Sacred Blood Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin Hardcover – 30 Jun 2005
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Bennett's traces the history of Sudarium from the earliest mentions of it in early Christian century Palestine, linking it to Christ's burial cloth. She makes a convincing argument that the Sudarium was transferred from the Holy Land to Northern Spain following the Persian and Arab invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries. She then painstakingly analyzes the linen and the blood stains, painting a picture of how this linen cloth once covered the head of an adult man. This is followed by a fascinating comparison between the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin. In this comparison, she makes a powerful case that they were both placed on the same crucified man.
The book then provides two chapters outlining first century Jewish burial customs and how the Sudarium is mentioned in the New Testament. As well, Bennett has added numerous colour images of the Sudarium, places mentioned in the book and a map of its historical journey, as well as a chronology and glossary.
If you are curious about the Sudarium or the Shroud of Turin and would like to read a very thorough study of the topic, you would definitely enjoy reading this book. Also, if you are interested in being introduced to scientific arguments in favor of Jesus' crucifixion, read this book, it is an excellent starting point.
This separate cloth is called a sudarium (scarf or kerchief). It was wrapped around the crucified victim's head, after he died, but while still hanging on the cross. The veil was used to stop the flow of blood from the lips and nose. This was the Jewish burial custom that required every drop of blood to be buried with the body. After the body was carried to the tomb, the cloth was removed and set aside.
It is assumed that the cloth was kept hidden in the Holy Land since there is no mention of it until the 7th century. When the Persians invaded in 614, it was moved to Alexandria. Two years later, when the Persians occupied Alexandria, the cloth went to Cartagena, then to Seville, then in 636 to Toledo, the main Christian center in Spain. When the Muslims invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711, it was taken in a chest and hidden on the peak of Monsacro, in the northern region of Asturias, Spain. In 761, it was taken to its current location, the Cathedral of Oviedo.
The author clearly distinguishes between verifiable history, "interesting material", "legends mixed with facts", and "fictitious inventions of the local populace." Scientists have determined the cause of death of the person whose face the cloth covered, how soon after death it was applied, when it was removed, how it was wrapped on the head, the position of the deceased when it was positioned on the head, all subsequent moves of the cloth, foreign objects that came into contact with it, and substances that were applied to the cloth.
The scarf is well-preserved because linen is a long-lasting material. The oldest preserved linen fabric is around seven thousand years old. The sudarium is 88.5 centimeters by 52.6 centimeters, showing visible traces of blood and other stains. Scientists have dated it back to the time of the Roman Empire because of its weave pattern and the use of a Z-twist. 141 pollen grains have been found on the sudarium, of which 99% are found in the Mediterranean region. Three of the plants grow only in Palestine, can be found within a 20-kilometer radius of Jerusalem, and all blossom in the spring, which coincides with Jesus' crucifixion April 3, 33. Scientists have also discovered traces of myrrh and aloe on the cloth, corresponding to the anointing of Jesus' body by Nicodemus with these same spices (John 19:39, 40).
Experiments have successfully duplicated the stains on the cloth. They show an adult male with AB blood, a beard, a mustache, and hair tied at the back. Hematological tests reveal two kinds of stains. One kind was the result of pneumothorax, the presence of air in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. This allowed a mixture of body fluid and blood to settle in the chest cavity after death, typical for victims of crucifixion. All evidence suggests that the stains were created by a sudden discharge of body fluid and blood from the nose and mouth after the man had died but was still hanging on the cross. The stains also show that the man's head was tilted 70 degrees forward and 20 degrees to the right. Scientists have concluded that this crucified man's feet were fixed to the cross. Otherwise, he would have died after 15 to 20 minutes, not long enough to produce the volume of stains on the cloth. The second kind of stain was caused by live blood that flowed from injuries sustained before death. The patterns suggest that the blood came from wounds caused by the crown of thorns.
Scientists have recreated the following sequence of events from the stains on the cloth. Jesus expired on the cross around 3:00 p.m. (Matthew 27:45-50). He hung on the cross for one hour until around 4:00 p.m. before the cloth was applied. This is deduced from a series of stains on the lower left edge of the cloth which show puncture wounds (compatible with a crown of thorns) while the man was still alive, which bled approximately one hour before the lined was placed on them. The cloth was then pinned to the back of His head and then wrapped around His face. But it was not able to go all the way around because Jesus' head rested against His slightly elevated right shoulder. So the cloth was doubled back and pinned against His hair at the back. This explains why the stains form a symmetrical pattern after the cloth was folded. Scientists also identified the exact stain that occurred when someone's left hand squeezed the nose to staunch the blood flow. It took about one hour for the volume of stains to be formed while His body remained on the cross, until around 5:00 p.m. So Joseph of Arimathea had about two hours (3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to go to Jerusalem from Golgotha to ask Pontius Pilate for permission to take possession of Jesus' body (Matthew 27:57-58).
Jesus' body was then taken down from the cross. He was placed faced down still attached to the crossbeam. His head maintained a tilt of 20 degrees to the right but was now 115 degrees to the vertical. His forehead was supported by a hard surface. He stayed in this position for one hour. During this time, the nails were removed from His hands and feet. The sudarium was removed and wrapped around the head again, using a different method than before. The cloth was unrolled to its full size and wrapped around the whole head, covering it like a hood. It was then fastened to the hair with sharp pins, leaving small perforations on the fabric. The head covering became cone shaped when it was tied at the top of the head. Around 6:00 p.m., Jesus was carried face down to His tomb. His face was supported by someone's left hand. A great stain in the form of a triangle clearly shows the fingers and left palm of this person on Jesus' cheek. It took no more than 5 to 10 minutes to produce this stain, perhaps the time it took to carry Jesus' body to His garden tomb, which was very near where He was crucified (John 19:41). The corpse was then turned on its side and the cloth removed from the head and not used again.
Compared to the Shroud of Turin, both cloths have AB blood type belonging to a male. The size of the nose imprints is identical, measuring 8 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide. In both cases the right side of the nose appears swollen and slightly bent to the right, and the right cheek exhibits a large wound. The bloodstains on the cloths are similar to each other in shape and arrangement. Scientists agree that the Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin covered the same person.
The only negative evidence against the sudarium has been carbon dating, saying the cloth dates to between A.D. 642 and 869, or between 653 and 786. But carbon dating becomes very inaccurate if the object has accumulated carbon particles, which woven fabrics easily absorb. The sudarium cannot be a medieval fake. Medieval forgers did not have the knowledge of which pollen seeds occurred only in the Holy Land.
I only had one wish regarding this book. It is difficult to read because of the sentence construction. Almost every sentence is too long and punctuated by too many commas. But the book is worth reading because of the outstanding scientific and historic research of a cloth that most certainly once covered the face of Jesus Christ.
This talks about (1) the KNOWN history of the Sudarium, (2) the POSTULATED history based on a combination of scientific evidence, historical information and legend, and (3) LEGENDS that are almost certainly not correct. The most important thing is that it has a documented history IN SPAIN from 1075 and nearly completely documented history from BEFORE 725. It also goes through the evidence that the Sudarium and the Shroud were on the same person.
Completely aside from issues of the Sudarium and the Shroud, the book has a very good section on issues related to relics. For instance, it says that claims existed that relics included part of the True Cross, bread from the Last Supper, part of the clothing that wrapped Jesus IN THE MANGER, and a host of other absurd claims. She also points out that pilgrimage sites were major revenue sources and medieval forgeries were common. She also points out that those forgeries were not common UNTIL the Middle Ages.
One thing I definitely DON'T like about the Kindle version is that it is obviously scanned from a printed copy without correcting OCR errors. Numerous examples are "die" instead of "the", and "doth" instead of "cloth". These are not oddball errors -- they occur numerous times. Most of the errors are pretty obvious and could have been quickly spotted just spending 2-3 hours skimming the text. There also are the usual OCR errors such as commas and periods being swapped and capitalized words in the middle of a sentence.
Of particular benefit to the reader is an EXCELLENT series of color plates and photos which show key points of the book and diagram major details about the use of the Sudarium immediately following the crucifixion.
Additionally the printer has used very high quality paper and book material [hardback]. Most definitely worth the price.