Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Paper Chase: New Paper by Tristan Casabianca

October 2, 2014 Leave a comment

imageFrench philosopher and historian Professor Tristan Casabianca, in the Abstract of a paper for ATSI 2014 in Bari, writes:

In a topic as controversial as the shroud of Turin, it is always surprising to notice that there still exists a large area of consensus among scholars holding opposite opinions on the topic. According to the consensus view, neither science nor history can ever prove that the Turin Shroud shows signs of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. However, the reasons given for such an important claim are not convincing, especially in regard of recent developments in historiography and analytic philosophy.

The full paper, The Shroud of Turin, the Resurrection of Jesus and the Realm of Science: One View of the Cathedral, may be found at (uploaded two days ago).

The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend?

September 26, 2014 3 comments

imageAndrea Nicolotti’s book, From the Mandylion of Edessa to the Shroud of Turin: The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend (Art and Material Culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe) has finally been published in English. It was available in Italian in 2011. Andrea, who has commented in this blog on occasion, considers this to be a “revised and augmented edition.”

The price for the Hardcover edition is $124.00 at Amazon. The list price is $142.00.  (Please note that Amazon is reporting that the book has not been released even though the publication date is September 15th. Nonetheless, Amazon is accepting orders at this time).

A limited preview of the first chapter and the conclusion from the last chapter is available at The Table of Contents and Index are also provided.

The whet your appetite here are three paragraphs from the conclusion:

There is not a shred of evidence that the Mandylion of Edessa was a long shroud or that it showed the entire body of the crucified and wounded figure of Christ. Those who argue for the shared identity of the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion of Edessa have based their arguments on evidence that cannot withstand close scrutiny. In order to argue for the authenticity of the Turinese relic, some have gone to great lengths. In so doing, they have approached the changing nature of the legends concerning this relic too simplistically. More-over, they have used evolving legends as if they were trustworthy historical sources, which is utterly unacceptable.

It is clear that the ultimate aim of the theory that identifies the Shroud with the Mandylion is to demonstrate that the Shroud of Turin has existed and can be documented since antiquity. But the first historical documents that mention the Shroud date to the fourteenth century, and the date obtained by radiocarbon dating places it between 1260 and 1390 CE. The history of the Shroud is the topic of my next book, but it is important to clarify that even if the Shroud was authentic and dated from the first century, it is a completely different object than the Edessean image.

We can therefore end this analysis by quoting the 1786 opinion of the Marquis Giovanni de Serpos, in regard to the reliability of that “sweet illusion” and the “birth of a devout imagination” in the legend of Abgar: “Everything so far narrated must be counted as mere fable.”

Order it today and Amazon will ship it the minute it becomes available. I look forward to reading this book and his next book on the history of the Shroud.

Paper Chase: Kim Dreisbach in Dallas 2005

September 23, 2014 1 comment

imageA paper by Fr. Kim Dreisbach archived in this blogspace was moved from one directory to another and thus links to it were broken. Barrie Schwortz tipped me off. It was good to be reminded about the paper:


A Comparison of Jesus’ burial shroud in John 20:7 (i.e. one among the othonia) & 12  testifying to His Resurrection and the face cloth of “Lazarus” (soudarion aka the Oviedo
Cloth ) in John 11 – a didactic narrative in which the latter serves as a “spy clue”
guaranteeing their own resurrection to members of the primitive Church.

by The Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach, jr.

Do read the paper. It contains gems like this:

Mozarabic Rite (6th century, Spain)

If one continues to wonder if Peter actually saw "images" on the Shroud, a confirmatory "Spy-clue" indicating same may well appear in the preface (i.e. illatio) of the Mozarabic rite for the Saturday after Easter:

"Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints (vestigia) of the dead and risen man on the linens. [Emphasis added.]

Pietro Savio translates vestigia as “imprints”, while Guscin indicates:

The first meaning can be quickly dismissed as totally inappropriate in the context, which leaves us with some kind of mark or sign of Christ, something clearly related to his death and resurrection. This would seem to suggest that Peter and John saw the blood (death) and the body image (resurrection). There is very little else that could be seen on the burial cloths.

As important as this definition may be, it would seem that "the" real key words for correctly deciphering this passage are the dead and risen man on the linens.

Eusebius on the Discovery of the Holy Sepulchre

September 19, 2014 2 comments

Will Oswald writes:

imageThe Church of the Holy Sepulchre constructed 327-330 AD. Eusebius provides a description of what was seen when excavation of the tomb was complete and those individuals present saw. It sounds like a human figure like the Shroud of Turin has.

In his book, The Life of Constantine Book 3 Chapter 28, Eusebius wrote about the discovery of the Holy Sepulchre:

This also was accomplished without delay. But as soon as the original surface of the ground, beneath the covering of earth, appeared, immediately, and contrary to all expectation, the venerable and hollowed monument of our Saviour’s resurrection was discovered. Then indeed did this most holy cave present a faithful similitude of his return to life, in that, after lying buried in darkness, it again emerged to light, and afforded to all who came to witness the sight, a clear and visible proof of the wonders of which that spot had once been the scene, a testimony to the resurrection of the Saviour clearer than any voice could give.

Follow the link here Eusebius of Caesarea

and then find “Most Holy Sepulchre” in the text or scroll down roughly 3/5 of the way.

In a follow up email, Will adds:

Also, when I looked at pictures inside the Edicule there appears to marble on top of the bench where Christ’s body must have been laid.

I wonder if the marble was lifted up we could see a blood stain that matches the blood stain on the shroud. I doubt anyone would lift the marble to check…but someday I believe it should be done since it would not permanently damage anything.

An Old Christian Papyrus

September 7, 2014 17 comments

Jeanna Bryner, the Managing Editor of LiveScience is reporting that the ‘Last Supper’ Papyrus May Be One of Oldest Christian Charms:

 Inline image. Click to enlarge

A 1,500-year-old fragment of Greek papyrus with writing that refers to the biblical Last Supper and "manna from heaven" may be one of the oldest Christian amulets, say researchers.

The fragment was likely folded up and worn inside a locket or pendant as a sort of protective charm, according to Roberta Mazza, who spotted the papyrus while looking through thousands of papyri kept in the library vault at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

"This is an important and unexpected discovery as it’s one of the first recorded documents to use magic in the Christian context and the first charm ever found to refer to the Eucharist — the Last Supper — as the manna of the Old Testament," Mazza said in a statement. The fragment likely originated in a town in Egypt. [Proof of Jesus Christ?

The translated text from the article reads:

Fear you all who rule over the earth.

Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God.

For he spoke and they came to being, he commanded and they were created; he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies.

Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.

Unrelatedly, the editor threw in a link to past LiveScience stories: Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated. The first one is Biblical Blankets. Guess what?

Speaking of Matching Faces

September 4, 2014 10 comments

We have been comparing many faces lately.

Of course, if this face comparison is proof that Leonard da Vinci’s face is on the shroud than other comparison, similarly done, prove that the proof is not proof. Or is it that this comparison is flawed?  In what ways?


imageimageAnd, how come no one is talking about the 6th century Christ Pantocrator at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai?

History in the Unmaking: The Shroud of Joseph of Arimathea

September 2, 2014 4 comments

imageFrom an online tourist brochure for Cyprus, an entry for the the Akhiropiitos Monastery, in Alsancak, near Kyrenia in North Cyprus

A local legend says that the shroud in which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the dead Jesus was brought here, and rested in the basilica until 1452. Marguerete de Charny, a descendent of a nobleman of Champagne who was said to have obtained it during the crusades, then presented it to the Cathedral at Turin.

Strange though this story might sound, and although there is no proof that the shroud was ever near Cyprus, there is proof that in 1349 Geoffrey de Charny, a French knight, is already in possession of the Shroud, which some believe he acquired in Constantinople. And in 1453 Margaret de Charny, at Geneva, receives from Duke Louis I of Savoy the castle of Varambon and revenues of the estate of Miribel near Lyon for ‘valuable services’. Those services are thought to have been the bequest of the Shroud.

Best of all. The above entry is cited in a Wikipedia article. (Yes, Google lets you trace citations backwards). See how some Wikipedia writer garbles the text from a travel brochure and plants bad history into an encyclopedia.

According to legend, the shroud of Joseph of Arimathea was once held in the monastery and was taken to Turin, Italy, in 1452 where it remains today and is now known as the Shroud of Turin.

Obviously someone snapped a picture.  Just in case you thought of going to Cyprus to check out the story, the travel site tells us:

Although within the military area and cannot be visited, a good view of the monastery can be had from the Lambousa peninsula. Take the coast road from Girne towards Lapta. Around half a mile after the turning for Alsancak, look for a road on your right signposted to the Camelot beach complex. You will also see the signs for the churches of St Evlalios and St Evlambios. Before reaching the Camelot car park turn left on to the peninsula, and you will see the monastery just beyond the church. Remember, although you are on a public area, the monastery is within the military area, so take care where your camera is pointing.

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