Joe knows because I wrote to him yesterday. My intent was not to dump on him or on plans for a St. Louis conference. I was criticizing the announcement. My point wasn’t even to criticize the Mark Antonacci’s ideas. I have done that in the past and I will do so again just as I criticize Colin Berry or Stephen Jones or Barrie Schwortz or Giulio Fanti or anyone else who pops up on my radar screen. It isn’t easy, HOWEVER, to criticize Joe because he is just too nice, way too trustworthy, way too responsible and way too effective. He proved that with Ohio 2008.
As I told Joe in a private email, maybe it was because I had just been invited to a neighbor’s home for wine and cheese only to find out after I got there that I had really been invited to meet a political candidate that I would never have voted for under any circumstance. Similarly, I didn’t like clicking on links that suggested a complete solution to the carbon dating results and how the image was formed. It doesn’t matter that I think it is nutty. Heck, I think every single hypothesis ever suggested for the image is nutty. And, no, I don’t have an idea that is better than any of them.
I trust Joe. But I got an uncomfortable feeling when I started clicking. Maybe it was just me. I would have avoided the links.
The conference needs a website. Somewhere there should be a tab or something that says “Sponsors.” There, there should be a “safe” description of the sponsors. And maybe there, there should be a link to their websites. I know the conference will be open and objective. But give that appearance, too.
Okay, I did a crappy job of speaking out yesterday. I apologize to Joe and everyone else. I’ll be there in 2014.
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”
So we have a conference in St. Louis
followed in three weeks by coming five weeks after an IEEE workshop in Bari, Italy sponsored by the Technical University of Bari and the International Center for the Turin Shroud Studies. Is this not insane?
So who is sponsoring the conference in St. Louis? It is worrisome. First there is Mark Antonacci’s Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation. After that there is a faith and values video production company, Salt River Production Group, that talks up Antonacci wanting to prove the resurrection on the company website. You might recall Paper Chase: Mark Antonacci’s Hypothesis on this blog.
I went clicking on the announcement I got as an email from Barrie Schwortz.
One Click: What is the first thing I see when I click on Antonacci’s Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation?
Sophisticated, Nuclear Technology Applied to the Shroud of Turin Could Definitively Disprove its Current Radiocarbon Dating Theory, and Prove, Irrefutably, the Source of its Images and its Many Other Unique Properties – Thereby Unraveling the Secrets of One of Life’s Greatest Mysteries.
Three More Clicks: The Salt River Production Group tells us:
This is what Mark Antonacci has to say. He is a friend of mine and one of the world’s leading experts on the Shroud of Turin.
[ . . . ]
Many other medical and scientific findings from the Shroud clearly demonstrate that it wrapped a tortured, crucified corpse, whose unprecedented frontal and dorsal body images resulted from radiation. This scientific and medical evidence also shows that the source of this radiation was necessarily the length, width and even depth of the dead body wrapped within this burial shroud. The new tests and experiments along with prior scientific, medical and archaeological results would prove that after Jesus incurred all of the wounds of the passion, and was crucified, killed and buried in Jerusalem, his corpse gave off particle radiation while it was wrapped in his burial garment. This event is not only consistent with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it left unfakable evidence of its occurrence throughout the cloth. . . .
Perhaps this conference could have been announced in a way that didn’t focus so much on the sponsors. Perhaps Antonacci could have redesigned his home page before the announcement. Rightly or wrongly, one gets the sense of a poorly disguised agenda for the conference. And it’s not that there aren’t plenty of people who think the International Center for the Turin Shroud Studies has an agenda. Will we have repeats of the atmosphere of suspicion about the paper selection process for Dallas 2005? It is worrisome.
The organizers of next year’s St. Louis Shroud Conference have just announced the dates for their event. This is the information I just received from Joe Marino:
An international Shroud conference titled "Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science" is scheduled for October 9-12, 2014. Co-sponsored by Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation and the Salt River Production Group, the conference will be held at the Drury Plaza Inn, 355 Chesterfield Center, Chesterfield, Missouri 63017,just west of St. Louis and less than 20 miles from Lambert – St. Louis International Airport.
Subject matter for the papers is open to any major aspect of sindonology, including Science, History, Art, Theology and can also include other relevant artifacts such as the Sudarium of Oviedo, Manoppello Cloth and the Tilma of Guadalupe. Abstracts should be submitted electronically to Joe Marino (JMarino240@aol.com) no later than 15 May 2014. (That date has changed from a previous announcement.) If for some reason the abstract cannot be sent electronically, please send to Joe Marino / 2408 Sovron Ct. / Dublin, Ohio 43016 / USA. Authors will be limited to a maximum of 2 (two) papers as primary or secondary author. Abstracts will be sent to selected reviewers, who will not be informed of the identity of the author. Authors will also be required to send vitaes. Authors will be notified of acceptance no later than 30 June 2014. English will be the official language of the conference. The conference will begin on Thursday evening October 9th and end at noon on Sunday October 12th. Monday, October 13th is the Columbus Day holiday.
Conference Info: http://shroud.wikispaces.com/St.+Louis+Conference+2014 Registration: under construction
I couldn’t get the hotel link to work. I was able to get the above picture and this description from another site:
The new 10-story Drury Plaza Hotel Chesterfield is approximately 22 miles west of downtown St. Louis. This suburban hotel is 19 miles from Lambert St. Louis International Airport adjacent to I-64 and the Chesterfield Westfield Mall.The 275-room hotel features free wireless internet access in all guest rooms lobby and meeting rooms one hour of free long distance per room every night an indoor/outdoor pool and whirlpool exercise room guest pantry and guest laundry facility. Everyday a free HOT! QUIKSTART breakfast is provided and includes scrambled eggs sausage biscuits and gravy made to order pancakes juices hot and cold cereals toast fresh fruit milk coffee tea pastries and other assorted baked goods. Along with the breakfast Drury’s value package includes free evening beverages and snacks offered daily.Each guest room has microwaves refrigerators iron and ironing boards hairdryers coffeemakers TVs and telephones with voice mail.
Sister Jeanne asks:
Is it possible that the belief in acheiropoieta of Christ began with the discovery of an image on our Lord’s burial shroud? I had learned that the idea began with the legend of the Camuliana icon. I also wonder if there are examples from other world cultures that could have led to early Christian belief in such things.
For starters there is an entry in Wikipedia (which offers several references not included here):
The image of Christ that appears in Camuliana is mentioned in the early 6th century by Zacharias Rhetor, his account surviving in a fragmentary Syriac version, and is probably the earliest image to be said to be a miraculous imprint on cloth in the style of the Veil of Veronica (a much later legend) or Shroud of Turin. In the version recorded in Zacharias’s chronicle, a pagan lady called Hypatia was undergoing Christian instruction, and asking her instructor "How can I worship him, when He is not visible, and I cannot see Him?". She later found in her garden a painted image of Christ floating on water. When placed inside her head-dress for safekeeping it then created a second image onto the cloth, and then a third was painted. Hypatia duly converted and founded a church for the version of the image that remained in Camuliana. In the reign of Justinian I (527-565) the image is said to have been processed around cities in the region to protect them from barbarian attacks. This account differs from others but would be the earliest if it has not suffered from iconodule additions, as may be the case.
One of the images (if there was more than one) probably arrived in Constantinople in 574, and is assumed to be the image of Christ used as a palladium in subsequent decades, being paraded before the troops before battles by Philippikos, Priscus andHeraclius, and in the Avar Siege of Constantinople in 626, and praised as the cause of victory in poetry by George Pisida, again very early mentions of this use of icons. It was probably destroyed during the Byzantine Iconoclasm, after which mentions of an existing image cease (however Heinrich Pfeiffer identifies it with the Veil of Veronicaand Manoppello Image ), and in later centuries its place was taken by the Image of Edessa, which apparently arrived in Constantinople in 944, and icons of the Theotokossuch as the Hodegetria. The Image of Edessa was very probably later, but had what apparently seemed to the Byzantines an even more impressive provenance, as it was thought to have been an authentic non-miraculous portrait painted from the life during the lifetime of Jesus.
I have not seen any mention of non-Christian acheiropoieta. That is an interesting and important question.
From the abstract of Thomas & The Hymn of the Pearl by The Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach:
The Acts of Thomas, which contains the Hymn of the Soul/Pearl and may well be an
adaptation of an older work redesigned to provide “spy clues” pointing to the Shroud and its image(s). The Hymn of the Pearl is one of the earliest documents we have on Edessan Christianity Possibly dating from as early as the first century A.D., this hymn is described by Ewa Kuryluk as a work which:
…assimilates into an ancient tradition the new theology of Jesus’ incarnation, resurrection and transfiguration by transforming Christ into a soul. His dual nature rendered by his splitting into a humanlike anima – a son clothed in skin – and into a divine soul, an iconic dress of paradise. In the Syrian poem the essence of divinity resides in God’s clothing – a heavenly double of the mortal human skin [Emphases added.]
Gregory Riley offers a variant interpretation:The Acts of Thomas, while containing many “orthodox” interpolations and revisions, nevertheless presents a like picture, and closes with a scene similar to that in the Gospel Easter stories; yet in the scene of the Acts, the body of the twin brother of Jesus remains in the grave, while his soul ascends to heaven. This is
supported, among other passages, by one of the most famous poems in Gnostic Christian literature, the Hi’inn of the Pearl, which describes the archetypical journey of the soul for the Thomas disciple: the soul descends into a body, and abandons it upon return to the heavenly realms. (Riley, 178-79.)
The first half of this monograph which is devoted to the significance of Thomas and the school bearing his name and their respective influence on the thought modes and writings from Edessa. Although a case can be made to support the traditional view that Thaddaeus/Addai was the original apostle who evangelized Edessa, this paper will consider the hypothesis that it was really Thomas who did so. Later, certain Docetic elements in the literature from the school associated with his name his name may have caused Thomas’ initial role to be remanded to the more obscure Jude Thaddaeus/Addai.
The second half of this paper will explore the interrelationship of the biblical Thomas, that disciple’s connection with the Shroud and the city of Edessa, the school in that region bearing his name, and a suggested interpretation of key passages in the Hymn of the Soul/Pearl which reveal both their potential dependence upon the Shroud and the latter’s significance at an early date.
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?