of light. They said the image of the bearded man must therefore have been created by “some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength)”. Although they stopped short of offering a non-scientific explanation for the phenomenon, their findings will be embraced by those who believe that the marks on the shroud were miraculously created at…” The text seems to discuss a theory about how imprints on a cloth could only be made with ultraviolet lasers producing brief pulses of light. It mentions an image of a bearded man believed to have been created by some form of electromagnetic energy, such as a flash of light at short wavelength. The authors refrain from offering non-scientific explanations but note that their findings may appeal to those who believe in miraculous creation theories regarding marks on this particular shroud. The moment of Christ’s Resurrection. “We are not at the conclusion. We are composing pieces of a fascinating and complex scientific puzzle,” the team reported. Prof Paolo Di Lazzaro, who led the research, said: “When one talks about a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things such as miracles and resurrection. But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes. “We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate but we will leave the conclusions to experts, and ultimately to conscience of individuals.” The research backs up outcome tests between 1978 and 1981 carried out by group American scientists who called themselves Shroud Turin Research Project. They conducted 120 hours X-rays ultraviolet light tests concluded that marks were not made paints pigments dyes that image was not “the product artist”, but at same time it could be explained modern science. One Christianity’s greatest objects veneration shroud shows imprint man whose body appears have nail wounds his wrists feet pinpricks thorns around forehead spear wound his chest Each year attracts millions pilgrims Turin cathedral where it kept climate-controlled case Vatican never said whether believes shroud authentic or not although Pope said image “reminds us always” Christ’s suffering.

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2012 - The Telegraph

Still in the news in December 2011 as new evidence is unearthed.

The following is reproduced from the Daily Mail dated 22nd December 2011

"The Turin Shroud DOES have miraculous powers... whether it is genuine or not"Face of Turin Shroud
By PETER STANFORD - Last updated at 10:05 AM on 22nd December 2011
Italian scientists claim shroud was created by 'supernatural event' as burst of ultra-violet light necessary to leave imprint on cloth wasn't then possible. Implication from research is that image of Jesus was scorched onto linen by divinely generated light given out by His body Shroud believers welcome new scientific research 'proving' its existence But Vatican still refuses to comment on the long-running saga

Puzzle: The Turin Shroud's origin is endlessly debated. Still, the Catholic Church has placed the cloth in a cathedral as an object of worship The Catholic Church has never publicly accepted or rejected popular belief that the Turin Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. But it has done everything short of that to encourage devotion to this ancient piece of linen, on display in Turin Cathedral, which bears the markings of a man who appears to have been crucified.  The extraordinary sepia image on the cloth is simply — as Pope Benedict XVI likes to put it in that careful, precise way of his — ‘an image that reminds us always of Christ’s suffering’.

Yet, this week, a group of Italian scientists claimed the shroud was created by a ‘supernatural event’ rather than the machinations of medieval forgers. The academics concluded that the sort of burst of ultra-violet light necessary to have left such an imprint on the cloth just wasn’t possible by any human endeavour in any age other than our own technically advanced one with its access to lasers. The implication of their findings is that the image was scorched on to the linen as a result of a divinely generated light given out by Jesus’s body when he rose from the dead. Believers in the shroud hail the research by scientists at Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) as proof that it is genuinely the cloth of Christ. They claim it backs up the work of a group of American scientists from the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) from the Seventies.
These scientists established by careful analysis of the fibres of the cloth that the image of the bearded, crucified man had not been painted on to the cloth. It was not, they concluded, ‘a natural formation’.  Science, say the believers, appears to have provided no reasonable answer to counter the belief of generations of Christians that this is the image of Christ on the shroud in which his body was wrapped when it was taken down from the cross.

The neutron absorption hypothesis by Bob Rucker

In the hypothesis presented by Robert Rucker in his paper titled “Hypothesis for Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin,” it is proposed that the images on the Shroud were created by protons, which were emitted as a result of deuterium nuclei within the body splitting. Each split of a deuterium nucleus releases one proton and one neutron. To alter the carbon dating of the Shroud from around the time of Jesus' death in 33 AD to an average date of 1325 AD (the midpoint between 1260 and 1390 AD), it's suggested that two quintillion (2 x 10^18) neutrons would need to be emitted from the body. Correspondingly, this would mean the same number of deuterium nuclei would have to split, and the energy input required for this process can be quantified. As detailed in section 12 of another paper by Rucker, “Solving the Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin,” the energy necessary to cause two quintillion deuterium nuclei to split is approximately 713,000 Joules. To put this into perspective, this amount of energy is equivalent to what's needed to raise the temperature of an entire human body by about 2.6 degrees Celsius (centigrade). Given that the reaction involving deuterium nuclei is endothermic—meaning it absorbs energy—if hypothetically, this energy were to come from the body itself, the body's temperature would need to decrease by 2.6 degrees Celsius. This hypothesis suggests that a significant yet not unfeasible amount of energy could be involved in the formation of the Shroud's images, according to Rucker's theoretical framework.

The hypothesis

Over 80 years of research on the Shroud of Turin, from 1898 to 1978, has led many experts to believe that the image on the Shroud was not made by an artist or a forger. Instead, they think the body itself somehow created its own image on the cloth. This idea is supported by detailed studies and analyses found in various research papers, suggesting that the image formation process was quite complex and unique. Researchers propose that some form of energy or radiation came out of the body wrapped in the Shroud. This wasn't just any radiation—it was special because it carried detailed information about the appearance of a man who had been crucified. This information wasn't in the air or the stone of the tomb but was unique to the body itself.  This radiation acted like a messenger, carrying the precise details needed to create an image on the cloth. It ensured that only certain parts of the cloth were marked, creating a clear and detailed image of the man. Just like how we see pictures in a photograph because of the way light reflects off it, the image on the Shroud becomes visible to us. The light reflects off the marked areas of the cloth, allowing us to see the figure of the crucified man. For the image to be as clear as it is, the radiation couldn't spread out in all directions; it had to be focused straight up and down, like beams shooting out vertically. This precision ensured that each point on the cloth received information from the corresponding direct point on the body, maintaining the image's clarity without any blurring. The consensus among researchers is that charged particles, like protons or electrons, were the main contributors to the image formation. While other types of radiation like light or ultraviolet rays might have played a role, the more penetrating types like X-rays or gamma rays likely did not, because they would have made the image appear on both sides of the Shroud, which is not the case. The image was likely formed in an incredibly brief, intense burst of energy. This intense burst would have charged the top layers of the cloth, leading to a static discharge—a spark of sorts—that only affected the very top fibers of the cloth, discoloring them to create the image. This discharge might have also generated heat or ozone, contributing to the discoloration and thus the formation of the image. The prevailing hypothesis among Shroud researchers is that a unique form of energy, originating from the body itself, was responsible for creating the detailed image on the Shroud. This process involved a precise and intense burst of radiation that carried specific information from the body to the cloth, marking it in such a way that we can see the figure of a crucified man today.

Effects on the Shroud

The image on the Shroud of Turin has two very unique features that make it stand out. First, the image looks like a photographic negative, where light and dark areas are the opposite of what we expect to see. Second, the image has depth information, like a 3D map, showing how far parts of the body were from the cloth. These characteristics can be understood through the proposed process of image formation involving radiation from the body. Imagine the radiation as a kind of light coming straight out from the body to the cloth. Where the body was closest to the cloth, like at the tip of the nose, this "light" hit the cloth directly and made those areas darker. Further away from the body, the "light" had to travel through more air, which weakened it before it reached the cloth, making those areas lighter. This is why parts of the Shroud that were directly touching the body appear darker, creating an effect similar to a negative image. The strength of the radiation was affected by how far it had to travel from the body to the cloth. So, the image on the Shroud isn't flat; it varies in intensity, giving clues about the distances between the body and the cloth at different points. This variation allows experts to create a 3D representation of the figure from the Shroud's image, something that's not possible with regular photographs or paintings. When you look closely at the Shroud, the discoloration isn't uniform. Instead, it has a patchy or mottled appearance. This happened because the radiation caused a kind of static electricity discharge in the cloth, but only at the very top layers where it was strongest. This is a bit like a "lightning rod effect" where only the points closest to the source get hit by lightning, leaving the surrounding areas unaffected. On the Shroud, the areas hit by this "static lightning" became discolored, creating a mottled look. To explain this "lightning rod effect" further, think of a field with many lightning rods during a storm. The rods closest to the storm cloud or those that provide the shortest path for the electrical discharge are most likely to get struck by lightning. Similarly, on the Shroud, the areas that received the most direct burst of radiation became the points of discharge, leading to the discoloration that forms the image. The image on the Shroud is like a complex interaction between the body and the cloth, involving direct radiation that created an effect similar to a photographic negative and provided 3D information based on the distance between the cloth and the body. The unique mottled appearance of the image further supports this theory, showing how the energy was distributed unevenly, similar to how lightning strikes in nature.

Giving a closer look at flax fibers

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Hierarchical structure of the flax plant ( Linum usitatissimum L.). The technically used fi bre bundles are located in the outer part of the flax stem and consist of several flax fibres 5

A single thread contains around a hundred hundred micro-fibrils, with only the top three micro-fibrils of the elementary fiber carrying the image. This level of superficiality makes it physically impossible for any artist to paint with such precision. The image on the Shroud of Turin is formed through a molecular modification of the surface linen fibrils. In this modification, single covalent bonds are transformed into double covalent bonds. As a result, it is the conjugated dehydrated cellulose within the linen that carries the image. Examining a photomicrograph of the nose region, one of the darkest areas of the image, it becomes apparent that the microfibrils are not held together with any paint or binder. Thus, it is the molecularly modified linen fibrils themselves that comprise the image visible on the shroud today.

Flax fibers are natural fibers obtained from the stalks of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum), commonly used to produce linen. These fibers are valued for their strength, durability, and smoothness, making them ideal for textiles.
Flax fibers are extracted from the bast or skin of the stem of the flax plant. This plant is cultivated specifically for its fibers, although its seeds (linseeds) are also harvested for oil and other uses. The fibers consist of elementary fibers, which are individual plant cells. These cells have a primary cell wall, a secondary cell wall, and a central hollow area called the lumen. Flax fibers are predominantly composed of cellulose, a natural polymer that gives strength and structure to the plant. They also contain hemicellulose and pectin, which bind the fibers together and add flexibility. Flax fibers are known for their strength, absorbency, and ability to dry faster than cotton. They are also naturally smooth and straight, which contributes to the quality of the linen fabric.

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cross-section of the stem of the flax plant. The fiber bundles, which are the fibers used for textiles are located just under the skin.

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Photographs of a cross section of a flax stem. (a) The white markers show the bast fibres bundles.  Clearly deducible is the ribbon-shaped morphology of the fibre bundles. The scale bar represents 0.1 mm. (b) Magnification of a, the white markers show spots where the interfibre bonding within the fibre bundle is virtually absent, the grey markers show the individual elementary fibres. The fibre bundles are packed together in a tape-like morphology. The scale bar represents 50 µm

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Stem morphology. Cross-section of linseed phloem fibers ( Linum usitatissimum L.): (A ) epidermis (ep), hypodermis (hd), bundle of phloem fibers (bph), endodermis (en), primary phloem (pph), secondary phloem (sph), cambium (ca), secondary xylem (sxy); (B) a distinct border between G-layer and Gn-layer is visible in phloem fibers (arrows); (C) elementary phloem fibers (eph), middle lamellae (ml), plasmalemma (pm), lumen (lu), secondary cell wall (scw), primary cell wall (pcw); (D) elementary phloem fibers, gn – newly deposited gelatinous layer of secondary cell wall, g – mature gelatinous layer of secondary cell wall.

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Multiscale nature of flax fiber
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Single Linen Fiber ( Fibril) 1

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Schematic representation of a section of the elementary fibre ( 10 -20 nm) or plant cell. Shown is also the fibrillar structure in the secondary cell wall.

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Cross section of flax fiber as polygonal with 5–7 sides as is shown in Figure 1b.

Elementary fibers

Elementary fibers are the single cells of the flax plant, which are used to make linen. Each of these fibers is composed of a primary cell wall, a secondary cell wall, and a lumen, which is a hollow channel running through the center of the fiber. The lumen is quite small, making up only a tiny portion of the fiber's cross-section. These elementary fibers have a high cellulose content, ranging between 65-75%. They also contain about 15% hemicellulose (mainly xylan) and 10-15% pectin. Pectin is primarily found in the primary cell wall, along with some lignin and hemicellulose. The primary cell wall of these fibers is thin, measuring around 0.2 micrometers. Additionally, flax fibers contain 2-5% waxes, some of which are located on the surface of the primary cell wall. These waxes might come from the plant's cuticle, which consists of cutin (an aliphatic polyester) and soluble waxes, predominantly palmitic acid.
The secondary cell wall forms the majority of the fiber's diameter in flax fibers and is primarily composed of cellulose and hemicelluloses. Cellulose, made up of the monosaccharide D-glucose, forms strong intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonds. These bonds significantly influence the physical and chemical properties of cellulose, giving it considerable stiffness. The cellulose molecules are mostly arranged in crystallites, which are interspersed with amorphous regions.


In the secondary cell wall, the cellulose crystallites form highly crystalline microfibrils. These microfibrils are bonded together by an amorphous hemicellulose phase, which plays a significant role in the fiber's strength. Removing hemicellulose from the fiber greatly reduces its tensile strength and can cause the fiber bundles to disintegrate into microfibrils. Studies using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and transmission electron microscopy have shown that the cellulose microfibrils are very small, with a cross-section of approximately 1x5 nm² and a diameter between 1 and 4 nm. These microfibrils are tightly packed in a fibrillar structure, forming meso fibrils about 0.1 µm in size. These fibrils are oriented spirally around the fiber axis, a structure that is visible under a scanning electron microscope.

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Flax Stem: It starts with the flax plant, which has a stem diameter of approximately 1-3 millimeters.
Bundles: The stem is composed of bundles that are about 100-300 micrometers in diameter.
Fibers: These bundles are made up of individual fibers that have diameters ranging from 10-30 micrometers. The fibers are shown in more detail, displaying their microfibrils, lumen, and various layers such as the secondary wall, primary wall, and cell wall. The middle lamella is also indicated.
Individual Fibers: A closer look at the individual fibers before they are spun.
Spinning: The process of spinning these individual fibers into yarn is illustrated. The spinning action twists the fibers together to form a coherent and stronger yarn.
Fiber Yarn: A visual representation of the twisted fiber yarn is provided.
Natural Linen Thread: Finally, the image shows the finished product, a spool of natural linen thread labeled as "60/2", which indicates the thread weight and ply, along with the length of "1500 feet".

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The Shroud cloth is composed of threads of a nominal diameter of 0.15 mm, woven with fibers of linen with a diameter of about 10-20 µm. [115][116]  The Shroud image is a faint [115] and superficial image caused by a translucent and discontinuous yellow discoloration of the fibers.[115][116] In the points where the image is present, the discoloration affects only 2 or 3 fibers on the topmost part of the threads of the cloth.[115][116] In each fiber, the yellow discoloration penetrates only for 200 nm in the external cell layer.[116]

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Approximately 50 fibers compose each thread in the Shroud of Turin, based on the average fiber diameter of 10-20 micrometers and the thread diameter of 0.15 millimeters.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Sturp_11

Phase-contrast microscopy of a single image fiber. Image is a reddish-brown caramel-like complex carbon bond, a chemical change within a super thin coating of crude starch on the fabric's outermost fibers. It is not paint or any kind of applied pigment. It is likely caused by bodily amine vapors reacting with saccharides in the starch.

Shroud of Turin Chemistry of the Images
A single image fiber from the Shroud of TurinSome of the cellulose fibers that when twisted together make up the threads of the Shroud's cloth are coated with a thin carbohydrate layer of starch fractions and various sugars. This chemical layer, which is about as thick as the transparent scratch-resistant coatings used for eye glasses, is essentially colorless and is found only on the outermost fibers near the surface. In some places, the layer has undergone a chemical change that appears straw-yellow. This chemical change is similar to the change that takes place when sugar is heated to make caramel or when proteins react with sugar giving beer its color. And it is the straw-yellow, selectively present in some parts of the carbohydrate layer, that makes up the image we see on the Shroud. When scientists speak of image fibers they are referring to the coating on lengths of fiber that have undergone this chemical change.

The image on the Shroud is not a painting. The polysaccharide cover, approximately 0.2 thousandths of a millimeter (about 0.000008 inches), is colored; the cellulose on the inner side is not. To put that in perspective: Fine hair has a diameter of approximately 0.05 mm, is equivalent to 50 micrometers (µm). Medium hair, ranging from about 0.051 mm to 0.1 mm, is equivalent to 51 to 100 micrometers (µm). 0.2 thousandths of a millimeter, is 0.0002 mm, which is equivalent to 0.2 micrometers (µm) or 200 nanometers (nm) is significantly smaller than the diameter of human hair, whether fine or medium. For perspective, 0.2 micrometers (200 nm) is about 250 times smaller than fine hair and about 255 to 500 times smaller than medium hair. This size (200 nm) is much closer to the scale of very small particles, like some types of viruses or ultrafine dust particles, rather than the comparatively much larger scale of human hair.


The man depicted in the Shroud of Turin appears to have sustained over 130 distinct injuries, which can be categorized into five primary types: scourge marks, wounds on the side, head wounds, wounds on the feet, and wounds on the wrists. These injuries seem to have been inflicted sequentially, starting with the scourging, followed by the head wounds, then the crucifixion nail wounds in the wrists and feet, and finally, the postmortem side wounds. The pattern and direction of the blood flows, particularly from the side wound, appear to have been altered postmortem, especially when the body was carried horizontally, feet first. Given that crucifixion typically lasted several hours, medical experts estimate that bleeding from the various wounds could have continued for a period ranging from four to twelve hours. This suggests that the blood on the Shroud varied in age, from relatively fresh to coagulated blood that was up to twelve hours old. Remarkably, all these coagulations transferred to the cloth in a manner that is unprecedented in recorded history. The representation of these wounds on the Shroud aligns closely with natural physiological reactions to bleeding and changes in position. This ranges from the large side wound to the tiny scourge marks, all of which are anatomically accurate on the Shroud. Dr. Pierre Barbet, a battlefield surgeon, was one of the first to note the unique nature of the bloodstains on the cloth. He observed that the bloodstains on the Shroud did not mirror the kind of smearing or diffusion typically seen on bandages removed from wounds of various ages, from fresh to several days old. This led him to comment on the unusual correspondence between the bloodstains on the Shroud and the wounds. Paul Vignon and Pierre Barbet, in their attempts to replicate these kinds of blood marks on linen, found it impossible to achieve the same level of precision as seen on the Shroud. They noted that if the blood was too wet when it came into contact with the cloth, it would spread or run, while drier blood would only leave a smudge. The clearly bordered, picture-like clots on the Shroud seemed to defy reproduction by simple staining methods. The unique characteristics of these bloodstains suggest that they could not have been created simply through direct contact between a bloody body and the surrounding linen cloth. This observation, while initially seeming to challenge the notion of the Shroud as an actual burial cloth, might instead point to something more extraordinary and possibly miraculous.


Entrevista com Jack Brandão acerca da Mostra do Santo Sudário em São Paulo 05 de abril de 2018

1. https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/modern-science-cant-duplicate-the-image-on-the-shroud-of-turin
2.  Giulio Fanti Optical features of flax fibers coming from the Turin Shroud (2015)
3. https://edepot.wur.nl/517183
4. Chen, F., Sawada, D., Hummel, M., Sixta, H., & Budtova, T. (2020). Unidirectional All-Cellulose Composites from Flax via Controlled Impregnation with Ionic Liquid. Polymers, 12(5), 1010. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051010.
5. https://sci-hub.wf/10.1533/9781782421276.1.35

More links:
Superficial #18: The man on the Shroud: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!
P.Di Lazzaro Shroud-like coloration of linen by nanosecond laser pulses in the vacuum ultraviolet September 2012

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Types of injuries

The man depicted in the Shroud of Turin appears to have sustained over 130 distinct injuries, which can be categorized into five primary types: scourge marks, wounds on the side, head wounds, wounds on the feet, and wounds on the wrists. These injuries seem to have been inflicted sequentially, starting with the scourging, followed by the head wounds, then the crucifixion nail wounds in the wrists and feet, and finally, the postmortem side wounds. The pattern and direction of the blood flows, particularly from the side wound, appear to have been altered postmortem, especially when the body was carried horizontally, feet first. Given that crucifixion typically lasted several hours, medical experts estimate that bleeding from the various wounds could have continued for a period ranging from four to twelve hours. This suggests that the blood on the Shroud varied in age, from relatively fresh to coagulated blood that was up to twelve hours old. Remarkably, all these coagulations transferred to the cloth in a manner that is unprecedented in recorded history. The representation of these wounds on the Shroud aligns closely with natural physiological reactions to bleeding and changes in position. This ranges from the large side wound to the tiny scourge marks, all of which are anatomically accurate on the Shroud. Dr. Pierre Barbet, a battlefield surgeon, was one of the first to note the unique nature of the bloodstains on the cloth. He observed that the bloodstains on the Shroud did not mirror the kind of smearing or diffusion typically seen on bandages removed from wounds of various ages, from fresh to several days old. This led him to comment on the unusual correspondence between the bloodstains on the Shroud and the wounds. Paul Vignon and Pierre Barbet, in their attempts to replicate these kinds of blood marks on linen, found it impossible to achieve the same level of precision as seen on the Shroud. They noted that if the blood was too wet when it came into contact with the cloth, it would spread or run, while drier blood would only leave a smudge. The clearly bordered, picture-like clots on the Shroud seemed to defy reproduction by simple staining methods. The unique characteristics of these bloodstains suggest that they could not have been created simply through direct contact between a bloody body and the surrounding linen cloth. This observation, while initially seeming to challenge the notion of the Shroud as an actual burial cloth, might instead point to something more extraordinary and possibly miraculous.

The Scourging and Mocking of Jesus:

Matthew 27:26-30: Jesus is flogged, and soldiers place a crown of thorns on his head, mock him as the "King of the Jews," spit on him, and strike him.
Mark 15:15-19: Similar to Matthew, Mark describes Jesus being scourged, mocked with a purple robe and a crown of thorns, and beaten on the head.
Luke 22:63-65; 23:11: Luke mentions Jesus being mocked and beaten by Herod's soldiers, though the scourging is not explicitly described.
John 19:1-3: John details the scourging, the crown of thorns, and the purple robe, along with Jesus being struck and mocked by the soldiers.

The Shroud of Turin features over a hundred scourge marks on the man's front and back, from shoulders to lower legs. These marks, most noticeable on the back, are dumbbell-shaped and lie in parallel, diagonal groups of two or three across the body. The consistency in size of these marks contrasts with their varying intensity, ranging from mild bruises to deep punctures, with many showing blood presence. The bifid nature of these wounds implies they were caused by a two-pronged instrument like the Roman flagrum, a whip typically having lead or bone pellets at the end of leather thongs. The distribution and shape of the scourge marks led medical examiners to infer that the man was whipped or scourged, likely from behind. The radiating pattern of blows, more pronounced on the right side, suggests the involvement of two individuals, with the one on the right being taller and focusing more on the lower body. The man's posture during this scourging, possibly with elevated arms or hands tied, is deduced from the marks' distribution. These numerous scourge marks are a dominant feature of the dorsal image on the Shroud.

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The injuries on the face

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Giulio Ricci conducted a detailed geometric and linear study of the contusions and marks on the face depicted on the Shroud. According to Ricci's analysis, the marks on the face suggest the presence of various bodily fluids such as sweat, tears, blood, and possibly saliva. These indications point to a face that has undergone severe deformation. Key features noted by Ricci include significant swelling on the right cheek, which he hypothesized could be the result of a blow with a rod or stick. This might correspond to the "slap" mentioned in the Gospel of John, although Ricci suggested that the original term might have been mistranslated or misunderstood. Additionally, Ricci observed what appeared to be a broken nasal cartilage. He posited that this injury could have resulted from the same blow that caused the cheek swelling or from a separate fall. Ricci's study contributes to the broader debate about the authenticity and significance of the Shroud of Turin. His findings, particularly the detailed analysis of the facial injuries, lend support to the theory that the image on the Shroud could be that of a person who suffered physical trauma similar to that described in the biblical accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. The precision of these marks and their alignment with historical and scriptural descriptions of Christ's passion add another layer to the ongoing mystery and intrigue surrounding the Shroud.

Marinelli (1996) The face of the Man of the Shroud is surely, among the parts of the body, the one that has suffered the most trauma. Yet that face continues to make an impression, according to the words of Max Frei, "for its majestic, sad serenity". In it appear clear signs of fierce mistreatment. It was struck with a stick, the trace of which is easily recognizable on the right cheek and nose; it also shows a swelling on the right cheek, incisions caused by a blow on the left zygomatic bone, a clump of blood on the left eyelid, two streams of blood coming from the nose, blood from a cut under the upper lip, a bruise with a slight deviation of the tip of the nose. Other notable data are the lacerated-contused wounds of the eyebrows and the palpebral ecchymoses.

Biblical references:

And the soldiers, having plaited a crown of thorns, put it upon his head ... and they struck him (John 19:2-3).
And they struck his head with a reed, and did spit upon him (Mark 15:19). I did not hide my face from shame and spitting (Isaiah 50:6)

The Significance of the Crown of Thorns in Christian Theology and Iconography

In ancient Israel, besides the king, the High Priest wore a special garment as described in the Torah, which included a headpiece or a turban. On the front of this headpiece, the High Priest wore a gold plate known as the "Tzitz." This gold plate had the inscription "Kadosh L'Adonai" (קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה), which translates to "Holy to the Lord" in English. It was a mark of his dedication and the sanctity of his office. This crown or diadem served as a reminder of the High Priest's unique role in ministering to God on behalf of the people of Israel, particularly when he entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. It was also a symbol of the High Priest's responsibility to bear the iniquity of the sacred offerings made by the Israelites, ensuring that they were acceptable before God. The High Priest's attire, including the crown, was detailed in the Book of Exodus (Exodus 28:36-38) and was an essential part of the ceremonial dress worn during service in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem.

It was a cap

The headpiece worn by the High Priest in ancient Israel, often referred to as a mitznefet, was indeed not a circular crown but more of a turban-like cap. This headpiece was made of fine linen, wrapped in a specific manner, and was distinct from the crowns that would be worn by kings. The linen turban served a functional purpose in addition to its symbolic meanings; it was designed to secure the tzitz, the gold plate inscribed with "Kadosh L'Adonai," in place on the High Priest's forehead. The tzitz itself was bound to the turban by blue cord, positioned to rest directly on the forehead, thus always in the line of sight during the High Priest's ministrations. The location of the tzitz was significant; the forehead is often associated with thought and intention, and having "Holy to the LORD" inscribed on a plate over this area underscored the purity of thought and dedication required of the High Priest. This was especially critical during rituals where the High Priest would intercede with God on behalf of the people. The exact shape and fit of the mitznefet could vary, but it was designed to be comfortable enough for the High Priest to wear throughout his extensive duties. Unlike the crowns of royalty, which were often heavy and ornate, the High Priest's headpiece was functional, modest in appearance, and yet rich in symbolism. It signified the humility before God that the High Priest was expected to maintain, despite his exalted position. Moreover, this cap, along with the rest of the High Priest's vestments, was made "for glory and for beauty" (Exodus 28:2), which indicates that these garments were meant to honor both God and the office of the priesthood. The beauty of the High Priest's garments reflected the esteem in which the service of the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) was held, and it helped to inspire reverence among the Israelites for the sacred rituals performed therein.

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In the biblical narrative, the Roman soldiers intended the crown of thorns as a cruel mockery of Jesus' claim to spiritual authority and kingship. By fashioning a cap of thorns, they were unwittingly creating a parallel to the High Priest's cap, albeit in a debased form. The High Priest’s cap symbolized his role as a mediator between God and the people, and the cap of thorns placed on Jesus was a twisted mockery of this true and holy priesthood that Jesus represented. The cap of thorns was an inversion of the sacred symbols associated with the High Priest. Where the High Priest's cap was a symbol of sanctity, holiness, and his role in atoning for the sins of the people, the cap of thorns symbolized suffering, sin, and the burden that Jesus bore. But we see Jesus as taking on the role of the ultimate High Priest, making the ultimate sacrifice for sin, but in a way that involved humiliation and suffering. Jesus is fulfilling the role of the High Priest, but in a new and ultimate way. The High Priest’s cap symbolized his intermediary role between God and humanity. Jesus, by being crowned with thorns and later crucified, fulfilling this role not just for Israel but for all of humanity, taking upon himself the sins of the world. The Roman soldiers intended the cap of thorns as a form of mockery, not realizing that this act was part of a divine purpose. This act, meant to degrade, unwittingly contributed to a powerful theological symbol: that of Jesus as the suffering servant, bearing the sins of the world.

Thorns meant sin, and he was crowned with thorns. Jesus was the sin-bearer. Jahweh Jireh meant God will provide. At mount Moriah. On Mount Moriah, according to the Hebrew Bible, God provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice as a substitute for his son, Isaac. This event is recounted in the Book of Genesis (22:13). When Abraham demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God's command, an angel stopped him at the last moment, and Abraham then noticed a ram caught by its horns in a thicket, which he sacrificed instead of his son. This story is often referred to as "The Binding of Isaac" or the "Akedah" in Jewish tradition and has deep theological significance in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. In the narrative of the binding of Isaac, known in Hebrew as the Akedah, when God intervened and stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. Genesis 22:13 states:

"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket, he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son."

The thicket mentioned here is often interpreted as a bush or a group of plants with dense, thorny branches, which held the ram in place. This ram provided by God served as a substitute for Isaac, affirming the principle of substitutionary sacrifice which is a theme in various theological interpretations.

The Gospels describe how the Roman soldiers mocked Jesus by fashioning a crown of thorns and placing it on his head, in a cruel parody of a royal crown. This act was intended to ridicule his claim to kingship, as he was referred to as "King of the Jews." The thorns have a deep symbolic meaning, often interpreted as representing sin and the fall of humanity. In Genesis, following the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the ground is cursed to produce thorns and thistles. Thus, the crown of thorns has been seen as symbolizing the weight of sin that Jesus bore on behalf of humanity. Jesus is the ultimate sin-bearer, taking upon himself the consequences of human sin. The crown of thorns is a stark visual representation of this role. It serves to illustrate the concept of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, akin to the ram provided by God to Abraham as a substitute for his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. The ram caught in the thicket by its horns, which Abraham sacrifices instead of Isaac, prefigures the sacrifice of Jesus, who Christians believe was provided by God as the ultimate atonement for sin. This imagery of the substitutionary sacrifice is central to the narrative of salvation in Christian theology. Just as the ram was caught in the thorns and provided by God as a substitute on Mount Moriah, Jesus is presented in the New Testament as the God-provided sacrifice, crowned with thorns and lifted up on the cross. The phrase "Jehovah Jireh" or "Yahweh Yireh" (the LORD will provide), which is mentioned in the story of the binding of Isaac, is echoed in the provision of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb in Christian theology. The parallel drawn between the two events is a profound element of Christian symbolism, emphasizing the belief in God's provision and the fulfillment of prophetic typology through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.

A cap, not a circlet

In medieval religious art, the crown of thorns is often depicted as a circlet or a circular band encircling the head of Christ. This portrayal has become iconic in Christian iconography, symbolizing the suffering of Jesus and his mocking by the Roman soldiers as the "King of the Jews." Contrasting with this traditional artistic representation, studies of the Shroud show that the markings related to the crown of thorns indicate a more cap-like covering. These studies show that the bloodstains on the shroud are consistent with an object that covered more of the head, similar to a cap made of thorns, rather than a neatly arranged circlet. The pattern of the bloodstains suggest that the thorns inflicted wounds on the scalp in a manner that are more consistent with a cap of thorns rather than a crown. 

Ziziphus spina christi was one of the plants mentioned as a possible plant for making the crown. 

Giulio Ricci, Italian Shroud researcher, conducted a detailed geometric and linear study of the contusions and marks on the face depicted on the Shroud. According to Ricci's analysis, the marks on the face suggest the presence of various bodily fluids such as sweat, tears, blood, and possibly saliva. These indications point to a face that has undergone severe deformation. Key features noted by Ricci include significant swelling on the right cheek, which he hypothesized could be the result of a blow with a rod or stick. This might correspond to the "slap" mentioned in the Gospel of John, although Ricci suggested that the original term might have been mistranslated or misunderstood. Additionally, Ricci observed what appeared to be a broken nasal cartilage. He posited that this injury could have resulted from the same blow that caused the cheek swelling or from a separate fall. Ricci's study contributes to the broader debate about the authenticity and significance of the Shroud of Turin. His findings, particularly the detailed analysis of the facial injuries, lend support to the theory that the image on the Shroud could be that of a person who suffered physical trauma similar to that described in the biblical accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. The precision of these marks and their alignment with historical and scriptural descriptions of Christ's passion add another layer to the ongoing mystery and intrigue surrounding the Shroud.

Marinelli (1996) The face of the Man of the Shroud is surely, among the parts of the body, the one that has suffered the most trauma. Yet that face continues to make an impression, according to the words of Max Frei, "for its majestic, sad serenity". In it appear clear signs of fierce mistreatment. It was struck with a stick, the trace of which is easily recognizable on the right cheek and nose; it also shows a swelling on the right cheek, incisions caused by a blow on the left zygomatic bone, a clump of blood on the left eyelid, two streams of blood coming from the nose, blood from a cut under the upper lip, a bruise with a slight deviation of the tip of the nose. Other notable data are the lacerated-contused wounds of the eyebrows and the palpebral ecchymoses.

Biblical references:

And the soldiers, having plaited a crown of thorns, put it upon his head ... and they struck him (John 19:2-3).
And they struck his head with a reed, and did spit upon him (Mark 15:19). I did not hide my face from shame and spitting (Isaiah 50:6)

List of the facial injuries that the man on the Shroud suffered

Swelling of the Right Cheek

The image shows noticeable swelling on the right side of the face, which could be indicative of blunt trauma. 

The swelling of the right cheek evident on the image of the Shroud of Turin could be indicative of blunt force trauma. In the context of the events described in the Christian Gospels, this swelling could correspond to several events that are described before the crucifixion. During the arrest of Jesus, there may have been physical altercations with the arresting party, which could have resulted in injuries. Jesus was subjected to mockery and physical abuse at the hands of Roman soldiers and others. According to the Gospel of Matthew (26:67), Jesus was struck in the face by some of the Sanhedrin after he was condemned for blasphemy. Similarly, the Gospel of John (19:3) describes how Jesus was struck by the soldiers who mocked him. Before the crucifixion, Jesus was scourged by Roman soldiers. Scourging was a brutal form of punishment that typically resulted in extensive bruising and lacerations across the entire body. Although the face was not the usual target in a Roman scourging, incidental contact or additional blows to the face could have occurred. The Gospels describe how the soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus' head, mocking him as the "King of the Jews." This event, which would have caused scalp injuries, may also have been accompanied by other blows to the head that could contribute to facial swelling. While carrying the cross to the site of the crucifixion, Jesus was in a weakened state and fell several times according to tradition. During these falls, he may have sustained facial injuries. The Gospels do not give a detailed account of every physical trauma Jesus might have experienced, and the interpretations of the injuries on the Shroud of Turin are based on the assumption that the image is that of Jesus, which itself is a matter of debate. Theories about the specifics of the injuries are largely speculative and based on a combination of scriptural accounts, traditional narratives, and forensic analysis of the image on the shroud.

Lacerations Near the Eyebrows

Some markings resemble lacerations or abrasions and swelling near the eyebrows, possibly from falling while carrying the patibulum, the crossbeam of the cross.

The markings near the eyebrows on the Shroud resemble swelling and lacerations or abrasions that could be significant for several reasons.  The area above the right eyebrow shows signs that could be interpreted as swelling, which might suggest a significant blunt force trauma. If we are to consider the narrative of the final fall under the weight of the cross, as often depicted in the Stations of the Cross in the Christian tradition, the description provided fits with what might be expected from such a violent impact. A fall while bearing a heavy weight could result in a direct impact to the face, particularly if the individual was unable to brace for the fall. This could lead to bruising, swelling, and potential fractures in the areas of the right eyebrow. This last fall might have been especially severe. By this point, any individual in such a situation would likely be extremely fatigued, dehydrated, and in a state of physical shock, making any injury sustained more damaging and less likely to be responded to effectively by the body's protective reflexes. Significant swelling could indeed make the eye appear unrecognizable. The soft tissue around the eye is particularly susceptible to swelling due to the loose connective tissue in this area, which can accumulate fluid rapidly. The force of a fall can lead to an orbital blowout fracture, where the bones around the eye socket are broken. This could result in further swelling, bruising, and potential damage to the eye itself.  In addition to visible swelling, such an injury could result in a black eye (periorbital hematoma), double vision, numbness if nerves were affected, and intense pain, all of which would add to the trauma's overall impact.

Broken Nose

Some analyses of the shroud suggest that the nose may appear abnormally bent or swollen, indicating a possible fracture.

The nose on the image of the Shroud appears abnormally bent or swollen, indicating a possible fracture. A broken nose, or nasal fracture, is typically characterized by visible deformation of the nose, swelling, and bruising. A forensic analysis of the Shroud would look for asymmetry in the nose or a deviation from the midline that might suggest a fracture. If the individual depicted on the Shroud did indeed suffer a nasal fracture, this could have been caused by a fall, a blow to the face (such as a strike during interrogation or torture).  The acute pain from a nasal fracture would add to the overall suffering. The swelling associated with such an injury could also distort other facial features and contribute to further pain from the pressure. A broken nose can lead to a distinctive pattern of blood flow or pooling, as blood from the nasal blood vessels can flow downward following the contours of the face, which might explain some of the blood patterns seen on the Shroud. In the narratives of the Passion, physical abuse and mockery from the Roman soldiers are mentioned, and a broken nose could be consistent with this mistreatment. This would further enhance the portrayal of suffering that is central to the Passion story.

Lung edema fluid

The fluid is from lung edema present on the Shroud of Turin.

Lung edema, or pulmonary edema, is a condition characterized by an excess of fluid in the lungs. This fluid can accumulate in the air sacs (alveoli), making it difficult to breathe and potentially leading to respiratory failure.
In the context of the Shroud of Turin and the man depicted, the presence of such a fluid might be consistent with the postmortem event known as a "pleural effusion." A pleural effusion is an accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity, the space between the lungs and the chest wall. If the man on the shroud did indeed suffer crucifixion, as the narrative suggests, such a condition could have arisen from a combination of factors: The traumatic injuries sustained during crucifixion could lead to pulmonary contusions and subsequent edema. The extreme stress of crucifixion might lead to heart failure, which can cause blood to back up into the pulmonary circulation, resulting in pulmonary edema. The fluid highlighted in the image could indicate a pleural effusion, which might occur after death if the body were in an upright or semi-upright position, as one would be during crucifixion. After death, body fluids can settle due to gravity (a process known as livor mortis), and any fluid in the lungs could be forced out through the nose and mouth due to the pressure of the settling blood and bodily fluids. The presence of such fluid, interpreted by some as being indicative of a pleural effusion or pulmonary edema, has been used to support the idea that the image on the Shroud of Turin could be that of a crucified man. However, these interpretations are still subject to debate, and the exact nature of the markings on the shroud remains a matter of historical and scientific inquiry.

They plucked his beard

The Shroud of Turin has been subjected to intense scrutiny and contains evidence of numerous details related to the Passion of Christ. One such detail that can be seen on the Shroud is evidence that the beard was plucked or pulled out. This action is referenced in the Old Testament, specifically in Isaiah 50:6, which states: "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting." This verse is often interpreted by Christians as a prophecy concerning the Messiah's suffering. Interestingly, the Gospels do not explicitly mention the plucking of Jesus' beard. But the facial image shows uneven patches or areas where the beard appears disrupted or missing. This is a fulfillment of the prophecy from Isaiah and as further evidence of the Shroud's authenticity. 

Wounds from the Crown of Thorns

The image suggests blood flow in patterns consistent with wounds on the scalp, which could be from puncture wounds caused by a thorny object, like a crown of thorns. There are distinct bloodstains on the forehead area, which could be from puncture wounds or lacerations. The frontal image of the Shroud of Turin reveals that the individual, often referred to as "the occupant," underwent a form of coronation using a crown made of intertwined thorns. Researchers have speculated that around 50 thorn punctures can be identified in the scalp of the man depicted on the Shroud. Such an experience must have been excruciatingly painful, considering that the human scalp is known to have over 140 pain points per square centimeter. This suggests that the individual would have endured intense and acute pain from this crown of thorns, indicating an extraordinarily high level of suffering. The wounds on Christ's head, as depicted on the Shroud of Turin, indicate that the crown of thorns was not neatly arranged but more akin to a helmet of intertwined spikes, bound together tightly. This brutal binding, gripping the hair, likely contributed to the formation of a significant blood clot. Notably, there is a mark on the forehead in the shape of the Greek letter epsilon (ε), believed to have originated from the piercing of the temporal artery. This mark documents the movement of the head from right to left, as well as the furrowing of the brow due to painful contractions of the frontal muscle.

Additionally, the bloodstains on the nape of the neck appear to lean towards the left, suggesting that Christ's head was slightly tilted to the right. This detail further corroborates the theory of his experiencing extreme physical agony. Such observations provide a graphic and detailed account of the suffering endured, as reflected in the unique and specific patterns of blood flow and clotting visible on the Shroud. This level of detail not only offers a deeper understanding of the physical pains of the crucifixion but also contributes to the ongoing discussion and analysis regarding the authenticity and historical significance of the Shroud of Turin.

The analysis of the wounds on the Shroud of Turin provides an interesting counterpoint to traditional artistic depictions of the Crown of Thorns and offers insights into the knowledge of circulatory systems at the time the shroud was made. Medieval artists commonly depicted the Crown of Thorns as a circlet, which was a band worn around the head, often sitting on the forehead and temples. This portrayal is likely influenced by symbolic and artistic considerations, emphasizing the mock royalty imposed on Jesus. In contrast, the bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin suggest a cap-like object, implying coverage over the entirety of the scalp. The distinction points to a more severe form of mockery and torture, with the cap inflicting pain across a larger area. The blood marks on the shroud show a complex pattern of flow from the top of the head down, consistent with an object that enveloped the head like a cap. This pattern implies a detailed knowledge of how blood would emerge from and run down a three-dimensional object, like the head, which is not typically depicted in the more stylized and two-dimensional medieval art. Modern forensic studies have shown that the bloodstains are consistent with post-mortem blood flow, where gravity causes blood to seep and coagulate in patterns that match the position of the body. The understanding of these patterns now allows for a more accurate interpretation of how the wounds might have been inflicted and how the body was positioned after death. The detailed nature of the bloodstains and their consistency with known medical facts evidence that it could not have been a medieval forgery. 

Understanding of the Circulatory System

Intriguingly, the blood flow patterns on the Shroud correspond with what would be expected from the human circulatory system, hinting at a level of anatomical detail not widely understood until after the medieval period. During the 14th century, when some believe the Shroud was created, the detailed workings of the circulatory system had not yet been described as they would be in the 17th century by William Harvey. The bloodstains on the Shroud show a natural flow that respects gravity and the structure of the human body, suggesting either a knowledge of anatomy that was not common at the time or, as some argue, the authenticity of the Shroud as a true burial cloth of a crucified individual. The observation that the Shroud of Turin displays bloodstains with distinct colors corresponding to venous and arterial blood adds another layer of complexity to the artifact's analysis. This distinction suggests a level of anatomical understanding that would have been unusual for the 14th century when the shroud is often claimed to have been created.  Arterial blood, being oxygen-rich, is typically brighter red, whereas venous blood, which has a lower oxygen content, is darker. The Shroud shows this distinction reflecting real physiological differences. The apparent representation of both venous and arterial blood on the Shroud could imply an understanding of the circulatory system that predates its formal discovery by several centuries. While some knowledge of the differences between venous and arterial blood existed in the ancient world (e.g., Galen in the 2nd century), the full understanding of circulation was not elucidated until William Harvey's work in the 17th century. The accurate depiction of venous and arterial bloodstains supports the idea that the Shroud is genuine, as a medieval forger would be unlikely to know or to depict such details accurately.

The real story of Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns

Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns was among prized relics saved from the inferno in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, but how did it get there? Could the object Christians regard as among the most sacred of religious artefacts really have sat atop Jesus Christ’s head as he was crucified more than 2000 years ago? As Christians around the world mark the anniversary of Christ’s death and resurrection, it is worth looking at the origin of the crown of thorns and Christ’s cross, a piece of which was also said to be inside Notre Dame. Simply the cross and the crown of thorns are symbols of Christ’s suffering for mankind and his laying down of his life for the world. According to three of the Gospels, a woven crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus Christ leading up to his crucifixion after he had been condemned to death.

Jesus is reputed to have been crucified at the age of 33, which given that the anno Domini years or AD historical timing began at his birth meant the crucifixion took place around 33AD. Condemned for claiming to be the son of God, Jesus was put on trial and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to the punishment of being scourged and then crucified by the Romans. Scourging is whipping with a lash with multiple thongs, sometimes with metal attached to maximise injury. On the day of his crucifixion, Jesus was stripped of all his clothing bar a loin cloth. To increase his humiliation and to mock his claim of being “king of the Jews”, he was given a crown made from local thorn bushes twisted into a circlet for his head. It was employed by his captors to cause him pain and to mock his claim of religious authority. He was then suspended from a wooden cross, attached by nails being driven through his hands and feet, and placed between two thieves who were being crucified for their crimes. Jesus’ suffering, his death by crucifixion while wearing the crown of thorns which precede his resurrection are referred to as “the Passion”.

After his death and the rise of Christianity as a religious movement, a relic was said still to be in existence, kept and worshipped by the faithful, of Jesus’s crown of thorns. Also said to be kept was the cross on which he was nailed. In the year 409AD, a Roman poet Paulinus of Nola wrote about “the thorns with which Our Saviour was crowned” being held, along with the cross and the pillar on which he was scourged. Other writers in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries write of it, one saying “we may behold the thorny crown, which was only set upon the head of Our Redeemer in order that all the thorns of the world might be gathered together and broken”. In 870, a pilgrimage was made by the monk Bernard to see the crown of thorns at Mount Zion, the hill in Jerusalem regarded as the holy temple mount and used as a metaphor for God’s holy, eternal city. It was believed that a purported crown of thorns was venerated at Jerusalem from the fifth century for hundreds of years.

The entire crown was then meant to have been transferred to Byzantium — the ancient name for what became Constantinople and is now Istanbul, chosen by Emperor Constantine as the “new Rome”. It was Constantine who embraced Christianity in 330AD and ensured its spread throughout his empire. Meanwhile, however, thorns from the crown were appearing and being sold or presented to rulers Charlemagne, the Anglo Saxon king Athelstan, and a Spanish princess. There are around 500 of these supposed holy relics in existence in reliquaries today, meaning many of them cannot be genuine.
In the year 1238 the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, offered the crown of thorns to Louis IX, the King of France. It was a gift Baldwin made to garner support for his crumbling empire from a powerful potential ally. The crown then was held as collateral for a heavy loan by the Venetians for the sum of 13,134 gold pieces after Baldwin II pawned the relics to prop himself up.

King Louis built Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite in the River Seine to receive and hold it, along with other holy relics. Sainte-Chapelle is located opposite Notre Dame on the same island. The crown of thorns and other relics were carried from Venice into the city of Paris by two Dominican friars. King Louis held a week-long celebration. The king then dressed himself as a barefoot penitent and carried the crown of thorns and relics into the chapel. The relics were stored at other chapels until a large silver chest, called the Grand-Chasse had been specially made to hold them. Fragments of Christ’s Cross were acquired for Louis’s collection. On April 26, 1248 the chapel was consecrated and the crown of thorns, fragment of the cross and other relics were moved into the chapel and stored in the grand-chasse.
The crown of thorns remained in Sainte-Chapelle until the French Revolution, during which the priceless relics were hidden in the Abbey of Saint-Denis in 1790. In 1806, they were transferred to Notre Dame to be worshipped by all the people of Paris.

The crown of thorns, now preserved in a gilded and crystalline reliquary, is brought out for the faithful every Good Friday at a special service at Notre Dame. The crown is comprised of a twisted wreath of rushes from the Juncus balticus plant, perennially flowering rush native to northern Britain, the Baltic and Scandinavia. The thorns preserved in many reliquaries, including in the rooster which sat stop Notre Dame’s spire until the first broke out, are from the Ziziphus spina-christi plant. Known as Christ’s thorn jujube, the plant native to the Levant and East Africa. The oldest know Ziziphus is reputed to be 2000 years old and growing south of Jerusalem in in Ein Hatzeva, Israel. Locals believe this is the tree from which Christ’s crown of thorns was made.

Thorny plants
Images of several thorny plants have been discovered on the Shroud. In our first report (Danin et al., 1999) we listed the occurrence of Gundelia tournefortii near the right shoulder and a pair of thorns of Ziziphus spina-christi at the back of the head of the Man. Further studies of Whanger & Whanger (2002) on the Crowns of Thorns, the images of which they discovered on the Shroud, also revealed four inflorescences (capitula) of Carduus sp. and three stem thorns of Rhamnus lycioides (Danin, 2006). The thorns of Ziziphus spina-christi and of Rhamnus lycioides are portrayed by Fleury (1870) in his excellently illustrated book. He lists the thorns he saw in churches and monasteries in Europe in the 1800s. The thorns have been kept there since they were brought from the Holy Land many years earlier.

Zizyphus spina-christi

The thorns were probably from a plant of the Zizyphus spina-christi species, which are approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. The more than thirty different wounds about the head of the man on the Shroud would have caused far more agony than a typical crucifixion.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Y4s3gx9c
A branch of a Zizyphus spina-christi shrub showing its long, curved and sharp thorns

The forehead, temple, and scalp have a dense network of highly sensitive nerves, which are branches of the Trigeminal Nerve and the Greater Occipital Nerve. These nerves are responsible for conducting pain perception from the front and back halves of the head, respectively. The major nerves in the scalp divide into numerous smaller branches throughout the skin. Stimulation or irritation of these nerve branches can cause intense pain. For example, irritation of just one small branch of the trigeminal nerve, which supplies the teeth, can lead to a severe toothache. A clinical condition associated with irritation of the trigeminal nerve is Trigeminal Neuralgia. This condition is known for causing sudden, severe facial pain, often described by sufferers as feeling like "knifelike stabs," "electric shocks," or "jabs with a red-hot poker." Trigeminal neuralgia is considered one of the most intense types of pain a human can experience. In the biblical account of the passion of Jesus of Nazareth, it is described that the soldiers struck Jesus with a reed on the crown of thorns (Matthew 27:30). A cap made of interwoven thorn twigs would have placed numerous thorns in contact with the entire top of the head, including the front, back, and sides. The blows from the reed would have directly irritated the nerves, causing severe pains akin to a hot poker or electric shock. The traumatic shock from scourging would have been compounded by these paroxysmal pains across Jesus' face. These throbbing pains would have likely recurred on the way to Calvary, triggered by walking, falling, the pressure of the thorns against the cross, and from shoves and blows by the soldiers, and during the crucifixion itself. The practice of crowning with thorns was not part of the Roman crucifixion procedure, nor was it a part of any other culture's penal procedure throughout human history. The only mention of a crowning with thorns in ancient literature is in the Gospel accounts of the passion of Jesus of Nazareth. No other crucifixion victim but Jesus is known to have been crowned with thorns. Therefore, the presence of a crown of thorns on the man depicted on the Shroud is seen as a significant indication that he is Jesus.

The theory that the Shroud of Turin is a forgery faces significant challenges, particularly when considering the depiction of the crown of thorns. In traditional Christian art, Jesus is depicted wearing a circlet type of crown, not a cap of thorns. The cap of thorns depicted on the Shroud is non-traditional and non-European, which would have been unappealing to medieval European sensibilities. Furthermore, this specific depiction would not have been common knowledge to a medieval forger. Additionally, no medieval artist has approached the physiological realism of the cap of thorns bloodflows as seen on the Shroud. Only a modern artist with a thorough knowledge of the physiology of coagulation could portray the 'reversed 3' bloodflow. Yet, any attempt to replicate this detail would likely result in errors, making it apparent as a work of imagination, which is not observed in the Shroud. The cap of thorns bloodflows on the Shroud demonstrate a knowledge of the distinction between arterial and venous blood, a medical understanding not established until the 16th century. This knowledge was not discovered until 1593, well after the Shroud appeared in Lirey, France, in the mid-1350s. The bloodflows at the back of the head on the Shroud also match those on the Sudarium of Oviedo, which has been in Spain since the 6th century. This correspondence provides further evidence against the forgery theory. Both the man on the Shroud and Jesus were subjected to Roman scourging and crowned with thorns. Historically, Jesus is the only known Roman Jew to have been crucified wearing a crown of thorns. The presence of bloodstains on the head, consistent with a crown of thorns, removed from a man who was crucified in the Roman manner and buried according to Jewish customs, suggests that the Shroud is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus. This conclusion is supported by agnostic art historian Thomas de Wesselow, who acknowledges the Shroud's authenticity while not affirming the resurrection of Jesus. The combination of these factors makes it challenging to support the theory that the Shroud of Turin is a medieval forgery. 2

1. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/the-real-story-of-jesus-christs-crown-of-thorns/news-story/ec56fd4a5016c533aabcc08e8bcdd72d
2. https://theshroudofturin.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-shroud-of-turin-35the-man-on-shroud.html

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More here:

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Jesus Carries the Cross:

Matthew 27:31-32: Jesus is led away to be crucified and Simon of Cyrene is compelled to carry the cross.
Mark 15:20-21: Similar to Matthew, Mark describes Jesus being led out with the cross, which Simon of Cyrene is forced to carry.
Luke 23:26-31: Luke also mentions Simon of Cyrene, adding Jesus' interaction with the women of Jerusalem.
John 19:16-17: John states that Jesus went out, carrying his own cross to the place called “The Place of a Skull”.

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88The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 12 - GOLGOTHA/CALVARY Sat Dec 30, 2023 1:50 pm




1. Plan of Jerusalem showing Jesus' route from Gethsemane to Golgotha.
2. Jesus is arrested in Gethsemane and brought to the house of Caiaphas.
3. Jesus is transferred to the Temple to be 'tried' by the Sanhedrin.
4. He is sent to Pilate at Herod's Palace to get Roman agreement to his death.
5. Pilate sends him to Herod Antipas at the Hasmonean Palace.
6. Herod mocks Jesus, and then returns him to Pilate.
7. Pilate eventually accedes to demands for Jesus’ death, and he is sent to Golgotha for crucifixion.

The trajectory that Jesus is believed to have walked, often referred to as the "Via Dolorosa" or the "Way of Suffering," is a path in Jerusalem that follows the traditional route that Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion. It is a path marked by a series of stations, each commemorating an event along Jesus' journey from his arrest to his crucifixion. Here is a more detailed look at the distances and locations involved in this path:

Arrest in Gethsemane: Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The exact distance he walked from there to the house of Caiaphas isn't mentioned in the Gospels, but it's a short distance within the city of Jerusalem.

House of Caiaphas: After his arrest, Jesus was taken to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where he was interrogated and held until morning. The house of Caiaphas was likely located in the upper city of Jerusalem, which would have been a walk of less than a mile from Gethsemane.

Trial by the Sanhedrin at the Temple: The next morning, Jesus was taken to the Temple where he was tried by the Sanhedrin. This would also have been a short distance, as the Temple was also in the upper city of Jerusalem.

Pilate at Herod's Palace: After the trial, Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate at Herod's Palace, believed to be located on the western side of the city, near the site of the current Jaffa Gate. This would have been within a mile from the Temple.

Herod Antipas at the Hasmonean Palace: Pilate then sent Jesus to Herod Antipas, who was staying at the Hasmonean Palace. This was probably not far from Herod's Palace, potentially within the same complex or very close by, so Jesus likely did not walk a significant distance here.

Return to Pilate: After Herod's interrogation, Jesus was sent back to Pilate at Herod's Palace. Again, this would not have been a long distance.

Journey to Golgotha: After Pilate sentenced Jesus to crucifixion, Jesus was taken to Golgotha, also known as Calvary. The exact location of Golgotha is subject to debate, but it is traditionally believed to have been outside the city walls, possibly near the site where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands. This would have been a walk of about half a mile to a mile from Herod's Palace.

This was a difficult journey, considering the physical and emotional toll of the events as they unfolded, as well as the weight of the cross that he was forced to carry part of the way.


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89The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 13– THE CRUCIFIXION Tue Jan 02, 2024 1:42 pm




The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Panel_54

The Crucifixion:

Matthew 27:33-44: Jesus is crucified at Golgotha, offered wine mixed with gall, and mocked. The sign above Jesus reads "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."
Mark 15:22-32: Mark’s account is similar, with the inscription "The King of the Jews" and Jesus being mocked by passersby and the two criminals.
Luke 23:33-43: Luke adds the detail of Jesus saying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing," and one of the criminals asking Jesus to remember him.
John 19:18-27: John includes the detail of Jesus’ clothes being divided by the soldiers and Jesus entrusting his mother to the disciple whom he loved.

How Jesus Suffered for Humanity - Facts on Jesus' Crucifixion and Death

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Galler24
The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Galler25

The Placement of Nails

Dennis Jones: On the location of the nails on the man on the Shroud, Barbet wrote:

"If one examines a frontal cutting of the wrist, and better still a radiograph taken from in front, one finds that in the middle of the bones of the wrists there is a free space, bounded by the capitate, the semi-lunar, the triquetral and the hamate bones. We know this space so well that we know, in accordance with Destot's work, that its disappearance means a dislocation of the wrist, the first stage of the major carpal traumatisms. Well, this space is situated just behind the upper edge of the transverse carpal ligament and below the bending fold of the wrist." (Barbet, P., 1953, "A Doctor at Calvary," pp.115-116. My emphasis).

Barbet described the results of experiments that he was permitted to carry out on cadavers at St Joseph's Hospital:

"I repeated the same experiment with several men's hands ... Each time I observed exactly the same thing. Once it had passed through the soft parts, and the nail had entered fully into the wrist ... it then emerged through the skin of the back of the wrist at about a centimetre above the point of entry ... The nail has entered into Destot's space; it has moved aside the four bones which surround it, without breaking one of them, merely widening the space ... The point of entry, being a little outside and medial to Destot's space, the point of the nail reached the head of the great bone, slid along its mesial slope, went down into the space and crossed it. The four bones were pushed aside, but were intact and by reason of thus being pushed were closely pressed against the nail. Elsewhere the latter was resting on the upper end of the transverse carpal ligament ... The point of emergence is thus a little above and a little within the point of entry. If I had driven in the nail a little on the inner side of the bending fold I should have fallen straight into Destot's space, which is a little on the inner side of the axis of the wrist in the axis of the third intermetacarpal space. The obliquity of the nail pointing backwards and upwards is solely caused by the arrangement of the bony surfaces around Destot's space, for this happened every time during my experiments ... In each case the point took up its own direction and seemed to be slipping along the walls of a funnel and then to find its way spontaneously into the space which was awaiting it ... Is it possible that trained executioners would not have known by experience of this ideal spot for crucifying the hands, combining every advantage and so easy to find? The answer is obvious. And this spot is precisely where the shroud shows us the mark of the nail, a spot of which no forger would have had any idea or the boldness to represent it ... the nails in the hands were driven into a natural space, generally known as Destot's space, which is situated between the two rows of the bones of the wrist." (Barbet, 1953, pp.116-119).

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 DestotsSpace1
Destot's space: Space in the wrist bounded by the hamate[H], capitate [G], triquetrals [C] and lunate bones." ("Étienne Destot, Wikipedia, 18 March 2013). This diagram is of the right hand, distal (i.e. palms facing)

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Gray817&Nail

Gray's Anatomy diagram 817 of the human right hand, palm facing, showing median nerve (yellow left) overlaid by the estimated pathway of a 1/3rd inch = 8.5mm square Roman nail from its entry point at Destot's space to its exit point about 1 cm back towards the wrist (see below)]:"Deep Palmar Nerves": Wikipedia. As can be seen, a nail of that square shape could cause damage the median nerve (both directly and by displacing carpal bones against the nerve) at a point which controls the thumb muscles.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_13

The median nerve in light blue, on the left, and the ulnar nerve, is light blue, on the right. A nail through the middle of these two nerves will cause a fiery pain.  It can even lead to pain shock. This pain reverberates through the entire body. These nerves are both for the sensation and for the movement of our hands.  Both nerves are crucial for the sensory and motor functions of the hand. If a nail were to penetrate the wrist and impinge on these nerves during a crucifixion or similar injury, the consequences in terms of pain and potential damage would be severe.  Both the median and ulnar nerves are part of the body's peripheral nervous system and contain many pain fibers. Direct trauma to these nerves would trigger an immediate, sharp, and possibly burning sensation of pain. This type of pain is known as neuropathic pain and is often described as shooting, stabbing, or like an electric shock. Since these nerves provide sensation to the hand, injury could lead to temporary or permanent numbness, tingling, or a complete loss of sensation in certain parts of the hand. The median nerve supplies the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring finger, while the ulnar nerve supplies the little finger and the other part of the ring finger. These nerves also control muscle movements in the hand. Damage to them could result in weakness or paralysis of the muscles they innervate. For example, injury to the median nerve could lead to difficulty with thumb opposition (touching the thumb to other fingertips), while ulnar nerve damage could affect the ability to spread the fingers apart or make fine movements. The intense pain from such a traumatic injury could potentially lead to a state of pain shock. This is a type of neurogenic shock that can occur when the nervous system is severely damaged, leading to a sudden drop in blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and even loss of consciousness.  Pain may not be limited to the area of injury. Nerve damage can cause referred pain, where the pain is perceived in areas that are innervated by the same nerve but are not the site of the injury.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_11

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Rect4d10

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_15

The thumbs are not visible on the Shroud because of damage to each hand's median nerve (Barbet). Barbet reported on the results of experiments he performed during 1932-35 on freshly amputated hands, as Chief Surgeon of St Joseph's Hospital in Paris:

"But these experiments had yet another surprise in store for me. I have stressed the point that I was operating on hands which still had life in them immediately after the amputation of the arm. Now, I observed on the first occasion, and regularly from then onwards, that at the moment when the nail went through the soft anterior parts, the palm being upwards, the thumb would bend sharply and would be exactly facing the palm by the contraction of the thenar muscles, while the four fingers bent very slightly; this was probably caused by the reflex mechanical stimulation of the long flexor tendons. Now, dissections have revealed to me that the trunk of the median nerve is always seriously injured by the nail; it is divided into sections, being broken sometimes halfway and sometimes two-thirds of the way across, according to the case. And the motor nerves of the oponens muscles and of the short [119] flexor muscle of the thumb branches at this level off the median nerve. The contraction of these thenar muscles, which were still living like their motor nerve, could be easily explained by the mechanical stimulation of the median nerve. Christ must then have agonised and died and have become fixed in the cadaverous rigidity, with the thumbs bent inwards into His palms. And that is why, on the shroud, the two hands when seen from behind only show four fingers, and why the two thumbs are hidden in the palms." (Barbet, P., 1953, "A Doctor at Calvary," pp.118-119. Emphasis original).
In his Doctor at Calvary Barbet shows two xrays of a large (1/3 inch = 8.5 mm square) Roman nail which entered a cadaver's hand at Destot's space and exited about a centimetre back towards the wrist:

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 XraysHandNailBarbet1
[Above: Side view of xray of a 1/3rd inch = 8.5 mm square Roman nail of which entered a cadaver's hand at Destot's space and exited at the back of the hand, about a centimetre towards the wrist: Barbet, 1953, "Doctor at Calvary," p.104B).]

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 XraysHandNailBarbet2
[Above: Top view (flipped vertically) of the same Roman nail above. The rectangular shape is because the nail is opaque to the xray. Note the displaced Capitate carpal bone riding over the Scaphoid and Trapezoid carpal bones. The underlying median nerve would likely be pinched against these displaced carpal bones and damaged as the large, 8.5 mm square Roman nail moved upward through Destot's space to exit slightly backward towards the wrist.]
The late Dr. Robert Bucklin, Medical Examiner, Los Angeles, agreed with Barbet's conclusion:

"The fact that on the imprint of the hands no thumb is visible is explained by the fact that the nail passing through the bones of the wrist either penetrated or stimulated the median nerve. The motor function of the median nerve is flexion of the thumb, and the flexed thumb over the palm remained in that position after rigor mortis was established and for that reason does not appear on the hand imprint. Some suggestion of the pain suffered by a suspended victim with a nail through or near his median nerve is possible when one realizes that the median nerve is a sensory as well as a motor nerve." (Bucklin, R., 1970, "The Legal and Medical Aspects of the Trial and Death of Christ," Medicine, Science and the Law, January).

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 NailWoundDurante
[Above: The man of the Shroud's hands crossed in front of him, with his right hand against his body (left because of mirror reversal)and his left hand against his right wrist, and (unlike most Egyptian mummies, e.g. Ramses I), his thumbs are not visible, consistent with Barbet's hypothesis that crucifixion nails hammered in through Destot's space damaged the hands' median nerves, causing the thumbs to flex tightly against the palms: Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical.]

The man on the Shroud's left hand is crossed over his right and themost natural way to arrange his hands would have been for his hands to be flat, with his right thumb against his body and his left thumb against his right arm, unless his thumbs were so bent back hard against his palms, as the thumbs in Barbet's experiments were, and then fixed by rigor mortis so that they could not be easily straightened out. First, Barbet never said that the median nerve passed through Destot's space, nor does his "missing thumbs" hypothesis require it. As can be seen above, what Barbet said was, that "at the moment when the nail went through the soft anterior parts the palm being upwards, the thumb would bend sharply and would be exactly facing the palm by the contraction of the thenar muscles" (see below):

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 CrossSectionWrist&Nail

Cross-section of the wrist, palm facing upwards, with simulated Roman nail having already passed through "the soft anterior parts", including the median nerve, and about to enter Destot's space between the hamate and capitate carpal bones: "Relevant Wrist Anatomy,

Second, Barbet never claimed that there was complete "severance of the median nerve". Obviously if a nerve is completely severed, then it cannot conduct any nerve impulses at all to the muscles it serves, and in the case of the hand's median nerve, if completely severed, it could not cause the thumb to flex. What Barbet claimed, as can be seen above, was that the hands' median nerves were "seriously injured by the nail" in that they were incompletely severed, "sometimes halfway and sometimes two-thirds of the way across":

"Now, dissections have revealed to me that the trunk of the median nerve is always seriously injured by the nail; it is divided into sections, being broken sometimes halfway and sometimes two-thirds of the way across ..." (Barbet, 1953, p.118. My emphasis)

Second, as we saw above, the late Dr. Robert Bucklin, a Medical Examiner of Los Angeles County, agreed with Barbet's finding. Indeed, Dr Bucklin later wrote in a 1982 paper that Barbet's experiment "has been repeated by others" and he added that damage to the median nerve may cause the thumb to "either be adjacent to the hand or flexed over the palm":
"The thumb may either be adjacent to the hand or flexed over the palm A nail can be easily driven through the bones of the wrist, separating these bones but not producing fractures. This was done experimentally by Barbet and has been repeated by others. Since the right wrist is covered by the left hand, no puncture mark is visible on the right wrist. The fact that on the imprint of the hands no thumbs are clearly visible is explained by the penetrating pointed objects passing through the wrists having damaged the median nerve. The motor function of the median nerve is to produce flexion of the thumb. The thumb may either be adjacent to the hand or flexed over the palm." (Bucklin, R., 1982, "The Shroud Of Turin: Viewpoint of a Forensic Pathologist," Shroud Spectrum International, December, p.7).

The Gospel of John (20:24-29) provides insight into the crucifixion wounds of Jesus through His interaction with Thomas. The term used for "hand" in this account is derived from the Greek "cheri," which encompasses both the palm (palame) and the wrist (karpos cherion). Hence, the precise location where the nails penetrated Jesus' hands remains uncertain due to the lack of archeological evidence of a nail embedded in hand bones. The debate over the feasibility of palm crucifixion stems from anatomical considerations. The palms lack strong tissue across the metacarpals, suggesting that nails through this area might tear due to the weight of a body.

Archbishop Alfonso Paleotti in 1598, after observing the Shroud of Turin, asserted that the hands alone could not have borne the body's weight during crucifixion without tearing, a claim supported by sculptors' experiments on cadavers. 

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Cadaver crucified by Dr. Pierre Barbet to determine the true position of Jesus on the cross.

In the late 1940s, with the scientific atrocities of the war still fresh in people’s minds, German radiologist Hermann Mödder somehow managed to get away with crucifying medical students. Stretching their arms out to mimic the pose of Christ, the Cologne-based doctor hung students by their wrists and monitored their vital signs. After six minutes of hanging, the students’ blood pressure dropped, breathing became difficult, and their skin turned sickly damp. According to Mödder: “What will set in after the end of the sixth minute can be foreseen by the physician: unconsciousness, intense pallor, sweating. In short: collapse due to insufficient blood supply to the heart and brain.” Evidence shows that the Nazis carried out the same type of pseudo-crucifixion as a deadly form of torture. While imprisoned at Dachau, Father G Delorey was forced to watch as his doomed fellow inmates “were suspended from a horizontal bar by means of leather straps around their wrists… After their hanging for one hour the victims could no longer exhale the air that filled their chest.” The only way victims could breathe normally was if they pulled their whole body up, as if performing a chin-up at the gym. This agony could go on for up to six hours. According to Delaney, “only at the end of the torture, when the victim’s strength failed, did asphyxiation take place, generally within two to four minutes.” Could Jesus have suffocated on the cross? If so, then he too would have raised his body in order to breathe like the Nazi torture victims. This is indeed what Pierre Barbet found when he examined the Shroud of Turin, the alleged burial shroud of Jesus. Dr. Pierre Barbet's experiments involved nailing a freshly severed arm through the palm with a thick nail and attaching an 88-pound weight. The palm split under this strain, leading him to conclude that a crucified individual's palms could not support the body's weight, especially if the person was of significant weight and the arms were extended.

Dr. Pierre Barbet's Investigation into Crucifixion Methods

In 1935, Pierre Barbet, a surgeon at the Hôpital Saint Joseph in Paris, published "Les cinq plaies du Christ, etude anatomique et experimentale," where he explicitly aimed to determine the precise points of the nails' entry. Barbet reconstructed the crucifixion for his study, including X-rays and dissections. He aimed to demonstrate that the nails went through the wrists, not the palms. His experiments involved nailing the hands of cadaver arms to a cross; the palms consistently tore under the body's weight. Barbet then amputated an arm and drove a crucifixion-style nail through the wrist joint into a plank, using a heavy hammer to mimic the action of execution. The wrist's capacity to support the weight without tearing validated his hypothesis, which he backed with X-rays and anatomical diagrams.

The artistic interpretation of the stains on the Shroud of Turin often involves abstracting the cloth into an idealized projection screen. However, Barbet's approach negates the fabric's mere surface quality, treating it instead as a substantive layer amenable to surgical investigation, as if delving into the physicality of a body. He elevated the examination to a photographic level, using X-rays to analyze the wound marks created by piercing, further solidifying his evidence.

Dr. Pierre Barbet's research into crucifixion techniques was partly influenced by an observable wound on the Shroud of Turin's left wrist depiction. Barbet, along with Bevilacqua et al., conducted experiments using cadaver wrists to understand how crucifixion victims were likely affixed to crosses.

In his study, Barbet utilized a short, 2-inch nail with a diameter of 1 centimeter, aiding its visibility on X-rays. He positioned the nail at various points around the wrist's central bending fold at the palm's base, targeting a depression between the palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis muscles. The nail was then driven through over a dozen freshly amputated forearms. Each insertion caused the nail to angle towards the elbow, exiting the dorsal wrist closer to the elbow than its entry point.

Barbet described the sensation as if the nail were moving through a "funnel" between the wrist bones, with no bones being broken in these trials. This observation aligns with the Gospel of John's statement that "Not a bone of him shall be broken" (John 19:36). The nail consistently traversed Destot’s space, bordered by the lunate, capitate, triquetral, and hamate bones.

Bevilacqua et al.'s Experiments

In contrast, Bevilacqua et al. used three right upper limbs from cadavers (not freshly amputated like Barbet's specimens). They nailed these limbs at the junction between the wrist and forearm and in two wrist locations, one of which was the same as Barbet's site. X-ray imaging was used to track the nail's path through the bones.

When nailing between the wrist and forearm, near the elbow and between the same two tendons as Barbet's experiments, the process resulted in no bone breakage, slight movement of the thumb towards the index finger, and minimal damage to the median nerve. Nailing towards the thumb side caused no fractures or nerve injuries, again moving the thumb slightly towards the index finger. Nailing towards the little finger side avoided fractures but passed through Destot’s space, injuring the flexor digitorum superficialis muscle's tendon and damaging the ulnar nerve and artery.

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Destot’s space. The space is bounded by the hamate, capitate, triquetral, and lunate bones. This is the place where Dr. Barbet and others (Bevilacqua et al. [2014] and Bordes [2020]) discovered that a nail passes when pounded
into the middle of a wrist.

The interpretative study of the Shroud of Turin draws its validating power from the "reality" it presents—specifically, the visible markings on the cloth that align with the Gospel narratives. This necessitates empirical testing to substantiate its semiotic theories. The central inquiry pertains to the exact placement of the stains, particularly those that correspond to the wounds on the crucified body that the Shroud is believed to have covered (assumed to be the body of Christ). The stains in question are thought to be from the blood of the hands pierced during crucifixion. The challenge lies in pinpointing where the nails penetrated.

In a 2020 research study, Stephen Bordes and his team conducted experiments similar to those of Dr. Pierre Barbet, focusing on the crucifixion technique of driving nails through the wrist. Their objective was to trace the exact path of the nails through the wrist anatomy. In their procedure, they hammered a total of five nails, each through the wrist of a different cadaver. Consistently, every nail navigated through Destot’s space, a specific area within the wrist anatomy, without severing any artery or nerve.  Notably, the ulnar nerve remained untouched, positioned significantly medial to the path of each nail. Conversely, the median nerve, while close to the nails, was never directly contacted. The researchers hypothesized that the median nerve likely experienced mild stretching and was pushed sideways due to the space occupied by the nail and the consequent displacement of the carpal tunnel's contents. This study provided further insight into the physiological feasibility of crucifixion through the wrists, illustrating how nails could be driven through this area without causing direct nerve or arterial damage.

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In the case of the Man of the Shroud, the wound from a nail in the left wrist is evident. This is the first remarkable detail revealed about this crucifixion. Almost all artists, from the Byzantine period until today, have placed the nail in the palm of the hand. It has been proved by experiment that if an arm is nailed up by the palm of the hand and a weight of 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) is attached to it, after ten minutes the hand gives way under the weight and tears away from the nail. The Romans, who were accustomed to this mode of execution, knew quite well that if they wanted to attach someone securely to the cross, the nail had to be placed either in the wrist or in the space between the radius and the ulna (the distal region). In the case of the

Barbet, La Passion de N.S. Jesus Christ selon le chirurgien, Dillen, Issaudun, 1950.
Plautus, Mostellaria, act. 2, scene 1, vv. 12, 13."

"Man of the Shroud, the wrist was chosen and the nail was hammered into the so-called destot space, where it met the median nerve. This nerve is both sensory, so that when injured it causes excruciating shooting pains, and motor, affecting the movement of the thumb through the thenar muscles. Medical experiments have shown that as soon as a nail is inserted into a wrist, even into a recently amputated one, the thumb is drawn over into the palm of the hand. This would explain why the imprint of the left hand of the Man of the Shroud
shows only four fingers and no thumb.

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Nails in the foot 

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The image shows a diagram of the bottom of a human foot, detailing some of the nerves that are found within. Specifically, it labels the deep peroneal nerve, the medial plantar nerve, and the lateral plantar nerve, as well as the first and fifth metatarsals, which are the long bones found in the foot. In the context of crucifixion, nails would typically be driven through the feet to secure the person to the cross. This act would likely impact the nerves shown in the diagram. If a nail were to penetrate the area near or through these nerves, it would cause severe pain due to nerve damage or trauma. The deep peroneal nerve innervates the muscles of the dorsum of the foot and provides sensation between the first and second toes. Damage to this nerve would cause intense sharp pain and could affect the ability to move the foot or toes. The medial and lateral plantar nerves are branches of the tibial nerve. They are responsible for the sensation in the bottom of the foot and for innervating the muscles there. A nail that impales these nerves would cause excruciating pain and could lead to a loss of sensation and motor control in different parts of the foot. In crucifixion, the placement of the nail through the feet would likely be done in such a way as to maximize the pain without immediately killing the individual. The pain would be a combination of sharp, burning sensation due to nerve damage, and throbbing pain from tissue and bone damage. The trauma to the nerves would also cause a reflexive contraction of the muscles, which could lead to spasms, increasing the agony. Additionally, the damage to these nerves would cause a cascade of pain signals to be sent to the brain, leading to an overwhelming and continuous sensation of pain. This would be compounded by the stress and trauma of the overall crucifixion experience, leading to a situation where the pain could be unbearable and relentless.

When two nails are used to fix the right foot, they would likely pass between the bones of the feet, possibly the metatarsals. The bones most at risk in such positioning would be the metatarsals themselves, which are the long bones of the foot. If the nails are driven between the metatarsal bones, the bones might not be severely damaged, but the surrounding structures would be.

**Medial and Lateral Plantar Nerves**: These nerves run along the bottom of the foot. A nail driven through the area could potentially damage these nerves, causing intense pain and problems with sensation in the sole of the foot.

**Deep Peroneal Nerve**: This nerve travels along the top of the foot. While less likely to be affected by a nail through the bottom of the foot, if the nail were driven at an angle or if the foot were twisted, this nerve could also be at risk.

Pain from such injuries would likely be severe and could include sharp, burning sensations from the nerve damage, as well as deep, aching pain from the bone trauma. Additionally, there could be significant bleeding and swelling, and the potential for infection would be high.

Crucifixion, with its origins dating back to the ancient Persians around 300 BC and later adopted by the Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans circa 100 BC, is a historically brutal form of execution. The Romans, known for their methodical and excruciating version, used it both for execution and as a deterrent against crimes.

1. The term "excruciating" is intrinsically linked to crucifixion. Derived from the Latin "excruciatus," meaning "out of the cross," it highlights the extreme pain associated with this method of capital punishment. Crucifixion was intended as a slow, agonizing death, causing the victim to endure multiple physical traumas.

2. The application of crucifixion in Roman times, often reserved for the most egregious criminals, contextualizes the crucifixion of Jesus. Typically, it was used for slaves, pirates, and notorious criminals, symbolizing the gravity with which Roman and religious authorities viewed Jesus' actions and teachings. The moment in Mark 15:23, where Jesus refuses the wine mixed with myrrh, an "anaesthetic wine," is pivotal. This refusal, aligning with Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 26:29 about abstaining from the fruit of the vine, can be interpreted in several ways:

Fulfillment of Prophecy: By declining the wine, Jesus ensured he remained fully conscious, thus fulfilling the scriptures about the Messiah's suffering and death.
Spiritual Readiness: This act might symbolize his preparedness to embrace his suffering and death with complete awareness, rejecting any pain relief.
Symbolic Representation: Within the context of the Last Supper, the wine was symbolic of his blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins. Refusing it at the crucifixion could signify his sacrifice was ongoing.
Eschatological Significance: His statement about drinking anew in the Father's kingdom alludes to a future hope and promise, indicating the current suffering was part of a larger divine plan of redemption and salvation.

3. The narrative of Jesus being stripped and Roman guards casting lots for his clothing, as mentioned in John 19:23-24 and echoing Psalm 22:18, is a crucial element in the crucifixion story:

Fulfillment of Prophecy: This act is seen as a direct fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 22:18, important to early Christians and the Gospel authors.
Roman Crucifixion Practices: Roman crucifixion also served as extreme humiliation, often involving the condemned being crucified naked to amplify their shame.
Jewish Customs and Sensitivities: In contrast, Jewish culture, emphasizing modesty, viewed public nudity as deeply shameful. There's debate about the extent to which Roman authorities might have modified crucifixion practices in Judea to respect Jewish customs, possibly allowing some minimal covering.
Historical Interpretations: While some suggest Jesus wasn't fully naked on the cross, considering Jewish customs, others argue that the Romans might have enforced full nudity to maximize humiliation.
Artistic Representations: Artistic depictions over centuries have generally shown Jesus with a loincloth, likely reflecting later Christian sensibilities rather than historical accuracy.

4. The crucifixion of Jesus, like any crucifixion, ensured a horrific, slow, and painful death. The anatomical and physiological stresses placed on the body are profound:

Position of the Body: Arms stretched and affixed to the crossbar, often by nailing through the wrists or hands, put immense strain on the shoulders, arms, and chest, complicating breathing and comfort.
Respiratory Distress: The stretched muscles used for breathing cannot function properly. Inhaling required the victim to pull up by their arms and push down with their feet, causing extreme pain, especially after scourging.
Effects of Hanging by the Arms: Extended periods of hanging by the arms lead to muscle fatigue, severe pain from hyperextension of joints and ligaments, and potential shoulder dislocation.
Blood Circulation and Nerve Damage: Nailing the hands and feet causes severe nerve and blood vessel injury, intense pain, blood loss, and tissue damage. Impaired circulation exacerbates pain and complications.
Compounding Factors: Dehydration, exposure, and psychological trauma of public humiliation intensify the agony. These factors lead to fatal physiological failures.
Cause of Death: Death in crucifixion varies; it could be due to hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia, dehydration, or heart failure.

5. Jesus' position on the cross, with knees flexed at about 45 degrees, highlights the extreme physical distress of crucifixion:

Muscle Fatigue and Cramps: Maintaining this semi-squat position strains the thigh muscles, causing rapid onset of fatigue and painful cramping.
Compromised Blood Circulation: This position compromises blood circulation to the lower limbs, contributing to muscle fatigue and cramps.
Increased Pain with Movement: Any movement to alleviate leg pain causes pulling at the wrist and feet wounds, intensifying the pain cycle.
Joint Stress and Dislocation: The position places extreme stress on knee and hip joints, potentially leading to dislocation and further injury.
Limitations of Movement: Increasing fatigue and pain make movement difficult, leading to respiratory distress and asphyxiation.
Contribution to Cause of Death: The combined effects contribute to physiological breakdown, potentially hastening death due to shock, respiratory failure, or other complications.

6. The process of crucifixion, particularly the weight-bearing aspect, underlines its excruciating nature:

Initial Weight Bearing on Feet: Initially, the feet bear the body's weight, causing excruciating pain and potential damage to bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
Muscle Fatigue in Lower Limbs: Muscle fatigue and cramps in the legs worsen over time, exacerbated by blood loss and physical exhaustion.
Transfer of Weight to the Upper Body: As leg strength diminishes, the body's weight shifts to the wrists, arms, and shoulders, involving painful cyclic movements.
Stress on the Wrists and Arms: This transfer places enormous stress on the wrists, arms, and shoulders, causing intense pain, joint dislocation, and nerve damage.
Compromised Respiratory Function: This process severely compromises respiratory function, with each breath requiring painful movement.
Vicious Cycle of Pain and Exhaustion: The need to breathe intensifies pain, leading to rapid exhaustion and diminishing breathing capacity.
Psychological and Emotional Suffering: The physical agony is compounded by psychological and emotional suffering, including humiliation, abandonment, and anticipation of pain.

7. The hypothesis of dislocations in Jesus' shoulders, elbows, and wrists shortly after being placed on the cross is based on the understanding of the extreme physical trauma in crucifixion:

Stress on the Shoulders: Arms stretched and affixed to the crossbar place enormous strain on the shoulder joints. The weight of Jesus' body, especially after scourging, could lead to shoulder dislocations as ligaments and muscles are overstretched.
Elbows and Wrists Strain: The body's sagging due to gravity and muscle fatigue further stresses the elbows and wrists. The unnatural position and weight can lead to hyperextension and potential dislocation.
Cyclic Movement Increasing Risk of Dislocation: Repeated movements to breathe strain all upper body joints. Each lift to breathe increases stress on the overburdened joints, making dislocations more likely.
Cumulative Effect of Trauma: The cumulative effect of nailing, body weight, struggle to breathe, and movements would likely lead to gradual dislocation of these joints.
Physiological Implications: Dislocations impair the ability to lift oneself to breathe, hastening respiratory distress and contributing to the overall trauma.
Historical and Medical Perspectives: Specific details like joint dislocations are hypotheses based on medical understanding of the crucifixion's stresses. Variations exist in interpretations of the exact physical traumas experienced.
Analysis of the Shroud's Image: Researchers studying the Shroud of Turin suggest that the image depicts a man with elongated arms, indicating a dislocation of shoulders, elbows, and possibly wrists.
Mechanism of Elongation in Crucifixion: Dislocation of shoulders and elbows due to the weight of the body hanging from the arms could theoretically lead to an apparent lengthening of the arms.

8. Psalm 22:14, "I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint," is interpreted as a prophetic foreshadowing of the crucifixion:

Metaphorical Language: "I am poured out like water" symbolizes extreme weakness and helplessness, reflecting the physical exhaustion in crucifixion.
Dislocation Imagery: "All my bones are out of joint" vividly depicts intense suffering, potentially reflecting the physical strain on Jesus' body, including joint dislocations.
Prophetic Interpretation: Psalm 22 is seen as foretelling Jesus' physical suffering, including potential joint dislocations.
Symbolism in Christian Theology: Fulfillment of prophecies like Psalm 22:14 through Jesus' life and death is central, indicating the Messiah's suffering and sacrifice.

9. The dislocation of Jesus’ wrists, elbows, and shoulders exerted traction forces on the Pectoralis Major muscles, adding to the physical suffering:

Traction Forces on Pectoralis Major Muscles: Dislocations cause the body's weight to hang from the chest wall muscles, exerting immense traction on the Pectoralis Major.
Impact of Continuous Strain: Continuous strain could lead to tearing or severe straining of these muscles, exacerbating pain.
Compromised Respiratory Function: Traction on chest muscles complicates breathing, as exhaling becomes difficult and inhaling requires lifting against this painful stretch.
Increased Pain with Movement: Each attempt to breathe or adjust position increases pain in these strained muscles.
Consequences of Prolonged Hanging: Prolonged hanging leads to increased muscle fatigue and damage, causing more severe tearing and damage to muscle fibers.
Overall Physiological Stress: The combined effects of pain, muscle damage, and respiratory distress contribute to physiological failures, hastening shock and eventual death.

10. The traction forces in crucifixion caused Jesus' rib cage to be unnaturally pulled upwards and outwards, permanently positioning His chest in maximal respiratory inspiration:

Impact on Rib Cage and Chest Wall: Crucifixion's arm positioning exerted an upward and outward pull on the rib cage, forcing the chest into a state of full inhalation. Muscles and ligaments connected to the rib cage were stretched, causing pain and hindering normal breathing.
Difficulty in Exhaling: To exhale, Jesus would need to actively counteract this unnatural position by pushing down on the nailed feet and pulling on the arms, causing intense pain.
Increased Respiratory Effort: Breathing under these circumstances required constant, active movement against severe pain and muscle fatigue, making it physically exhausting.
Aggravation of Pain and Fatigue: Each effort to exhale aggravated pain in the nailed limbs and any dislocated joints, and the struggle to breathe exhausted the weakened muscles.
Contribution to Fatal Outcome: The altered breathing mechanics contributed to physical decline, with inadequate oxygenation and physical strain leading to respiratory failure.

11. Jesus' lungs, in a state of constant maximum inspiration during crucifixion, underscore the extreme physiological distress of this execution method:

Constant Maximum Inspiration: Jesus' chest cavity was forcibly expanded as if in deep inhalation, impeding normal gas exchange in the lungs.
Impaired Gas Exchange: The constant state of inhalation compromised efficient gas exchange, reducing the ability to expel carbon dioxide and leading to respiratory acidosis.
Increased Cardiac Stress: The impaired respiratory function put extra stress on the heart, working harder to circulate oxygen-depleted blood, contributing to potential heart failure.
Aggravation of Pain and Fatigue: Exhaling against the unnatural position of the ribcage and constant pain from crucifixion wounds led to extreme physical fatigue.
Contribution to Death: Respiratory distress, impaired gas exchange, cardiovascular strain, severe pain, and exhaustion all contributed to the fatal outcome.
Comprehensive Suffering: Crucifixion represents a form of suffering affecting nearly every body system, inflicting prolonged pain, psychological trauma, and physiological distress.

12. The process of respiration during crucifixion involved excruciating pain and the terror of asphyxiation:

Excruciating Pain During Respiration: Every breath was extraordinarily painful, with the need to pull up against wounds and dislocated joints, stretching strained chest and intercostal muscles.
Continuous Cycle of Pain: The necessary action of breathing meant enduring this cycle of pain continuously, further weakening Jesus' body.
Fear and Terror of Asphyxiation: Alongside physical pain, there was the constant fear of suffocation, with deep breaths becoming increasingly difficult, intensifying the sense of suffocation.
Asphyxiation as a Cause of Death: Asphyxiation is a common cause of death in crucifixion, with victims becoming unable to lift themselves to breathe, leading to respiratory failure.
Cumulative Effects of Prolonged Crucifixion: The combined effects of pain, exhaustion, dehydration, and the struggle to breathe took a severe toll over time.
Psychological and Emotional Suffering: The psychological and emotional impact of such a death, with intense pain, public nature, and inevitability of asphyxiation, contributed to profound despair and suffering.

13. As the crucifixion progressed, Jesus' ability to bear weight on His legs diminished, leading to an escalation of physiological distress:

Increasing Muscle Exhaustion: Over time, the thigh and calf muscles, initially used for support and breathing, became increasingly exhausted due to the unnatural position and constant strain.
Progressive Dislocation of Joints: As Jesus' leg muscles fatigued, his body weight shifted more to his arms, exacerbating dislocations in his wrists, elbows, and shoulders. These dislocations further impaired his ability to aid in breathing and caused excruciating pain.
Increased Elevation of Chest Wall: As his ability to support his weight with his legs decreased, his chest wall's elevation became more pronounced, complicating exhalation and increasing respiratory distress.
Severe Dyspnea Early On: Jesus likely experienced severe shortness of breath early in the crucifixion due to the physical strain, pain from injuries, and the compromised body position.
Cumulative Effects on Respiration: The combination of muscle exhaustion, joint dislocation, and chest wall elevation progressively worsened Jesus' respiratory function, making each breath more laborious and less effective.
Physiological Collapse: Over time, these combined effects led to a gradual physiological collapse, with body systems increasingly unable to cope with the demands placed on them.
Psychological and Emotional Impact: The increasing physical distress was compounded by psychological and emotional suffering, adding to the overall agony of the crucifixion experience.

14. The crucifixion caused a severe impact on Jesus' respiratory and circulatory systems, leading to hypoxia and hypercapnia:

Development of Hypoxia: Jesus' impaired gas exchange in the lungs due to difficulty in breathing led to hypoxia, where blood oxygen levels were insufficient to meet the body's needs.
Onset of Hypercapnia: Restricted respiratory movements resulted in inadequate exhalation and an accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood, leading to hypercapnia.
Combined Effect on the Body: Hypoxia and hypercapnia created a dangerous situation, depriving tissues and organs of oxygen and disrupting the blood's acid-base balance.
Impact on the Heart and Brain: These conditions placed significant stress on the heart and brain, with the heart struggling to circulate oxygen-depleted blood and the brain affected by both low oxygen and high CO2 levels.
Progression to Respiratory Failure: The compounding effects of hypoxia and hypercapnia eventually led to respiratory failure, as Jesus' respiratory muscles became exhausted and ineffective.
Contribution to Fatal Outcome: Respiratory distress, characterized by hypoxia and hypercapnia, played a central role in the eventual cause of death.

15. The rising CO2 levels in Jesus' body triggered a rapid heart rate to increase oxygen delivery and CO2 removal:

Body's Response to Hypercapnia: To counteract the high CO2 levels, Jesus' body responded by increasing the heart rate, aiming to circulate blood more rapidly for oxygen delivery and CO2 removal.
Increased Cardiac Workload: This heightened heart rate added stress to the heart, especially under the conditions of crucifixion, with physical strain and potential dehydration.
Impact on Circulation and Oxygenation: Despite efforts to increase circulation, oxygen delivery was still compromised due to impaired respiratory function.
Synergistic Effect with Hypoxia: The rising CO2 levels and response to hypercapnia occurred alongside hypoxia, creating a detrimental cycle stressing the body's tissues.
Contribution to Physical Decline: The increased heart rate in response to hypercapnia contributed to overall physical decline, with the heart increasingly unable to cope with the additional demands.
Potential for Cardiac Complications: Prolonged rapid heart rate could lead to various cardiac complications, including arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia, or myocardial infarction.

16. The extreme conditions of the crucifixion led to a critical response from the respiratory centre in Jesus' brain:

Activation of the Respiratory Centre: The respiratory centre in the brain, reacting to low oxygen and high CO2 levels, urgently signaled to increase the breathing rate.
Response to Respiratory Stress: Jesus instinctively began to breathe faster, trying to enhance oxygen intake and expel more CO2.
Limitations of Panting in Crucifixion: Despite instinctive panting, its effectiveness was significantly limited due to the physical constraints of crucifixion and Jesus' weakened state.
Increased Respiratory Effort and Fatigue: The rapid, shallow breathing demanded continuous effort, worsening Jesus' exhaustion and intensifying pain from crucifixion wounds and joint dislocations.
Inadequate Oxygenation and CO2 Removal: Despite the increased respiratory rate, the compromised lung function and restricted chest movement made it inadequate in correcting hypoxia and hypercapnia.
Psychological Impact of Respiratory Distress: The experience of breathlessness and ineffective breathing contributed to the psychological and emotional anguish of the crucifixion ordeal.

17. Jesus' extended period without water and the preceding scourging significantly contributed to His physical suffering:

Dehydration: Having not consumed any fluids for about 15 hours since the Last Supper, Jesus would have been significantly dehydrated by the time of His crucifixion. This dehydration would exacerbate weakness, dizziness, and the effects of blood loss. It also affected the body's ability to regulate temperature, potentially leading to hyperthermia.
Effects of Scourging: The scourging, involving severe whipping, caused deep lacerations, resulting in substantial blood loss. This not only increased pain but also weakened Jesus further, making Him more susceptible to shock.
Combined Impact on the Crucifixion: Dehydration and scourging injuries made the crucifixion more agonizing. Dehydration intensified shock effects, while scourging wounds increased infection risk and overall pain.
Psychological and Emotional Toll: The psychological and emotional impact of enduring scourging, followed by crucifixion, was immense. The anticipation of further suffering added to the anguish.
Exacerbation of Other Crucifixion Effects: Dehydration and scourging injuries made supporting His weight on the cross more difficult, worsened respiratory distress, and accelerated physical collapse.

18. Jesus likely experienced first-degree shock during His crucifixion, characterized by several symptoms:

Hypovolemia (Low Blood Volume): Caused by severe blood loss from scourging and crucifixion wounds, hypovolemia impaired blood circulation and oxygen delivery.
Tachycardia (Excessively Fast Heart Rate): Jesus' body likely responded to hypovolemia by increasing heart rate to maintain blood flow and oxygen delivery.
Tachypnea (Excessively Fast Respiratory Rate): Rapid breathing was a response to decreased oxygenation, but its effectiveness was limited due to crucifixion's impact on respiratory function.
Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating): Common in shock, excessive sweating further exacerbated dehydration.
Combined Effect on Jesus' Condition: These symptoms indicated a state of first-degree shock, a severe and life-threatening condition.
Progression of Shock: Without intervention, first-degree shock likely progressed, leading to organ failure and death.

19. Jesus probably developed pulmonary edema during His crucifixion:

Pulmonary Edema in Crucifixion: Heart and lung failure from severe trauma could lead to pulmonary edema, with fluid backup in the lungs.
Exacerbating Factors: Scourging, dehydration, and shock increased the risk of pulmonary edema.
Symptoms and Effects: Pulmonary edema would cause difficulty breathing, coughing, and a feeling of suffocation, adding to respiratory distress.
Evidence in the Sudarium of Oviedo: Studies of the Sudarium of Oviedo suggest stains consistent with pulmonary edema.
Correlation with Crucifixion Trauma: Pulmonary edema aligns with the physical trauma of crucifixion.
Impact on Jesus' Suffering: Developing pulmonary edema would have significantly intensified Jesus' suffering, adding to the sensation of drowning and increased breathing difficulty.

20. At a critical stage of the crucifixion, Jesus likely developed Haemopericardium and subsequent Cardiac Tamponade, further complicating His dire state:

Haemopericardium Development: The accumulation of blood and plasma in the pericardial sac, likely due to crucifixion trauma, led to Haemopericardium. This condition could have resulted from scourging, the strain of crucifixion, and cardiovascular stress.
Progression to Cardiac Tamponade: The increasing pressure from fluid in the pericardium restricted the heart's expansion, leading to Cardiac Tamponade, severely impairing cardiac function.
Impaired Heart Function: The pressure from the fluid accumulation hampered the heart's ability to pump blood effectively, reducing cardiac output, crucial for blood and oxygen circulation.
Symptoms and Consequences: Symptoms like shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and low blood pressure indicated worsening Cardiac Tamponade, leading to loss of consciousness and potential death without medical intervention.
Cumulative Effect of Trauma: Haemopericardium and Cardiac Tamponade represented a culmination of multiple traumas, exacerbating physical agony and contributing significantly to Jesus' decline.
Impact on Overall Suffering: This cardiac complication added profoundly to the crucifixion's suffering, both physically and psychologically.

21. The advanced Haemopericardium and physiological stress likely led to Jesus' heart rupturing, a critical factor in His death:

Cardiac Rupture: The intense strain on Jesus' heart, coupled with Haemopericardium, could have caused a Cardiac Rupture, where the heart muscle tears, leading to rapid, fatal consequences.
Biblical Description Alignment: This scenario aligns with biblical descriptions of blood and water flowing from Jesus' side post-mortem, potentially indicating blood and pericardial fluid release.
Medical Plausibility: While this explanation is medically plausible, it is based on historical and religious text interpretations, lacking direct medical evidence.

22. The psychological and emotional torment during the crucifixion was compounded by various factors, intensifying Jesus' suffering:

Mockery and Derision from Onlookers: The jeering and mockery from Jewish leaders and the crowd added a layer of psychological pain to Jesus' physical suffering.
Insults from the Crucified Thieves: Initial insults from thieves crucified alongside Jesus contributed to his sense of isolation and universal derision.
Witnessing His Mother's Suffering: Mary's presence at the crucifixion added emotional pain, knowing his mother witnessed his agonizing death.
Sense of Abandonment: Jesus' expression of feeling forsaken ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") reflects deep despair and a sense of abandonment.
Humiliation: Public humiliation, particularly for a respected figure, added to the psychological burden.
Emotional Strain of Injustice: The injustice of false accusations and rejection by his followers compounded the emotional strain.
Physical Pain Exacerbating Psychological Distress: The relentless physical agony exacerbated psychological and emotional distress, highlighting the interconnectedness of physical suffering and psychological well-being.

Jesus died after six hours of the most excruciating and terrifying torture ever invented. Jesus died so that ordinary people like you and me could go to Heaven. The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most profound narratives in history, symbolizing the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of humanity.  Jesus underwent six hours of intense and horrifying torture through crucifixion, which is considered one of the most brutal and painful methods of execution ever devised. This represents not just physical suffering but also immense spiritual and emotional anguish. The significance of Jesus' crucifixion extends beyond the physical pain endured. It is seen as a sacrifice made for the sins of humanity. This act of selfless love and suffering was necessary to bridge the gap between humanity and God, which was created by sin. By enduring the cross, Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world, offering redemption and the possibility of reconciliation with God. Jesus died so that ordinary people could attain salvation and the promise of eternal life in Heaven. The doctrine of atonement is that through Jesus' sacrifice, those that repent from their sins and believe are forgiven for their sins and can achieve salvation not through their own merits but through faith in Jesus Christ. This message of hope and grace is central to Christian teachings and has been a source of comfort and inspiration for billions of believers throughout history.

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90The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 14 – THE DEATH Tue Jan 09, 2024 12:05 pm



Panel 14 – THE DEATH

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Jesus' Death:

Matthew 27:45-56: Matthew describes darkness over the land, Jesus' cry of abandonment, his death, the tearing of the temple curtain, and the reaction of the centurion and others.
Mark 15:33-39: Mark’s account is similar to Matthew's, including the darkness, Jesus' loud cry, and the centurion's recognition of Jesus as the Son of God.
Luke 23:44-49: Luke adds Jesus’ words "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" before he dies.
John 19:28-37: John describes Jesus' statement "I am thirsty," the offering of sour wine, his declaration of "It is finished," and his subsequent death.

The Death on the Cross

The man of the Shroud died by crucifixion, that is, as a result of the asphyxiation that resulted from it. The position of a crucified person, with arms bound high and the body hanging from them, eventually makes it difficult to move the thoracic cage, initiating a process of asphyxiation. To breathe, the condemned need to lift their body, bending their arms and supporting themselves as much as possible on their legs, stretching them to the maximum so that the body rises. The Shroud indicates both the normal position and the raised position: the latter, resulting from the effort to breathe, the former indicating the fallen position, determined by exhaustion. Two blood flows, with an approximate divergence of 10 degrees, are immediately noticeable on the forearms, especially on the left arm, indicating the two positions of the body. But this upward and downward movement has a limit determined by muscular exhaustion and the pain of wounds opened by the nails. The continuous muscular effort causes cramps, tetanic contractions of the pectoral and intercostal muscles which, due to the accumulation of lactic acid, become rigid: the condemned increasingly struggles to breathe, especially to exhale, and even if they can raise themselves to relieve the pressure they feel in the chest muscles, they soon fall back into the low position and asphyxiation begins again. Added to this is that the body's position favors blood concentration in the legs and abdominal cavity, reducing the blood volume that reaches the lungs. The man of Turin retains the traits of this death by asphyxiation, mainly the chest expanded by not being able to release the air and the abdomen swollen due to the accumulation of blood . An important coincidence between the language of the Shroud and the gospel account is that the man of the Shroud did not have his legs broken. Saint John says: Since it was the day of Preparation (for Passover), so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for that Sabbath was a high day, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs... (19:31-34). It is known that those crucified could survive for many hours and even days, and that, to hasten their death, it was common to break their legs at the ankle: death then came quickly, not only due to hemorrhage but mainly because they could no longer support themselves on their feet to be able to raise themselves and breathe. But Jesus – like the man of Turin – is raised on the cross in a state of extreme weakness due to the violence of the flagellation he was subjected to. The mistreatment, the beatings and punches, and especially the flagellation – a savage flagellation – caused not only external hemorrhages but also internal ones, and probably the hemorrhagic fluid compressed the lungs and accelerated death by asphyxiation, as a result of pleural effusion. What is certain is that Jesus died earlier than most of the crucified and earlier than the other two who were executed with Him. Saint Mark recounts that, when Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, Pilate was surprised that he had died so quickly, to the point of calling the centurion to confirm the news (Mk 15:43-45).

Pathologists and physicians have analyzed the wounds visible on the Shroud, concluding that they are consistent with crucifixion. The marks on the wrists and feet, blood flow patterns, and serum around the wrist wounds suggest the man was in a vertical position, crucified. The expanded ribcage and enlarged pectoral muscles, bent left leg, and indications of whipping further support this theory. Physicians have theorized that death by crucifixion involves asphyxia or respiratory problems due to a lack of oxygen, possibly compounded by cardiac failure, shock, pain, and muscle spasms. The contraction of the pectoral muscles around the lungs in such a position makes breathing difficult, and the effort to exhale would be excruciating, particularly affecting the wrists, arms, and feet. This intense pain, along with excessive sweating, can lead to a loss of vital fluids and minerals, eventually causing shock and contributing to the victim's death. The Shroud shows a side wound, believed to be inflicted post-mortem. The pattern and color of the blood from this wound suggest that the man was still in a vertical position when he received it. The fluid from the wound, a mix of blood and a clear watery substance, is thought to have originated from the pleural spaces and possibly the pericardial sac around the heart, with the blood coming from a piercing wound to the right side of the heart. This wound, located between the fifth and sixth ribs, was likely caused by an upward thrust of a lance or similar instrument after death, a common practice in Roman crucifixions to ensure death.

The presence of rigor mortis in the man depicted on the Shroud of Turin offers further evidence of his death on the cross. Rigor mortis, a process causing muscle stiffening due to chemical changes after death, typically begins between four to six hours post-mortem and peaks over the next twelve hours. It then gradually subsides over twelve to twenty-four hours, allowing muscles to relax again. Factors like strenuous physical exertion before death, high body temperature, or warm weather can hasten the onset of rigor mortis. In the case of crucifixion, where the physical strain is extreme, rigor mortis can set in almost immediately after death, and if the body is then placed in a cooler environment, such as a tomb, the state of rigor mortis may persist longer. Observations of the man's body on the Shroud reveal several indicators of rigor mortis. The slightly raised left leg and both feet, especially the right one, are flat and pointed downwards. The awkward positioning of the lower extremities suggests that rigor mortis took effect while the man was still crucified. Additionally, the thighs, buttocks, and torso appear stiff and rigid, not flat or wide, which would be expected if the muscles had relaxed post rigor mortis. From the frontal image, the man's chin is drawn close to his chest, and his face is slightly turned to the right. For the head to maintain this position within the burial cloth, without further rotating, also points to the presence of rigor mortis. The expanded ribcage and enlarged pectoral muscles drawn towards the collarbone and arms indicate that the man had been struggling to breathe, a common experience during crucifixion. These parts of the body remaining in such positions further suggest that rigor mortis set in while the man was still suspended. This state would also preserve the position of the thumbs as they were during crucifixion. The rigor mortis evident on the Shroud indicates that it wrapped the body of a man who died on the cross and that the state of rigor mortis had set in and was preserved post-mortem, consistent with the known effects of crucifixion.

The comprehensive analysis of the wounds on the Shroud of Turin suggests a detailed account of the man's suffering, indicating he was a victim of crucifixion. Initially, he likely endured a beating around his head, resulting in swelling, bruises, and lacerations. The numerous scourge marks across his body point to a severe whipping. The wounds on his head, including those at the front, top, and back, suggest the placement of a sharp, thorn-like crown. These injuries could have been exacerbated by being struck on the head or by falls, possibly while carrying the crossbeam to the execution site or during the crucifixion itself. The shoulder abrasions may have been caused by carrying the crossbeam, and further scraping could have occurred during the crucifixion as the man struggled to breathe. The positioning of his legs and feet, particularly the raised left leg and the downward-pointing feet, suggests rigor mortis set in while he was still on the cross. This is further supported by the stiffness observed in his thighs, buttocks, and torso, which would have appeared flatter had rigor mortis subsided. From the frontal image, the close positioning of the chin to the chest and the slightly turned face indicate the head remained fixed in this position after death, likely due to rigor mortis. The expanded ribcage and the positioning of the enlarged pectoral muscles toward the collarbone and arms suggest a struggle for breath, characteristic of crucifixion. The unchanging position of these body parts further implies that rigor mortis occurred while the man was still suspended. The pathology evident on the Shroud implies that it wrapped the corpse of a man who died on the cross. The absence of decomposition stains on the cloth suggests the body was not enclosed for more than two or three days. Additionally, the blood stains on the Shroud are undisturbed and mirror the man's wounds, indicating that the blood marks were not solely a result of direct contact with the body. This suggests an alternative process was involved in the transfer of the blood to the cloth.

The Spearwound


One of the most moving proofs of the Shroud is the mark of a wound on the chest caused by a lance. The fourth evangelist, Saint John, who was an eyewitness, reports that after Jesus had died, a Roman soldier pierced his chest with a lance to ensure that he was already dead and there was no need to hasten his death: When they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water. And the Apostle solemnly adds: He that saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe (John 19:30-35). The Shroud shows a wound on the right flank, caused by a type of lance used by Roman soldiers in the first century of our era: without hooks that would widen the wound and without reinforcing ribs, such as those used in riots to wound quickly and mortally, in order to withdraw the weapon and immediately target another opponent. The blow was struck on the right side, exactly as Roman soldiers were trained to do to hit their opponents, who protected the left side, the side of the heart, with a shield. The wound is 4 cm wide – the maximum width of Roman lances – and reached the hemithorax between the 5th and 6th ribs, 13 cm from the sternum It is clear that the lance thrust was delivered after death, because the wound remained open, which would not have happened if it had been made on a living person. On the other hand, there are indications that the blood flowed out weakly, which suggests that the heart had already stopped. On the fabric, there is a double stain: one of blood and another, almost colorless, which became quite visible when ultraviolet rays were used in the observation. The two fluids ran abundantly until they formed a kind of circle around the kidneys. As we have seen, the fourth evangelist states that blood and water immediately came out of the wound. The blood came from the heart and perhaps from hematomas caused by internal hemorrhages referred to earlier. As for what Saint John calls water and which corresponds to the colorless stain observed on the cloth, it is most likely a mixture of blood serum – resulting from the hematomas – and pericardial fluid, located inside the pericardial sac that surrounds the heart. This fluid is more abundant the greater and more intense the suffering of the person; it is even a proof used in forensic medicine to determine if the victim was tortured before death.

Saint John's observation, of extraordinary precision, shows that Christ suffered greatly during his passion.
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Markings on the cloth could be consistent with a postmortem pericardial effusion. The hypothesis is that if the individual was crucified and then pierced in the chest, possibly with a spear or similar object, the effusion was released along with blood. The separation of clear fluid and red blood cells (serum and clot)  leads to distinct markings, which are evidence of a pericardial effusion that occurred after death on the cross. At the top of the wound on the side is the spear wound (4 cm. or 1½ inches) from which there flowed out blood and water; on the Shroud we see the blood clotted on contact with the air, surrounded by the serous fluid.

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During the 1980s, when the Shroud was under intense scrutiny, an archaeologist pointed out that a weapon capable of causing such a wound had been unearthed in Jerusalem. It was a Roman lance found near the ancient city walls. Iron artifacts from antiquity are rare finds, as rust often destroys them over centuries. This particular spear was four centimeters wide at its broadest point. The same size as the wound on the side on the Shroud. 

 The Gospel of John recounts what happened after a Roman soldier pierced Jesus with a spear: "Immediately blood and water flowed out." The evangelist states, as an eyewitness to Jesus' actual death, "He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth." This scripture is corroborated by 1980s research on the Shroud: The "water" was serous fluid (which looks like water). The spear thrust, after penetrating the lung, had opened the pericardium, where a fluid had accumulated during the terminal phase of severe shock and was now draining externally. Then the spear opened the right atrium, which is always filled with blood in a corpse (blood flows passively into the atrium from the large veins but is no longer pumped by the heart's contractions). Had the spear thrust come from the left, it would have entered the heart chambers, which are bloodless in a corpse, and so no blood would have come out, only "water." The Shroud's evidence matches the biblical account, and Dr. Barbet's experiments on cadavers confirm it: the spear thrust came from the right side. But which forger could have known this detail?

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Crucifixion is a form of execution that causes death through a combination of factors, including physical trauma, suffocation, and shock. In the specific context of crucifixion, pericardial effusion might be associated with the trauma endured during the event. The stress on the body, the positioning, and any injuries inflicted could contribute to fluid accumulation in the pericardial space. After death, this fluid remains in the pericardial cavity or potentially mix with blood if there was a cardiac rupture. 

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The four illustrations depict a sequence of events that are inferred from the analysis of the Shroud of Turin, as per the explanation by C. Malantrucco. These events relate to the heart and are thought to have occurred post-mortem.

1. Heart with a rupture or wound, likely representing the initial trauma or injury to the heart.
2. Heart with a brown shading at the lower part, which could indicate the accumulation of fluid within the pericardial sac, suggesting pericardial effusion or flooding.
3. Heart with a red and yellow device, which seems to be a representation of blood serum separation from the clot, a process that typically occurs post-mortem as blood begins to settle and separate into layers.
4. The final event where there is an outflow of blood and the drainage of serum, indicated by the arrows. This could be showing the moment when the fluid is being expelled from the heart and pericardium, possibly due to gravity or an external force.

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ALFONSO SÁNCHEZ HERMOSILLA 2020-06-25  Forensic medical study of the injury on the right side of the Man of the Sindone


"Regarding the archaeological object known as the Sudarium of Oviedo, in the lower left corner of its reverse side, there is a stain, known as the 'Corner Stain,' or 'Ricci Stain' (Rodríguez, 2000: 64-65), which has a morphology very similar to that formed by the effusion of blood and other bodily fluids spilled from the wound on the side of the Shroud image. If the hypothesis is correct that the instrument that caused it had pierced the body of the condemned, it is possible that it is also the cause of the previously mentioned stain on the Sudarium of Oviedo. The state of scientific knowledge at the time of writing this work supports the hypothesis that both archaeological pieces covered the corpse of the same person."

"It seems proven, in light of the results of this investigation, that the man of the Shroud received a penetrating wound in his right side when he was already a corpse and in a vertical position. This penetrating wound could have completely traversed his right hemithorax. This is another concordance between the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo, which, added to the high number of consistent data between both archaeological pieces, corroborates the hypothesis that both cloths covered the corpse of the same person beyond any reasonable doubt. There is also the possibility that the aggressor, after delivering the 'coup de grâce,' partially withdrew the blade of the weapon, without removing it entirely from the entry wound, changed the trajectory by moving the weapon a few centimeters, and causing a second or maybe more trajectories, repeating the operation. The aggressor was located in front of the victim. In the case that the person who inflicted the wound was right-handed, with a high level of probability, they would be positioned in front and to the right of the victim. If they were left-handed, most likely, they would be situated almost directly in front of the victim. We do not know the height at which the corpse was located in relation to the support plane. In the probable case that it was still on the cross, we cannot be sure of the height of the same. The aggressor, presumably, was a skilled person, capable of causing this type of injury, and who very likely had experience as a military person or as an executioner."

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91The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 14– THE BURIAL Tue Jan 09, 2024 7:37 pm



Panel 15–  THE BURIAL


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Matthew 27:57-61: Joseph of Arimathea requests Jesus’ body, which he wraps in a clean linen cloth and places in his own new tomb.
Mark 15:42-47: Similar to Matthew, Mark describes Joseph of Arimathea’s role in Jesus’ burial.
Luke 23:50-56: Luke’s account is consistent with Matthew and Mark, adding the detail of the women who followed Jesus observing the tomb and how his body was laid.
John 19:38-42: John includes the participation of Nicodemus, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus' body.

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92The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 16– THE RESURRECTION Thu Jan 11, 2024 1:07 pm




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Matthew 28:1-10: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary find the tomb empty, an angel announces Jesus' resurrection, and Jesus appears to them.
Mark 16:1-8: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome discover the empty tomb, and a young man (an angel) tells them of Jesus’ resurrection.
Luke 24:1-12: Women find the tomb empty, two men (angels) announce Jesus' resurrection, and Peter visits the tomb.
John 20:1-18: Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty, sees two angels, and then Jesus appears to her.
These passages from the Gospels provide the scriptural foundation for the events of the Passion of Christ. Each Gospel offers a slightly different perspective.

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Jesus was lying flat with the shroud covering the body. Jesus' body progressively dematerialized. During the resurrection, Jesus' body passed through the shroud, letting an imprint, and leaving it behind as a relic.

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The absence of traces of putrefaction testifies to the brief presence of the body of the Man of the Shroud in the tomb. The blood imprint was interrupted after about 36 hours: precisely the time described by the Gospel for the discovery of the empty tomb.

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John 20:3-8: So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.

The image captures the moment of discovery, with the empty cloth indicating the absence of Jesus' body and suggesting his resurrection. The empty tomb and the discarded shroud are seen as evidence of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, fulfilling his prophecies and confirming his divinity. It is a pivotal moment that ignites the faith of the disciples, leading to the foundation of the Christian Church. The image of the empty cloths specifically symbolizes that death has been overcome; the grave could not hold Jesus. This moment is foundational for the doctrine of resurrection, promising eternal life to believers. It's a message of hope and renewal, signifying that life triumphs over death through Christ. The depiction of this scene evokes the awe and wonder of the miraculous event, as well as the turning point from doubt to belief among Jesus' followers.

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Empowerment and Revelation: The Profound Theological Significance of Mary Magdalene's Encounter with the Risen Jesus

The passage John 20:1-18 describes a deeply moving and significant moment in the Christian narrative. Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus' most devoted followers, visits Jesus' tomb early in the morning and finds it empty. Distraught, she encounters Jesus but does not recognize him at first. When she does, she exclaims "Rabbouni!" (which means "Teacher" in Aramaic). This moment of recognition is profoundly emotional as it signifies her realization that Jesus has risen, affirming the core Christian belief in resurrection. The emotional intensity of Mary Magdalene's exclamation "Rabbouni!" stems from several factors: Mary Magdalene's relationship with Jesus was one of close discipleship and profound gratitude. She was dramatically healed by Jesus and followed him closely thereafter, making her recognition of him deeply personal and emotionally charged. The resurrection was a pivotal event. For Mary and other followers of Jesus, the crucifixion was a moment of despair and perceived defeat. Seeing Jesus alive again turned that despair into hope and joy, validating his teachings and promises. Mary wasn't expecting to see Jesus. Her initial inability to recognize him and her subsequent realization would have created a surge of surprise and joy, contributing to the emotional weight of the moment. Some theologians suggest that Jesus, having risen, was in a transformed, glorified state. His instruction to Mary might have been an indication that his resurrected form was different, not to be interacted with in the same way as before. Jesus might have been urging Mary to focus on the bigger picture – the message of the resurrection and the spreading of the Gospel – rather than clinging to him in her personal grief and joy.  In some interpretations, Jesus' remark is connected to his ascension to Heaven. He might have been indicating that he had not yet ascended to the Father, and thus, the time for physical interaction had passed, leading to a new phase in the relationship between Jesus and his followers.

Mary Magdalene's role as the first witness to the resurrected Jesus highlights the importance of testimony in Christian faith. Her encounter underscores the value of personal experience and witness in spreading the Gospel. Mary Magdalene's prominent role in this event emphasizes the significant place of women in the early Christian community. Despite societal norms of the time, this narrative places a woman at the center of one of Christianity's most pivotal moments, illustrating the inclusive nature of Jesus' ministry.

The role of women in the context of Jesus' ministry and the broader narratives of the Bible offers a compelling counterpoint to the prevailing societal norms of the time. In a period where women were often regarded as second-class citizens and their testimonies were given little credence, the inclusion and elevation of women in key biblical narratives is significant. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus consistently breaks societal norms by valuing and respecting women. He interacts with women publicly, teaches them alongside men, and includes them in his ministry. This was revolutionary in a context where women were often relegated to the background and excluded from religious and scholarly discussions. In several pivotal biblical events, women are central figures. The resurrection narrative, where women (specifically Mary Magdalene) are the first to witness the empty tomb and the risen Christ, is a prime example. This is a powerful statement, especially considering that women's testimonies were often disregarded in legal and societal contexts at the time. Jesus' interactions with women often served to empower them. Examples include his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26), where he breaks cultural taboos to engage with her and reveal his identity as the Messiah, and his defense of Mary of Bethany's choice to sit and listen to his teachings (Luke 10:39-42). Jesus’ parables often feature women in significant roles, highlighting their value and worth in the kingdom of God. The parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), for instance, uses the diligence of a woman searching for a lost coin to illustrate God’s diligence in seeking the lost. The New Testament indicates that women played crucial roles in the early Christian community. Figures like Phoebe, a deaconess (Romans 16:1), and Priscilla, a teacher of the faith (Acts 18:26), show that women were active participants and leaders in the early church. By valuing and including women, Jesus' actions and teachings challenge misogynistic tendencies. He elevates the status of women, affirms their dignity and worth, and sets a precedent for their equal treatment in the community of believers. Beyond the Gospels, women in the Bible often play crucial roles, challenging the status quo. Figures like Deborah, a judge and leader (Judges 4-5), and Esther, who saves her people (Book of Esther), highlight the strength and leadership of women in various contexts. The inclusion and elevation of women in the Bible carry deep theological implications. It suggests a vision of the kingdom of God where societal divisions and discriminations are overcome, pointing towards a more inclusive and equitable community.

The fact that Mary initially does not recognize Jesus suggests a theme regarding the nature of belief and recognition. It speaks to the idea that understanding and recognizing the divine can be a process, often requiring a shift in perspective or an enlightening moment. The resurrection itself is central to Christian theology, symbolizing not just the defeat of death but also the potential for spiritual transformation. This event offers hope and a promise of new life beyond physical death, which is a cornerstone of Christian belief. Jesus addressing Mary by name and her subsequent recognition of him underscores the personal nature of faith and the individual relationship that believers can have with the Lord. It suggests that faith is not just a collective experience but also deeply personal. Jesus' instruction to Mary not to hold onto him could be interpreted as a reminder of the transient nature of earthly existence and relationships. It points to the idea that while physical presence is temporary, spiritual connections and truths endure. Following her encounter, Mary Magdalene goes to the disciples to announce that she has seen the Lord. This act highlights the importance of proclamation in Christianity - the responsibility of believers to share their experiences and the message of Jesus Christ. The episode also touches upon the theme of believing without seeing. Although Mary sees Jesus, the broader narrative of the resurrection includes a call to believe in the risen Christ even without physical evidence, emphasizing faith as trust in what is not seen. The mysterious nature of Jesus' appearance and his initial non-recognition by Mary point to the theme of divine mystery and revelation. It suggests that understanding divine truths often involves moments of revelation that transcend ordinary understanding. Each of these theological lessons contributes to the depth and richness of the Christian narrative and offers insights into the nature of faith, the role of individuals in religious life, and the understanding of divine mysteries.

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The episode of the Incredulity of Thomas, where Thomas puts his finger in the side wound of Jesus, holds several theological lessons:

Thomas initially doubted Jesus' resurrection until he could see and touch Jesus' wounds. This episode teaches that faith often requires believing without physical evidence. Jesus' words, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” highlight the virtue of faith based on spiritual conviction rather than physical proof. Thomas' doubt is a very human response, showing that doubt and questioning are natural parts of faith. This episode reassures believers that experiencing doubt does not disqualify them from faith but is a part of the journey towards deeper understanding and belief. By inviting Thomas to touch his wounds, Jesus provides evidence of his physical resurrection. This counters any notion that the resurrection was only spiritual or metaphorical, emphasizing the Christian belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Jesus' response to Thomas is not one of anger or frustration but of patience and compassion. This demonstrates God's willingness to meet us at our point of need and doubt, offering assurance and evidence when necessary. Thomas' experience becomes a powerful testimony for others. His declaration, “My Lord and my God,” upon witnessing Jesus, is a profound confession of faith, suggesting that personal experiences of God can lead to deep and articulate expressions of faith. This incident also addresses the wider audience beyond the initial disciples. Just as Jesus addressed Thomas' doubts, He is available to future generations of believers, inviting them to come to belief, even if they have not physically seen Him. Finally, the episode shows the transformation that can occur through a personal encounter with the Lord. Thomas moves from skepticism to a strong declaration of faith, illustrating the transformative power of an encounter with Christ. This biblical episode offers rich insights into the nature of faith, the legitimacy of doubt, the reality of the resurrection, and the compassionate nature of Christ.

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The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven is a significant event. The Ascension marks the completion of Jesus' earthly work. His life, crucifixion, and resurrection were all part of his mission to offer salvation. The Ascension signifies that this mission was accomplished, confirming his divinity and the fulfillment of prophecies. The Ascension symbolizes Jesus' exaltation and enthronement as Lord. This event signifies that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, emphasizing his divine sovereignty and role as the ultimate mediator between God and humanity. Before ascending, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to guide and empower his disciples (Acts 1:8 ). The Ascension thus sets the stage for the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, indicating the continuous presence of God with believers through the Spirit. With Jesus' departure, the responsibility of spreading the Gospel was passed to his followers. The Ascension therefore initiates the church's mission in the world, encouraging believers to witness and share their faith. The Ascension also points to the future second coming of Christ. It offers Christians the hope that as Jesus ascended to heaven, he will one day return in a similar manner to bring final redemption and restoration. The Ascension signifies that Jesus is now at the right hand of God, interceding on behalf of humanity. This offers us believers reassurance that Christ is continually advocating for us, maintaining a spiritual connection between heaven and earth. In ascending to heaven, Jesus, in his resurrected body, takes human nature into the divine realm. This elevates the understanding of human destiny, showing that humanity is called to a transformed, glorified existence with God. The event signifies a shift from Jesus' physical presence to his spiritual presence through the Holy Spirit. This transition empowers believers to live faithfully and carry out Christ's work, emphasizing the role of faith and the spiritual connection with Jesus. The Ascension, therefore, is not just a miraculous event but is loaded with theological significance, offering lessons about the nature of Christ's mission, the role of the Church, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the future hope for believers.

Understanding the Apostles' Belief in the Resurrection in the Gospel of John

HE SAW AND BELIEVED! (John 20.1-10)

What is so important about the “grave clothes” in John’s Gospel that they become the focal point of the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection? Specifically, four verses (vv. 5-8 ) are focused on the “linen wrappings” (τὰ ὀθόνια) and the “face cloth” (σουδάριον). Due to the plural noun, “linen wrappings,” found here in the account of the Fourth Gospel, John Calvin rejected the idea that the Shroud of Turin might be the authentic burial “cloth” of Jesus. But the plural noun here should not cause a problem a)

Of note, it was something about the burial linens that gave birth to faith in the Resurrection for “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (the likely author of that Gospel)! Whereas Paul wrote that “faith comes by hearing,” for that disciple faith came by seeing: “He saw and believed” (v. 8 ). [Traditionally that disciple has been identified with being the apostle John. So, we will go with that understanding hereafter.]

There is a progression of intensity that builds regarding the funeral linens. This is evidenced in the original Greek by four different words the writer uses for “looking” and “seeing.” Emphasis should be placed on the verb “lying” (κείμενα), as it occurs three times in verses 5-7. In addition, how one interprets the perfect tense of the verb “rolled up” or “folded up” (ἐντετυλιγμένον) in verse 7 will be critical to one’s conclusion about the passage. Furthermore, the reader is teased by the lack of an object for the verb (εἶδεν) in verse 8: “He saw and believed!” What exactly did John see? All we are told is that it had to do with how the linens were “lying” and the “face cloth” folded up apart
from the other linens. Clues for what John is saying are found both before and after this passage. This story should be understood within the larger context of John’s Gospel, especially with regard to the stories that immediately follow in chapter twenty. First, we are intended to understand that, contrary to what Mary had concluded from her initial visit to the empty tomb, the corpse of Jesus had not been stolen! Second, John is telling us that no one had unwrapped the linens to set Jesus free! His glorious, resurrected body miraculously dematerialized and passed right through the burial garment, leaving it intact but without a corpse. It is interesting how this understanding of the passage is supported both by the Letter of Hebrews and by the one unconventional, scientific explanation for how the image was formed on the cloth! Finally, the Shroud—with its miraculous image of Jesus’ wounds of
crucifixion—is in the background to the subsequent story regarding “Doubting Thomas.” But one should not think that viewing the image will grant some special blessing beyond a stronger faith. Jesus informs us that
faith apart from seeing is blessed (20.29).

The passage from the Gospel of John (20:6-8 ) depicts a pivotal moment in the narrative of Jesus' resurrection. In this context, three different verbs are used to describe the faith of the apostles, providing a deeper understanding of how and why they believed.

See (Greek: θεωρέω - theōréō): It would be pronounced in English phonetically as "theh-o-REH-o." The accent is on the second to last syllable, which is common in Greek words.
When Peter enters the tomb, he sees the linens and the burial cloth. This verb implies careful and reflective observation. It's not just looking, but contemplating or examining attentively. The faith that arises from "seeing" in this context is a faith based on the observation of physical evidence. For Peter, seeing the linens and the burial cloth awakened the possibility of the resurrection, but he does not yet arrive at a full understanding of it.

See and Believe (Greek: ὁράω - horáō and πιστεύω - pisteúō): The Greek words "ὁράω" (horáō) and "πιστεύω" (pisteúō) would be pronounced in English as:

"ὁράω" (horáō): hoh-RAH-oh, with the accent on the second syllable.
"πιστεύω" (pisteúō): pis-TEV-oh, with the accent on the second syllable as well.

The other disciple, traditionally identified as John, also "sees" but additionally "believes." Here, "seeing" (horáō) has a slightly different nuance; it's perceiving with the eyes but also with understanding. The faith that arises here is more intuitive and spiritual. John's "seeing" is accompanied by an inner understanding that leads him to "believe" (pisteúō) in the resurrection. In this case, faith is not solely dependent on physical evidence but also on a spiritual and personal understanding.

In the Gospel of John, the evidence that led to the other disciple, traditionally identified as John, to "see and believe" was his observation of the empty tomb and the burial linens. When John and Peter ran to the tomb after Mary Magdalene's report of its emptiness, John reached the tomb first but did not enter. Instead, he stooped and looked in, seeing the linen wrappings lying there. Peter then arrived and went into the tomb, observing the linen wrappings and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linens but rolled up in a place by itself. After Peter's inspection, John also entered the tomb. The Gospel notes that he saw and believed. The significance of this moment is not just in seeing the empty tomb but in understanding what it signified. The arrangement of the linens and the absence of Jesus' body suggested not a grave robbery (as robbers would not have left the linens neatly arranged) but a resurrection. 

Linen Wrappings Left Behind: The linen wrappings that had been used to cover Jesus' body were still present in the tomb. In the context of a grave robbery, it would be unusual for robbers to take the time to unwrap the body and leave the linens behind. Typically, grave robbers would be in a hurry and would not bother with such details; their primary objective would be to take valuable items quickly, including potentially the linens themselves if they were of any worth.
The Neatness of the Linens: The Gospel mentions that the linen wrappings were lying there. This detail suggests an orderly, undisturbed scene rather than the disarray one might expect if someone had hastily unwrapped and removed the body.
The Separate Cloth: Most significantly, the Gospel notes that the cloth that had been placed over Jesus' head was not just left behind, but was folded up (or rolled up in some translations) and placed separately from the linen wrappings. This detail adds to the orderly and deliberate appearance of the scene. It implies that the body was not taken away in haste or with disregard.

The combination of these details—the presence of the linens, their orderly arrangement, and the separate placement of the head cloth—suggests a scenario that goes beyond human intervention, particularly a rushed or covert removal of the body. To the disciples, this scene likely indicated something extraordinary and aligned with Jesus' predictions of his resurrection. It was this realization, upon seeing and understanding the arrangement of the linens, that led to belief, particularly in the case of John, as he interpreted these signs in the context of Jesus' teachings. This understanding, combined with their knowledge of Jesus' teachings and prophecies about his resurrection, led to a belief that transcended mere physical observation. John's faith was prompted by what he saw, but it was also an intuitive recognition and spiritual understanding of the significance of the empty tomb and its implications for Jesus' resurrection.

Believe without Seeing: The concept of "believing without seeing" as emphasized by John in John 20:29.

John 20: 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

This phrase conveys the essence of faith that is not contingent upon empirical evidence or physical observation. The word for this kind of faith in Greek is "πίστις" (pistis), which translates to "faith" or "belief" in English, signifying trust, confidence, and conviction in something without the need for visible proof.

This is a faith that does not depend on physical or visual proof but on internal trust and conviction. It represents the faith of future believers who will not have the opportunity to see the physical proofs of Jesus' resurrection.

These different verbs and approaches to faith in the Gospel of John reflect a progression in understanding and accepting Jesus’ resurrection. It begins with a faith based on physical observation and moves towards a deeper, internal faith, ultimately culminating in a faith that transcends the need for physical proof. Each verb reflects a different stage in the journey toward the comprehension and acceptance of the resurrection as the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

a) because:  
(1) all three synoptic Gospels mention the single cloth (σινδών);
(2) the plural noun could simply be referring to other “funeral linens” that were involved in the burial process—such as a headband, a face cloth, and thin strips used to wrap the feet and upper body once the corpse had been placed inside the long, single cloth (σινδών); and
(3) Luke uses the same plural noun (τὰ ὀθόνια), “funeral linens,” in his account of the Resurrection (24.12) after earlier speaking of the singular burial cloth (σινδών) or shroud (23.53). One theory is that τὰ ὀθόνια refers to all the
funeral linens minus the Shroud. The majority view, though, is that this plural noun in Luke 23.53 is intended to include all the funeral or “linen wrappings” used in the burial process. Apparently, τὰ ὀθόνια refers collectively to several cloths of various sizes. John uses a different word, κειρία, in describing the grave clothes of Lazarus (11.44). Carson describes that earlier burial in this manner: “The corpse was customarily laid on a sheet of linen, wide enough to envelop the body completely and more than twice the length of the corpse. The body was so placed on the sheet that the feet were at one end, and then the sheet was drawn over the head and back down to the feet. The feet were bound at the ankles, and the arms were tied to the body with linen strips…. Jesus’ body was apparently prepared for burial in the same way (cf. 19.40; 20.5, 7).” D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John. Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991) 418-19

b)  Larry Stalley: Are There Veiled References to the Shroud of Turin In the New Testament? 2020 https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/anc-stalley-pap.pdf

What Prompted John to Believe?

In John 20:8 we read: “So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.” This immediately follows verses 20:5–7, so they are the cause that resulted in this effect. What exactly did John see that made him believe the Lord had been raised from the dead?

Research done by Rebecca Jackson, cited by Joseph Marino in “Is the Turin Shroud Compatible with a First Century Jerusalem Burial?—Some Jewish Perspectives,” documents that Jewish burial customs of the first century mandated that one who died a violent death had to have all bloodstained items buried with the body. This was due to the belief that a bodily resurrection required the whole body to be buried together, with all blood, bones, etc. included. This meant the face cloth would have been buried with the body, but not necessarily that it remained on the face while it was within the shroud.

Marino cites Jewish lawyer Victor Tunkel, who made the following points in an oral presentation titled “A Jewish View of the Shroud of Turin” to the British Society for the Turin Shroud on May 12, 1983:

it has a chance to be genuine because Jesus did not undergo a normal, natural death. He suffered a violent, blood-stained death, and the rules for burial in such cases are quite different. In a normal death, the body has to be washed and then dressed in conventional shrouds. That does not apply to the body that has died in violent circumstances.

In Jesus’ case, it was a case of capital punishment, but would include someone whose throat had been cut or was stabbed many times and left for dead, and so on. Because of the belief in the 1st century in the bodily resurrection, the Jews, or at least the Pharisees, took the view that the blood is as much part of the body as the limbs, the hair, and every other body part and must be buried so as to be available for that resurrection. So if one found a bloodstained body, absolutely drenched in blood, one can’t take the clothes off, wash the body, put it in shrouds because one would be taking away some of the body, which of course then wouldn’t be available for the resurrection. This was a key point in debates between Pharisees and Sadducees.

We can therefore be confident that those who prepared the Lord’s body planned to include the sudarion somewhere within His shroud during the final preparations. In my opinion, though, it strains one’s sense of propriety to imagine that, after being used to blot bodily fluids in the above manner, the cloth would afterward have been re-wrapped around His head. Included within the shroud, yes, but not laid again upon that beloved face.

We must realize that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had to undertake very incomplete, hasty preparations so as to get the body of the Lord into the tomb before the Sabbath began. They would have been fully aware that the women were going to finish the work once the Sabbath ended (Lk. 23:55, “Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid”), so they only needed to do a bare minimum of preparation that would have also eased the women’s later task. The men only needed to convey the Lord’s body to the tomb, place it on the shroud, put some 75 pounds of sweet-smelling myrrh and aloes around the body (Jn. 19:39–40), cover the body, and loosely bind the shroud closed with ties. That way, the women would have no difficulty uncovering the Lord’s body later to properly finish the task. They would not have needed to unwind fourteen feet of linen from around His body, scattering already-placed spices in the process, then re-wrapping Him once the task was completed.

Since the women had to finish the men’s hurried burial preparations, the sudarion would reasonably have been set aside in the tomb by Joseph and Nicodemus during their early preparation, because by that time it had done its job of absorbing the blood and pulmonary fluids and probably interfered with their putting myrrh and aloes around the Lord’s head. Because it was blood-stained it would need to be included within the shroud once the women had done their work, so it would not have been discarded, just set aside so as not to interfere with the women’s ministrations, to be afterward included within the shroud. But the Resurrection left the face-cloth still where the men had put it, “rolled up in a place by itself” (Jn. 20:7).

Another reason to suppose that the face-cloth was not inside the shroud after the men’s job was done has to do with the studies that have proven there is 3-D information within the Shroud image. The intensity of the face image, being dependent on the distance of the face from the inside of the sindon, indicates that there was no other cloth intervening between His face and the outer shroud. If there was, it would have distorted the image, and no such distortion is apparent.

The sight that greeted the eyes of Peter and John when they visited the tomb, therefore, was the face-cloth rolled up by itself, where it had been put during the men’s hasty preparation, and the main shroud, with its closing ties still fastened, in a collapsed heap. In my opinion, this sight prompted John to believe in the Resurrection (Jn. 20:8 ) because the ties were still fastened. The image burnt into the microfibrils of the surface of the shroud that was in contact with the body would not have been visible at that time, being on the underside of the fabric and unseen until the sindon was unfolded. So it was not an image on the Shroud that would have impressed John when he looked into the tomb.

Feuillet also offered some valuable insights on John 20:7 (page 19):

the linens in question must be the shroud, but perhaps also the ties of the hands and feet which, in the account of the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn 11:44) are called keiriai. It seems that John does not specify that only the linens are still there while the body of Jesus had disappeared. Since John does not use the verb menein, but the verb keisthai, I prefer to translate, not “lying on the ground”, which is an unnecessary addition to the text, but rather “spread out flat, sunk down”, a sense perfectly attested by keisthai. The verb entulissein used by Matthew (27:59) and by Luke (23:53) in connection with sindôn suggests a big sheet that completely enveloped the body of Christ. John wants to suggest that, with the body of Jesus having disappeared, the two parts of the shroud (upper and lower) have come together. A very spiritual conception of the corporal resurrection and the only acceptable conception.


The above study, differentiating between the various Greek terms used to describe the burial cloths used in both the typical burial accorded to Lazarus and the more involved preparations given for the Savior, allows us to say that Scripture itself supports viewing the Shroud of Turin as the genuine burial cloth of Christ. I think we can be confident that, when all of the data is in and all of the criticisms of the skeptics have been addressed, the Shroud of Turin will be shown to corroborate inerrant Scripture. 1

Contradictions in the Resurrection narratives?

What time did the women visit the tomb?

The Gospel of Matthew states that "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb" (Matthew 28:1, NIV). This account suggests that the women visited the tomb early in the morning after the Sabbath day had ended.

The Gospel of Mark also indicates that "When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body" (Mark 16:1, NIV). This account also implies that the women visited the tomb after the Sabbath had ended, and they had purchased spices to anoint Jesus' body.

On the other hand, the Gospel of Luke seems to suggest a different timing. It states that "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb" (Luke 24:1, NIV). This account appears to indicate that the women visited the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week, possibly before sunrise.

Lastly, the Gospel of John provides a slightly different perspective. It states that "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb" (John 20:1, NIV). This account suggests that Mary Magdalene visited the tomb while it was still dark, on the first day of the week.

The differences in timing among the Gospel accounts can be reconciled by considering the possibility that the women visited the tomb multiple times, at different times of the day, and that the Gospel writers may have focused on different aspects of the events. It's also worth noting that the Gospel writers may have used different cultural or linguistic conventions in describing time, and that the accounts were not meant to be precise chronological records, but rather testimonies of the resurrection event and its significance. Scholars and theologians have proposed various harmonizations and explanations for these differences, and ultimately, the focus of the Gospel accounts is not on the exact timing of the women's visit to the tomb, but on the central message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a cornerstone of Christian faith.

Was the tomb open, or closed?

According to the Gospel accounts, the state of the tomb of Jesus at the time of the women's visitation is described differently in different Gospels, and there appears to be some discrepancy or contradiction in this regard.

The Gospel of Matthew states that "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it" (Matthew 28:2, NIV). This account implies that the tomb was initially closed with a stone, which was rolled away by the angel, allowing the women to see inside.

The Gospel of Mark also mentions that "They [the women] saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away" (Mark 16:4, NIV). This account suggests that the tomb was open, with the stone rolled away, when the women arrived.

The Gospel of Luke does not specifically mention the state of the tomb being open or closed at the time of the women's visit, but it does mention that the women "found the stone rolled away from the tomb" (Luke 24:2, NIV), which implies that the tomb was open.

The Gospel of John provides a different perspective. It states that Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb and "saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance" (John 20:1, NIV). This account also suggests that the tomb was open, with the stone removed.

While there may be differences in the details provided by the Gospel writers, it's important to note that these accounts were written by different authors, with different perspectives, purposes, and audiences. It's also possible that the Gospel writers were focusing on different aspects of the events, and that the accounts were not meant to provide a precise, chronological description of the state of the tomb. Various harmonizations and explanations have been proposed by scholars and theologians to reconcile these differences. Nonetheless, the central message of the Gospel accounts is that Jesus' tomb was found empty, signifying the resurrection of Jesus, which is a key doctrine of Christian faith.

Who was in the tomb?

According to the Gospel accounts, when the women visited the tomb of Jesus, they did not find anyone inside the tomb. The Gospel of Matthew mentions that an angel of the Lord was present outside the tomb and spoke to the women (Matthew 28:5-7). The Gospel of Mark mentions that the women entered the tomb and found a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side (Mark 16:5). The Gospel of Luke mentions that two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside the women (Luke 24:4). The Gospel of John does not mention anyone being inside the tomb when Mary Magdalene visited (John 20:1-2).

The identities of the individuals described in the Gospel accounts as being present at the tomb vary among the Gospel writers, and there may be differences in their descriptions of the events. It's important to note that the Gospel accounts were written by different authors with different perspectives and purposes, and they may have chosen to emphasize different aspects of the events.

The angels were inside or outside of the tomb?

The Gospel accounts differ in their descriptions of where the angels were in relation to the tomb of Jesus.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the angel of the Lord is mentioned as being outside the tomb, sitting on the stone that had been rolled away from the entrance (Matthew 28:2-7).
In the Gospel of Mark, the young man dressed in a white robe is mentioned as being inside the tomb, sitting on the right side (Mark 16:5).
In the Gospel of Luke, two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning are mentioned as standing beside the women, but it does not specifically mention whether they were inside or outside the tomb (Luke 24:4).
The Gospel of John does not mention any angels being present at the tomb when Mary Magdalene visited (John 20:1-2).

It's important to note that the Gospel accounts were written by different authors with different perspectives and purposes, and they may have chosen to emphasize different aspects of the events.  The differences in the descriptions of the angels' location do not necessarily represent contradictions, but rather different perspectives of the Gospel writers.

Were the angels sitting, or standing?

The Gospel accounts do not specifically mention whether the angels were seated or standing.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the angel of the Lord is mentioned as sitting on the stone that had been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb (Matthew 28:2-7).
In the Gospel of Mark, the young man dressed in a white robe is mentioned as sitting on the right side inside the tomb (Mark 16:5).
In the Gospel of Luke, the two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning are mentioned as standing beside the women, but it does not specify whether they were inside or outside the tomb (Luke 24:4).
The Gospel of John does not mention any angels being present at the tomb when Mary Magdalene visited (John 20:1-2).

The Gospel accounts provide varying details about the angels, and they do not always provide complete descriptions of their physical posture.  The absence of specific details about the angels' posture does not necessarily imply contradictions, but rather differences in emphasis and perspective among the Gospel writers.

Did Maria Magdalene recognize Jesus?

According to the Gospel accounts, Mary Magdalene did not immediately recognize Jesus after his resurrection.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary near the tomb, and they recognized him and worshiped him (Matthew 28:9).
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, but she did not recognize him until he spoke to her (Mark 16:9-11).
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognize him until he broke bread with them (Luke 24:13-35). There is no mention of Jesus appearing specifically to Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Luke.

In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene initially did not recognize Jesus at the tomb but thought he was the gardener. It was only when Jesus called her by name, "Mary," that she recognized him (John 20:11-18).
So, according to the Gospel accounts, Mary Magdalene did not immediately recognize Jesus after his resurrection but rather had moments of confusion or lack of recognition until Jesus revealed himself to her in some way, such as speaking to her or calling her by name. The details may vary slightly among the Gospel accounts, but they all emphasize that Mary Magdalene eventually recognized Jesus after his resurrection.

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93The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 17 The Linen Sat Jan 13, 2024 2:09 pm



Panel 17 The Linen cloth of the Shroud

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Panel_99

Joseph of Arimathea: The Intersection of Wealth, Devotion, and Symbolism in the Burial of Jesus Christ

Joseph of Arimathea is an intriguing figure in the New Testament, primarily because of his role in the burial of Jesus Christ and the few but significant details provided about his background and status.
The four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – all mention Joseph of Arimathea, but each provides different details. His portrayal is that of a wealthy man, a member of the Sanhedrin, and a secret follower or disciple of Jesus. The Sanhedrin was the supreme religious body in Judaism, consisting of high priests, elders, and scribes. It held significant authority over Jewish civil and religious matters.
The description of Joseph as a "rich man" is particularly found in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 27:57). His wealth is significant for several reasons. First, it suggests a certain level of social and economic standing in Jewish society. Second, his wealth enabled him to have a private tomb, which is where Jesus was buried. This was unusual because crucifixion victims were typically not given honorable burials. His ownership of a tomb, likely a rock-hewn tomb, indicates substantial financial means. Joseph's membership in the Sanhedrin is crucial. The Sanhedrin, being the highest governing religious body, played a key role in the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion. Despite this, Joseph is portrayed as a secret follower of Jesus, indicating a complex interplay of religious belief, political circumstance, and personal conviction. This dual role highlights the internal conflicts some Jewish leaders may have felt between their traditional beliefs and the teachings of Jesus. Joseph's request to Pilate for Jesus' body and his subsequent role in the burial are significant. It was a bold step, given the Roman and Jewish sentiments at the time. By asking Pilate for Jesus' body, Joseph exposed himself to potential political and social backlash. His actions are seen as acts of courage and devotion, providing a dignified burial for Jesus, which was an essential Jewish custom. Joseph's actions fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9 about the Messiah being buried with the rich. His role in the burial of Jesus also emphasizes the theme of Jesus receiving honor and respect even in death from unexpected sources, underscoring the universal impact of Jesus’ message and life. Joseph's story provides insights into the cultural and religious dynamics of the time. It reflects the varied responses to Jesus' teachings and the complexities within the Jewish leadership. His ability to approach Pilate also indicates a level of political influence or respectability.

The term "fine linen" signifies a high-quality fabric, which aligns with Joseph of Arimathea's wealth. Linen was a common fabric in ancient times, used for a variety of purposes, including clothing and burial shrouds. The quality of linen varied, and "fine twisted linen" indicates a superior quality. Linen's significance is also found in its ritual purity according to Jewish customs, making it an appropriate material for a burial shroud.  The use of fine linen for Jesus' burial can be seen as symbolically significant. Fine linen, being pure and expensive, could symbolize the purity of Christ and the significance of his death. In a broader theological context, it underscores the honor and dignity accorded to Jesus in his burial, despite the ignominy of crucifixion.  If Joseph of Arimathea, as a wealthy man, provided this linen, it would reflect his devotion and respect for Jesus. This act is a significant gesture, demonstrating reverence and a form of discipleship. It also indicates that Joseph, despite his status in the Sanhedrin, was deeply impacted by Jesus' ministry.

The Shroud's "fine twisted linen" connects to an intriguing and symbolic aspect of the Jewish religious tradition. In the Hebrew Bible, particularly in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, there are detailed descriptions of the garments that the high priest wore, especially when entering the Holy of Holies, the most sacred space in the Tabernacle (and later the Temple).  According to Exodus 28, the high priest's garments were to be made of "gold, blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine twisted linen." These garments were intricate, symbolic, and considered extremely sacred. The fine linen signified purity and sanctity, suitable for someone who was to perform the most sacred rites in the presence of God. If Joseph of Arimathea chose a cloth made of fine twisted linen similar to that of the high priest’s garments for Jesus' burial, this could be rich in symbolism. It might suggest that Jesus, in his death, was fulfilling a priestly role, serving as a mediator between God and humanity. This aligns with the concept in Christian theology of Jesus as the "great high priest" (as described in the Book of Hebrews), who makes the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity. If Joseph intentionally chose a high priest's linen for Jesus' burial, it could reflect his understanding of Jesus' identity and mission. Joseph, being a member of the Sanhedrin and likely knowledgeable about Jewish religious customs, might have seen the significance of using such a material for someone he believed to be the Messiah.  The idea that Jesus was buried in a cloth akin to that worn by the high priest when entering the Holy of Holies could be seen as a fulfillment of Jesus’ role as the ultimate mediator between God and humanity. His death and subsequent resurrection are the ultimate sacrifice, surpassing the sacrifices made by the priests in the Temple. The use of a high priest's linen for burial also presents a stark contrast to Jesus' humble life. Throughout his ministry, Jesus eschewed grandeur and opulence. If his burial involved a fine linen cloth, it juxtaposes the humility of his life with the honor and significance of his death and burial. This perspective also provides insights into the early Christian understanding of Jesus' death within the context of Jewish tradition. It reflects how early followers of Jesus interpreted his life and death through the lens of their Jewish heritage and scriptures.

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The Theological Meaning of Fine Linen in the Bible

Fine linen in the Old Testament

Exodus 26:1, 31, 36; 27:9, 16, 18; 28:5-8, 15, 39-42; 35:6, 23, 25, 35; 36:8, 35, 37; 38:9, 16, 18, 23; 39:2-3, 5, 8, 24-29, 41: These verses in Exodus extensively detail the use of fine linen in the Tabernacle and the priestly garments. It was used for the curtains of the Tabernacle, the veil of the sanctuary, and the Ephod and breastplate of the High Priest, among other items, symbolizing holiness and purity.

Leviticus 6:10; 16:4, 23: In Leviticus, fine linen is mentioned in the context of priestly garments, especially during important rituals like the Day of Atonement. The High Priest wore linen garments, signifying purity and separation for sacred duties.

1 Chronicles 15:27; 2 Chronicles 2:14; 3:14; 5:12: These verses describe the use of fine linen in worship and temple services, including the attire of King David and the Levites when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, and in the construction and decoration of Solomon's Temple.

Esther 1:6: In Esther, fine linen is mentioned as part of the lavish decorations in King Ahasuerus's palace, illustrating wealth and royal grandeur.

Proverbs 31:22: The virtuous woman in Proverbs is described as making bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple, indicating a combination of practicality, skill, and dignity.

In the Old Testament, fine linen predominantly symbolizes holiness, purity, and separation for sacred purposes, especially in the context of the Tabernacle and priestly garments.  In royal and wealthy settings, like in Esther and Proverbs, fine linen signifies wealth, luxury, and honor. Fine linen's use in temple services, priestly garments, and religious ceremonies underscores its importance in Hebrew worship and ritual practices. These references to fine linen in the Old Testament highlight its significance not just as a material but as a symbol of various religious and cultural themes, deeply embedded in the ancient Israelite understanding of worship, purity, and social status.

Fine linen in the New Testament

Luke 16:19: "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day."
This verse is part of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, highlighting the rich man's opulence and comfort in life, contrasted with Lazarus's suffering.

Revelation 15:6: "Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests."
This imagery describes the angels as pure and majestic, symbolizing divine authority and righteousness.

Revelation 19:8: "Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Here, fine linen represents the righteous deeds of the saints, symbolizing purity and divine approval.

Revelation 19:14: "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean."
This verse describes the heavenly hosts, symbolizing their purity, righteousness, and readiness for spiritual warfare.

In all these verses, fine linen is a symbol of purity, righteousness, and divine approval. It's used to distinguish those who are aligned with God's will and those who are not.  Luke 16:19 uses fine linen to depict earthly wealth and luxury, in stark contrast to the spiritual representations in Revelation. This juxtaposition highlights the difference between earthly riches and spiritual wealth. Especially in Revelation, fine linen signifies divine authority (as seen with the angels) and approval (as with the bride of the Lamb and the heavenly armies). It's a visual representation of being in harmony with divine principles. The consistent use of fine linen across these verses underscores a broader biblical theme of spiritual purity and righteousness, contrasting earthly values with heavenly ideals. The imagery is powerful, conveying deep theological truths about God's kingdom and the nature of true righteousness.


This Greek word generally refers to linen cloths or wrappings. It is most notably used in the context of Jesus' burial.

John 19:40: "Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs."
Here, "othonia" refers to the linen strips used to wrap Jesus' body, following Jewish burial practices.

John 20:5-7: "He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen."
This passage describes the linen strips ("othonia") found in the empty tomb after Jesus' resurrection, highlighting their significance in the resurrection narrative.


This term refers to a linen sheet or shroud and is used in the accounts of Jesus' burial as well.

Mark 14:51-52: "A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind."
Here, "sindon" is used to describe the linen garment of a young man during Jesus' arrest.

Mark 15:46: "So Joseph bought some linen cloth (sindon), took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb."
This verse details the use of "sindon" for Jesus' burial, emphasizing the respect and care given to his body.

Both terms are crucial in understanding the burial customs of the time. "Othonia" refers to the strips of linen used for wrapping the body, while "sindon" refers to the larger linen sheet or shroud. The presence of "othonia" in the empty tomb is a key element in the resurrection narrative, symbolizing Jesus' victory over death and the fulfillment of prophecy. The reference to "sindon" in Mark 14:51-52 also adds a layer of meaning, indicating humility and vulnerability in the context of Jesus’ arrest. These terms enrich our understanding of the cultural and religious practices of the time, as well as providing deeper insight into the events surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection.

The connections between the various references to fine linen in both the Old and New Testaments, and the specific use of "othonia" and "sindon" in the context of Jesus' burial, present a rich tapestry of symbolic continuity and contrast throughout the biblical narrative.

Symbolic Continuity in Holiness and Purity

In the Old Testament, fine linen is predominantly associated with holiness, purity, and divine service, particularly in the priestly garments and Tabernacle furnishings. This sets a precedent for the New Testament, where fine linen continues to symbolize purity and righteousness, as seen in Revelation. The "othonia" (linen strips) and "sindon" (linen shroud) used in Jesus' burial align with this symbolism. These linen materials, used by Jewish burial customs, underscore the purity and sanctity of Jesus' body, paralleling the Old Testament's association of linen with sacred and holy purposes. In the New Testament, particularly in the parable of the rich man in Luke 16:19, fine linen represents wealth and luxury, contrasting with its spiritual symbolism in Revelation. This earthly use of fine linen is a stark contrast to the heavenly and spiritual symbolism in other contexts. The use of "othonia" and "sindon" in Jesus' burial, though humble in appearance, contrasts with the earthly opulence often associated with fine linen. It reflects a deeper spiritual richness and fulfillment of prophetic significance, diverging from the materialistic connotations of linen. Throughout the Old Testament, fine linen's role in worship and priestly functions points towards a future fulfillment of religious and spiritual significance. The "othonia" and "sindon" in Jesus' burial can be seen as a culmination of this symbolism. The burial of Christ, followed by his resurrection, marks a pivotal point, symbolizing the fulfillment of prophecy and the ultimate act of redemption. The Old Testament establishes the role of fine linen in religious practices under the Old Covenant. In the New Testament, particularly with the use of "othonia" and "sindon" in the burial of Jesus, there is a transition to the New Covenant. This change is symbolized by Jesus' death and resurrection, representing a new era in spiritual understanding and relationship with God. The biblical narrative uses fine linen, "othonia," and "sindon" to weave a complex symbol of holiness, purity, contrast between earthly and heavenly realms, fulfillment of prophecy, and the transition from the Old to the New Covenant. These themes are central to understanding the continuity and evolution of theological concepts across the Old and New Testaments.

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Various magnifications of the Shroud fabric: fine linen, hand-woven with a herringbone weave. Fine linen fabrics (byssus) were available in Jerusalem at the Temple. These valuable fabrics also came from India. One of these precious linens could have been used for Jesus' burial. Interesting is the identification on Shroud samples of significant traces of DNA typical of the Indian population (38.7%). European DNA is only 5.7%. Substantial traces of Middle Eastern DNA (55.6%) were also found.

The Linen cloth is an ancient textile

The cloth itself has been described (Raes 1976) as a three-to-one herringbone twill, a common weave in antiquity but generally used in silks of the first centuries A.D. rather than linen. The thread was hand-spun and hand-loomed; after ca. 1200, most European thread was spun on the wheel. Minute traces of cotton fibers were discovered, an indication that the Shroud was woven on a loom also used for weaving cotton. (The use of equipment for working both cotton and linen would have been permitted by the ancient Jewish ritual code whereas wool and linen would have been worked on different looms to avoid the prohibited "mixing of kinds.") The cotton was of the Asian Gossypum herbaceum, and some commentators have construed its presence as conclusive evidence of a Middle Eastern origin. While not common in Europe until much later, cotton was being woven in Spain as early as the 8th century and in Holland by the 12th. 2

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Other linen cloth examples exist, even older than the Shroud of Turin, hypothesized to be 2000 years old. In the image, a Mortuary linen, 2140–1976 bce. from Egypt. 1

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Legging discovered in permafrost, South Tyrol. Wool, 2:2 herringbone weave, ca. 800 – 500 B.C.E.

Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg has shown that the herringbone pattern existed not only during the first century of our era, but long before. She has published a study of woolen leggings (54.6 cm. x 15.7 cm,) found on the frozen remains of a man discovered in the permafrost of South Tyrol in 1994. They are made of coarse goat hair, and woven in a 2:2 herringbone pattern. The leggings have been dated to ca. 800 to 500 B.C.E

Rodney Hoare holds an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge, and in his book “The Turin Shroud is Genuine” he notes “The specific cotton found within the Shroud, Gossypium herbaceum, is found only in the Middle East. Even more important is the absence of any wool fibers, which certainly would have been present on any European loom. Therefore the Shroud is not of European origin.5


Stephen E. Jones (2015): The side strip is a strip of linen about 8 cms (3½ inches) wide along its left-hand side of the Shroud (looking at it with its frontal image in the lower half and the man upright), and joined by a single seam. The strip is incomplete at each end, with 14 cms (5½ inches) and 36 cms (14 inches) missing at the bottom and top left-hand corners respectively. The side strip is made from the same piece of cloth as the Shroud since unique irregularities in the weave of the main body of the Shroud extend across the side strip. The sidestrip is joined to the main body of the Shroud by a single seam which is 4-5 mm wide. The sewing thread of the seam is also linen. In preparing the Shroud for its 1998 exposition, ancient textiles conservator, Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg (1929-), removed the blue satin surround that had been sewed on by Princess Clotilde of Savoy (1843–1911) in 1868. Flury-Lemberg was the first person since the 16th century to see between the underside of the Shroud and its linen backing cloth sewed on in 1534 by Chambéry's Poor Clare nuns  after the 1532 fire. In 2000 Flury-Lemberg reported that she had discovered, "a very special, almost invisible stitching with which the edges were finished" which is visible only on the Shroud's under-side. In her forty years of working on historic textiles Flury-Lemberg had only once before found an "essentially identical" type of stitching: that found in first-century textiles at Masada, the Jewish fortress overrun by the Romans in AD 73 and never occupied again.4

Since a medieval forger would be most unlikely (to put it mildly) to even know about almost invisible first century Jewish stitching; and even if he did know about it, he would be even more unlikely to go to the trouble of adding it to his forgery (what use would almost invisible stitching be to a forger?); and even if he wanted to use it, he would be most unlikely to have the high degree of skill needed to do such stitching. 

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Invisible seam' found on cloth fragments at the first-century Jewish fortress of Masada, which is "identical to that found on the Shroud and nowhere else".

On one of the long sides of the Shroud, a particular seam was discovered identical to those existing on 1st century A.D. Jewish fabrics found at Masada, a hill near the Dead Sea (Israel).

"Dr Flury-Lemberg became the first person in modern times to be able to study the seam’s underside. And this proved quite a revelation. She found the seam to have some highly unusual technical characteristics that in four decades of working on historic textiles she had come across only once before, on first-century textiles found at Masada, the historic Dead Sea fortress where one hundred Jewish rebels who lived just one generation later than Jesus made a famous last stand against the Romans at the end of the Jewish Revolt, in AD 72–73. When the site was excavated by the famous Israeli commander Yigael Yadin back in the 1950s, substantial scraps of the defenders’ clothing came to light, the dry air of the surrounding Judaean desert having preserved them well. In 1994 Yadin’s successors at last published the technical report on these clothing scraps, and right there in that report is a technical drawing of what the excavators adjudged to be a very unusual seam – one which in Dr Flury-Lemberg’s opinion is essentially identical to the one visible on the Turin Shroud. Also found at Masada were examples of exactly the same two double thread selvedge as seen on the Shroud, a mode of construction which Gabriel Vial back in the 1980s had described as ‘tout a fait inhabituelle’ – most unusual."

The size of the Shroud

Stephen E. Jones (2015): In 1989, an expert in early Syriac, Ian Dickinson, of Canterbury, England, realized that the measurements of the Shroud were approximately 8 x 2 of the Assyrian standard cubit of between 21.4 and 21.6 inches, which was the common unit of lineal measurement in Jesus' day:

"Along these same lines has been a study of the shroud's dimensions as recently made by an expert in early Syriac, Ian Dickinson, from Canterbury, England. Curious at the shroud's, by British units of measurement, anomalous 14 foot 3 inch by 3 foot 7 inch overall size, Dickinson wondered if these dimensions might make more sense if converted to the cubit measure as prevailing in Jesus's time. Establishing that the first-century Jewish cubit was most likely to the Assyrian standard, reliably calculated at between 21.4 and 21.6 inches, Dickinson found that if he chose the lower of these measures there was an astonishing correlation, accurate to the nearest half-inch:

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Such conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits is yet another piece of knowledge difficult to imagine of any medieval forger. It also correlates perfectly with the `doubled in four' arrangement by which we hypothesized the shroud to have been once folded and mounted as the `holy face' of Edessa, for the exposed facial area of this latter would have been an exact 1 by 2 Jewish cubits".

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Above: Page 67 of "Inductive Metrology: Or, The Recovery of Ancient Measures from the Monuments," by William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1877).]

The Assyrian standard cubit was the international measure of commerce prevailing in Jesus's time, including among the Jews

"So there were cubits for Temple use and various other applications, but it is a particular cubit of the marketplace that is connected with the Shroud, the cubit that is known as the Assyrian cubit: the widely used, indeed, international standard of that time for merchants of the Near East, and had been so for centuries. This cubit of commerce was carried with the lingua communis, the language of trade and diplomacy that stretched from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, the tongue that had become the common language of the Jew. Aramaic: the same language which Jesus spoke. Aramaic had been the communication medium of the Assyrian Empire and Israel had been a subject of Assyria."

This is another major problem for the medieval (or earlier) forgery claim since a medieval artist/forger would be most unlikely to know the length of the standard cubit of Jesus' day, as this was only discovered by archaeologists in the 19th century!! 3

1. Alessia Melelli, Darshil Shah, Gemala Hapsari, Roberta Cortopassi, Sylvie Durand, et al.. Lessons on textile history and fibre durability from a 4,000-year-old Egyptian flax yarn. Nature Plants, 2021, 7,
pp.Early access. ff10.1038/s41477-021-00998-8ff. ffhal-03343240f
2. https://www.shroud.com/meacham2.htm

Last edited by Otangelo on Sat Jan 20, 2024 2:48 pm; edited 8 times in total


94The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 18 The Blood Tue Jan 16, 2024 10:06 am



Panel 18 The Blood


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According to the research of John H. Heller and Alan D. Adler, the stains thought to be blood on the Shroud of Turin are derived from genuine clotted wounds, having passed eleven different diagnostic tests that confirm their authenticity as blood. These tests have determined the presence of various blood constituents, such as proteins, albumen, hem products, and the bile pigment bilirubin, an area of expertise for Adler. Notably, Adler observed that in regions where blood is present alongside body image, the underlying cloth fibers do not show characteristics of the body image beneath the bloodstains. This suggests that the blood was applied to the cloth before the process that created the body image, a sequence that is inconsistent with typical artistic methods.

The presence of actual blood on the Shroud of Turin has been supported by extensive scientific analysis, particularly during the 1978 STURP testing. The findings from this research include:

1. **High Iron Content:** Detected in the bloodstained areas through X-ray fluorescence tests, indicating the presence of heme-bound iron, a component of blood.
2. **Spectral Fingerprint of Blood:** Blood's unique spectral characteristics were identified using reflection spectra analysis.
3. **Microspectrophotometric Evidence:** Transmission spectra provided indications of blood.
4. **Porphyrin Fluorescence:** Ultraviolet imaging revealed the fluorescence of porphyrin, a derivative of hemoglobin, confirming the presence of blood.
5. **Hemochromagen Tests:** These tests were positive, supporting the presence of blood.
6. **Cyanmethemoglobin Tests:** These tests also returned positive results, further corroborating the presence of blood.
7. **Bile Pigments Detection:** The presence of bile pigments, which are components of blood, was confirmed.
8. **Protein Demonstration:** Tests positively identified the presence of protein in the stains.
9. **Human Albumin Tests:** Immunological testing indicated the presence of human albumin, a type of protein found in blood.
10. **Protease Test Results:** These tests, which detect enzymes responsible for protein metabolism in living organisms, indicated that the protein had broken down into essential amino acids.
11. **Forensic Analysis:** The appearance of various wounds and marks was examined by STURP chemists, further substantiating the presence of blood.

In addition to the previously mentioned tests confirming the presence of real blood on the Shroud of Turin, further analysis has revealed the presence of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow-orange compound that typically arises in the body as a result of the breakdown of red blood cells. Its presence in the bloodstains on the Shroud suggests that the individual may have suffered from significant physical stress and trauma, consistent with the infliction of torture. The presence of bilirubin in the bloodstains, as detected and discussed in scientific papers, adds another layer to the understanding of the conditions and experiences of the individual whose image appears on the Shroud​

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The research conducted by Adler and Heller, leading authorities in blood analysis, provided conclusive evidence that the stains on the Shroud of Turin were indeed real blood. At a public meeting of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in New London, Connecticut in October 1981, Adler, who had published extensively on blood research, emphatically declared that the red substance on the Shroud was undoubtedly blood. Their findings were supported by several key observations and tests:

Clotted Blood: The bloodstains were identified as clotted blood, characterized by thickening at the edges. This is typical of blood drying and forming a scab, where the edges of the clot contract and exude serum.
Serum Halos: Under ultraviolet light, every bloodstain exhibited a yellowish fluorescence, indicative of a serum exudate ring or halo around a scab. This is a common feature of blood clot retraction and was crucial in confirming the authenticity of the bloodstains.
Serum Albumin: This protein, abundant in blood plasma and produced in the liver, was found in the serum halos of the Shroud. Tests for serum albumin were positive not only in the halos but also in areas adjacent to the bloodstains, such as near the lance wound.

The cumulative evidence from these tests, conducted between 1979 and 1981, led STURP in its 1981 final report to conclusively state that the blood on the Shroud was real. This conclusion was drawn from the combined expertise and rigorous scientific analysis of Adler, Heller, and their colleagues.

Information not observable to the naked eye showed a mass of injuries, wounds in the wrists and feet and innumerable bloodstains.
Included in these innumerable bloodstains, are at least a hundred tiny dumbbell-shaped scourge marks on the Shroudman's body and legs[26], which match wounds caused by a Roman flagrum with two lead balls on the end of each of its three thongs[27] [Right [see 08Oct16] & 15Jul13]], evidently designed to cause internal bleeding so a crucifixion victim didn't die too soon of blood loss[28]. Each of those scourge wounds has tiny blood clots which each have a serum retraction `halo', clearly visible in ultraviolet light [ [29]] but barely visible, and some are invisible, to the naked eye[30]. Therefore a medieval forger would not only require a modern knowledge of the physiology of clot retraction, but would have to produce images of serum rings that are clearly evident only under ultraviolet light (which was only discovered in 1801!)[31].

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Dr. Alan Adler, from the Western Connecticut Institute, analyzed the samples. This highly esteemed hematologist, who is Jewish and was not a member of the STURP team, made a definitive statement after determining the blood-like nature of the stains: "If this isn't blood, I'll eat my microscope." It was only after this assertion that he was informed about the origin of the samples. This anecdote highlights the unbiased approach and scientific rigor that Dr. Adler brought to the study of the Shroud of Turin. His expertise in hematology provided a valuable perspective in analyzing the nature of the stains on the Shroud. Dr. Adler's statement, made before knowing the samples' origin, underscores the confidence he had in his professional assessment. The fact that he was not part of the STURP team and was not initially aware that the samples came from the Shroud adds credibility to his findings, as it eliminates potential biases related to the Shroud's controversial and revered status. Dr. Adler's involvement in the analysis and his subsequent reaction upon learning the source of the samples illustrate the intrigue and complexity surrounding the Shroud. His findings, particularly about the stains being blood, contribute significantly to the body of research on the Shroud, offering insights that continue to fuel both scientific inquiry and public fascination with this enigmatic artifact.

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Chemical Examination. John Heller, from the New England Institute, and J. Janney, from the Los Alamos National Scientific Laboratory, conducted a chemical examination of the Shroud's fibers. Heller fully concurred with Adler's opinion. There was no doubt, it was blood. This chemical examination further substantiates the findings regarding the Shroud of Turin. The collaboration between John Heller and J. Janney, both from esteemed scientific backgrounds, adds a layer of credibility to the research. Heller's agreement with Dr. Alan Adler's assessment that the stains on the Shroud were indeed blood reinforces the conclusion drawn from independent analyses. Their work highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the scientific inquiry into the Shroud. By combining expertise from different scientific fields – hematology, chemistry, and material science – a more comprehensive understanding of the Shroud's characteristics emerges. The confirmation that the stains are blood adds to the intrigue of the Shroud, as it aligns with the historical accounts of Jesus' crucifixion and the wounds he would have sustained, according to Christian tradition. The involvement of reputable scientists like Heller and Janney in the examination of the Shroud underscores the artifact's significance in both the scientific and religious communities. Their findings contribute to the ongoing debate about the Shroud's authenticity and the historical context it represents.

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Multiple tests were conducted on the Shroud's bloodstains, revealing that the blood is very old and partially degraded. However, Heller and Adler conducted a comprehensive analysis using twelve different tests, all of which returned positive results. These tests included checks for albumin, biliary pigments, proteins, the hemochromogen test, and Heller's critical fluorescence test. Remarkably, they also confirmed the presence of red blood cells. Adding to the complexity of the findings, the presence of bilirubin and creatinine was detected, indicating the blood of a tortured individual. Dr. Baima Bollone, a professor of Legal Medicine at the University of Turin, conducted independent analyses of the Shroud's samples. His research corroborated the findings of Heller and Adler, further solidifying the evidence. The detection of bilirubin is particularly significant, as it is often associated with the body's response to severe physical stress and trauma, consistent with the kind of suffering described in accounts of the crucifixion. Similarly, the presence of creatinine in conjunction with bilirubin suggests a scenario of significant physical exertion and muscle injury. These scientific findings add a profound dimension to the study of the Shroud. The presence of compounds associated with physical trauma supports the narrative that the Shroud wrapped a body that had undergone severe suffering, aligning with the biblical description of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This biochemical evidence, along with the detection of red blood cells and other components, contributes to the ongoing debate about the Shroud's authenticity, suggesting it could be more than a mere medieval artifact and may indeed be a relic of historical and religious significance.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 G1jj1410
The blood on the Shroud of Turin has been identified as human and belonging to the AB blood group. This determination was made by Dr. Baima Bollone, who utilized the antigen fluorescence method in his analysis. This blood type is notably frequent among the Hebrew population and quite rare globally, with only about 3% of the world's population estimated to have it. The AB blood type's rarity in Europe but higher prevalence in the Middle Eastern region, particularly in areas like Palestine, adds an intriguing layer to the Shroud's analysis. This geographical correlation is significant because it aligns with the historical and biblical accounts that place the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the Palestine region. Dr. Bollone's use of the antigen fluorescence method, a sophisticated technique for blood typing, lends credibility to his findings. The identification of the AB blood type not only contributes to the physical and forensic understanding of the Shroud but also intersects with anthropological and historical data about population genetics in the ancient world. This discovery adds to the body of evidence suggesting that the Shroud could indeed be an authentic relic from the time of Christ, given the consistency of the blood type with the region's historical population. The rarity of the AB blood group in Europe further suggests that the Shroud is unlikely to be a medieval European creation, as such a blood type would have been exceptionally uncommon in that population during that period. The convergence of scientific, historical, and geographical data surrounding the Shroud continues to fuel both scholarly and public interest in its origins and significance.

The PLOS ONE Editors Retraction: Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud 2018 Jul 19
there are not sufficient controls to support conclusions referring to human blood or physical trauma. For example, period ink and animal blood controls were not included in diffraction and STEM analyses, as would be needed to rule out alternate interpretations regarding the material on the fiber, and the creatinine findings do not provide definitive evidence of trauma or violence. Thus, we consider that the main conclusions of the article are not sufficiently supported

Reply to Retraction of the paper “Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud” by all the authors of the paper 26 Jul 2018
Our experimental data are compatible with creatinine with inside ferrihydrate cores. The observed nano-particles are not compatible with pigments, inks and other chemical/biological compounds, as explicitly explained.  Creatinine can be found also in sweat, but we found “creatinine bounded to iron oxide ferritin cores”. This is a different compound with a negligible presence in healthy organisms whereas can be found consistently only in the blood serum under pathological conditions producing the rupture of the cells and the interaction in the blood stream between creatinine and the ferrihydrate clusters contained in the ferritin.  This compound is toxic for the organism and it is related to acute kidney disease. This is one of the reason why many injured in strong accidents could die for kidney disease. This is the finding that can be related to strong polytrauma and that cannot be explained by supposing contamination simply with the blood of someone who accidentally touched the Turin Shroud while he was bleeding. It could be animal blood. But, if it was the case, the animal would have suffered a strong polytrauma. This would call the intention of an artist to produce an artifact; but why should he use the blood serum after torture? Should we think that an artist in the Middle Ages could have used the blood serum of a tortured person or animal to produce the exact pattern that someone, using the equipment and the technologies of many centuries later, would have detected?

Claim: "The Microscope"(ISSN 0026-282X) is not a peer-reviewed journal and that somehow the detected artist's pigments (ochre and vermillion) don't actually exist. Wishful thinking doesn't work.
Reply: Giulio Fanti Blood reinforced by pigments in the reddish stains of the Turin Shroud May–June 2017

Samples from the Turin Shroud (TS) furnished by STERA Inc. have been analyzed and compared with both material coming from the TS and sticky tapes taken from a copy of the TS produced in 1656 and conserved at Palma di Montechiaro, Sicily, Italy. The attention has been focalized to the many reddish particles contained in these samples that appear to be of many types, shape and sizes. Some of them seem to correspond to the so called “sub-micron particles” recognized by W. McCrone in the form of red ochre (iron oxide) and vermillion (mercury sulfide); the others, as described by many researchers of the STuRP like A. Adler and J. Heller, seem typical of blood. After a detailed analysis of these particles by using various types of microscopes and by performing different spectral analyses like Raman and EDX, the results obtained are commented, reaching the conclusion that the analyzed reddish material, corresponding to some TS bloodstain area, contain human blood reinforced with pigments. It can therefore be supposed that the bloodstains, originally composed of blood, have been refreshed by some artist perhaps during the XVII century.

It is this observation, “coupled with the extreme superficiality of the coloring and the lack of pigments” that “makes it extremely unlikely that a shroud-like picture was obtained using a chemical contact method, both in a modern laboratory and even more so by a hypothetical medieval forger”. “There is no image beneath the blood stains. This means that the traces of blood deposited before the image was. Therefore, the image was formed after the corpse was laid down. Furthermore, all the blood stains have well-defined edges, no burrs, so it can be assumed that the corpse was not removed from the sheet. “There are no signs of putrefaction near the orifices, which usually occur around 40 hours after death. Consequently, the image is not the result of putrefaction gases and the corpse was not left in the sheet for more than two days”.

One of the assumptions related to the formation of the image was that regarding some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength), which could fit the requirements for reproducing the main features of the Shroud image, such as superficiality of color, color gradient, the image also in areas of the body not in contact with the cloth and the absence of pigment on the sheet. https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/modern-science-cant-duplicate-the-image-on-the-shroud-of-turin

Claim: "cross-reactivity precludes a definitive assignment of human or even primate blood being present on the Shroud; the blood is most correctly classified as species unknown." - this is what happens with tiny samples and HUGE confirmation biases. The albumin is a 'generic mammal'.

The Shroud of Turin’s ‘Blood’ Images: Blood, or Paint? 
Production of the body and ‘blood’ images involved an actual human body. The red color of much of the ‘blood,’ the high bilirubin levels detected therein, and the body image lend strong support to the view that the ‘blood’ came from a beaten individual.

Regarding the ‘blood,’ Heller and Adler (hereafter H&A) concluded that it was actual blood material on the basis of physics-based and chemistrybased testing, most tests of which will be discussed, specifically the following: detection of higher-than elsewhere levels of iron in ‘blood’ areas via X-ray fluorescence, indicative spectra obtained by microspectrophotometry, generation with chemicals and ultraviolet light of characteristic porphyrin fluorescence, positive tests for hemochromagen using hydrazine, positive tests for cyanmethemoglobin using a neutralized cyanide solution, positive tests for the bile pigment bilirubin, positive tests for protein, and use of proteolytic enzymes on ‘blood’ material, leaving no residues. The tests and data not discussed 3 are the reflection spectra indicative of bilirubin’s32 and blood’s presence,33 chemical detection of the specific protein albumin,34 the presence of serum halos around various ‘blood’ marks when viewed under ultraviolet light,35 the immunological determination that the ‘blood’ is of primate origin,36 and the forensic judgement that the various blood and wound marks appear extremely realistic.

Deacon Pedro Deacon-structing the Shroud of Turin: The facts September 13, 2021
Blood samples
Traces of human blood were found on the shroud. Tests have confirmed that this blood belonged to a human body at the time of death, as it was already coagulating on the skin. The blood is very dense, which is a common result of dehydration. Because of the amount of bilirubin found in the blood, it can also be concluded that the man had been beaten in the hours preceding his death.
Blood samples taken from the cloth were found to be type AB. These samples also helped determine the DNA of the man of the shroud. Experts explain that the blood samples are so old and degraded that very few DNA segments were found, eliminating any possibility of cloning anything from the blood found on the cloth. Other DNA experts argue, however, that so much contamination exists on the shroud that no DNA test, no matter how carefully done, could ever be considered definitive.

Kelly P. Kearse Blood on the Shroud of Turin: An Immunological Review 2012
In summary, the preponderance of current scientific evidence indicates that: (i) there is blood on the Shroud of Turin; (ii) the blood is of primate, i.e. human origin; and (iii) the blood type is most likely AB as determined by forward typing methods, specifically mixed agglutination and immunohistochemistry techniques. Results highlighted in green show the nucleotide sequence on the shroud is that of either a human or an orangutan. The orangutan sequence is the same as humans in this region but contains 5 nucleotide differences in other regions of the gene (not shown). That leaves us with only one option for the blood on the shroud. Human Blood! (K. Kearse 2012)

Scientific Evidence for the Virgin Birth of Jesus

Blood on the Shroud of Turin

The bloodstains, as forensic scientists and chemists now know, were created by real blood.

Immunological, fluorescence and spectrographic tests, as well as Rh and ABO typing of blood antigens, reveal that the stains are human blood.  Moreover, the stains were formed by real human bleeding from real wounds on a real human body that came into direct contact with the cloth.  Many of the stains have the distinctive forensic signature of clotting with red corpuscles about the edge of the clot and a clear yellowish halo of serum. The forensic experts have been able to identify that some of the blood flow was venous and some was arterial, indicating that most of the blood flowed while the man was alive and it remained on his body. There are also some stains from blood that clearly oozed from a dead body.

The bloody prints on the Shroud show the outline of various parts of the body, enabling pathologists to determine the position of the cloth over the body.  There is wide agreement that the stains are from a man laying on his back on top of the 14-foot fabric.  The fabric was draped up over the man’s head, covering his face and entire length of the body, down to his feet.  As a result, scientists have also been able to determine the placement, and to some degree, the nature of the man’s wounds.

The stains along once-outstretched arms show that blood emanated from the victim’s wrists and flowed downward along the forearm, past the elbow and onto the back of the upper arm. Near the man’s armpit, the patterns of the bloodstains show several rivulets and suggest blood pooled and likely dripped to the ground.  It seems likely that blood dripped all along the man’s arms like rain drips from a tree branch in a storm. From the angles of the flows and rivulets, forensic experts have determined that this blood flowed while the man was upright with his arms at angles like the hands of a clock at ten minutes before two. They can also see from changes in bloodstream angles, suggestions that the man must have pulled himself up repeatedly.

Bloodstains on the part of the cloth over the center of the body indicate a serious wound to the chest.  The patterns of these stains show that blood likely flowed from the chest area, down the side of the body and pooled near the lower back.  Much of this blood shows to be from a postmortem wound.  Also, mingled with the large bloodstains in these areas are stains from, what scientists have determined to be, a clear bodily fluid, perhaps pericardial fluid or fluid from the pleural sac or pleural cavity.   All of these findings suggest that the man received a postmortem stabbing wound in the vicinity of the heart.

The clots, the serum separations, the mingling of body fluids, the directionality of the flows, and all other medically expected attributes would have been nearly impossible to create by brushing, daubing or pouring human blood onto the cloth. The blood, rich in the bilirubin, a bile pigment that the body produces under extreme trauma, is unquestionably the blood of the man whose lifeless, crucified body was enshrouded in the cloth; even if only for the purpose of crafting a relic-forgery in medieval times.

Ray Rogers (see curriculum vitae summary below) responds to the question:   "How do you know that there is real blood on the Shroud?"

Alan Adler was an expert on porphyrins, the types of colored compounds seen in blood, chlorophyll, and many other natural products. He and Dr. John Heller, MD, studied the blood flecks on the STURP sampling tapes [Heller and Adler, Applied Optics 19, (16) 1980]. They converted the heme into its parent porphyrin, and they interpreted the spectra taken of blood spots by Gilbert and Gilbert. They concluded that the blood flecks are real blood. In addition to that, the x-ray-fluorescence spectra taken by STURP showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood. Microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud.

Several claims have been made that the blood has been found to be type AB, and claims have been made about DNA testing. We sent blood flecks to the laboratory devoted to the study of ancient blood at the State University of New York. None of these claims could be confirmed. The blood appears to be so old that the DNA is badly fragmented. Dr. Andrew Merriwether at SUNY has said that "… anyone can walk in off the street and amplify DNA from anything. The hard part is not to amplify what you don't want and only amplify what you want (endogenous DNA vs contamination)." It is doubtful that good DNA analyses can be obtained from the Shroud.

It is almost certain that the blood spots are blood, but no definitive statements can be made about its nature or provenience, i.e., whether it is male and from the Near East.


Blood on the Shroud 

Forensic doctor Baima Bollone was the only qualified expert who picked up in person and analyzed the blood from the threads of the ST. In the conclusion of the paper [35] he wrote “Sui fili di macchie di ‘sangue’ sono inoltre presenti più corposi apporti di materiale di contenuto minerale corrispondente a quello di macchie sperimentali ottenute con miscele di sangue, aloe, mirra e saponina. Le indagini di ematologia forense risultano dimostrative per la presenza di sangue”. Our translation: “On the threads of 'blood' stains a larger quantity of mineral-based material is also present, which corresponds to that of experimental stains made by mixtures of blood, aloe, myrrh and saponin. Forensic investigations of haematology are demonstrative for the presence of blood”

Other important tests were carried out by Heller and Adler on threads and fibrils much smaller than those of Bollone, which confirmed the presence of blood. The most recent critical review paper on blood-related issue can be found in [37]. In this paper Kearse comments on studies by Bollone, Heller and Adler that demonstrate bloodstained fibres of the Shroud contain (human) albumin and immunoglobulin and human antibody of the IgG class, consistent with the presence of real blood. Concerning blood type AB on the Shroud, it was demonstrated using a forward typing approach only (which measures red cell antigens). In fresh blood, confirmation by additional tests known as reverse typing (which measures antibodies in serum) is necessary. Unfortunately, reverse typing tests in aged blood are somewhat problematic. They rely on antibodies both being present and maintaining a functional, working conformation over time. In aged samples of type AB, it is difficult recognising if the antibodies were never there to begin with or were once present but degraded over time. In conclusion, according to [37] human blood on the TS needs to be conclusively demonstrated, to extend the current immunological evidence beyond primate.
The conclusion that the ‘blood’ is actual blood concurs with and meshes with the consensus of medical community members that have studied the image that 1) the body image is anatomically and medically realistic to an extraordinary degree, and 2) production of the body and ‘blood’ images involved an actual human body. The red color of much of the ‘blood,’ the high bilirubin levels detected therein, and the body image lend strong support to the view that the ‘blood’ came from a beaten individual. In light of the foregoing, forging the Shroud would have required the use of a body beaten and crucified precisely after the manner of Jesus’ crucifixion. Such a requirement makes more unlikely the possibility that an individual went to the trouble of forging the Shroud. In short, it is highly likely that the ‘blood’ on the Shroud of Turin is not paint and is blood. Though this conclusion does not mean the Shroud of Turin is authentic, it does mean that the Shroud is less likely to be a forgery. 

Is the Body Image Formed by Pigment Substances?

The Shroud of Turin FIRST CENTURY AFTER CHRIST! , Giulio Fanti, page 324
The analysis performed by the first author on dusts vacuumed from the Shroud identifies some pigments on the linen fabric, but these are relatively rare and therefore inadequate to explain any coloration producing the body image as a result. Parallel analyses on image fibers, again conducted by the first author, definitely confirm on the other hand the absence of pigment or of any other intake substance on the image fibers, in harmony with the results obtained by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in their 1978 direct examination of the body image.

The image is in fact the product of chemical reactions (oxidation, dehydration, and conjugation) of fibers on the image’s surface. Among the pigments present in the vacuumed dusts, the first author found particles of lapis lazuli (a blue-colored precious hard stone) mixed with iron oxide particles (which are red), leading them to suspect external contamination had occurred in the course of the centuries. It is a known fact that in the past centuries artists
avowedly made copies of the Shroud, touching the sacred Linen with their paintings, in order to confer to them qualities of the highest order, but physically contaminating the Shroud in the process.

The minimal evidence of pigments found among the vacuumed particles of the Shroud is not even sufficient for reproducing a hundredth part of the whole image. Probably these traces derive from later contaminations, when artists were allowed to physically touch the Shroud with their paintings in order to create another relic. In support to this hypothesis is the fact that in the vacuumed particles have been found red particles (iron oxide) and particles of other colors (e.g., blue lapis lazuli).

Let us think of a hypothetical artist who tries to reproduce these characteristics on a linen cloth using a simple painting technique: difficulties seem insuperable. First of all, the artist should dip the brush, not in the color, because there are not pigments on the threads, but in an acid capable of shading the linen chemically. However, the artist has to see what he or she is painting, so the acid (usually transparent) should be pre-emptively colored, though, at work completed, he or she should eliminate any evidence of pigment, because on the Shroud there is no colorant. Since colored fibers are side by side uncolored ones, the brush must have only one bristle with a diameter not superior to 0.01 mm (0.00039 in.). Inexplicably, the artist also has to be able to color the part of the straw in the inner side of the bundle without coloring the adjacent straws, since the color is uniformly distributed around the circumference.

Is it a painting ?
If this were true, it should be possible to identify the pigments used by chemical analysis, just as conservators can do for the paintings of Old Masters. But the Sturp team found no evidence of any pigments or dyes on the cloth in sufficient amounts to explain the image. Nor are there any signs of it being rendered in brush strokes. In fact the image on the linen is barely visible to the naked eye, and wasn't identified at all until 1898, when it became apparent in the negative image of a photograph taken by Secondo Pia, an amateur Italian photographer. The faint coloration of the flax fibres isn't caused by any darker substance being laid on top or infused into them - it's the very material of the fibres themselves that has darkened. And in contrast to most dyeing or painting methods, the colouring cannot be dissolved, bleached or altered by most standard chemical agents. The Sturp group asserted that the image is the real form of a "scourged, crucified man… not the product of an artist". There are genuine bloodstains on the cloth, and we even know the blood group (AB, if you're interested). There are traces of human DNA too, although it is badly degraded.

That didn't prevent the American independent chemical and microscopy consultant, Walter McCrone, who collaborated with the Sturp team, from asserting that the red stains attributed to blood were in fact very tiny particles of the red pigment iron oxide, or red ochre. Like just about every other aspect of the shroud, McCrone's evidence is disputed; few now credit it. Another idea is that the image is a kind of rubbing made from a bas-relief statue, or perhaps imprinted by singeing the fabric while it lay on top of such a bas-relief - but the physical and chemical features of the image don't support this.

According to Dr. Walter McCrone and his colleagues, the 3’ by 14’ foot cloth depicting Christ’s crucified body is an inspired painting produced by a Medieval artist just before its first appearance in recorded history in 1356.

Reply: Walter C. McCrone, Jr. (1916-2002). Pioneer light microscopist. Leading Shroud sceptic. Was original member of STURP but never personally examined the Shroud. Claimed that just by visual microscope examination of particles taken from the Shroud by STURP in 1978, that there was no blood on the Shroud and that the image was a painting. He made these claims in the public media, being a beneficiary of lucrative publicity. McCrone's claims were refuted in every particular by exhaustive, wide-ranging, chemical, physical, xray and visual tests by STURP scientists, one of whom, Dr. Alan Adler, was a world authority in blood chemistry. McCrone breached his signed agreement with STURP that no articles would be published until all the findings could be discussed by STURP members and then they would be published in peer-reviewed journals. Unlike STURP's, McCrone's scientific papers on the Shroud were not submitted to external peer review but were published in his own journal The Microscope and in the public media. McCrone declined to defend his claims at scientific conferences to which he was invited, and in peer- reviewed journals. His unscientific prejudice against the authenticity of the Shroud was evident in his 1981 claim that, "I believe the shroud is a fake, but I cannot prove it." However, even fellow anti-authenticity critics, the late Prof. Edward Hall , Dr Michael Tite, Joe Nickell, Steven Schafersman and Picknett and Prince, regard McCrone's claim that the Shroud is a painting to be wrong. McCrone's credibility was seriously dented when his 1974 claim that the Vinland Map was a fake, turned out to be wrong. McCrone took scientific criticisms of this claim as a personal attack and refused to admit he was wrong. Prof. Harry Gove thinks McCrone was motivated by a dream of being "history's greatest iconoclast," he lacked objectivity and his testing was unsophisticated. McCrone's claim of old maps and paintings brought to his laboratory for authentication, that "very seldom do we find them to be authentic," indicates his negative mindset. His shroud papers include: McCrone, W.C. & Skirius, C., 1980, "Light Microscopical Study of the Turin `Shroud,' I," Microscope, Vol. 28, pp.105-113; McCrone, W.C., 1980, "Light Microscopical Study of the Turin `Shroud,' II;' Microscope, Vol. 28, pp.115-128; and McCrone, W.C., 1981, "Light Microscopical Study of the Turin `Shroud,' III," Microscope, Vol. 29, pp.19-38. His shroud book: McCrone, W.C., "Judgment Day for the Turin Shroud," Microscope Publications: Chicago IL, 1997. About: McCrone Research Institute, The Shroud Report, Wikipedia. Obituaries: New York Times; Shroud.com.

Forensic and Biochemical Evidence of Blood on the Shroud Affirms the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin

"It is not possible to artificially reproduce, for example, the separation of blood in a liquid phase followed by a solid phase, as can happen when blood from a corpse flows out. The bloodstains that can be observed on the Shroud were indeed formed by direct contact with the wounded body of a man who had been scourged and crucified, in full accordance with what is seen in the image and what has penetrated at the opposite end of the liquid. The entire Shroud has been examined under fluorescence with X-rays (a quantitative analysis of the atomic elements present), and elements not related to the image, such as calcium, strontium, and iron, an indication of the process of linen degradation and iron oxidation, due to the blood's contact and subsequent migration to the cellulose fibers at the edges of the stains, were found. It is interesting to note that the red coating of the fibers is exclusively made of blood: in fact, it dissolves completely in water, showing that there is no trace of vermilion or any other pigment that could dissolve proteins without leaving any residue. Therefore, there are no added substances or retouching.

The first hematological studies conducted in the United States on samples taken from the Shroud of Turin have been once again carried out on a sample of blood taken from the Shroud by Adler, and compared against a standard control and a normal blood sample. The results were shown to a colleague at the New York City Medical Examiner's office, without telling him that it was from the Shroud. The colleague, in disbelief, exclaimed: "My God!" Subsequently, he was asked to clarify what he meant by that exclamation. He said, "It's the blood from a man who has been severely beaten and then crucified."
In short, all the tests conducted show that there is blood on the Shroud, and it is human blood."

The Shroud of Turin exhibits intricate details that align with what would be expected from an authentic burial cloth of a crucifixion victim. Among the most compelling features are the bloodstains, which provide profound insights into its potential authenticity. Forensic analysis indicates the presence of both venous and arterial blood on the Shroud, distinguishable by their respective characteristics. Venous blood, which is darker due to its lower oxygen content, seems to match the patterns one would expect from a body in a supine position, while the arterial bloodstains suggest a brighter hue consistent with blood that is oxygenated. This distinction between the two types of blood is particularly noteworthy because the concept of blood circulation and the differences between venous and arterial blood were not understood until the 17th century. The presence of these medically accurate depictions on the Shroud, therefore, challenges the notion that it could be a medieval creation. No artist or forger in the 14th century—the period when skeptics claim the Shroud might have been fabricated—would have had the anatomical knowledge to reproduce such details.

Moreover, the bloodstains follow the gravity flow corresponding to the positions of the wounds, as one would anticipate if the cloth had wrapped an actual body that had experienced crucifixion. The patterns of clotting and flow are consistent with what has been observed in modern forensic pathology when a body has been subjected to severe trauma. The detail extends to the image of the man on the Shroud itself, which is anatomically flawless down to the positioning and proportion of the wounds. This level of detail would be exceedingly difficult to achieve by an artist, especially considering the lack of scientific knowledge at the time the Shroud is speculated to have been created. It is also important to consider the chemical composition of the supposed bloodstains. Various studies have reported finding components such as hemoglobin and even traces of DNA, which further support the hypothesis that the Shroud interacted with a human body.

The anatomical precision, the forensically accurate positioning of bloodstains, the medically precise representation of blood types, and the chemical makeup of the stains collectively form a strong argument for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. These are not the traits of a medieval painting but rather the marks of a genuine burial cloth of a crucified individual. The Shroud of Turin bears the hallmarks of authenticity, not only through its portrayal of anatomically correct blood flow and the distinction between venous and arterial blood but also through its biochemical markers. Crucially, the stains identified as blood have been found to contain high levels of bilirubin, a compound that the human body typically produces in greater quantities when under extreme stress or suffering from severe trauma. Elevated bilirubin would be consistent with someone who had experienced significant physical torture, supporting the narrative that the image is that of a crucifixion victim.

Additionally, the presence of creatinine in the mix, a breakdown product of muscle metabolism, often found in higher levels in the human body following extreme physical exertion and muscle injury, correlates with the physical torment associated with crucifixion. These compounds, found together with hemoglobin in the blood on the Shroud, suggest the bloodstains are not only genuine but also that they originated from a person who endured significant physical suffering. The discovery of these particular compounds significantly challenges the assertion that the Shroud is a medieval forgery. The accurate depiction of blood flow and the presence of specific markers of injury and stress in the blood provide a compelling case that the cloth is indeed the burial shroud of a man who was crucified. Given the knowledge of the time, a forger from the medieval period would not have had the understanding necessary to include such biochemical details, nor would they have had the means to do so even if the knowledge was available. These details point towards a scenario where the Shroud came into contact with a body that had been through profound physical trauma, consistent with the kind of torture that was characteristic of Roman crucifixion. As such, the biochemical evidence on the Shroud, when combined with the anatomical and forensic data, presents a strong case for its authenticity.

Most bloodstains on the Shroud are exudates from clotted wounds transferred to the cloth by contact with a wounded human body.
The blood on the Shroud is real, human male blood of the type AB (typed by Dr. Baima Ballone in Turin and confirmed in the U.S.).  This blood type is rare (about 3% of the world population), with the frequency varying from one region to another.  Blood chemist Dr. Alan Adler (University of Western Connecticut) and the late Dr. John Heller (New England Institute of Medicine) found a high concentration of the pigment bilirubin, consistent with someone dying under great stress or trauma and making the color more red than normal ancient blood.  Drs. Victor and Nancy Tryon of the University of Texas Health Science Center found X & Y chromosomes representing male blood and "degraded DNA" (approximately 700 base pairs) "consistent with the supposition of ancient blood."

The wound on the wrist appears on the Shroud as a simple blood-stain. But if you pass an optical fibre between the cloth and the protective lining which was stitched to the Shroud in Chambéry in 1532, and photograph it from behind, the wound appears to be square. Due to dehydration, Jesus’ blood was very dense. Only in the place where the nail was removed was the blood sufficiently liquid to leave a trace, on the back of the cloth. There is a church in Rome, the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, where some objects of the Passion were donated by Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine. She had found them at Golgotha, where her son had conducted the first archaeological dig in history, thereby discovering Jesus’ tomb, over which the emperor Hadrian had built a huge pagan temple. Only centuries later was doubt first cast upon these relics which, up to then, had always been considered authentic. One of these relics was a nail said to have held Jesus to the cross.

I was overcome with emotion on discovering that the wound inflicted upon the ‘Man of the Shroud’ by the nail planted in his wrist, exactly one centimetre square, corresponds to the size of the nail found by Saint Helen. What is more, one of the other relics kept in the Church of the Holy Cross is a length of wood said to have been placed over the Cross with the name of the condemned man. On it, in Hebrew (written from right to left), Greek and Latin, is ‘Jesus the Nazarene’.


The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 G1ff1610

The Shroud of Turin displays bloodstains that are claimed to be consistent with a crucifixion, exhibiting characteristics that distinguish arterial from venous blood flows. Venous blood appears darker and is evident in some bloodstains, such as a large epsilon-shaped mark on the forehead, suggesting it flowed slowly from a large vein. This differentiation wasn't understood until centuries after the Shroud first emerged in historical records around 1355.

High levels of bilirubin were found in the Shroud's blood, indicative of trauma like that from flogging and crucifixion, which could account for the blood's red-to-orange hue. This challenges the critique that aged blood should appear black, instead supporting the notion that the blood belonged to someone who suffered a traumatic death.

Studies in the 1980s on blood particles from the Shroud confirmed the presence of human blood, identified the blood group as AB, and found human skin cells, particularly around the supposed nail wounds. These findings support the view that the bloodstains could have originated from a crucified man.

Additionally, bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo, believed to be the face cloth mentioned in the Gospel of John, contain a mix of blood and pulmonary fluid, aligning with the medical hypothesis that the man of the Shroud's lungs were filled with fluid during crucifixion.

The sequence of bloodstains and image formation on the Shroud suggests that the blood was deposited before the image, with bloodstains showing no underlying image. This has been presented as evidence against the possibility of medieval forgery, as it implies a detailed understanding of blood clotting and image formation not known at the time.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 G1155v11

Distinction between premortem and and postmortem blood

The analysis of the bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin reveals a distinct difference between blood flows that occurred before death (antemortem or premortem) and those that occurred after death (postmortem). This distinction is crucial in understanding the circumstances surrounding the death of the individual depicted on the Shroud. One significant observation is that the blood flows on the face of the man on the Shroud are all premortem. Computer mapping has demonstrated that these streams of blood flow downwards across the face, with none moving towards the back of the neck or head. This pattern suggests that the man died in an upright position, such as on a cross, and that the blood in his head drained internally while he remained upright. In contrast, postmortem blood flows are also present on the Shroud. Notable examples include the blood from the spear wound in the side, the pool of blood across the lower back resulting from that wound, and a trickle of blood from the right foot, likely after the removal of a nail. These postmortem blood flows are characterized by their direction influenced by gravity and the absence of force from a beating heart. This difference in the blood flow patterns helps to provide a clearer picture of the events and positions related to the death of the man depicted on the Shroud.

Blood and water

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Bloodw10

On the man's right side there is a large blood-The Shroud of Turin displays a stain that is interpreted as comprising blood from the heart and a watery fluid from the heart's pericardial sac and the pleural (lung) cavity. Near the top of this stain, there appears to be a wound, which aligns with the type of injury that would be inflicted by a Roman lancea, a weapon mentioned in John's Gospel as having pierced Jesus' side. This lance, if thrust upward between the fifth and sixth ribs, would likely have pierced the right atrium of the heart, which is known to fill with blood upon death. This corresponds with the biblical account in the Gospel of John, where it is noted that Jesus' side was pierced with a spear, leading to a flow of blood and water. This event is significant because Roman crucifixion squads typically broke the legs of victims to hasten death, making it difficult for them to push up to exhale. The mention of the flow of "blood and water" from Jesus' side by the Apostle John, and its later reference in one of his letters, suggests its rarity or uniqueness, especially as it was during a time when crucifixions were common. Christian apologists of the second and third centuries, an era marked by frequent public crucifixions, argued that this flow of blood and water was a miraculous event. This argument suggests that such an occurrence was not commonly observed in other crucifixions.




Panel 19: Pollen, Limestone, and micro traces


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The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Avinoam-Danin
Avinoam Danin (1939–2015), Professor of Botany at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a world authority on the flora of Israel

Botanist A. Danin of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem determined the origin of the Shroud based on a comprehensive analysis of pollen taken from the Shroud and plant images associated with the Shroud. Danin's analysis suggests that flowers and other plant materials were placed on the Shroud of Turin, leaving pollen grains and imprints of plants and flowers on the linen cloth. In addition to the image of a crucified man, the cloth also contains faint images of plants. Tentatively identifying the plant images through a method of image comparison known as Polarized Image Overlay Technique (PIOT), Alan and Mary Whanger have reported that the flowers were from the Near East region and that the Shroud originated in early centuries. Analysis of the floral images by Danin and an analysis of the pollen grains by Uri Baruch identify a combination of certain species that could be found only in the months of March and April in the region of Jerusalem during that time.

The analysis positively identifies a high density of pollen of the thistle Gundelia tournefortii which has bloomed in Israel between March and May for millennia. An image of the plant can be seen near the image of the man's shoulder. It has been hypothesized by the Whangers, who have researched the Shroud for decades, that this is the plant used for the "crown of thorns" on Jesus' head. Two pollen grains of this species were also found on the Sudarium of Oviedo, widely accepted as the burial face cloth of Jesus. The location of the Sudarium has been documented from the 1st Century and it has resided in the Cathedral of Oviedo in Spain since the 8th Century.  "There is no way that similar patterns of blood stains, probably of the identical blood type, with the same type of pollen grains, could not be synchronic - covering the same body," Danin stated. "The pollen association and the similarities in the blood stains in the two cloths provide clear evidence that the Shroud originated before the 8th Century."  Another plant seen in a clear image on the Shroud is of the Zygophyllum dumosum species, according to the paper. This is a native plant with an unusual leaf morphology, displaying paired leaflets on the ends of leaf petiole of the current year during the beginning of winter.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dddsad13

In 1973, swiss criminologist Max Frei was invited to verify the accuracy of the 1969 photographs of the Shroud. Examining the Shroud by a microscope, he detected some pollen grains. In 1978, Dr Frei removed additional samples from the Shroud. He successfully identified an additional 8 species

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_18
Pollens from 58 species of plants have been found on the Shroud. But only 17 of these, i.e., less than one-third, grow in France or Italy. 55 of the 58 grow in Jerusalem. If the fabric originated in Europe, we cannot explain the presence of so much non-European pollen on the Shroud.

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Minute traces of cotton fibers were discovered, an indication that the Shroud was woven on a loom also used for weaving cotton. The cotton was of the Asian Gossypum herbaceum, and some commentators have construed its presence as conclusive evidence of a Middle Eastern origin. While not common in Europe until much later, cotton was being woven in Spain as early as the 8th century and in Holland by the 12th.1

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_16
The whole set of sindonic entomogamous species, suggests the use of botanical products that were widely used in ancient funeral and burial rituals, whose purpose in embalming the body was to delay decomposition, as well as to make burials smell less unpleasant. These 2000-year-old techniques using ointments, oils and perfumed balsams were unusual in Europe, with some reported exceptions
during the Roman Empire.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_17
The pollen discovered in this relic could be from the compounds of early burial ointments, suggesting that its origins lie in the first century AD. It is not difficult for pollen to stay attached to fibers for a long time (Boi 2015), but the attachment can be even stronger when the pollen is combined with greasy botanical substances, such as those applied to the body after death, or those adhering to a burial cloth.

The burial cloth of the Shroud was treated with Helichrysum oil, probably to protect the textile fibers, as documented in the ancient texts. The precise identification of Helichrysum pollen discovered validates
the theory that the corpse kept in the Shroud received a funeral and burial with all the honour and respect that was customary in the Hebrew tradition. 2

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Jerusa17
In October 1978 the Shroud of Turin Project (STURP) took samples of surface material on the Shroud by pressing a specially formulated sticky-tape onto body image. Under his microscope they found traces of travertine (deposited from springs) aragonite variety of calcium carbonate rather than the more common calcite. Travertine aragonite limestone was typically found in limestone caves in Palestine.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Adsfas12
A fragment of wood taken from the area of the head and particles of aromatic resins were found. Myrrh and aloe are, "coincidentally," what the Gospels mention in the burial of Jesus of Nazareth. The presence of myrrh and aloe aligns with the biblical account of Jesus' burial, where these substances were used in the preparation of the body. 

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Traces of epithelial tissue and muscle tissue particles corresponding to the back area were found. There are no indications that the body had decomposed; however, as seen through analysis, male skin and flesh particles have been discovered. This finding is significant in the study of the Shroud of Turin. The presence of epithelial and muscle tissue, especially identified as male, adds a layer of physical evidence that supports the theory that the Shroud wrapped a human body. 

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Patibu19

The precise identification of Helichrysum pollen, which had formerly been wrongly recognized as Gundelia tournefortii, confirms and authenticates the theory that the corpse kept in the Shroud received a funeral and burial with all the honour and respect that would have been customary in the Hebrew tradition. The largest amount of Helichrysum pollen originates from the form used to produce its oil, utilizing exclusively fresh flowers.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 The_ho12
Some of the pollen species identified are quite significant. They are endemic to the East, grow in Israel, and bloom between March and April. Gundelia tournefortii and Zygophyllum dumosum are two indicators of the Shroud's origin. According to Danin and Baruch, pollens and the supposed images of these two plants appear on the Shroud. These are significant indicators, as these plants are found together only in the geographical area of the Holy Land, specifically around Jerusalem, and pollinate in spring.

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Dalle_19
White particles were found on the cloth of the Sudarium of Oviedo, and they were identified as particles of resin of aloe and myrrh. There are clusters of myrrh –more specifically storax -, and aloe. A mixture similar to that which, according to the gospels, was used profusely at the burial of Jesus. That is one of the lines of evidence corroborating that both clothes, the Shroud, and the Sudarium, were used in a burial ceremony.

1. https://www.shroud.com/meacham2.htm

Last edited by Otangelo on Sun Jan 21, 2024 7:05 pm; edited 1 time in total





How you can get Saved!

The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Panel100

If Christianity is true, then we are of infinite value. Even if we are poor sinners, Christ, the alpha and omega, the author of all life, the one that laid the foundations of the earth, which made Adam and Eve from the mud on the earth, became man. Became one of us. A tiny speck in the universe. He walked among us and showed us his sublime unequaled character. His wonderful, humble being, but brilliant and wise like no man has ever seen.  He sacrificed Himself, left his unfathomable glory in the presence of the father and holy spirit, to show us who he is. He gave His life so that we could live, and be part of His family. Never, a greater story has been told, and if its true, which is what I believe, those that belong to Christ, are the most fortunate, and eternity belongs to them. We have value, and we are beloved. There is a good reason, why the Gospel is called the good news.

For you were BOUGHT at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Corinthians 6:20
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He PURCHASED with His own blood.
Acts 20:28
"...just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a RANSOM for many."
Matthew 20:28
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a RANSOM for all, to be testified in due time,
1 Timothy 2:5-6
knowing that you were not REDEEMED with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
1 Peter 1:18-19
These are all terms used to describe a financial transaction.
When you complete a transaction at the store the cashier gives you a piece of paper that describes the details of the price paid
It's called a 'receipt'.

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. “ (Romans 5:9)
“In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7)
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20)
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)


97The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Panel 21 Sun Jan 21, 2024 12:17 pm



Panel 21 Jesus renderings

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98The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Text of panel 1 Thu Jan 25, 2024 8:11 am



Text in panel 1

Blood from nail wound in foot

Thongs are studded with twin balls of metal

Scourge marks from flagrum

Blood from Lance wound on right side

Blood flow from wrist wound

Hollandcloth attached as backing

Blood from lance wound running to the back

Blood from the lance of thorns

Cloth strip added to the Shroud

Blood from a nail in wrist

Blood from nail wound in foot

Deposition of the Cross, work by G.B. della Rovere, 17th century, Galleria Sabauda, Turin.


The Holy Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that bears the image of a man, indicating that he is Jesus Christ. The first confirmed reference to the shroud was in 1354, when it was displayed in a small church in Lirey, France. It was then transferred to the Saint Chapelle in Chambéry in 1453. In 1532, a fire damaged the shroud, leading to its repair and the addition of patches. The shroud was transferred to Turin in 1578, where it has remained ever since.

The Shroud (from the Greek Sindone, sheet) is a large linen cloth. Its dimensions are 442 x 113 cm. It has been kept in Turin since 1578 and is considered a relic of Jesus’ burial.


Matthew 27:59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud.
Mark 15:46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.


The water stains on the Shroud may be due to the fact that it might have been stored in an ancient earthenware jar. This type of jar, common in the first century, could explain the distinctive water stains observed on the Shroud. A puddle of water at the bottom, resulting water stains on cloth matched those on Shroud.

The burnmarks are distinct from those water stains. They primarily come from a fire that occurred in 1532 at Sainte-Chapelle in Chambéry, France where Shroud was stored at time.

The “L” shaped pattern of burn holes on Shroud presents an intriguing aspect its history distinct from more extensive damage caused by 1532 fire. They are bum holes perhaps hot poker incense embers predates 1532 fire.


Sangue de ferimento de prego no pé

As tangas são cravejadas com bolas dobradas de metal

Marcas de flagelo do flagrum

Sangue do ferimento de Lance no lado direito

Fluxo sanguíneo da ferida no pulso

Lençol "holanda" anexado como suporte

Sangue do ferimento de lança escorrendo para as costas

Sangue da coroa de espinhos

Tira de pano adicionada ao Sudário

Sangue de um prego no pulso

Sangue de ferimento de pregos no pé


Deposição da cruz, obra de G.B. della Rovere, século XVII, Galleria Sabauda, Turim.

O Santo Sudário de Turim é um pano de linho que traz a imagem de um homem, indicando ser Jesus Cristo. A primeira referência confirmada ao sudário foi em 1354, quando foi exibido em uma pequena igreja em Lirey, França. Depois, foi transferido para a Saint Chapelle em Chambéry em 1453. Em 1532, um incêndio danificou o sudário, levando ao seu reparo e adição de remendos. O sudário foi transferido para Turim em 1578, onde permanece desde então.

O Sudário (do grego Sindone, lençol) é um grande pano de linho. Suas dimensões são 442 x 113 cm. Está guardado em Turim desde 1578 e é considerado uma relíquia do sepultamento de Jesus.


Mateus 27:59 E José tomou o corpo e envolveu-o numa mortalha de linho limpo.
Marcos 15:46 E José comprou uma mortalha de linho e, descendo-o, envolveu-o na mortalha e o depositou num túmulo escavado na rocha. E rolou uma pedra para a entrada do sepulcro.


As manchas de água no Sudário podem ser devidas ao fato de ele ter sido armazenado em uma antiga jarra de barro. Este tipo de jarro, comum no primeiro século, poderia explicar as distintas manchas de água observadas no Sudário. Uma poça de água no fundo, resultando em manchas de água no tecido que combinavam com as do Sudário.

As marcas de queimadura são distintas daquelas manchas de água. Eles vêm principalmente de um incêndio que ocorreu em 1532 em Sainte-Chapelle em Chambéry, França, onde o Sudário foi armazenado na época.

O padrão em forma de “L” dos buracos queimados no Sudário apresenta um aspecto intrigante em sua história, distinto dos danos mais extensos causados pelo incêndio de 1532. Eles são buracos de vagabundo, talvez brasas de incenso de pôquer sejam anteriores ao fogo de 1532.


99The Shroud of Turin:  Christ's Evidence of the Resurrection - Page 4 Empty Text of panel 2 Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:26 am



Text of panel 2

Pre-1355 History of the Shroud


The tradition of a cloth with an image of Christ not made by human hands dates back to King Abgar of Edessa, a contemporary of Jesus. According to this tradition, Saint Jude Thaddeus brought King Abgar a cloth, known as the Mandylion, bearing the image of Christ. This is depicted in a 10th-century icon at St. Catherine’s in Sinai. It is speculated that this Mandylion could be the Shroud of Turin, folded to display only the face of Christ.

In 525 AD– During reconstruction works after a great flood, in a niche above one of the gates of Edessa, an image of Christ’s face ‘not made by human hand’ was found.

Upon its arrival in Constantinople on August 16, 944, the Shroud , folded to show only the face was then unfolded for display. This allowed artists to view and replicate the full body image if Jesus imprinted on it.


Protector (God Almighty) of Mount Sinai. (6 th century)

Ostia, end of 4th century Museo Ostiense in Ostia Antica

Christ as Teacher, Catacomb SS.Giovanni e Paolo Rome,(4 th. century)

Apsa mosaic in Santa Pudenziana, Rome,(early 5 th. centurty)

Delta Room (Room E) od 4 th. century

Catacomb Callisto, Crypte od Lucina, Madonna Rome,
(4/5th. century)

Church of SS.Cosmas and Damian,Rome,(530 A.D.)

Mosaic from Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna,(early 6th. century)

Fresco Bawit, St.Bawit Monastery Apa Apollo, Egypt,
(late 6/7th. century)

Portrait of Christ on a silver vase discovered at Homs, ancient Emesa, in Syria: The Louvre, Paris. (late 6th-early 7th. century AD)

Mosaic off the wall face chapel of San Zeno, Basilica di Santa Prassede, Rome,(9th. century)

Christ Pantocrator, Central Dome - Church of the
Dormition, Daphne, Greece,(1090-1100 A.D.)

(Djri Church), Cappadocia,
(11th. century)

Christ Pantocrator, Karanlik Church,
( Dark church) Kapadocia 11th. century

Christ Pantocrator, Palatine
Chapel, Sicily (1130 A.D.)

Christ Pantocrator
(11/12th century)

Mosaic from Domes Panel of the South
Gallery of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
(13th - 14th A.D.)

Christ Pantocrator, Saint Clement of Taull,
(12th century)


História do Sudário pré-1355

************************************************** ********

A tradição de um pano com uma imagem de Cristo não feito por mãos humanas remonta ao rei Abgar de Edessa, contemporâneo de Jesus. Segundo esta tradição, São Judas Tadeu trouxe ao Rei Abgar um pano, conhecido como Mandylion, com a imagem de Cristo. Isto está representado num ícone do século X em Santa Catarina, no Sinai. Especula-se que este Mandylion poderia ser o Sudário de Turim, dobrado para exibir apenas o rosto de Cristo.

Em 525 DC – Durante as obras de reconstrução após uma grande inundação, num nicho acima de uma das portas de Edessa, foi encontrada uma imagem do rosto de Cristo “não feita por mão humana”.

Ao chegar a Constantinopla em 16 de agosto de 944, o Sudário, dobrado para mostrar apenas o rosto, foi então desdobrado para exibição. Isso permitiu que os artistas visualizassem e replicassem a imagem de corpo inteiro se Jesus estivesse impressa nela.

************************************************** ******

Protetor (Deus Todo-Poderoso) do Monte Sinai. (século VI)

Cristo como Mestre, Catacumba SS.Giovanni e Paolo Roma, (século IV)

Mosaico Apsa em Santa Pudenziana, Roma, (início do século V)

Quarto Delta (Quarto E) do 4º. século

Catacumba Calisto, Cripta de Lucina, Madonna Roma,
(século 4/5)

Igreja de SS.Cosmas e Damião,Roma,(530 d.C.)

Mosaico da Basílica de Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, (início do século VI)

Fresco Bawit, Mosteiro de St.Bawit Apa Apollo, Egito,
(final do século 6/7)

Retrato de Cristo num vaso de prata descoberto em Homs, antiga Emesa, na Síria: Louvre, Paris. (final do século VI ao início do século VII dC)

Mosaico na parede da capela de San Zeno, Basílica de Santa Prassede, Roma, (século IX)

Cristo Pantocrator, Cúpula Central - Igreja do
Dormição, Daphne, Grécia, (1090-1100 d.C.)

(Igreja Djri), Capadócia,
(século XI)

Cristo Pantocrator, Igreja Karanlik,
(Igreja escura) Capadócia 11º. século

Cristo Pantocrator, Palatino
Capela, Sicília (1130 d.C.)

Cristo Pantocrator
(século 11/12)

Mosaico do Painel de Cúpulas do Sul
Galeria de Hagia Sophia, Istambul, Turquia
(13 a 14 d.C.)

Cristo Pantocrator, São Clemente de Taull,
(século XII)


Panel 3

6th. to 14th. Century History of the Shroud

About the year 589 the Visigoth Church of Spain began to recite in their version of the liturgy (the Mozarabic or Rite of Toledo) the following statement: ‘Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints (vestigia) of the dead and risen man on the linens

Pope Stephan III, 769 AD:

“A cloth on which the glorious image
of our Lord’s face and the length of his
body was so divinely transformed that
it was sufficient for those who could
not see the Lord’s body in the flesh to
see the transfiguration made on the cloth.

Byzantine bronze follis struck A.D. 969-976
Expressive eyebrows and long nose, formed to a T

Two distinct strands of hairs running in parallel on the left handside

Gold solidus minted 692-695 by
Byzantine emperor Justinian II,
featuring the face of Jesus with 250
"Vignon markings" similar to
those on the Shroud of Turin

The French scholar Paul Vignon
noticed these and other markings
recurring in Byzantine portraits
of Christ, seemingly from features
visible on the Shroud.

In 1204, the Crusaders overran and devastated Constantinople. During a three-day spree, the invaders perpetrated acts of murder, rape, and sacrilege against the city's sacred sites. Countless artifacts, icons, and relics were either pilfered or ruined for their intrinsic worth, including the revered Shroud.


33 - 200 A.D. Jerusalem.
200 - 943 A.D. - Edessa: The Shroud, probably the "Image of Edessa," (now Şanlıurfa, Turkey) also known as the Mandylion, was brought to Edessa by the Apostle Thaddeus. 944 - 1204 A.D. Constantiniple: In 944 AD, the Image of Edessa was brought to Constantinople ( today Istambul). Emperor Romanos I secured the relic as part of a military and political agreement. The sack of Constantinople by Crusader forces in 1204, led to the looting of countless relics and treasures. The Shroud disappeared during this chaotic time.
1355 A.D. Lirey: The Shroud resurfaced in the small village of Lirey, France, in the possession of Geoffrey de Charny. How it traveled from Constantinople to Lirey is unknown. Some theories suggest that it might have been taken by a Crusader or traded through the complex network of medieval relic trading.

In Spring 943, Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos dispatched General John Curcuas to Edessa to acquire the famed Edessa cloth from its emir. The offer included a vow of Edessa's enduring exemption from Byzantine assault, a payment of 12,000 silver coins, and the freedom of 200 Muslim captives. In the Summer of 944, Edessa's emir accepts Curcuas' terms.

Image on the left: The 12th-century "Madrid Skylitzes" manuscript contains a miniature known as "The Surrender of the Holy Mandylion," potentially derived from earlier Byzantine artworks. It depicts the transfer of the Image of Edessa with figures in turbans signifying Muslims on the left, and Christian-cross adorned buildings on the right symbolizing Constantinople. The artwork displays the face-only Image of Edessa against the backdrop of a full-length shroud, indicating that by the 12th century, the Mandylion was recognized as part of the full-length Shroud.

A painting found in Templecombe (Somerset, England), once property of the Templars. Many clues lead to believe that this knightly order, condemned in 1307 as heretical for the secret worship of a Holy Face, hid the Shroud, which disappeared from Constantinople in 1204.

The Lirey medallion, which bears the image of the Shroud and the coat of arms of the de Charny family, from the mid 14th. century, is considered one of the earliest artistic representations of the Shroud of Turin.


Crux Vaticana” (568–569) The front of the Cross (lower left) contains a Relic of the Christ’s Cross while the back is interesting because shows two medallions with busts of Christ similar to the Shroud (upper and lower right in the figure)

An Exceptional Anglo-Saxon
Silver Sceatt  Circa 715-720.
Mint in East Anglia or Mercia. 
Facing the head of Christ with a
curled mustache and forked beard.

AV Solidus, Byzantine Empire.
Constantine VII. Constantinople
A.D .945-959. Example of the
swelling on Christ's right
cheekbone as seen on the Shroud.

The Pray Codex of Budapest, dated 1192-1195, presents this scene of the anointing of Christ that is comparable with the Shroud. Grave clothing scene from the Hungarian Pray Manuscript from the time between 1192 and 1195. The depiction of Christ is similar to the burial shrouds. Noteworthy are the hands without thumbs (four fingers) and the blood on the forehead. One of the places with so-called "burn holes", a burn stain, which must have originated from the fire before 1532. Similar holes are found in the Pray Manuscript and on the sarcophagus lid.

The overlay demonstrates notable visual parallels between the solidus coin and the Shroud of Turin, suggesting the possibility that the coin's depiction of a face was likely based on the image found on the Shroud.

Last edited by Otangelo on Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:52 am; edited 2 times in total




Panel 4

The Discovery of Secondo Pia of the Shroud as a Photonegative

In 1898, a lawyer, Secondo Pia, took the first photograph of the Shroud. The exciting discovery of this negative revealed with incredible precision the characteristics of the Man in the Shroud; Thus, studies and research began, especially medical-legal ones.

Panel 5

3D Information encoded in the Shroud

In 1976, the VP-8 Image Analyzer revealed a very important characteristic of the Shroud image. The image on the Shroud of Turin yields a very accurate dimensional relief of a human form. The image density on the cloth is directly proportionate to the distance it was from the body it covered. The closer the cloth was to the body (tip of nose, cheekbone, etc.), the darker the image, and further away (eye sockets, neck, etc.), fainter images were formed. This spatial data encoded into this image actually eliminates photography and painting as possible mechanisms for its creation. The image was formed while cloth was draped over an actual human body.

Physicists John P. Jackson and Eric J. Jumper analyzed the Shroud of Turin in 1976, revealing its unique 3D data. Using a VP8 image analyzer, they linked grayscale variations to cloth-body distances, creating an undistorted 3D model of the body. This process fails with regular photos, indicating the Shroud covered a real human form, with image intensity varying by distance.

I’ve been involved in the invention of many complicated visual processes and I can tell you that no one could have faked that image.
Leo Vala, photographer 1967 was involved in the creation of three-dimensional photographs of the Shroud of Turin

Last edited by Otangelo on Mon Feb 12, 2024 6:46 am; edited 2 times in total


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