Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Update Again on the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

February 22, 2015 26 comments

clip_image001This time it is from CNN. The article is entitled, New clues cast doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’. It begins:

It seemed real; it seemed fake; it seemed real again; now we’re back to fake.

"It" is the controversial little scrap of papyrus, written in Coptic, that seems to have Jesus referring to "my wife," in contrast to the traditional stance that affirms Jesus’ perpetual bachelorhood.

The quick backstory: In 2012, a Harvard professor, Karen King, brought this papyrus to the attention of scholars and the public.

Both the material and the script looked authentically ancient at first glance, and though the notion of Jesus having a wife was remarkable, these "lost" Christian writings, such as the Gnostic Gospels, are full of unorthodoxies.

It was good enough for King, who is widely respected in the scholarly world.

We’ve been there. But it is worth it to read this latest update. Here are links to previous postings in this blog:

Hat tip to Louis

Important Comment

February 16, 2015 3 comments

A doddle, which stretches no-one’s credibility!

imageDaveb of Wellington, New Zealand, writes:

Whether 3:1 herringbone, Z spun is characteristic of 1st century Palestine or not is irrelevant, in view of trade caravans. The Persians were well-advanced in making large carpets of intricate design by the 5th c. BCE. The Pazyryk carpet is of intricate design, is 2.8m x 2.0m, and dates to 5th c. BCE. If Iranians could produce intricate designs of such size in 5th c. BCE presumably in wool, then anyone else can produce a 3:1 herring-bone weave, 4.0m x 2.0m, Z twist, 1st c. in linen. A doddle, which stretches no-one’s credibility!

Daveb was responding to David Mo who had written:

Linen, 3:1 herringbone and Z-spun is not characteristic of Palestine fabrics. But there is a similar fabric in Victoria and Albert Museum. Full stop.

My response to David Mo: Who knows!

Linen certainly was in use in Palestine. Over the years I have read or listened to all manner of arguments for authenticity and against authenticity because of the Z twist or the 3 over 1 herringbone pattern.

Daveb of Wellington put it well in saying that these characteristic are, “ irrelevant, in view of trade caravans.”

Note:  "The Camel Train" by Emile Rouergue -  1855.  It is a photograph of an out of copyright image.

Lamentation Art

February 16, 2015 22 comments

Please note: Even though one might get the impression that Gertrud Schiller wrote these
words in her book, she did not do so.  No one specifically says she did. But in reading
three posting to which links are provided, one could think so.  I did. I stand corrected.

imageYesterday, Ana Enrico, citing Gertrud Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. 2, posted these words in the Shroud Guild Facebook page:

11th century ivory – within a hundred years of the arrival of the Edessa Icon Byzantine art suddenly produces Lamentation art forms showing Jesus laid out on a large shroud in a manner resembling the Turin Shroud. Why?

imageThat sounded familiar. I have not seen the book – a used copy can be had for $325 through Amazon – so where had I seen this quoation? Ah, yes, Colin Berry had quoted those words in his blog back in December in a posting entitled, The definitive answer to the Shroud of Turin is plain for all to see in 400 year old paintings. He kindly provided a link to an article, The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part Three: The Shroud of Constantinople, in the Associates for Biblical Research site. There is some good reading there, particularly on this topic starting about 2/5 of the way down the webpage.

I know we have been over this ground before. But I thought the question that Schiller poses – Why? – was particularly interesting.

Here are abstracts and links to the various parts of this series at on the Shroud of Turin at the Associates for Biblical Research:

The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part One: To Edessa

If Biblical Archaeology is defined loosely as “the study of the ancient things related to the Bible,” then surely the sindon, linen used to wrap Jesus’ body in death, has to be of interest. Most informed Christians now know that there is a serious candidate, the Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part Two: To the Great City

The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History is a four part review of the historical evidence for the Shroud of Turin from the 1st century to the beginning of the 15th. In Part 1 a mysterious picture slowly emerges from antiquity as a cloth on which Jesus supposedly imprints his face and sends to a king in the northern Mesopotamian city of Edessa. But during the 8th through 10th centuries additional evidence suggests that this is a large, folded cloth depicting Christ’s full, bloodied body.

The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part Three: The Shroud of Constantinople

Part 1 of this survey began an admittedly sympathetic summary of Ian Wilson’s theory (updated) that Jesus’ NT burial shroud was quietly preserved from antiquity, but only gradually introduced into Christian traditions as The Holy Image of Edessa. This was a famous cloth on which Jesus supposedly imprinted his face and sent to 1st century King Abgar V in Edessa (modern Urfa in Turkey.

The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part 4: To Little Lirey

This final part of the Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History addresses the means by which it left Constantinople in the east (in or not long after 1204) and reappeared about 150 years later in the little village of Lirey, France. The relic’s “good” history is acknowledged by almost all to begin about 1355 when a minor French nobleman with an outstanding reputation, Geoffrey de Charny, is believed to be the cloth’s first certain owner…

Is that another example of medieval herringbone linen?

January 28, 2015 8 comments

imageHat tip to Stephen Jones for finding this image

Yesterday, Stephen Jones published a photographic copy of possibly the only known example of a three over one herringbone twill weave from the mediaeval era. It is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (ref. no. 8615-1863).  It has been discussed in this blog but never shown that I can remember.

Stephen writes in his blog:

. . . medieval herringbone twill linen cloths are exceedingly rare, and in fact there is only one known example of a medieval herringbone twill linen weave: a fourteenth century, block-painted linen fragment with a 3:1 chevron (herringbone) twill weave, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Further evidence of the extreme rarity of medieval linen with a Shroud-like herringbone twill weave, was the fact that the British Museum’s Dr. Michael Tite was unable to find any medieval linen with a weave that resembled the Shroud, to use as control samples for the 1988 radiocarbon dating. . . .

BUT:  To my way of thinking about history, only one known example does not necessarily mean rare. In fact, I’ve always thought only one known example implied other unknown examples.

The above image is stored in Stephen’s blog (I have stretched it a bit). Based on a citation to a site called the V&A Spelunker, I was able to trace down the image directly from the V&A museum’s online catalog. You can obtain that same image by clicking on the thumbnail image to the right.

The next step was to chase down the V&A image using Google’s powerful image searching facilities.  This brought me to a site by Maxim Sokokov in Russian.  Google translates it thus:

Medieval Heel XII-XV centuries.
Silk fabrics with pattern vytkanym were so expensive that for everyday use or church decoration often use cheaper analogue – linen fabric with printed motifs in the same style. The European Centre for the production of such textiles were Italy and Germany. Therefore, the majority of tissues in museum collections, which are difficult to attribute, and usually signed: "Italy (Germany?)." "Take a plank of walnut, pear or other very solid wood the size of a brick … pictures on this tablet should be painted and cut (in depth) of thick rope. On the tablets should be shown all kinds of pattern that you want, leaves or animals, but to do so they were drawn and cut so that the boards of all four parties were well suited to each other and in general formed a complete and coupled drawing … " From Cennino Cennini treatise "The book about the art or Treatise on Painting", approx. 1400.

On that website I spotted something. Or maybe it is just I think I see.  Is that another example of medieval herringbone twill linen? Three over one? Maybe just two over one! You decide. CLICK HERE. More thoughts?



New Paper on the Shroud of Arquata

January 24, 2015 14 comments

not produced by apparent drawings or painting

used sophisticated optical and spectroscopic non-invasive technologies


The paper by P. Di Lazzaro, M. Guarneri, D. Murra, V. Spizzichino, M. Missori, V. Piraccini, A. Mencattini and A. Danielis is available at:

Academia   &   ENEA’s Open Archives.

An English version is in the works. In the meantime:

1)  There is an English abstract:

In this report we summarize the main results of the first in-depth measurement of the Shroud of Arquata, a 1:1 copy of the Shroud of Turin which dates back to 1653. The most peculiar feature of the Shroud of Arquata is the front and back human footprint which is not produced by apparent drawings or painting as in the other copies of the Shroud. In the frame of an agreement between the City of Arquata, the Technical Unit Application of Radiation of the ENEA Centre of Frascati and the Institute of Complex Systems of CNR, we used sophisticated optical and spectroscopic non-invasive technologies, suitable to the study of Cultural Heritage.

The elaboration of experimental results allowed to obtain scientific data apt to suggest the possible origins of the double image, of the stains simulating blood and of the false patches embedded on the Shroud of Arquata.

In addition, the experimental data allowed to develop a plan for the proper long-term conservation of the Shroud of Arquata.

2) and you can translate the paper into English with Bing or Google translation tools by converting it to an editable Word (doc or docx) file and then pasting the text into the translation tool. Here, for example, are three translated paragraphs from the Introduction:

During the restoration of the church of S. Francesco at Borgo di Arquata del Tronto , in the province of Ascoli Piceno , in 1980 is found a double urn of gilded wood , hidden in the niche of an altar . Inside there is a large sheet folded and a scroll. On the sheet is visible footprint front and back of a human body , and the center is the word ‘ EXTRACTVM AB ORIGINAL ‘ (extract from the original, which is sanctified by direct contact with the real relic ) .

It is a copy in 1: 1 scale of the Shroud of Turin , the most valuable and controversial relic of Christendom [ 1 ] . Copying Arquata accurately reproduces the image and stains on the Shroud of Turin : in addition to the double human footprint are noticed reddish spots in the side , feet and head , the drawings that recall the patches corresponding to burns inflicted to the Shroud Turin by fire in 1532 , and even water stains .

However , there is one important difference between the Shroud of Arquata and the other 50 copies of the Turin Shroud survived to our times [ 2 ] : at first glance , the impression you do not recognize human brush strokes , nor drawings , nor anatomy of the face and body . Conversely , the origin of painting and art of the other copies of the Shroud is evident even at a superficial analysis [ 2 , 3 ] .

The Shroud on

January 20, 2015 2 comments

my tree `took off’ as it began to intersect other trees
of 14th century and earlier French nobility

imageStephen Jones has embarked on an interesting project to build a "de Charny family tree" on

The reason I chose Marguerite de Charny as the Home Person is that she was the last private person to own the Shroud, having given it to the House of Savoy in 1453 when she was aged about 60, widowed and childless. In my Tree Overview I wrote:

"My attempt to trace the owners of the Shroud of Turin, from its disappearance in the sack of Constantinople in 1204, to Marguerite de Charny (c. 1390-1460) who transferred the Shroud to the House of Savoy in 1453."

It is a public tree but (as far as I am aware) only those who have an active account can access it. I started the tree based on the family trees and information in the books of genealogist, and Shroud pro-authenticist, Noel Currer-Briggs (1919-2004). But after that my tree `took off’ as it began to intersect other trees of 14th century and earlier French nobility.

Stephen would like to hear from other “Shroudies” with accounts who would like to help. 

Categories: History Tags:

A number of marks falling all over the surface of the body

January 18, 2015 13 comments

Fascinating, informative paper. Great illustrations. I learned a lot.

clip_image001With recent references in this blog to the illustrations in the Holkham Bible it seems appropriate to now consider the paper, The Hypotheses About the Roman Flagrum: Some Clarifications, presented by Flavia Manservigi (pictured) and coauthored by Enrico Morini (available at and at as of two days ago):

On the imprint of the long Sheet are also clearly visible a number of marks, falling all over the surface of the body, from the shoulders to the lower extremities of the legs: scholars interpreted those signs like the result of a terrible scourging, which was inflicted on the Man of the Shroud before crucifixion. The marks of flogging and crucifixion, like the great part of the wound marks visible on the cloth, strengthened the hypothesis of the identification of the Man of the Shroud with Jesus of Nazareth: the tortures suffered by the Man of the Shroud can be totally assimilated to the ones that, according to the Gospels, were inflicted on Jesus.

imageFascinating, informative paper. Great illustrations. I learned a lot.

BTW:  I probably should have mentioned this paper sooner. Already archived at, it was just uploaded to two days ago, which sent its page ranking soaring in Google. That grabbed my attention. This supports my theory that it makes sense to archive papers at both and and elsewhere (no, don’t ask). 

There are still other papers to explore from the St. Louis conference. Please by patient.

Categories: History, St Louis 2014 Tags:

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