What the Gospels don’t reveal about Christ’s sufferings, science does.
Pope Pius XII listened to the medical explanation of Christ’s sufferings on the Cross and went pale with grief: “We did not know; no one ever told us that.”What so moved the Pope were the results of a renowned surgeon’s unprecedented research into the physical sufferings of Our Lord, about which the Gospels reveal only the barest essentials. Collecting his findings in this mind-opening book, Dr. Pierre Barbet relied heavily on his close analysis of the Holy Shroud of Turin to re-create every stage of the Passion with heart-rending precision and detail. The result: a minor classic of spirituality by a modern layman. For Lenten meditation, this volume is unsurpassed. For example:
- The painful hemorrhaging phenomenon which corresponds to Jesus’ sweating “drops of blood” – and renders the skin more susceptible to pain
- The “flagrum” used for scourging: designed to inflict deep wounds
- Evidence that Christ received more than the customary number of blows during the scourging – by two soldiers at once
- The Crown of Thorns: more like a cap – cutting into Our Lord’s head in every part. How we know the thorns were particularly long and sharp
- Did Christ merely drag the Cross to Calvary, as artists often depict? Evidence suggests otherwise. How much it weighed
- Countless medically accurate details on the Shroud that no medieval artist could have forged – or even known about
- Were Christ’s feet nailed separately, or one over the other? Dr. Barbet settles the question
- How the descent from the Cross differed from its depiction by nearly all artists
- Why Our Lord’s violent thirst? Why the nailing to the Cross is one of the most terrible ways of torture a human can suffer
- The determining cause of Our Lord’s death: asphyxia, after prolonged struggle. What it would have been like
Dr. Barbet was a devout Catholic who knew the spiritual value of his findings – and he encouraged priests to use them in homilies: “It is largely with a view to these clerics that I have wished to divulge my ideas, so that they may nourish their devotion to Jesus.”
“Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.” (John 19:1)
What the Gospels merely mention, Barbet describes in detail, based on hard evidence.