Guest posting by Yannick Clément
In a recent post, I brought in a new and, I believe, very strong argument that goes against the hypothesis developed by Doctor Frederick Zugibe who claim that a partial washing of the body prior to the deposit of the body inside the Shroud was responsible for the presence of all the scourge marks on the cloth. You can read this post of mine here: https://shroudstory.com/2013/07/15/stephen-jones-newest-addition-to-his-shroud-of-turin-series/#comment-39278
First, I want you to watch closely this screenshot I’ve taken from the Shroud Scope, which show a portion of the lower back region of the Shroud man that we can see in the dorsal image on the Shroud :
(Note: You may click on the picture to enlarge it).
(Note: You may click on the picture to enlarge it).
On this picture, you can see two very precise imprints of scourge marks (the quality of these bloody imprints is very good) that are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of an evident post-mortem blood flow in the lower back region.
First, I want to categorically stated this: Pellicori and Miller made a very good study of the UV fluorescence photos of the Shroud that were taken in Turin by STURP in 1978 and they were clear about the fact that almost every single scourge mark on the cloth was showing an halo of clear serum around them. Among other things, this observation can be seen as a very solid indicator that all the scourge marks on the cloth were caused by the same blood transfer process. Because almost all the scourge marks are showing the same precise dumbbell-like shape, the same presence of halos of serum around them, the same color, etc., there is no good reason to think that these scourge marks on the Shroud were caused by more than one single blood transfer process. Also, it is important to understand that the blood flows that we see below the side wound and the numerous blood flows that we see in the lower back region in the dorsal part of the Shroud have been caused by the post-mortem blood (probably mixed with a clear liquid) that came out after the lance blow to the chest and before any possible washing of the body. Finally, it’s important to understand that these post-mortem blood flows eventually came down on the rib cage and across the lower back region and that such a post-mortem bleeding was considered to be unclean by the Jewish Law and therefore, could not be washed away during the burial procedure. These facts are very important to consider for my challenge.
Barbet, Adler, Lavoie and others medical experts concluded that these scourge marks were caused by a transfer of exudates of still moistened (Adler and Lavoie) or re-moistened (Barbet) blood clots on the cloth by a direct contact between the corpse and the Shroud during the burial procedure, while others, like Zugibe that we just see, believed these particular stains were caused by a partial washing of the Shroud man’s body (especially in all the areas where we see some scourge marks on the cloth, i.e. the chest, the back, the buttocks and the legs).
In sum, Zugibe claimed that a rapid washing of the body would have been enough to remove the dried blood clots that would have been present over all the scourge wounds, with the result of producing an oozing of post-mortem blood from the re-opened wounds. It is this oozing of post-mortem bloody material that would have caused, by direct contacts, all the precise imprints in the form of a dumbbell that we see in many places on the cloth, once the partially washed body would have been placed inside the Shroud. For more information about that, see:http://www.shroud.com/zugibe2.htm. Here’s a short summary, written by Zugibe himself, which you can find in this paper: “The act of washing would then cause an oozing from each of the wounds thereby accounting for the imprints at their locations consistent with those on the Shroud.”
So, if Zugibe was right, that would mean that the rapid washing of a portion of the body would have included the area immediately adjacent to the numerous post-mortem blood flows in the lower back region of the Shroud man that we can see on the picture below, because in this zone, there are a number of evident scourge marks, including the ones I pointed out with a black arrow, which are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of one of these post-mortem blood flows (note again that these blood flows were considered unclean and cannot have been washed during the burial procedure).
After this introduction, here’s my argument again (which is also my challenge to all the defenders of Zugibe’s hypothesis): How in the world does the person who did this rapid washing (remember that it if the Shroud man is Jesus, this would have been an hasty burial) could have dared to wash the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flow (including the area located at less than 2 cm where we see a very evident scourge mark on the picture below), while we know for a fact that it was strictly forbidden for a Jew to remove or even disturb the post-mortem blood that would have stuck to the skin of the dead person? Can you imagine the risks of disturbing this particular post-mortem blood flow? Remember that such a washing would have been done with a sponge or something like this in a very rapid manner… As I said in my previous post, in such a context, we should expect the person who did the washing to have take care of not disturbing all the post-mortem blood flows by not washing the areas surrounding these stains, which would have caused a sort of “buffer zone” around each of these blood flows that would have been free of any washing, with the expected result of leaving undisturbed all the possible dried scourge wounds present there, thus preventing any imprint of these dried wounds on the cloth. But on the contrary, that’s not at all what we see on the Shroud, especially in the lower back region where there are many scourge marks that are immediately adjacent to some post-mortem blood flows…
Again, if Zugibe’s hypothesis was right, that mean the rapid washing would have included the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flows on the lower back, because we can see many scourge marks in this area that are very close to these blood flows. Seriously, does that sound credible and rational to you in the context of a Jewish burial that would have been done in a way to prevent any disturbance of the post-mortem blood that was still present on the corpse because it was considered impure by the Jewish Law? One thing’s for sure: Not for me! This idea of a very precise (almost surgical) washing in this zone is quite simply ludicrous to me.
I prefer by far my own hypothesis, which is mainly based on Doctor Pierre Barbet’s own ideas on the subject. For a summary of my hypothesis, see:https://shroudstory.com/2013/07/15/stephen-jones-newest-addition-to-his-shroud-of-turin-series/#comment-39120. Note that, unlike Zugibe’s hypothesis, mine is totally consistent with the presence of these scourge marks in the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flows on the back and can explain them very easily in a totally rational and credible manner…
And if you think otherwise, then you will have to rationally explain to me how a rapid and partial washing done in haste could have been performed so precisely that it was able to remove the supposed dried blood clots that were covering all the scourge wounds, including those that are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of a post-mortem blood flow (see picture below) without touching and disturbing this particular post-mortem blood flow? Also, you will have to rationally explain to me why someone performing such a rapid and partial washing would have dare to wash the immediate surrounding area where there were some important post-mortem blood flows that had, legally, to stay on the skin of the Shroud man (up to just 1 or 2 cm away from one of those post-mortem blood flows)? Why taking such a risk of breaking the Law for a washing of the body that would have been only partially done anyway?
Additional argument: I would like to add another very strong argument that goes against Zugibe’s hypothesis, which is the fact that evident traces of dirt have been found by STURP in the knee area on the Shroud, which is a region where we can find some scourge marks. So, if a washing would have been done there, while eventually causing the imprints of those scourge marks, it’s pretty evident that no traces of dirt like this would have been found in this area. The fact that such traces of dirt have only been found there (along with some more traces in the ankle area) is a solid indicator that these areas had been stained during the walk the Shroud man did between the place where he was scourged and the place of crucifixion (most probably caused by one or many fall(s) to the ground during the time he was carrying the horizontal beam of the cross). Note that if such a dirt staining had occurred after the washing and before the deposit of the body inside the Shroud, there would certainly have been many others areas of the body that would have been stained in the same way and therefore, others traces of dirt would had been found elsewhere on the Shroud. That’s why I consider this particular dirt stain in the knee area as another very good argument that goes against Zugibe’s partial washing hypothesis. In fact, this particular argument just reinforce the first one concerning the presence of some scourge marks very close to a post-mortem blood flow… Also, it is important to note that the presence of a such a dirt stain in the knee area can be explain very well and rationally by my own hypothesis. Effectively, the presence of some dirt stains near some scourge wounds was surely not enough to prevent the transfer of these scourge wounds if the blood clots over them were still humid or if they had become re-moistened at the time the body was placed in the Shroud (or shortly thereafter)…
In the end, when we use the Occam’s razor principle while considering the presence of these scourge marks in the immediate vicinity of some post-mortem blood flows, along with the finding of evident traces of dirt in the region of the knees where there are some scourge marks, I think it’s fair to say that my own hypothesis can offer an explanation that is far more credible, rational and easy to believe than the one proposed by Zugibe. Note that I don’t say this because I think I’m better than anyone else. No. In fact, I only say this because I truly and honestly believe my hypothesis is much more rational, especially when we take into accounts the important facts I just gave you.
Final note: If you don’t agree with me and want to give me a rational explanation for the presence of some scourge marks in the vicinity of a post-mortem blood flow in the lower back region and the presence of some scourge marks in the knee area where there was traces of dirt, in the context of a partial and rapid washing of the body during the burial procedure, fine! I want to hear your thoughts. But I just hope you won’t use wild speculations to do so! Remember that Occam’s razor hate wild speculations!