The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ

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Was the Shroud of Turin the tablecloth used at the Last Supper?

Dr. John Jackson and his wife Rebecca believe that the Shroud may have been the tablecloth used during the Last Supper. This quotation is by Mike Barna, published in the Colorado Spring Gazette on December 17, 2009:

[John] Jackson maintains that the Shroud of Turin originally was intended as a table cloth. “Jesus’ burial was on, or on the day prior to, Passover,” he told me. “When Joseph went looking for a burial cloth, the shops would have been closed for Passover, so Joseph used what he could find, and in this case it may have been a table cloth, which would have an ornate weave.”

The Jacksons have maintained for years that Jesus’ burial cloth might have been the table cloth for the Last Supper.

It is widely considered a stretch of logic. The Jackson's assumes that because as Matthew tells us, there was "darkness over all the land.” (Mt 27:45) that Jewish shopkeepers would have closed up early thinking that God had brought on the Sabbath early rather than at sunset. The suggestion is that Joseph of Arimathea would have been confused and ended up using the tablecloth from the Last Supper. After all, a linen tablecloth for a table that seated thirteen men would have been just the right size.

Rebecca Jackson suggests that thirteen red spots are at consistent intervals on one side of the cloth. This is consistent with Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper and may not be at all realistic.  She argues that the stains are charoset, a mixture made from apple pieces, nuts and wine used for dipping during the Passover seder. There is, of course, no chemical analysis to suggest this.

Moreover, there is no evidence, that a tablecloth was used at the last supper. In fact, most authorities scoff at the idea.

Such a suggestion has no bearing on authenticity.

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