Archive for the ‘News & Views’ Category

New Book by Mario Latendresse

February 25, 2015 13 comments

imageMario, in an email, writes:

You might be interested in a new book I just published on about the Shroud of Besançon. The book is in French, but it may interest many of your readers, at least Andrea Nicolotti….

Thanks, yes. I wish I could read French. But, yes, this blog has many people who read French in addition to Andrea.

On his website, Sindonology, Mario tells us about the book:

Do you know the Shroud of Besançon? It was as popular as the Shroud of Turin for almost three centuries. It disappeared in 1794 during the French Revolution.

Do you know the 18th century manuscrit (known as Ms 826) containing two dissertations on that Shroud? One dissertation is for its authenticity, whereas the second one is against it. The first dissertation has a proof of the origin of the Shroud of Besançon from Constantinople. So it says. But that proof has been shown to be somewhat dubious. Yet, this dissertation, and its proof, was cited numerous times by scholars and historians on the Shroud of Turin. Discover this proof by reading the manuscrit, and the comments presenting it, in the following book, just published on

Mario goes on to tell us that his book will be available on Amazon and from other distributors in France in the near future. Moreover, an e-book is in the works.

Gosh, I wish I could read French. Maybe when the e-book comes along I can figure out how to feed it into Google or Bing. 

And in a note of interest on his Sindonology home page, Mario tells us that Andrea Nicolotti and Cécile Brudieu will also be publishing a book on the 18th century manuscript. In French, I imagine?

Some details on Mario’s Book, now available at Lulu:

  • ISBN:   9781312942714
  • Copyright: Mario Latendresse (Standard Copyright License)
  • Edition: Première Édition
  • Publisher:  Mario Latendresse
  • Published:  February 24, 2015
  • Language:  French
  • Pages:  134
  • Binding:  Perfect-bound Paperback

Bruno Barberis Interview: ‘The only serious and honest behavior’

February 22, 2015 14 comments

The literature in this area is vast, ranging from the statement
that the Shroud is painted a self-portrait of Leonardo,
that it is the work of a medieval forger  who used techniques not known to us, 
that which makes the Shroud ‘ scientific proof of the resurrection ‘, or 
… a radiation characteristic … as if the resurrection itself was a natural event….

clip_image001MUST READ:  It isn’t easy with a Google translation.  Organize a workshop around the Shroud: Interview with Bruno Barberis, President of the International Center of Sindonology Turin, however, is important.

(also original link in Italian)

Here is one example:

[The Question]  The debate around the Shroud at that point has arrived and what is your opinion on the debate in recent decades?

[Barberis’ Answer]  In recent years there has been a lively debate considerably around the Shroud, perhaps as never before in the past, facilitated, without a doubt, an exceptional sounding board provided by modern means of communication. This debate was triggered mainly (but not only) by the now famous radiocarbon dating of the Shroud cloth made in 1988, the result of which (medieval dating of the Shroud) sparked a confrontation not only between scientists and scholars, but also in public opinion. The scientific debate was to take place, as is right and logical, exclusively within those research groups who have decided to grapple with the complex and thorny issue of evaluating the date of the Shroud cloth, with the opportunity to make known experimental results and related theoretical considerations at meetings or scientific congresses. In fact it did not happen, because the debate became incorporated arguments often anything but scientific. Also the media have certainly facilitated the work, as they are often spoken extensively on news of minor and have been silent instead those series, looking almost exclusively of the sensational news. In fact, below that there is another question of far greater thickness and oldest: the controversy between the two opposites ‘fundamentalisms Shroud’, the advocate of absolute certainty the identity of the Shroud and burial cloth of Jesus, and what he believes that the two objects lacking any correlation. It is obvious that everyone is free to propose and defend their thesis, but it is also equally natural that such a defense must respect the logical criteria of modern science. There has however a number of statements and debates in which often start from absolutely arbitrary assumptions and preconceived, using arguments that go against the most elementary rules of logic and therefore leads to conclusions absolutely unprovable. The literature in this area is vast, ranging from the statement that the Shroud is painted a self-portrait of Leonardo, that it is the work of a medieval forger who used techniques not known to us, that which makes the Shroud ‘ scientific proof of the resurrection ‘, or the result of a radiation characteristic of the resurrection, as if the resurrection itself was a natural event, repeatable laboratory and therefore reviewable by scientific methods. And the list could go on much longer. Force the hand of the scientific evidence, or neglect them completely and start from assumptions absolutely baseless, equivalent to damage and discredit the meaning and message of the Shroud that make a unique object in the world. The scholar serious and correct detests the Crusades or against the authenticity of the Shroud image, made just to convince more people of their convictions, without wearing a shred of evidence, or by arguing that struggle with most basic rationality. Starting from the assumption that ‘the shroud is the burial cloth of Christ’ and try to prove it at all costs without bothering to give reasons and objective series or to assume that ‘the Shroud is the work of a medieval forger’ and do the same tantamount not only to perform a scientifically incorrect, but also to tease all those who, eager to learn more, to take good similar conclusions. The only serious and honest behavior is that of someone who, wanting only to know the truth, stands humbly to his research, without claiming to want to demonstrate any preconceived thesis, and, indeed, rejecting everything that can not be seriously and scientifically proven . On this subject, it is expressed very clearly Saint John Paul II in his speech in front of the Shroud May 24, 1998: "The Church urges [scientists] to face the Shroud be studied without pre-established positions that take for granted that these results do not they are; invites them to act with interior freedom and attentive respect for both scientific methodology and the sensibilities of believers. " On that occasion the Pope, very effectively, called the Shroud ‘a challenge to our intelligence’. The discussion on the Shroud often degenerates because the Shroud is not a neutral object, it involves both the reflection of historical-scientific, is that kind of religious creed. If it were a sheet in which you think has been wrapped any other historical figure, all these discussions are not met. Therefore only keeping separate the scientific approach and the religious (both basic and complementary) you can think of to deal with a serious study on the Shroud and honest.

Another example is the question and answer that just preceded the one above:

[The Question]   Professor Luigi Campanella has developed methods that could perhaps give a measure of the pollution of the Shroud. Because these methods are not used because they do not realize other analyzes on the Shroud? -because the Shroud remains inaccessible to scientists?

[Barberis’ Answer]   . . .  It is not true that the Shroud is inaccessible to scientists. Personally I am absolutely conducive to the holding of new direct studies on the Shroud provided, however, that it is non-destructive testing: we can not treat the Shroud as a lab rat, especially considering that it is a unique object. Current technology allows you to make meaningful analysis of fibers with a thickness of a few micrometers which therefore require withdrawals nondestructive. A new campaign of direct studies on the cloth should aim to collect more data to form a complete map of the physical, chemical and biological properties of the entire Shroud, to be made available to scholars so that they can work and confront on accurate, reliable. To do this it would be necessary to organize a program of analysis using modern and sophisticated equipment: a real laboratory for the Shroud. The costs of such a complex operation would certainly very consistent. Only after an analysis and a detailed study of the Shroud could possibly make sense to program a new dating of the cloth.

Colin Berry: Stop Calling the Faint Image a Faint Image

February 21, 2015 21 comments

And, as I see it . . . the word distance and the word body are both at issue.
Can we go on saying that no one has figured out how the image was formed
and at the same time objectively refer to cloth-to-body distance?

clip_image001I applaud Colin Berry’s attempt at helping to define the image:

Getting the right words to describe the Shroud image into the media and public domain has acquired a new urgency of late, given the recent claims that attempt to undo decades of research.  I refer to historian Charles Freeman’s claim that the TS is merely an age-degraded painting.  I’ve said quite a lot on that score already elsewhere, as indeed have others, and have little more to add, except to say that Mr. Freeman needs to get up to speed with Shroud science, and disabuse himself of the idea that it’s all about art history. The TS is arguably NOT about art. It’s an artefact, intended for purposes other than mere artistic expression. Works of art do not generally result in the issue of Pilgrims’ Badges (Lirey, France, circa 1357).

However, thanks to the robotic and mindless Google algorithm, Charles’s misguided notions will no doubt survive for a while, at least on the internet.  It’s no longer sufficient in this blogger’s view to continue describing the TS as a "faint image". That is too non-specific and makes it too easy for CF to peddle his antediluvian views (if STURP can be thought of as supplying a flood of new information).  "Faint image" or even faint NEGATIVE image simply does not do the business (CF having closed his eyes completely to the  implications of the tone-reversal implied by the descriptor "negative"). No, we need new updated terminology that makes it clear that the TS is not just any old "faint image", but one with very special, indeed unique properties that sets it apart from other pictorial representations of the human form. While that terminology cannot and must not attempt to impose a new orthodoxy regarding mechanism, actual or conjectural, it is entitled in my view to guide thinking in the right direction, while leaving key details unspecified.

So what is that terminology to be?

One has to be neither  pro- nor anti-authenticity to regard the TS image as an IMPRINT.

Definition of "imprint" (noun): Free Dictionary:



1. a mark or indentation impressed on something.

2. any impression or impressed effect.

And it is life-sized front and back, negative and contains seemingly 3D properties, Colin goes on to remind us.

Colin goes on to examine the definition issue from the point of view of a quote from a paper by Barrie Schwortz, Is the Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?: A critical examination of the theory. That paragraph reads:

The STURP team concluded that there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. The researchers calculated that the image on the Shroud was formed at a cloth-to-body distance of up to approximately 4 centimeters, but beyond that, imaging did not occur. The closer the cloth was to the body, the darker the resulting image in that area, with the darkest parts of the image being formed where there was direct contact between the two. The image became proportionately lighter as the distance increased until it reached the maximum imaging distance. . . .

To which Colin responds:

Left to me I would have described the TS image as probably, indeed almost certainly a CONTACT imprint, such as can be modelled with hot templates. But the view exists, articulated above, and emanating in main from STURP physicist John Jackson PhD, that the TS image is not contact-only, but from modelling studies (at any rate)  appears to allow imaging across modest air gaps that do not exceed approx 4cm.  Personally, I think that latitude in allowing an air gap is a defect of the presumed imaging model, one that assumes a linen cloth spread loosely over a real corpse, and making only partial contact under gravity.  That’s a pro-authenticity scenario.

Forget that! The issue isn’t pro-authenticity. The issue is taking a leap too far making an observation into a theory. Consider what adding a short phrase does.

. . . there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the [what might have been] distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. . . .

Colin’s take is just as correct:

Let’s not prejudge who is right, who is wrong.  Let’s assume that all that’s required is close proximity between a body and/or inanimate template that tolerates air gaps up to 4cm.

So the word distance and the word body are both at issue.  Can we go on saying that no one has figured out how the image was formed and at the same time objectively refer to cloth-to-body distance?

Colin’s caveat is fair:

Caveat: I’ve tried to be inclusive here, allowing for the possibility that  the image to have been produced by a burst of radiation (unspecified, see critique by the estimable Bernard Power ), and able to operate across air gaps. Without attempting to read  the minds of ‘resurrection radiationists’, whether it’s electromagnetic radiation or even wackier subatomic particles – notably neutrons-  that are proposed, might they consider the term "imprint", even modified with "proximity" as a potential poisoned chalice? Well, I’ve given a little thought to that, and followed up with some googling. What do I find?  Those ‘radiationist’ ideas have already filtered through to the mainstream media under the heading "imprints".

Of course, I’ve ignored Colin’s main point. We should stop calling the faint image on the shroud a faint image.  We make it to easy for the likes of Charles Freeman.

We should call it a proximity imprint, he tells us. 

No! Four syllables followed by two is a leap to far.  Remember, we are talking about the problems of a “robotic and mindless Google algorithm.”  

BTW:  I Googled “Faint Image.”  Not one picture of the shroud!  Most images were of people who had fainted.

Do read Colin’s entire posting.

Movement of the Shroud after 1355

February 17, 2015 5 comments

Stephen Jones is putting together a useful movement history for the shroud beginning in 1355:

Montfort (c.1358-1359). In 1358, following the French defeat at the 1356 Battle of Poitiers in which Geoffroy I died, marauding bands of English soldiers attacked French towns, including nearby Troyes. So Jeanne probably took her young son Geoffroy II de Charny (1352–1398), and the Shroud, from Lirey south to the comparative safety of her castle atMontfort-en-Auxois[5].

[ Left (enlarge): Montfort-en-Auxois castle:Burgundy Tourism. ]

Anthon (c.1359-1388) . In c.1359 Jeanne married the wealthy Aymon IV of Geneva (c. 1324-1388) and took Geoffroy II and the Shroud from Montfort to one of Aymon’s estates in High Savoy (that part of France bordering both Switzerland and Italy), probably Anthon.

[ Right (enlarge): Chateau at Anthon built in 1315 by Guichard d’Anthon[6], presumably Aymon IV’s great uncle Guichard VI d’Anthon (c. 1278-1320), which Aymon inherited through his mother Isabelle d’Anthon (c.1307-1335). Presumably Jeanne, Geoffroy II and Aymon IV lived here with the Shroud for ~29 years between 1359 and 1388. ]
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Picture for Today: 1969

February 17, 2015 1 comment
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A Hung Jury on the Pray Manuscript

February 14, 2015 4 comments

A teacher in Indianapolis writes:

imageI conducted an experiment with 12 high school students.  I gave the group one large picture of the Shroud (as it is, not tone reversed into a positive image) and an enlargement of the weave pattern that I did not describe other than to say it was the weave pattern of the Shroud. I also gave them a copy of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript drawing. I asked them if they thought it was inspired by or derived in part from the Shroud of Turin. They were given thirty minutes to discuss this question among themselves. I listened and tried to not show any expression on my face.

This is not a scientific experiment. The population is too small. There are no controls.  Students were not interviewed.  The only criteria for selection was that the student had not heard of or seen a picture of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript and that they had heard of the Shroud of Turin even though some of them were not sure what it was. Two, other students, not selected for this experiment, thought that a shroud was part of an automobile’s cooling fan, which it is.

After only three minutes a majority of the students decided that the weave pattern was symbolically depicted in the HPM. I recognize that bias caused by the photograph of the weave pattern played a role in this identification. There was no other way.

They all spotted the mark on the forehead and the crossed hands.  It took several minutes to spot the four holes in an L-shape pattern. Eight of the twelve thought the holes were meaningful.

They never mentioned the nude body on the Shroud or the HPM. Nor did they notice the absence of thumbs.

At the end of thirty minutes, nine students were sure the HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud. That is how they put it, which was better than the “inspired” or “derived” wording I used.  Two students remained unconvinced but remained open to the possibility. One student was certain that any similarities were merely coincidental because, “We found things because we were looking for things.”

I’m convinced.  And I know about the absence of thumbs.  I like the wording: “[T]he HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud.”

On Deaf Ears Here?

February 14, 2015 14 comments

As Colin Berry writes in his own Science Buzz blog: The Turin Shroud is clearly a medieval fake – albeit a very clever one. What more is there to say? 

Well, he does say:

Having wasted thousands of words pressing simple straightforward logic, and getting little back by way of  return except ridicule and insults (the few exceptions to that broad-brush description know who they are) I decided to bow out, and do so in a way that makes a point. I posted images instead of text. Any words of my own, the minimum needed, were incorporated into the images to create a series of cartoons, billboards etc. Images are more powerful than words.

Images imprint onto the visual cortex, a major part of the hind-brain with a minimum of pre-processing that is in any case not under conscious control.

Words on the other hand get consciously pre-processed in many subjective ways, so much so that where Porter’s site is concerned, 99% or more of one’s words either fall on deaf ears or get hopelessly scrambled and commuted within seconds of receipt.

Or, as Eminem rapped it in Taking My Ball (as you read these four lines you need to bounce the upper half of your body straight up and down – you see, you can rap):

imageIt feels so wrong, does it feel so right? But its alright, it’s okay with me.

I’ll do my steps all by myself, I don’t need nobody to play with me,

But if you just give me a chance, I can put you in a trance the way I dance .

But don’t nobody wanna play with me so I’m taking my ball and going home (home).

Here is the topmost image from Colin’s posting. No sense messing with words:


Picture of Eminem with deaf ears is a publicity picture from

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