Old Testament Survey

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November 27, 2012
The Shroud of Turin is Jesus of Nazareth’s Authentic Burial Cloth The Source of the Image Revealed
Under the cover of darkness, Jesus of Nazareth was arrested and brought to trial before the Jewish authorities. His captors repeatedly punched him in the face and spit on him, but that was only the beginning of his suffering. Early in the morning they brought him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman installed governor of the Judean Province. Pilate ordered that Jesus be flogged and crucified. Jesus was then beaten with a “Roman instrument called the flagrum” (Oxley 125). The flagrum is a whip that was capable of causing dreadful injuries. In fact, “The injuries caused by the scourging would have resulted in traumatic shock” (Oxley 162). In the interim, the soldiers were allowed to have some cruel fun with him. They created a crown out of a thorn bush and forced it onto his head, piercing his scalp and forehead. As the final stage of his punishment, Jesus was nailed to the cross through his wrists and feet. After he died, a Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear in an upward thrust toward his heart. After taking him down from the cross, he was wrapped in a linen sheet and his body placed in a tomb. The linen cloth that enveloped him has graphically recorded the gruesome details of his chastisement. The linen cloth that Jesus was wrapped in is now known as the Shroud of Turin. Even though those who believe it is a medieval fake have challenged its authenticity, the Shroud’s history, weave pattern, pollen record, bioplastic coating, bloodstains, and uniqueness all testify to its authenticity. After the crucifixion, Jesus was first laid on the cloth and then it was wrapped over his head and down to his feet completely enshrouding his body. To visualize what that would look

like, just imagine going head first into a sleeping bag. On that cloth there now appears a faint image, yet on close examination it shows an astonishing replication of the exact punishment Jesus suffered. However, it was only after the advent of photography that the full detail of the Shroud was seen (Oxley 170). Although the Shroud of Turin illustrates all that was done to Jesus of Nazareth, it must be proven authentic. In order to prove that the Shroud of Turin is the same shroud that wrapped Jesus’ body, a connection must be made from its history. What happened to Jesus after the third day is well established in the Gospels, but what is not recorded is what happened to the cloth he was wrapped in. It is not known because there is virtually no reference to the Shroud in early Christian writings. Some have asserted that this is reason to believe that it is not authentic. Nonetheless, if one considers the events during the early days of the church and the excitement generated by the resurrection, it is no surprise that it is not mentioned. No one wants to talk about a burial cloth when the person that was wrapped in it has come back to life.

Conversely, the mystery of where it went does need to be unraveled. In modern times it is customary at military funerals to drape caskets with a flag and after the burial present the family with the flag. It seems only natural that in a similar manner the empty shroud that had wrapped Jesus’ body was given to his family. It is also important to consider that Jesus’ family was part of the leadership of the early church and likely remained so for the first few centuries (Oxley 8) Despite the lack of documentation, it is likely, because of the persecution of Jews and Christians by the Romans, that the Shroud was moved from Jerusalem to protect it. It may have been taken to Antioch because that was an important location in the administration of the early church. One school of thought maintains that it stayed with family until the fourth century when

it was displayed for the first time in The Golden Basilica of Constantine (Oxley 20). It was after this that Shroud-like representations of Jesus began...
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