I translated my "Botany of the Shroud" to Spanish. . . .My children built a website dedicated for buying my books; the link is: www.ShroudPlantBook.com. I hope to become able to have soon a PayPal button to enable international buying of the books.
And from the website:
Learn more about the botany of the Shroud of Turin
Fill in your details below [at www.ShroudPlantBook] and get the first chapter of Prof. Avinoam Danin’s ground-breaking book, "Botany of the Shroud", for free!
Every now and then we hear that the Shroud of Turin might have been a tablecloth used at the Last Supper before it was Jesus’ primary burial cloth.
I’m not convinced. I’m not convinced that a tablecloth was used by most or any Jews at the time of Christ. And if so, does it even matter?
A paper, Was the Shroud of Turin also the Tablecloth of the Last Supper? by John and Rebecca Jackson appears on the web, in Italian. (I’m looking for an English version). In the meantime, if you are not proficient in Italian, you can use Google Toolbar or Microsoft Bing to read a reasonable translation in English. Here are the first four paragraphs as translated by Google:
In this paper we present the hypothesis that the relic of the ‘ Last Supper , that the cloth was used for the table, still exists. For reasons which we will discuss, we will show that this tablecloth, a requirement for the Jewish Passover is the time of Christ, in fact, the Shroud of Turin. We believe that the Shroud of Turin is at the same time, the burial cloth of Jesus and the cloth for the Lord’s Supper served. If so, it would represent an important archaeological evidence of the first Eucharist.
We present our study only as a hypothesis that we wish could provoke further scientific research. This study represents a further deepening of what has been presented at the Conference on the Face of Faces, Christ, held in 1998. 1 We argued, then, is that the Shroud of Turin, exposed to Constantinople in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, was actually the burial cloth of Jesus is that the fire occurred in 1532 meant that the test did the carbon be more recent than it actually was. 2 also indicate several studies showing that the Shroud and its image has different features, cultural and ethnological Jewish origin that proved it to be placed in the first century 3 .
If the Shroud of Turin is the actual, historical burial cloth of Jesus Christ, then it would have to be present at the historical foundation of the Church when it is extended out of its cradle of Judaism. After the events of the Gospel of the Passion, Death and Resurrection, began immediately powerful currents of traditions, theologies and liturgies based on the Resurrection. If the Shroud was the property of the original Judeo-Christian communities, it is then possible, and perhaps inevitable that it (the Shroud) was involved in the dynamics of development and growth of the early Church.
Noting that writing and art were used to obtain information on the history of the Shroud, we suggest that the Liturgy of the Church is also another potential vehicle of historical information that can be examined.
Rabbi Samson H. Levey, Emeritus Professor of Rabbinics and Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, provides some answers to the question. This appears on Barrie Schwortz’ shroud.com website.
I. To get a clear picture of Jewish life and practice during the first two centuries C.E. we must rely on the primary Tannaitic sources, namely the Mishnah, the Tosefta and the other Tannaitic passages dispersed throughout the Talmudim of Babylon (Bavli) and of the Land of Israel (Yerushalim).
During this period, a table was used for meals… We find no evidence that the Jewish people used different tables for the Sabbath and festivals, including Passover, than they ordinarily used; although they probably subjected it to a thorough cleaning, same as the rest of the house, to clear away the leaven immediately before Passover. (Mishnah, Pesahim, Ch.1 et passim)
What did the table look like? It had a square top (sometimes also a square bottom), usually made of wood, (Mishnah Kelim 16:1), pottery (Mishnah Kelim 2:3); overlaid with marble (ibid 22:1). It usually had three legs (ibid 22:2), and could accommodate three or four people. For larger groups, such as weddings, long boards were used (called dahavanot) (Tosefta Kelim, Baba Metzia, 5:3).
II. Table Cover: Food was ordinarily eaten off the bare table top (Bavli, Baba Batra 57b), and only the intellectual elite seem to have used a cloth to cover part of the small table for use as napkins to wipe their lips after eating (ibid). According to Maimonides, the Mishnah refers to a leather table covering (skortia), probably designed to protect the table from the elements (Mishnah Kelim 16:4). The only explicit reference to "a cover for tables" (Mishnah Makshirin 5:8) is explained as a sheet spread over the food (not the bare table) to protect it from flies and other insects. (M.Jastrow, Dictionary, vol.II, p.1396, col.1, bot. sub Kesiyah, Cf. P.Blackman, Mishnah VI, 682).
III. A sheet of any cloth, including a mixture of materials (shatnez) may be used as a shroud (Mishnah Kilayim 9:4). It is unlikely that one would be buried in an unclean sheet. The Tannaitic principle is expressed by Rabbi Meir (second century), that at the Resurrection the dead will arise wearing the same garments in which they were interred, and unclean raiment would be a disgrace (Bavli Sanhedrin 90b). Rabban Gamallel (first century) instituted the use of a plain linen shroud for everyone (Bavli Moed Katan 27b. Cf. Matthew 27:59).
The Ron and Yannick discussion about image formation is a most interesting thing going on on your blog. I check constantly for the latest. Sadly it is buried in comment space under an uninteresting post. You should put a link to it so everyone will see it.
Here is a link:
And here, below the fold (read more) is the discussion as of this writing:
Definitely, Victor Tran has a wonderful quotable quote:
The face of Jesus on a burnt tortilla. Now why would the most influential figure to the Christian community manifest itself on a tortilla wrap and a burnt one at that.
I posted what follows this paragraph back in November of 2010 under the title, “I Don’t See Flowers and Coins and Teeth on the Shroud of Turin.” Now, a blog posting, by Victor Tran, Pareidolia – WTC, Jesus, Devil faces in random objects in Ambitious Mindsets suggest to me that I should repeat the posting with a couple of additions in red. So here we go:
"I think I see the light coming to me, coming through me giving me a second sight." Those are words from the song, "I Think I See," by Cat Stevens, written years before Yusuf Islam, as he is now called, converted to Islam. It was, some said, a metaphor for the promised land. Maybe!
"And sometimes the light [I think I see] at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey," Jon Stewart said at the "Rally to Restore Sanity," not meaning, of course, to criticize Yusuf Islam who was at the rally to sing his more famous song, "Peace Train."
In Shroud circles, when you hear the four-word phrase, "I think I see" you immediately think of Ray Rogers. "I think I see, won’t do," he wrote concerning one person’s observation that was pretty much only one person’s observation. "I think I see is not a scientific statement," he wrote often. To me, in an email, he wrote: "tests and measurements will always have more credibility than ‘I think I see.’"
What others said they saw, Rogers said he thought they merely thought they saw. I agree.
One day, I was astonished to receive an email from someone who claimed that we only think we see an image of a face on the Shroud. What we think is an image, he told me, is merely the happenstance accumulation of smudges and stains on the cloth. It is no different than an imaginary image of Jesus on a burned slice of toast. It is a pareidolia, an apophenia. I had never heard of either of these words. Now I have. As far as I can see, they mean the same thing. According to my Merriam-Webster dictionary apophenia is "the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data." Pareidolia is defined as apophenia.
I wrote back. "The image is too detailed. It is too realistic and too complex to not be the real face of a man. When I say real, I mean by any means. Absent other evidence this includes painting, photograph or something else that we don’t understand."
But he persisted. His mind was made up. "You can’t prove it," he wrote back. "It could be pure coincidence and you don’t know for a fact that it isn’t. What is the threshold for perceiving an image? What are the criteria for saying that the image is of a man? Are you an expert on the human face?"
And then I read today in Victor’s posting:
However, Pareidolia does provide a psychological explanation for many delusions based on sense perception such as UFO sightings, the Shroud of Turin, and messages on records played backwards (backmasking).
Technically, he is correct; correct if he is referring to images of flowers and coins and lettering and all manner of things like nails and brooms. But Victor is not correct if he means the face. And the way he wrote his blog entry and the way he focused in facial images, I think that is what he meant.
I suspect that there is a rather fuzzy swath of undecidedness between certainty that an image is of a face and is not. Given the setting and circumstance and a measure of sanity in whatever our worldview may dictate to us, we can usually avoid undecidedness. If I see a face in the clouds, I know it is a phantasm (another cool word), an illusion, an apparition of sorts. I am sure most of us think the same thing if we see a face on a piece of toast or in a smudge of a windowpane. It should be easy to know what we see for any given context. If I see a face in a Picasso, even if it looks less like a face than what I see on my morning toast, I know it is an image of a face because of the context. But what about the face on the shroud? It is a face? The context is clear. There is an entire body there – admittedly, at the risk of being declared incompetent, maybe a pareidolia. I don’t know how the face got there but it is a face.
The folks at the Harvard Law School are very much interested in this subject, as one might imagine they would be. In an interesting article on a fascinating blog they maintain called The Situationist, they explore the subject. They begin by pointing out that Carl Sagan once wrote:
As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony grin.
Victor repeats what Carl Sagan wrote that I had posted above. Do look at his blog entry. And what follows is why he is technically correct beyond the subject of faces (which is much more fun).
But it need not just be faces. Takeo Watanabe, a neuroscientist at Boston University, "suggest[s] that subliminally learning something ‘too well’ interferes with perceptions of reality." The blog article continues:
[P]eople have gotten so used to seeing faces everywhere that sensitivity to them is high enough to produce constant false positives. This tendency to become hyperattuned to common stimuli may represent a survival advantage. "If you lived in primeval times, for instance," Dr. Watanabe said, "it would be good to be very sensitized to tigers."
A famous example is the giant face on Mars from a NASA photograph. In 2001, Michael Malin, the president and chief scientist at Malin Space Science Systems, wrote an article entitled "Unmasking the Face on Mars." It is published on NASA’s official website. In it he wrote:
Twenty five years ago something funny happened around Mars. NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft was circling the planet, snapping photos of possible landing sites for its sister ship Viking 2, when it spotted the shadowy likeness of a human face. An enormous head nearly two miles from end to end seemed to be staring back at the cameras from a region of the Red Planet called Cydonia.
There must have been a degree of surprise among mission controllers back at the Jet Propulsion Lab when the face appeared on their monitors. But the sensation was short lived. Scientists figured it was just another Martian mesa, common enough around Cydonia, only this one had unusual shadows that made it look like an Egyptian Pharaoh.
Indeed—and we should not be surprised by this—many people were convinced that this was a gigantic monument of some sort created by humans or human-like aliens who once lived on Mars. NASA re-photographed the mesa from different angles. They used the same ray tracing technology (think VP8) that is used to show the 3D image of the face on the shroud to show that the Martian face was not a face at all. Had it been, the results would have been similar to the results obtained from the face on the shroud. The face was a pareidolic image. But some people, not unlike flat-earthers, remain convinced that it is a face.
The images of a person, certainly a man if we look closely, exists on the shroud. Many well pronounced features are part of that image. But there may be other parts of the image that some people claim to see that are probably pareidolic perceptions.
Takeo Watanabe’s views "that subliminally learning something ‘too well’" results in false positives may explain many reported images and features of the shroud image. A botanist may see images of flowers and plants. A numismaticist may see images of ancient coins. A dentist may see what looks like teeth. It would be totally unfair to say that this is what happened when such experts saw these things. But it would be unfair to not suggest the possibility.
The shroud is dirty, creased and wrinkled. It has been exposed to dust, moisture, smoke from fire and almost certainly candles and incense. It has been exposed to moisture and there are clear water stains in places. It has been folded different ways and rolled up for storage. Folding causes creases. It has been held aloft and probably hung in ways that over time caused stretching. The cloth was woven on a hand loom with handspun thread that is not perfectly uniform. All of this contributes to visual information and visual misinformation.
So does the banding patterns, the variegated appearance of the cloth. We know that it alters the appearance of the face very dramatically. It certainly must contribute to what some say they see on the shroud. For instance, if you look closely, you are likely to see what looks like teeth behind the man’s lips, as though somehow the image contains x-ray qualities. But vertical banding lines may be the reason we see teeth. Clear banding lines extend well beyond the teeth, beyond the face even, and seemingly for the length of the cloth.
Photography also introduces visual noise. Different films have different contrast characteristics that can significantly change the appearance of faint details. Lighting may create small shadows between threads and among wrinkles and creases. Even the color temperature of lighting can have an effect because different films are subject to different colors being reflected from the cloth. What we perceive in a photograph of the shroud may not be what we see if we look at the cloth with our own eyes.
People have seen coins over the eyes; and not just coins but enough details to identify them as specific coins minted by Romans for Jewish use around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. People have identified flowers and plants that are specific to the environs of Jerusalem. The list of things seen goes on and on. There are, supposedly, a hammer, a nail, a fluffy shaped sponge tied to a reed, a coil of rope, a pair of dice and part of a plaque with enough lettering in Greek, Latin and possibly Hebrew to identify it as saying, "Jesus of Nazareth." But are these things really imaged on the cloth? Are there criteria for deciding?
Consensus among people who closely study the images on the shroud is valid so long as that study is as completely objective as possible. Worldview nullification must be avoided at all cost. It is not proper to reject these images because you don’t believe the shroud is real. But it is fair to be skeptical, as in the case of the flowers, teeth, coins and lettering because there is identifiable noise such as the banding, wrinkles and crinkles and whatnots.
"’I see’ said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw," so goes the excruciatingly ridiculous old English ditty. "I see flowers, I see teeth . . ." You get the idea.
I would like to see the flowers. I see something that looks like two flowers. I’m not convinced they are flowers. I’m not trained enough in botany to know many other types of flowers to look for. I’ve read the books. Studied the charts and diagrams. Looked at pictures through gadgets. I don’t see the flowers. I want to see. Show me. Show me that these images are not pareidolias or apophenias or phantasms or I-think-I-sees. Show me that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t New Jersey.
domenico adds an important comment to the Freethought Should Be Accurate and Factual posting:
Does the writer know that in Jericho, Israel, there is a famous tomb from Second Temple Period known as “Goliath Tomb” in wich skeletons height 1,8 m. were found (one of them was 1,88)?
That is 5’11” and 6’2” respectively. Nickell writes nonsense.
Kimberly Winston has a good summary of the New Atheist movement since its inception right after 9/11.
But after the World Trade Center crumbled on 9/11, he put his studies aside to write a book that became an instant best-seller—and changed the way atheists, and perhaps Muslims, are perceived in this country.
Published in 2004, Harris’s “The End of Faith” launched the so-called “New Atheist” movement, a make-no-apologies ideology that maintains that religion is not just flawed, but evil, and must be rejected.
But did it reshape what had been a mostly quiet, academic movement? Some think the New Atheists have created a rift. Others, well . . .
Ryan Cragun, a sociologist of religion at the University of Tampa, is more qualified in his assessment. In their extremism and intolerance, he likens the New Atheists to Fox News Channel—“so far to the right,” he said, that they opened up the middle.
“Now it is OK to be a moderate atheist because you can point to the stridency of the New Atheists and say, `At least I am not one of them,”’ he said. “It opens up a bigger space for freethinkers to actually communicate.”
Sort of reminds me of Luke 18
[Jesus told this parable . . . "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people . . .”
. . . while the tax collector was beating his breast. Well, maybe, but remember that Harris is thumping his chest (ego) not beating his breast before God.
For your Sunday morning reading enjoyment as still-a-hurricane Irene bears down on New York – I still have power and internet – there is this from a personal blog of André du Broc who plans to work his way through Martha Stewart’s cookies cookbook:
I have two dear friends who have decided to tie the knot and have asked that I officiate their nuptials this Fall. As part of the preparations, a dinner party was assembled for the bride’s and groom’s parents to meet me and my partner, Dan so that they’d know we weren’t Satanists or worse, Unitarians. Before the evening of the dinner I received several texts from the bride listing the topics I should avoid lest I “ruin her life”. Wanting nothing but happiness for her, I, of course obeyed the rules and stuck to the approved topics of conversation avoiding any topic that would make either set of parents uncomfortable. I hadn’t been in this situation since high school. All-in-all I believe Dan and I were charming. The bride and groom nervously flew about in the kitchen stirring a pot here and opening an oven door there while the two sets of parents sat exchanging pleasantries from around the beautiful new dining table purchased for this auspicious evening. From time-to-time, when the bride was able to exchange an undetected glance my way she’d give me a quick and pained expression that seemed to be saying, “Kill me. Kill me now.” The two sets of parents were very nice people although quite different from each other. The groom’s parents were part of the country club set, both athletic, both remarried, both versed in the sport of golf, innocuous charities and boxed wine. They seemed to be proud of their youthful vigor and with the proper training they could easily be spokespersons for multivitamins and Viagra.
The bride’s parents were homey nesters from the Northeast. Devout Catholics with spiritually-based world views and opinions and pew-shaped hineys. They recently returned from Italy where they were thrilled to view the Shroud of Turin. Dan and I thought that the authenticity of the shroud had been proven false but we listened attentively and nodded with feigned enlightenment. The groom’s parents did the same.
Feigned enlightenment? André, with his blog, may have committed the faux pas he was warned to avoid. Feigned enlightenment is worse than being a Unitarian. Worse than burned cookies. Worse than ultimate insult of being accused of drinking boxed wine.
See: And the Bars Come Crumbling Down! Apple-Cherry Crumble Bars! -235 eggs, 178 1/2 cups of sugar, 180 3/4 sticks of Butter, and 223 1/2 cups of flour used so far- 37 recipes to go! « André Bakes His Way Through Martha Stewart’s Cookie Book
Freethought is defined as the process of making decisions and arriving at beliefs without relying solely upon tradition, dogma, or the opinions of authorities. Freethought thus means using science, logic, empiricism, and reason in belief formation Usually the context of freethought is religion . . .
The definition of freethought means that most freethinkers are also atheists, but atheism is not required. It is possible to be an atheist without also being a freethinker, or to be a freethinker without also being an atheist. This is because the definition of freethought is focused on the means by which a person arrives at conclusion and atheism is the conclusion itself.
I question the statement that most freethinkers are also Atheists. It may be true, but is there any for thinking this is so? For instance, I like to think I use “science, logic, empiricism, and reason.” Nonetheless, I believe in God. Does that make me part of a minority.
Doesn’t this definition presume the use of accurate and complete information. If so, then this entry posted in the Freethought Almanac for August 25 is an awful example. I have added some comments in red:
It was on this date, August 25, 1978, that the famous Shroud of Turin, still venerated as the burial cloth of the crucified Jesus, went on public display for the first time in 45 years. Since 1578 the shroud, or sindon, has been housed at Turin, where it is only displayed publicly at long intervals. Its first mention in history dates from this time.
According to shroud.com’s History page it was August 26. Perhaps that is a minor error. It isn’t important. But the statement that its first mention in history dates from this time is completely wrong. Even the most hardnosed skeptics say that its first mention in history – actually western European history – is in the mid-1350s. Significant documentation proves this.
In the past, there was some competition from other shrouds impressed with the figure of Jesus – at Besançon, Cadouin, Champiègne, Xabregas, and other places – which also claimed to be the authentic linen sindon provided by Joseph of Arimathea, but the Turin shroud is the most famous.
The existence of competing claims does not weigh on the authenticity of any one claim. If this is being implied by the above sentence, then this is a failure of logic. It is very important to avoid fallacies in freethought. Incidentally, one leading theory is that the original Besançon Shroud is, in fact, the Turin Shroud. This is accepted or seriously entertained by several historians.
Pope Julius II accepted the Shroud at Turin as genuine in his Bull “Romanus Pontifex” (25 April 1506), as did his predecessor, Sixtus IV. But the Catholic Encyclopedia is parsimonious in its credulity:
…the claim is made that it is the actual “clean linen cloth” in which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:59). This relic, though blackened by age, bears the faint but distinct impress of a human form both back and front. The cloth is about 13 1/2 feet long and 4 1/4 feet wide [4.6 x 1.1 meters]. If the marks we perceive were caused by a human body, it is clear that the body (supine) was laid lengthwise along one half of the shroud while the other half .was doubled back over the head to cover the whole front of the body from the face to the feet.
So what? The quotation is from the 1912 (vol 15) edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia. Much as happened since then. What do newer versions say? What do other authoritative encyclopedias say?
In 1988, a team of experts from three universities – Oxford University, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – each independently tested and dated the cloth to around 1350. Yet numerous books and websites accuse these recognized experts of being fools or biased. They were neither, and their conclusions are solid. Joe Nickell, who collaborated with scientific and technical experts on his Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (2nd Ed., 1992) and Walter McCrone, a microchemist, in his Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin (1999), both demonstrate that the shroud is a medieval fake. Nickell even duplicated the method he thinks was used to create it.
There is no mention of the significant, peer-reviewed scientific evidence that these claims are incorrect. It seems, here, that freethinking is based on a single source, directly or indirectly: Joe Nickell. The accusation of bias seems unwarranted.
Shroud supporters say there is type AB blood on the shroud. Yet scientists have found none.
This is far from true. Again, there is no mention of solid, peer reviewed evidence that it is blood and why it is probably type AB.
And even if there were blood on the shroud, that would have no bearing on the age of the shroud or on its authenticity: blood could have contaminated the shroud at any time. Besides, dried real blood is black, but the stains on the shroud are red – we mustn’t credit too many miracles!
There are scientific reasons for old blood to be red.
Shroud supporters say the cloth has some pollen on it of plants found only in the Dead Sea region of Israel. Yet scientists say the samples tested were lifted from the shroud with sticky tape and came to their examiner second-hand: they could have been introduced at any time.
This simply is an empty accusation with no basis. The same thing can be said – in fact was said – of the carbon dating samples. It is all highly speculative, baseless conspiracy theory.
Shroud supporters say they detect impressions of flowers on the shroud that could only have come from Israel. Yet scientists say this is probably a simulacrum – they can’t see the images, as they are hidden within mottled stains.
Simulacrum? No scientists say these are probably pareidolia images, created by the mottled stains and variegated natural color in the cloth. I agree that the impressions of flowers are not there. It is important, in freethought, to use the right explanatory evidence.
As Robert Todd Carroll sums up, in his article on the shroud from the Skeptic’s Dictionary,
Even if it is established beyond any reasonable doubt that the shroud originated in Jerusalem and was used to wrap up the body of Jesus, so what? Would that prove Jesus rose from the dead? I don’t think so. To believe anyone rose from the dead can’t be based on physical evidence, because resurrection is a physical impossibility.
That is a quote from the 2003 edition of the Skeptic’s Dictionary. The website for this book has been updated. It actually acknowledges that there may be problems with the carbon dating. Nonetheless, this is a good summary. I agree with it even as I believe in the Resurrection.
The shroud was displayed again for a time, from 18 April 1998. The image on the cloth shows a man about six feet tall, which would make this “Jesus” a Goliath by first-century standards!
Actually, this is a completely unwarranted and statistically ridiculous claim. How tall were men in this part of the world in the first century? What were typical ranges of height?
Russia’s provincial town of Penza has got onto a Forbes magazine list of the most unusual museums all over the globe.
Penza’s museum exhibits only one painting – by none other than our favourite Dutch classicist Rembrandt. The picture is accompanied by a whole range of historic materials and videos.
The museum, founded in 1983 by historian Georg Myasnikov, a secretary of Penza committee, was named by Forbes as one of the most interesting single-exhibit museums and remains the only permanent one-painting museum in the world.
Among other museums that entered the Forbes list are the Vase Museum in Stockholm, the Shroud of Turin Museum in Turin, the Freedom Bell museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Moon Museum.
Yannick Clément comments:
Even if I don’t believe one second in Jackson hypothesis on image formation, I must say that I have a great respect for the man. I consider him to be a real competent scientist unlike some “wanna be” guys who gravitate around the Shroud world these days. One other important thing that speaks in his favor is the fact that he examine the Shroud in person during 5 days in 1978. That’s certainly help a scientist to understand better this cloth.
I also have to say “thank you” to him because he had the guts to form the STURP team in the 70s ! It was surely not an easy task !
So thank you John Jackson !!! I just hope one day, he’ll reconsider his resurrection hypothesis and start to examine (or re-examine) some natural hypothesis for the image formation…
I more than agree. There are other things I don’t agree with John or Rebecca about. John is an early influential hero and Rebecca a great help and wonderful communicator. They are, the two of them, a senior statesman and stateswoman of Shroud of Turin research.
John and Rebecca Jackson to Speak on the Shroud of Turin at Saint James the Just Parish in Ogden, Utah
Marie Mischel reporting in the Intermountain Catholic:
The presentation has been organized by Tony and Diana Hanebrink of Saint Joseph Parish in Ogden, who saw the shroud itself when it was on display last year in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.
"I want other people to experience what we did," said Tony Hanebrink. "The thing that intrigues me so much is that there is so much scientific evidence that this really is the burial cloth of Jesus."
Among that evidence is that pollen on the shroud could come only from an area around Jerusalem in the spring, and that the blood on the shroud is a blood type common in the Middle East but not in Europe, Tony Hanebrink said.
The first historical references to the shroud date back to the fourteenth century. In 1978, Dr. John Jackson, who is now one of the directors of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, led a group of 30 scientists to examine the shroud. His research has been featured in documentaries by the BBC and the History Channel. Jackson and his wife, Rebecca Jackson, will speak at the presentation in Ogden.
In Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics, author Thomas J. Craughwell takes us on an exhilarating journey through the life and death of more than three hundred saints and along the way enlightens us about the sometimes strange bits and pieces that the saints left behind.
Including entries on the famous (Saint Peter, Saint Francis, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux) and the not so famous (Saint Foy, Saint Sicaire, Saint Chrysogonus), Saints Preserved also features information on such notable relics as the Holy House where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived; the Crown of Thorns; the Holy Grail; and the seven places that claim to possess the head of Saint John the Baptist—among them a mosque in Damascus. Moreover, this book includes major relics that are enshrined in the United States—for example, the complete skeleton of the Roman martyr Saint Vibiana enshrined in a cathedral in Los Angeles.
From the extraordinary Aachen relics to the remains of Saint Zita, Saints Preserved is an indispensable compendium for spiritual seekers, history buffs, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the Catholic faith.
The Aachen relics? This is what it has to say:
Aachen’s Kornelimunster, or Church of Sr. Cornelius, has three precious relics: the cloth Christ tied around his waist when he washed the feet of’ his apostles at the Last Supper; the shroud in which Saint Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body’ of Jesus for burial (this shroud is different from the much more famous Shroud of Turin); and the sudarium, or the cloth that was laid over the face of Jesus at the time of his burial.
There is also an three page entry for the Shroud of Turin. It reads, in part:
The tests, results, and debates are too lengthy and complex to summarize here. To date there is no consensus as to how tile image was made on the cloth, nor why it was seen dearly only in a photographic negative. A carbon-14 test of the Shroud, performed in 1988. dated it to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, the period when it first came into the possession of the de Charney family, but given the number of repairs to the cloth, some have argued that the carbon-14 sample was not taken from the original cloth of the Shroud but from a patch sewn onto it during the Middle Ages.
Textile experts have said that the linen is consistent with fabric available in the Middle Fast in the first century AD. There is an ongoing debate whether the stains on rue Shroud are human blood or pigment. Even microscopic dirt particles and pollen embedded in the fabric have been studied to learn if tile cloth originated in the Middle East, and specifically Jerusalem (the pollen evidence suggests that the cloth did come from the Middle East).
Since the Pia photographs of 1898, several popes have stated publically how deeply the images moved them. During his pilgrimage to Turin in 2010 to pray before the relic, Pope Benedict XVI described the Shroud as “an Icon written in blood, the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced.” But no pope has ever stared definitively whether the Shroud is authentic.
Saint Mark’s Church will present the highly acclaimed 90-minute multi-media presentation "Shroud Encounter" at 3 p.m. on Sept. 18 at the church, located at 54 Kuhn Road in Rochester.
Shroud Encounter is a fast moving, big-screen experience using over 180 images covering all aspects of Shroud research.
Featured in the presentation will be Russ Breault, a dynamic speaker who has been featured in several documentaries seen on History Channel and Discovery Channel. He has presented at numerous colleges and universities including Duke, West Point, and Penn State.
The Shroud of Turin is the most analyzed artifact in the world yet remains a mystery. The 14-foot long linen cloth that has been in Turin, Italy, for over 400 years and bears the faint front and back image of a 5 foot 10 inch bearded, crucified man with apparent wounds and bloodstains that match the crucifixion account as recorded in the Bible. Millions of people over the centuries have believed it to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus. The historical trail can be traced through Italy, France, Asia Minor (Turkey) and may have originated in Israel according to botanical evidence.
A team of 24 scientists in 1981 concluded it was not the work of an artist. They found no visible trace of paint, pigment, dye or other artistic substances on the cloth. Skeptics have mounted numerous attempts to show how a medieval artist could have produced the image but all have been inadequate to fully explain how the mysterious image was formed.
Shroud Encounter will cover all aspects of the history, science, art and theories of how the image may have been formed.
For more information, contact Father Louis Sirianni at 585-225-3710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don’t want to miss Russ if you are in the area. Source: Shroud Encounter coming to St. Mark’s Church – Greece, NY – Greece Post
Tony Woodlief has penned a rational and logical thought about how Michael Shermer and his fellow skeptics just don’t get it. It’s good. Read the whole essay at Image Blog ◊ Dreaming God. Here are some teasers:
“As a back-of-the-envelope calculation within an order-of-magnitude accuracy,” Skeptic magazine founder Michael Shermer writes in his new book, The Believing Brain, “we can safely say that over the past ten thousand years of history humans have created about ten thousand different religions and about one thousand gods.”
Humans have evolved, it seems, a tendency to look for patterns, and to attribute events to intentional action by other beings. We have selective perception that inverts the aphorism, “seeing is believing.”
What we see, Shermer writes, is what we want to believe, and what we want, most of us, are gods.
. . .
We can let all that go for now, and with good effect; my experience is that nothing enrages the rational, scientific atheist more than when you get rational and scientific with him.
. . . I’ll wager Shermer is still wrong, and that mankind has come up with well over 1,000 gods in his time. Counting only the ones with a recorded history is to privilege literacy; surely pagans in the hills and forests of Europe alone came up with more than a thousand tree, bird, and thunder spirits to explain their world.
. . .
Get Americans started talking about the Nicene Creed, for example, and you’re likely to find more religions than you care to see hiding under the skirts of modern Christianity. And by the time you’ve finished reading this essay, odds are someone, somewhere has decided to start his own church, because the apostates running the one he’s in have gotten their views on the Rapture or head coverings or missions spending all wrong.
One religion per year, and one god per decade are just the right numbers, you see, to make the point Shermer wants to make, which is that man routinely invents gods to explain his world.
Except that man isn’t god-leaning, he’s god-obsessed.
. . .
We are god-obsessed the way a child snatched from his mother will always have his heart and flesh tuned to her, even after he forgets her face. Cover the earth with orphans and you will find grown men fashioning images of mothers and worshipping strong women and crafting myths about mothers who have left or were taken or whose spirits dwell in the trees.
And at the edges of their tribal fires will stand the anthropologist and the philosopher, reasoning that all this mother-talk is simply proof that men are prone to invent stories about mothers, which is itself proof that no single story about a mother could be true, which is proof that the brain just evolved to work that way.
It’s the only narrative that fits the facts while affirming the skeptic’s presupposition that all this mother business is just leftover hokum from the dark ages.
Except that in a century, when the most famous of the skeptics is long forgotten, broken men will still be telling stories about what we have lost, and what we pray is still out there, coming even now to set all things right.
I’ve always enjoyed symbols as metaphors. They are, at least, food for thought. This one, The Shroud Of Turin And The Symbolism Of The Ram Caught In The Bramble Bush is from the Shroud of Turin News blog:
Abraham saw a Ram with its horns caught in a bramble bush. This ram was then sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar, by Abraham and Isaac. Now, here was Abraham willing to sacrifice his much wanted and loved son, Isaac, so why would not God hesitate to let his own son, Jesus be sacrificed, as the Lamb, as suggested in the Jewish prophecies that Jehovah would provide a sacrifice. Besides this, Abraham knew that God had promised him plenty of grandsons through Isaac. So Abraham knew that God would not let Isaac be killed. He also knew that this action showed that he trusted in God enough to be willing to sacrifice his most precious son, Isaac on God’s command. So, the Lamb of God’s forehead was symbolically covered with cruel thorns before he was sacrificed on the Cross to save mankind. The thorns are definitely not in the shape of a crown, as seen in paintings, but are more like one and a half inch long bramble thorns gathered from the roadside and placed in a really rough fashion on the forehead and scalp of Jesus. These cruel marks can be seen on the shroud of Turin, even today.
My favorite symbol as metaphor is of the angels in the tomb that perhaps represent the golden cherubim on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. This is how Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury put it in his book, On Christian Theology:
For the cherubim flanking the ark define a space where God would be if God were anywhere (the God of Judah is the one who sits between the cherubim or even ‘dwells’ between the cherubim); but there is no image between the cherubim. . . . And if John does mean us to catch an allusion here, we must suppose that it is to this non-representable, non-possible dimension of the paradoxical manifestation of God to God’s people: it may even connect with the stories of non-recognition which John and his editor or continuator in the final chapter of the gospel as we have it clearly find so fertile a ground for narrative meditation. But whatever was in the evangelist’s mind, the space between the angels is no bad metaphor for a number of features of the tomb tradition that should concentrate our minds theologically.
I remember having long discussions with Fr. Kim Dreisbach about this notion. We might even think of the two images on the shroud in a similar way or think of John’s angels being inspired representations the images on the shroud.
THIS IS A BIG DEAL: David Rolfe writes, in effect to all of us:
This offer, made to SSG members is extended to your readers.
When I first joined SSG I was asked whether I was able to release the HD imagery from our filming. I undertook to see what might be possible within the terms of my agreement with the Archdiocese and have arrived at the following proposal. When originally broadcast by the BBC the key elements of the footage were broadcast in HD and are therefore, as far as any private use is concerned, already in the public domain. Blu-Ray technology enables this to be included in HD on disk. Subject to enough advance orders, I will produce a blu-ray disk with the most recent film made for the 2010 Exposition (Shroud) in (English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and Russian). Among the extra features I will include the 3D demonstration a re-mastered Silent Witness and, perhaps more importantly for SSG members, HD frames of the close-up sections of the Shroud we have. (Around 50). These are all copyrighted to the Archdiocese as well as Performance and will only be for private research purposes.
To make production viable I need to sell a minimum of 100 at £60 (Plus Postage). As an added incentive to SSG members and your blog readers who, alone, I think can make this viable, I will include a Public Performance Licence for the main film, which is normally £92, free of charge. (Details of this are on store page at www.shroudtv.com).
If anyone would like to order one (or more) please email me using the email@example.com address as soon as possible. I will begin production once 100 orders have been reached and then invoice. it will then take about two – three weeks. If the initial order is for significantly more than 100 I will be able to reduce the price accordingly.
If you can spring for it, do it. I am.
Ian Griffin is a freelance speech writer who helps high-level executives craft their communications for maximum impact. He has a blog called Professionally Speaking where he wrote a book review on a rather strange book, Tasting the Moon by Meg Fortune McDonnell. Griffin describes the book as “723 pages of observations on the meaning of life, death, transcendence and everything in between.” It is more than that if take the editorial review at Amazon seriously.
This is the story of a "no holds barred” pathway through life—from the author’s eccentric childhood, through the tumult of the 1960’s, to the ashram of Adi Da Samraj, the spiritual teacher she encountered in the 70’s. With disarming and raw candor, Meg Fortune McDonnell recounts the ego-deaths and transformations she went through as she followed her unorthodox teacher around the globe—and to uncharted spiritual dimensions not located on the map.
Would I have ever noticed this book or read it. Probably not. In fact, I only read a few pages online at Amazon aided by word searches.
What caught my attention was Griffins claim in his review that the book provides, “Irrefutable evidence that the Shroud of Turin is not authentic.” When I see the word “irrefutable” I turn into an instant skeptic. When I see it linked to the Shroud of Turin, for or against authenticity, I can’t help thinking of Gertrude Stein’s famous line:
Argument is to me the air I breathe. Given any proposition, I cannot help believing the other side and defending it.
If Griffin was right then McDonnell would have been famous just for that. So would her “beloved,” guru. There is nothing in the book, that I could find in the few pages that dealt with the shroud, except incomplete thought processes and attempts to grab authority by claiming to have studied the shroud carefully.
There were examples of not really getting the fact right such as:
He [= the ashram of Adi Da Samraj] reviewed reports on the history of the Shroud— starting with the prevalent assumption that it was brought out of the Holy Land by Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena, in the 4th century.
Prevalent assumption? Was that ever so?
There is some humor. There is this example of silly thinking used to demonstrate . . . well, silly thinking:
According to Alice and Jason, the Shroud was created when the first disciples to arrive at Jesus’ gravesite, wanting to get in, rolled the boulder blocking the entry to the tomb— but the wrong way. Right over Jesus’ body. The pressure of the boulder on top of. . . well, you know. . . created an imprint on the sheet underneath, the sheet we now know as “the Shroud.”
The Alice-and-Jason theory of the Shroud further posits that the disciples were So freaked out by having done this, they quickly hid the crushed body. To cover up what happened, they told everyone else who arrived at the gravesite that there was no body to be found—because, uhm, er, uh, because Jesus had ascended into heaven.
Beloved [= the ashram of Adi Da Samraj] roared laughing at this theory. And I thought, despite its irreverence, Alice and Jason’s theory was a clever way of letting Beloved know they understood what he was getting at—without proper investigation and education, people can believe the strangest stuff. It’s important to think.
Could she have not mocked the guru more, not meaning to of course.
But read the review, yourself. Read the book. It is only 723 pages (I read enough, thank you). It has five 5-star reviews over at Amazon; five perfect reviews is irrefutable proof that the author has five friends.
Below is the link to a very interesting radio interview about the Shroud of Turin, said to be Jesus. The guest (Barrie M. Schwortz) who is an Orthodox Jew, believes that the image on the shroud really is Jesus! His team’s analysis of it have been written about in various journals.
The list is excellent and so I’m repeating it below. I do have some minor issues on matters of fact. I won’t go into those now except for one, which I offer up as an example.
If we are to challenge skeptical claims on minor points then we need to be careful on minor points, too. I have put my disagreement in bold and italics in the list below:
BTW: What is the Razor Swift Research Group? According to its ‘About’ page, it
Razor Swift Research Group is a nondenominational think tank founded by former atheist and skeptic A. M. Hempe. The objective of R. S. R. G. is to open hearts and minds through the platform of apologetics. It’s our desire to approach Biblical, faith, and other issues from a different perspective rather than rehashing some of the same “Christianese” preaching to the choir arguments. We maintain that faith and logic mustn’t necessarily be at odds with each other, but can be complementary. May no stone lay unturned.
Now for the list from Razor Swift:
- The Shroud of Turin is first century linen manufactured in the ancient method, not woven in the medieval or modern method.
- It bears the image of a man front and back that was scourged. It has about 120 blood stained markings, wounds that are dumbbell shaped which are consistent with the flagrum of a Roman whip with 3 throngs and dumbbell shape weights at the end of it.
- The individual had been speared in the side. With ultra violet florescent photography it can be seen that there’s a large serum stain surrounding the blood which is invisible to the naked eye (this can’t be faked with medieval technology).
- The man was clearly crucified, the exit wound (from the nail) was at the palm, and at an angle, which happens to be forensically (as attested by 3 forensics experts, how long have forensics existed?) accurate to that of a crucified victim.
- There are blood stains on the head, front and back, consistent from a crown of thorns. There’s only one place in recorded history where Romans placed a crown of thorns on a crucified victim, and that was the account of Jesus.
- The image on the shroud contains encoded spacial (3D) depth information, in which, paintings never contain such information. Only a computer can render this (this can’t be faked with medieval technology).
- The image on the shroud is a positive with lights and darks reversed, like a photographic negative does (this can’t be faked with medieval technology). Schwortz said that you can’t make a photographic image without silver -in a certain form- but when the shroud was fully examined and tested, no trace of silver was found.
But, oh yet you can make a photographic image without silver. Most, but not all photographic processes use silver “in a certain form.” There are several other non-silver processes. Certain iron compounds are light sensitive and are still used for blueprints. In the last century, platinum chloride was used for Platinotype photographs. Gum bichromate was popular up until the eve of World War II. It is still used, but rarely, by some specialty photographers. Don’t forget that Picknett and Prince proposed that Leonardo da Vinci might have used a chromium salt. (See: Thoughts for a Sunday Morning: Tinfoil Hats)
- Schwortz explained how the Luigi Garlaschelli made shroud (which was said to “debunk” the shroud of Turin) is not even a close replica. “LG” claims that the image was made by red iron oxide pigment, but it was found in minute insignificant quantities on the various parts on the cloth (on the image, and other areas). The scientific tests (via Pyrolysis Mass Spectrometry) concluded that there was no manganese, cobalt properties and other data to confirm LG’s claim. No image to date, has been close to having the same physical and chemical properties as the shroud, no one has came even close. Note: Here’s the peer reviewed paper on the study http://www.acheiropoietos.info/proce…mburgerWeb.pdf
- Schwortz mentioned a face cloth (The Sudarium of Oviedo Spain) -which dates back to the 6th century without a break in its historical record- and it has blood stains that are congruent (matching up exactly) to the head of the shroud. This is the matching burial face cloth to the shroud. This can be witnessed on the History Channel Documentary I cited earlier.
- He brought up the old Hungarian manuscript called the “Hungarian Pray Codex” that depicts the picture of the shroud including the “L shape” burn marks on it, herring bone weave of the cloth, and certain blood stains that parallel those on the shroud. The date of this codex is from 1191, when the carbon date test (more on this later) said that it can’t be from any earlier than 1260-1390.
- In the year 2000, some researchers brought some information to the table, questioning where the sample was taken from on the shroud; the sample that was used for the carbon dating test. It was found that that area of the cloth was chemically different, it had been repaired, cotton was rewoven into it, and dye was added to the surface after it was rewoven to match the rest of the color of the cloth. This information was published in 2005 in a peer reviewed scientific journal called the Thermochimica Acta Volume 425, Issues 1-2, Pages 189-194., by the man (and corroborated by associate Raymond N. Rogers) who was the head chemist (of Schwortz’s team, Robert Villarreal of Los Alamos National Laboratory) showing that the sample dated, was not an original piece. The paper concludes: “Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometryresults from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.”http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF There have been multiple peer reviewed papers since this one, that have confirmed this analysis.
- Another reason why the carbon test wouldn’t likely work anyways, is because the accuracy is compromised by 100′s of years of people handling the shroud (leaving their DNA), the fires it went through (adding carbon) etc. In effect, it’s “tainted”.
- Schwortz explained that through analysis, the blood stains were already on the shroud before the image was formed. That would mean that the “forger” would have to put the blood stains on forensically correct before he/she put the image on the cloth. We still couldn’t do that today.
- Schwortz explained that when putting the shroud under 10x magnification it was shown that there were no brush strokes, particulates, no paint, no medium etc. Another proof showing the image was not made by ink.
- From the 3D rendered holographic of the shroud image, it was shown that the individual was in rigamortis. This was confirmed by forensic experts as well.
I highly recommend watching it here if you were having trouble with the other site.
I hadn’t noticed this before. Someone just told me about it. There is a Shroud of Turin book out in Italian, SINDONE – FIRENZE E I MISTERI DEL SACRO TELO (Shroud – Florence and the Mysteries of the Sacred Cloth) by Enrico Baccarini
It has been out for awhile (Archeos Press, 2010, ISBN 978-88-96876-03-9
Here is a Google Translation of the publisher’s description:
Two thousand years separate us from the event center of Christianity, the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Since then, the Shroud has established itself as a most precious relic of Western history, witnessing a unique event imprinted on a simple linen cloth. After stolen from Byzantium and its arrival in Athens the Shroud disappeared for 150 years, to reappear officially in 1356, in France. The “lost years” of the shroud allow the development of a new suggestive hypothesis: its possible passage from Florence, where it was kept secret. Ancient frescoes, genealogical ties, political intrigue and esoteric symbolism outline a path full of research references tangible and hidden tracks. A rigorous journey through the centuries, a detailed analysis of the history and secrets of the Holy Cloth through the study of ancient sources and recent discoveries documentary. Enrico Baccarini (Florence 1980), writer and journalist, working with major magazines and newspapers. Among his essays include ‘Florence, esoteric and mystery’ and ‘Italy Esoteric’.Already a member of associations such as the Italian Society for the Study of Altered states of consciousness, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the International Crime Analysis Association, was among the founders of the Interdisciplinary Committee for Research and Traditional protohistoric (CIRPET).
You would have thought that such a bold historical theory would have gotten some attention. If you wonder why it didn’t you might want to check out the author’s website. (Use the Chrome browser to facilitate easy translation to English). It is a lot of material on UFO abductions, crop circles and a messiah who arrived by flying saucer. Baccarini seems to specialize in this stuff.
But in all fairness, has anybody read the book? (I can’t read Italian). From the historical data I’m partial to the Besancon theory and not the Templar theory to explain the 150 years of missing data. I don’t think the shroud was hidden. We just don’t have the data. Is there any validity to Florence?
As many of you know I get worried when esoteric theories and weird associations get tied in with the shroud. I think it is an unfortunate symptom of wider acceptance by the public. Search (upper right corner of this page) on ‘alien’ and‘Urantia’ to get a feel for how I feel this is a problem.