Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I may have mentioned on last year's blog about Italy that every rendition of the Crucified Christ, whether painting or statue depicts the Christ with a wound in his right side.

I noticed this again this year, and mentioned it to several folks.  It didn't seem to bother them nearly so much as it bothered me.


Well I studied the crucifixion some several years ago when we published a scientific paper describing the physiology of crucifixion.  I read quite a bit about it, and visualized the "coup de grace" spear wound on the left side, the side where the major part of the heart is located.

If you look carefully at a real mammal heart, you notice that the heart is really a small right chamber, which only pumps to the lungs (Which are close by) partly enclosed by a left heart which is substantially bigger because it pumps blood to every part of the body, even the toes.

The Romans crucified large groups.  Most everybody seeks the easiest means for doing a job, and killing a suffering suspended victim is most easily done by a simple spear thrust to the heart.  The ruptured heart rapidly results in the demise of the victim, to everyone's relief.

The ribcage and especially the sternum protect the heart, but not from a spear thrust on the left side that enters from beneath the lowest rib- especially easily done for a suspended victim up on a cross.

So, these artistic depictions of the crucified Christ bother a physiologist.  I noted it on every art piece, except one.  Finally,
 in the Vatican, I spot the one "correct" depiction.

I like the painting, in that it shows a muscular, fit, lean Jesus.  I like it because it is uniquely showing the "correct" left-side stab.

Does it matter?  Not really, but as I have said before, this is the most important event in all of history, so it is worth thinking about, a least a bit.

Right side stab or left?

That's not the key issue.  The key issue is, The Christ died for us.  What are we doing to say "thank you"?

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