Vatican Insider July 13, 2017
New study shows Man of the Shroud had “dislocated” arms
Four university professors have published an article in “Injury” magazine revealing that the crucified man that was wrapped in the Turin Shroud [(TS)] suffered a dislocation of the humerus, the paralysis of one arm and a violent trauma to the neck and chest. There are also traces of a double wrist-nailing
The Man of the Shroud “underwent an under glenoidal dislocation of the humerus on the right side and lowering of the shoulder, and has a flattened hand and enophthalmos; conditions that have not been described before, despite several studies on the subject. These injuries indicate that the Man suffered a violent blunt trauma to the neck, chest and shoulder from behind, causing neuromuscular damage and lesions of the entire brachial plexus.”
This is the conclusion four university professors arrived at in an in-depth study they carried out on the image of the crucified Man on the Turin Shroud. They observed that “the posture of the left claw-hand is indicative of an injury of the lower brachial plexus, as is the crossing of the hands on the pubis, not above the pubis as it would normally be, and are related to traction of the limbs as a result of the nailing to the patibulum.” Only part of the study has been published so far in Injury , the prestigious International Journal of the Care of the Injured. The rest of the study is to follow shortly. The four experts involved in the research are: Matteo Bevilacqua of the Hospital-University of Padua, Italy; Giulio Fanti of the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padua, Italy; Michele D’Arienzo of the Orthopaedic Clinic at the University of Palermo, Italy and Raffaele De Caro of the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Padua, Italy.
The first discovery the four experts made, is that the Man of the Shroud underwent a dislocation of the shoulder and paralysis of the right arm. The person whose figure is imprinted on the Shroud is believed to have collapsed under the weight of the cross, or the “patibulum” as it is referred to in the study, the horizontal part of the cross. The Man of the Shroud the academics explain, fell “forwards” and suffered a “violent” knock” “while falling to the ground.” “Neck and shoulder muscle paralysis” were “caused by a heavy object hitting the back between the neck and shoulder and causing displacement of the head from the side opposite to the shoulder depression. In this case, the nerves of the upper brachial plexus (particularly branches C5 and C6) are violently stretched resulting in an Erb-Duchenne paralysis (as occurs in dystocia) because of loss of motor innervation to the deltoid, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, biceps, supinator, brachioradialis and rhomboid muscles.” At this point it would have been impossible for the cross bearer to go on holding it and this brings to mind the passage in the Gospel which describes how the soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to pick up Jesus’ cross. Not an act of compassion therefore, but of necessity. This explains why “the right shoulder is lower than the left by 10±5 degrees” and The right eye is retracted in the orbit” because of the paralysis of the entire arm, the academics say.
The second discovery described in the Injury article is to do with the double nailing of the Man’s hands: Until now, experts could not explain the absence of thumbprints. The four academics can now reveal that “the lack of thumbprints of both hands on the TS is related not only to a lesion of the median nerve that causes only a slight flexion of the thumb, but also, particularly, to the fact that the nail driven into the wrist has pulled or injured the flexor pollicis longus tendon causing its dragging in the hole and the complete retraction of the thumb.”
Why the double nailing?One plausible reason could be that the Man’s executioners were unable to nail his hands into the holes that had already been specially punched into the cross to prevent the nails from bending when they were hammered into the hard wood. Once the first wrist was nailed to the cross they failed to nail the second one using the pre-prepared hole and so the executioners had to unnail both wrists. They then apparently drove the nails in lower down between the two rows of carpal bones, on the ulnar side of the hand.
The third discovery is to do with the right foot of the Man of the Shroud: it was nailed to the cross twice. An analysis of the imprint of the sole of the right foot shows two nails were driven into it: one between the second and third metatarsal and another at heel level which other academics had not spotted clearly.
According to the four experts, the Man of the Shroud definitely suffered a very serious and widespread pain accompanied by an intense sensation of heat, and usually shock when there is event he slightest limb movement. This was caused by a total paralysis of the right arm, the nailing of the left arm because of damage to the median nerve and the nailing of the feet because of damage to the tibial nerves. This method of nailing led to breathing impairment: with the arms raised at an approximately 15 degree angle causing the ribcage to expand, the lungs had difficulty expiring, reducing air flow. In addition to this, each deep breath the Man took to speak or to catch his breath will have put a strain on the lower limbs causing him intense pain.
According to the authors of the Injury article, the serum stains, which are separate to the stains of blood that came from the chest and were probably caused by the stabbing with a spear after he had died, were formed as a result of bleeding in the lungs. This bleeding will have started before the crucifixion, after the violent fall which caused the cross to fall onto the Man’s shoulders. The academics do not agree on the theories presented so far which claim that the blood leak on the side was caused by a spear wound in the pericardium because if the heart is pierced the pericardial sac can hold between 50 to 300 ml of blood which would have deposited itself on the diaphragm, without draining outwards.
Finally, the authors of the article put forward their theory on the Man of the Shroud’s immediate cause of death. Restricted breathing and the presence of the haemothorax which put pressure on the right lung were not enough to bring about death by asphyxia. Asphyxia involves an inability to breath which results in loss of conscience and coma. The four experts say the fall and/or the flagellation have caused not only a pulmonary contusion but also a cardiac contusion. This, together with the serious clinical and mental condition the Man was in, may have led to a heart attack and a broken heart.
In their conclusion, Bevilacqua, Fanti, D’Arienzo and De Caro write that “from correspondences here and elsewhere detected between TS Man and the description of Jesus’s Passion in the Gospels and Christian Tradition, the authors provide further evidence in favour of the hypothesis that TS Man is Jesus of Nazareth.”
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