This is part 26, "3.7. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried (2)" of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." My previous post was part 25, "3.7. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried (1)." For more information about this series, see part 1, "Contents".
3. THE BIBLE AND THE SHROUD
3.7 THE MAN ON THE SHROUD AND JESUS WERE BURIED (2)
© Stephen E. Jones
Introduction The man on the Shroud had been wrapped in his burial shroud soon after he was lowered from his cross and his body was not washed or anointed with oil. It was the same with Jesus, since the Jewish Passover was about to begin, during which no manual labour could be performed, so there was no time to wash or anoint His body.
[Above (click to enlarge): Back of the man on the Shroud showing major bloodstains outlined in red. If the Shroud man's body had been washed then those bloodstains, especially the ones in the hair, small of the back and feet would not be there.]
beard (in the case of a male) completely shaved off, the body would have been sprinkled with spices and dressed in its clothes. Instead the man on the Shroud's body was not washed, his hair and beard were not shaved, and he was completely naked.
The body of the man on the Shroud bears the marks of a great many bruises and wounds, and of blood shed both before and after death, as well as lighter blood serum spreading out from the darker blood stains. So it is evident that his body was not washed or this blood would have been obliterated or at least blurred. In particular,
[Above (click to enlarge): Face of the man on the Shroud showing major bloodstains outlined in red. Again, if the Shroud man's head and face had been washed (and they would presumably have been the first parts to be washed) those bloodstains, would not be there.]
the face and neck are covered with rivulets of blood, showing that the face and head not been washed or the hair combed. He even has dirt adhering to his feet, which as we shall see in the next part 27, provides further evidence that the man on the Shroud is Jesus. Wilson is therefore correct:
"Only on the view that Jesus was not washed can the authenticity of the Turin Shroud be upheld".It is therefore a reasonable inference that for some reason, such as the need for haste, the man on the Shroud's body was given only a provisional burial, which did not include the washing and anointing prescribed by the Jewish law of that time. In fact, that it was a provisional and hurried burial is evidence that the death and burial of the Man of the Shroud was just before sunset on the Friday of an oncoming Sabbath, since that is the only circumstance in Jewish law that a burial could be provisional and then be completed after a Sabbath rest.
As we saw in part 25, Jesus was left hanging on the cross for at least two hours after his death soon after 3pm. His body was taken from the cross on Friday evening (Mt 27:57; Mk 15:42) and laid in a new rock tomb (Mt 27:60; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53; Jn 19:41). By then the Sabbath was beginning (Lk 23:54 lit. "dawning" Gk epephosken, "lighting up time," when the lamps were lit and/or the first stars became visible). In addition it was the "Day of Preparation" (Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54; Jn 19:14,31,42; Mt 27:62), the eve of the Passover Sabbath, a day of special solemnity (Jn 19:14). The Mishnah, a written codification of the Jewish oral traditions, allowed for the anointing and washing of a body on the Sabbath but only if the body was not moved. So it would have been lawful to wash Jesus' body on a Sabbath but not to wrap it in a shroud and lay the body in a tomb. Therefore if the whole burial process could not have been completed by the beginning of the Sabbath, that would have been sufficient reason to wrap Jesus' body in a shroud and lay it in the tomb but leave His body unwashed. And considering the condition that Jesus' body would have been in, with bloody open wounds, covered in dried sweat and grime, hair matted and dirty feet, there was only time for a hasty, provisional burial before darkness set in and further work became illegal. So the women returned to Jerusalem and prepared spices and ointments before the Sabbath began (Lk 23:55-56), then then just before the Sabbath began the burial party returned to Jerusalem, and they all rested on the Sabbath according to the Law(Lk 23:56). It was these prepared spices and ointments to complete the burial of Jesus' body which was the reason the women returned to the tomb at daybreak on Sunday morning (Mk 15:47-16:1; Lk 23:55-24:1).
Furthermore, while washing the body, cutting the hair and trimming the fingernails was normal Jewish burial practice, Jewish Law prohibited this for persons executed by the state, and who had died a violent, bloody death. Since both these exceptions applied to Jesus, the washing of his body would have been prohibited on those two counts. Moreover, if blood had flowed from a wound and was absorbed in a dead Jew's clothes, Jewish law stipulated that his body should not be cleaned so as not to remove or disturb the blood but a sheet called a sovev should be placed over his bloodstained garments.
It is significant that none of the gospels mention anything about washing the body of Jesus, yet Acts 9:36-37, written by the author of the Gospel of Luke (Lk 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2), records that the Jewish disciple Tabitha's body had been washed prior to her burial. It is also significant that the Gospels contain accounts of Jesus' body being anointed before His death in anticipation of His burial (Mt 26:6-12; Mk 14:3-8; Lk 7:40-50; Jn 12:1-8). A likely explanation of the large quantity (about 33 kgs or 72 lbs) of myrrh and aloes, collectively called "spices" [Gk. aromatoon = aromatics] that Jesus' body, wrapped in its linen burial clothes, was "with" [Gk. meta = "amid"] (Jn 19:39-40), is that they were dry blocks of aromatics mixed with sand and packed around the body as antiputrefacients. And the only reason the burial party would do that is because they could not wash Jesus' body.
Objections Dr Frank Zugibe - `the body was washed' The late Dr Frank Zugibe, former Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York, asserted against all the previous evidence that, "The man of the shroud was washed after death" and that
[Left: Dr. Frank Zugibe: The Journal News]
"[a]cceptance of the hypothesis that the victim was not washed would therefore place the authenticity of the Turin Shroud in serious doubt". Zugibe claimed that "The body [of Jesus] unquestionably would have been covered with blood" and that "[i]nstead of the very exact imprints of the wounds, the Shroud would bear large indistinct masses of blood over the entire image, including the face, arms, hands, feet, and trunk". But as we saw in my series, "Why I prefer Barbet's hypotheses over Zugibe's," Dr. Zugibe erred in assuming that he could determine what a first-century Roman crucifixion must have been like (note his dogmatic "unquestionably would").
And as for Jesus' scourge wounds bleeding copiously as Zugibe asserted they must have, and not largely dried after about 10 hours, the original idea that the dumbbell-shaped lead weights on the Roman flagrum which were used to scourge the man on the Shroud (see my "The man on the Shroud was scourged") were designed to produce "contusions, or hematomas; that is, wellings of blood into the flesh tissues without necessarily breaking the skin (my emphasis)" may after all be correct. Indeed, Zugibe at the beginning of his argument conceded this: "The dumbbell-shaped markings on the Shroud may not (i.e. not "are not") be evidence of bruises or welts ... but rather impressions of small breaks in the skin...". This would help prevent excessive blood loss so that crucifixion victims did not die prematurely, a point that Dr Zugibe himself made in the context of scourging.
Also Dr. Zugibe does not consider that another reason why the Shroud shows very little blood from the scourging, is that after Jesus (who Zugibe agrees is the man on the Shroud) was scourged, the Roman soldiers "put a scarlet robe on him" and "when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him" (Mt 27:26-31; Mk 15:15-20. My emphasis). And so what blood there was from the scourging would have been absorbed by the two different changes of Jesus' garments after He was scourged. So this objection by Dr. Zugibe can be set aside as failing to consider the evidence which indicates that there would not have been "large indistinct masses of blood" over Jesus' body by the time of His enshroudment, and it is contrary to all the other evidence that Jesus' body was not washed.
John 19:40 - `as is the burial custom of the Jews' Many Christian scholars have assumed that "as is the burial custom of the Jews" (Jn 19:40) must mean that Jesus' body was washed. Likewise Christian tradition maintains that Jesus' body was washed. In Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, there is a "Stone of Unction" (or "Stone of the Anointing") which is said to be where Jesus' body was washed and anointed prior to burial. But the tradition only dates
from the Crusader Era (~11th century) and the actual stone from 1810. And again nowhere does any gospel state that Jesus' body was washed, and moreover they contain compelling evidence that His body was not washed. In the context John is probably contrasting the Jewish custom of enfolding their bodies in a linen sheet amid aromatic spices, with the Roman and Egyptian customs of cremating and embalming their dead, respectively.
Josh McDowell - `the body would have been washed' Evangelical Christian apologist Josh McDowell, in the 1980 edition of his "Answers to Tough Questions," [right] objected:
"The idea of there not being time to wash the body clean with water because of the approaching sabbath is equally weak because the Scripture says they still had time to anoint the body with over a hundred pounds of spices."But it is McDowell's objection which is weak! Firstly, such a large quantity of spices would not have been needed if the body was to be washed (see above on the spices being an antiputrefacient, to prevent decomposition). Secondly, as also briefly mentioned above, the text of Jn 19:40 says:
"They took the body of Jesus and enfolded [Gk edesan] it in linen cloths [othoniois] amid [meta] the aromatics [aroomatoon]" (my translation).The key is the Greek word meta, which is often translated "with," but "[i]ts primary meaning is mid, amid, in the midst" (my emphasis). That is, the spices were around the outside of the linen burial clothes, including the Shroud, not between Jesus' body and the Shroud. Thirdly, as we saw above, it was against first-century Jewish law to wash the bodies of Jews who had been executed and who had otherwise died a violent, bloody death. Even though Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, as disciples of Jesus, did not believe that Jesus was a criminal (Mt 27:57; Mk 15:43; Lk 23:41; Jn 19:38) and therefore they may have thought that the law against washing the bodies of executed persons did not apply to Him, the prohibition against removing or disturbing blood on the body of a Jew who had died a violent or bloody death would still apply to Jesus. Fourthly, it does not follow that because the burial party had time to pack spices around Jesus' body, they would have had the time to wash His body and shave his hair and beard, as the former would take a lot less time than the latter.
McDowell had other objections to the Shroud's authenticity, but this was the main one, and space does not permit answering all of them, but they have been indirectly answered in other parts of this post. There is nothing about the Shroud in the 1988 British edition of McDowell's same book, so it may be that McDowell has quietly withdrawn his objections to the Shroud's authenticity?
`The Mishnah may not have been binding in the time of Jesus' It has been questioned whether the regulations of the Mishnah, which were edited in the second century, were binding in the time of Jesus, and if they were, whether they were always observed. But if the burial rites of Jesus could have been continued unhindered during the Sabbath, which was also the Passover (Jn 19:14) that year, then Luke's mentioning that the Sabbath was imminent and that the burial party and the women rested on it (Lk 23:53-24:1) would be meaningless.
Problems for the forgery theory While the unwashed body of Jesus on the Shroud is fully compatible with the Biblical texts and ancient Jewish evidence, it is not what a medieval forger would have thought of[69, §37]. A forger would have depicted a washed body, based on the widespread Christian tradition that Jesus' body was washed and also on Tabitha's body having been washed prior to burial in Acts 9:37[71, §38].
Conclusion Jesus' body was given an individual burial in a new linen shroud, but since the Sabbath and Passover were approaching, the burial was incomplete and his body was not washed (Mt 27:59-62; 28:1; Mk 15:42,46-16:3; Lk 23:52-24:2; Jn 19:12,41-20:1). The man in the Shroud was also given an individual burial, in a fine linen shroud, and his body was not washed. That both the man on the Shroud and Jesus were given an incomplete burial is just another of the many remarkable correspondences between the details observed on the Shroud and the description of Jesus' burial narrated in the gospels. So again, the evidence is overwhelmingly that the Man on the Shroud is Jesus!:
"... it can be none other than the body of Christ that caused these imprints. There are the marks of the wounds which, taken altogether, are universally recognized as the exclusive emblems of Christ. There was also the same extraordinary manner of burial, without washing or other preparation of the body. And there are approximately the same limits of time within which these imprints were produced-not less than twenty-four hours and not more than a few days, otherwise the corruption of the body would have destroyed the cloth.".
1. Moretto, G., 1999, "The Shroud: A Guide," Neame, A., transl., Paulist Press: Mahwah NJ, p.58. [return]
2. Ibid. [return]
3. "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Horizontal: Major Bloodstains" (rotated right 90°). [return]
4. Ricci, G., 1981, "The Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, p.10. [return]
5. Ricci, G., 1977, "Historical, Medical and Physical Study of the Holy Shroud," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, p.72. [return]
6. Hynek, R.W., 1951, "The True Likeness," Sheed & Ward: London, p.30. [return]
7. Ibid. [return]
8. "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical: Major Bloodstains." [return]
9. Hynek, 1951, p.30. [return]
10. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.54. [return]
11. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.56. [return]
12. Hynek, 1951, p.30. [return]
13. Ricci, 1977, p.72. [return]
14. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, p.46. [return]
15. Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.78. [return]
16. Robinson, J.A.T., 1977, "The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, 1977, p.24. [return]
17. Ibid. [return]
18. Ibid. [return]
19. Antonacci, M., 2000, "The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.117. [return]
20. Wilson, 1979, p.56. [return]
21. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.51. [return]
22. Ibid. [return]
23. Ibid. [return]
24. Bulst, 1957, p.80. [return]
25. Wuenschel, 1954, p.47. [return]
26. Robinson, 1977, p.24. [return]
27. Bulst, 1957, p.56. [return]
28. Ibid. [return]
29. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, p.47. [return]
30. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.52. [return]
31. Ibid. [return]
32. Wilson, 1998, p.542. [return]
33. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.45-46. [return]
34. Bulst, 1957, p.81. [return]
35. Antonacci, 2000, p.117. [return]
36. Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL p.35. [return]
37. Bulst, 1957, p.97. [return]
38. Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, p.23. [return]
39. Wilson, 1979, p.57. [return]
40. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.52. [return]
41. Zugibe, F.T., 1988, "The Cross and the Shroud: A Medical Enquiry into the Crucifixion," Paragon House: New York NY, Revised edition, p.133. [return]
42. Zugibe, 1988, p.133. [return]
43. Zugibe, F.T., 2005, "The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry," M. Evans & Co.: New York NY, p.219. [return]
44. Zugibe, 2005, p.219. [return]
45. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.180. [return]
46. Jesus was crucified at the "third hour" (Mk 15:25), i.e. 9am, and he was scourged and then mocked before that, which must have ended about 8am. Jesus' death was after the "ninth hour" (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34), i.e. 3pm, which is about 7 hours after His scourging, and He was buried just before sunset (Lk 23:54) making about 10 hours between His scourging and His enfolding in the Shroud.
47. Wilson, 1986, p.20. [return]
48. Zugibe, 2005, p.24. [return]
49. Zugibe, 2005, p.19. [return]
50. Wuenschel, 1954, p.41. [return]
51. Ibid. [return]
52. Wilson, 1979, p.55. [return]
53. Ibid. [return]
54. Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.154. [return]
55. Wilson, 1979, p.55. [return]
56. "Church of the Holy Sepulchre: Stone of Anointing," Wikipedia, 25 February 2014. [return]
57. Wilson, 1979, p.55. [return]
58. Antonacci, 2000, p.115. [return]
59. McDowell, J. & Stewart, D., 1980, "Answers to Tough Questions: Skeptics Ask About the Christian Faith," Here's Life Publishers: San Bernardino CA, p.167. [return]
60. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.52. [return]
61. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994, p.964. [return]
62. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.114. [return]
63. Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.44. [return]
64. Bulst, 1957, p.97. [return]
65. Bulst, 1957, pp.97-80. [return]
66, McDowell, J. & Stewart, D., 1988, "Answers to Tough Questions About the Christian Faith," Scripture Press: Amersham-in-the-Hill UK, British edition, Reprinted, 1992. [return]
67. Bulst, 1957, p.80. [return]
68. Bulst, 1957, pp.80-81. [return]
69. Robinson, 1977, p.25. [return]
70. Wilson, 1998, pp.56-57. [return]
71. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.54. [return]
72. Antonacci, 2000, M., 2000, "The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.121. [return]
73. Ibid. [return]
74. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.229. [return]
75. Wuenschel, 1954, p.20. [return]
§37, §38. To be further examined under "9. Problems of the forgery theory". [return]
To be continued in part 27, "3.7. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were buried (3)"
Last updated: 2 March, 2014.