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Look at what happened between 1988 and 2015

April 23, 2015 27 comments

imageA reader named Pike writes:

If new carbon 14 tests show similar results the Jacksons and Fantis of Sindone World will be doing a lot of telling us that radiation from the resurrection changed the date.  There will be new explanations.  Look at what happened between 1988 and 2015. The Turin Shroud is more real today than it was 25 years ago.

Categories: Carbon 14 Dating

The Real Meaning Is Not Authenticity

April 23, 2015 80 comments

imageCarol Glatz has an interesting piece in the Catholic Herald, ‘Obsession’ with authenticity hides Turin Shroud’s real meaning, says expert. That expert is Gian Maria Zaccone, scientific director of the Museum of the Shroud of Turin. He said it at a preview of the shroud exposition for journalists. Take a couple of minutes to read the entire article:

“It is up to one’s own personal judgment, that is, neither I nor anyone else can tell you that the Shroud is authentic or not; each person examines and works out what research has offered” and then makes up his or her own mind.

Church doctrine has long held that any reverence or honour given to a religious object or relic must be given to what it represents and not to the object itself, he said.

As I am getting ready to post the above, in comes an email from Joe Marino with a Google translation of a Vatican Insider article that features answers to questions by Zaccone and Andrea Nicolotti. Nicolotti is a frequent participant in this blog who has commented nearly two-hundred times. In the Vatican Insider article Nicolotti tells us (Googlized):

"The Church in the official discourse uses some caution, however, in practice (books, television, catechesis, conferences) promotes propaganda authenticity and discourages the contrary. This creates a lot of ambiguity. "

What Nicolotti is saying is the same thing I am beginning to hear more often. Stephen Jones used the term duplicitous, which is a bit harsh.  See yesterday’s posting, Ye shall know them by their photographs.

And so the question was posed: What should the Church do with the Shroud?

Nicolotti: "No, this is not a question for a historian. It is not my job to say what the Church should do. As far as I’m concerned I feel so overwhelming evidence medieval origin, which I can not understand how anyone can argue otherwise if not placing myself from a point of view devotional or emotional, not rational. "

Zaccone: "I agree that we need a historical, but we must give priority to the study of the object to get the answers we seek regarding the origin of the Shroud. Consider the historical research is very important in many ways, but not fundamental to the question of authenticity. The Church, as I said before, does what it has always historically done and continues to do: teaching propose that image to go to the heart of what it represents, according to the teaching that, through the representation, honor and worship you make it to the principal. "

N: "From the historical point of view it is necessary to perform a cleaning of all the false rumors and legends about the Shroud touted as true. A serious scientific study would be equally desirable. Let’s start with some certain items. The first historical are medieval. At the time, even those who possessed it affirmed the authenticity of the Shroud: called "figure or representation."The fabric – according to my conclusions, which had already reached some historians of weaving, unheeded – is technologically medieval. Twelve radiocarbon datings, performed in 1988 in three different laboratories, have called medieval. Then there are strong indications, such as the fact that no one in history for thirteen centuries, from the tomb of Jesus to the Middle Ages, has never spoken of this shroud; and when the bishop of Troyes and the pope have spoken for the first time, they did say that it was a fraud. So I conclude that it is extremely unlikely that this object dates from the time of Jesus. In addition, the image on the Shroud could not have produced by contact with a dead body without the intervention of a craftsman, and stains of "blood" are not realistic. Efforts are made to doubt this evidence, but I think no effectiveness. If we want to give priority to the devotional aspect, then there was no talk of authenticity. But the question always resurfaces, I can not dodge the issue. That the problem is not secondary demonstrated by the fact that the Shroud is constantly engaged in an effort to delegitimize the results of studies to the detriment of the authenticity, concocting complicated alternative explanations or by resorting to the subject of the miracle. It rejects arguments against and always has a tendency to cite research favorable authenticity (pollens, written, coins) without ever giving into account when they are rejected by the scientific community. Meanwhile access to the Shroud is foreclosed to scholars for decades: it is even forbidden to work on the high-resolution photographs, a situation quite simply unacceptable. "

Z: "I do not think can be considered closed the question of the origin of the Shroud. I’m not saying that is certainly true, I just say that you can not wipe out so simply a series of elements at least doubts, such as the formation of the image, which even today, despite the numerous theoretical and experimental studies carried out, remains without explanation because no one has yet managed to produce an equal. Also because the problems of interpretation of radiocarbon dating were already present in the literature relative to other datings addition to that of the Shroud. Also I think I have repeatedly made clear how the documents, particularly those medieval, can be interpreted in a more complex and not necessarily for the worse. And I would also like you cease to believe that any researcher – even if the value of goal – that enters the order of ideas that the Shroud may be authentic, thereby become unreliable when no object of derision. There must be a science of the Shroud, but scientists who study according to their specializations. I do not find correct that a nuclear physicist deals with history and vice versa. "

Short Shrift Article at HuffPo-UK

April 22, 2015 8 comments

imageThere is, on a single page, an excellent AP video and an awful short-shrifting by Paul Vale, the New York based Night Editor for the Huffington Post UK on the HuffPo-UK site. The article is probably short enough to repost the whole thing without violating fair use. The video, unfortunately sandwiched in between the headline and the story, is well worth watching. It can be accessed by clicking on the picture on the right:

A piece of cloth scientifically proven to have no connection to Biblical times has gone on display in Italy, with millions expected to make the pilgrimage to see the medieval forgery. The infamous Shroud of Turin — a 14 foot piece of linen once believed to be Christ’s burial cloth — went on public display on Sunday after a 5-year hiatus, with Pope Francis reportedly planning to see the “sacred” garb in June.

The linen boasts a faded image of a bearded man, which for centuries was said to be an imprint of the face of Christ. However, in 1988 researchers dated the shroud with Carbon 14 testing, the results placing the garment’s creation within the period 1260-1390. Still, many members of the clergy dismissed the facts, with one Archbishop even decrying the findings as an "overseas Masonic plot" designed to discredit the Roman Catholic Church.

Recent Popes have been careful to avoid pronouncing on the issue, unwilling to reject the shroud while opting to highlight its more symbolic resonance. Yet despite its inauthenticity, the relic remains a big draw for tourists — believers and non-believers. "It’s an occasion that brings everybody together and aims to give a precise response to the violence in this world. It tells us that the way to build a fairer world is not violence, but love," Cesare Nosiglia, Turin’s current archbishop, told the Associated Press.

The shroud will remain on display in the Cathedral of Turin until June 24.

Categories: 2015, Article, Press Coverage

Ye shall know them by their photographs

April 22, 2015 5 comments

image

An old friend who just discovered this blog writes:

We keep reading that the Catholic church does not have a position on the shroud. Like they can?  That’s BS!  Look at the picture on their website. It’s a big case of watch what I do and ignore what I say. Do you think all those bishops and priests are ( What’s the word? Venerating? ) what might be a medieval forgery? Give me a break. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

Ouch. Not good context. Matthew 7:15&16 (NRSV) reads, “15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits.”

Not good context at all.

The above picture that my friend included in his email is in rotation on the official exposition website, sindone.org, and is currently the masthead for the Archdiocese’s official exposition Facebook and Twitter pages.

I get the point but is it valid?  Stephen Jones is saying similar things in his blog, absent the photograph:

As I have stated before, it is duplicitous (i.e. two-faced), of the Vatican to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic. By its actions of spending the equivalent of tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars preserving the Shroud and exhibiting it to millions of people as though it is authentic, the Vatican clearly does believe that the Shroud is authentic, so it should say so. Shroud anti-authenticists cite the Vatican’s refusal to state that the Shroud is authentic as evidence that it is not. I am not being anti-Catholic in this, I am being pro-truth! (italic emphasis is Steven’s)

For what it’s worth, I think the church is saying the right thing and showing the shroud in the right way.

Retracted Papers

April 21, 2015 16 comments

clip_image001Remember all those posting in this blog about Alberto Carpinteri and his Piezonuclear something-or-other ideas about the shroud:

Piezonuclear What?

Aftershock of the Maybe-An-Earthquake-Did-It Earthquake

Jerry Coyne Pounces on the Earthquake Hypothesis

Some Perspective on Alberto Carpinteri

Breaking News: Another Day, Another Solution to the Image and the Carbon Dating

Full Disclosure: Author of ‘Earthquake’ paper is also editor of journal that published paper

 

Well, it turns out that Meccanica, an International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, has retracted several articles in which Carpinteri was involved. Reason given:

This article has been withdrawn by the Publisher and the Society in agreement with the Editor-in-Chief due to conflict of interest reasons. In a commitment to scientific integrity we decided to withdraw the article as the editorial process had been compromised.

They didn’t know that? Read Full Disclosure.

More likely, it has something to do with the St. Louis Conference paper, Earthquake-Induced Piezonuclear Reactions and the Image on the Shroud of Turin: Critical Remarks by Diana Fulbright and Paolo Di Lazzaro. Here is an abstract from the conference site:

Neutrons produced by hypothetical “piezonuclear” fission reactions have been proposed as causative for the formation of the image on the Shroud of Turin1.  According to this hypothesis, compressing solids can provoke nucleus-splitting reactions without emitting γ-rays or producing nuclear waste.  This involves an exponentially accelerated decay rate of a thorium isotope, according to results presented in 2.  The decay rate of the isotope 228Th in a water solution, compared with its natural decay rate, is said to be increased by a factor of 104 when exposed to cavitation, i.e., sound waves at 20 kHz and 100W, as might be produced by a very high-magnitude earthquake.  This claim has been disputed as not substantiated by the experimental evidence presented.

The Shroud image is said to have been formed by a hypothetical flux of thermal neutrons directed into the Shroud, which in turn interacts with atmospheric nitrogen to generate both protons (which are absorbed by the linen cellulose, producing a superficial coloration) and additional isotopes of 14C, captured by cellulose of the linen cloth, as proposed by Rinaudo4, thus skewing the radiocarbon dating of 1988.

However, Rinaudo posited the body as the source of the neutron-proton flux, producing the very superficial image on the inside of the cloth.  On the contrary, in the piezonuclear ssion hypothesis, the source of neutrons are rocks of the walls of the tomb. Therefore the flux of neutrons (and of secondary protons) is directed to the outside surface of the linen cloth.  As a consequence, the image would be on the outside of the cloth, in contradiction with the detailed results of STuRP studies.

The unique earthquakes in the Gospel of Matthew (27:51, 28:2), absent from the other Gospels, are subsumed into the piezonuclear hypothesis.  But they are completely unattested by any known independent historical source.   References to earthquakes at the time of the Crucifixion and/or the Resurrection, such as attributed to the unknown historian Thallos, The Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea and Dante’s Divine Comedycan scarcely be considered to support historical authenticity, as their source is none other than the Gospel of Matthew.

Moreover, image formation via the neutron flux-proton interaction hypothesis is said to have required an earthquake of 8 – 9 ML magnitude1 “which “should have razed Jerusalem to the ground”5, and could not have gone unnoticed by contemporary or later historians – i.e., Pliny, Josephus, Philo, Tacitus, not to mention the letters of Paul or Acts, which portrays the apostles openly teaching in the Temple (3:1 ff.) following the death of Jesus.

The premise that the earthquakes of Matthew may somehow have been involved in formation of the Shroud body image may be untenable, as neither occurred, according to the Evangelist, when the shroud could have been in contact with the body.

The Imams Who Came to See the Shroud

April 21, 2015 28 comments

imageA Google translation of a story in Avvenire, an Italian language Catholic-focused daily newspaper about a group of imams who came to see the shroud:

There are some imams today in Turin with visitors queuing to admire in the Cathedral of the Holy Shroud. Among them,Mohamed Bahreddine, national president of the League of Imams . "It’s the first time we visit the Shroud. We want to broaden the dialogue – he said – our presence is a strong signal after what has happened in the world. We want to lead by example. We want to appeal to all, we are all brothers. Today we need closeness, to show that we are united, there is no need to say no to violence. " "We are for the maximum integration – said Amir Younes, head of the Intercultural Center Mecca of Turin – there is much interest in the Shroud and we are here to enrich our knowledge. Our presence is a sign of integration. "

Bahreddine and Younes drove in all’ostensione visit the Shroud, a group of Muslims. "Even to your celebrations for the end of Ramadan there are always representatives of the Church – explained Bahreddine – why we decided to come to give a signal, to say that we are all brothers and that we are citizens of this country is in this city" . "You – he added – a space to expand the dialogue and, especially after the dramatic events that are happening in recent months, we are here to launch a new appeal and say that we are all brothers." "Today we really need – intervened Younes – to demonstrate the closeness between Christians and Muslims, to say no to all forms of terrorism and violence and yes to living together. You have to be strong together."

With the group of Muslims was also don Tino Negri, director of the Diocesan Centre for Christian-Islamic dialogue Peirone Frederick. "I’m glad of this participation – he says – is the sign of a desire for integration and acceptance of religious and cultural differences."

At the end of the visit the representatives of the Muslim community have commented: "Today we have added to our culture another important piece and we hope we have given a beautiful message of brotherhood." "It is a journey through time and history – said Mohamed Bahreddine – where we saw the figure of Jesus in the vision of the Christian brothers. " For Amir Younes, "there is something that touches the soul, it is a moment that brings together people towards peace, a moment of which today we have much need and that is what we hope to happen even in our territories where war is waged for nothing. "

Charles Freeman and the Huffington Post Caption Writer

April 21, 2015 3 comments

Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been
produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.


imageCarol Kuruvilla writes HuffPo’s story about the exposition:

In a 2011 book, British scholar Charles Freeman suggested that the shroud was created for medieval Easter rituals. The earliest mention of the shroud he could find was in 1355, when the cloth was displayed at a chapel in Lirey, France.

“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” Freeman told The Guardian.

Italy’s former royal family, the House of Savoy, acquired the shroud in 1453. Freeman says the family “converted” the cloth “into a high-prestige relic” in order to bolster the kingdom’s reputation.

A caption writer for an accompanying gallery of pictures had a different story to tell:

This image cannot be a medieval fake: the image does not match the style, technique, or concepts of medieval imagery, and it cannot be a painting or a rubbing. Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.

And there is this caption for a photograph of the frontal full body image:

The Shroud was first photographed in 1898, revealing that it is an astonishingly realistic negative image. This unequivocally proves that the Shroud cannot be a medieval man-made forgery, for no one knew how to produce such an image in those days – or would have wanted to. And no, Leonardo couldn’t have either – apart from anything else, he was born a century after the Shroud is first documented in France.

And this caption for a picture of the Hungarian Pray Codex

Folio 28r of the Pray Codex, a Hungarian manuscript produced between 1192 and 1195, depicting two scenes from the Passion. Most people believe the Shroud is a fake due to the 1988 carbon-dating test, but the botched sampling of the cloth and the last-minute abandonment of agreed-upon procedures mean that the carbon-dating test had severe flaws. Carbon-dating is by no means 100% reliable, and the carbon-dating of ancient cloths appears to be particularly error-prone. Contamination or a medieval repair can account for the problematic Shroud test. This miniature painting, dating from the 1190s, depicts the Shroud, complete with a distinctive pattern of burn-marks, at least a century before the date suggested by the carbon-dating.

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