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.

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. 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.

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

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