Re: [Fwd: Age of universe]

George Murphy (
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 12:42:42 -0500

John Neal wrote:
> I've seen the shroud in documentaries and I can't see how it is claimed
> to be Christ's with much conviction at all.
> Read John 19:39-40:
> "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by
> night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound
> weight. 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."
> They wound the garment about him and didn't just lay one over him.
> I've heard that the manner of burial back then was to wrap people
> mummie-style with 2-3 inch wide strips of cloth. If this is so, it
> would certainly knock out any claims of authenticity of the shroud.

1) It is hard to conclude anything definite about the burial
cloth or clothes from the gospels: John may give the impression of
"bandages" because the word used (plural of _othonion_) is a diminutive
of _othone_. But grammatical diminutives don't always have this sense.
The synoptics (except for Lk.24:12, about which there is some textual
doubt) use _sindon_, which is a large piece of linen.
Raymond Brown has a detailed discussion of this with several
references in his Anchor Bible John commentary (Vol.2, pp.941-942) &
says, "Even though we feel no compulsion to harmonize John with the
Synoptics and have not the least interest in defending the Shroud of
Turin, we cannot jump to the conclusion that John meant `bandages'."
2) Our knowledge of Jewish customs in the time of Jesus is not
nearly as thorough as some NT scholars would suggest. There were
different Jewish groups - Pharisees, Essenes, Sadducees, &c - who had
different practices, and it is risky to read what we know of post-70
A.D. customs back before that time. The same is true for Roman
occupation policies. In any case, things like burial practices are not
inviolable laws.
George Murphy