Monday, 29 June 2015

Shroud Report - Jewish Burial Practices

Shroud University

One of the more interesting avenues of research is the area of burial practices. Could the Shroud have been a genuine Jewish burial shroud? How can we find out? John 19:40 says, “Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” What were those burial customs?

One of the points of confusion with the Shroud is that it was a custom to wash the body before burial. Yet the Shroud seems to depict a man whose wounds were never cleaned. However there appears to be an exception to this custom for those who have died a violent death. Here is an excerpt from The Jewish Way of Death and Mourning by Maurice Lamm (1969):

“The blood that flows at the time of death may not be washed away. When there is other blood on the body that flowed during lifetime (while alive), from wounds or as a result of an operation, the washing and taharah (purification) are performed in the usual manner.”

“Where the deceased died instantaneously through violence or accident, and his body and garments are completely spattered with blood, no washing or taharah is performed. The body is placed in the casket without the clothes being removed. Only a sheet is wrapped around it, over the clothes. The blood is part of the body and may not be separated from it in death.”

“Where blood flows continually after death, the source of the flow is covered and not washed. The clothes which contain the blood that flowed after death are placed in the casket at the feet.”

Notice how only a single sheet is used. Also, the man on the Shroud is naked because they cast lots for his garments. The reason for this unusual custom was due to the belief that “life is in the blood”. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.”

Another reason why the blood must be buried with the body is because it was considered unclean. To touch a corpse was to touch something unclean and therefore become unclean yourself. One would then have to go through a ritual process of becoming clean again.

Blood that flowed after the person died is considered “life blood”. This is the blood that makes atonement. It is the trading of that which gives life for that which brings death (sin). It wasn't just the blood, but the life in the blood that was the acceptable sacrifice.

Blood that flowed after death was often mixed with blood that flowed before death, this was called “mingled blood”. If there was more than a loss of a “quarter log” of mingled blood, it was considered unclean and must be buried with the body. A log is the content of 6 eggs. A quarter log is 1 ½ eggs. The volume of blood lost from the side-wound must have easily exceeded this measure and is why the man on the shroud is unwashed.

The Article "New Pollen Evidence from Israel" discussed the presence of pollen and flower images from plants that grow only in Jerusalem and indicate the Shroud’s existence in the Holy Land and probable use in a burial ceremony. The presence of limestone particles unique to the tombs and foothills around Jerusalem is also telling.

Everything continues to be consistent with the biblical account of the crucifixion and known Jewish burial practices.

Original Article -