Stephen Jones has done a fine job of starting to answer a question from Jeffrey Liss posed to Stephen:
"One question for you, though. I am curious why you prefer Barbet’s research to that of Zugibe. My recollection is that they reach different conclusions as to placement of the nails and cause of death."
The answer is incomplete, so far. Stephen tells us that he will add to his answer in a forthcoming part. "Why I prefer Barbet’s hypotheses over Zugibe’s: 2) The thumbs are not visible because of damage to the hand’s median nerve". I’ll keep an eye out for it.
But why wait. This is worth reading. Lots of quotations and useful diagrams.
Comments here are always open and rarely pre-moderated.
The questions are always there in my mind: Should I simply ignore webpages that are ridiculously wrong? Do I run the risk of hurting someone’s feelings by not doing so? One fellow shroud blogger has told me that he will not read my blog because of this; I’m mean. He would prefer to be “blissfully unaware” of what I write. No, really! Should I just email him, privately? He has asked me not to. Do I send comments to his blog? He will not allow most comments anyway. From me? As the sign on the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge says, Fuhgeddaboudit.
And another blogger has found that almost anything I say about him or what he writes is an insult. Fuhgeddaboudit? No!
I’ve pretty much decided that if someone blogs publically, he or she is agreeing to public criticism. If he or she relies on bad facts, I have a right or duty or pleasure to disagree publically. If he or she expresses incredulous beliefs – personal revelations from God, unique biblical inerrancy, scientism posing as science and whatnot – then it is fair to discuss this publically without fear of being insulting.
These are three quotations from a single recently published posting in OpenTheWord.org: A Bit of Bible, a Bit of Life, a Bit of Politics:
The Catholic church believes the image of Jesus was burned — if you can call it that — into the cloth at the moment of His resurrection.
No. Not true. The Catholic Church does not “believe” this or claim this is so. Some Catholics, some Mainline Protestants, some Anglicans, some Eastern Orthodox Christians and some Non-denominational Evangelical Christians believe this. I suspect it is a minority opinion but there is no way to know. There are no established scientific, historical, philosophical, theological or scriptural foundations for this belief. I’m guessing, but I think that among Christians of all major traditions, including big-C Catholics, few people have even given this any thought or even heard about it.
The latest mystery was unveiled by Gary Habermas at an apologetics conference sponsored by the Southern Evangelical Seminary. Stoyan Zaimov wrote on Habermas’ findings in an article on Christian Post.
Using enhanced photography, Habermas and his team noticed — though the individual’s mouth is closed — his teeth are visible through the skin and beard.
“His skin is intact, his beard is intact, but you are able to see what’s inside coming out, just like you are able to see what’s on the back of a hand,” said Habermas.
This left Habermas wondering if it was the result of a radiation burst, as it mimicked what happens during an x-ray. It would suggest there was a burst of radiation or something similar occurring inside Jesus’ body at the moment He resurrected.
Unveiled? It is not a recent observation. I think people were noticing this before Gary was born. And what is this about Gary’s team? Does he have a team? Using advanced photography? I don’t think Gary has done anything more than look at pictures made by others.
He (and his team) has/have wondered if certain characteristics of the image were the result of radiation? I’d like to know how many years after John Jackson, a physicist, wondered these things did Gary wonder these things. Did he? What did he say? No, really! Look, Gary is a good historian and a fine biblical scholar. He has read a few things and bought into them.
I’m reminded of the waiter in a fancy restaurant who said to me. “I can poach a nice filet of sole for you in some veal stock or I can bake it with a touch of red basil and some house-smoked Hungarian paprika. Or I can grill it in pepper infused Greek olive oil . . . . “ In the kitchen he yells out, “Number 3 dry.”
In early 2013, Padua University conducted a radio carbon test of the Shroud giving it a date of between 280 BC and 220 AD — well within Jesus’ time frame. An earlier carbon test produced a later date.
No, Padua University did no such thing. In fact, no one at Padua University did any such thing. No one at any university did any such thing. No one did. No one. You can trace this sort of error back to science by press release. Think about the announcement for Giulio Fanti’s book.
I don’t want anyone believing the shroud is real because of such nonsense. And thus I may hurt some people’s feelings.
a better way to check on official site news is to click into archivio news,
make sure you select italiano and NOT english,
and then use google or bing translate
So with the possibility of a major news announcement coming out of Turin soon, I went poking around in the Holy Shroud Official Site (Santa Sindone Sito ufficiale, copyright Diocesi di Torino). There has been a lot of improvements, good improvements. But there are still some shortcomings. To wit
- I typed in to www.sindone.org
- I clicked on ENGLISH
- I clicked on THE SHROUD
- I clicked on NEWS AND INFO
- I clicked on SPECIAL EVENTS
I kid you not, this is a copy of the page I received. 2010? Click on the image for a larger (1214 by 727) JPG view. Or just click on SPECIAL EVENTS for a live page.
A better way to check on official site news is to click into Archivio News, make sure you select Italiano and NOT English, and then use Google or Bing translate. This is what you get as of
10:41 AM, Wednesday, December 4, 2013 (Time in Turin, Italy)
Holy Saturday March 30, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at the Palace of Turin Chiablese
Simple suggestion. Do away with all different language versions and implement Google Translate right into the HTML of the page. I’ll do it for airfare, seven days in a first class hotel and two bottles of 95 point Piedmont Barolo. Or get a local student to do it for 20 Euro and an icy mug of Birra Torino.
Oh, there is also the Archdiocese of Turin news room. Here are the December stories, so far, as of a few minutes ago.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 in Pianezza
Wednesday, December 4th meeting to re-read and re-launch the principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Initiatives until June 15, 2014
Diaconate 4 students and rite of admission to 6 kids
Information Meeting Tuesday, December 10. Deadline for presenting projects Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Copies available at the front desk of the Curia
Starting from 1 December 2013 to return home page
Sunday, December 1, 2013 in all the parishes. Charity collection for Sardinia
Stephen Jones has provided a lot of detail in his latest post, The Shroud of Turin: 3.6. The man on the Shroud was crucified. He certainly provides plenty of citations (100 in all) and I have left them in the few paragraphs (or parts of) that I have repeated below.
There is a lot to question here; for instance how can we really know that his legs were not broken. My take is that we can only, at best, state that there is no obvious evidence that the legs were broken.
Have a look.
Abrasions on the shoulders of the man of the Shroud, particularly on the dorsal image of the right shoulder, indicate that he carried a heavy object, such as the transverse beam of a cross. This must have occurred after he was scourged because the scourge wounds are underneath the shoulder abrasions. But if the crossbeam had been in direct contact with the scourged shoulders, the lacerations would have widened, but on the Shroud, they have kept their shape. This is consistent with the man on the Shroud carrying his cross under which was a garment protecting his scourge-wounded shoulders, as we saw that the gospels of Matthew and Mark recorded.
On Carrying the Crossbeam:
The man on the Shroud has cuts to both knees, especially to his left knee, indicating an unprotected fall onto a hard surface. A Roman crucifixion victim was made to carry the horizontal crossbeam tied to his outstretched arms and placed across the back of his neck. Which meant that when he fell, which would have been often in his scourged-weakened condition under the heavy weight of the crossbeam, on the uneven, climbing path to the crucifixion site, he could not protect his face from the impact of the fall. This explains why the man on the Shroud’s nose is swollen, displaced and had been bleeding. It also explains why the nasal area of the Shroud contain a high concentration of ground particles and dust.
On Being Nailed to the Cross:
The man of the Shroud was nailed to a cross. He has a bloodstain on the back of his left hand, which overlays his right hand, showing that his hands were pierced by nails through his wrists, not through his palms. This is anatomically accurate as French surgeon Dr. Pierre Barbet (1884–1961) demonstrated, that nails through the palms would tear through by the weight of a man’s body on a cross. The man’s left foot appears to have been forced over his right foot and both fixed to the cross by a single nail driven through the insteps.
On Having Died on the Cross:
The man on the Shroud is dead. He has a swollen abdomen which indicates he died of asphyxiation, the way crucifixion victims died. Also, the body of the man on the Shroud is in a state of rigor mortis, in which the muscles stiffen, keeping the body in the position it was immediately prior to death. Signs of rigor mortis on the Shroud man include: his head is bent forward, the chest and abdomen are "frozen", and his whole body is rigid and stiff, occupying some of the positions it did on the cross, especially his left leg. Further evidence that the man on the Shroud was dead is the post-mortem blood flows, especially from the chest wound. If the man’s heart had been beating the blood would have spurted out onto the cloth, instead of oozing out as it did.
On His Legs Not Broken:
The legs of the man on the Shroud are not broken.This is despite the crurifragium, the breaking of a crucifixion victim’s leg-bones with a heavy mallet, to hasten his death, because he could no longer use his legs to raise himself up to breathe , being the norm in Roman crucifixions. As we saw above, Jehohanan’s legs had been broken and the Gospel of John records that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two robbers crucified with Jesus, to bring about their immediate death(Jn 19:31-32).
On the Lance Wound:
The man on the Shroud was speared in his right side. Clearly visible on the Shroud is a lance stab wound in the man’s right side together with an effusion of blood and clear fluid. The wound is on the left-hand side of the Shroud image but because of mirror reversal it was in the right side of the man of the Shroud. The wound and its bloodstain is immediately adjacent to one of the triangular-shaped burn marks from the fire of 1532 (see "part 12"), yet miraculously was not covered by it.
The image is taken from Stephen’s blog. The caption reads: "G. Ricci, `Crucifixion,’ sculpture in wood according to research carried out on the Holy Shroud".
This was just posted:
As the Christmas holiday approaches, I wanted to recommend a great book that would make a wonderful gift for those on your shopping list. "Witnesses to Mystery" is a beautiful, English language hard bound book filled with beautiful color photographs and detailed information on many important relics. The entire first chapter is dedicated to the Shroud of Turin.
In this lavishly illustrated large coffee-table volume, writer Gorny and photographer Rosikon embarked on a two year investigative journey to seek the truth behind all the relics associated with the passion of Christ. The authors investigated a rich body of documentary evidence found in various museums, archives and churches surrounding sacred objects believed to have been preserved since Jesus’ lifetime, exploring and collaborating with historians and scientists in their attempt to verify the relics’ authenticity. They reach their conclusions not so much on the basis of faith as on the evidence supplied by historical sources and expert scientific opinion.
The relics associated with the Passion – the suffering, death and burial of Christ – have long proved something of an enigma for the scientific community. Relics investigated, and photographed, for this glorious volume include: the Cross, nails, crown of thorns, pillar of scourging, Christ’s tunic, the Veil of Manoppello, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the famous Shroud of Turin burial cloth and more.
For more information see these recent posting:
Stephen Jones in his latest posting wants to make sure we understand his point of view.
Because of the Vatican’s duplicity (in the sense of "double dealing," "deception by pretending to entertain one set of intentions while acting under the influence of another"):
"duplicity … a. Deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech. b. An instance of deliberate deceptiveness; double-dealing. 2. The quality or state of being twofold or double. … [Middle English duplicite, from Old French, from Late Latin duplicits, doubleness, from Latin duplex, duplic-, twofold … acting in bad faith; deception by pretending to entertain one set of intentions while acting under the influence of another, double-dealing" The Free Dictionary, 15 November 2013).
in refusing to confirm or deny that any of its relics (in particular the Shroud of Turin), are authentic or not, it would not be surprising if the secular media assumes this is merely a stunt to win converts to, or prevent Catholics leaving, Catholicism. It seems two-faced for the Pope and his bishops to mount a huge ceremony featuring these bones and yet refuse to confirm or deny that they really believe them to be authentic.
And when Pope Francis says:
"How is this possible? How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love." ("Turin Shroud: full text of Pope Francis’ comments," The Telegraph, 30 Mar 2013).
which, if it was translated correctly, means that Pope Francis thinks the Shroud of Turin is not even a relic, and is tantamount to him declaring it to be a fake!
Barrie Schwortz reports:
In case you missed it… Don Luigi Fossati was an avid Shroud scholar since the 1940′s and authored many books, essays and articles on the subject, as well as creating the first filmstrips of the Shroud in 1950. One of my favorite articles is titled "Photographing the Holy Shroud During the 1898 Exhibition," because it includes a letter from Secondo Pia. Don Fossati died in 2007.
There is no way to confirm that these are the Apostle Peter’s bones, but they probably are. However, as per the Vatican’s duplicitous policy of refusing to confirm or deny that any Catholic relic is authentic (including the Shroud of Turin), "No pope has ever stated categorically that the bones belonged to Saint Peter":
Definition: Oxford Dictionaries
Just swiped this from Barrie’s STERA Facebook page.
It is interesting to see what people “pin” as interesting, in this case mostly links to videos. Here are a couple of links (You will actually need to visit Pinterest to click on them):
Not the tablecloth again. To be fair, there are links to videos that some of us might find more appealing (boy was that a dodgy way of trying to be diplomatic). But then again there is this:
And there was no interest in this blog.
make note before the tides of time wash away the footsteps
From John Klotz’s Quantum Christ blog, read on an iPhone through drug induced teary, dilated eyes* while waiting for the iDoctor (groan, there must be more to those drops). From a posting entitled, Two Popes and a Priest: Someone let the Holy Spirit Out.:
There are two outstanding accomplishments of Pius XI that argue for his sagacity, if not his sanctity. Let’s take the Shroud first. As a young man, Achille had climbed the Alps with with another young adventurer, Paul Vignon. Vignon suffered a physical and nervous breakdown. While recuperating who took of painting and later worked as a assistant to the famous French biologist Yves Delage. Delage asked Vignon to investigate the authenticity of the Pia photographs and the rest is history (covered in my manuscript in Chapters Five (Maelstrom) and Six (Resurrection of the Shroud).
It was as Pius XI, that he requested the 1933 exposition of the Shroud and it was at that exhibition a young Turinese seminarian, Peter Rinaldi encountered both Paul Vignon and future giant of Shroud studies Pierre Barbet.
Perhaps Pius XI most acclaimed act occurred during his dying days in 1938 when working with an American Jesuit priest he prepared an encyclical denouncing the Nazi’s for the their incipient Jewish pogrom and the neo-paganism which they represented. His secretary of state of Cardinal Pacelli who became Pius XII was not pleased. He has been also proposed for sainthood by Vatican clerics but since I can not say anything good about him, I’ll remain silent.
Peter Rinaldi after graduating from the seminary came to America. He publicized the Shroud in an article published in US Sign Magazine while he was still in seminary. His article created a firestorm of interest in the United States and led directly to the formation of the Hold Shroud Guild in the US. I will simply state that without Rinaldi’s tireless leadership and encouragement there might not have been a film Silent Witness and there certainly would not have been a STURP scientific investigation of the Shroud in 1978. It was his unique position as a priest in the US with connections in Turin that was instrumental but most instrumental perhaps was his gift for finding funds to finance both the STURP and Silent Witness.
* So one cataract is gone and in that eye, through the miracle of mutilfocal plastic implants, I now have 20/20 vision without glasses and can read without glasses. The other eye will be done next week and I will be a teenager all over again.
At the risk of repeating myself, again and perhaps again (and does anyone care – it’s a blog) as I said before, I first encountered the writings of Danusha Goska more than a decade ago when I read a comment about the shroud published by Barrie Schwortz (it is about 1/3 of the way down the page). I’ve discussed her in ‘If the shroud is a forgery, where are its precedents?’ two and a half years ago. There was Bieganski the Blog: The Shroud of Turin and Catholics, Atheists, Censorship and the Shroud of Turin: Who Censored Whom? by Danusha in Send Save Delete.
Now (three days ago) in Send Save Delete there is another posting on the shroud by Danusha. She is reading Ian Wilson’s 476-page, 2010 book "The Shroud: Fresh Light on the 2000-Year-Old Mystery."
When the carbon dating came out in 1988, I was living in Poland, participating in the riots that helped bring down the Soviet Empire, and the Shroud was the last thing on my mind.
It wasn’t till a televised documentary in the late 1990′s that a friend recorded and sent to me (thank you Don Freidkin) that I really got bitten by the Shroud bug. I read two Shroud books, one by Mark Antonacci (review here) and an earlier book by Ian Wilson (review here.)
I loved both of those books but they left me fifty percent convinced that the Shroud was what its adherents say it is, and fifty percent willing to be convinced that we were missing something terribly obvious and it really wasn’t all that.
I watched documentaries on youtube. Barrie Schwortz, Shroud expert, Orthodox Jew, and STURP photographer, allowed me to grill him long distance in an interview that lasted over an hour, during which Barrie insisted, "After years of study, I am absolutely certain that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ."
Thomas de Wesselow’s book "The Sign" pushed me ever closer to believing that the Shroud is genuine. Interesting, because de Wesselow is not a believer. (Review of his book here.)
The book that is pushing the needle to 99% certainty is the one I’m reading now, and can’t wait to talk about, even though I’m not finished with it yet. Ian Wilson’s "The Shroud: Fresh Light on the 2000-Year-Old-Mystery."
About Danusha Goska from the Green Briar Review (from where the picture comes):
Danusha Goska’s writing has appeared in national publications like Sojourners and The Sun, in scholarly journals, such as The Journal of Popular Culture, Polin, and New York Folklore, and on websites such as Commondreams.org, TheScreamOnline.com, and Beliefnet.
Danusha has received hundreds of letters in response to "Political Paralysis," anthologized in The Impossible Will Take a Little While. Though the anthology contains works by Mandela, Neruda, and Martin Luther King, editor Paul Loeb wrote, "Goska is unknown, but more people have responded to her piece than any other in the book…when I’m interviewed on radio shows, people mention it as their personal favorite."
Danusha has won the New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant, the Eva Kagan Kans Award, The PAHA Halecki Award, and others. She holds an MA from UC Berkeley, a PhD from IU Bloomington, and she teaches at WPUNJ.
They, whoever they are, say there are no coincidences. I don’t believe it. Even so, I thought I had heard it before, something in a quip about thymol overheard from someone in the audience during Barrie Schwortz’ talk in Savannah last week.
“It is only Listerine,” someone said. I had said something about thymol being used in Listerine, in the past, hadn’t I.
Yesterday, John Klotz, emailed me to ask about a press release I issued after Dallas. (He is working on his book.) The purpose of that press release was to publicize something I wrote in a blog space back in the day when I was trying to get a blog going. I called it, “An Enchilada Comes to Mind: Dallas Shroud of Turin Conference 2005.” And in it I mentioned Listerine.
I mentioned Listerine! Yep! Did I cause that quip? Probably not. I doubt anyone noticed anything I wrote back in 2005. And then there is the fact that some people actually use that awful tasting mouthwash and if so they must be the sort of people who actually read ingredient labels.
Since nobody read my posting back in 2005 and because Klotz will probably ask about that next, here is an encore presentation of “An Enchilada Comes to Mind: Dallas Shroud of Turin Conference 2005.”
The 2005 Dallas Conference on the Shroud of Turin was like hot stuff wrapped in a corny don’t-mess-with-Texas tortilla, awash in a salsa of controversy.
Don’t mess with Texas? Yup; there was a gun-totting sheriff-type in the grand ballroom of the elegant Adolphus Hotel ready to boot out any of the approximately 100 college professors or scholars from around the world who might dare to ask a question. Questions from the floor were not allowed. When University of Hong Kong archeologist William Meacham asked why an armed guard was needed, conference organizer Michael Minor explained he was there to prevent ‘insulting’ controversy and criticism.
But controversy and criticism happened. It erupted like a Texas-style Wild West shootout.
Conference organizers, hoping for focus, had told the media that the question before the conference was: “Is the shroud proof of a resurrection or a medieval fake?” Minor told a reporter from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “"I am a lawyer, and I believe I can prove that the shroud is authentic in a court of law.”
But no one cared much about that topic. Most scientist and other scholars at the conference, representing a broad spectrum of Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and Evangelical Christians, agreed that it might well be genuine, though not proven. And if it were proven, they understood that it might not be proof of the resurrection of Jesus. They were here to share and learn.
But, also, they were here to express their views on a growing feud between the Papal Custodians of the Shroud of Turin and scientists. The feud was like an old fashioned Texas turf war. Turin officials – not to be confused with the Vatican or the larger Church – were the Texas farmers controlling the flow of water and stringing barbwire to keep cattle from grazing in their fields. The scientists, archeologists and a fair number of historians were the cowboys singing, “Don’t Fence Me In.” A shootout was inevitable.
To kick off the conference, Fort Worth Bishop Kevin W. Vann read a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano: “His Holiness [Pope Benedict XVI] trusts,” the letter said, “that the Dallas Conference will advance cooperation and dialogue among various groups engaged in scientific research on the Shroud . . .”
It happened, but not in a way that pleased Turin officials. At one point, Monsignor Ghiberti got up and walked out of the room.
In another letter given to attendees, Turin’s, Cardinal Severino Poletto quoted the late Pope John Paul II as saying, “the Church does not have specific competence to pronounce on these questions. It entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate to find suitable answers to questions regarding the Shroud.”
So why were the Papal Custodians apparently not ready to accept what the scientists were saying? Was it because it challenged their competence and certain assumptions about the Shroud?
There were two hot questions at the root of the feud:
- Why was Turin ignoring the scientific reason for the failure of the 1988 carbon 14 dating?
- Was the 2002 restoration of the cloth archeologically, scientifically and preservation-wise reckless?
- These were scientific matters. Why were Turin officials ignoring their own stated opinion that the Church did not have competence in scientific matters? Why were the Turinese summarily dismissing scientific findings?
- Scientists wanted to ask questions. But questions from the floor were not allowed. You don’t invite academic researchers from around the world to a conference and treat them this way. Many are university professors or well published scholars who have studied the Shroud for many years.
- Scientific competence was the issue.
- Researchers now believe that in the 16th century, a corner of the Shroud had been expertly repaired using a mending technique known as “invisible reweaving.” It was from this repaired corner that the carbon 14 samples were taken. This resulted in a mixed sample of both new and old fibers leading to erroneous carbon 14 dating in 1988.
- Turin wasn’t buying it even though they agreed that the carbon 14 dating was wrong. They had not seen the repairs when they examined the Shroud. Invisible reweaving, they argued, would have been noticeable. But scientists disagree. It takes microscopic, spectral and chemical analysis to identity invisible reweaving. And the scientists have photomicrographs and plenty of test results to prove it.
- In 2002, Turin undertook a secret restoration of the Shroud. Archeologists, scientists and scholars of all sorts were horrified when they learned of it after the fact. It was reckless, they say. Meacham called it disastrous. It cannot be undone. Some scientists suggest that the restoration may have created problems that should be addressed to avoid potential future damage to the cloth.
- But the Archdiocese of Turin was not willing to embrace what scientists had to say. It seemed reminiscent of a time in history, when Cardinal Bellarmine forbid Galileo to hold Copernican views and when he tried to ignore Galileo’s telescope.
- The modern Galileo was the late Raymond N. Rogers, a lifelong chemist, a Fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a highly respected scientist for his unwavering dedication to scientific methods. Turin authorities were trying to ignore his microscope and micro-chemical studies; studies published in a secular, peer-reviewed, scientific journal; studies independently confirmed by others such as John L. Brown, retired Principal Research Scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Energy and Materials Sciences Laboratory who examined samples from the Shroud with a Scanning Electron Microscope.
- What was the reason that Turin refused to consider the scientific data?
In the past few years, the custodians of the Shroud have faced significant public criticism from archeologists, scientists and all manner of Shroud researchers. Not only were they criticized for the restoration and the way the carbon 14 samples were selected, they were criticized for an unscientific, cavalier rejection of Rogers’ findings — findings that actually support the Shroud’s authenticity. Rogers had proved that what had been carbon 14 dated in 1988 was chemically unlike the rest of cloth Moreover, Rogers showed that the Shroud had certainly been artfully and discretely repaired.
- Turin authorities were also criticized for treating the Shroud’s reliquary with thymol. Thymol (3-Hydroxy-1-methyl-4-isopropyl benzene), the active stuff of Listerine antiseptic mouthwash, is a phenolic compound that will react with many functional chemical groups on the Shroud. According to Rogers, it permeated the cloth. “This will confuse image analyses, and it may result in damage to the cloth,” he had written shortly before his death in early 2005.
The first shootout occurred during the evening of the first day. It was during an after-hours presentation that had been billed as a tribute to the late Ray Rogers. Minor, the conference moderator, and his armed guard were not present. Nearly everyone else showed up.
- It wasn’t a tribute at all. It was a DVD of Rogers interviewed by Barrie Schwortz shortly before Rogers’ death. Schwortz never claimed it was a tribute. It was titled, “Ray Rogers in His Own Words.” Rogers’ words were scientifically precise. He expanded his criticism of the Thymol treatment of the Shroud’s reliquary, stating that because Thymol was absorbed into the cloth, it might make future dating problematic. And Rogers offered a blistering criticism on the secretive, poorly documented, unnecessary, potentially damaging restoration of the Shroud.
- Rogers explained the invisible reweaving in chemical terms and why the reweaving had fooled the carbon 14 dating. 1) Everyone knew that those findings were independently confirmed by Brown; 2) confirmed by textile experts; 3) confirmed by ultraviolet photography; 4) confirmed with x-rays. 5) Statistical studies of carbon 14 measurements suggested anomalous age patterns in the sample and everyone knew that. 6) Most everyone knew, that in 1988, Teddy Hall, then the director of Oxford University’s Radiocarbon Laboratory had seen cotton fibers that might be from mending. 7) Almost everyone knew that a 1988 article in Textile Horizons by P.H. South entitled “Rogue Fibers Found in Shroud,” suggested that those cotton fibers were suspicious and might have been part of repairs. 8) Some knew that in 1998, Turin’s own scientific advisor, Piero Savarino, wrote, “extraneous substances found on the samples and the presence of extraneous thread (left over from ‘invisible mending’ routinely carried on in the past on parts of the cloth in poor repair).” 9) Many knew, too, that longtime researchers Sue Benford and Joe Marino had made a strong case for invisible reweaving. 10) And many knew of an earlier paper by Rogers and Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan, published in 2002, that confirmed Benford and Marino.
- Many knew that in 2004, the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology published an important paper by Lloyd A. Currie. Currie, a highly regarded specialist in the field of carbon 14 dating and an NIST Fellow Emeritus, cited the Rogers and Arnoldi paper giving it additional scientific standing and credence.
- Currie’s NIST paper was significant in other ways. It set aside any argument that the labs had done anything wrong or that there was anything uncertain about carbon 14 dating. It debunked other hypotheses circulating in the polemic rumor mill such as the notion that a biological polymer on the fibers was the cause of a measurement failure. And it brought into focus the issue of sampling. A serious violation of the original scientific sampling protocol had occurred in Turin. Had the proper protocol calling for multiple sample locations been followed by Turin, the single bad sample would not have caused the problems it did. (Three labs conducted the test on one sample that had been divided into pieces).
- By the time Currie’s paper was published, Rogers was well on his way to proving that the carbon 14 tests were wrong. In December of 2003, he received material that had been reserved from the center of the carbon 14 sample. It would take a year for testing, independent confirmation and peer review. In January 2005, Thermochimica Acta (an Elsevier BV journal) published Rogers’ proof.
- What had been carbon 14 dated was chemically unlike the Shroud. Thus the Shroud had not been dated. Moreover, Rogers found clear evidence of mending. Dyestuff used by medieval tapestry craftsmen to discreetly mend old tapestries was found. Rogers found Madder root dyes, aluminum hydroxide and gum Arabic. He found cotton fibers twisted in with flax fibers in the threads. And he found splices. Where newer thread had been spliced to older thread, one end was dyed to match the other end. Benford and Marino were right. The Shroud was mended and it was the repaired area, a mixture of old and new thread, that had been tested.
Over a hundred researchers and thousands of people who follow shroud research were aghast when, within days of Rogers’ paper, Turin’s Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti pronounced a summary judgment on Rogers’ findings. He said, “I am astonished that an expert like Rogers could fall into so many inaccuracies in his article. I can only hope, indeed, also think that the C14 dating is rectifiable (the method, in fact, has its own uncertainties), but not on the basis of the ‘darn’ [sic, darning is altogether a different method of repair] theory."
How can Ghiberti possibly know this? He offered no evidence or explanation. So, now, people at the conference wanted to ask him about it. It wasn’t that questions were not allowed at the conclusion of the interview with Rogers. Neither the conference moderator nor the conference sheriff were there for the evening presentation. And Ghiberti, representing Turin’s Cardinal Poletto, could have invited questions and no one would have objected.
- Ghiberti walked out.
- The ranking representative for of the Papal Custodian of the Shroud of Turin got up and walked out of the room. It was the wrong thing to do. Some felt he should have stayed to defend his archbishop, the diocesan staff, its advisors and ultimately the decision that later he defensively characterized as a decision by the Holy See. People would have respected that. More so, they would have respected and probably admired someone in his position exerting leadership, the sort of leadership characterized by open discussion with the audience; questions such as, “What mistakes have we made?” and “What can learn from them?” Poletto had asked for harmony and dialogue at this conference. But Ghiberti, as they say in Texas, skedaddled.
- The Rogers interview will soon be on the World Wide Web. By the time of the Winter Olympics in Turin, in February of 2006, a Google search on the word “Turin” will be but two or three clicks away from the interview — in full living color, in easy to watch streaming media.
Defense of the Turin position, on the next morning, fell to Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg. Flury-Lemberg is a renowned textile conservator. Ghiberti once described her as “the greatest world-wide authority in the ancient cloth field.” She stated that she did not see invisible reweaving.
- But that is just the point. She should not have noticed invisible reweaving without the tools of science. Without the freedom to ask questions and get answers, the whole substance of her argument was reduced to a visual polemic.
- Later in the conference, Alan Whanger, Professor Emeritus at Duke University, surprised everyone with a powerful analysis from x-ray photographs that clearly showed weaving anomalies, the exact sort of anomalies expected from reweaving. It seemed that Flury-Lemberg and the Turin folks stood alone on this issue. Turin officials had not expected Whanger to include this information in his presentation.
- Flury-Lemberg had also argued that invisible reweaving skills were not known in medieval Europe. But in an unscheduled, after-hours, off-the-record presentation, researchers Marino and Benford presented a paper supporting medieval use of invisible reweaving on the Shroud. Museums in Europe, they pointed out, have many examples of tapestries repaired in this way.
- Flury-Lemberg took the most heat for the 2002 restoration. She had recommended it and she led the work effort. It is certainly true that most people at the conference felt that the restoration was a mistake. Some were very angry. That having been said, however, it is important to remember that Flury-Lemberg is a highly regarded professional and as such she should have received more respect than she did. Audible snickers during her talk — inevitable since real comments were not allowed — were unfortunate.
- It is easy to imagine that Flury-Lemberg, being a professional, would subscribe to the idea of second opinions. The Turin folks, one might think, would also value second opinions. How many people have been saved from unnecessary and sometimes reckless surgery because they sought second opinions? How many lives were saved by people who sought second opinions to avoid possible misdiagnosis? Turin had put all their eggs in one basket, Flury-Lemberg, and for that they should be and have been publicly criticized. She should not have accepted such a situation.
- Flury-Lemberg as a professional, and given the chance, would certainly have welcomed open discussion. Instead, she was called upon to take to the podium for a second time during the conference to dispel hallway rumors about the restoration. Minor, speaking from the dais, asked about a dozen questions that seemed trumped up and exaggerated. They sounded like the all-to-often self-serving “frequently asked questions” or FAQs so common on many websites. Was the Shroud vacuumed all over? Of course not! Who was asking such questions? It is hard to imagine. These staged questions brought back the audible snickers to the room.
- “Can I ask a question,” said archeologist Bill Meacham from the back of the room to Flury-Lemberg.
- She looked at Minor quizzically.
- “No,” was the answer from Minor. Questions from the floor were not allowed. And certainly, had Meacham persisted, the sheriff of the conference would have removed him from the room. He had already been warned.
Another shootout occurred over a list of scientific facts compiled by Giulio Fanti. He is Professor of Mechanical and Thermic Measurements at the University of Padua in Italy. He has authored over a hundred scientific papers, many of them published in distinguished peer-reviewed, international scientific journals. He had spent much of the last two years in consultation with dozens of people as he compiled the list of facts.
Giulio Fanti is the epitome of old world charm, one of the nicest, most gentle mannered university professors one might ever meet. For the conference, he submitted the list as a paper coauthored by twenty-four researchers. It was initially accepted. Then it was rejected. After considerable pressure from others, the conference organizers agreed that it could be read into the proceedings. Only after Fanti arrived from Italy, and even though the paper was listed in the program, he was told it would not be allowed. When he asked why he was told it was too political. Political?
You don’t treat people this way. You certainly don’t treat a respected professor from the University of Padua in this way. Here is an instance where Monsignor Ghiberti, because of his high clerical position, could have exercised leadership in the interest of science and common decency. He was silent. Fanti described the situation as a lack of cooperation by the “Turin Authorities.” It certainly seems so.
Fortunately, in a privately funded room, after the banquet, away from the conference venue, Fanti was able to present his paper to a large gathering. This paper will get wide circulation on the Internet and many will wonder why some people didn’t want it to be presented. Was it because the scientific facts support invisible reweaving? Was it more embarrassment for the Papal Custodian of the Shroud?
At the very end of the conference, just before a scheduled banquet, Father Kim Dreisbach, an Episcopal priest, was presenting a paper. Because time was tight, it had been announced that closing remarks by Dr. Pierluigi Baima Bollone could be moved to the banquet forum. This was necessitated by the extra time needed for Flury-Lemberg’s return to the podium. Dreisbach had gone over his time limit by a couple of minutes when the chair cut him off to allow Bollone to speak immediately. It was completely unnecessary. Many other presenters had gone well over their time limits without objection from the dais. Dreisbach could have finished. It was no way to treat a respected researcher who had spent much of his life studying the Shroud. Was it his biblical perspectives with shades of contemporary revisionism that troubled the conference organizers? Some think so. In protest, many people got up and left the room before the closing remarks.
Was there anything good that came out of the conference? Absolutely.
More than two dozen excellent historical and scientific papers were presented. In the weeks ahead, these papers will begin to see the light of day. They add to our knowledge of this enigmatic cloth.
There is no empirical proof yet that the Shroud is a first century burial cloth. But there is enough data to infer that it is. There is, in fact, enough information to reasonably infer that it is the burial cloth of Jesus. And if you can infer that you can infer that for some reason it was separated from Jesus’ body and it survived the tomb. That is powerful stuff.
We don’t know how the images of a crucified man were formed on the fabric. So far, scientist can do little but offer hypotheses. But we do know that the images are a caramel-like product within a coating of starch and sugar that is thinner than most bacteria. Chemically it seems like the browning that takes place when amine vapors such as cadaverine and putrescine react with the coating. But how the right molecules got to just the right places in just the right amounts to form such a picture is still a mystery.
This cloth is too valuable to all Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical Christians; to valuable to all people of faith and too valuable in the quest for the historical Jesus to be cared for without second opinions and open discussion. This may be the most important lesson learned from this conference.
I think most people would agree that whatever it is that we know about it, it is not a substitute for faith. We may never be able to prove, by the Shroud, that Jesus is the Christ or that he rose to new life. But it is nice to learn what we can.
Cardinal Poletto wrote: “The fascination of the mysterious image that regards us from the Holy Shroud strikes people of every religious faith and culture, in particular those who experience the presence of Jesus of Nazareth in their personal lives and who believe that His life on earth represented the culminating moment of human history.”
And the Vatican Secretariat of State, Cardinal Sodano told us that “His Holiness [the current Pope Benedict XVI] trusts that the Dallas Conference will advance cooperation and dialogue among various groups engaged in scientific research on the Shroud . . .”
It happened in a way that Turin could not have hoped for.
Vladimir Moss offers an interesting perspective on how he, being a Russian Orthodox Christian, understands the shroud:
A recent book on the Turin Shroud, the most detailed and comprehensive yet[Ian Wilson, The Shroud: the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved], raises again the question: how should we, as Orthodox Christians, evaluate and react to this extraordinary object? In the 1970s the ROCOR [*] Deacon (now OCA “Archbishop”) Lev Puhalo wrote several articles against it, labelling it a medieval forgery. And in this judgement he has been followed by many people, including many scientists. However, nobody has yet been able to give us even a remotely plausible answer to the question: if it is a forgery, how was it made? And until somebody answers this question, the central question: is it the authentic burial shroud of Christ? must remain open…
This is not simply a scientific matter. For many, including the present writer, the most powerful argument for the Shroud’s authenticity is its quite extraordinary beauty, a beauty of an altogether higher nature than that of any merely human artefact. Now many may retort: beauty is in the eye of the beholder, its perception is a purely subjective matter. But this is not true. When the envoys of St. Vladimir came back to Kiev from Constantinople, recommending that their prince adopt the Orthodox Faith on account of the extraordinary beauty of the services, they were not being frivolous or naive.
Beauty – transcendent, spiritual beauty – is an argument, and a powerful one. For we all instinctively understand that truth must be beautiful, otherwise it is not truth. The foremost book of Orthodox spirituality, the Philokalia, means “the love of beauty”. True beauty is precisely a vision of truth, of the reality of things in and through created matter. God is discerned in the beauty of holiness.
[ . . . ]
“That is all very well”, says the sceptic, “but the Shroud is a ‘holy’ object owned, not by the Orthodox Church but by the Pope, of which there is no record in the Orthodox East, and which has been proven by carbon-14 to have been created in the fourteenth century. The onus is on you to prove that it is in fact Orthodox in provenance and dates to the first century. . . .
* Who or what is ROCOR? According to Wikipedia:
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (Russian: Ру́сская Правосла́вная Це́рковь Заграни́цей, Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov’ Zagranitsey), also called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ROCA, or ROCOR, is a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
ROCOR was formed as a jurisdiction of Eastern Orthodoxy as a response against the policy of Bolsheviks with respect to religion in the Soviet Union soon after the Russian Revolution of 1917, and separated from the Russian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1927 after an imprisoned metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) pledged the Church’s qualified loyalty to the Bolshevik state. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia officially signed the Act of Canonical Communion with the Moscow Patriarchate on May 17, 2007, restoring the canonical link between the churches. Critics of the reunification argue that the issue of KGB infiltration of the Moscow Patriarchate church hierarchy has not been addressed by the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Church has around 400 parishes worldwide, and an estimated membership of over 400,000 people. Of those, 138 parishes and 10 monasteries are in the United States, with 27,700 adherents and 9,000 regular church attendees. Within the ROCOR there are 13 hierarchs, and also monasteries and nunneries in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and South America.
Picture is a chapel at ROCOR’s headquarters (from Wikipedia)
There has been some questioning of my research credentials, especially vis-à-vis the celebrities of Shroud research (Raymond Rogers, John Heller, Alan Adler etc) , on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com site. Nope, I’m not rising to the bait (and that sadly is a site where baiting is allowed on an industrial scale, unless it’s me issuing a mild reprimand, in which case a slap-down arrives in short-order).
Very impressive, Colin. Thank you!
Are there any shroudies who are chess players like him? If so give him a shout. He tells us:
I was the second highest rated chess player in Western Australia in 1967, with a rating of 2070, but I gave competitive chess away for ~45 years until August 2012 when I joined the Perth Chess Club. I am gradually regaining my chess `mojo’ but my rating now is only 1782 and I doubt that I will ever get back to 2070.
My problem with a petition that demands new scientific examinations of the Shroud is that it has the process backwards. The horse (the scientific team and procedures) is behind the cart (permission to proceed). Much has to be done before any permission from Turin or the Vatican can be obtained.
So begins an instructive posting, Examining and Preserving the Shroud of Turin, on John Klotz’s blog, Quantum Christ. It is a must read, so do so.
A central point of John’s posting is this:
I might add a comment about the non-intrusive – minimally intrusive problem of further scientific examination of the Shroud. I have an analogy: Central Park in New York City
From time to time many well meaning proposals have been advanced for projects believed to have immense public value for Central Park in NYC. It has been estimated, as I recall, that if everyone of them had been approved, Central Park would have been cemented over 5 times. The biggest of such projects that was built is the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is one of the great treasures of the United States . However, it does display incipient ant hill tendencies to push the boundaries of its site.
I would suspect, that if every well-intentioned person who desired just a tiny piece or more of the Shroud had received their desire, the Shroud would have disappeared long ago, probably before Secondo Pia was even born.
Preservation of the Shroud is not just the Church’s annoying demand – It is a demand of all humanity (whether some realize yet or not). Whether the controversial 2002 restoration was appropriate or not, the desire of the Church and Turin to first and foremost preserve the Shroud is absolutely correct. Therefore, what I would call the non-intrusive as opposed to minimally intrusive standard must be recognized. Perhaps a tiny exception for a truly minimally intrusive procedure might be made, and perhaps a definition of intrusive must be formulated.
We could do well to learn from STURP, not just what they accomplished in Turin and afterwards but how they developed, presented and obtained approval for a plan of non-invasive studies.
Victor Stenger was Testing the God Hypothesis in yesterday’s blog posting of the Science section of the Huffington Post:
In my 2007 book God: The Failed Hypothesis; How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, I applied the scientific process of hypothesis testing to the question of God. The common objection I heard was that the existence of God is not a scientific hypothesis. Let me explain why I say it is.
[ . . . ]
Consider the following hypothetical events that, had they occurred, would have favored the God hypothesis. Readers are invited to think of their own similar "might have been" scenarios. While not necessarily proving the existence of God, they would at least lend some credence to traditional beliefs that currently does not exist.
- [ . . . ]
- Physical and historical evidence might have been found for the miraculous events and the important narratives of the scriptures. For example, Roman records might have been found for an earthquake in Judea at the time of a certain crucifixion ordered by Pontius Pilate. Noah’s Ark might have been discovered. The Shroud of Turin might have contained genetic material with no Y-chromosomes. Since the image is that of a man with a beard, this would confirm he was born of a virgin. Or, the genetic material might contain a novel form of coding molecule not found in any other living organism. This would have proven an alien (if not divine) origin of the enshrouded being.
- [ . . . ]
But none of this has happened. Indeed, the opposite is true in some cases, such as an abnormally low number of atheists in jail. Every claim of a supernatural event has proved false. The hypothesis of God is not confirmed by the evidence. Indeed, that hypothesis is strongly contradicted by the observations of our senses and the instruments of science.
As I was posting this I noticed that Stephen Jones has provided a good treatment of this. Go have a look.
This past Saturday, Stephen Jones wrote in a blog posting, Lecture explores legendary Turin Shroud, which could show the face of Jesus Christ beginning with a quote from Welwyn Hatfield (Hertfordshire, England) Times 24 news site:
Starting with that assumption, Dr Jonathan Allday will explore an interest from his teenage years and see if there are rational reasons to doubt the carbon dating.
and then stating:
I can’t recall hearing of Dr Jonathan Allday before, so I hadn’t realised that he had authored a paper, "The Turin Shroud," in what I assume is a scientific journal, Physics Education, Vol. 40, 2005. It is behind a pay wall, but its abstract says:
"The Turin Shroud is a fascinating relic that has long intrigued many people. It is old—but how old? It has an image of a man’s body—but how and when did the image get there? This article examines the scientific aspects of the debate about the Shroud, focusing on the image itself and on the radiocarbon dating performed in 1988.
I can’t recall the paper, either. So I’m off to the USC library. Thanks, Stephen.
Colin Berry wonders: Why is the Shroud image so superficial, half-tone and striated? Is it on raised ribs of primary cell wall hemicellulose? With an interesting graphic, he helps us to imagine a possibility:
Note the way that the hemicellulose forms a series of interrupted striations on the surface of the cellulose fibrils. Then imagine an image being thermochemically imprinted by some means onto that surface. It is not difficult to see how the resulting image might exhibit bothhalf-tone character AND striations as reported per Shroud image if there were selective pyrolysis (chemical dehydration to yellow or tan products) of those interrupted hemicellulose bands or segments, leaving the cellulose relatively intact.
It may be time to restart those kitchen experiments. It could start with attempts to strip off the outermost PCW layer of cells selectively, or even the hemicelluloses only, and see whether the surface then resists thermochemical dehydration (aka “scorching” .
Bravo to new ideas and experimentation.
Barrie Schwortz is featuring another “In case you missed it” paper on the STERA Facebook page, a paper by John L. Brown. I covered this same paper on this blog earlier this month in Paper Chase: Microscopical Investigation of Selected Raes Threads from the Shroud of Turin. It is good to be reminded to read this paper because it is so significant.
In 2004, Ray Rogers was working on his final research on the Shroud and wanted to get an unbiased, independent researcher to evaluate his own observations on the Raes sample. He chose John Brown, a highly regarded materials scientist in Atlanta, Georgia to examine the samples. Brown completed his work and wrote a paper titled, "Microscopical Investigation of Selected Raes Threads From the Shroud of Turin”
Meanwhile, while the cotton wars were going on in this blog, Keith Witherup, over at ReligionForum.org, was also calling our attention to some ancient words to ponder. I often ponder these words, Are they symbolically, in a literary fashion, being spoken by the risen Christ, Is the author using Christ’s voice, in a sense, to describe his own burial shroud? The words are from the Robe of Glory (Hymn of the Pearl) in the Acts of Thomas. The hymn, with a peculiar two-image segment (below), is thought by some scholars to be older than the Acts of Thomas and is sometimes attributed to Bardesane of Edessa, a Gnostic poet, writing as early as A.D. 216. The words are found in different places in different Greek and Syriac versions of the Acts.
Suddenly, I saw my image on my garment like in a mirror
Myself and myself through myself [or myself facing outward and inward]
As though divided, yet one likeness
Two images: but one likeness of the King [of kings in some translations]
If you look at a photograph of the shroud you see two full size images of a man, one in which the image is facing outward and one inward. In more modern terms we describe these as front-side and back-side images, or ventral and dorsal images. They are, indeed, as in a mirror as they are full size and seemingly perpendicular to the surface. Those words, “as though divided, yet one likeness,” resonate with the two separate images that meet at the top of the head.
Works for me.
Works for me, too. Note these alternate translations:
- Translation by Quaker scholar Hugh McGregor Ross
- Translation by William Wright
- Translation by M. R. James
And we might wonder about one of the illationes used in a late 7th century rite used in Spain, the Mozarabic Rite:
Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints of the dead and risen man on the linens.
Or about these words by Pope Stephen II, who reigned from 752 to 757:
[Christ] spread out his entire body on a linen cloth that was white as snow. On this cloth, marvelous as it is to see . . . the glorious image of the Lord’s face, and the length of his entire and most noble body, has been divinely transferred.
Should we ponder these words? Do they mean what I think they mean?
Meanwhile, while the cotton wars were going on in this blog, Keith Witherup, over at ReligionForum.org was disputing some video clips that argued that the image on the shroud is not Jesus because:
- “Jesus’ body would have been washed and prepared according to Jewish burial law . . . This would then, supposedly, preclude blood stains from Jesus’ wounds appearing on the linen shroud, . . .”
- “the Shroud of Turin is a single rectangular piece of linen, which the video author(s) argue, would not have been the case.” . . .
- “the Bible makes no mention of an image appearing on Jesus’ shroud, . . . no such image therefore exists.”
- “that God would not allow a graven image to be made of himself.”
The video clips ignore the carbon dating making me wonder why? Were the clips creators of the clips young earth creationists who have problems with the technology because it tells us that some things are impossibly too old. Note that according to various Gallup polls, somewhere between 40% and 50% of adults in the United States believe that "God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years"