Truth is the proper starting point for the understanding of any subject, including His passion.
Although the exact placement in the palms may be incorrect, there is new scholarship and science that show that nails MAY actually have entered through the palm.
Dr. Frederick T. Zugibe, Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, N.Y. Chief Medical Examiner, Rockland County, N.Y. disagrees with Barbet and the accepted idea that the nails were driven through the wrists.
In his paper Pierre Barbet Revisited, Zugibe shows that Barbet's anatomy was a little wrong. Barbet proposed that the nail went through Destot's Space, a natural opening between bounded by the CAPITATE, the SEMILUNAR, the TRIQUETRAL and the HAMATE bones (Figure 1). In so doing, Barbet theorized, the nail struck the median nerve, which caused the thumb to contract into the center of the palm.
Figure 1 The bones of the wrist, showing Destot's Space and the start of the "Z" space.
According to Zugibe:
"Unfortunately, THIS CANNOT BE TRUE because these four bones are located on the little finger (ulnar) side of the wrist not on the thumb (radial) side of the wrist as is depicted on the Shroud! LOOK AT THE HAND WOUND IMAGE ON THE SHROUD TO CONFIRM THIS!(Figure 2) Note that the hand wound image on the Shroud is indeed on the radial (thumb) side of the wrist.
Figure 2 The exit wound of the nail on the Left wrist of the Image on the Shroud.
He said that when he drove the nail through Destot's Space, anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the trunk of the median nerve was severed. This IS NOT anatomically possible because the median nerve is not present in the area of Destot's Space but instead runs along the wrist on the thumb (radial) side of the wrist and along the thenar furrow into the palm of the hand. An easy way to locate the median nerve on your own wrist is to bend your wrist forward. You will see a firm, rope-like structure jutting outward. This is the palmaris longus tendon which tells us that the median nerve runs along the thumb side of this tendon. Obviously, Barbet was damaging the ulnar nerve which runs in the area of Destot's space.
WHERE THEN WOULD THE WOUND HAVE TO BE MADE TO BE CONSISTENT WITH THE SHROUD?
Before answering this question, REMEMBER- the hand wound image is located on the back of the hand and only depicts the EXIT of the nail not its ENTRANCE. WE DON'T SPECIFICALLY KNOW WHERE THE NAIL ENTERED!
According to Zugibe the places a nail could be driven are limited:
First of all, it can't be Destot's space because it's on the wrong side of the wrist and,
Secondly, it can't be the center of the palm because it would not exit at the site of the wound image where the Shroud shows it nor could it support the weight of the body as determined by Barbet's experiments, and by mathematical calculations.
Thirdly, it can't be the space between the radius and ulna because it wouldn't exit where the Shroud shows it.
Zugibe proposes two different pathways, one also through the wrist, on the thumb side, and the other starting from the base of the thenar furrow that exits exactly where the Shroud shows it did. (The Thenar Furrow is the line of the hand that a palmreader would refer to as the "Life Line"):
THIS LEAVES ONLY TWO POSSIBILITIES:
ONE: The thumb (radial) side of the wrist i.e. the area of the wrist opposite Destot's Area. The nail could pass through the radial (thumb) side of the wrist through a space created by four other carpal bones; the NAVICULAR, LUNATE, GREATER MULTANGULAR and CAPITATE bones, emerging where the Shroud depicts it. This is a very strong area and the trunk of the median nerve would most likely be damaged by this path.
TWO: The upper part of the palm of the hand ... NOT THE MIDDLE OF THE PALM. This area is equally as sturdy as either Destot's Space or the radial area indicated above and would emerge at the site depicted on the Shroud. This area is located as follows; touch your thumb to the tip of your little finger. A deep furrow called the thenar furrow is seen at the base of the bulky prominence extending from the base of the thumb. This area was first pointed out by Monsignor Alfonso Paleotto, Archbishop of Bologna, who accompanied St. Charles Borromeo to Turin in 1598. It may be of interest that he postulated that the nail would have entered the upper part of the palm obliquely, and pointing toward the arm, it would have emerged where the Shroud depicts it. It is of interest that Barbet severely criticized Paleotto's hypothesis as "anatomically impossible." Monsignor Paleotto was indeed correct. If a nail is driven into this furrow, a few centimeters from where the furrow begins at the wrist, with the point of the nail angled at ten to fifteen degrees toward the wrist and slightly toward the thumb, there is a natural inclination of the nail to an area created by the METACARPAL bone of the index finger and the CAPITATE and LESSER MULTANGULAR bones of the wrist which we have coined the "Z" area (Fig. 5). I demonstrated this path over forty four years ago in the human anatomy dissection laboratory (Fig. 6,7). Last year, a striking unrehearsed event of monumental significance took place in the medical examiner's office that confirms the existence of this path. A young lady had been brutally stabbed over her whole body. I found a defense wound on her hand where she had raised her hand in an attempt to protect her face from the vicious onslaught. Examination of this wound in her hand revealed that she was stabbed in the thenar furrow in the palm of the hand; the knife had passed through the "Z" area and the point exited at the back of the wrist exactly where it is displayed on the Shroud (Figure 3. X-rays of the area showed no evidence of broken bones!
Figure 3 The nail entering the Z space that will exit exactly where the Shroud shows the exit wound.
Thus, it is probably that the nail WAS driven in through the palm although about an inch away from the traditional, iconographic "center of the palm" and about 1 1/2 inches away from the wrist entry required by Destot's Space passage. Maybe Mel got it right and we Shroud scholars have had it wrong for over 100 years!
Disclaimer: When I asked Dr. Alan Whanger, also a medical doctor and retired professor of Medicine, a couple of weeks ago what he thought of Dr. Zugibe's theory, he stated that he disagreed because the nail would have to be driven at an angle, not perpendicular to the hand. He prefered the "Destot's Space" pathway.
I pointed out that if the victim's elbow were forced downward to touch the ground below the patibulum placed on the ground, the hand would assume exactly the correct angle for a perpendicular nail to be driven through the "Z" space. Unfortunately, we were interupted and did not get to continue our discussion.