Home > News & Views > Wikified: Word of the Day

Wikified: Word of the Day

December 2, 2014

To Colin Berry goes the honor of having coined the Word of the Day. “PS,” he writes to a previous comment:

. . . While the main title is “Descent from the Cross” there’s an alternative one given: “Deposition of Christ”. Deposition into what? Into Joseph’s linen, obviously as shown in most of the accompanying images, yet curiously the text fails to make a single reference to the linen. I confess to finding myself totally wikified

And Colin found this wonderful gallery of 30 pictures of the Descent from the Cross in Wikipedia. And no, the word linen or a suitable synonym is not to be found. I, too, am wikified.


  1. December 2, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Here’s a link to the lengthy wiki entry on van der Weyden’s “Descent from the Cross” (1435)


    There’s a brief section as to which of two gents is Joseph of Arimathea and which is Nicodemus. Most folk will probably deduce that Joseph is the one in red, holding up his recent purchase of linen with both his hands, and the other is Nicodemus who while in contact with the lower end does not appear to have any proprietary interest in the receiving sheet.

    But there’s yet again a total blind spot for “linen” despite the clue it gives to identification. I am now doubly wikified in the short space of one hour.

  2. anoxie
    December 3, 2014 at 1:41 am

    “And no, the word linen or a suitable synonym is not to be found. I, too, am wikified.”

    Because the object, shortly described in wikipedia, is “descent from the cross” or “deposition of christ”, the presence of a cloth or a linen here is plain artistic interpretation, no need to feed CB’s far fetched extrapolations.

    On the other hand what can you actually see on these 30 pictures (even in the entombment) you can’t see on the Shroud? A loincloth.

    Sure, in a forgery narrative, they would simply have removed the loincloth between the descent from the cross and “deposition into” a body bag, no need to argue, what is problematic is the highly variable linen…….

    This is plain artistic interpretation, this is plain CB´s wild extrapolation, this is plain confirmation bias, no need to be wikified.

    • December 3, 2014 at 2:36 am

      “Because the object, shortly described in wikipedia, is “descent from the cross” or “deposition of christ”, the presence of a cloth or a linen here is plain artistic interpretation, no need to feed CB’s far fetched extrapolations.”

      I’ve been amazed at the number of folk on this site who appear to have difficulty with the idea, promoted by medieval and other artists, that the body of Jesus was transferred directly from the cross to a waiting length of linen, usually with a well-dressed citizen in attendance who can be assumed to be Joseph of Arimathea. Where on earth might they have acquired that anarchic notion? Might it be that unlike some here those artists actually took the trouble to read a few key verses from scripture before applying paint to canvas (it being so tedious to have to scrape off and start again if later told one has got the story wrong).

      Yes, that’s it, they must have read somewhere that the body was “taken down” and placed in linen, Joseph’s fine linen, before arrival at the sepulchre. Might that be because all three synoptic accounts say essentially the same thing (well, they would, wouldn’t they, being tediously synoptic an’ all).

      It’s only when you get to John that, viewed in isolation, the possibility arises of the body having arrived at the tomb without being wrapped in linen (though some might consider that merely an error of omission).

      It’s an uncharitable thought I know, but might it be that over-close acquaintance with a highly blood-stained Shroud of Turin has caused some telescoping of chronology in certain minds, away from the synoptics, towards a somewhat partisan version of John’s account, one that imagines that Jesus was not placed in Joseph’s linen until after arrival at the tomb, and that Joseph’s linen was intended to serve not as an intermediary cover between cross and tomb, but as the final burial shroud? Handy that, being a single sheet, allowing one to dismiss talk of “winding sheets” as having lost something in translation, or being totally at odds with 1st century Jewish burial customs (oh, and don’t mention the Pray Codex either, unless it’s to point out the L-shaped poker holes).

      Personally, I consider that the authenticist position on the TS should be about fitting the facts re the TS to the biblical account(s), as distinct from bending or shoehorning the biblical account to fit one or other “expert’s” tendentious dogma re the TS as to how it came to acquire this or that pattern of image v blood.

      After all, we still don’t know for certain how the image was formed. We can’t be absolutely certain that blood arrived before image. We can’t be absolutely certain it’s real whole human blood that is 2000 rather than 1300 years old. Better methinks to take the gospels as gospel truth, instead of allowing approx 4 square metres of linen to place a masking shroud over certain verses deemed inconvenient to one’s narrative.

      • December 3, 2014 at 2:54 am

        Correction: 600-700 years old, not 1300.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: