New Testament refutes Turin Shroud

The Turin Shroud is the most famous relic in the world. Millions believe that it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ bearing his crucified and bloodied image. The cloth is kept at Turin in Italy. The cloth is an enigma. Many say it is a miracle. But in fact the greatest mystery is who the cloth depicts for the man whose face is on the Shroud is not Jesus Christ.


If the Shroud of Turin existed in New Testament times it would have been mentioned in the New Testament. The writers had to contend with flesh-haters who insisted that Jesus was a spirit, an immaterial being and not a man. Yet the only weapon they employed against them was their testimony. If they had the Shroud they could have used that and written about it for hard evidence is better than testimony.

Even later, St Ignatius of Antioch, trying to confute the Docetists who denied that Jesus was human, stated that if Jesus’ body was an illusion then so is the world instead of saying the Shroud proved he was real. If the Christians had to hide the Shroud they would and could have let a hundred or so witnesses see it to strengthen their own testimony. They certainly would have kept the real Shroud if it had been worth keeping and if they could keep it. (If there had been guards at the tomb of Jesus as the Matthew gospel says the shroud would have been kept by the guards who had allegedly maintained that a theft had occurred at the tomb.) Clearly it just had blood on it meaning that it was no use to prove anything about Jesus for it could have been just a burial cloth that some hoaxer wiped their wounds on.

Or perhaps it disappeared from the tomb with the body – evidence that the body of Jesus was stolen for the risen Jesus would not go about dressed like a corpse. The Shroud would have been returned to the Jesus people if it were stolen by people who wanted to help the Christian faith.

If the apostles were afraid to use the Shroud as ammunition against heretics in case something would happen to it then that says a lot about their confidence in Jesus. It would be ascribing incompetence and stupidity to him – hardly consistent with their being the witnesses appointed by God to identify Jesus as being the saviour and Messiah. There are countless ways in which you can avoid harm coming to a relic and still let enough people know of its existence.

Jesus once said that the writings of Moses were proof enough that Jesus was the Son of God (John 5:46) which was a totally irrational thing to say and shows that the author of John who reports this did not know the Old Testament well and was not related to the apostles in any way at all. The same gospel however defends the Old Testament doctrine that at least two independent witnesses were needed for a valid testimony. Yet the gospel of John alone reports the stabbing of Jesus in the side so John is exposed as a fake. He may be telling the truth but we have no reason to believe him for he did not live up to his own standard and did tell lies. The Shroud then alone would stand as a testimony. Therefore the Shroud is the only testimony and is invalidated by the two reliable and independent witnesses at least rule. But the Christians would object that physical evidence is better than human testimony and the Shroud is physical evidence. But there are sound reasons for denying that the Shroud man is Jesus. The Shroud repudiates the prophecies in the Bible that are interpreted as predicting the death and resurrection of Jesus for it says another man fulfilled these prophecies. The Shroud refutes Christianity.

Jesus told Martha to have the tomb of Lazarus opened (John 11) Martha said that he was rotting now and that she wouldn’t because of that. It was not because of the smell for tombs smell bad anyway and besides she didn't have to go near the tomb herself. She didn’t want Jesus to see the face of the corpse because Jesus was saddened by Lazarus his friend’s death. Jesus' face must have been bare when he was entombed (The Turin Shroud is Genuine, page 88) proving the Turin Shroud to be a fake. The Gospel of Nicodemus in its first Greek form in the portion entitled The Acts of Pilate, chapter 15, states that Jesus himself stated after the resurrection that during his burial he was wrapped in clean linen and a napkin was put on his face after that (see page 144, Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Vol 16). This scripture was written in the fifth century and shows that no Shroud like the Turin Shroud was known then and no traditions existed about it.

John tells us that Jesus was prepared according to the Jewish custom.  That explains the detail about Lazarus who was entombed with napkin on the face and was wrapped in bandages from a cut up cloth.

In John 20:6,7 we read that Jesus was covered in three cloths which were left behind after his disappearance from the tomb one of which was tied around his head. Some say the shroud was not mentioned for the word for shroud sindon was not in the text. But the word othonia (The Turin Shroud is Genuine, page 126) means grave clothes. The fact that one word was used in preference to another stands for nothing. So grave clothes could include the Shroud which comprised the grave clothing for the rest were only bits and pieces.

Some think that Jesus was put in the Turin Shroud and then bands of cloth were put over the Shroud to bind everything together. There is no evidence that strips were used to keep the Shroud on the man. We would see the pressure marks made by them on the flesh image of the Shroud man. The fact that strips were not used to bind the Shroud and that the Turin Shroud looks like it was just laid flat over the body indicates that the Shroud is a forgery. If a body was put in it in such a way as to make an image then the Shroud must be some kind of fake.

The Jesus Conspiracy pages 234 and 235 says that John says the body of Jesus was taken and wound edesan in linen cloths with the spices according to the burial methods of the Jews. Edesan means to bind. The book denies that Jesus was bound for it says that normally things were bound by thongs or a band of cloth but not by a big cloth like the Shroud. They have deliberately refused to notice that John said Jesus was wrapped up in linen cloths, so bands of cloth would be the most natural interpretation. Jesus was wrapped up like a mummy.

The book also says that Mark 15:46 uses a word eneileo to show that Jesus was not only covered up in cloth but was wrapped up closely like in a tight packet. The book denies that Jesus was wrapped up like a mummy for the word kateilisso was the word for that.

Now the problem is the Shroud doesn’t look like Jesus was wrapped tight in it. The neck and the sides don’t show up. Also, the “blood” just sits on the fibres lightly. If the Shroud were real, the blood would be hardened into a thick paste which would have transferred into the cloth leaving thick scabs not a light cover. And Mark not using kateilisso doesn’t prove that eneileo was the right or best word. Why would Mark want to say Jesus was bound tight? That seems an unnecessary detail. You don’t say a chicken was wrapped up tightly if you just put it in a plastic bag. You do say it if the chicken is wrapped up tightly in clingfilm. Do you see the point? Mark meant kateilisso. The Turin Shroud image is not that of Jesus Christ.

If the Turin Shroud is genuine then the New Testament is wrong for it says the guards said that Jesus was stolen from the tomb and John says that the cloths were not removed before they were seen by visitors to the tomb. They would have been removed by the soldiers who allegedly told the lie about the corpse being snatched to back up their lie for thieves are unlikely to run away with a naked body and to take the time to strip it before going away with it. Nobody would have seen the cloths for as soon as the guards left they would have been replaced to prevent anybody starting rumours. The cloths would have been destroyed once convictions had been made for the theft of the body or if the case had been closed.

Some people would say that I am expecting us to take the word of one man, the Matthew gospeller, and a word that is lacking in believability, that there were soldiers. They object to taking seriously a man who we cannot even name for we don’t know if this gospel was really written by Matthew and it has indications that it was not. And an honest man would name those he accuses of lying about the body being stolen so that the facts can be checked and that we might be able to hear their side. He would mention trained or reliable witnesses and that he couldn’t indicates that his own were bad news and liars. Whatever happened to assuming the best about accused people in such situations? Why listen to one man against many men? Even the Law condemns “Matthew’s” accusations for it says you have to have at least two reliable and well-known witnesses to every report before it can be accepted.

The Romans would have confiscated the contents of the tomb in case there was a clue. They would not have handed them over to Jesus’ friends who were accused of having stolen the body.

The hands are crossed over the genitals. The man’s hands would have been tied together to keep them from falling away. But we know from the blood stains that no band was used. The man is holding the wrist with one hand so he was no corpse. Many believe that hands over the genitals was not a burial layout in the first century (page 184, The Divine Deception). Some believe it was rarely used then. But it was common in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries pointing to it being likely that the Turin Shroud was made then (page 184, ibid).

A band was used to keep the mouth closed on all corpses. But there is no evidence of one being used on the man in the Shroud (page 165, Jesus Lived in India). For example, if there had been one we would see a big blank space between the beard and the neck circling the head preventing an imprint and there would be an indent on the hair. This cloth would have been attached to the Shroud to prevent it being lost so its absence indicates forgery.

The uncleanness laws were never abolished by Jesus and were kept by the early Church which remained Jewish for a long time after Jesus’ supposed demise. If Jesus made food clean as the gospels tell us, then he was not necessarily abolishing the law but making food clean so that the law didn’t have any reason to be kept any more. The Jewish Law said that anything that touched a corpse was unclean or unhygienic and therefore a cause of sin. The Shroud would have been considered unclean by his followers and burned. The early Church was the Church of the resurrection more than the Church of the execution.

Jesus was repeatedly hit in the face according to the gospels. The man on the Shroud had no swelling which he would have had had he been Jesus. Far from being swollen, his face was unnaturally thin.

Some authorities state that Jesus appears to have swelling on the left side especially below the eye which are the marks of violence to the face and the nose may be swollen on one side (page 56, The Turin Shroud is Genuine). If you look at a picture you see a depression like a bag under the eye that drooped down too far. But there are similar hollows for instance on the forehead though it is too hard to have such hollows. It is just in the cloth. It has to do with the image being projected and not with the structure of the face. The swelling of the nose has to do with the image coming out better on that side than on the other for there are bits that have not come out. It might depend on where the cloth is touching. If Jesus had been beaten on the nose why is there no nosebleed? Please don’t start bellowing that Veronica wiped the face of Jesus for that is only a Catholic devotional tradition with no historical foundation. At the same time, the legend of Veronica would not have emerged in the early Church had the Shroud being known of for the face part of it shows the most blood. According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church the legend got to its present form in the thirteenth century, the 1200’s. Another clue is the Church Father, Tertullian, who may have died in the first quarter of the third century, asserted that the smaller the body and the less fat it had the better for it makes resurrection easier and quicker and entry into Heaven is speeded up (page 15, From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls). That hardly fits a Church that had the Shroud for the Shroud man is muscular and tall and if what Tertullian said was believed by the Church which it probably was for it was never amended by Church copyists it tells us the Shroud was a later forgery.

Nothing can change the fact that the New Testament does not hint that Jesus was laid out in a one piece shroud like the Turin cloth. The New Testament never says Jesus was put in a sheet or an intact shroud. Whatever was used was cut up probably into bandages. If you want forensic evidence that Jesus lived then look somewhere else.

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