Jim 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:
Donald 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.
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 http://quantumchrist-jck.blogspot.com/
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.
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
I’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:
I hope you get a chance to read "The Linen God"…….and perhaps tell your friends!
Thanks in advance,
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!
Note: I could not find the Nook format over at Barnes & Noble. I purchased the Kindle version.
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?
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.
Amazon’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):
Fr. 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
You 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.
Along 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.
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.
Elgar 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.
The 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.
The Linen God is based on the fascinating history and science surrounding the legendary Shroud of Turin. It is similar to Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, taking readers on a thrill ride spanning continents and millennia. However, it is different than Brown’s secular works in that it delivers a powerful faith message while helping to establish historic and scientific credibility for the legitimacy of this amazing artifact.
As, who I believe to be a Shroud advocate like Mr. O’Shea, I was hoping you might help spread the word on this highly anticipated novel, due to hit bookshelves on July 1 (paperback and ebook). Mr. O’Shea’s goal with this novel is to reach not just people who have an existing interest in the Shroud, but even more those that may never visited a Shroud-related website or, in some cases, have no idea what the Shroud of Turin is!
We believe this novel may be able to reach people in ways non-fiction books, articles, television, and websites have failed to.
The Facebook link below contains a synopsis, sample chapters and advance reader’s reviews (currently rated 5 stars!) of The Linen God. I was hoping you could "Share" this Facebook page as well as forward this information along to friends/colleagues and perhaps post the link on the Shroud of Turin blog if you deem appropriate.
And River sent along a review excerpt by award-winning novelist Doug Peterson:
Weaving together Vatican politics and the mystery of the Shroud of Turin, Jim O’Shea has crafted a wonderfully engaging, page-turning thriller. In this fast-paced debut novel, O’Shea combines science and faith with a healthy dose of suspense, and the result is a harrowing adventure that is part Michael Crichton, part Frank Peretti.
Good and evil in their purest forms collide in a climax that threatens the future of the Church. And at the center of it all is the mystery of the Shroud and the mystery of the Incarnation, which left an indelible mark on the world—and quite possibly on a piece of ancient linen. The Linen God will leave its mark on readers as well.
Edward Steers Jr. is the author of a new book (The University Press of Kentucky, March 7, 2013) Hoax: Hitler’s Diaries, Lincoln’s Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds. With a forward by Joe Nickell, the book is available with a hardcover for $22.23 or as a Kindle e-book for $13.72 from Amazon.
The publisher’s description at Amazon is as follows:
Did a collector with a knack for making sensational discoveries really find the first document ever printed in America? Did Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing multivolume set of diaries? Has Jesus of Nazareth’s burial cloth survived the ages? Can the shocking true account of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination be found in lost pages from his murderer’s diary?
Napoleon famously observed that "history is a set of lies agreed upon," and Edward Steers Jr. investigates six of the most amazing frauds ever to gain wide acceptance in this engrossing book. Hoax examines the legitimacy of the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the most hotly debated relic in all of Christianity, and the fossils purported to confirm humanity’s "missing link," the Piltdown Man. Steers also discusses two remarkable forgeries, the Hitler diaries and the "Oath of a Freeman," and famous conspiracy theories alleging that Franklin D. Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and that the details of Lincoln’s assassination are recorded in missing pages from John Wilkes Booth’s journal. (bold emphasis mine)
Two days ago. Steers summarized his view on the shroud in the Huffington Post:
Chapter Title: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I will Tell You What You Will Believe
To believers, the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth that covered the body of Jesus Christ following his resurrection. To skeptics it is a fourteenth century artistic creation used to attract pilgrims and their money. Controversy abounds this sacred piece of cloth, coining it one of the most hotly debated relics in all of Christianity. First put on public display in 1357, it immediately began to draw large crowds of worshipers and skeptics alike. The shroud boasts an image of a man bearing all characteristics of someone who was crucified, which serves as undeniable evidence of authenticity for advocates. Of course, this image should be convincing if it were the creation of medieval artists wanting to persuade pilgrims it was the burial cloth of Jesus. Though modern science with its sophisticated technology would seem to set the record straight, the Shroud of Turin still often embraced as genuine—proof that no amount of evidence can overcome faith.
Here is the table of contents from Google Books. It looks interesting.
Introduction: “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”
1. Oath of a Freeman: The King of Forgers
2. Pearl Harbor: Treachery in the Oval Office?
3. Hah Hitler! The Hitler Diaries
4. The Shroud of Turin: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe
5. Skullduggery: The Man Who Never Was
6. The Missing Pages from John Wilkes Booth’s Diary
This book really came out quietly; no press releases that I saw. Editorial reviews are from the editor of the Lincoln Herald, the Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum and Miles Russell, (we are guessing) who is the author of several books including a couple on the Piltdown Man hoax. I have not seen any online mention in Skeptical Inquirer.
Joe Marino passes along this information on an upcoming film. The working title for this two hour mystery/thriller FILM is The Shroud Conspiracy. We should expect its release in 2014 according to North Star Production Studios. From the website:
LOGLINE: When terrorists detonate a bomb in the Cathedral claiming destruction of the Shroud of Turin, an archaeologist believes the terrorists masked the theft of the Shroud for sinister purposes. He teams with a CIA Agent on a dangerous journey to reclaim the Shroud and seek answers as to who did this and why.
SYNOPSIS: An explosion in the Cathedral housing the Shroud appears to cause the destruction of the revered cloth, the Shroud of Turin, believed to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus. Archaeologist and Shroud expert James Aiello finds clues suggesting the Shroud was likely stolen. He teams with a skeptical CIA Agent Rebecca Ross to piece together clues that lead to a megalomaniac known only as The Falcon who taunts them while plotting to use the cloth in a broader world conspiracy blackmailing the Vatican and assassinating religious and political leaders.
Based on the novel "The Image and The Rose" and Screenplay by John C. Iannone.
Speaking of movies, the word is that The Power of Few, the last feature film about the shroud that made it into just a few theaters, will be released on DVD on July 9, this year.
Speaking of Joe Nickell, he has a new book out as of yesterday, Prometheus Books (May 7, 2013): The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible (ISBN-13: 978-1616147419): Joe Nickell
Here is the Prometheus’ description:.
Conveying the sense of adventure surrounding the investigation of any mystery, this is both entertaining reading and a comprehensive, science-based study of miracle claims. Is the Shroud of Turin really the burial cloth of Jesus, produced by a miraculous burst of radiant energy at the moment of Resurrection? What happens at faith-healing services to provide apparently miraculous cures? Steering between the twin pillars of belief and disbelief, experienced paranormal investigator Joe Nickell examines these claims and more. Relying on his forty-plus years of experience in tracking down the solutions to mysteries, Nickell uses on-site examinations, lab experiments, and other detective methods to uncover the facts behind the most incredible claims. He evaluates the evidence in six major categories of miracle claims: miraculous images (such as "weeping" icons); magical relics (like the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Grail); miracle healings (at Lourdes or at the hands of healers like Benny Hinn); visionary experiences (including near-death experiences); saintly powers (such as stigmata); and "the devil’s work" (such as demonic possession).
And of Joe Nickell, the publisher says:
Joe Nickell (Amherst, NY) has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes" and "the real-life Scully" (from The X Files). Since 1995 he has been the world’s only full-time, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often-innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead. See http://www.joenickell.com for more.
No reviews yet that I have seen. It is available in paperback for $11.99 and $8.69 in Kindle.
Giulio Fanti writes:
And be patient because, as I wrote, within few weeks it will appear a paper of mine on a respected scientific journal regarding FT-IR and Raman dating of ancient textiles.
Here is the attachment. It was provided to me by Giulio as an automatic translation of comments he had already written pertaining to the book review written by Gian Marco Rinaldi. I have included it below, having copied the text from an attached Microsoft Word document (docx) and pasting it into the blog. Because of its length, you may need to click on the “Read more” link to see the entire text. (UPDATE: Or you may click on AUTOMATIC TRANSLATION replica rivista Fanti -spedita- QUE for a PDF file that includes the Italian version).
UPDATE 2: Giulio sent along a revised version of the translation after noting some criticism. I have replaced the old one below. I have left the PDF version unchanged.
AUTOMATIC TRANSLATION (With Revisions)
Padua, April 11, 2013
Comments to the article by Gian Marco Rinaldi:
<Shroud: the "alternative dating" by Giulio Fanti>
Author: Giulio Fanti
Tags: alternative dating, Shroud, Gian Marco Rinaldi, systematic effects
I first thank the editors of Query for giving me the opportunity to clarify a few points below touched by the perhaps too brief article (hereinafter called Article) entitled <Shroud: the "alternative dating" by Giulio Fanti> written by Gian Marco Rinaldi.
I also thank the author for the gratuitous insult "bad science", highlighted in the "Tags". Insult not only directed the work done by Giulio Fanti and his collaborators from other reputable universities, but also at the Ateneo Patavino which funded the research, and indirectly to the prestigious journal that has accepted and will shortly publish an article on chemical dating of ancient fabrics based on Raman spectroscopy and FT-IR.
However, I can forgive the gratuitous insult because probably due to unsuitable interpretations of a text not read in the details and too simplified in the discussion of the scientific issues, since it is addressed to the general public.
It would have been better if the Article was written only after a more careful reading of the data that will be contained in future scientific articles in journals that are not typical of popular books such as "The mystery of the Shroud: The amazing scientific discoveries on the enigma of cloth of Jesus "(Rizzoli, 235 p., € 18) wrote with Saverio Gaeta (hereinafter called the Book). But now I feel compelled to clarify immediately a few points raised by Article, postponing any more detailed discussions after the reading of scientific papers mentioned above.
The Article contains the following statement "It is announced the forthcoming publication of an article in the scientific journal, but just from now we can doubt the results." This attitude seems to show some prevention against the presented results perhaps because they are not consistent with the thesis that you would like to demonstrate. Of course if you make studies that are goal-oriented towards the target you want to achieve, these studies become subjective and thus of no scientific value. A serious scientist should first objectively analyze the data in his possession and then to venture to make a few comments only after obtaining the corresponding objective results.
The reason given for having to "doubt the results" seems thus explained: "The concerns are inherent in the very nature of the method used.", But is not considered the fact that much of the work done to develop the reliability of alternative dating has focused its exploration of possible systematic effects (later criticized by Article) that could alter the results of mechanical and chemical dating.
In fact, the research at the University of Padua did not concern only these alternative methods of dating but it has also considered other, such as the corresponding systematic effects due to environmental factors. Only these three methods, FT-IR, Raman and Multi-Parametric Mechanical were considered valid to run dating of textile samples that, after suitable measurements based on parallel analyses also of microscopic type, these data resulted reliable, because characterized by uncertainty sufficiently small. The other methods studied were therefore eliminated.
It is also to note that the analysis of environmental effects on textile samples imposes that some of them are not suitable for these methods of dating. Preliminary studies of various details also using visual inspection with an optical microscope can in fact impose to discard a priori various archaeological samples contaminated by environmental factors.
The Article shows rightly that "changes may proceed at different speeds depending on several factors." and it was just the object of this analysis that allowed the preventive identification of these dating methods discarding other methods because too much affected by alterations. It is obvious that any alteration of the properties of the samples may still cause some small deviation of the result, but these changes were considered in the statistical analysis that led to the final uncertainty of the order of the century. These uncertainties can be reduced in the future if we adopt a more appropriate procedure for the selection and cleaning of the samples.
The Article also states that " the degradation of cellulose is not a clock that proceeds at the same velocity (like it is the decay of radiocarbon)." This is true within the limits just discussed, but also I have to add that the radiocarbon method presents various uncertainties and that it is not always reliable especially if it is used with fabrics which may have suffered environmental contamination such as to generate supply of carbon 14.
It is just the case of the Shroud whose double body image imprinted there is still scientifically not explainable nor reproducible. Many hypotheses of image formation is based on intense radiation (radiation in the broad sense as a phenomenon acting at a distance) and I do not think that we can a priori rule out the hypothesis of a possible enrichment of carbon-14 caused by a radiation still not well defined and of natural origin. For example, it is just of a few decades, the discovery of X-rays and gamma collimated associated with the birth of supernovae and ipernovae that penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and that could have caused both the body image formation and the enrichment of carbon-14 .
In this respect it should be remembered that in flax there is roughly one carbon 14 atom of one million of carbon 12 atoms and that the addition of one carbon 14 atom in the same amount of carbon 12 atoms, maybe coming by a nitrogen atom of the flax hit by a neutron, would change the radiocarbon date of the order of a thousand years. It is therefore advisable to repeat a radiocarbon dating of the Shroud only after finding out clearly what phenomenon could have produced the double image on the Shroud. Here is also explained the importance of developing alternative dating methods that may indicate a more reliable age of the Shroud.
To obtain the results described in the book we have had to first determine the calibration curves linking the various chemical and mechanical properties analyzed to the historical date of the samples, along with the measurement of the corresponding uncertainties. In the Article it is written that "Fanti has procured some antique fabrics from different eras approximately known." It should be noted that the ages are determined on the basis of their assigned uncertainty.
For example, the 11 textiles on the table on p. 98 of the Book, report time intervals more or less extensive depending on the method used for the determination of the corresponding historical epoch. Sample no. 9 (Coptic tissue from the mummy of Fayum, Egypt) was dated in the range between 544 AD and 650 A.D. (Confidence level of 95%) following a radiodating carbon; instead the sample n. 3 (the end of the Old Kingdom Egyptian fabric) has been dated from the Egyptian Museum of Turin in the range from 2700 BC and 2100 BC on the basis of historical and stratigraphic information.
The Article observes, "that the results cover a very wide range, from 300 BC 400 AD," but 700 years of range are really comparable with the 600 years interval assigned to the Egyptian Museum of Turin sample no. 3. So, even now, without the improvements that can be made, the dating methods proposed may be of interest to museums who want to verify the antiquity of textile samples not clearly located in a certain historical period.
In reference to the comment: "Considering the extremes of the confidence intervals, it would range from 700 BC to 800 AD ", the range is now extensive and can be reduced by making improvements to the method proposed, but this range is already a step forward compared to traditional dating performed in museums that rarely consider statistical confidence intervals as it was done in this case.
Precisely for this reason connected to the relatively wide confidence interval, the age of the Shroud was determined by performing an arithmetic average of the results obtained from the three independent alternatives dating. Future technical improvements of the methods, based on the cleanliness of the sample and the method of extraction of flax fibers will reduce the uncertainty assigned to the date of the samples.
In reference to the dating of the Shroud is to observe a surprising result: all three methods, of course, independent of each other, Raman (200 BC ± 500), FT-IR (300 BC ± 400) and Multi-Parametric Mechanical (400 AD ± 400) provide results that are compatible with one another in reference to the level of confidence of 95%. What is curious it is that just the first century AD, which includes the date of the death of Jesus of Nazareth, is the only century common to the three dating.
It then reads: "The dispersion would be even greater for the first series using the original result, it was 752 BC ± 400. "This statement is not completely correct because we cannot speak of dispersion in statistical data (i.e. related to the repeatability and reproducibility) in reference to known systematic effects that are not treatable with the same statistical methods with which have determined the confidence intervals. In fact, the quantity defined systematic effect is used to change the historical date of finding measured.
The Article continues: "This correction is somewhat arbitrary." This statement may be acceptable if we discuss why it was made a correction of 452 years instead of 437 years. Given that the uncertainties involved are of the order of the century, we can add that we have tried to round up the data. The assertion of the Article is not acceptable if we discuss in terms of a wider range of years for systematic effects that were not invented but that are calculated on the basis of experimental data that will be made available to the scientific community.
It is then formulated the following criticism that seems very appropriate: "it is not known at what temperature and for how long the cloth of the Shroud has been heated as a result of the fire." Although it is clear that there are no scientific data on thermal measurements of Chambéry’s fire, you can set some limits. For this reason, as is reported in Paper on p. 99, Stefano Dall’Acqua of the University of Padua has performed several experimental tests in the oven on linen-like Shroud to determine which pairs of time-temperature can cause yellowing greater, equal or less than that detectable on the Shroud. At this point it was not difficult to establish the upper limit of time-temperature which may have undergone the Shroud during the Chambéry fire: 200 ° C for two hours.
The following observation: "It should be noted that, if he made a correction to the first method, Fanti had to make a correction for the third method which with similar heating tests found that they produced an apparent age" of a few centuries " perhaps due to a hasty reading of the Book, deserves further comment. At p. 100 it is explained that the systematic corrections caused by the effect of fire are negligible compared to the uncertainty inherent mechanical method, evaluated over a period of time ranging from more or less 400 years. It is also highlighted in the Book the fact that the effect of the fire was further reduced by the particular position from which they were collected fibers Shroud under analysis.
Instead on p. 90, in the case of FT-IR analysis, with reference to the deviations produced by systematic effects in the case of linens exposed to fire, one speaks of several centuries. These have therefore necessitated a correction of the measured data.
Better not to comment on the accusation, veiled by a "maybe" Article: "Maybe Fanti has decided to rejuvenate the result of the first series, he was too old than the time of Christ, but he chose not to further rejuvenate the result of the third series, 400 AD, because it was already too young. "This statement wrongly suggests that" perhaps " the data have been tampered in order to achieve a certain goal-result. If you wanted to get such a result at the expense of professional ethics, it would not have been required years of hard work aimed at finding the Truth!
The reliability of the methods
The three methods proposed, Manual Multi-parametric, Raman and FT-IR are new and therefore amenable to improvements, especially as regards the cleaning and extraction of the samples, which may reduce the uncertainty in the assessment of the age of the historical samples.
It seems that the Article directly a priori attacks these alternative dating methods labeling them as unreliable, probably forgetting that from a few years there are method based on similar techniques. One example is the dating method of the cellulose of the wood used by the Museum of Art and Science in Milan and described by Gottfried Matthaes that is based on techniques FT-IR (http://www.spectroscopyforart.com/index-ita . htm and http://www.spectroscopyforart.com/DescrizioneMetodo-ita.htm).
They may seem tendentious in the Article the following statements: "… I believe that the results are not reliable, not for any doubts about the origin of the material, but because of the inadequacy of the methods used." "… You can imagine some differences in storage conditions such as a strong bleaching process, and the Shroud had stories more lively. " "We have also a more concrete reason to think that the fibers of the Shroud used by Fanti were in poor condition." "These uncertainties mean that the methods used by Fanti are inherently unreliable."
Indeed, as has already been said, much of the research on alternative methods of dating has not only focused attention on the search for possible correlations between certain chemical and mechanical properties with the corresponding date of the historical sample considered, but also it centered attention on the possible effects of various environmental contamination such as temperature, humidity, the mechanical and chemical action that suffered the sample during the centuries and the presence of impurities of various kinds both organic and inorganic. It is therefore not true to say in the Article: "Fanti says that he has conducted tests to assess the" systematic effects "of various factors, but in practice he has only made the correction that we saw for the first series.". These are the corrections that have been explicitly mentioned in the informative text, but the literature that will followed it, will best describe these systematic effects.
The international scientific community, accepting the first work on the subject of alternative dating of plant tissues, seems to enjoy a lot of these new methods proposed, but the Article seems in the opposite direction and has to be over with statements that do not seem very scientific, "So with these methods if you get a date in contrast with other knowledge, must doubt the result. "
In this case, the only result seems to be in reference on the radiocarbon dating of 1988 (Nature, http://www.shroud.com/nature.htm) that finally declared a medieval date the Shroud; incidentally "conclusive evidence" reported in the conclusions of the article by Nature does not seem suitable to the scientific statement because it does not seem to leave room for possible future research.
The result in 1988 was challenged by different perspectives also of methodological type recently published an article by robust statistics on magazine (Statistics and Computing http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007% 2Fs11222-012-9329 -5 # page-1) that has cast severe doubts on medieval dating of the Shroud because statistically unreliable.
Based on dubious and lacking justifications it seems the Article reference to the statement: " We have two reasons to think that the fabric of the Shroud was made around 1300 they are the radiocarbon dating and the historical fact of his first appearance. On the other hand, we have no reason to suggest that the Shroud is the first century. "
Since the Article with this statement comes from the strict experimental science I feel entitled to embrace other fields of knowledge in commenting on this statement that perhaps deliberately ignores the results of several studies also published in the book.
Apart from the dating results Raman, FT-IR and mechanical multi-parametric the Article defines as "unreliable … the inadequacy of the methods used" and the historical references from the early centuries AD, also mentioned in the Book. There are several indications that the Shroud is prior to 1300.
For example, we must not forget the texture of the Shroud extremely valuable to "herringbone", but performed on a hand loom with obvious defects and jump stop and wires of varying thickness even more than the 50% obtained manually because in ancient times. In agreement with the biblical book of Exodus, the Shroud’s threads have a twist "Z" instead of the more common twisting "S" because addressed to high-ranking religious person.
We must not forget the full compatibility between what is observed on the Shroud and what we read in the Gospels that was not easy to be played by a Medieval artist; for example lacerated and contused wounds caused by the scourge marks are not easy to explain to this day. That’s why famous scientists such as Eberhard Lindner did not hesitate to appoint "scientific Gospel" the Shroud.
From the early centuries A.D. the iconography of Christ takes typical features of the Shroud face that would not explain except in reference to artists who have not had the opportunity to observe the Shroud. The book adds some interesting detail: for example, we recently found a gold Byzantine (Solidus of Justinian II, the period) of the seventh century AD, depicting the face of Jesus Christ, with interesting additional details (-a: crooked nose because the cartilage fractured as a result of a stick;-b: long hair asymmetrical like"payot", i.e. the side curls Orthodox Jews) that reflect the particular characteristics of the Shroud face.
It seems rather absurd to think of a hypothetical medieval artist who was able to play a double body image that up now cannot be explained, especially in the microscopic details, and he was also aware of many details of Christ’s face unknown in the Middle Ages, but showed in coins and icons of the early centuries AD, only came to light in modern times.
At this point even applying Occam’s Razor, from numerous knowledge about the Shroud, the most likely hypothesis is that the most important relic of Christianity has really wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, bringing impressed his unique "photography ".
PDF Version with Italian Version Included: AUTOMATIC TRANSLATION replica rivista Fanti -spedita- QUE
In Waiting for the for the Mail: the Ubiquitous and Not-So-Right Reverend David Sox, John Klotz writes:
The fact that he had advance knowledge of the results of the Carbon dating is some evidence of the extent to which the protocols were violated by the labs. One interesting fact: Sox claims he has a letter from Fr. Rinaldi stating he was no longer relying on the Shroud to prove his faith. Sox’s implication was that Fr. Rinaldi no longer accepted the Shroud as genuine. He was a skeptic. A bridge too far, to say the least.
John points out:
As a matter of fact, Judgment Day by Walter McCrone is now available from Amazon Kindle. There seems to be an explosion of old Shroud books now on Kindle including Harry Gove’s skeptical book published in 1998. One comes away with renewed respect for STURP. It is subject to bitter attack even as its science seems to escape the authors’ understanding, or discussion. I just regret that Sox’s book isn’t there. Perhaps I should check under farce.
The thing about Kindle: the books are cheaper, never out of print and never in short supply.
Love this tidbit from John:
Also, while describing the STURP team as a group of religious fanatics in 1988, in his 1998 article Sox described the STURP team (most of whom he claimed to know) as "a couple of Episcopalians, a Rotarian, one or two agnostics and a sprinkling of Catholics."
It’s not often that you see a public library in the U.S. featuring the Shroud of Turin or even religion. Here is a nice exception, History’s Mysteries: the Shroud of Turin | …As You Like It…, from the The Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana:
Il Mistero Della Sindone (The Mystery of the Shroud) by Saverio Gaeta and Giulio Fanti, which details the results of the University of Padua’s studies, is currently only available in Italian, so I won’t be able to read it any time soon. In the meantime, I can check out Shroud 2.0, an app released on Good Friday, which features images of the cloth along with concise blurbs about its history . Produced by Haltadefinizione, a company which specializes in art photography, the app allows the average person the opportunity to zoom in on high-definition images of the shroud — simply awesome. And there are a variety of titles within ACPL’s collection that I can read or watch — check out these titles and decide for yourself if the Shroud is authentic, fake, or forever a mystery.
Becky C. who wrote the article then goes on to list several books.
Hat tip to Joe Marino for passing along this recent interview of Pastor Caspar McCloud by John W Pace on Atlanta Live about his new book with Simon Brown, "The Shroud of Turin Speaks For Itself."
He writes by way of a comment to When it Comes to the Shroud of Turin, Has Peer Review Lost its Luster?, a prior posting in this blog:
As I write as a historian for two university presses (OUP and Yale University Press), I am always subject to peer review, on my proposals themselves, on my drafts and on my final versions. I am also asked to comment, as probably one of three ‘reviewers’, on proposals sent in. In the vast majority of cases I see the peer reviews on my own work although they remain strictly anonymous and often i am able to clear up points reviewers have disagreed with to the satisfaction of my editor (who makes the final decision on publication as with most academic journals). It is a system that works well.
I am not a scientist but there does seem to be a genuine problem, accepted by many contributors to this site, relating to the provenance of samples from the Shroud. I leave it to others to comment but I am always amazed that Ray Rogers’ work on the 1988 samples is described as ‘peer-reviewed’ when he fails to provide any supporting evidence that the fibres he used were genuinely those cut off by Gonella. He suggests that they have not come to him directly so there is every possibility that they might not be the originals or have been contaminated on the way. There is even talk on this site of an intermediary who passed on materials. So who are the ‘peers’ who considered Rogers’ paper acceptable? Was he able to provide them with further evidence he chose not to publish publicly that convinced them of the authenticity of his fibres?
On a separate note, it would seem important to know where these fibres are now, following Rogers’ death. Who actually owns them? Is anyone authorised to pass them on to an independent laboratory specialising in textiles to see if Rogers’ findings might be replicated?
This posting is derived from the first two comments of a previous posting:
Gian Marco Rinaldi has written a critical review of the third chapter of Giulio Fanti’s book. This chapter deals with the new dating methods he employed. The review is in Italian.
Hugh Farey has provided a very useful translation of the above mentioned review into English (with software assistance and editing).
Gian Marco’s review is comprehensive and detailed, and I hope he will not mind my presenting a translation of some important passages below. I started with Google Translate, and carefully worked my way through re-interpreting anything that was literally non-sense. I notice that Dan often uses Bing. Does anybody have any reason why one is better than the other. Google has a tendency simply to ignore negatives, I find, which can completely alter the sense of a passage, which Bing comes up with weird and whimsical idiomatic translations of passages which don’t require it.
Anyway, here goes:
After a quick summary of what the book is and its reception, Gian Marco says..
* * * Review Begins Below the Line * * *
In fabric over time the cellulose in the fibers is altered and degrades. The more time that passes, the greater the alteration. By measuring, in a fabric of unknown age, some parameter that is related to the degree of alteration, and comparing it with the values of the same parameter in ancient fabrics of known ages, the age of the unknown tissue can, in principle, be estimated. This would work if it were not that alterations may proceed at different speeds depending on several factors. In short, the degradation of cellulose is not a clock that always ticks at the same rate (as it is does with the decay of radiocarbon). To take a trivial example, if I meet someone and observe her dress, I can try to figure out if the dress is new or old, looking more or less if it is worn, torn, faded or crumpled. But I can not correctly estimate the age if I do not take into account various other factors such as the quality of the fabric, the conditions in which it was stored and how and how much was used.
The new results.
Fanti has obtained some antique fabrics from different eras of approximately known date. He conducted three sets of measurements using three different methods. In the first and second series he measured certain alterations of cellulose using spectroscopic methods – Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. For spectroscopic analyses Fanti turned to two more professors, Anna Tinti of Bologna and Pietro Baraldi of Modena. In the third series he measured a set of mechanical parameters, for example the behavior of fibers under tension and the breaking load (with the assistance of a doctoral student, Pierandrea Malfi).
In each series, from measurements on samples of known age, Fanti has constructed a calibration curve, which represents how the trend varies with age. Then he measured the same parameters on the Shroud and derived an estimate of its age by making a comparison with the calibration curve.
Fanti says that he has not found in the literature similar calibration curves for these three methods, and supposes that they have been introduced by him for the first time.
There were nine ancient fabrics used in compiling the calibration curves, with ages from 3000 BC to 1000 AD. Five were from Egypt, three from Israel and one from Peru. He also used two modern fabrics of recent manufacture.
The confidence intervals at 95% for the origin of the fabric of the shroud with the three methods were respectively: 300 BC ± 400 and 200 BC ± 500, 400 AD ± 400. Averaging these values, Fanti arrived at a final result to 33 BC ± 250 and is satisfied that this interval includes the time of Christ.
We see that the three results cover a very wide range, from 300 BC to 400 AD. Considering the bounds of the intervals of confidence, the dates extend further, from 700 BC to 800 AD.
The dispersion would be even greater if Fanti had used his original result for the first series, which was 752 BC ± 400. However here Fanti has made a correction, trying to take into account the effects of the fire of 1532 in which the Shroud was involved, and moved the date from 752 BC to 300 BC. This is based on measurements made on a recent piece of fabric which has been subjected to heating. This correction is somewhat arbitrary. On the one hand it is not known at what temperature and for how long the cloth of the Shroud has been heated by the fire. On the other hand the effects on a new fabric manufactured using modern technology may be different from the effects on the Shroud, also taking into account that the damage triggered by the fire may have worsened over the centuries.
It should be noted that, as he made a correction for the first method, Fanti should also have made a correction for the third method, as results from similar heating tests of modern materials produced an apparent aging “of a few centuries” using this method. However it seems that Fanti decided to rejuvenate the result of the first series, whose original results came out too old, but preferred not to do the same to the third series, whose original results came out too young.
All tests were conducted on individual fibers of flax. These are the ‘elementary’ fibers which make up the threads. The fibers are thin and have a diameter of about 10 or 20 micrometers (thousandths of a millimeter). Thread is manufactured by the twisting together of fibers in the spinning process. Any section of thread may contain a hundred or so fibres.
There is no guarantee that the methods are reliable
The factors that affect the apparent aging of a fabric are variable in nature. We can cite the light, the conditions of temperature and humidity, the presence of dust, exposure to various chemical agents, and mechanical stresses. Also factors that seem insignificant can accumulate a significant effect if continuing for centuries. For example, a linen fabric which is folded can produce damage to the fibers in the bends (which is why today the Shroud is kept fully extended to prevent further damage). In general, the processes of degradation can be very slow and are not easily simulated with laboratory experiments.
Hypothetically, you can imagine some differences in the conditions of preservation of the Shroud compared to other fabrics. The weather conditions, temperature and humidity, were different in Europe from in Egypt or Israel. In particular, moisture is harmful to fabrics and the Egyptian climate is probably drier than the French or Piedmontese. The methods of processing flax in Europe in the 14th century may have been different from those of ancient Egypt, such as the bleaching process. The comparison fabrics probably rested for centuries in a tomb and then remained in the warehouses of a museum, while the Shroud has had a much more lively history, especially in the early days. It was transported here and there, both before and after the transition to the Savoy. It was folded and unfolded, and later rolled up on a tight cylinder and unrolled. It was involved in a fire. It was mended. It was exposed to light outdoors, and to the fumes of incense or candles or torches. Perhaps it was brushed to clean it.
Also there may have been unknown episodes in the history of the Shroud, especially in the period before 1500, which have had a measurable effect today.
Fanti says he has conducted tests to assess the “systematic effects” of various factors, but in practice he has only made the correction that we saw for the first series.
These uncertainties mean that the methods used by Fanti are inherently unreliable because it can not be excluded that there were influences of factors known or unknown, with effects difficult to assess. So, if his methods result in a date that differs from that obtained in other ways, it is necessary to doubt the result. We have two reasons to think that the fabric of the Shroud was manufactured around 1300, the radiocarbon dating and the historical fact of its first appearance. On the other hand, we have no reason to suggest that the Shroud is from the first century. The only “evidence” of antiquity adduced by Shroudologists is in the (non-existent) fingerprints of two coins of Pontius Pilate!
However, there is a more concrete reason to think that the fibers of the Shroud used by Fanti were unsuitable for testing.
In two television interviews, Fanti was shown withdrawing a fiber from a piece of fabric. He separated out a thread and pulled out a fiber with tweezers. But this is not the way in which he got the fibers of the Shroud. He did not have a piece of fabric, or even pieces of intact thread. He used a dust collection made by Giovanni Riggi di Numana in 1978.
It should be noted that from 1534 to 2002 the cloth of the Shroud was continuously fastened with stitching to another linen cloth for support. In 1978 Riggi unstitched some sections on the edges and stuck in the cavity a vacuum cleaner with which he collected dust in cotton filters interposed along the tube outlet. Years later, some of these filters were made available to Fanti. From these filters, in particular the one designated as “h”, Fanti took the material for his analysis.
Together with dust of various kinds were also fragments of fibers of the shroud, in addition to flax fibers of the support fabric, cotton fibers from the filters and possibly other fibers of uncertain origin.
We can assume that any fibers of the Shroud collected from the vacuum extractor had deteriorated more than the fibers still enclosed in the threads. Fibers have, in the course of time, detached from the back of the Shroud and become trapped inside the cavity between the cloths, but those that have would be either weaker or more damaged than those which remained in the threads. For example they could be fibers that originally came from areas of stitching or burning or soaking in water or any other places that had suffered damage for some reason.
In addition to the fibers that had already become detached in the past, Riggi’s vacuum cleaner could have detached others while it was working, and those fibres, too, would be weaker or more damaged than those which remained. Fanti’s material is thus shown to be unrepresentative in being particularly deteriorated, so it is no wonder that the age he calculated is more apparent than real.
In a 2008 article Fanti showed photographs of many fibers collected by filters of which he had already come into possession, including those from filter “h”. We saw that the fibers were very short, averaging about a millimeter. Usually linen fibers are somewhat longer. So those used by Fanti were small fragments derived from the breakage of fibers which were already integrally fragile. In his book Fanti does not say how long the fibers from his comparison tissues were, but he may provide more detail in a future publication.
After they were collected in 1978, the fibers remained on the filters for several years, together with the rest of the dust and dirt sucked in. The individual fibers were exposed to dust on all sides.
Earlier than 2008, fibers were collected from Fanti’s filters using adhesive tape. Photographs were obtained showing the fibers on the tape. Fanti does not say if these fibres were used for his present experiments, but if they were they had remained in contact with the glue for a time of perhaps several years and then a solvent may have been used to remove them from it. We hope to find more information on these procedures when Fanti’s next article appears.
However they were obtained, Fanti then observed them at length under a microscope. The aim was to separate the flax fibers from the Shroud from those coming from the cloth support or from those of cotton or other origin. Looking into the microscope, Fanti says, he was able to distinguish the fibers of the Shroud not only from those of other material, but also from the linen fibers of the fabric support. For observation under the microscope, the fiber must be illuminated and, if it is not on a tape, somehow manipulated.
In short, the Shroud material used for the experiments was not the most fortunate. In his book Fanti makes no secret that the fibers of the Shroud which he used come from Riggi’s filters but does not comment on the risks implicit in the fact that these fibers have had a more complicated history than those freshly extracted from other fabrics containing intact threads. We can only note Fanti’s own words concerning the third method, the mechanical one, with reference to his experiments on the comparison fibres. (p. 85):
“In some cases, in fact, fibers taken from particular parts of a thread which had been more exposed to the environment and mechanical actions such as rubbing, showed a structural weakening, due to probable microcracks, which sometimes lead the mechanical method to result in dates with amplitude shifts of up to a thousand years.” Such is the true accuracy of this method. Two fibers taken from the same thread can produce dating with a difference of a thousand years. Fanti continues:
“To avoid incurring similar problems of measurement, the fibers used to perform the mechanical tests – and thus the determination of the curves of dating – were taken from their fabric in a similar way to those used to pick up the fibers from the Shroud.”
I do not know if Fanti means that he extracted fibers from his comparison fabrics with a vacuum cleaner, at least for the third series, but in any case he could not select the fibers that had separated in time from the points of greatest wear and tear that had built up for centuries.…
For my part, I think that there is no reason to doubt that the material used by Fanti really comes from the filters of the vacuum cleaner used by Riggi in 1978. It is known that Riggi kept the filters and later on several occasions had bestowed portions of the material to others. Today Riggi is gone, but I do not think that Fanti has made false declarations about the origin of the fibers examined by him.
I would also add that I can not know if Fanti has correctly identified the fibers of the Shroud, distinguishing them from other fibers collected from the extractor, such as those of cloth or filter support, but that would be material of a more recent age than the Shroud itself and not could provide a dating at the time of Christ. In short, I believe that the results are unreliable, not for any doubts about the origin of the material, but for the inadequacy of the methods used.
In the last few days we may have withnessed the most explosive Shroud of Turin book announcement ever. At Amazon Italy (amazon.it), Giulio Fanti’s Il mistero della Sindone. Le sorprendenti scoperte scientifiche sull’enigma del telo di Gesù ranks #17 among book on Christianity – half of the books ahead of it are about the new pope – and ranks #284, overall, among all books. Surprisingly, there are no customer reviews, yet. But then, again, Amazon.it is small compared to amazon.com; even the number one ranked book on Christianity in Italy (specifically about Francis) has only one customer review.
The publisher’s description says so little. Here is a Bing translation from Amazon Italy:
"A mystery of the cross and light" quell’inspiegabile and irreproducible body image imprinted on the cloth is testimony to the passion and death of Jesus, but also of his resurrection. The words spoken by Pope Benedict XVI returned to the Shroud whole truth that scientific research had tried to resize. In 1988, in fact, with carbon dating l4, scientists determined that the Shroud dated from the Middle Ages. Today, thanks to a multidisciplinary work promoted by the University of Padua and lasted fifteen years, the team led by Giulio Fanti shows that the radiocarbon dating has been distorted by environmental contamination, and goes right back to the early death of Jesus that traces of dust, pollen and spores from the Middle East to direct, that the body has been depicted on the linen violence told in the Gospels of the Passion, and the image was produced by the exceptional radiation developed at the time of the resurrection. This book, co-written by Fanti and Saverio Gaeta, is the account of a discovery and the story of the extraordinary historical events of the most precious and revered relic of Christianity.
That’s it? Anything from anyone reading the book?
Anyone remember the following quotable comment from a discussion last August to a posting entitled, “Giulio Fanti Responds. Are you listening Yannick and Colin?” Giulio had written a rather long posting for the readers of this blog defending the use of Academic Journals, a Nigeria-based publisher of open access journals that normally charge authors to publish their articles. Colin Berry wrote in response:
Only an intense, highly localised corona discharge could have produced the image we see. I refer to Giulio’s tie…
I found the above quote because I was reviewing older postings about scientific journals after receiving an email from UMASS-chem1:
Giulio Fanti, by publishing his book, has subjected himself to intense examination in the near future. He must publish an English language account of his research in a reputable scientific journal as soon as possible. You and the media tell us he intends to. Giulio is telling friends that a paper has already been accepted. That concerns me. Paulette yesterday and Gabriel in past comments are right in their assessments. Gilulio’s paper needs to be in a journal with a respectable JCR rating. If Giulio publishes in a questionable journal he could harm the reputation of shroud science for a long time.
Paulette had written:
Reputable scieentific journals don’t like to publish scientific work that has already been published in books or elsewhere. It used to be that shroud science was published in good journals with solid JCR ratings. Lately, much has been published in dubious journals like JIST or open access vanity journals like those from Academic Journals, which charge authors.
and in another comment . . .
This is all one step removed from TV ads that proclaim “scientists have discovered” this or that that will make you thin or grow some hair. After all this publicity, this is one time that we need enough public information from Giulio Fanti to enable other scientists to confrim his work.
Gabriel had written last August:
Dan, the problem here is not whether we are in favour of an open access system for science. The problem here is that this journal does not belong to the JCR, unlike the papers by Adler, Pellicori and a long etc and as a result, peer-review is not guaranteed at all. That said, we can discuss about the contents- after all we do it all the time with anything published on the Shroud, don’t we?- but please, don’t call it science YET. (corrected)
This is copied from a PDF file, “Official Statement from the International Centre of Sindonology” in English, Spanish and Italian. It resides at www.shroud.com and may be found from Late Breaking News. (The picture is not part of the file):
Referring to the news about the release of the volume “The Mistery of the Shroud” by Rizzoli, written by Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta, supposedly dealing with research carried out on Shroud material, the International Centre of Sindonology has expressed reservations about the approach of the book to the theme. According to the International Centre of Sindonology, the volume has approached the subject through the analysis of some cloth samples which can not be proved to belong to the Shroud fabric as they can not be traced.
As far as this is concerned, the International Centre of Sindonology refers to the official statements about the “experiments and analysis concerning the Holy Shroud” made when analogous research was attempted on material supposedly belonging to the Shroud. Those statements were made on behalf of the Holy See, owner of the Shroud, by Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini in September 1995 and Cardinal Severino Poletto on 4th May 2009, “Papal Custodians of the Holy Shroud”.
Turin, September 1995
More and more reports are being published about experiments carried out on Shroud
material aiming to check the results of the tests conducted with the Carbon 14 method in
the summer of 1988. This purpose may be legitimate, and the Church recognizes to every
scientist the right to carry out appropriate research in their field of science. However,
given the circumstances, it is necessary to point out that:
a) no new sample of material has been taken from the Holy Shroud since 21st April 1988,
and according to the Holy See and the Custodian of the Holy Shroud it is highly unlikely
that a third party may be in possession of any residual material from that sample;
b) if such material exists, the Custodian reminds everybody that the Holy See has not
given its permission to anybody to keep it and use it and he therefore demands to give it
back to the Holy See;
c) it is not possible to know with any degree of certainty whether or not such experiments
were carried out on material coming from the fabric of the Shroud. Therefore, the Holy
See and the Papal Custodian declare that no serious value can be recognized to the
results of those alleged experiments;
d) this is evidently not the case of the research carried out on material taken for the tests
in October 1978 and following the explicit authorization of the Papal Custodian;
e) within the climate of mutual trust established with scientists, the Holy See and the
Cardinal Archbishop of Turin encourage scientists to be patient until a clear and
systematically planned research programme is arranged.
Giovanni Card. Saldarini
Archbishop of Turin