Archive for the ‘Other Blogs’ Category

A Grievous Wound More Painful than the Others

May 10, 2014 1 comment

clip_image001Pat Archbold has a interesting take on the shoulder injury story that appeared in yesterday’s Vatican Insider. It appears in his blog space in the National Catholic Register.

Centuries ago, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in ecstasy asked Jesus which was His greatest unrecorded suffering and the wound that inflicted the most pain on Him in Calvary and Jesus answered:

"I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound which was more painful than the others and which is not recorded by men. Honor this Wound with thy devotion and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit and in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no longer remember their mortal sins."

Read the whole posting.

More on the Letter from Alexius Comnenus: Never have preconvictions about relics

imageO.K. writes:

In discussion about alleged letter of Alexius Commenus, attention turned to some dubious relics, like for example milk of the Virgin Mary. Calvin wrote about it in his Treatise on Relics in following way:

With regard to the milk, there is not perhaps a town, a convent, or nunnery, where it is not shown in large or small quantities. Indeed, had the Virgin been a wet-nurse herwhole life, or a dairy, she could not have produced more than is shown as hers in various parts. How they obtained all this milk they do not say, and it is superfluous here to remark that there is no foundation in the Gospels for these foolish and blasphemous extravagances.

Here is an answer to the Calvin’s question where this milk comes from. A beautiful local legend trying to explain quite natural phenomena (similar Greek myth claims that the Milky Way was caused by milk spilt by Hera when suckling Heracles):

The moral is, never have preconvictions about relics, no matter how absurd they sound to your eyes. They may surprise you.

Might the A&V Ivory have been the inspiration for the Pray Manuscript

Might the A&V Ivory have been the inspiration for the Pray Manuscript Illustration instead of the Shroud of Turin, my friend John asked in an email?

imageThe ivory is interesting. Stephen Jones brings it to our attention in his blog at Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #3:

Click on the image for a larger view

Stephen tells us that this lamentation scene can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  He tells us that “Jesus’ hands are crossed awkwardly at the wrists, with the right arm over the left, exactly as on the Shroud” and that Jesus is “lying on a double-length cloth which has a repeating pattern of Xs similar to those that accompany reproductions of the image of Edessa. They hint, he tells us, of the Shroud’s herringbone weave.”

Stephen offers this caption for a photograph of the ivory:

[ . . . Scenes from the Passion of Christ …The Lamentation"[13]: Part of larger carved ivory panel in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Note that Jesus’ arms cross awkwardly at the wrists, right over left, exactly as they are on the Shroud, in this 11th/12th century Byzantine icon. This alone is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud existed at least a century before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud.]

Proof beyond reasonable doubt? Anyone think so?

We might well think that it is based on the shroud. But we might want to consider alternatives. Are those really Xs? And why do we think they hint of the a herringbone weave? Maybe instead of what John thinks, it is the other way around.  What about other lamentation scenes?  What else? What is missing that we might expect?

The Victoria & Albert Museum dates it to the 12th century. Where did the c. 1090 date come from on Stephen’s blog?

Associates for Biblical Research mentions this ivory briefly in an article, The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part Three: The Shroud of Constantinople.

I mean it would be great if this thing was the proof. Could we call it the missing link?

Categories: History, Other Blogs

The Letter from Alexius Comnenus

clip_image001In, Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #3, Stephen Jones lists this item as part of his evolving historical proof which is part of his proof that computer hackers altered the carbon dating results back in 1988.

1092 A letter dated 1092 purporting to be from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1056-1118) to Robert II of Flanders(c.1065-1111)[9], appealed for help to prevent Constantinople falling into the hands of the pagans[10]. The letter listed the relics in Constantinople including, "the linen cloths [linteamina] found in the sepulchre after his Resurrection"[11]. Although the letter is probably a forgery, concocted at the time for propaganda purposes, this need not invalidate its description of the relics then in the imperial collection[12].

Forgery need not invalidate its description of the relics? That’s true but . . . well anyway, we should look at this list. Does incredulity matter? What is in the list?

For it is better that you should have Constantinople than the pagans because in that [city] precious relics of the Lord, to wit:

  1. the pillar to which he was bound
  2. the lash with which he was scourged
  3. the scarlet robe in which he was arrayed
  4. the crown of thorns with which he was crowned
  5. the reed he held in his hands, in place of a scepter
  6. the garments of which he was despoiled before the cross
  7. the larger part of the wood of the cross on which he was crucified
  8. the nails with which he was affixed
  9. the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection
  10. the twelve baskets of remnants from the five loaves and the two fishes
  11. the entire head of St. John the Baptist with the hair and the beard
  12. the relics or bodies of many of the Innocents, of certain prophets and apostles, of martyrs and, especially, of the protomartyr St. Stephen, and of confessors and virgins, these latter being of such great number that we have omitted writing about each of them individually.

How do I convince a skeptic?  Let’s see: I have a document that tells us that twelve baskets of remnants from the five loaves and two fishes were in Constantinople’s imperial collection sometime in the last half of the 11th century. The document is probably a forgery, developed for propaganda purposes, but that doesn’t matter. And the head of John the Baptist, that was there too. And the shroud. 

Categories: History, Other Blogs

Vignon Markings: A Gospel of Serendipity?

imageA reader writes:

The honest way to use the Vignon marks is not to dwell on works of art that seem to prove a desired POV, but on many works that question that POV. Create a comprehensive inventory of pantokrator portraits, death portraits including epitáphios, resurrection portraits including man of sorrows depictions and lamentation scenes. This should be done without regard to the Vignon marks and other features. For each work of art try to assess geography, period and artistic style.  Then inventory the features on each work and characterize them by stylization. The results might astound us.

It is time to stop proclaiming the gospel of serendipity on your blog and do the real work.  In the end the Vignon marks may prove significant. I am hopeful.

Whereas I think some of the Vignon markings may be significant, I am also someone who is asking questions. This is a call for a systemized study. It sounds like a good idea but will anyone who is qualified really do it? That takes objectivity.

Categories: Art, History, Other Blogs

Ten Reasons to Believe

Adrian Asis has an interesting multipart posting in The Richest: 10 Reasons Why the Shroud of Turin Is So Difficult to Dismiss.


10. Several Man of Sorrows Images Seem to Portray the Shroud

This item, along with the next two, is said to serve as evidence that the result from the radiocarbon dating test conducted in 1988 seem to be improbable. The Man of Sorrows is an iconic devotional image that shows Christ usually naked above the waist and with the wounds suffered from his crucifixion. Many of these images became popular in Constantinople at the time that some believe the Shroud disappeared for 160 years after it was lost during the Crusades. Strikingly, many of the images contain distinctive features of the image on the Shroud of Turin such as the crossed arms and the hidden thumbs. Furthermore, several of the images portray Christ as rising out from a box, which some historians believe are commemorations of how the Shroud of Turin used to be displayed to the public — raised from some sort of box — before it was lost. In fact, folds that appear on the Shroud are consistent with folds that would appear on a piece of cloth displayed from a box-like device. If all this is true, then the Shroud must be from before 1260 – 1390 AD, raising doubts on the 1988 radiocarbon dating test result.

imageThe next one is 9. The de Clari Memoir Seems to Describe the Shroud and the one after that is 8. The Pray Codex Seems to Portray the Shroud

Overall, the article is entertaining and informative.

Interesting site. This one story seems to have had about 9,500 page views since April 29. Not bad, but not as good as Ten Shocking Coca-Cola Facts You Probably Don’t Know which has about 65,000 views or Ten Songs With Lyrics You Didn’t Realize Were Naughty with 80,000 views.

Mental Health Break

May 5, 2014 1 comment

imageStephen Jones responds to one of his readers:

[What you describe] is actually the position of one of the commenters on Porter’s blog, Hugh Farey, the new Editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud:

Unlike my predecessors, whom I think are more or less committed to a pro-authenticity point of view, I myself currently incline more towards an accidental 14th century origin for the cloth now preserved in Turin.  (Editorial – by Hugh Farey, BSTS Newsletter, No. 78, December 2013).

And Porter thinks MY hacking proposal is "ridiculous"!

That must have been SOME accident! Did some mad 14th century scientist experimenting with light-sensitive chemicals accidentally tip over his test tubes onto his workbench. And then he used his ~4.4 x 1.1 metre linen bench covering sheet to mop it up, lying on it naked front and back to apply maximum pressure, and hey-presto! There was the photo of his naked body, front and back, on the sheet???



I’ll drink to that. Thanks for the laugh.

Categories: Other Blogs

Everyone Goes to Heaven?

And every manner of thing will be well

imagePeter Berger has an interesting opinion piece in The American Interest: Heaven for Everyone?

Off topic? Not really. It is not off topic because we have discussed Heaven is for Real, the Akiane Prince of Peace, the ISA Mosaic and the Shroud of Turin and Near Death Experiences and the Shroud of Turin?  The main thing is it is interesting. That’s enough.

On April 18, 2014, Religion News Service published an interesting story by Cathy Grossman (a senior correspondent with RNS). The story is about an immensely successful PG-rated film,Heaven is for Real. It was released just before Holy Week 2014, but had already earned $ 21.5 million by the end of that week. Not bad for a PG-rated movie in allegedly pornography-addicted America! The film is based on a book with the same title, by Todd Burpo, an Evangelical pastor in Kansas. Both book and film are about visions of heaven recounted by Colton, the (then) four-year old son of Burpo after emergency surgery. The boy reported conversations in heaven with Jesus in person and with various long-dead relatives he could never have known, including a girl miscarried during pregnancy by his mother. This newly discovered sister had now grown into a lively teenager clearly enjoying her heavenly existence. Upon release of the film, Colton, now a teenager himself, reaffirmed the truth of his visions and said that he now talks about his knowledge of heaven to sick children to take away their fear of death.

The film was co-produced by Bishop Thomas Jakes, pastor of a mega-church in Dallas which claims 30,000 members. Grossman points out in her story that there are significant differences between the book and the film. The book places the accounts of heaven in a firm Biblical context, with frequent references to scriptural passages. The film does not follow this practice. In addition to quite fanciful descriptions of heaven, there is the suggestion that everyone is going to end up there. There is no mention anywhere of hell or the last judgment.

There is now a considerable controversy about the film in the Evangelical world.

By-the-way, it is not off topic because another blogger on another blog recently wrote:

So those who become aware of the evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity, yet refuse to believe in Jesus and His death for them, will, like Chorazin and Bethsaida receive a more severe judgment than if they had never heard of the Shroud.

Back to Berger’s article. 

imageMore than any other mystic, the English nun Julian of Norwich (1342-1462) kept repeating over and over again that God is love, that he created the world out of love, and that this love keeps the world in being every moment. Julian was preoccupied with the question of how even the devil could be kept in hell forever in a world fully restored to God. She knows that this is what the Church teaches, and she is an obedient daughter of the Church. But she asks God how this can be. He replies that what she cannot understand, he can do. In her little book “Showings”, where she tells of all the things that God showed her in her visions, there follows the passage for which she is best known. I am not quite clear, whether these are supposed to be words spoken by God himself, or Julian’s own words responding to him. They are in the literary form of a lullaby, such as a mother might sing to soothe a frightened child; I guess one might call it a cosmic lullaby: “And all will be well. And all will be well. And every manner of thing will be well.”

And then there is Rob Bell and his book Love Wins which discusses the kind of universalism with regards to heaven being promoted in the movie. To quote from Wikipedia:

The book was criticized by numerous conservative evangelical figures (in particular, some reformed church leaders), such as Albert Mohler, John Piper, and David Platt, with Mohler saying that the book was "theologically disastrous" for not rejecting universalism.[29][30] Other evangelicals, such as Brian McLaren, Greg Boyd and Eugene Peterson, defended Bell’s views. Bell denies that he is a universalist and says that he does not embrace any particular view but argues that Christians should leave room for uncertainty on the matter. As Jon Meacham stated, Love Wins presents [Bell's] "case for living with mystery rather than demanding certitude."[31][32] Some evangelicals argued that this "uncertainty" is incompatible with Scripture,[33] while others say that the book is simply promoting overdue conversation about some traditional interpretations of Scripture

Uncertainty. Well yes. But when I consider that image on the shroud, I’m inclined to think, “And all will be well. And all will be well. And every manner of thing will be well.”

I know what the Catholic Church teaches, and the Anglican Communion, and most Protestant Churches. I’m not a universalist on most days. I think, it is a good conversation to have in the context of the shroud.


April 29, 2014 17 comments

imageDanusha Goska, in  a comment posted on the Holy Shroud Guild Facebook page, weighs in on the possibility of sabotage or error in the 1988 carbon dating.

April 25 at 4:47pm

I have to ask … to what extent does anyone talk about falsification or simple error in the 1988 carbon dating? In other words, to what extent do people interested in the Shroud discuss whether or not it is possible that someone sabotaged that test, or that the labs tested the wrong cloth, accidentally or on purpose?

For myself, sabotage or error strike me as entirely plausible, but I wonder to what extent others mention it.

Ian Wilson treats this thought as if it were taboo, but Thomas de Wesselow acknowledges that it is possible.

Did a single thread get tested in 1982. Is it important to know? And why?

April 28, 2014 19 comments

imageAs I was making a pot of coffee this morning, Jason Engwer was posting a fascinating and important article to Triablogue: The 1982 Carbon Dating Of The Shroud Of Turin.

Once I got to these two paragraphs I couldn’t stop to refill my cup:

There seems to be widespread agreement, among the accounts circulating, that this dating test on the Shroud took place in the early 1980s (my sense is that the large majority say 1982) in California, involving one thread from the Shroud near the area of the 1988 carbon dating, producing two dates differing by several centuries for each end of the thread, one date being close to the time of Jesus and one several centuries later. For example:

"[John] Heller took me back to the train station that evening [in 1984], and as we sat waiting for my train back to New York City, he told me in strictest confidence about a secret C-14 run that had already been made on a thread from the Shroud. He said . . .

Most people, in quoting others, use ellipsis to truncate a quote, feeling perhaps that what follows is not so significant to them. I mean something else. I’m advertising: go read the whole article. But, if you haven’t done so yet, this should inspire you to do so:

It seems to me that Adler’s behavior at the Turin workshop in 1986 supports his credibility on this issue. (The Turin workshop was a meeting, attended largely by scholars in relevant fields, that had the objective of formulating plans for the upcoming carbon dating of the Shroud.) During the course of the meeting, Adler argued for taking samples from multiple places on the cloth and advised that the cloth’s edges and water stain areas be avoided (Harry Gove, Relic, Icon Or Hoax? [Bristol and Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing, 1996], 153; William Meacham, The Rape Of The Turin Shroud [Lulu, 2005], 74-5). Those recommendations would undermine the significance of the sample allegedly used in the 1982 test. Why would Adler lie about a test in 1982, yet try to persuade the Turin officials to conduct the later carbon dating in a way that would so much undermine the purpose of his lie?

Haven’t jumped over yet? “Here’s my tentative conclusion. . . “, writes Jerry. Not fair fast scrolling to the bottom. Read every word up to Jerry’s conclusion. Now read the conclusion..

So what do you think? Did it happen? Is it important?

Colin Berry’s Sticky Tape Experiments

April 27, 2014 2 comments

It sounds, maybe, like a problem in psychophysics

imageColin is doing some interesting experiments. You will want to read How infuriating. LIRA (The Linen Industry Research Association of Belfast) is no more:

.  . .  I’ve been eye-balling what happens when one applies sticky tape to scorched linen. The first pull takes off heavily scorched fibres (not whole threads, note, but individual, so-called ultimate fibres). With fresh tape on the same area, one gets progressively lighter harvests of detatched fibres. So far so good. One is basically seeing what Raymond N.Rogers did with his sticky tape sampling of the Turin Shroud.

It’s what happens next that is interesting. If one takes the sticky tape samples, one can lever up free or broken ends of fibres, and then pull them out with tweezers (tricky but feasible). When one looks at the extracted fibres, one’s first thought is that they are colourless, matching Rogers’ description, i.e. his claim that the image colour stays behind through being highly superficial and able to be easily stripped off. But here’s the caveat. If one sticks the collected "clean" fibres back on paper with the same sticky tape. one then finds they are in fact still yellow or brown, and indeed is able to compare them with those that were not removed, i.e. still in situ, to see there is really no colour difference when compared side-by-side under the same conditions, i.e. white background, viewed through a thickness of sticky tape. In other words, one has to beware of artifacts when looking at individual fibres, even with the naked eye (with still more artifacts possible when using a microscope). . . .

Is it a form of the checker shadow illusion? The square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B.


The image above by Adelson, Edward H. (2005). Called the "Checkershadow Illusion", it is found at It is Licensed by Wikimedia wherein it is stated: The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification.

Categories: Image Theory, Other Blogs

Some Advice from Stephen Jones

April 25, 2014 36 comments

imageYou might want to read the whole thing. I wish I hadn’t encountered this in the morning. Coffee isn’t strong enough. A couple shots of 100 proof Virginia bourbon would help with the reading of this.

Stephen warns:

If Jesus caused His scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified and speared in the side image to be imprinted on His burial sheet and then has preserved it against all the odds down to this day, then it is highly likely (to put it mildly) that He expects those who become aware of His image on the Shroud, to repent and believe in Him and His death on the cross to pay for their sins. So those who become aware of the evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity, yet refuse to believe in Jesus and His death for them, will, like Chorazin and Bethsaida receive a more severe judgment than if they had never heard of the Shroud.

Stephen writes mostly about me:

[Because] Mt 7:22-23. "22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

I hasten to add that it is OK to be a non-Christian in the Shroud discussion. Barry Schwortz and Thomas de Wesselow are two non-Christians who think the Shroud is authentic. But according to Jesus’ words above (which Dan will probably dismiss as a mere "metaphor," it is not OK to be a non-Christian and especially a non-Christian who THINKS he is a Christian when he isn’t.

Whether it is metaphor or poetic hyperbole or a prophetic vision understood literally, the interpretation is nutty.

Stephen is also closing in on evidence that the carbon dating results were fraudulently changed by computer hackers. (I continue to leave out the names of people he blames but you can read them on his blog):

I have since found documentary evidence of how Zurich and Oxford’s AMS control console computers could have been accessed remotely by [so and so] (with the help of [another so and so] who confessed he had hacked for the KGB) and their programs changed, yet them never having been connected to Arpanet or the Internet. And that would explain why [the so and so and the other so and so] unexpectedly `committed suicide’ within days of each other.

I have asked Stephen for examples of how he was defamed on my blog – that is one of his complaints about me. He explains that since he no longer reads the comments about him he cannot do so.

Categories: Other Blogs

Do Protestants View the Shroud Differently? .

April 25, 2014 7 comments


Danusha Goska has posted a discussion about how Protestants view the shroud in Catholics, Protestants, and the Shroud of Turin:

I wrote to Barrie Schwortz, one of my personal heroes, and the Shroud spokesperson par excellence.

In spite of his pressing schedule, Barrie took the time to write back and gave me permission to quote him. Barrie wrote,

"I actually have a special introduction to my presentations for non-Catholic Christian venues which I call: ‘The Top 5 Reasons Why Some Christians Are Shroud Skeptics.’ It addresses the primary reasons why some Christians deny or ignore the Shroud (and I’ve probably heard them all over the past 20 years). Here are the issues I discuss in the form of a 20 slide PowerPoint presentation:

1.The Shroud is a "graven image.“

2.The Shroud is just another Catholic relic.

3.The Gospels state that Jesus was tied with linen strips, yet the Shroud is a single large cloth. It further states there were 2 cloths in the tomb.

4.The Man of the Shroud has long hair, which is forbidden in the Gospels.

5.The Prophecies say the Man’s beard was plucked, yet the Man of the Shroud has a full beard.

We’ve heard all of these many times; they are discussed on this blog every now and then. But I caution, these are not characteristic of “Protestant” beliefs about the shroud. Whereas, many Protestants have hang ups about relics (it goes back to the Reformation era) I don’t think the other four items are characteristic of what most Protestants think except those who embrace biblical literalism. Those who embrace biblical literalism are generally more likely to be Evangelical Christians even to the point of eschewing the term Protestant. And even then there are many exceptions; witness Stephen Jones.

To put it another way, I don’t think most mainline Protestants think differently than Catholics on these items. Some of the best scholars of the shroud and proponents of its authenticity are not Catholic. I’m not.

BTW: The picture is from Danusha’s blog. She writes: “If anyone can identify this picture, please write to me. I found it unattributed on the web and I’d love to know more about it.”

Categories: News & Views, Other Blogs

Of Pro-Authenticists and Anti-Authenticists

April 24, 2014 3 comments

imageHi Stephen,

I do hope everyone will carefully read your latest blog posting (April 18th), My response to Dan Porter. Certainly, that is what you want. You posted it.

I just want to make a couple of points.

You write:

My personal observation is that Porter has, over the years, drifted from a pro-authenticity to an anti-authenticity position, perhaps without realising it. On his blog Porter bent over backwards to be favourable towards anti-authenticists but was unfavourable towards unequivocal pro-authenticists like me.

I think of myself as open-minded. And I think the majority of people who participate on the Shroud Story blog are open-minded, as well. Some of us, like me, think the shroud is authentic; others do not. We may even be biased. But most of us, I think, are open to solid evidence. Can you offer any specifics to show how I favor certain people because they think the shroud may not be real?

You call yourself an “unequivocal pro-authenticist.” That almost sounds like the chap who goes about saying, “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Surely you don’t mean for us to think that. 

“I have figured Porter out,” you write:

. . . He is not against the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval … AD 1260-1390" per se. He is against any closure of any issue, pro- or anti-authenticity. That way he can have endless debate, maximising the views and comments to his blog, which he regularly boasts about.

Good statistical results are good news for all of us who want to see open-minded discussion about the shroud. This month, alone, in just the first 20 days , 49,419 people viewed 98,798 pages. There have been over a thousand comments. Frequent new content and quality back and forth comments makes for readership.

When I wrote, “Why absent fraud? Why not other possibilities?,” you responded:

Proving my point. Porter is not interested in converging on the truth, only in debating endless "possibilities".

But then you admitted that your hypothesis is “tentative.”

So, as Porter KNOWS, my claim has ALWAYS been TENTATIVE that . . . was the computer hacker, or one of the computer hackers, who according to my proposal duped the three radiocarbon dating laboratories at Arizona, Zurich and Oxford by modifying the program in each of the three AMS control console computers, so as to substitute the Shroud’s first or early century radiocarbon date, with bogus dates which, when calibrated, clustered around 1325, only ~25 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in the 1350s. And absent a "smoking gun," such as an admission or confession by someone in a position to know, my claims that: 1) there was a hacker (or hackers); and 2) that . . . was that hacker (or one of the hackers), might always have to remain tentative.

In the spirit of debating endless possibilities, I must ask (somewhat tongue in cheek, I must admit and apologize for): Did hackers also change the results of the Tuscon, Toronto and recent Madrid carbon dating of the Sudarium?

Stephen, I am not a pro-authenticists or an anti-authenticists; never have been and I hope I never will be. I was once skeptical of the shroud and changed my mind based on evidence. I may change my mind again but that seems unlikely. No one benefits more than me from this blog. That is why I do it. I mean think about it, why would I go to all this trouble if not to learn and give back in the process.

Categories: Other Blogs

How many strange statements can you count?

April 23, 2014 2 comments

imageThis is an account of a lecture given by John C. Iannone. Gosh, I hope this is a problem in reporting:

. . . The Shroud’s authenticity was attacked in the late 1980s by the New York Times which was doing what it does best– mocking the beliefs of Christians.

. . . Invited by Shroud Custodian Cardinal Saldarini to analyze the Cloth, Mr. Iannone told a Fort Pierce Florida audience at St. Anastasia’s Catholic Church that the four soil samples he and fellow scientists examined from the cloth match precisely the four soil types at the locations where the Shroud was known to have traveled!

[ . . . ]

The “epsilon,” which is a small positive quantity that provides mathematical analysis, could be seen as a lightened area flowing out of the lips of our Lord as HIS very death was taking place! . . .

But clearly the most transcendental part of the evening’s lecture came when the Catholic scholar explained the very exact analysis points to the location on the cloth when Jesus rose from death.  

[ . . . ]

. . .   “As Jesus Christ entered Eternity, the atoms of His Body at the Resurrection accelerated dramatically. . . . And the light of Jesus’ Resurrection even shows up in NSA analysis!

This is why we must blog!

Categories: Lectures, Other Blogs

It’s called circumstantial evidence. Anybody have a better idea?

April 19, 2014 10 comments

imageJohn Klotz has posted The Shroud of Turin and the Resurrection in his blog, Quantum Christ:

It is often stated that the Shroud of Turin doesn’t prove the Resurrection. That’s correct. But on Easter it is proper to discuss what the Shroud does prove in connection with the Resurrection. It certainly supports the possibility of the Resurrection and is consistent with it.

How so?

Read on.

Categories: News & Views, Other Blogs

Thinking the 1988 Carbon Dating Outweighs the Other Evidence Is Absurd

April 16, 2014 2 comments

“Carbon dating alone, whether in its 1988 form or
some improvement upon it, isn’t enough.”

imageJason Engwer has delivered a significant and thought-provoking analysis in Triablogue, Weighing The Shroud’s 1988 Carbon Dating

Meacham to Farey upon a whirlwind:

[William] Meacham wrote nearly a decade ago. There have been some significant developments since then. In his book, Meacham discussed Ray Rogers’ 2005 article that undermines the 1988 carbon dating results. Further research since then has corroborated Rogers’ findings. For some examples, see here. A study published in 2010 by Marco Riani, et al., for instance, found significant heterogeneity in the section of the Shroud tested in 1988. In 2013,Giulio Fanti and some other researchers published the results of some dating tests they ran on alleged fragments of the Shroud. All of their dating methods showed a pre-medieval date.

On the other hand, Timothy Jull, a member of the University of Arizona lab that tested the Shroud in 1988,published an article in 2010 that cast doubt on Rogers’ findings. In 2013, Hugh Farey wrote an article that discusses problems with the reweave hypothesis (the view that the section of the Shroud tested in 1988 contains some more recent threads woven into the original cloth during a repair, so that the more recent threads would distort the carbon dating).

Mark Oxley has written an article criticizing Jull’s piece. For some initial reactions to Farey’s article, see the thread here. In that thread, Thibault Heimburger says that he’s noticed some problems with Farey’s article and suggests that he’ll be writing a response to it.

I think Jull and Farey make some good points that significantly weaken the reweave hypothesis. The reweave hypothesis still seems to be the best explanation of the evidence, but now by a smaller margin. We have to leave the door wide open to other possibilities.

Wringing answers from the unknown:

How would the artist or forger know how to portray a Roman crucifixion victim so accurately? Why would he repeatedly and accurately depart from how Jesus was portrayed in the large majority of medieval depictions (a nail wound closer to the wrist than the palm; wounds from a thick cap of thorns rather than a thin wreath of thorns; etc.)? Why are so many characteristics of the Shroud inconsistent with the interests of an artist or forger? Why would an artist or forger brilliant enough to produce such a masterpiece go about introducing his work to the world in such an ineffective manner? Geoffrey de Charny was a relatively low-level figure in the society of his day. The modest status of the Shroud around the medieval timeframe suggested by the 1988 carbon dating is incongruous with what an artist or forger brilliant enough to produce the Shroud would be likely to do with it. And why would an artist or forger include a close-up depiction of Jesus completely nude and uncovered on his back side, something that the vast majority of people seem to find objectionable even in the more sexually libertine cultures of our day (how much more so in a medieval context)? Why and how would an artist or forger include so many details that can’t be seen by the naked eye (in an age without microscopes and other such devices)? Why would an artist or forger display his genius in the Shroud, but nowhere else? Why don’t we see comparable displays of genius from the same source around the same time? Why is the Shroud such an isolated object that stands out so starkly from the medieval context?

The notion that the 1988 carbon dating alone equals or outweighs all of the evidence cited above for an earlier date is absurd. The 1988 dating of one small piece of the cloth, from such a poor area for that sort of testing, can’t bear the weight that’s so often placed upon it. I would argue that even if further carbon dating would produce the same or similar results, the evidence for an earlier date would still weigh more. Carbon dating alone, whether in its 1988 form or some improvement upon it, isn’t enough. There has to be more. That’s how good the evidence is for an earlier date.

Do read the entire posting Weighing The Shroud’s 1988 Carbon Dating at Triablogue.

* Whirlwind? In this sense, yes, borrowing some words from the conflicted Anne Rice:

Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.

Indifferent to gravity, Jesus’ hair floomfs out and falls to his shoulders

April 12, 2014 7 comments


imageTwo years ago, Stephen Wagner, in his role as“Paranormal Phenomenon Guide” for the web publication, wrote an article titled, Why the Shroud of Turin is Fake. I mentioned it in this blog on April 2, 2012. I thought it was silly. I still do.

Just yesterday, Stephen tells us that one of his readers named Robert has responded with his own ideas about why the shroud is probably not authentic.

Instead, what we see on the shroud is an image that projects from a complex shape all in one direction – that is, toward the perspective of an observer. There is focus, definition, proportion, all codified through the perspective of an observer. It’s how we’re used to seeing things, so people don’t pick up on it as an anomaly or error, but it’s not at all how the image must appear if it’s what it purports to be.

The shroud image requires that the shroud rose up above Jesus, stretched itself smooth and taut, and then a signal rose up from his body and headed toward a focus. No energy was scattered, it all just went one way and one way only – toward the eye of the viewer. And as it passed through the hovering, smooth sheet, it imprinted information only on the superficial fibers, somehow carrying along with it some understanding of its own distance traveled, so that it could render an artistic coding of the depth dimension, in terms of shadowing, etc.


The idea is fairly absurd, on its face, but let’s imagine that that happened. The sheet rises up in a ghostly manner, and smooths itself out. Oh wait – it’s attached at the top, where it doubles back around under the body. So it can’t rise up to get some distance for the photo. Also, the goo and the gore which is in nice registry with the image, wouldn’t correspond in that way if the image was formed out of contact with the body.

There are all sorts of problems with the shroud. Jesus is lying on his back, having been through a very rough day, and yet his hair is not only fluffy and nicely styled, and not only projects its own image directly upward to the sheet, but it is indifferent to the effects of gravity. His hair is the hair of someone standing up. It floomfs out and falls to his shoulders. The hair of someone who’s been bleeding and sweating all day and is lying on his back, doesn’t look like that, even if we imagine that he was carefully shampooed, rinsed, and blow-dried.

And how does Robert address the fact that nobody can explain how the image was formed?

"How was it made?" is a pretty tough question to answer about nearly anything – we don’t even know exactly how cigarettes are made because the manufacturers don’t want us to know.

[ . . . ]

My own feeling is that the image was meant to be ghostly and suggestive (though records show that it was much brighter and clearer at the time of its creation than it is now), and that it was really the now-mostly-vanished gore that was painted on that was the "image" seen centuries ago.

[ . . . ]

Someone figured out how to reverse color scale, liked the strangeness of images made that way, and realized how perfect that technique would be for a magical "picture".

Anything new? Is Robert the new L’enfant Terrible of skeptical explanations?

Categories: Image Theory, Other Blogs

A Gift to the Shroud of Turin Blogosphere from Stephen Jones

April 12, 2014 3 comments

thank you, Stephen

imageStephen writes in a posting titled, The Shroud of Turin: A gift to our proof-demanding era?

Today I came across a reference to this 1973 article by Ian Wilson in the Catholic Herald. I could not find it webbed as text anywhere, even by the Catholic Herald. So I decided to laboriously convert it from images to text for my own use. But then I thought I might as well post it on my blog!

If we wanted to read Ian Wilson’s article in the Catholic Herald, “A gift to our proof-demanding era?”, before Stephen converted it for us, and we still can by clicking here, we would soon come to the first new paragraph of the second column in linotype:

In the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace is an unusual icon, itself not more than three centuries old, but expressing in pictorial form a legendary story of considerable antiquity. The centre-piece, a likeness of Christ’s face seen imprinted on a cloth, at first sight bears a remarkable resemblance to our familiar Veronica.

As the inscription tells us, however, this is the Holy Mandylion, a reputedly miraculous piece of linen first brought to the Syro-Turkish city of Edessa (now Urfa) during the very first century of the Christian era. It was instrumental in the conversion of many of Edessa’s chief citizens, including the petty king or toparch, Abgar V, an authentic contemporary of Christ. reigning from AD 13-50. But persecution broke out and shortly after the cloth disappeared. its whereabouts remaining unknown until the sixth century AD when it was discovered sealed inside a niche in the city’s walls.

Without hesitation it was hailed as the miraculously created true likeness of Christ and so coveted by the emperors of Byzantium that in 944 a bargain was sealed with Edessa’s Arab masters for the relic’s transfer.

It is easy, however to read the full article on Stephen’s blog by reading his posting, The Shroud of Turin: A gift to our proof-demanding era?

Note: Click the icon above for a larger version.

thank you, Stephen. I know how laborious this can be.


Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.

April 11, 2014 14 comments

imageMy favorite Episcopal priests turned Catholic priest, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pictured here with his wife and four children, weighs in on the GJW (The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife):

However, clever folks on both sides could piece together any sort of saying of Jesus from the scrap we have here. The headline grabbing text seems to read, “Jesus said to them, “My wife…” Is Jesus referring to his wife? Theoretically it could be, but in the absence of any other evidence that Jesus was married, and going against the early text and 2000 years of tradition that he was not married this is unlikely. What might the rest of the text say? Perhaps Jesus was quoting another text about marriage thus, “My wife is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones said Adam…” or “My wife is also my sister and my mother in the Lord.” Who knows?

While it is interesting to follow the scholarship and the debate about this ancient manuscript, what also interests me is the way the secular press have handled it. First of all they have called it “the Jesus Wife Manuscript”. No doubt the headlines will blaze about how Jesus was married and we now have ancient proof for it. This will then become the popular scream. “Of course priests should marry. Jesus was married!!!” Another detail was in the Boston Globe story. The papyrus was carbon tested by one laboratory at 700 BC. So carbon testing can come up with a result that is clearly about a thousand years off? Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin suddenly the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.

“Of course priests should marry. Jesus was married!!!”

Actually, I think so but not because of the GJW

Fr. Longenecker wants your help:

imageMy blog is part of my ministry and I have a wife and kids to support as well as run a busy parish. If you would like to help out financially you can make a donation through PayPal by hitting the "Donate" button below.

I knew there would be a way to work in a picture of the $2.2 million mansion that is the residence of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. (Fr. Longenecker is not part of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.)


More on the Carbon Dating of the GJW, ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Fragment

April 11, 2014 2 comments

Christian Askeland has posted a very good analysis, Jesus’s Wife Resurrected from Dead, in the blog Evangelical Textual Criticism.

Radiocarbon Dating:

Using two labs, the GJW fragment and a Sahidic John fragment associated with the same papyri lot were carbon dated. The rounded 2-sigma ranges for the manuscripts are as follows:





640–800 CE

650–870 CE


680–880 CE

410–200 BCE




Only the Harvard report indicates the date of the test (14 March 2014); one might surmise that the second test was ordered after the extremely early date arrived from Arizona. Whatever the case, if one of the two GJW 14C dates were to be accurate, it would probably be the Harvard range (650–870 CE), which is corroborated by the related GJohn manuscript (chart above). Having said this, the result remains somewhat inconclusive. (δ13C levels were also higher than expected, suggesting contamination in all samples.)

So does this confirm the authenticity of the GJW? Such a late dating bulldozes King’s first appraisal of the manuscript as a fourth century witness. The GJW fragment under question is broken on all sides except the top, where apparently the modern forger cut the empty section off of a larger fragment which was in fact ancient. Carbon dating has no value for authenticating such a manuscript, although if the Ptolemaic date (410–200 BCE) offered by the Arizona AMS lab were accurate (of which I am not convinced), fraud would be certain.


If a husband were to genetically test his children to determine whether his wife had been faithful, and the tests returned indicating that that the children could not conclusively be proven to not be his, would this assure him of his wife’s fidelity? Could he then, based upon these tests, be confident that he had indeed fathered the children? Karen King has produced no new evidence to authenticate this fragment.  On the contrary, her prior contentions that the GJW fragment was (1) part of a literary codex and (2) was fourth century are now indefensible.  Her method of argumentation was not self-critical or objective, but will doubtlessly be sufficient for those who already want to believe.

Useful links:

Ray Schneider: Why is the carbon dating wrong? I don’t know. That it is wrong I am quite certain . . .

April 10, 2014 18 comments

Ray is up with a recommendation on his blog, Political Brambles:

Ray writes:

With Easter soon to come it’s appropriate to think about the Shroud of Turin and this video is hard to beat since it touches upon so many of the issues. . . .

. . . This video demonstrates the correspondence between the sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud which, in my mind at least, proves that the 1988 carbon date is wrong.  Why is it wrong?  I don’t know.  That it is wrong I am quite certain for the shroud duplicates blood stains that are on the sudarium of Oviedo which is much older than the shroud and so both cloths were in contact with the same body.

It is a good video, produced and directed by Reuben Aaronson for The Learning Channel. It runs for about 52 minutes.


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