Episode 79 with Dr. Stephen Mattingly

Dr. Stephen Mattingly, Ph.D. is a microbiologist who has developed a hypothesis on how the image on the Shroud of Turin formed. He has been able to reproduce his work – something no one else has been able to do as far as we know.

His explanation and work is detailed in the book, The Jesus Microbiome. A human microbiome is the aggregate of all bacteria that resides on or in a person. 

The predominant Bacteria

Staphylococcus Epidermidis is the predominant bacteria that would have been on Jesus’ body; it can grow in blood and body fluids and even salty environments as would be in sweat. The scourging and subsequent blood and serum and exposed tissue, as well as sweat and the heat of the day, would have made Jesus a perfect culture medium. Staph episode produces a thick glue-like substance that would have caused adherence of the body, and thus all the bacteria, to the linen.

Shroud Components and Effects of the Bacteria

The linen shroud was made of cellulose or complex sugars. It absorbed the breakdown products of bacteria including all the carbon found in cell walls and structures, as well as the carbon in the degraded proteins.  These contain carbon and would have been integrated into the Shroud, thus making carbon-dating erroneous.

Effect of Unsaturated Fats and Body Washing

The fats contain oils; the bacteria on our neck are the cause of the “ring around the collar” effect on our shirts and clothing. The washing of Jesus’ body merely spread the sticky glue-like substance and fats across his body. So in essence, the Shroud is an oil painting procured by the oils from his body, and all components of the cells contributed something to the Shroud formation.

Work Reproducible

Dr. Mattingly has put a high concentration of Staph Epidermidis on his face and created a yellowish image. His wife took a sample of bacteria and water and painted an image. In science others must be able to reproduce his work.

Where is the body?

His work offers no explanation on the location of the body. There is no evidence that the body was moved, and if that happened there should have been an effect seen on the shroud. Do we have science and faith working together? Science explains the image, and faith tells us that Jesus rose from the dead.

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