“It is popular to pick whichever shroud dimensions seem appropriate,
divide them by 8 and 4 as required, and then find a cubit that fits,
pronouncing the shroud as “exactly” this or that.”
. . . according to the measurement in use in the Middle East in the first century, eight cubits by two.
Mark Antonacci wrote in his book, The Resurrection of the Shroud:
Research indicated that the international standard unit of measurement at the time of Jesus was the Assyrian cubit (21.4 inches). When measured in Assyrian cubits, the Shroud is 8 cubits by 2 cubits, a strong indication that this standard unit was used to measure the linen cloth.
Book after book, website after website, have declared that the shroud was 8 x 2 cubits. But was it?
Hugh Farey, by way of an insightful comment this morning, writes:
The shroud was measured by Flury-Lemburg as 437cm x 111cm in 1998, and later by Barberis and Zaccone (2000), with its corners stretched slightly, as 437.7cm and 441.5cm (long sides); 112.5cm and 113cm (short sides). It is also quoted as varying in length by 2cm depending on humidity. (All information from Dr Zugibe’s ‘The Crucifixion of Jesus’).
Various cubit measurements have been found, all different lengths. The nearest I can find to the 1st century is the Roman cubit of about 44.4cm, which may be based on contemporary Egyptian cubits. Some excellent work on funerary slabs in various museums suggests that the Assyrians, whose empire dissolved some hundreds of years before Christ was born, may have had three cubits, of between 51cm and 57cm. Actual measuring bars, mostly from Egyptian tombs, are about 52cm long.
It is popular to pick whichever shroud dimensions seem appropriate, divide them by 8 and 4 as required, and then find a cubit that fits, pronouncing the shroud as “exactly” this or that. Whether there is any evidence that any 1st century cloth was woven (or buildings constructed) to any particular width, let alone an Assyrian cubit, I rather doubt. Does anybody know of any?