No, the Shroud of Turin was NOT used to wrap Jesus. It was a 14th century thought experiment. It was not used to wrap anyone.


Late addition (July 2019)

Please forgive this postscript, correction, “prescript”,  correction, intrusion, added many years later – based on some 350 and more postings here and elsewhere.

That’s including some 7 years of my hands-on investigation into image-forming techniques, chosen to be credible with simple, indeed crude, medieval (14th century) technology etc etc.

(Oh, and yes, I accept the radiocarbon dating, despite it being restricted to a single non-random corner sample, making all the oh-so-dismissive, oh-so-derogatory statistics-based sniping totally irrelevant – a ranging shot being just that me dears- a single ranging shot, albeit subdivided into three for Arizona, Oxford and Zurich).
Sindonology (i.e. the “science” , read pseudoscience – of the so-called “Shroud ” of Turin) can be simply summed up. It’s a re-branding exercise, one designed to pretend that the prized Turin possession is not just J of A’s “fine linen”, described in the biblical account as used to transport a crucified body from cross to tomb.

Oh no, it goes further, much further, way way beyond the biblical account. How? By making out that it was the SAME linen as that described in the Gospel of John, deployed as final “burial clothes”. Thus the description “Shroud” for the Turin Linen, usually with the addition “burial shroud”. Why the elision of two different linens, deployed for entirely different purposes (transport first, then final interment)? 
Go figure! Key words to consider are: authentic relic v manufactured medieval icon; mystique, peaceful death-repose, unlimited opportunity for proposing new and ever more improbable image-formation mechanisms etc. How much easier it is to attach the label “Holy” to Shroud if seen as final burial clothes, in final at-peace repose – prior to Resurrection- as distinct from a means of temporary swaying side-to-side transport in an improvised makeshift stretcher !
As I say, a rebranding exercise (transport to final burial shroud) and a very smart and subtle one at that . Not for nothing did that angry local Bishop of Troyes suddenly refer to a “sleight of hand” after allegedly accepting it when first displayed. Seems the script was altered, or as some might say, tampered with! It might also explain why there were two Lirey badges, not just one. Entire books could be written on which of the two came first… I think I know which, with its allusion (?) to the Veil of Veronica… yes, there are alternative views (the face above “SUAIRE” a visual link to the face-only display of the Linen as the “Image of Edessa” or as that on the then current “Shroud” per se.


Face shown  (left) on mid- 14th century Machy Mould (recently discovered variant of the Lirey Pilgrim Badge) above the word “SUAIRE” (allegedly meaning “shroud”). Inset image on the right: one version among many of the fabled “Veil of Veronica” image.  I say the two are related, and deliberately so, but this is not the time or place to go into detail.

No, NOT  a resurrectional selfie, but instead a full size version of, wait for it,  the legendary VEIL OF VERONICA , product of inital body contact – no air gaps- between body and fabric, but with one important difference. The Turin image was intended to look more realistic, less artistic.

How? By displaying a negative tone-reversed image implying IMPRINT (unless, that is, you’re a modern day sindonologist, in which case ‘resurrectional proto-photographic selfie” becomes the preferred, nay, vigorously proferred explanation assisted by unrestrained imagination, creation of endless pseudoscience etc etc, with resort to laser beams, corona discharges, nuclear physics, elementary particles, earthquakes etc etc – the list is seemingly endless! 
Welcome to modern day sindonology. 
Personally, I prefer no-nonsense feet-on-the-ground hypothesis-testing science, aided by lashings of, wait for it, plain down-to-earth common sense.

Start of original posting:




Here’s a comment I have just placed on Dan Porter’s site that updates my views on the Shroud of Turin:

October 16, 2013 at 9:16 am | #10

I perceive the Shroud of Turin is being in essence a thought experiment, imagining the effect of removing a victim, condemned to burning at the stake, while newly deceased but before substantial incineration, and placing in an up-and-over Shroud. The “hot” victim then leaves a scorch-like body imprint on both surfaces of the cloth. The end-result is/was intended as a visual and arresting metaphor – “Look – this is what they did to our blameless man, a latter-day martyr who suffered a fate comparable to that of Christ, i.e. false witness, followed by humiliating and excruciating public execution.

Evidence? It has to be circumstantial obviously, but it is there if you look for it, first clearing your mind of earlier interpretations, many of which are less than convincing, e.g. that of the so-called “poker holes”.

l shaped poker holesThe so-called “L-shaped poker holes” (dorsal side, TS). (It is pure supposition to call these “poker holes”.)

The latter were almost certainly a signal to the viewer that the man depicted had been burned at the stake, that the burn holes were produced by hot charcoal falling onto the linen while still neatly folded, prior to being used to wrap the deceased. The midline fold that is needed to explain the symmetry of the burn holes (original ones– but later 1532 also) existed before the image imprinting in the case of the original L-shaped burn holes. The later 1532 holes, much larger, were a deliberate attempt to draw attention away from the earlier holes, not by patching (too conspicuous) but by swamping with new ones. The original holes were an embarrassment, you see, for those who wanted to re-invent Shroud Mk1 as Christ’s shroud, so much so that we see the original holes being represented as “blood” (red paint) on the 1516 Belgian (Lier) copy, for example, showing that copyist was clearly puzzled and/or confused by the L-shaped holes.

The 1532 fire (no accident, IMHO) removed that source of embarrassment at one fell swoop (though they had maybe forgotten or conveniently overlooked the ‘incriminating’ Lier copy).

So, if you have ever wondered why there is a vertical axis of symmetry about the burn holes in the Shroud, both 1532 AND previous “poker holes” implying a disrespectful and arguably improbable folding down the mid-line of the face – there’s your answer.

new blue and yellow cropped resizedShroudScope TS: blue (1532 burn holes); yellow (pre-1532 burn holes|). CLICK TO ENLARGE. Note common axis of symmetry (see text).

It’s to do with the artisan’s deliberate attempt to signal that the victim has been roasted over red-hot charcoal – some of which had fallen onto and damaged the folded linen, prior to it being used pictorially and metaphorically as a burial shroud.

The victim? As I and others have suggested before, most probably a Knight Templar, possibly Geoffroi de Charney or Jacques de Molay, both burned at the stake in 1314, approx 40 years before the first display of the Shroud at Lirey.

Afterthought: in this model, the letter L need not be an accident, and could have been intended to represent an entire word.  Caveat: the first person to suggest “Leonardo” is to go straight to jail, not to pass GO, not to collect 200….

Update, Friday October 18. This posting and/or the comment that prompted it is now the subject of a posting on Dan Porter’s site, entitled “The 1532 fire was no accident”

It’s clear from the posting and comments that I shall have my work cut out for me, making clear what is new and what is not. For now, I’ll patiently address comments over there, and at some point cut-and-paste a selection here, so as to maintain the essential archive here,  but stripped of the (expected) insults and irrelevancies.




About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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2 Responses to No, the Shroud of Turin was NOT used to wrap Jesus. It was a 14th century thought experiment. It was not used to wrap anyone.

  1. How do you know that the holes were made at different times?

  2. colinsberry says:

    Are you familiar with the Lier copy (1516)? It shows the L-shaped “poker holes”, but was done before the 1532 fire at Chambery.

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