The man on the Shroud
NO DECOMPOSITION #21
Copyright © Stephen E. Jones
This is part #21, "The man on the Shroud: No decomposition," of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!" For more information about this series, see the "Main index #1" and "The man on the Shroud #8." Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.
- The man on the Shroud #8
- No decomposition #21
[Above (enlarge): Close-up of the Shroud man's face, which shows no evidence of decomposition at the mouth, nose or eyes. Yet decomposition first shows itself around the mouth. This is even clearer on the counterpart Enrie negative photograph (see below).]
decomposition fluids and gases from the orifices (mouth, nose, eyes), which usually occurs between 30 and 40 hours after death. Decomposition would first leave a stain around the mouth, which would then have changed the outline of the face.
The man was in the Shroud no longer than three days The lack of bodily decomposition stains on the Shroud means that the man cannot have been in it longer than three days. Even the agnostic art historian, Thomas de Wesselow, admits: "...the fact that the Shroud appears unaffected by any signs of liquid decomposition implies that the cloth was separated from the body within a few days ...". Any longer than three days, putrefaction would have set in and any image on the Shroud would have been destroyed followed soon after by the destruction of the Shroud itself.
The man separated from the Shroud within three days without disturbing the dried blood As we saw above, the Shroud man's body separated from the cloth before putrefaction set in, which was within three days of death. Moreover, the dried blood clots that had adhered to both the body and the cloth remained intact and unsmeared on the cloth after that separation! [see future part #22, "Blood clots intact"].
Jesus' body did not undergo decomposition The New Testament eyewitnesses, quoting from Ps 16:10, recorded that Jesus' body "did not see corruption" (Acts 2:27, 31; 13:34-37). The original Greek is diaphthoran, which refers to "the change of the present constitution of the body" following death and "that destruction which is effected by the decay of the body after death". Jesus' body escaped corruption by being resurrected (Acts 2:32; 13:34,37), after about 36 hours in the tomb and less than 40 hours after His death.
Problem for Maillard Reaction theory As we saw in part #18 of this series, a Mailard Reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and carbohydrates. It is what causes the browning of food in cooking. A STURP chemist Ray Rogers (1927–2005) proposed the theory that the image on the Shroud was the result of a Maillard Reaction between a carbohydrate, Saponaria officinalis or soapwort, which was used by the ancients in the production of linen, and both ammonia and amino acids which were given off by Jesus' (supposedly) decomposing body. However, in addition to other problems of Rogers' Maillard Reaction image formation theory (e.g. vapors do not travel in straight lines but would diffuse in all directions to create a blurry, unclear and non-3D image and they would not remain on the surface (see part #18) but would permeate down throughout the spaces in the weave of the cloth: Rogers himself admitted that the "the discontinuous distribution of the color on the topmost parts of the weave," was a "perplexing" problem for his theory); there is no evidence of decomposition on the Shroud man's body) to produce the ammonia and amino acids required by Rogers' theory. Moreover, after Rogers' death, in 2013 Barrie Schwortz experimentally tested Rogers' Maillard Reaction theory on a decomposing pig and the theory failed that test!
Problem for the forgery theory (see previous three: #18, a #19 and #20. The lack of signs of bodily decomposition on the Shroud is a particular problem for the Medieval Photography theory of Prof. Nicholas Allen (see 07Aug16, 01Sep16, 05Sep16 & 29Oct16), which requires a human body to be left hanging upright out in the sun for at least six days. But a human body hung out in the necessarily bright full sunshine all day, for at least six days, to form an image in Allen's supposedly medieval camera, would have started decomposing, with unmistakable signs of decomposition and loss of shape, not to mention being fly-blown with maggots eating the corpse's face, all faithfully recorded on Allen's hypothetical medieval photograph. But such decomposition and indeed putrefaction wasn't recorded on the Shroud image, so Allen's medieval photography theory is false!
The image of the man on the Shroud is that of a real human body In 1981, following an intensive series of scientific tests, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) reported:
"We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin."Even some sceptics have now realised that, given its life-likeness and dissimilarity to any medieval work of art, the Shroud image can only be that of a real human body. The agnostic de Wesselow points out:
"Every part of the body-image, then, even the remarkable image of the head, can be explained in terms of a stain produced by a real human body. Indeed, certain distortions and gaps in the image demand to be explained in these terms. The missing feet and neck of the frontal figure, the blank areas around the hands and forearms, the soles of the feet in the dorsal figure: these speak of the cloth having been draped loosely over the body of a man, not tinted by a medieval artist or subjected to a primitive form of photography".The image of the man on the Shroud is that of a dead man [see 13Dec13] The man on the Shroud is dead. His body is in rigor mortis, fixed in the position that he was when he died (except for the arms where the rigor of the shoulders has been broken for burial), which is consistent with his death on a cross. He hasenlarge): "G. Ricci, `Crucifixion,' sculpture in wood according to research carried out on the Holy Shroud". Italian artist Giulio Ricci (1913-95) reconstructed from the Shroud image the shape of the man's body, fixed in rigor mortis on a cross, at the moment of his death.]
post-mortem blood flows, which have oozed, not spurted as they would have had his heart been still beating, notably in the large bloodstain from the spear wound in his side. That spear in his side punctured his heart and so would have been fatal had he not already died. His legs are not broken unlike other Roman crucifixion victims whose legs were broken while alive on their cross to hasten their death (Jn 19:31-33)  by asphyxiation.
The Man on the Shroud is the resurrected Jesus! Given that (as we saw above): 1) the man on the Shroud is a real, dead human body; 2) the lack of signs of decomposition gases and fluids around his mouth, nose and eyes, means that he separated from the Shroud within three days; 3) the dried blood that would have adhered to both his body and the Shroud are intact, unbroken and unsmeared (see future part #22); and 4) the Gospel eyewitnesses recorded that Jesus' body was resurrected before it "saw corruption"; then the only explanation that fits all these facts (and many others) is that the image of the Man on the Shroud is that of the resurrected Jesus!
"`Were those the lips that spoke the Sermon on the Mount and the Parable of the Rich Fool?'; `Is this the Face that is to be my judge on the Last Day?'". Yes indeed!!]
Continued in part #22 of this series.
1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to quote from any part of this post (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, p.50; Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, pp.127, 155; Meacham, W., 1983, "The Authentication of the Turin Shroud: An Issue in Archaeological Epistemology," Current Anthropology, Vol. 24, No. 3, June, pp.283-311, 284; Habermas, G.R., 1984a, "Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.158; Habermas, G.R., 1984b, "Turin, Shroud of," in Elwell, W.A., ed., "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," Baker Book House: Grand Rapids MI., 1990, Seventh printing, p.1116; Habermas, G.R., 1987, "Affirmative Statement: Gary R. Habermas," in Habermas, G.R., Flew, A.G.N. & Miethe, T.L., ed., "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?: The Resurrection Debate," Harper & Row: San Francisco CA, p.28; Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.65; Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.91; Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, pp.212, 229; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.3, 181; Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.54; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, pp.33, 88; Wilcox, R.K., 2010, "The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery," , Regnery: Washington DC, p.189; de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.144; Fanti, G. & Malfi, P., 2015, "The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ!," Pan Stanford: Singapore, p.27. [return]
3. Hynek, R.W., 1951, "The True Likeness," , Sheed & Ward: London, pp.30, 94; Wuenschel, 1954, pp.36, 50; Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.107; Brent, P. & Rolfe, D., 1978, "The Silent Witness: The Mysteries of the Turin Shroud Revealed," Futura Publications: London, p.41; Iannone, 1998, p.88. [return]
4. Moretto, G., 1999, "The Shroud: A Guide," Neame, A., transl., Paulist Press: Mahwah NJ, p.58; de Wesselow, 2012, p.378n.36. [return]
5. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002: Vertical.," Sindonology.org. [return]
6. Hynek, 1951, p.95; Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.212. [return]
7. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Enrie Negative Vertical," Sindonology.org. [return]
8. Wuenschel, 1954, p.50; Meacham, 1983, p.284. [return]
9. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.212; Tosatti, M., 2011, "The Shroud is not a fake," Vatican Insider, 12 December. [return]
10. Hynek, 1951, p.95; Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.212. [return]
11. Hynek, 1951, p.95. [return]
12. Bulst, 1957, p.107; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.155-156; Brent & Rolfe, 1978, p.41; Cruz, J.C., 1984, "Relics: The Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, the Blood of Januarius ... History, Mysticism, and the Catholic Church," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.51; Antonacci, 2000, p.120; de Wesselow, 2012, p.144. [return]
13. de Wesselow, 2012, p.144. [return]
14. Vignon, P., 1902, "The Shroud of Christ," University Books: New York NY, Reprinted, 1970, p.44; Hynek, 1951, p.94; Wuenschel, 1954, p.20; Morgan, R.H., 1986, "Environmental Study of the Shroud in Jerusalem," Shroud News, No. 37, October, pp.11-14, 13. [return]
15. Wuenschel, 1954, p.20; Humber, T., 1978, "The Sacred Shroud," , Pocket Books: New York NY, p.35; Robinson, J.A.T., "The Shroud and the New Testament," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.69-81, 76; Morgan, 1986, p.13. [return]
16. Robinson, 1978, p.76; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.218; Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.230; Wilcox, 2010, p.189. [return]
17. Habermas, 1984a, p.158; Habermas, 1984b, p.1116; Antonacci, 2000, pp.33, 235. [return]
18. Bulst, 1957, pp.74, 144n.219; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.156. [return]
19. Bulst, 1957, p.74, 144n.219; Wuenschel, 1954, pp.51-52; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.156-157, 218; Habermas, 1984a, pp.158-159; Habermas, 1984b, p.1116; Antonacci, 2000, p.32. [return]
20. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.156; Cruz, 1984, p.52; Habermas, 1984a, pp.158-159; Habermas, 1984b, p.1116; Habermas, 1987, p.28; Antonacci, 2000, pp.32, 120, 235; Tribbe, 2006, pp.100, 231; Wilcox, 2010, pp.19, 189. [return]
21. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.127; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.91; Iannone, 1998, p.88. [return]
22. Green, J.P., Sr., ed., 1986, "The Interlinear Bible: One Volume Edition," , Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody MA, Second edition, p.843. [return]
23. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994, p.446. [return]
24. Thayer, J.H., 1901, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament," T & T. Clark: Edinburgh, Fourth edition, Reprinted, 1961, p.143. [return]
25. Brent & Rolfe, 1978, p.41; Iannone, 1998, pp.88, 181; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.127; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.91. [return]
26. Wuenschel, 1954, p.49; Iannone, 1998, pp.88, 181. [return]
27. Jesus died at the "ninth hour" (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; Lk 23:44-46), which was 3pm, on the eve of the Sabbath (Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54), a Friday. And Jesus was resurrected at, or before dawn on the day after the Sabbath, the first day of the week, a Sunday (Mt 28:1-6; Mk 16:1-6; Lk 24:1-6). Therefore Friday 3pm-12mn = 9 hours + Saturday 24 hours + Sunday 12mn - 6am = 6 hours, total 39 hours. [return]
28. Carson, D.A., "Matthew," in Gaebelein, F.E., ed., 1984, "The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Volume 8 - Matthew, Mark, Luke," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, p.577. [return]
29. Rogers, R.N., 2008, "A Chemist's Perspective on the Shroud of Turin," Lulu Press: Raleigh, NC, p.100; de Wesselow, 2012, p.155. [return]
30. Rogers, 2008, pp.100-101; de Wesselow, 2012, p.155. [return]
31. Rogers, 2008, p.102; de Wesselow, 2012, p.155. [return]
32. Rogers, 2008, pp.100-102; de Wesselow, 2012, pp.155-156. [return]
33. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.89; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.124; Iannone, 1998, p.182; Antonacci, 2000, p.84. [return]
34. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.89-90; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.124-125; Iannone, 1998, p.182; Antonacci, 2000, p.61. [return]
35. Rogers, 2008, p.102. [return]
36. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.153-154; Fanti & Malfi, 2015, p.27. [return]
37. Jones, S.E., 2013, "Shroud on SBS 1 Australia at 7:30 pm tonight Sunday 24 March," The Shroud of Turin blog, 24 March. [return]
38. Allen, N.P.L., 1995, "Verification of the Nature and Causes of the Photonegative Images on the Shroud of Lirey-Chambery-Turin," De Arte, 51, Pretoria, UNISA, pp.21-35; Allen, N., 2009, "How Leonardo did not fake the Shroud of Turin," Unisa Press. [return]
39. Antonacci, 2000, p.89. [return]
40. Piczek, I., 1996, "Alice in Wonderland and the Shroud of Turin," Proceedings of the Esopus Conference, August 23rd-25th, Esopus, New York; Wilson, 1998, p.217. [return]
41. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.126. [return]
42. Major, R., 2016, "Movie: Stages of decomposition," Australian Museum, 23 February. [return]
43. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.219; Leafloor, L., 2015, "The Shroud of Turin: Controversial Cloth Defies Explanation as Study Shows it Has DNA From Around the World," Ancient Origins, 21 October. [return]
44. de Wesselow, 2012, p.139. [return]
45. de Wesselow, 2012, p.148. [return]
46. Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.45; Drews, 1984, p.27; Habermas, 1984a, p.158; Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.26; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.112; Antonacci, 2000, p.32. [return]
47. Cruz, 1984, p.50; Drews, 1984, p.27; Habermas, 1984a, p.158; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.112-113; Bucklin, R., 1997, "An Autopsy on the Man of the Shroud," Third International Scientific Symposium on the Shroud of Turin, Nice, France, 12 May; Antonacci, 2000, pp.32, 88. [return]
48. Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY, p.53; Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.165; Oxley, 2010, p.130. [return]
49. Cameron, J. M., "The Pathologist and the Shroud," in Jennings, 1978, p.58; Wilson, 1986, p.26; Zugibe, F.T., 1988, "The Cross and the Shroud: A Medical Enquiry into the Crucifixion," , Paragon House: New York NY, Revised edition, p.132; Iannone, 1998, p.81; Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.65; Tribbe, 2006, p.100; Oxley, 2010, p.168; de Wesselow, 2012, p.146. [return]
50. Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.150; Tribbe, 2006, p.126; de Wesselow, 2012, pp.145, 148. [return]
51. Ricci, G., 1978, "The Way of the Cross in the Light of the Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, Second edition, Reprinted, 1982, p.61. [return]
52. Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.113; Tribbe, 2006, p.101; de Wesselow, 2012, pp.120-121. [return]
53. Cruz, 1984, p.53; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.113. [return]
54. Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.113; Schiatti, L, 1998., "The Shroud: A Guide to the Reading of an Image Full of Mystery," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.30; de Wesselow, 2012, p.130. [return]
55. Cameron, 1978, p.59; Cruz, 1984, p.51; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.112; Antonacci, 2000, p.31; Tribbe, 2006, p.101; Oxley, 2010, p.167. [return]
56. Bulst, 1957, p.106; Robinson, J.A.T., "The Shroud and the New Testament," in Jennings, 1978, p.78; Antonacci, 2000, p.102. [return]
57. Robinson, 1978, pp.77-78; Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, pp.226-227; Antonacci, 2000, p.24. [return]
58. Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ, p.81; Antonacci, 2000, p.32. [return]
59. "Shroud University - Exploring the Mystery Since 33 A.D.," Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc., Peachtree City, GA. [return]
60. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.189. [return]
Posted: 14 March 2017. Updated: 20 April 2017.