New, Very Short Video from National Geographic

November 29, 2015 23 comments

Newly published on Nov 16, 2015 by National Geographic, this video is only three minutes long and very well done.  includes short comments by Steven Schaffersman, Ian Wilson and Barrie Schwortz:

The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino) is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man that is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. Radiocarbon dating has dated it to the Medieval period. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy.

Categories: Video

Analysis of Fibers in the Raes Area

November 28, 2015 3 comments

clip_image001A reader asks:

I have a question that is more directed to Thibault Heimburger who did analyses on actual fibers from the Raes region of the Shroud. Thibault found cotton in fibers 1, 7, and 14. Additionally there was a dye like substance on fiber number 5. Was there any cotton/dye resin found on fibers 2- 4 and 8-13? Thanks.

Categories: Reader Inquiry

I Hope This Helps

November 27, 2015 17 comments

imageIn an email someone asked:

My friend … has given me your email address.

I have tried to find the origin of the attached picture. I found it on an Internet site and I have asked the owner of the site about it, Anthony Layne, but he does not remember where he found the picture. Here is the link: *

Do you have any knowledge about it, ie. is this from the picture formation on the Shroud?

I can of course not use it in my lessons about the Shroud without such confirmation.

A quick Google image search (with Chrome browser, right click on the image and then click on Search Google for this image) reveals four web pages that display the image. One of them is this blog in a posting earlier this year: Seeking Help To Identify an Image Called Superficiality. Readers of this blog have provided some helpful information; for instance Kelly Kearse writes:

Picture is from Baima Ballone’s book Sindone O No, 1990, Figure 34. The above photo is reversed relative to that shown in the book.

I hope this helps.  Do read the comments to learn some additional information about the picture. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

* Note: The full link before shortening is

Categories: Reader Inquiry

Finally, An Explanation for the Exclamation Mark!

November 25, 2015 26 comments

and Michael Tite has some thoughts about the image, as well

imageYesterday, in a comment to Three Questions About The Reweaving Hypothesis, Charles Freeman mentioned that Michael Tite was still lecturing about the shroud. That prompted this response from Hugh Farey:

He is indeed. His most recent lecture was on Monday (yesterday), at the University of Durham Institute of Advanced Studies, in their ‘Evidence on Trial’ series, entitled ‘ Fakes, Forgeries and the Turin Shroud: the scientific evidence.’ It can be heard (audio only although it was clearly an illustrated lecture) at

It tells us little about the dating of the Shroud that we didn’t know before, but contains this little snippet which may be of interest:

I put that exclamation mark because the date had been leaked in the press certainly as medieval for some time, so it was really saying ‘there you are; you’ve known it all along.’ Various other interpretations were put on it – rather more sinister ones – so it wasn’t a very helpful thing for me to do, but that was the reason. That was my response.

Later Tite suggests that the image may have been associated with a real crucifixion, perhaps of a crusader. He is particularly taken with the wrist rather than hand bloodstains.

Do listen. The audio runs 45 minutes. (The introduction is barely audible but the lecture is fine.) Here is an abstract of the talk from Durham University’s website:

The primary underlying theme of the lecture will be the role of scientific examination in providing evidence for the authenticity of antiquities that supplements the evidence provided by their stylistic attributes. The methods of scientific examination will include the investigation of the raw materials and fabrication methods used in the production of stone, metal and glass antiquities together with thermoluminescence dating of ceramics and radiocarbon dating of organic materials. Examples of the application of these methods will include the Getty kouros, the British Museum crystal skull, Etruscan bronze figurines, Neolithic pottery from Anatolia, the Turin Shroud and the Vinland Map. The damage caused to our understanding of the past by the illegal excavation of antiquities together with the consequent ethics of collecting and authenticating antiquities will also be considered.

Categories: Lectures

Three Comments Promoted, Seven or So Reasons to Believe the Shroud is Authentic

November 23, 2015 12 comments

imageLet’s start with the third comment, one by Hugh Farey:

I also agree with Daveb. He summarises the evidence that counters a medieval date for the shroud admirably, and uses, entirely reasonably, words like “ambiguous” and “unproven”, and explains that he is persuaded of authenticity. I, on the other hand, am not persuaded of authenticity. I think that’s fine. The Shroud will not become authentic, or medieval, on the basis of what Daveb or I am persuaded, and it is good that together we can work towards removing some of the ambiguity of the evidence, whichever way it leads.

The “also agree” is agreeing with John Klotz who packed it into six words:

As usual, Daveb says it all.


And what Daveb said:

Until proper representative sampling is carried out in accordance with a valid sampling protocol, the validity of the results from the single grab sample in 1988 must remain ambiguous and debated, whatever the cause might be of the mismatch from an earlier date, in view of other indications that the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. These indications may include: 1) Fanti’s mechanical testing suggesting the possibility of a 1st century date; 2) Historic arguments that the Shroud was in Constantinople in 1204; 3) Indications from the Hungarian Pray manuscript that distinctive features of the Shroud were known in 1195, prior to the alleged C14 dating; 4) Forensic arguments that the image is that of a real crucified person who suffered the punishments reported in the gospels including a crown of thorns and percussio wound to the chest; 5) the otherwise inexplicable cause of the image; 6) the unsmeared blood stains; 7) Presence of Jerusalem limestone; Etc, etc!

The assertion of homogeneity of the cloth remains unproven, in light of reputable assertions of occasional mending, and in that case a single grab sample is insufficient, even though it might be a routine practice for testing of other cloths (e.g. mummy wrappings) for which there would be no cause to presume mending. Rogers, whatever shortcomings there might be in his chemistry knowledge, and also reputed to be an agnostic, was the chemist with the greatest familiarity with Shroud chemistry. His investigations persuaded him that there were anomalies indicative of highly skilled mending.

Should perchance representative sampling demonstrate that the single grab sample was in fact adequately representative of the whole, then some other explanation for this peculiar result might then have to be considered. The forensic arguments, together with the enigmatic cause of the image, seem to me to be particularly persuasive of authenticity.

I’m not sold on numbers 1 and 6, but I am sold overall.  And I think that the historic argument is much more than Constantinople in 1204. I find the Hymn of Pearl very persuasive, for instance.

That Rogers might have been agnostic doesn’t weigh on me. And if it did, it might impress on me a measure of objectivity. However, Joan Rogers, Ray’s wife, has publically stated in the past that they were both Protestants.

Categories: Comments Promoted

Fr. Matthew Pittam on Relics

November 23, 2015 3 comments

imageWhen have you ever read about the carbon dating of the shroud in which no mention was made about the results?

The University of Oxford is to become a world leading centre into the study of religious relics following the launch of a new department. This ground-breaking centre, based in Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre, is to be composed of computer and medical scientists as well as historians, classicists and theologians. Such an interdisciplinary approach builds upon work that has been undertaken by the university’s archaeological school since the 1980s.

Past achievements within the university have included the dating of the shroud of Turin, which involved study in three laboratories and the radiocarbon accelerator unit. This new unit is the first time that such a wide-ranging field of experts has been brought together in this way.

Not that there is anything wrong with that; this article is not about the shroud but … As a new centre to study relics opens in Oxford, Fr Matthew Pittam takes a look at some more unusual examples in the Catholic Herald:

  • The head of St Catherine of Siena – San Domenico Basilica Siena, Italy
  • The Holy Prepuce (Christ’s foreskin) – stolen in the 1980s
  • St Antonius’s body – Church of San Marco, Florence, Italy
  • Blessed John Henry Newman – The Oratory of St Philip Neri, Birmingham, UK
  • The hand of St Francis Xavier – Gesu, Rome

Well, I hope Oxford is not planning to test the foreskin.  It has gone missing, since 1983. 

Fr. Pittam concludes his article:

I remember a friend telling me how he had retrieved relics from a presbytery bin when the parish priest had disposed of them in the early 1980s. This just shows how relics have been regarded by many more recently.

Hopefully, the new Oxford Centre for the Study of Relics will help further advance and promote the use of relics in the Church and encourage us to think afresh about their importance. Whilst studies will undoubtedly identify some relics as counterfeit or misidentified, others may be confirmed as originating from the time and place where the holy person lived. It will certainly give the veneration of relics more credibility.

JFK and the Shroud of Turin

November 23, 2015 1 comment

imageJohn Klotz has an interesting posting in his blog, Living Free.  It’s called Yet again, JFK [and the Shroud]. Read it and follow the links.

THE BOOKENDS — beginning:

I am working to update and mold the material in Quantum Christ into a new book tentatively entitled "The Pope and the Apocalypse [and the Shroud?] Distractions abound including four matters that are still in litigation at one stage or another. Also, current events of an apocalyptic nature including the refugee crisis are a necessary distraction but a component of what I will be writing about.

— ending:

This morning there was published on Salon an excerpt from a new book by David Talbot. David is not only the founder and first editor of Salon; he has spent a lifetime digging deep in the JFK assassination. I thoroughly recommend the Salon posting. And the next time some scientific expert or skeptic derides the authenticity of the Shroud as being disproved by the "evidence," think JFK and the Warren Report.

(link shortened by me using Google URL Shortener)

Is it the evidence or the legitimizing and reporting of the evidence?

Categories: News & Views, Other Blogs

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 782 other followers

%d bloggers like this: