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.

In John 19:40 we read that Jesus was prepared for burial according to the Jewish custom. If the Jewish burial custom John refers to implies that Jesus' face was covered by a napkin in the tomb then the Shroud is a fake. John 20:7 seems to refer to the napkin.

It is held by some twisters that Jewish custom simply means that the body was washed (Acts 9:37). They can't admit that Jesus was laid out the same way as Lazarus was for that means they would have to confess the Turin Shroud to be a forgery. Now Jesus being said in John to have been prepared for burial means more than just a washing. John would have written that Jesus was washed. You don't say somebody being washed before burial is preparation for burial according to any custom. That would be too unclear. And besides the Shroud man was obviously not washed despite liars who say it was.

Besides John says that Jesus being wrapped up in cloths, strips and spices was according to the custom of the Jews.

Jesus did not like rigid customs (Mark 7) so it is argued that the people who buried him might not have been strictly traditional in the other things. But Jesus could not have had any objection to the burial customs – they were harmless and necessary. They were not like fussing over what was unclean and not clean like in the peccadilloes of Jewish tradition. So Jesus could have been washed, anointed and then bound in strips of linen like Jews were.

The John gospel was a gospel meant for non-Jews. Jews would find it too hostile to their leaders and religion to even want to read it. The author then by telling us about how Lazarus was clothed in the tomb and how Jesus was anointed and so on was explaining what he meant by the Jewish burial custom. Jesus' face was bare in the tomb. Therefore the Turin Shroud is a fake.

The Shroud man was not washed so he was not Jesus. Plus the anointings and spices would have mingled with his dried blood and sweat stains making excessively messy and greasy marks which is exactly what we do not have on the Shroud. There should have been a lot of smearing as Jesus was eased into the cloth. If he were plastered in spices as John says then he would have been sticky.

Criminals were buried in their blood (page 218, The Divine Deception). If you believe the gospels then Jesus was washed and the Shroud is a hoax. If you believe the gospels were wrong then maybe the Shroud is authentic. Some who say that since they believe that the man on the Shroud was washed, that he could not have been a real Jew and so was not Jesus Christ (page 219, The Divine Deception).

Here is an insight from the book, The Shroud of Turin!! Is it Genuine or is it a Forgery? Dr Johnson C Philip, Dr Saneesh Cherian, Edited by Gregory Anderson. Creative Commons. Copyright Philip Communication. First Edition 2014. "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury”. Many of these aromatic compounds immediately stain the Shroud and leave a permanent mark and imprint, but not even a trace of any of these past-like chemicals have every been discovered on the Shroud, though their quantity was approximately 40 kilograms.

Robin Lane Fox tells us that that the Shroud would refute the gospels which are the only evidence for Jesus’ death if it is real. He notes that the John gospel said Jesus was buried according to the Jewish custom which would mean he was washed and the spices rubbed into the body are mentioned. The spices would have distorted the bloodstains if there were any after the washing and there is no evidence of rubbing on the Shroud man (page 251, The Unauthorized Version). The Shroud man definitely was not dowsed in spices and oils. "Neither myrrh or aloes is found on the cloth" (Christianity in the Light of Science). The absence of these is fatal if you want to believe the shroud is real. Their absence is of extreme importance. The gospel of John (19) says a record number of spices and oils were used. Even when he was alive and well, Jesus spoke of this being marinated in oil. Jesus in John 12 when he gets smeared with expensive oil says she is preparing him for burial which obviously hints that he will get expensive oil on the day of his burial some time later.

Matthew, Mark and Luke say Jesus was wrapped in linen courtesy of Joseph of Arimathea and friend. He was put in the linen when he was taken down from the cross. So he would have been carried to the tomb in it. Some say that the gospels had a big Shroud in mind. But think. Joseph of Arimathea and Co were not going to prepare Jesus for burial as soon as they took him down from the cross. That was not a job to be undertaken at the foot of the cross. They probably put him in a linen sheet for the purpose of carrying him or covering him as they transported him to the tomb. In the tomb, they may have cut up the sheet to make strips of linen. He was bandaged up and that was him ready for burial. It is not likely that they used strips of linen already prepared to get him ready for entombment. That was unnecessary. They cut up the cloth they transported him in.

If the Turin Shroud were real one might expect the marks of the transportation to show for then Jesus would have been moving in transit and was taken out of cloth and rearranged in it again.

Some such as Shea think that Jesus would have been buried in a ragged and worn and dirty shroud. If he is right, then the Turin cloth is not authentic. There is no evidence in the New Testament for a high quality shroud such as the Turin cloth would be. Joseph being rich might not have got an expensive shroud. A clean cheap one would do. The notion that Joseph went to great expense is just a notion. We must remember too that Jesus had died in disgrace so there was no pressure on anyone to go to great expense to bury him. He was lucky to have a cheap clean cloth to be laid to rest in. Even rags would have been a blessing under the circumstances.

In John we read nothing about this big sheet but of strips of linen. We know the cloths John mentions are the strips like Lazarus was buried in (John 11) for he says it was a traditional burial. It is said that the contradiction is solved only if Jesus was carried to the tomb in the burial cloth which was torn into strips to wrap him up like an Egyptian mummy.

Jesus was not wrapped both in a Shroud and then in strips with the strips over the Shroud for he was buried like Lazarus who was able to walk out of the tomb because each of his legs was individually wrapped and like the youth of Naim who was able to sit up in the bier meaning his arms must have been individually wrapped.

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 was the item that was really 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.