The following was inspired by reading the following offerings from the blogosphere:
So one has two relics, both purporting to have images of Christ captured shortly before and after the Crucifixion. You wish to reconcile the two so they are both accepted as valid. How do you do that? Not easy when you look at the detail.
Firstly, there is the supposed Sudarium (face cloth) with some blotches of blood – that is all. There is nothing else to associate it with Christ, or even crucifixion. Ah, but there is the human propensity to fill in the gaps by exercise of imagination. Let’s see now – how can it be matched with the Sindon (Shroud image) which also has bloodstains. There’s an immediate problem. The bloodstains on the face of the Shroud are on the forehead and the hair – interpretable as blood from the crown of thorns. By no stretch of the imagination can the blotches on the Sudarium be matched up with the Shroud. Brainwave: we’ll say that the face cloth was used to REMOVE blood stains from the face of Christ, and to do it so efficiently as to leave NO blood at the corresponding point on the face. That reduces the task of establishing correspondence to one of matching BLOOD with NO BLOOD. Clever eh! Much easier to achieve than matching BLOOD with BLOOD. All that remains to be done is to choose a non-bloodied location on the face that can be the one that was so efficiently mopped with the face cloth. Thinks… where?
Well, there’s no blood on the lower half of the face on the Shroud, so that’s the way to go. Oops. Why should there be any blood that far down? Let’s go back to the drawing board on that one guys …
Now this face cloth was found neatly wrapped in the Tomb separate from the Shroud, and there have been some who imagine the Shroud to have been a long spiral wind-around strip with a small separate cloth to place on the face. Let’s rethink that, shall we, since there is already a problem in getting some to accept a single long rectangular up-and-over Shroud as standard Jewish practice. Let’s suppose that the face cloth was applied BEFORE internment in the Tomb, and was already neatly folded up in the corner before the body was placed in the rectangular Shroud. In other words the face cloth was applied before the body had even arrived at the Tomb. The question is WHEN and WHERE?
I’ve got it. It was applied AFTER Christ had acquired blood on the lower half of his face and AFTER he had died on the Cross. But no one is going to bother cleaning up just one part of the face purely for cosmetic reasons. We need a RATIONALE guys. Come on, it’s time to put our heads together (again!).
Thinks. What credible scenario might explain blood on the lower half of the face? Thinks.
I’ve got it. It’s a bit extreme, stomach-churning some might say, but you know what they say, at least in that God-forsaken United Kingdom. In for a penny, in for a pound. We’ ll say that the blood came from the NOSTRILS! Do I see some quizzical expressions? Aren’t you forgetting something? It is said that when a man dies on a cross, it is the result of asphyxiation. Once he loses the ability to haul himself up, to inflate his lungs, that’s it. Caput. What then? Well, one could compare it with drowning, right? You get my drift? One could imagine the lungs filling up with fluid. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that can happen as a result of crucifixion. What’s more there could be blood in that fluid too, due to all kinds of , you know, metabolic side effects. Right – there we have our answer. Some of that accumulated bloody, watery fluid accumulates in the lungs and then there’s a convulsion, and it gets coughed up. It exits via the nostrils and maybe the mouth too creating one helluva of a mess around the nose and mouth, the moustache, the beard etc – EXACTLY where we wanted our blood. Our magical face cloth will absorb all that messy lung fluid!
OK, there’s a weak point in that story. Nobody, least of all a Roman centurion would have bothered cleaning up ANY part of the face of someone they had just crucified, much less just part of the face. We need another reason for the face cloth being used. Got it! It was used to cover the face of the DECEASED victim as soon as he had died, even while still nailed in an upright position. We’ll say that the sight of someone recently dead would have caused greater offence than that of someone in his death throes. (Having come this far, that’s my story and I am sticking to it…). Problem: if you place the cloth on the victim while still vertical on the Cross, it will fall to the ground in short order. OK, so it’s TIED ON, alright, so as NOT TO FALL OFF. Let’s not get hung up on minor details…
Right. We are nearly there guys. We have a cloth with blood patches that we picture as surrounding the nose, maybe extending to beard and moustache. All we have to do now is to juxtapose the cloth with the face on the Shroud, and say there is a PERFECT fit between the
blood and the features of the face. Better still, we’ll add some outlines in pencil or ink to help the slow-of-comprehension see what we want them to see…
Remember: the phrase to keep in mind, guys, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, is “PERFECT CORRESPONDENCE”.
Oh boy, how convenient that our face cloth acted as the perfect mop, soaking up ALL nasal blood from that region of Shroud face.
That was a mighty stroke of genius on someone’s part … Wot, mine? Really? Are you certain about that? I didn’t think I was smart enough to come up with an idea like that…
Further reading: Link 1
Late addition Aug 6: this comment from “Ron” has just appeared on The Other Site:
Click on #5 next line:
Colinberry stated; “but thats the least of his(Stephen Jones)problems as far as equating a burial cloth with a face cloth, both supposedly draped over the same part of the anatomy, AND PRESUMABLY COMPETING FOR QUALITY IMAGE TIME” (bold emphasis mine)…This statement proves without a doubt that colinberry has done little or no research when it comes to the Sudarium, or even the Shroud!! As he does not understand the simple fact that not only from scripture (John 20:7), but from details observed from the study of the Sudarium and also evidenced on the Shroud, that the Sudarium and the Shroud did not compete for image quality. As the Sudarium was removed before the the Shroud wrapped the body and before the image mechanism occurred. This point was made by Stephen Jones on his blog, I just thought it needed mentioning here.
As for his statement that there is “no correspondence whatsoever”, I think colin should atleast read one book on the subject of the Sudarium before making such rediculous comments. There is not just a simple “correspondence” of blood image shapes;( 70 points of congruence front and back to be exact), but also the stains are of very close dimensions, slightly larger stains are found on the Sudarium, as would be expected. The stains show the nose length being identical, as well as the beard stain on the Sudarium when compared to the Shroud. I can go on and on here, but that should be sufficient in my argument…”
Know what? I strongly suspect that Ron is guilty of the very same crime of which he accuses me – of not bothering to visit my site, and read what I said in full. Instead he has just picked up the small portion that Dan Porter quoted on his site.
“Points of correspondence” are largely a waste of time, unless equal weight is given to points of non-correspondence. But the comparison between the Sudarium and Shroud is mainly correspondence with non-correspondence, i.e. blood on the first but not the second. GIGO!
It’s a different story if you go round the back of the face, so to speak. I have seen it said that there is a 75% correspondence between blood on the nape of the neck of the Sudarium with that on the Shroud. But note that we are now, all of a sudden, being asked to compare blood with blood, whereas the major comparison on the face is between blood and NO BLOOD, as I stressed above. What we see is not sound scholarship but a crass example of wanting to have one’s cake and eat it : on the front we are asked to believe that the face cloth removed virtually all blood, while round the back there are enough little splashes here and there to claim “75%” correspondence. Note too that we are suddenly told that a spot on the beard is blood – because it corresponds with the Sudarium. You couldn’t make it up. This is Mickey Mouse scholarship…
I repeat: there is NO CORRESPONDENCE between Sudarium and Shroud – just wishful thinking and the pushing of pet theories that suit a proselytising agenda.
Note: I refuse now to respond directly to comments on The Other Site, due to the generally toxic nature of what is allowed to apppear there ( I was told just the other day that I was “hysterical” , simply for challenging the “blood first, image second dogma”. Ron himself is a prime offender. Whether he finds my response here or not is a matter of supreme indifference to me. Once people learn to debate the science without lacing their comments with a corrosive drip, drip of ad hom then I may review my position re The Other Site, but not before…. My only interest is in solving the so-called “enduring enigma” of the Shroud. The only reason that the so-called enigma is enduring is because of tunnel vision and blind spots on the part of many who should know better – which includes a lot of investigators who long ago abandoned objectivity, yet kid themselves and the world that they are still genuinely-detached scientists.