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Introduction

Back in 2014, I wrote an article to bring people up to date on the status of Shroud of Turin research at that time. Now eight years old, “Some Ruminations on the Shroud of Turin“ easily escapes the notice of newer visitors to our website. It seems to be an appropriate time to revisit some of the timeless exegetical details covered there and take them a bit further. Though essential to evaluating the authenticity of the Shroud, insights derived from the biblical text about the cloth itself are frequently overlooked by those who focus mainly on historical and scientific evidences.

A recent episode of ABR’s Digging for Truth program presented an interview with John Long, who has been researching the Shroud of Turin for the past 40 years. He presented an overview of features seen in its mysterious image, showing how they are consistent with Scripture’s description of the agonies Christ endured in the crucifixion. Such details as blood stains corresponding to a crown of thorns, angled streams of blood on the arms that accurately reflect how gravity would have affected their flow, dumbbell-shaped pockmarks front and back that match those on Roman lead-tipped whips, no indication of broken legs, wounds in the wrists rather than the palms, and a spear wound in the side were discussed. The blood stains on the fabric are genuine human blood, type AB. No known mechanism can explain how the image could have been made by the hand of man. Taken together, these factors argue strongly that the Shroud covered the crucified body of Christ.

Time limitations did not permit Long to address how the gospel accounts of the grave-cloths of the Lord can be reconciled with the Shroud of Turin, so this article will focus on that issue. For some Christians, all of the correspondences between details found in the Shroud image and the crucifixion fail to persuade, due to one overarching issue: they see a conflict between the gospels’ description of the grave-cloths found in the tomb and the large linen shroud imprinted on both sides with the image of a crucified Man. They feel that to accept it as genuine is tantamount to rejecting the inerrancy of Scripture. One person stated bluntly that Scripture proves that the Shroud of Turin is a false relic; another insisted that the Jews wrapped their dead like Egyptian mummies, so the Shroud could not be genuine.

This insistence on being loyal to the Bible is admirable. However, such well-meaning critics fail to ask whether, in view of all of the many known correspondences between the Shroud image and the crucifixion details, might there not be something lacking in their personal understanding of the gospel accounts? Admittedly, to consider this challenges one’s pride—and for some Christians, it even amounts to questioning the leading of the Holy Spirit! The Occam’s Razor principle, however, teaches us that the simplest explanation is generally the true one. Rather than hunting for ways to discredit each and every one of the many evidences pointing to the genuineness of the Shroud image, might not the root problem simply be overlooking something in the gospels that is not immediately obvious? An honest and humble student of the Bible should admit this is possible; remember the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13–35) saying, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” We don’t always know what we don’t know.

Recent News on the Shroud Image

First, a brief update on some recent news on the Shroud image. The testimony of Barrie Schwortz, the official technical photographer of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), is interesting. In a TEDX presentation recorded on 5/3/2013, “Religious Freedom in Scientific Research: A Personal Perspective” (https://shroudstory.com/2013/05/03/barrie-schwortz-tedx-via-della-conciliazione-talk/), he related that, as a Jew, he approached the subject from the very beginning as a purely dispassionate scientific investigation. The tests and analyses done from 1978 to 1995 proved scientifically that the image was “not a painting, not a scorch, not a photograph.” In the absence of a causative agent for the image, however, there was a nagging question that prevented him from accepting the Shroud as genuine: old blood is supposed to turn black or brown, often in a matter of hours, but the stains on the Shroud were red. How to explain that?

He related his doubts to Alan Adler, a fellow Jew on the team and “the world’s foremost blood expert” according to Schwortz. Adler answered that there was a large amount of bilirubin in the blood, a response of the liver to torture as from the beatings, scourging, crown of thorns and crucifixion Christ experienced. Adler emphasized that “blood of that nature stays red forever.” This finally convinced him of the Shroud’s authenticity, 18 years after becoming part of the STURP research team. In explaining how he changed his opinion he alluded to Sherlock Holmes’ well-known saying: “If you eliminate all the possibilities, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is most likely the truth.”

Observing that media reports over the years were “often misleading or even completely false,” Schwortz had firsthand inside knowledge, so he “knew better than to believe the nonsense he was reading in the paper.” To combat this disinformation he started the Shroud.com website, where anyone can review for himself the evidence accumulated by the STURP investigators. He related an anecdote to illustrate his attitude to those who remain skeptical in the face of objective evidence of the Shroud’s genuineness. After one lecture, a skeptic came up to him and “looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Mr. Schwortz, that was a great lecture you know, but you’ll never convince me,’ and I looked him right in the eye and I said, ‘what makes you think I even care about what you believe? That’s between you and God, take it up with Him.’ And so that’s when I realized that the idea of trying to convince people is not a good idea…now I just put the facts out there and let people decide for themselves.”

A second recent report is described in a YouTube video, where Russ Breault discusses the 3-D nature of the image on the Shroud. The image is very superficial, being restricted to the top two out of about 200 microfibrils per linen thread, whereas blood stains and scorch and water stains from a 1532 fire at Turin are found on both sides of the linen. The image also incorporates distance information, where the darkness of the image is proportional to how far the cloth was from the surface of the body—the closer, the darker. About a 4 cm range exists from the darkest to the lightest areas of the image, from which a mathematical gradient related to light radiation can be determined. This suggests that the cloth wrapped a three-dimensional human body, and that a burst of light radiation, cause unknown, came out from the body and resulted in the image being imprinted on the fabric like a photographic negative. This light-radiation hypothesis is supported by inferences from the Mount of Transfiguration transformation of Christ’s body (Mt. 17:2) and by Saul’s conversion experience with a blinding flash of light (Acts 9:3–8). Ultraviolet excimer laser experiments in Europe using a 40-nanosecond UV flash left an image on linen cloth, offering a possible causative mechanism. We cannot definitively say the Shroud is the authentic image of Jesus, but these considerations weigh in its favor. A 2018 YouTube video shows a sculptor’s recreation of the Man of the Shroud based on that 3-D information. There is also a 2016 History Channel program, “The Face of Jesus Uncovered,” that talks about the 3-D information.

Lastly, a Breaking News report was added to the ABR website on 4/18/22, New Analysis Dates Shroud of Turin to the First Century. It discusses the “Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering” (WAXS) dating method, which indicates that the cellulose degradation observed in the Shroud matches well with a piece of fabric from Masada ca. AD 55–74. This first-century date throws great doubt on the infamous 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to the Middle Ages.

The Problem of Assumptions

Turning now to exegetical matters, teachable spirits might consider the following insights that come from reading the original Greek of the New Testament. Let us first frame the problem, using a letter received by ABR following Long’s presentation. Apparently relying on the NKJV rendering of John 20:6–7, the viewer wrote:

In the gospel of John chapter 20 verses six and seven we see specifically that John talks about how Peter entered the tomb and that “he saw the linen cloths lying there”—vs 6, and then in vs 7 it says “and the handkerchief that had been around his head not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” Now from what I’ve seen of the shroud and any research that’s been done, to this point—including yours, the shroud is one piece including the head. That does not match up with the scripture. Scripture clearly states that the linen cloth was folded together in a place by itself. I do not believe that the shroud is real, simply because it does not match up with scripture.

Though the view of the Shroud of Turin reflected in this letter largely follows the scriptural account, it has two interpretational problems. One is that it depends on an English translation which does not make clear some differences in the grave-cloths brought out by the Greek text. The other is that it reflects no awareness of a lesser-known companion to the Shroud that corresponds to the “handkerchief” mentioned by John. The Sudarium of Oveido, which will be discussed further below, fits the scriptural description of that cloth very well.

Insights from the Greek

My 2014 paper focused on textual matters and was based primarily on the work of Arnold E. Lemke, “The Shroud of Turin—‘Is it, or Isn’t it’ (the burial cloth of Christ?).” In this paper I decided to take a fresh look at the pertinent verses for myself, and expand the research to other studies. The verses examined cover not only the gospel accounts of the crucifixion, but also passages in other contexts that use the same key words. The NASB is used below, with the NKJV noted in places for comparison and the key Greek terms emphasized.

Mt 27:59 - And Joseph took the body and wrapped [entylisso] it in a clean linen cloth [sindon]…

Mk 15:46 - Joseph bought a linen cloth [sindon], took Him down, wrapped [eneileo] Him in the linen cloth [sindon] and laid Him in a tomb…

Mk 14:51–52 – A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet [NKJV “linen cloth,” sindon] over his naked body; and they seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet [NKJV “linen cloth,” sindon] and escaped naked.

Lk 19:20 – “Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief [sudarion]’…”

Lk 23:53 – And he [Joseph] took it down and wrapped [entylisso] it in a linen cloth [sindon], and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.

Lk 24:12 – But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings [othonia] only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

Jn 11:44 – The man who had died [Lazarus] came forth, bound [deo] hand and foot with wrappings [NKJV “graveclothes,” keiriai], and his face was wrapped around with a cloth [sudarion]. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Jn 19:40 – So they took the body of Jesus and bound [deo] it in linen wrappings [NKJV “strips of linen,” othonia] with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Jn 20:5 – and stooping and looking in, he [John] saw the linen wrappings [NKJV “linen cloths,” othonia] lying there; but he did not go in.

Jn 20:6 – And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings [NKJV “linen cloths,” othonia] lying there.

Jn 20:7 – and the face-cloth [NKJV “handkerchief,” sudarion] which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings [NKJV “linen cloths,” othonia], but rolled up [NKJV “folded together,” entylisso] in a place by itself.

Acts 19:12 – so that even handkerchiefs [sudaria] or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

These verses highlight seven Greek words: sindon, sudarion, othonia, keiriai, entylisso, eneileo, and deo. A scholar might be inclined to go poring over the details of how the words are used in obscure ancient sources, but we can largely derive their biblical meanings by knowing their basic lexical definitions and comparing how the different verses use the Greek words in their contexts. The following facts can be deduced by this approach.

1 – A sindon (σινδών) was a cloth large enough to completely cover a body, and suitable for burial purposes. Joseph’s sindon used by Christ was “clean” linen, meaning it was ritually clean in Jewish eyes—it was pure linen, without any cotton or wool fibers mixed in. In the gospels it is only found in the singular. The Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker standard lexicon (BAGD) defines it as “fabric made from linen, linen cloth, of the cloth in which the body of Jesus was wrapped.”

2 – A sudarion (σουδάριον, Lat. sudarium) was a cloth substantially smaller than a sindon, with its purpose defined by the context. It also is only found in the singular in the gospels. BAGD says it was a “face-cloth for wiping perspiration, corresponding somewhat to our ‘handkerchief.’” It often carried the generic meaning “sweat cloth.” André Feuillet in “The Identification and the Disposition of the Funerary Linens of Jesus’ Burial according to the Fourth Gospel“ writes (p. 14):

This Greek term is derived from the Latin sudarium whose primary meaning is indicated by etymology (sudor, sweat): it concerns a cloth of variable dimensions which one carried in the hand or wore around the neck. Its principle purpose was to wipe away perspiration (cf. Quintillien, Institutio Oratoria: 6:3, 11:3). It could also be used for other purposes.

In the specific case of Lazarus recounted in John 11:44, his sudarion is said to have wrapped around his face as a visible cover, and either placed over his shroud or above a short body shroud that did not extend over his head. But the above lexical information indicates we should not view Lazarus’ example as a standard application. The word on its own does not tell us anything about how it was put to use, only that it was a smaller cloth used in various ways. In the case of Jesus, blood and pulmonary edema issuing from His nose would have been the primary reason a blotting cloth would have been used, not to provide a head covering. This will be discussed further below.

3 – A third term is keiriai (sing. κειρία), used in the plural and generally translated in English versions as “wrappings” in John 11:44, where they bind Lazarus “hand and foot.” BAGD says it refers to “binding material in reference to the preparation of bodies for burial.” Notice that sudarion is mentioned on its own in John 11:44 and not lumped together with the plural keiriai, which indicates keiriai is not a generic term for linen cloths, but is connected with binding something. Being a plural, the term could also not have referred only to the single sindon. If keiriai thus excludes the sudarion, and the plural means it can’t refer to just the sindon by itself, we should conclude it refers to the sindon plus some third class of linen fabric.

Taken together, these facts indicate that John uses keiriai to refer to strips of linen used to bind the hands and feet, either alone or in conjunction with the sindon. Since the keiriai did not prevent Lazarus from being able to “come forth” at Christ’s command, they probably did not involve a mummy-style wrap that would be expected to immobilize the legs. It appears best to understand the keiriai as ties which served mainly to keep the sindon closed and prevent the myrrh and aloes from spilling out. There were evidently at least two such strips of linen tied outside the sindon, one around the middle restraining the hands, and the other around the ankles.

4 – Othonia is another plural term (sing. ὀθόνιον). BAGD says it refers to a “(linen) cloth, cloth wrapping.” It differs from keiriai in that it has no essential connection with binding. Because John 20:7 does not include the sudarion with the othonia, it appears othonia was a generic term that covered the general function of both the large sindon and the small keiriai without differentiating between them. Danker also expressed doubt in his lexicon that othonia, as used in the NT, had anything to do with strips of linen or bandages such as were used in Egyptian mummification.

As Feuillet observed (p. 16):

it is easy to compare—at least partially—the sindôn with the othonia, if these are understood in the general sense of funerary linens. I do want to emphasize: at least partially. The similarity is total if, as Lavergne believes, othonia is an emphatic plural, of the kind which poets employ from time to time to give their words a bit more weights [sic]. Or perhaps the similarity is not total: if the hands and feet of Christ were tied, as were Lazarus'—a conjecture which could correspond to reality, as I will explain later—then the general term othonia used in the Fourth Gospel would include the shroud of the Synoptics as well as the keiriai, or bindings for hands and feet.

A point we can derive from Luke’s narration of the story is that in 23:53, he singles out for mention that Joseph wrapped the body of the Lord in a sindon. This leads us to expect that when he says, just a few verses later in 24:12, that Peter saw only othonia (plural), he must have included the sindon in that designation. Since it is logically impossible to equate a large sindon with binding tie-strips, and it makes no sense that Luke would be telling us that Peter saw only small strips of linen, in my opinion we are driven to the conclusion that othonia must be a general term that covers both the sindon and the keiriai. Feuillet agrees:

Is it possible that the Third Evangelist who, like the two other Synoptics, had previously mentioned the burial shroud (sindôn), would here mean to say that Peter only sees the narrow bands? This hypothesis is so unlikely that, to avoid it, Lagrange is not afraid to be inconsistent with himself: while in the Fourth Gospel he renders othonia by narrow bands, here in Luke he translates: “Peter sees only the linens”. Does not the only defensible position consist in putting the word “linens” everywhere in the Fourth Gospel as well as in the Third? (17).

To summarize, the distinct Greek words indicate three different types of grave-cloths were involved in the burial: a large body shroud, a smaller face-cloth, and linen strips used to bind the shroud closed.

“Mummy Wrapping” and the Problem of Outdated References

The remaining two Greek words in the list—eneileo and entylisso—have to do with wrapping the grave clothes. In my opinion, one reason some have concluded that the wrapping was done in a circular manner, like an Egyptian mummy, is due to dependence on the venerable Strong’s Concordance and the outdated Thayer’s Lexicon for insights on eneileo in Mark 15:46. These resources are featured on a number of free Bible study websites often accessed by the general public. Both state that eneileo means “to roll in, wind in.” Strong’s expands the range slightly to include the basic meaning “to wrap up.” The focus is on what is being used for the wrapping—for example, the sindon—with nothing implied about how the wrapping was done.

Modern lexicons, such as BAGD, define the primary meaning of eneileo as “to envelop an object by wrapping it in something, wrap (up) in.” A secondary meaning is, “to encircle an object with confining material, confine in.” The essential meaning of eneileo does not require that an enveloping object must be applied in a circular manner, only that it completely covers the subject. Furthermore, it must be noted that the Jews did not embalm their dead to preserve them as Egyptians did. They anointed the body for burial, as the Lord Himself noted was done for Him ahead of time in Mark 14:8. We cannot use Egyptian customs as a model for understanding normal Jewish burial practice.

Dr. Rod Decker, late Professor of New Testament at Baptist Bible Seminary (Clarks Summit, PA), has a web page at http://ntresources.com/blog/?page_id=2526 where he gave his informed opinion about different lexicons. He states: “Thayer ought not even be considered since his work is both inaccurate and seriously out of date (it is ‘pre-papyri’).” It is also significant that none of the English versions I checked render Mark 15:46 with “rolled” or “wound.” We do well to wonder why, as far back as the original KJV, most if not all English translations uniformly rendered the word “wrapped.”

Turning to entylisso, also translated “wrapped,” it is defined by BAGD as “to wrap something around an object, wrap (up).” It notes that in Matthew 27:59 the word has strong attestation for use in the dative case, the grammatical form which emphasizes the means by which something is done; hence, the body was wrapped up by means of a linen cloth. Again, nothing is said about how the wrapping was done, whether by being folded over lengthwise as with the Shroud of Turin, or by a circular mummy-wrap.

Taking these considerations together, there is no reason to insist that the large linen cloth around Jesus’ body had to have been wrapped around it like a mummy. We must set aside such a subjective impression and not evaluate the Shroud of Turin by it. Moreover, when we consider that a maker of a fraudulent Shroud would seek to eliminate as many barriers as possible to belief in its genuineness, the end-over-end wrapping evidenced by the Turin Shroud image is not what one expects. This is actually strong evidence it is the real thing.

The Sudarium of Oveido

Let us now turn to the Sudarium of Oveido. It is a small, blood-stained cloth kept at the cathedral of Oveido in Spain, the stains of which match up with those on the Shroud of Turin and are of the same blood type. It has no image upon it, but has its own ancient history of preservation which shows it was held in high esteem by the faithful.

Mark Guscin wrote a very insightful article on the Shroud.com website, “The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin.” Though it is less well known, Guscin documents that the Sudarium has a clear historical association with the Shroud, its blood stains are of the same type AB, the stains display remarkable congruency with those on the larger cloth, and it bears pollens tying it to the environs of Jerusalem. It was apparently folded into a “napkin” and used primarily to blot up blood and fluid issuing from the nose and mouth of the Lord when His body was removed from the Cross and transferred to the tomb.

Studies of the stains on the Oveido cloth demonstrate it was folded over and used as a blotting cloth while the head was slumped forward and almost resting on the right shoulder. This indicates the victim was crucified and the cloth was put in place before the body was taken down from the cross. Guscin writes:

The stains on the sudarium show that when the cloth was placed on the dead man’s face, it was folded over, although not in the middle. Counting both sides of the cloth, there is therefore a fourfold stain in a logical order of decreasing intensity.

From the composition of the main stains, it is evident that the man whose face the sudarium covered died in an upright position. The stains consist of one part blood and six parts fluid from a pleural oedema. This liquid collects in the lungs when a crucified person dies of asphyxiation, and if the body subsequently suffers jolting movements, can come out through the nostrils. These are in fact the main stains visible on the sudarium.

These stains in the nasal area are also superimposed on each other, with the different outlines clearly visible. This means that the first stain had already dried when the second stain was formed, and so on.

Guscin further adds, citing the research of Dr. José Villalaín,

The cloth was not wrapped entirely round the head because the right cheek was almost touching the right shoulder. This suggests that the sudarium was put into place while the body was still on the cross. The second stain was made about an hour later, when the body was taken down. The third stain was made when the body was lifted from the ground about forty five minutes later. The body was lying at the foot of the cross for about forty-five minutes before being buried. The marks (not fingerprints) of the fingers that held the cloth to the nose are also visible.

He also says that these studies “point to a short temporal use of the cloth and eliminate the possibility of its contact with the body after burial.” It was therefore apparently not utilized in the same manner as the sudarion of Lazarus.

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 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 afterwards 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 afterwards 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 which completely enveloped the body of Christ. John wants to suggest that, 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.

Conclusions

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.*

*Last sentence edited for clarity 6/8/22.


 

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