Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Byzantine Coins Again

July 10, 2015 6 comments

I think the Byzantine solidi are a meaningful part of a larger historical picture
by which I am persuaded the shroud is much older than its carbon dating suggests.

Is John Jackson and company pointing to something lower down?

BT, a longtime reader of this blogimage writes:

There are many depictions of Christ on Byzantine coins with features that correspond to features on the shroud.  But then there are the exceptions. Then too there are the questions about whether those features are really features at all.  This solidus is an exception. Look at the hair and beard on Christ. Yet the common motif of two parallel curved lines at the neckline of Christ’s shirt is maintained.  It also raises questions about the motif of parallel lines in the neckline of the garment. Fanti on page 113 of his new book compares the neckline on Jesus’ “dress” (shirt) to a “wrinkle on the neck (double-lined)” on the shroud. This is so for many solidi. But in this one we find this very same feature on the neckline of shirts worn by Justinian II  and his young son and co-emperor Tiberius. It is a common way of drawing a hemmed collar on a shirt, is it not?

imageYes.  But aren’t the co-emperors wearing armor (click on the above image to see a larger version)? And does that make a difference?  I also wonder what wrinkle we are referring to. In the Siefker, Propp, Koumis, Jackson and Jackson A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypothesis (v 2.1) we see:


I always thought it was the more visible wrinkle. Was I wrong? Is John Jackson and company pointing to something lower down? It makes sense.

MORE:  We had an interesting discussion in the blog with 69 comments about thie second-reign solidus in October of 2012 when Hugh Farey had asked:

The coins of Justinian II’s first reign (685 – 695 AD) are indeed remarkably shroud-like, and it is difficult not to think it was indeed the model. However, when, after a period of exile, Justinian returned to the throne (705 – 711 AD), the same sort of coins (with the same designation – Christus Rex Regnantium) have a closely shaven Christ with tightly curly hair. Can anyone suggest why the changed their mind about Christ’s appearance?

And we have had many other discussions in this blog about Byzantine coins:

I think the Byzantine solidi are a meaningful part of a larger historical picture by which I am persuaded the shroud is much older than its carbon dating suggests.

Categories: History Tags:

Stephen Jones on the Thomas De Wesselow Presentation

June 14, 2015 49 comments

“de Wesselow’s Monty Pythonesque explanation”

imageStephen Jones reviews the Thomas De Wesselow Video in his blog. First he praises it:

The AGNOSTIC art historian Thomas De Wesselow is DEVASTATING against the Shroud being a medieval forgery.

He concludes that the Shroud can ONLY be Christ’s burial sheet or someone else crucified in the first (or early) century in imitation of Christ.

But then he goes on to tell us:

Being a non-Christian, de Wesselow cannot accept the Shroud image was caused by Jesus’ resurrection. So he argues for the Shroud body image having been caused by a Maillard reaction, as proposed by STURP chemist Ray Rogers….


But de Wesselow doesn’t mention that that explanation fails on several counts:

“[1] However the potential source for amines required for the reaction is a decomposing body, and no signs of decomposition have been found on the Shroud.

[2] Rogers also notes that their tests revealed that there were no proteins or bodily fluids on the image areas.

[3] Also, the image resolution and the uniform coloration of the linen resolution seem to be incompatible with a mechanism involving diffusion.” (Ibid. My numbers in square brackets) …

[4] there are no Shroud-like images on other burial shrouds, of which there are many Egyptian ones…. This invalidates de Wesselow’s Monty Pythonesque explanation that: “What the apostles were seeing was the image of Jesus on the Shroud, which they then mistook for the real thing. It sounds … as absurd as a scene from a Monty Python film.”

[5] a Maillard reaction would not explain the coin and flower images on the Shroud.

[6] a non-resurrection explanation does not explain how the Shroud was removed from Jesus’ (or another crucified in imitation of Jesus) body with the blood clots that adhered to both His body and the Shroud being intact and not tearing.

[7] Ockham’s Razor again: Jesus is the only person of whom it is credibly claimed that He was resurrected….

imageBUT:   I completely doubt the existence of coin and flower images. I question the nature of intact blood clots after centuries of rolling and folding. I find Stephen’s point about Jesus being “the only person of whom it is credibly claimed that He was resurrected” logically fallacious in this context. In fact, I agree with only one of Stephen’s seven points: the argument that the resolution is incompatible with a mechanism involving gaseous diffusion. And I’m not sure about that.

Too bad.

Categories: History, Other Blogs

Picture for Today: Shroud on the Steps of the Cathedral by Enrie, 1931

June 4, 2015 12 comments
Categories: History

Challenging the Othon de la Roche Story

May 29, 2015 26 comments

imageMario Latendresse has posted a wonderful set of photographs of the castle Ray-sur-Saône, where, supposedly, Othon de la Roche kept the shroud after bringing it from Constantinople via Athens following the crusades in 1204. Along with the pictures he tells us that  it is very unlikely that Othon de la Roche was been involved with the Shroud. (And more pictures and additional narrative).

Despite several historical hypotheses of the Shroud that have been put forward involving Othon de la Roche, it is very unlikely that Othon had anything to do with the Shroud of Turin. The main reason for this conclusion is that the seed of all these hypotheses is the dissertation in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud of Besançon, written in 1714, contained in the manuscript 826 of the archives of the Besançon library. That is, all subsequent historical documents mentioning Othon de la Roche as possibly having owned the Shroud are based directly or indirectly to that dissertation. But that dissertation has no solid foundation to state that Othon de la Roche was involved with any shroud: the dissertation refers to documents that never mention that Othon received a shroud or owned any shroud. The book Le Saint Suaire de Besançon discusses these hypotheses and has a complete transcription of the manuscript 826 (in French).

Moreover, the chest still at the Ray-sur-Saône appears unlikely to have been used to bring any shroud back from Greece. …

And any hypothesis stating that the Shroud came to Lirey through Jeanne de Vergy (second wife of Geoffroy de Charny), who would have been a descendant of Othon de la Roche, is fraught with other major issues. For example, the receipt of Humbert de Villersexel, given in 1418 to the clerics of the collegiate church of Lirey, states clearly that the reliquary containing the Shroud had the coat of arms of de Charny, not of de Vergy. The son and the grand-daughter of Geoffroy de Charny also stated clearly that the Shroud was from Geoffroy de Charny, not from Jeanne de Vergy.

Categories: History Tags:

Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?

May 28, 2015 91 comments

The Sudarium provides strong, independent evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. If the Shroud is a fake, then the Sudarium must also be so. This makes the job of any potential forger close to impossible. The two cloths authenticate and validate each other and together they provide a strong case for being the original burial cloths of Jesus.

— Arif Khan

imageThe current issue of The Review of Religions, an international magazine published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, carries an article by Arif Khan, The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin. The Review is an international magazine published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. It has been in print since 1902. The current cover of the print edition is pictured.

Here is what the article says about the carbon dating of the shroud:

Section 3 – Dating the Shroud & the Sudarium

The fact that the Shroud and the Sudarium were together at one time not only authenticates the Sudarium but also crucially proves the authenticity of the Shroud itself.

Ever since the carbon dating results hit the world’s media on October 13, 1988, stating the Shroud dated from 1260 – 1390 CE, there has been a major debate concerning the Shroud’s age.

Several scholars have written about why the carbon dating result for the Shroud is incorrect, the most convincing being by Raymond Rogers.[18] He argues that it is possible that it dated from the 1st Century.

The link between the Sudarium and the Shroud however, casts major doubt over the accuracy of the carbon dating result. The Sudarium is known to have existed hundreds of years prior to the 1260 – 1390 dating result attributed to the Shroud. There is documented evidence, surviving to this day in the Capitular Archives of the cathedral in Oviedo, of the Sudarium being seen by King Alfonso VI and several others on March 14, 1075.[19] The ark containing the cloth was officially opened on this day, and the event recorded. Even in 1075, it is stated that the ark had been in the church for a long time.[20]

References to a Sudarium exist from as early as the Gospels themselves, but proving the Sudarium of Oviedo was the same Sudarium is difficult. The existence of the cloth in 1075, however, is something attested to and officially recorded.

Given the proof that the Sudarium and the Shroud covered the same body, and the proof that the Sudarium was definitely in existence in 1075, the carbon dating results of the Shroud of Turin have again been thrown in to doubt.

Despite this strong evidence, it is not possible to definitively prove that both the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin dated from the 1st Century. However, it is possible to conclude that given the proven connection between the cloths, the carbon dating result for the Shroud of Turin is incorrect.

Once the carbon dating result for the Shroud is discarded, the case for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin outweighs claims that it is some form of fake. The strong similarities between the Sudarium and the Shroud, mean the Sudarium now has a high probability of also being authentic.

BUT, BUT, BUT:  Here is a part of the article many of this blog’s readership will find uncomfortable:

A key reason for this magazine taking an interest in the Shroud of Turin is that several scholars have argued it proves Jesusas survived the crucifixion, thus validating the belief and teaching of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. There are Shroud researchers who have reached this exact same conclusion based upon their study of the Shroud of Turin.[21] Those that have argued this viewpoint draw attention to the large amounts of blood on the Shroud, and highlight that it would take an active heart to produce this. Others have stated that for an even formation of the image, the body would need to have been at a constant temperature, again requiring a living body. However, the scholars that hold this view concerning the Shroud are in a minority, and this is un-surprising given that it is a Catholic relic and the vast majority of those who have taken an interest in researching it come from a Christian background. Does the Sudarium shed any light on the question of Jesusas surviving the crucifixion?

The endnote 21, above, is a link address to another article by Arif Khan published in 2010 in the same magazine. Therein we find him writing about Holger Kersten and Elmar Gruber’s, “The Jesus Conspiracy” and Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas’, “The Second Messiah.”

Just yesterday, while unaware of this article, I invited Helmut Felzmann from the Shroud Science Group to write a guest posting. Dr. Felzmann, whose religious perspective is very different, believes that the shroud demonstrates that Jesus survived the crucifixion. I warned him that this is a tough crowd.  (Did I say I think the idea is very difficult to accept?  Anyway, I want my friend Helmut to have a chance to make his case. Call me biased and balanced, I guess.)

So what do you think? Any chance that Jesus survived the cross?

Checking In on Mario Latendresse’s Sindonology Dot Org

May 13, 2015 2 comments

Home of the most helpful online Shroud Scope tools for everyone

imageMario, in a posting three days ago, tells us in words and pictures about Lirey:

The first ostentations of the Shroud of Turin in the Western world was in Lirey, a hamlet 16 km south of Troyes, the nearest large city. Lirey is still today a hamlet with a few houses and a 19th century chapel located on the same piece of land where the first chapel was built in 1353. The first ostentation of the Shroud would have been in 1356 or 1357. In 1418, the Shroud leaves the chapel and Lirey to be kept at the Montfort castle under the protection of Humbert de Villersexel. The Shroud never came back to Lirey although the clercs of Lirey tried to regain the Shroud many times over a century. A second chapel was inaugurated in 1525, which was demolished in 1828. A third chapel was built at the end of the 19th century. The following photographs show the inside and outside of this third chapel at Lirey.

There is more. Go look.

To every honest seeker of historical truth

April 10, 2015 9 comments

The body is Greek, but the soul is Semitic.

Only the Gospel accounts are the key that can decode and interpret the Shroud.

imageFrancesco Agnoli offers us a fascinating perspective, Gospels and Shroud, an extraordinary coincidence in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. (The article title above and the extracts below are from a Google translation):

Philology has deepened the study of "linguistic forms" ancient identifying some typical structures of Aramaic (oral language, the dialect of Galilee) and Hebrew (written language, used by the scribes of Judea), the original language spoken by Jesus.

These structures language are foreign to Greek literature, so they are a clear sign of Semitic origin of the Gospels.We can say that the gospels were thought in Aramaic and then translated into Greek.

The body is Greek, but the soul is Semitic.


We thought, Emanuela Marinelli and myself, to enhance the display of the Shroud to be held in Turin from 19 April to 24 June 2015, offering to every honest seeker of historical truth, in one book, the most important historical knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth.

It is clear that the Shroud without the Gospel accounts remains an indecipherable enigma.

Only the Gospel accounts are the key that can decode and interpret the Shroud.

Then it becomes essential scientific investigation and documented not only on the Shroud, but also the authenticity of the Gospels.

Hat top to Joe Marino


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