driven back

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Senior Member

According to Thomas of Celano, an eyewitness to St. Francis's stigmata and also his biographer: "His hands and feet seemed pierced in the midst by nails, the heads of the nails appearing in the inner part of the hands and in the upper part of the feet, and their points over against them. These marks were round on the inner side of the hands and elongated on the outer side, and certain small pieces of flesh were seen like the ends of nails bent and driven back, projecting from the rest of the flesh. (Holographic Universe/Michael Talbot)

I understand that these pieces of flesh resembled bent nails that were protruding (driven back) from the rest of the flesh?
At first I thought that "driven back" means something like "hammered in" but I think it's the other way round?
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  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I think it means like, a nail that has been driven through a plank, bent into a U shape, and then the point is hammered into the wood again (back towards the head). It's a way of making sure that the nail can't be easily pulled out. So, there's curved, smooth protrusions from the flesh on the back of his hands. I find the image rather confusing as well.
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