Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A Revised Edition of the book by Robert Wilcox

October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

A reader writes:

I just noticed that Robert K. Wilcox has released a revised edition of “THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SHROUD OF TURIN”. What is new or different from the 2010 edition?

imageI don’t know. The 2010 book was certainly a major revision to the 1977 book by Wilcox (pictured here from his author page at Amazon). Is this a major revision? It doesn’t look like it. Maybe there is a clue in these sentences from the Preface:

And now we even have a probable link between the shroud and the Knights Templar, which fills in the most important blank in the history of the shroud. All these discoveries, and more, as well as the 2010 rare public exposition of the linen, prompted me to renew my investigation and write the book you have before you.

What I noticed is that the book is now available in audio form read by a professional narrator, Jeremy Edwin Gage. It runs 7 hours and 22 minutes. I’ve become a big fan of audible books, mostly history. I listen to them on my iPhone while walking the dog each day,

I’ll download it. Maybe I’ll hear what is different from when I read the book about three years ago.

I just noticed, Wilcox has five different books in And they are history, like Target Patton. Hmm.

Categories: Books

The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly Continued

September 30, 2013 5 comments

imageI watched the twelve-minute segment of 60 Minutes about Bill O’Reilly and his new book (see my earlier September 27 posting, The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly). I was amazed at the man’s arrogance. Here is how CBS bills the interview conducted by Norah O’Donnell:

The Gospel according to Bill O’Reilly? 
September 29, 2013 4:00 PM

Bill O’Reilly, the king of cable TV news, says the Holy Spirit tapped him to write "Killing Jesus" – a book that refutes parts of the Bible

Watch it by clicking on the image above.

Here are some choice bits posted by Anugrah Kumar in the Christian Post right after the show aired:

"And I believe – because I’m a Catholic – that comes from the Holy Spirit. My inspiration comes from that. And so I wrote Killing Jesus because I think I was directed to write that," added O’Reilly in the interview with Norah O’Donnell that will air on Sunday evening.

O’Donnell asked O’Reilly if he thinks he’s a chosen one. "I’m just one of many who have been given gifts," replied the anchor of "The O’Reilly Factor." "I can write. I can bloviate on TV. So I’m trying to use the gifts in a positive way. And I believe that’s all directed and that’s why I’m here on the planet."

In Killing Jesus, O’Reilly "details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth," according to publisher Henry Holt and Company, which paid the two authors $10 million as advance

Some parts of the book contradict the New Testament’s accounts of the crucifixion. For example, O’Reilly believes Jesus couldn’t have spoken the words, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," because the crucifixion wouldn’t have allowed enough air in His lungs.

Categories: Books, Video

The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly

September 27, 2013 9 comments

imageThe AP is reporting:

Bill O’Reilly says God told him to write his new book, "Killing Jesus: A History."

The Fox News anchor explains in an interview on CBS’ "60 Minutes" that one night he awoke with the title of the book in his head. He says he believes he got that message from the Holy Spirit.

O’Reilly says the book is a researched, historic account. Despite its de-emphasis of religion, he is using his special gifts from God in a positive way.

He says it’s all part of God’s plan for him.

I’m sure he thinks so.  Actually, it is Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, who also co-authored "Killing Lincoln" and "Killing Kennedy" with O’Reilly. O’Reilly’s name is just so much bigger  because God told the publisher that he talks to O’Reilly.

Is the shroud mentioned? The authors come close – and oh so far. Here is a quote:

[T]hey do make the extravagant gesture of coating the body in expensive myrrh and aloe, to overwhelm the coming smell of decomposition. Then they wrap the body tightly in linen, making sure to keep it loose around Jesus’s face in case he is not really dead but merely unconscious. In this way, he will not suffocate. Jewish tradition dictates that all bodies be examined three days after apparent death. Thus the tomb will be reopened and Jesus will be observed on Sunday.

But all this is merely adherence to ritual. For Jesus is clearly dead. The spear rupturing the pericardial sac around his heart left no doubt.

Nonetheless, the tomb will be reopened on Sunday. When death is formally pronounced, his body will rest inside the tomb for a full year. Then the bones will be removed from his decomposed body and placed in a small stone jar known as an ossuary . . .

Pericardial sac? Where do we think they got that?

There is this:

As the two Marys approach the tomb, they are stunned. The tombstone has been rolled away. The crypt is empty.

Mary Magdalene cautiously steps forward and looks inside. She smells the myrrh and aloe in which Jesus’s body was anointed. She clearly sees the linen shroud in which the body was wrapped. But there is nothing else there.

To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.

Mary clearly saw the shroud? Did the AP not say, “O’Reilly says the book is a researched, historic account. . .  he is using his special gifts from God in a positive way.”

Yup! Got to love this paragraphs from a review of the book by New Testament scholar Joel L. Watts:

. . . While promising a researched narrative they simply rely on a fanciful retelling of the Fourfold Gospel story. It is written, I believe, to appeal to the fundamentalist and the evangelical but fails miserably in the hype induced by Mr. O’Reilly’s comments earlier this year, that somehow Jesus was crucified because he a member of the Taxed Enough Already Party.

Categories: Books, History

Shreds of Evidence: A Guest Posting by Joe Marino

September 23, 2013 107 comments

“several thoughts popped into my mind”

imageBy Joe Marino:

I recently rewatched a Shroud program titled "Shreds of Evidence" shown on A&E cable network on 4/21/95.  It was a BBC/Timewatch production.  I believe that was the 1st time it had been broadcast in the United States.  I’m not sure when it was first shown in England.  But it was actually produced in 1988, per the date listed at the end of the video and something else I’ll mention in a minute.

The program starts out with the late Fr. Peter Rinaldi, a well-known Shroud advocate, going to the Cathedral to pray before the Shroud.  But when I tell you that David Sox was interviewed a lot and was the program consultant, you will be able to guess what direction the program heads.  Sox is an American Episcopal priest who has been living in England for some decades now.  He was the 1st General Secretary of the British Society for the Turin Shroud and seemingly pro-Shroud in the 70s until he apparently became convinced by the evidence put forth by McCrone, who believed it showed that the Shroud was a fake.

Sox, as many of you know, had the book The Shroud Unmasked printed and ready to go when the C-14 dates were released in October 1988.  Against the protocol set for the C-14 labs, he was given advance information about the results, and I believe was even allowed to observe the actual testing at Zurich.

The program paints a picture of pro-Shroud scientists, including STURP of course, as those who have let their religious feelings get in the way of their scientific objectivity.  It paints a picture of C-14 being pretty much fool-proof.  It paints a picture of science pretty much always proving that religion is rarely if ever on the same level as science.  It paints a picture of the 14th century being a time of many relics and very much into suffering, implying that the Shroud fits in perfectly with that time as a man-made object.  The point is made that people in the 14th century literally paid to see the Shroud.

What really jumped out at me at the end of the program was when the rolling text gave the dates that the British Museum received the results from Zurich and Arizona and Oxford was delayed.  It then said that the official results were expected in September.  So this documentary was already complete in summer 1988!  So Sox not only had his book ready to go when the dates were announced, he was significantly involved in a documentary completed before the dates were even announced.

I think this is interesting in light of the later discovery that "anonymous businessmen" made a 1 million pound donation to Oxford for ostensibly having proven the Shroud to be a forgery.  And, of course, we know that the British Museum’s Dr. Michael Tite, who was billed as the independent overseer of the 1988 C-14 dating, left the museum and took the place of the late Dr. Edward (Teddy) Hall, when he resigned shortly after the dating and after the lab had received the donation.

Knowing that Sox’s book was ready to go when the results were announced and that "Shreds of Evidence" was produced even before the official dates were announced, several thoughts popped into my mind:

*Was having both the book and documentary ready before the official dates were announced designed as a specific psychological attack on those who believed the Shroud to be authentic?  If so, what individuals or groups were involved?

*Were there any connections/associations between the publisher of Sox’s book, BBC/Timewatch, which put out the documentary, and the "anonymous businessmen" that donated the million pounds to Oxford?

*We may never know the answers, but I have a feeling that if we did, there would be some shocking revelations.

Google, McCrone and my Dog

August 22, 2013 98 comments

imageForget the NSA; Google, I’m told, tracks every web search I make. And it probably reads my emails, too. And it obviously sells something about me to advertisers. Just this morning I logged into my veterinarian’s pet medication site to check on a prescription for my dog. There was a link to an article about what to do if a dog is bitten by a snake. Living in South Carolina, where we see Copperheads a couple of times a week, I was interested and clicked on the article. Right there, near the top of the page, was an advertisement from Amazon informing me that Walter McCrone’s “Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin” was now available on Kindle. You think that was a targeted ad? For dog lovers or for people who searches for material about the shroud? You think anyone else sees that ad in a veterinary medicine portal?

Did I want to see a sample? Yes! The following, appearing in the book, is from a proposal letter that McCrone sent to Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi in 1977. Amazing:

For centuries the Turin Shroud has been a holy relic of the Catholic Church but owned by the Italian House of Savoy. The Shroud rests in a silver chest in the Cathedral of St. John in Turin, Italy. The provenance for the Shroud is known dependably for more than 600 years with considerable evidence extending this date back to the time of Christ.

It would be a tremendous accomplishment if the Shroud could be dated, and a date near the time of Christ would certainly lend considerable weight to the evidence that it is indeed the Shroud of Christ Himself. It is also important to determine the nature of the image on the linen. If the image and the stains that form a part of that image are shown to have been caused by body fluids, this would be further authentication. Finally, success in these two areas (the date and presence of body fluids) would then make it be very difficult not to conclude that the Shroud is indeed that of Christ.

We believe there is an excellent chance that the Shroud can be dated, using very new techniques, and that the chemical nature of the stains can be established. We further believe that this can be done without removing easily detectable samples from the Shroud. We will discuss each of these analytical problems in turn, beginning with the problem of dating very small samples of organic materials such as linen.

So I ordered the book for my dog.

When I pray I see a face, a human face among other human faces

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

and how much, I wonder, is growing familiarity with the shroud
shaping how we imagine the face in an angry crowd

imageThe book has been available in Great Britain for over a year. Now it is coming to the U.S.  We’ll see it on the shelves this October. Here is the description of the book at Amazon:

Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic is a wonderfully pugnacious defense of Christianity. Refuting critics such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the "new atheist" crowd, Spufford, a former atheist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, argues that Christianity is recognizable, drawing on the deep and deeply ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the grown-up dignity of Christian experience.

Fans of C. S. Lewis, N. T. Wright, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Karr, Diana Butler Bass, Rob Bell, and James Martin will appreciate Spufford’s crisp, lively, and abashedly defiant thesis.

Unapologetic is a book for believers who are fed up with being patronized, for non-believers curious about how faith can possibly work in the twenty-first century, and for anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic, anti-imaginative and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now being made.

Here is a quotation picked up from a posting three days ago by Ethan Richardson in Mockingbird:

Christians too, of course, draw consolation from the patterns faith makes as it repeats in time. For us too there’s an important wisdom in not leading a life whose only measure is the impulse of the moment. But our main comfort in the face of unjustifiable suffering is very different. It’s not an investment in order we’re asked to make; it’s a gamble on change. Our hope in not in time cycling on predictably and benevolently under an almighty hand. Our hope is in time interrupted, disrupted, abruptly altering from moment to moment. We don’t say that God’s in His heaven and all’s well with the world; not deep down. We say: all is not well with the world, but at least God is here in it, with us. We don’t have an argument that solves the problem of the cruel world, but we have a story.

imageWhen I pray, I am not praying to a philosophically complicated absentee creator. When I manage to pay attention to the continual love song, I am not trying to envisage the impossible-to-imagine domain beyond the universe. I do not picture kings, thrones, crystal pavements, or any of the possible cosmological updatings of these things. I look across, not up; I look into the world, not out or away. When I pray I see a face, a human face among other human faces. It is a face in an angry crowd, a crowd engorged by the imageconfidence that it is doing the right thing, that it is being virtuous. The man in the middle of the crowd does not look virtuous. He looks tired and frightened and battered by the passions around him. But he is the crowd’s focus and centre. The centre of everything, in fact, because if you are a Christian you do not believe that the characteristic action of the God of everything is to mould the course of the universe powerfully from afar.For a Christian, the most essential thing God does in time, in all of human history, is to be that man in the crowd; a man under arrest, and on his way to our common catastrophe (106-108).

And how much, I wonder, is growing familiarity with the shroud shaping how we imagine the face in an angry crowd.

The photograph of Francis Spufford is from The Telegraph.

Categories: Books, Other Blogs

Shroud of Turin Quote of the Year (so far)

August 18, 2013 5 comments

imageEven Che Guevara, a proven ideological monster, started looking good next to this Jesus, to speak only about their looks. Che still looks good on his youth poster, but Jesus, who didn’t photograph so well on the shroud of Turin, doesn’t even look human when Aslan’s done with him.

–– Andrei Codrescu,writing in the Los
Angeles Review of Books,
importantly reprinted
just yesterday in Salon, arguing that Reza Aslan’s
“Zealot” paints Jesus as a Nazarene Che Guevara
(Hat tip to John Klotz)

For context, you should read the full embracing paragraph:

clip_image001. . . This carefully strategic Jesus of “history” is born of Aslan’s own pruning and sifting of the meager “historical evidence.” Jesus the Zealot emerges as little more than a collection of bullet points for Aslan’s arguments against the “love Jesus.” (Produced, incidentally, by the same “historical evidence.”) Zealot certainly took away my appetite to revisit Jesus Christ Superstar. I had to stay home and study my Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and all the other dreary horrors of the “revolutionary” horde that bored the piss out of my childhood. Even Che Guevara, a proven ideological monster, started looking good next to this Jesus, to speak only about their looks. Che still looks good on his youth poster, but Jesus, who didn’t photograph so well on the shroud of Turin, doesn’t even look human when Aslan’s done with him.

Actually, you should read the entire almost-long-form article.

Recall, I mentioned the book recently: Fox News Propels Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus to Number One (the video embedded in that posting has since been removed from YouTube at the request of Fox News).

Categories: Books, News & Views, Quotations

Comments du jour: I have read Meacham’s book, twice actually

August 17, 2013 1 comment

imageIt is by now the 55th comment in the thread, Here is a crowdfunding campaign we should be able to support and the subject has drifted which is fine.

Yannick Clément writes:

If you read again Meacham’s book Ron, you will note that the question of sampling the charred material around the fire holes was a possibility that was totally rejected at the protocol meeting in Turin that was done before the sampling of 1988 and even Meacham himself was against this kind of unsure sampling.

Later on, after the 2002 restoration, Meacham made a full turn of 180 degree about that because Ray Rogers convinced him that such a material was very good and not that risky for an accurate C14 dating. At that point in time, Meacham, Rogers and other Shroud researchers wrote to Turin and ask the authorities to do a new C14 dating with the charred material that has been scraped away from the 1532 fire holes and well preserved in glass bottles during the 2002 restoration. If I remember well, the Turin authorities did not even send them an answer!!!

Ron responds:

Who cares! …Yannick you seem to think you alone have read books (closely) and maintain the ‘real’ knowledge. As I stated before I have read Meacham’s book, twice actually, along with dozens of others and have studied the process of radiocarbon dating in detail. I am completely aware of all that went on leading to the 1988 c14 fiasco, and my point stands…If they had used some common-sense, my idea of how it should have been tackled should have been followed…Why they ‘truly’ did not, is the million dollar question and ridiculous to think it was simply due to aesthetics. Furthermore, I do not need to rely simply on Meacham’s book, to come to my conclusions. I can think for myself.

Crowdfunding? As I mentioned, the subject drifted, which. I repeat, is fine.  It was now about carbon dating. What Meacham wrote about, thought about and speculated on became the main thread of discussion by comment 14. It is an informative discussion.  If you missed the discussion, I recommend it.

Categories: Books, Carbon 14 Dating

Fox News Propels Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus to Number One

July 30, 2013 5 comments

imageThis will probably be the hottest book about Jesus this year. Erik Wemple explains why in the Washington Post:

Fox News has done a great deal to promote Reza Aslan’s new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” How so? An interview conducted by Lauren Green on managed to so thoroughly insult and trash Aslan’s motives in writing the book that the whole world is clicking on the tete-a-tete.

The Fox News interview is available on many sites The YouTube version (below) has had over two million viewings in just two days. Cable and online excerpts extend bits of the interview to several more million people.

Erik Wemple prepared a transcript of the interview, which I enjoyed better than the video – but you have to see at least some of the video. This has to be the stupidest television interview ever.

Right now, thanks in large measure to the interview, Zealot is the number 1 best seller on Amazon. That is simply unbelievable for a scholarly historical book about Jesus – come to think of it scholarly or historical about anyone.  The book is also, as of a few minutes ago, number 1 on the New York Times non-fiction list. It is sold out in many retail stores. Amazon is requiring extra days for handling and shipping. Your best bet may be Kindle or, if you like to listen to books, Audible.

I just did a scan of the book at Google books. Although Jesus’ burial and tomb are discussed, there is no mention of the shroud – not that I expected it.

Dateline: United States, July 22, 2013. Another Press Release for The Chimera

July 22, 2013 3 comments

Previous coverage in this blog, all last month:

imageIn the ‘getting dizzy’ posting I complained about inaccuracies. Fr. Veneroso responded appropriately. At least that’s how I saw it. Setting those aside, the book turned out to be an enjoyable summer read.

So here is the latest press release:

J.R. Veneroso Sends Readers on a Relentless Journey into a World Steeped in Historical and Religious Intrigue. The Shroud of Turin figures as a key theme in Veneroso’s explosive new novel.

The Shroud of Turin is surrounded by as much mystery as reverence. For centuries historians, researchers and theologians have engaged in relentless debate over the Shroud’s authenticity. In J.R. Veneroso’s gripping new novel, The Chimera, the controversial relic becomes the center of a conspiracy that could shake the foundation of Christianity and rewrite the future of humankind.

When scientists uncover a Vatican plot to discredit the Shroud of Turin, they risk their lives to find out why. They soon discover something greater and more sinister is at work. What began as a desperate chase to recover a missing artifact quickly unfurls to a dangerous, race against time to prevent a second holocaust from engulfing the world.

The pope has authorized a dangerous experiment: clone Jesus. Not only are church authorities unprepared for what Jesus would say, they are less prepared for what Jesus would look like. Giving their secret project urgency is a similar experiment by a neo-Nazi cult with cloning ambitions of its own: splice the DNA of Jesus to that of Adolf Hitler.

Steeped in historical and religious intrigue, The Chimera will take readers on a riveting quest across continents. Veneroso has masterfully blended the real with the speculative, the past with the present and the present with the future to create fiction that is immersive, compelling and highly explosive.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

About the Author
J. R. Veneroso is a Catholic priest missioner with the Maryknoll Society. After serving twelve years in Korea, he attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and served as editor in chief for Maryknoll magazine. He is the author of several books, including God in Unexpected Places, Good News for Today, and Honor the Void, published through Orbis Books. Since 1997, he has studied the facts and controversies surrounding Catholicism’s most mysterious relic: the Shroud of Turin.

The Chimera * by J.R. Veneroso
Publication Date: June 12, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 322 pages; 978-1-4836-3018-2
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 322 pages; 978-1-4836-3019-9
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4836-3020-5

For publisher and other contact information see the full press release at PRWEB.

Categories: Books

Science is, after all, nothing more than . . .

July 21, 2013 2 comments

imageDave Pollard reviews a book I’ve been wanting to find the time to read, The Science Delusion by Curtis White. He writes:

The book takes on a whole horde of fervent adherents to scientism, technophilia, the myth of ‘progress’ and simplistic ‘theories of everything’. It courageously deconstructs the ludicrous arguments of the “new athiests” (Dawkins, Hitchens, Hawking et al), the dumb-it-down science ‘journalists’ and pop neuroscience cultists (Jonah Lehrer, Damasio, Seung, Huxley, Pinker, Florida, many marketing ‘gurus’ and linguists, and many of the TEDTalk performers). The collective message of these groups is, in White’s words: “The human mind is a machine of flesh, neurons and chemicals; with enough money and computing power the jigsaw puzzle of the brain will be completed, and we will know what we are and how we should act”.

. . . and he offers up a definition of science that should be useful should I ever get into a bar argument about what science is after three or four beers.

Science is, after all, nothing more than the creation of approximate, limited and ever-changing models and metaphors of some aspects of reality, that are often interesting and sometimes (enormously) useful.

. . . and I’m thinking of writing a comment and wonder if there is some way to work in Shroud Science. It never hurts to work that in. So I’m searching for a quote from this year’s news, perhaps from Eastertide, and I encounter this in the New York Times (Elisabetta Povoledo, March 29, 2013)

Scientists have struggled to explain the image of the man on the cloth, which has markings compatible with the wounds of someone who was crucified. Mr. [Giulio] Fanti said he thought the image could have been created by a “very intense burst of energy,” which could have mutated the percentage of carbon-14 in the linen, leading some scientists to wrongly date it to the 13th century.

Shish. Shush. No comment.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan: Se non e vero e ben trovato

July 18, 2013 1 comment

imageRobert Curtis, just a bit late, sits down to write a review of ‘Life Lessons from Life with My Brother, Timothy Cardinal Dolan’ in the Catholic Sun. “I understand that the book arrived in 2011” he said, “and that some of you may have already read it, but I just got hold of it so now I’m doing the review!”

This paragraph of the review caught my attention – Google’s attention:

Dolan’s approach to miracles, artifacts, and special things like the Shroud of Turin is interesting. Of them, he says, “Se non e vero e ben trovato,” an old Italian saying that roughly translates to “If it’s not true, it ought to be.” Delightfully profound, Dolan claims that there are always going to be things we can’t explain that the Faith will produce but that our belief in them always carries a power that can convert others; a good approach, especially in today’s miasma of relativism.

That’s just too easy.

In paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.

Categories: Books

FYI for Everyone of Your Readers

July 16, 2013 1 comment

imageBT writes from New London:

FYI for everyone of your readers. I recently came across a wonderful rare book, Holy Shroud of Turin by Arthur Stapylton Barnes of Trinity College, Cambridge University from Kissinger Rare Reprints.

Here is a description of the reprint of this 1934 book from

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

It was originally published in 1934 by Burns Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., of London; Publsihers to the Holy See. This is a Print on Demand version, available in both Hard Cover and Paperback through and

Categories: Books

The Linen God Roll Out Continues

July 15, 2013 1 comment

imageJim O’Shea promotes his new book over at the American Christian  Fiction Writers’ The Voice of Christian Fiction:

My new thriller, “The Linen God”, is focused on mysterious secrets embedded within the most studied and controversial religious relic in human history, the Shroud of Turin. The ancient Jewish burial cloth bears the photonegative image of a crucified man, alleged to be that of Jesus Christ. Although science has been unable to prove how the image was formed (there are no pigments in the cloth), the Shroud has long been considered a Medieval forgery by most scientists and historians.

However, researchers now claim to have scientific evidence that the Shroud of Turin dates to somewhere between 280 BC and 220 AD. Professor Giulio Fanti and his research team at the University of Padua in Italy reports the results of some chemical and mechanical tests they performed which they claim “confirms that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century.” The “Vatican Insider” has chimed in as well. I’ll spare you the bulk of the highly technical statement, and provide just the summary statement below.

“Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years.”

Previous Postings in this blog:

Categories: Books, Other Blogs

A Book Review of Joe Nickell’s The Science of Miracles

July 3, 2013 33 comments

imageDonald B. Ardell has written a book review of “The Science of Miracles” by Joe Nickell (pictured). It is carried in Perry Street Palace:

“I’m more or less a nice person,” he starts out . . .

. . . I try not to hurt people’s feelings. But, it is nearly impossible not to channel my inner Lewis Black when I encounter people who believe maniacal lunacies. How can seemingly sane people, unsupervised adults capable of dressing themselves, communicating with others, using the bathroom and even safely crossing busy intersections take any of the following things seriously?

[ . . . ]

  • That the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus, produced by a miraculous burst of radiant energy at the moment of the Resurrection.

He says almost nothing about the book or the subject matter but lavishly praises Nickell:

Joe Nickell, author of The Science of Miracles, has long been known and respected as a fair-minded expert at sniffing out facts and unraveling secrets. His latest book casts a scientific eye on all of the beliefs noted above and many more. It is a valuable source for all who hold faith-based beliefs. It should be read by anyone who gives so much as a microscopic glimmer of credulity to one or more of the miracle claims described in The Science of Miracles.

[ . . . ]

What I’d Like to See Joe Investigate Next

How about an investigation of the efficacy of prayer and the evidence for a heaven or hell, the resurrection, the trinity, transubstantiation or, the biggest miracle of all, the validity from a science perspective of the existence of God – any god? I dunno. Maybe Joe is at work on such a book. I hope so. If so and if he finds any science that supports any of these religious claims embraced by billions of Christians, Islamics, Jews and others all over the world, that will truly be a miracle.

imageLewis Black? Black is a barely amusing comedian. He specializes in ridiculing politics, religion and certain cultural groups of people. Think Don Rickles on steroids in a T-shirt.

Categories: Books

John Klotz lets us have it. Thanks.

July 2, 2013 Leave a comment


Following some discussion in my posting, JREF, Catholics Answers and the like, John Klotz posts this comment:

To one and all,

It appears to me the first chapter of my work in progress may be relevant to tis discussion. I have posted at

It’s copyrighted but feel free to reference the URL or quote from it if you are so inclined. If you do quote from it, all ask is that you attribute it to me.

Categories: Books, News & Views

The Linen God by Jim O’Shea is now available

June 30, 2013 2 comments

imageI mentioned this just a month ago in New Novel Coming: The Linen God by Jim O’Shea. Now I have an email from Jim. The book, I am told, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Jim writes:

As a fellow Shroud advocate, you’ll be happy to know the long-awaited release of "The Linen God" is finally here!
"The Linen God" is a thriller in the tradition of Robert Ludlum and Frank Peretti, examining the fascinating history and science behind the legendary Shroud of Turin. The Amazon and B&N links below have a synopsis and sample chapters if you’d like to read more. "The Linen God" is currently rated 4.85 Stars" (out of 5) and early reviewer’s comments have included:

- "a wonderfully engaging, page-turning thriller. " – Award-winning author Doug Peterson.

- "The twists and turns kept me reading well into the night. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a new twist threw me head long into a vortex of deceit, murder,love and hope." – author D.M. Sel

imageI’m convinced the success of a mainstream novel can create exposure for the Shroud much the same way "The DaVinci Code" drew so much attention to DaVinci’s Last Supper. However, unlike Dan Brown’s secular works, "The Linen God" is a triumph of our Christian faith over the ultimate evil.

It’s available now at Amazon or Barnes and Noble in paperback, Kindle, and Nook formats ….with a special introductory price for a short time. The links are below:

[ Amazon

Barnes and Noble. ]

I hope you get a chance to read "The Linen God"…….and perhaps tell your friends!

Thanks in advance,

Jim O’Shea

PS. If I haven’t asked for too much already, my Facebook and website URL’s are below. I’d love if you stopped by there too!

Thanks again.

Note: I could not find the Nook format over at Barnes & Noble. I purchased the Kindle version.

Categories: Books

Getting Dizzy Reading Veneroso’s The Chimera

June 21, 2013 22 comments

imageAnd I haven’t even started chapter 2. I know it’s fiction, but . . .

1)  Coins over the eyes:

“What about the computer-enhanced markings on the eyelids? They match perfectly— perfectly, I tell you —inscriptions on coins minted during the reign of Pontius Pilate. And do you know how Jews of the first century buried their dead?” “Yes, I know.”

“With coins on the eyelids!” “Yes, I know.” “Well, of course you know,” Stanton responded triumphantly. “We all know. Any thinking person knows. Only His Holiness refuses to know.”

. . . “Only His Holiness refuses to know.” Well not exactly. Most informed people know the claim about coins over the eyes is myth.

2)  Carbon 14 Dating:

Only the carbon-14 dating flew in the face of the other findings. And on this, a flawed test disavowed by its own researchers, the Vatican was preparing to pronounce the shroud a “pious forgery.” Mysterious all the more, but a forgery nonetheless.

. . . “disavowed by its own researchers.” Not exactly.

3)  Father Secondo Pia’s rectory:

Next, her imagination floated to the makeshift darkroom of Father Secondo Pia’s rectory on that fateful day in 1898. He had received papal permission to subject the Holy Shroud to the objective eye of that new-fangled invention called photography. When he developed his film and looked at the negative, the priest found himself staring openmouthed at the positive image of a person who looked for all the world like Jesus Christ.

. . . “the priest found himself staring openmouthed.”  Fr. Pia?

4)  STURP:

Eighty years later, Pope Paul VI— less hostile toward scientific inquiry or, perhaps, more secure in his faith— allowed access to the shroud by an impressive array of twenty-four eminent scientists from the United States, including avowed atheists. The more they studied , the more excited and intrigued they became. Preliminary results awed even the most stoic. Atheists evolved into polite skeptics, skeptics into cautious believers , believers into outspoken advocates. So often did her mother [a fictitious member of STURP] describe the scene in 1978 Jeannette felt she had been there herself.

Yet one question continued to baffle: How was the image made? It appeared only on the outermost surface of the fibers. Lack of pigment and brushstroke ruled out painting. Most scientists concluded the shroud was no work of art, although one insisted no less a genius than Leonardo da Vinci had produced the image by a process still unknown.

. . . [a STURP member insisted that] “Leonardo da Vinci had produced the image. . .” Not exactly.

5)  Impartial and unimpeachable researcher:

Yet as a woman who lost faith in organized religion even as she refound faith in God, Gramm stubbornly refused to leave the Roman Catholic Church. “They baptized me, they’re stuck with me,” she insisted. Describing herself as an “ex-Catholic, as in exiled,” Gramm had nothing to gain by siding with a church she regarded as patriarchal, archaic, and oppressive of women. In short, she was a perfect, impartial, and unimpeachable witness to the shroud’s authenticity.

. . . “a perfect, impartial, and unimpeachable witness to the shroud’s authenticity.” Not at all.

6) The pope is about to do the impossible, suppress research. Having only two or three days to stop him from doing so:

“We need to conduct a new C-14 on the main cloth right away. We need to fax the others, but only those we can trust: Nickoloff in Moscow, Liang in Hong Kong, and Zendri. Where is he? We definitely need Zendri.” “Still here in Rome, I think. We can call and have him meet us at the airport,” she said, extracting her cellular phone from her shoulder bag. “If we move fast, we can catch the next shuttle to Milan,” Gramm said . . . .

. . . “conduct a new C-14 on the main cloth right away.” I can’t wait.

Quotes taken from J.R. Veneroso (2013-05-03). The Chimera. Xlibris. Kindle Edition.

Categories: Books

Trailer for The Chimera By J.R. Veneroso

June 19, 2013 1 comment

Joseph Veneroso, by way of a blog comment, refers us to the trailer for his newly published book. Here it is. Also see Amazon’s Book Description.

Categories: Books, Video

New Shroud of Turin Novel, The Chimera by Fr. J. R. Veneroso

June 17, 2013 7 comments

imageAmazon’s Book Description:

What secret does the Shroud of Turin contain to justify murder? When scientists uncover a Vatican plot to discredit the Shroud of Turin, they risk their lives to find out why. Unbeknownst to all but a few people, the pope has authorized a dangerous experiment: clone Jesus. Not only are church authorities unprepared for what Jesus would say, they are less prepared for what Jesus would look like. Giving their secret project urgency is a similar experiment by a neo-Nazi cult with cloning ambitions of its own: splice the DNA of Jesus to that of Adolf Hitler.

The Author (from the back cover):

imageFr. J. R. Veneroso is a Catholic priest missioner with the Maryknoll Society. After serving twelve years in Korea, he attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and served as editor in chief for Maryknoll magazine. He is the author of several books, including God in Unexpected Places, Good News for Today, and Honor the Void, published through Orbis Books. Since 1997, he has studied the facts and controversies surrounding Catholicism’s most mysterious relic: the Shroud of Turin.

A Short Review by one purchaser:

Father Joe either has an amazingly frightful imagination or some startling inside information. This book kept me on the edge of my seat for hours.

A Longer Review by another:

Father Joe Venoroso has certainly taken his place with Father Joseph Girzone and the dearly departed Andrew Greeley with this innovative, and at times terrifying novel which manages to get into the deepest parts of this Catholic’s psyche, at least. Truth be told, he reminds me less of the two aforementioned fantastic authors and more (in this novel) of Charles Williams (Charles Williams Omnibus: War in Heaven / Many Dimensions / The Place of the Lion / Shadows of Ecstasy / The Greater Trumps / Descent into Hell / All Hallows’ Eve / Et in Sempiternum Pereant). This is Catholic fantasy, science fiction, and theology of the highest order.

To sample just a few questions from a book that might be bothersome (and revelatory at the same time) to the believer, here are a few posed in the book with a great degree of subtlety:

What if Christ was NOT the egalitarian love letter to the world we believe He was? What if He was something else?

What if He was that love letter and an institution, through scientific meddling and a genuine misunderstanding, lied to us about Him on a level that could cause about fifteen riots a la LA in the early 90′s?

What if God willed something horrendous and we knew for a fact that it was God doing so?

Though I would not speak for him, I think that Father Veneroso’s questions here are not meant to terrify us, not just that, but to awaken us out of our complacency, particularly about the state of our Church. Will we always be patriarchal caucasians determined to maintain our power? Could even the scenarios in this novel make us change? A must read for any Catholic with faith and concern left for the Church.

Hardcover $26.99, Paperback $17.15, Kindle $3.49

Categories: Books

The poker holes on the Turin Shroud deliberately put there to designate the cloth as sacred?

June 11, 2013 35 comments

clip_image001You may need an introduction before I tell you about one person’s solution to a musical cryptogram. I had never heard of such a thing. Here, Wikipedia, tells us:

Edward Elgar composed his Variations on an Original Theme for Orchestra ("Enigma"), Op. 36, commonly referred to as the Enigma Variations, in 1898–99. It is a set of fourteen variations on a hidden "theme" that is, in Elgar’s words, "not played". It is Elgar’s best-known large-scale composition, for both the music itself and the enigma behind it.

Elgar dedicated the piece to "my friends pictured within", each variation being an affectionate portrayal of one of his circle of close acquaintances. See Musical cryptogram. The people portrayed in the variations include Elgar’s wife Alice, Augustus J. Jaeger and Elgar himself. The enigma is the hidden theme, which has been the subject of much speculation. Various musicians have proposed theories for what melody it could be, although Elgar did not say that that his "theme" was a melody. The enigma could be something else, such as a symbol or a literary theme. Elgar accepted none of the solutions proposed in his lifetime, and, pleased with his little joke, took the secret with him to the grave.

After its 1899 London premiere, the piece achieved popularity and was performed internationally. It has been recorded over 60 times.

imageAlong comes Mr. Padgett. According to his own blog, Elgar’s Enigma Theme Unmasked, we learn about Mr. Padgett:

Mr. Padgett studied violin with Michael Rosenker, and Rosenker’s pupil, Owen Dunsford. Mr. Padgett studied piano with Sally Magee (a student of Emanuel Bay), and Blanca Uribe, a student of Rosina Lhévinne. He attended the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, California, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in psychology. At Vassar he studied music theory and composition with Richard Wilson. Mr. Padgett has performed for . . . .

Elgar’s Enigma Theme Unmasked seems to be a blog dedicated to just what its name says. Therein, I found this shroud ladened conclusion that Mr. Padgett posted just yesterday:

This brief review documents multiple coded references to the Turin Shroud in the Enigma Variations. The Hyphen Cipher in Variation II encodes the name of Secondo Pia, the first official photographer of the Turin Shroud. The timing of Pia’s famous photograph in May 1898 is credible because it predates the genesis of the Enigma Variations by five months. In Variation XIII the Romanza Cipher names the Turin Shroud as TURIN S, leaving the word shroud symbolically shrouded by its five missing letters. The importance of that sacred relic to Roman Catholics like Elgar is highlighted by the FACE Cipher, for Pia’s famous photographic negative of the Turin Shroud vividly revealed for the first time the face and crucified body of a man many believe to be Jesus. Elgar originally designated Variation XIII with a single capital letter L, and that is the only discernible English letter on the Turin Shroud formed by a distinctive "poker hole" pattern. Finally, the Tasso Cipher serves as a distinct literary reminder of Elgar’s interest in the Turin Shroud because Tasso was the guest of honor when it was delivered to the city of Turin in 1578. With so many ciphers pinpointing the same famous religious relic, there is no room for doubt. A major source of inspiration behind the Enigma Variations was the Turin Shroud. To learn more about the secrets of the Enigma Variations, read my eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

imageIs this like Bible Codes?  Apparently not. This is something some composers do. For fun, maybe?

I’m reading all about this on an iPhone while sitting on a bench by a pond called a lagoon. For some reason, they call ponds lagoons in South Carolina. The sun has just come up. An alligator is swimming slowly by in what I call ‘up periscope’ mode; only their nostrils and eyes are visible. My dog, whom I’m supposed to be walking, is sitting beside me watching me. If he could talk he would say, “Walking me would be a better use of your time.”

He is right, the dog that is. Compare:

Elgar sonically portrays the sea in Variation XIII by means of fourMendelssohn fragments from the concert overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage. The word sea is the phonetic equivalent of the letter c, the first letter in the FACE Cipher. The remaining letters are provided by the Mendelssohn fragments which are in the keys of A-flat major, F minor and E-flat major. It is hardly a coincidence those key letters form the well known music cryptogram FAE, hinting at the fact they contain yet another music cryptogram. Adding the letter C to the letters FAE enables one to form the word FACE. Whose face inspired Variation XIII? The one miraculously revealed by Secondo Pia’s famous photographic negative of the Turin Shroud. This mysterious friend’s initials are encoded by the Roman numerals. X represents 10, and the tenth letter in the alphabet is J. III stands for 3, and the third letter is C. Together the Roman numerals openly conceal the initials JC.

or this:

imageElgar originally designated Variation XIII with a solitary capital L. Many scholars have debated the significance behind that letter. With the discovery of various coded references to the Turin Shroud, the meaning becomes clear. The Turin Shroud has distinctive “poker hole” burn patterns in the shape of a capital letter L. That feature is the only discernible letter on the Turin Shroud. When inverted, the capital letter L resembles the upper case of the Greek letter gamma.  During the Byzantine era thegamma was used to decorate alter clothes known as gammadia. The L-shaped poker holes on the Turin Shroud may have been deliberately put there to designate the cloth as sacred.

Categories: Books, Other Blogs

In case anyone thinks Thomas de Wesselow isn’t important

June 9, 2013 9 comments

imageimageThe original title was The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection (Viking UK, March 26, 2012). Now there is a reprint edition, The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Birth of Christianity (Plume; Reprint edition, March 5, 2013). Notice the subtle change in the title and the new cover. This reprint edition includes a hardcover version for $26, a paperback version for $16 and a Kindle version for $10. How often do you see a hardcover in a reprint.

And then there is Das Turiner Grabtuch und das Geheimnis der Auferstehung  and Sinal: O Santo Sudario e O Segredo da Ressurreicao.

imageimageThe more reviews I read the more convinced I am that people de Wesselow’s argument for authenticity compelling but his argument that it gave birth to a false belief in resurrection untenable.

Categories: Books, News & Views

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