A while ago, I was talking with a friend, and he claimed that stigmata is a false occurrence because it is generally reported to appear in the center of the palms–and this is anatomically incorrect. He claimed that if Jesus was crucified properly, the nails would have been driven through his wrists–not his hands.
I asked my (christian) Anatomy teacher about this. He agreed that Jesus would have fallen off the cross if the nails were driven through his palms (as the flesh ripped from the weight of Jesus’ hanging body).

On the contrary, victims of stigmata report getting the wounds on the palms and feet. So, my question is, is my friend correct? Is there decent evidence that stigmata has occurred throughout the ages? And if so…why is it anatomically inaccurrate?
Thank you!


I think that Jesus may have been nailed through the palms as well as tied to the cross around his wrists. This was depicted in the movie The Passion of the Christ as well (which doesn’t mean that’s how it happened but it at least explains how Jesus stayed up on the cross.)


Ahh. Thank you. That makes sense.


Jesus would have been tied at the wrists and probably around the waist so the nailing in the hands or wrist would not make that much difference as far as suuport. Jesus also had a type of platform placed under his feet to keep him from stretching out and getting air so he was firmly in place and not able to move very much and this also supported his weight. I hope this helps.


It did–thanks!


The description of nails going through the hands is accurate- but you must think like a first century writer to understand why Scripture says “hands” and the Shroud of Turin shows wrists.

In the first century the “hand” was from the fingertips to the elbow, so if the nails went through the wrists they were deemed to go through the hand.

As far as the Stigmata goes… well one theory of why the wounds appear in the palm of the hand is because if they went through the wrists, where the nails actually went, the pain would be so excruciating the person would not be able to function. The is because the nails struck the media nerve when they went through the wrist.



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