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Coming Out of the Closet on Pollen and Plant Images

August 22, 2014 49 comments

imageStephen Jones has put together an interesting posting on the pollen found on the shroud and apparent images of plants some claim to see on the cloth. He does so from the perspective some material in a 2005 book, A Grain of Truth: How Pollen Brought a Murderer to Justice by Lynne Milne.

Stephen writes:

Milne has `come out of the closet’ and is clearly a Shroud pro-authenticist (whether she realises it or not), differentiating herself from Shroud sceptics, pointing out that the Shroud must have had an undocumented history outside of Europe before 1352, in the Middle East, the carbon-14 date for the age of the Shroud cannot be correct and indeed has been "discounted"!

Out of the closet? A pro-authenticist (whether she realizes it or not?

But when Milne writes in her book that . . .

The carbon-14 dating has since been discounted. The linen threads that were dated are chemically different from most of the’ Shroud linen. Was this younger thread used for mending the Shroud when it first arrived in France, or before it was taken from Constantinople?

Stephen disagrees. She is wrong, he tells us because the only satisfactory explanation for errors in the carbon 14 dating is Stephen’s own so far unsubstantiated theory that a computer hacker fudged the dates.

How to Start a Rumor

August 20, 2014 6 comments

Stephen Jones has started reading N.T. Wright’s monumental, 800+ page book, The Resurrection of the Son of God. He wonders in his blog, Is N.T. Wright a Shroud pro-authenticist?

imageThat Wright, a former Anglican Bishop of Durham, and a leading New Testament scholar, even mentioned the Shroud at all is amazing, given that Christian academics tend to ignore it, for fear of being thought of as belonging to the so-called `lunatic fringe’.

And that Wright referenced not a more well-known Shroud book, like one of Ian Wilson’s, but one that is less well known, by the Whangers, argues for Wright not only being a Shroud pro-authenticist, but having read widely in Shroud literature.

Tom Wright is one of my heroes. I’ve read many of his books including this one. It is probably the best modern-era book written on the subject. In my opinion, the reference to the shroud is casual, by-the-way, and unnecessary. I certainly don’t see how Stephen can assume that Tom Wright is a “a Shroud pro-authenticist” or has “read widely in Shroud literature.” 

But it makes for a silly rumor that might spread on the Internet.

An Important New Book Coming in February

August 19, 2014 3 comments

imageIt is called The Jesus Code: Six Relics That Tell the Remarkable True Story of the Gospels. Of course, one of those relic is the Shroud of Turin. It is due out in February 2015, and you can pre-order it now at Amazon. The hardcover will sell for $20.24 and the Kindle edition for $12.99. There will also be an audio version which is a sure sign that the book is expected to be popular with high sales.

Here is what we can read at Amazon:

As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "The Jesus Code"

THE JESUS CODE explores six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and the Holy Grail, that give us the most direct evidence about the life and world of Jesus. The book and attendant CNN series provide a dramatic way to retell "the greatest story ever told" while introducing a broad audience to the history, the latest controversies, and newest forensic science involved in sorting out facts from the fiction of would-be forgers and deceivers. The book and the show draw on experts from all over the world. Beyond the faithful, the book will appeal also to the skeptical and to curious readers of history and archaeology, while it takes viewers of the primetime TV series deeper into the story. With a fascinating, blockbuster subject, top-notch authors, and official CNN tie-in and support, we have tremendous opportunity to make THE JESUS CODE a bestseller and category classic.

As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "The Jesus Code"? What 6-part series? A bit of Googling and we find Entertainment Weekly informing us that:

Most provocatively, the network announced at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York City, The Jesus Code, a series which promises to take viewers on a “forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible” (cue jokes about CNN looking for a ratings miracle). Religious-themed programming has been considered hot since History stunned the industry with its ratings-shattering The Bible miniseries last year. The Jesus Code “will take viewers on a thrilling high-stakes journey through forensics, biblical archeology and forgery in history, exploring the evidence of Jesus’ existence by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.”

Back to Amazon. The authors are:

  • DAVID GIBSON is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker who specializes in covering the Catholic Church. He appears frequently on network and cable television as a commentator on religious affairs and is a frequent commentator on NPR. He has written and co-written three prior books and also writes for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Boston Magazine, and Fortune among others.
  • MICHAEL MCKINLEY is an award-winning author, filmmaker, journalist and screenwriter. He has written several books, and wrote and co-produced the CBC TV documentary film "Sacred Ballot", as well as several documentaries for CNN Presents.

What else?  The hardcover will be 256 pages. The publisher is St. Martin’s Press (February 24, 2015). ISBN-10: 1250069106, ISBN-13: 978-1250069108

New Book by Phillip Wiebe

August 10, 2014 Leave a comment

imageRonda Payne in the Langley Advance writes in, Langley professor’s book chronicles encounters with God:

Phillip Wiebe Ph.D., like many people, was brought up Christian, but rejected the faith as a university student. Gradually, his mind began to change as he met people who claimed to have had encounters with Jesus.

In 1988, the long-time Trinity Western University (TWU) professor of philosophy (and expert on Christian religious experiences as well as the Shroud of Turin) had his own encounter.

According to Wiebe, one morning as he prayed in his office, he felt overwhelmed by a deep feeling of joy, which lasted for several hours.

“I kept asking the Lord, ‘What is this? Why are you so close?’” Wiebe said. “Then a voice came to me: ‘Why don’t you research people who feel they have encountered Me?’”

Now, in his second book, Visions and Appearances of Jesus, Wiebe looks at the accounts of people interacting with Jesus throughout time.

The book is available at Amazon.

Categories: Books Tags: , ,

John Klotz Issues a Challenge: Show Me an Image

July 26, 2014 58 comments

A reposting from Quantum Christ Image by John Klotz
(with permission)


A Challenge to the Skeptical Community: Show Me an Image

imageI have a challenge to those skeptical of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Show me an image comparable to the Shroud of Turin at least five centuries old. It doesn’t have to be of Christ or have any relationship to religion. It can be of anything.

I am in the process of completing a manuscript with a current working title of: “The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness.”

It includes in the large part, the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin. Some weeks ago I challenged a skeptic on Dan Porter’s   Shroud Story blog to show me an image of sufficient relative antiquity that has similar characteristics as the image on the Shroud of Turin. I do not recall ever receiving a response. So now I the challenge to the larger skeptical community:

Show me such an image of that was in existence no later than 1500 CE [AD]. I choose that year as the cut-off because I believe no one can seriously dispute the existence of the Shroud by that year.

Not a painting. Painted images do not qualify because I submit that from one thing established by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in 1978 and by additional research since that time, is that the Shroud is NOT a painting. Sorry Walter McCrone fans. In one of my chapters I cite Harry Gove’s initial impressions of McCrone when he first met him. They are not complimentary.

So here’s the challenge: direct me to an image currently in existence that was created prior to 1500 CE that has features comparable to the Shroud. That would include at a minimum:

  1. A depth of the image no greater than the outer shell of a fibril of linen. The image of the shroud is such, or even more probably, a darkening of by-products left on  the linen from the  retting of it by methods dating back to BEFORE 1000 CE but I won’t quibble about a measly 500 years;
  2. Sufficient definition (resolution) of the image to allow determination of important features of a human body to the extent those are determinable from the Shroud image;
  3. Difference of various parts of the image intensity to allow interpretation as a three dimensional object.

I am serious about this. My final chapter is 18; The Challenge of the Shroud and if anybody has a relevant image, I will comment there or maybe in a relevant earlier  chapter with proper attribution.

You may respond to this posting to QuantumChristImage.blogspot.com. Warning, I am looking for a specific item: an image that has the characteristics of the Shroud image that predates 1500 CE. It does not have to be of Christ. If you  wish to direct me to such image please respond. However, I  will delete argumentation about my criteria which fails to cite an image which matches the criteria.

Book Review of Hoax

July 22, 2014 1 comment

imageJoe Marino sent along an interesting review on Strategy Page by Albert A. Nofi of the book, Hoax: Hitler’s Diaries, Lincoln’s Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds by Edward J. Steers with a forward by Joe Nickell.

We previously discussed this book in May last year, Summer Reading: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe, and so it was good to see this review. Here is what Nofi wrote:

This methodology applies equally to the several Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories Steers address.  For the Hitler diaries hoax, Steers not only points out flaws in the methodology used to authenticate the bogus documents, but also manages to trace the fate of Hitler’s actual papers.  A similar approache is used for the “Anthon Transcript” hoax.  While Steers marshals considerable scientific evidence that the Shroud of Turin is not what it purports to be (a conclusion reached by some churchmen nearly seven centuries ago), it still remains a curious mystery.  Of the cases, only Piltdown Man is without some degree of lingering controversy, having the least political or popular importance.

Joe also noticed an Amazon review by Michael P. Maslanka on Amazon:

That’s the formula for pulling off a hoax as we see time and again in this short and insightful book. We see these elements come together in the Hitler diary hoax. Time and again, when belief was about to be suspended, these elements re-ignited it. Best chapter in on the Shroud of Turin. The author is respectful of thos who believe it is the burial shroud of Christ, but is still devasting in his arguments that it is not:(a) why did the shroud pop up all of a sudden in the 1300’s?;(2) surely it should have been mentioned in the Bible but is not;(3) the type of weave pattern did not exist at the time of Christ’s death(the burial shrouds of the very rich had a simple weave pattern, not the more complex one on the shroud);(4)the Bible says that Christ was buried according to Jewish tradition which requires a washing away of all blood and the placement of a small cloth over the face of the deceased but the shroud shows Christ’s face and the blood. A well made(nice feel to holding it) and a well written book. Want insights into human nature? Give it a read.

Did Nickell write that piece about the shroud? Tired, old arguments. It will never cease.

Skunks at the Garden Party

July 12, 2014 3 comments

whole sections on the Shroud of Turin and the Vinland Map

imageJoe Marino sent along some details about a book he discovered, "The Forensic Historian: Using Science to Reexamine the Past" by Robert C. Williams (Armonk, NY:  M.E. Sharpe, 2013). It is interesting that this book was published in February of last year and has not surfaced, that I know of, in online shroud discussions.

The book is available at Amazon.com in Kindle format and as an ebook from the publisher, in each case for $12.95.  A hardcover will set you back about $50.00 and a paperback $18.95; Barnes and Noble seems to have the best prices.

Here is a brief description from the publisher:

This engaging book examines 20 significant cases where investigators have applied new forensic techniques to confirm, dispute, or revise accepted historical accounts. Examples include the murder of King Tut, the validity of the Vinland Map, the authenticity of the Hitler diaries, Joan of Arc’s ashes, the bones of Anastasia, arsenic and the death of Napoleon, and the dating of the Shroud of Turin.

Chapter 2, according to the publisher’s 2013 catalog, consists of the following:

2. Faking It: Chemistry and Forgery
2.1 Paul Coremans: The Girl with the Bakelite Earring
2.2 Walter McCrone: Ink Testing the Vinland Map
2.3 Julius Grant: Ultraviolet Light on the Hitler Diaries
2.4 Walter McCrone Again: Carbon-14 Dating the Shroud of Turin
2.5 Philippe Charlier: The Bogus Remains of Joan of Arc
References

I must buy the book if for nothing else than the piece about Paul Coreman. In fact, I just punched in an order. I’ll look at it in the context of the shroud, next week, time permitting.

Here is a brief quotation about shroud studies from the shroud from the book:

The case of the Shroud of Turin showed how modern forensics techniques, again using analytical chemistry and mass spectrometry, could date fairly precisely any material object of which there was a sample available.  For centuries, the shroud had been a venerated relic of the church.  Critics had their suspicions, but no hard science to back them up.  In the end, Walter McCrone was able to show that the reddish stains on the linen were red ochre paint, not blood, and that the linen itself dated from the fourteenth century.  Case closed.

Except that in December 2011, Italian scientists claimed that the shroud could not have been a medieval forgery and that the marks on it were made by electromagnetic energy.  Lasers were not around in the first century, so something miraculous must have happened.  Forensic history had produced convincing evidence regarding the Shroud of Turin.  And yet the debate goes on.  Forensic history, like history, remains an argument without end.

imageThere is an even more interesting quotation about the Vinland Map (knowing that McCrone had already declared it a fake):

In 1985 scientist Thomas Cahill of the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, used PIXE Particle-Induced X-Ray Emission) to examine the Vinland Map.  He found that titanium oxide was not a major part of the ink, but only trace amounts.  (Cahill’s samples were much larger than McCrone’s.)  Since Cahill’s results appeared to contradict McCrone, Yale promptly sought Cahill’s second opinion.  McCrone responded in 1988 with a complete, published account of his 1974 results, arguing that the Cahill tests did not invalidate them.  In fact, PIXE could identify titanium but not titanium dioxide.

In 1995 Kirsten Seaver–a historian of medieval Norse culture and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society–argued that the Vinland Map was indeed a modern forgery and that she had identified the probable forger, an Austrian Jesuit priest name Father Josef Fischer, who had died in 1944.  Neither Seaver nor McCrone were invited to contribute to a lavish second edition of The Vinland Map and the Tatar Relation published that year by Yale University Press.  (The more favorably inclined Thomas Cahill was invited instead.)  Nor were McCrone and Seaver invited to attend the February 10, 1996, conference in New Haven where the map was displayed under armed guard and insured for an inflated value of $25 million.  McCrone showed up uninvited anyway and handed out to participants his own unpublished paper titled "The Yale contingent was not amused to have a skunk at its garden party.

[ . . . ]

In 1999 McCrone returned to the fray by publishing in his own journal Microscope the results of his more recent study of the map.  He had examined samples of the yellow ink liner from the map using a polarized light microscope to confirm the presence of synthetic anatase.  He also found that the reddish fringe was not rust but a collagen tempera.  Three years later, another scientist complicated the situation with radiocarbon dating:  D.J. Donahue found that the parchment of the Vinland Map indeed could be dated from the years 1423-1445, but that it had been coated with some substance in the 1950s.  In 2004 the analytic chemist Robin Clark supported McCrone’s 1974 results using Raman microscopy:  the particle size and distribution of the ink was characteristic of synthetic anatase, not iron-gall ink.

[ . . . ]

Forensics thus played a crucial role in demolishing historical and cartographic claims that the Vinland map was authentic.  In particular, analytical chemistry showed that the ink used on the map was a twentieth-century product, even if the parchment and wormholes might have dated from the fifteenth century.

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