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Topic: Taharah Burial Ceremony

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Taharah Burial Ceremony


Daniel Silva, in his book, The Secret Servant (G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 2007, pg 29), brings up the subject of the washing of the body for burial in Jewish Customs and I figured that I would look into this since Mr. Zugibee makes the point that Y'shua's body would have been washed, presumably, before it was wrapped in the Shroud.

Now, just from a preliminary study from Wikipedia, the point is, in fact, that he would have been wrapped in the Shroud for transport to the location where the proper burial procedures, including washing and prayers, would have been performed and, therefore, immediately Mr. Zugibee is out to lunch, as usual.

Another site says that the traditional burial procedures are suspended in cases of violent death - perhaps Mr. Zugibee would like to be the one to determine whether or not crucifixion is violent enough to suspend Taharah.

Considering the nature of the case, one is prone to ask exactly what was Mr. Zugibee trying to hide.

First he states that Y'shua did not suffer from Asphyxiation and then that his body had been washed before it was wrapped in the Shroud.

To the unbiased reader it is very obvious that those two theories are designed to drawn one away from the fact that there was a seminal discharge on the Shroud.

Nothing else explains his obviously unprofessional presentation of the facts.

And, as I suspected, the women arrived at the tomb early to conclude the Taharah - if he had already been washed, they, obviously, would not have done so.

By two or three witnesses let a matter be established and thus it is clear that Mr. Zugibee has displayed on two separate theories, what could easily be understood to be either malpractice or willful deception - period.

Jewish Burial Practices

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.

If Jesus could not be buried in a private tomb (yet was: Mt 27:60, Lk 23:53, Jn 19:41), but had to be placed in the atoning graveyard of the unrighteous criminals, what explains the Gospel stories as we have them? A clue lies in the earliest report, Mark 16:1-3, which has the women visit the tomb Sunday morning with the intention of opening it and completing the burial (ritual washing and anointing were among the required burial rites). Thus, from the earliest report, they did not regard the burial of Jesus as completed. And Mark also notes the peculiar urgency of the Sabbath. Even before Joseph so much as asks for the body, "evening had already come" (Mark 15:42, and see note below). Only one conclusion fits all the facts: Jesus was not formally buried Friday night. This is supported by a similar case in the Midrash Rabbah, where David is said to wish that he would die the eve of the Sabbath so his body would experience a final Sabbath before its burial on Sunday (Eccl. [V:12(148)]), which suggests it was common for those dead just before sundown to await a later burial. .80.94_Taharah

-- Edited by Theoferrum on Tuesday 3rd of December 2013 08:05:30 PM


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