(See the Image Formation Theory issue for a summary of image characteristics.)
The following are excerpts from Report on the Shroud of Turin, Dr. John Heller, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1983, Pages 2-4.
Irrespective of how the images were made, there is adequate information here to state that they are anatomically correct. There is no problem in diagnosing what happened to this individual. The pathology and physiology are unquestionable and represent medical knowledge unknown 150 years ago.
This is a 5-foot, 11-inch male Caucasian weighing about 178 pounds. The lesions are as follows: beginning at the head, there are blood flows from numerous puncture wounds on the top and back of the scalp and forehead. The man has been beaten about the face, there is swelling over one cheek, and he undoubtedly has a black eye. His nose tip is abraded, as would occur from a fall, and it appears that the nasal cartilage may have separated from the bone. There is a wound in the left wrist, the right one being covered by the left hand. This is the typical lesion of crucifixion. The classical artistic and legendary portrayal of a crucifixion with nails through the palms of the hands is spurious [wrong]: the structures in the hand are too fragile to hold the live weight of a man, particularly of this size. Had a man been crucified with nails in the palms, they would have torn through the bones, muscles, and ligaments, and the victim would have fallen off the cross.
On the back and on the front there are lesions which appear to be scourge marks. Historians have indicated that Romans used a whip called a flagrum. This whip had two or three thongs, and at their ends there were pieces of metal or bone which look like small dumbbells. These were designed to gouge out flesh. The thongs and metal end-pieces from a Roman flagrum fit precisely into the anterior and posterior scourge lesions on the body. The victim was whipped from both sides by two men, one of whom was taller than the other, as demonstrated by the angle of the thongs.
There is a swelling of both shoulders, with abrasions indicating something heavy and rough had been carried across the man's shoulders within hours of death. On the right flank, a long, narrow blade of some type entered in an upward direction, pierced the diaphragm, penetrated into the thoracic cavity through the lung into the heart. This was a post-mortem event, because separate components of blood cells and clear serum drained from the lesion. Later, after the corpse was laid out horizontally and face up on the cloth, blood dribbled out of the side wound and puddled along the small of the back. There is no evidence of either leg being fractured. There is an abrasion of one knee, commensurate with a fall (as is the abraded nose tip); and, finally, a spike had been drive through both feet, and blood had leaked from both wounds onto the cloth.
The evidence of a scourged man who was crucified and died from the cardiopulmonary failure typical of crucifixion is clear-cut.
From Verdict on the Shroud, Kenneth E. Stevenson and Gary R. Habermas, Dell/Banbury Paperback version, 1981, pages 184-5
The Physical Cause of Jesus' Death
Physicians who have examined the Shroud image are unanimous in their belief that the man was dead when he was placed in the Shroud, and that his death was caused by crucifixion and the tortures that preceded it. They also agree that he was dead when the spear pierced his side. They are not as sure about the exact cause of Jesus' death, but their opinions are quite similar.
Most experts hold that Jesus died primarily of asphyxiation, the usual cause of death in crucifixion. According to this view, Jesus died more quickly than most victims because scourging and beating had gravely weakened him. He was eventually unable to pull himself up on the cross in order to breathe (the "T" position) and he asphyxiated in the "down" position (the bent-knee "Y" position) on the cross. In this case, the muscles around his lungs kept him from exhaling and directly caused his death. Bucklin adds that complications due to congestive heart failure were likely as well.
A consensus is visible among (the) views. Most scholars hold that asphyxiation played an important part in Jesus' death. He struggled on the cross to keep breathing. Some scholars hold that he asphyxiated directly when the chest muscles fail to sustain breathing. Others suggest asphyxiation as the blood and fluid also compressed his lungs. But all these scholars agree that the Shroud contains conclusive evidence that Jesus indeed died and that it reveals the general features of his death.
Original Article - shroud2000.com