Gary Vikan on suggestion that the Shroud is a cult object
Gary Vikan, Director of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland, revisited the carbon 14 dating, the d’Arcis Memorandum, arguing that the shroud was produced for the lay brotherhoods of Francis of Assisi:
. . . that his piety and his cult of self-mortification engendered. These Christians appreciated and understood Jesus’ wounds in a very physical way. This is the world of the holy shroud; these are the people for whom it would have held special meaning; and these, certainly, are the people for whom it was made . . . these medieval Christians would have understood that the nails must have gone through Jesus’ wrists in order to hold tGary Vikan on suggestion that the Shroud is a cult objectGary Vikan on suggestion that the Shroud is a cult objecthe body to the cross (although in medieval art these wounds are invariably in the palms). And their cult images would match this physical understanding of crucifixion, even to the point of adding human blood . . . All of which is to say that the indication of nail holes in the wrists and what some claim is the presence of blood on the linen need not add up to a miracle.
There simply is no basis for such a claim The best Vikan can do is to assume that medieval penitents are comparable to modern-day Spanish American Catholic penitents in New Mexico who practice self-mortification and self-crucifixion. He also claims there are many images like those of the shroud. That is true if we allow for paintings that are not negatives, are not height-fields that produce 3D representations. Vikan is right if we also ignore the medically accurate bloodstains and images resulting from inexplicably caused chemical changes to the linen.