Archive for the ‘News & Views’ Category

The Wabash Shroudie

April 1, 2015 1 comment

imageEric Olson and a cameraman for 21 Alive, a local ABC affiliate in the Wabash area, have posted a wonderful story, Wabash Man to open Museum on Shroud of Turin. The story  along with some really excellent video is on the station’s website. The Wabash man, as all American shroudies know, is everyone’s friend, Richard Orareo:

imageWABASH, Indiana (21Alive)  –  It is the most iconic relic of the Christian faith…the Shroud of Turin…the linen cloth many believe covered the body of Christ as it lay in the tomb. A cloth on which the image of a man, battered and bloodied, is inexorably etched on the surface. A relic venerated the world over, and particularly in one corner of 21 country.

In Wabash Indiana, in what was once the founder of the Honeywell Corporation Mark Honeywell’s private movie theatre, Richard Orareo is building the National Museum of the Holy Shroud.

Orareo is a former educator, a devoted Catholic and for forty years now a prolific collector of images, books and relics related to the Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud was brought from the Holy Land to Europe during the Crusades. It spent centuries in the care of the House of Savoy, the royal family of the Italian state of Turin, who bequeathed it to the Pope in 1983. Orareo’s collection includes rare photographs, including the first ever taken of the Shroud in 1898. Rare silk images of the Shroud dating back to the 15th century. This small box contains relics, pieces of bone, from the four Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But it is that image, that face burned onto the linen cloth that is the real focus of his life’s work.

The video runs for about three minutes. It is worth your time.


March 9, 2015 9 comments

imageJoe Nickell reacts to CNN’s “Finding Jesus”: Disingenuous Look at Turin “Shroud” over at the Center for Inquiry website:

… The first episode of the TV series (but curiously the last chapter of the book) was about the “Shroud” of Turin. Easter after Easter, this alleged burial cloth of Jesus is trotted out like a ghost story at Halloween, typically with the same shoddy standards.

This TV presentation was no exception. It was replete with pseudohistory and pseudoscience to such an extent that—if one is not to question the producers’ motives— one must accuse them of gross incompetence. To show why, this review necessarily focuses as much on what is left out as it does on what makes the cut. The program is thus revealed as an hour-long example of confirmation bias—by which one begins with the desired answer and works backward to the evidence, picking and choosing. The usual formula to such crocumentaries is to spend, say, half to two-thirds of the time building up the claim at hand, then bring in some skepticism—or “skepticism”— and finally attack the contrary points, so as to end on a note of mystery. The implication is that science cannot explain the image on the “shroud,” so it appears to be something beyond science. This is a type of faulty logic called an argument from ignorance.

Nickell is particularly upset with the inclusion of Nicholas Allen’s hypothesis in the show. So was just about everyone, it seems, but for different reasons. Nickell’s perspective is, well, a crock of something or other:

With his absurd “explanation” of the shroud’s image, Nicholas Allen has played into the hands of shroud propagandists. They use him to endorse the falsehood that the image is a photographic negative, then allow his farfetched notion to make skeptics look ridiculous in their desperation. The result is to make religion seem to trump science. Shroud activists are no doubt laughing all the way to the cathedral.

Note: Photograph of Joe Nickell is a press photo from

On David Gibson

March 8, 2015 2 comments

imageKate O’Hare, in the Catholic Channel of Patheos, discusses a conversation with David Gibson (pictured), one of the co-authors of “Finding Jesus,” the book on which the CNN TV series of the same name is based:

On the relics examined:

Some of them are not as claimed; some of them are probably forgeries. even; but some of them are the real deal. Some of them, all of them, open a window on history and onto the Gospels and what really happened.

Even if this piece of the True Cross isn’t the True Cross, what happened? How did these things migrate across centuries, why are they so important?

On why he’s a Catholic:

Honey, I don’t have enough time. That’s a whole other thing. I was raised Evangelical. My mom’s a Billy Graham Evangelical and very strong in her faith, but for me, I found a deeper tradition and a liturgical practice in the Catholic Church, like a number of Evangelicals have.

But again, not to diss anything else, there are so many aspects of conversion which are fascinating. Each conversion story stands on its own.

In the context of this book and this series, coming from a tradition where anything associated with relics was ridiculous or superstitious, to a tradition that reveres and venerates relics, and is also very strong on historical, Biblical research, there’s a common ground there that both sides can learn from the other on the value of looking for the Jesus of history.

After CNN

March 4, 2015 13 comments

And so pending any new scientific breakthroughs, the mystery remains.

imageMUST READ:  Revisiting the Shroud of Turin – After CNN by Simon J. Joseph:

To my knowledge, that is where things stand with most Jesus researchers. They don’t know what to do with the Shroud. And so they do nothing. After all, the Shroud is not a "text" and does not enter the historical record until the fourteenth century. Moreover, Shroud-science, or "Sindonology," requires professional expertise in numerous scientific disciplines, none of which biblical scholars are qualified to adjudicate. This is a topic on which opinions divide and emotions run high. Some claim that the Shroud is evidence that God raised Jesus from the dead while others claims the Shroud is a forgery, a hoax, or an invented relic for the gullible medieval faithful. Furthermore, because the Shroud is seen as a Catholic relic and biblical scholarship is predominantly Protestant, Catholic/Protestant conflicts only exacerbate the controversy. In any case, biblical scholarship has done quite well for itself without appealing to or depending on the authenticity of the Shroud. But now that CNN has re-opened the debate with its new series "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery" and the Vatican will be exhibiting the Shroud again this spring in Turin (April 19 – June 24), it’s time to take another look at the Shroud.

Read the entire article on Dr. Joseph’s Blog.  Dr. Simon J. Joseph is a biblical scholar, author, and documentary filmmaker. An Adjunct Professor of Religion at California Lutheran University, Dr. Joseph holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in Religion/New Testament from Claremont Graduate University. His . . .


Checking In On Colin Berry: A New Image Model ‘forming in my mind’

March 3, 2015 23 comments

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc

imageColin is is toying with a new image formation scheme. He is blogging about it though it is difficult to know this. Instead of posting new entries in his blog, Colin adds more text to old ones, so much so that even Google is gasping for air.

In what follows, we are looking at some new text added to a posting for February 20, Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a ‘proximity imprint’ in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman’s faded painting? If you want to follow along you can find the latest text (as of this morning) roughly 4/5 of the way down what is now a very long webpage:

… Am presently  researching, thoroughly I hope, a distinctively different angle on the manner in which the Shroud image may have been produced. It’s a difficult call to beat contact thermal imprinting, while still  producing a negative  non-directional image with 3D properties etc etc. But the new model that’s been forming in my mind, with some prompting from the writings of Luigi Garlaschelli and Joseph Accetta, might be more suited to the medieval mind (and technology) than the heated inanimate  templates (horse brasses, brass crucifixes)on the cooker hob in this blogger’s 21st century kitchen.

A few paragraphs later:

Here’s a few broadbrush ideas to be getting along with.

Firstly, there had to be template.One does not paint a negative image freehand, at least not one so photograph-like as the TS (when submitted to 19th/20th century technology). The template may have been totally inanimate (14th century provenance), e.g. a metal or ceramic bas relief, or it may been a real person (allowing for a 1st century provenance, if one is willing to junk the radiocarbon dating – count me out).

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc – applies it to one’s subject of template, then presses down linen to get an imprint. What then?  Knowing what we now know about the properties of alum, one could suggest an immediate roasting at a temperature that leads to chemical sehydration of the linen carbohydrates in areas in immediate contact with the alum paste. Knoock off the surplus paste when doen and one has (maybe) a faint yellow negative image.

clip_image001And – to be expected:

Briefly, the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge provided a possible rationale for imprinting the image of a bearded man who was NOT Jesus, but a Knight Templar, indeed the most prominent, Jacques de Molay. Why? Because de Molay, Grand Master of the outlawed order was burned at the stake in Paris 1314. Alongisde him was a fellw Templar, Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney. That name is almost but not quite identical to that of the Lord of Lirey whose widow placed the Shroud on its first recorded public display in 1357, shortly after he husband’s death at the Battle of Poitiers. Her husband is said by celebrated genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs to have been the nephew of his quasi-namesake who died in 1314, some 43 or so years earlier.  Might the TS image have been intended to represent a Knight Templar and the manner of death, especially as the "burning at the stake" had in fact been performed sadistically by slow-roasting? Was it a tribute (initially) that had remained in the family, a closely guarded secret initailly for obvious reasons when Templars were still being dispossed and worse by an alliance of convenience between the then heretic-seeking Papacy and cash-strapped French monarchy? Was it ‘reinvented’ to represent the victim of crucifixion rather than "scorching".

Was there supporting evidence that might corroborate that interpretation?

More to come:

I can hardly wait.

Categories: Image Theory, Other Blogs Tags:

Cognitive Response to Thermochimica Acta Paper

February 26, 2015 79 comments

clip_image001We learn over at the Holy Shroud Guild website that Giorgio Bracaglia has just uploaded an interesting research  paper to  The Reader’s Cognitive Response toward Two Problematic Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts

From the abstract we learn:

This research explores two populations’ cognitive responses towards two peer reviewed manuscripts. In both manuscripts, experts in the field criticize the text, and conclude them unfit for publication. To examine participants’ feelings relative to the critic’s report, a survey was created that deliberately opposes the manuscript’s legitimacy, and accepts the critic’s assertion. Two populations were surveyed on two distinct subjects. The subjects ranged from the radiocarbon testing of the Shroud of Turin defying the results performed by three distinguished laboratories, to the dangers of Glyphosate (Roundup) for human consumption. The first group was specifically targeted based on their expertise on the Shroud of Turin. The second group was randomly selected, and has no known level of expertise on either of the two topics.

Jumping right away, as I often do, to the conclusion, I find this:

Rogers work is immeasurable in the Shroud s scientific community. The intent to use Rogers manuscript was not to discredit Rogers thesis, but to offer why division existed between two factions about its rank.

The one peer reviewed manuscript we care about:

Thermochimica Acta, by Raymond Rogers is a manuscript about the Shroud of Turin. Rogers was a chemist who was considered by his peers to be an expert in thermal analysis. In 2005, his writing challenged the radiocarbon dating result performed in 1988 stating the Shroud’s origin was between 1260-1390 AD. Rogers was no stranger to the Shroud of Turin. He was the co-founder of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), which was a group of American scientists that performed an investigation of the Shroud in 1978. In 1981, STURP’s official statement reported that the Shroud is not a product of an artist but is a form of a scourged crucified man. In the Christian community, this was wonderful news. However, the exhilaration did not last long when three laboratories, University of Arizona, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and Oxford University in 1988 announced that the radiocarbon measurements dated the Shroud’s origin between 1260-1390 AD. These findings prompted strong reactions from Sindonologists who refuted the laboratories claim. Sindonologists are a group of specialized scientists or researchers that studies the Shroud of Turin.

In 2000, Rogers received reports from long time Sindonologist researchers, Joe Marino and Sue Bedford. They hypothesized that the radiocarbon dating was not from threads excised from the main body of the Shroud, but rather from a location contaminated with dye cotton used in the restoration of the Shroud.

Remember: this is not a study of Rogers’ manuscript (or the other paper) but The Reader’s Cognitive Response toward Two Problematic Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts. The paper should be read in its entirety.

Even though both manuscripts faced strong opposition from their contemporaries, both manuscripts had a broad support amongst their followers. The broad support might be attributed to confirmation bias. Nickerson (1998) explained that confirmation bias“gives undue weight to, evidence that supports one’s position while neglecting to gather or discounting, evidence that would tell against it” (p.175).

Giorgio has summarized the “strong opposition from … contemporaries” to Rogers’ paper for us. Here are some pieces of that.

Example 1:

Rogers’ manuscript successfully established ownership for the threads; however, what Rogers failed to offer was the chronological documentation pertaining to the threads. It is possible Rogers familiarity with the threads made him lax in procuring the proper protocol producing the chain of custody.

Example 2:

Gonella then said that he had reason to believe that some or all of Raes’ samples had been switched with materials not originally from the Shroud. (Personal archive collection of the Holy Shroud Guild, Nitowski, 1986)

Example 3:

Manuscript validity depends on the author and reviewer’s ability to ensure the accuracy of the final manuscript. People are all guilty of confirmation bias…. Social bias also threatens the peer review process. Reviewers can be influenced by the perceived status of the researcher’s reputation in their particular field, rather than the actual content of the manuscript. In the case of Rogers, he served on the editorial board of Thermochimica Acta from 1970 until his retirement, in 1988….

And so what did the conclusion say?

… These observations may have indicated that participant’s cognitive responses towards these two problematic peer reviewed manuscripts appear to be dependent on the participant’s predetermined experience and inferences on the subject….

Confirming what I thought! (I couldn’t resist).

After all, that was what the study was about.  But the criticisms of Rogers and his paper remain, wanting to be examined more, refuted hopefully and dismissed. Yes, I seem to be biased. I know that.

CNN is Laying It On Thick

February 25, 2015 4 comments

An article, Five things you didn’t know about Jesus by The Rev. James Martin in a special to CNN, was posted today on CNN’s website.  This picture below is from the video that accompanies the article. Links to the article appear in a sidebar on countless news pages. Most on air anchors are now mentioning the upcoming special.


(CNN) — With Lent beginning, and a new CNN series on Christ coming up, you’re going to hear a lot about Jesus these days.

You may hear revelations from new books that purport to tell the "real story" about Jesus, opinions from friends who have discovered a "secret" on the Web about the son of God, and airtight arguments from co-workers who can prove he never existed.

Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years.

Still, even for devout Christian there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, and thanks to advances in historical research and archaeological discoveries, more is known about his life and times.

With that in mind, here are five things you probably didn’t know about Jesus.


CNN makes a point of reminding us that their upcoming special, "Finding Jesus: Fact. Faith. Forgery," premieres Sunday Night, March 1 at 9pm ET/PT on CNN. That episode will deal with the Shroud of Turin


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