Colin Berry: The Scourge Marks are Frankly Not Credible

When someone is flayed with a Roman flagrum, one expects to see the skin ripped to shreds,
with blood flows to match. One does not expect to see neat imprints

imageIs that so?  Has this idea been investigated?

Colin had written a comment:

The crucial point surely is that there is no imaging of “wounds” or “injuries” as such on the sepia body image of the TS – absolutely none. The evidence for “wounds” and “injuries” rests entirely on the position of bloodstains at various locations. Even the “scourge marks” showing the dumb-bell shapes etc of skin-lacerating or indenting metal or bone tips are (we’re told) solely blood imprints – there’s no corroborating evidence in the body image.

The reliance on bloodstains alone to support the biblical narrative (scourging, crown of thorns, nails wounds, lance wound) with no supporting evidence whatsoever in the body image is entirely consistent with medieval forgery. Indeed, it’s hard to think of an alternative explanation – unless one’s view of the TS is “authentic until proven otherwise” (an authenticity-endorsing or promoting ‘sindonological’ position, as distinct from one that is strictly neutral, dispassionately scientific).

Thibault Heimburger replied:

I never understood what you mean by “imaging of wounds …”  What do you expect to see on a linen on contact with a bloody wound? I would expect to see exactly what we see on the TS.

Can you explain?

Colin then writes:

Maybe nothing. But I’m not the one who constantly refers to “wounds” or “injuries” for which there’s no independent and corroborating evidence in the body image, merely blood that is in locations that fit the biblical narrative. It’s to do with the burden of proof.

When someone is flayed with a Roman flagrum, one expects to see the skin ripped to shreds, with blood flows to match. One does not expect to see neat imprints correspondingly exactly with the shape of the metal or bone pellets, as if all they did was to produce contusions with just the right amount of weeping blood to “imprint” an image, with no surplus to obscure and thus ‘spoil’ the image. The scourge marks are frankly not credible, except as the work of a forger intent on creating over-simplified neat and geometric patterns that lack both realism and credibility.

Request for Help: Can you point me to some information on Roman scourging?

this is, of course, what we do best: answer questions

Kenneth K. Vernor writes:

I am a new student in the shroud world, but I am about 98% convinced it is legitimate.

I am interested in studying the scourging in depth.  Mostly, I would like to read accounts of HOW the Romans scourged.

So far I have come across these methods:

The two most common seem to be tied with His hands above His head facing a column or a small post and tied to a low post.  The third one is suspension by His hands with 100 lbs of weight tied to the feet.  And I found one reference that mentions being tied between two columns.

In all instances He was naked.

I have also read accounts where salt was applied to the wounds.  In another salt water was dumped on Him if He passed out.

I have read two well researched papers on scourging (Scourge bloodstains on the Turin Shroud: an evidence for different instruments used by Barbara Faccini, New Image Processing of the Turin Shroud Scourge Marks by Barbara Faccini and Giulio Fanti) that differs from Zugibe’s book.  While Zugibe wrote a great book, I do believe he missed the boat on the scourging.  He thought the Romans did the Jewish thing and limited the beating to 40 strokes.  I do not know why he would think that.  They didn’t follow other Jewish rules like where to administer the strokes.  Plus, I am confident the Man of the shroud had well over 40 strokes.  (Zugibe counted over 100 and using a three thonged flagrum, that would fit in his window.  However, I would assume the Body had many more scourge marks that are not imaged on the shroud; on the sides and under the arms.  Faccini counted 196 flagrum marks with a total of 372 including all the marks.)

At any rate, these two papers show scourge marks across the middle of the chest.  I would think this may point to the suspension method. (with another type of whip also being used) Acts 22:25 seems to also support this method.   What do you think?

Can you point me to some information on Roman scourging?  I think I have searched the web thoroughly.

I have also been in contact with Barrie Schwortz.  He has been great.

Thank you for your time.

Picture:  Peter Paul Rubens, Flagellation of Christ, Antwerp, Church of St. Paul. ca. A.D. 1616. Source: Wikimedia (Wikipedia), hot linked with permissions.