THE GOSPELS WITH REGARD TO THE ENTOMBMENT cont
It is clear from the literal examination that we have here made of the Greek and Latin texts, that the accounts given by the four Evangelists fully agree with and support each other. We must not forget that amongst the Jews all linen used in burial was held to be impure, and the fact of its preservation would therefore be a most carefully guarded secret amongst the disciples.
A closer agreement between the results of a physico-chemical study, made after a lapse of twenty centuries, and the testimony of those who were actual witnesses of the events, could not be desired. Let us summarize in a few sentences such circumstances of Christ's enshroudment as are brought out by our inquiry.
At the moment of death the body of Christ was covered with wounds and feverish sweat. After the disciples had taken down the body from the Cross they carried it to the sepulchre and enveloped it in a great shroud, as we see in Plate 1. This shroud was impregnated with a mixture of oil and aloes, but the body had neither been washed nor anointed. In the sepulchre small rolls of linen supported the head at each side. The impressions on the Shroud were produced by the ammoniacal emanations from the body as we shall describe in Chapter VII. From some of the wounds exudations of serum soiled the linen, while the clots of blood produced, in places, specially marked imprints.
On the morning of Easter Day, according to the Gospels, the sepulchre was found empty, the small rolls of cloth being on the ground and the large Shroud rolled up by itself. These facts are testified to by the holy women, and by the disciples, Peter and John.
We shall show scientifically that the body did not remain enveloped in the Shroud more than two or three days.
We will now see what History has to say about the Holy Shroud.
Translator's Note. —Skeat gives the derivation of napkin as " nappe," cloth 01 table-cloth, which again is " linen in its larger sense."