John Jackson has posited a theory that the linen which has become known
as the Shroud of Turin may have been present for the Last Supper as
well as at Christ's crucifixion, reported the Colorado Catholic Herald.
"I think some of the stains [on the shroud] are candidates for foodstuff. The shroud may have been a witness to Holy Thursday and Good Friday," he told the newspaper.
Jackson runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado with his wife, Rebecca. The two are dedicated to studying the reputed burial cloth of Jesus and delivering educational lectures around the globe. The shroud has an image of what many believe to be Christ, following his crucifixion.
Jackson is the director of research for the center and has studied the shroud since 1974. He teaches physics at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He led an American team that traveled to Turin, Italy, in 1978 collecting data to study the cloth, including carbon dating. That research is still the primary data source for studying the image on the shroud, reported the Herald.
Jackson told the Herald his concern is authenticating the shroud from an archeological perspective; it is up to the magisterium to concern itself with implications on the Catholic faith.
Jackson says the dimensions of the cloth are consistent with cubit measurements used in the first century. The stains on the cloth are consistent with wounds Christ suffered during the crucifixion, including scourge marks, puncture wounds and blood stains where the crown of thorns would have rested as well.
His wife, Rebecca, a Catholic convert who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, is the center's expert on early Judaism. She notes the man of the shroud was buried according to Jewish standards. The figure's hands are crossed, as opposed to being clenched as found in Egyptian pagan burials. And while Jewish custom is to cleanse a body before burial, cleansing would not have taken place if the person died a violent death; if he is sentenced to capital punishment for a crime of a religious nature; if he is killed by a gentile; and if he is considered an outcast from the Jewish community.
Christ met all of these disqualification standards, says Rebecca, hence the likelihood that the man of the shroud was a Jew and plausibly Christ. Furthermore, she said, the linen of the shroud is of the type that was likely to have been woven in the first century A.D.
"The bottom line is I think what is portrayed on the shroud is realistic based upon crucifixion reconstruction," said Jackson. "When you look at the totality of what we have on the shroud, I personally think it is the burial cloth of Jesus."