The move came as Pope Francis called for a “unanimous” global response to the self-declared Islamic State as he left on his first official visit to the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Israeli state TV reported Sunday that U.S. intelligence services had warned the Vatican could be the next terrorist target, as international leaders joined an estimated 2 million people in a massive anti-terrorism rally in Paris.
But the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, on Monday said the Holy See had received no specific threats.
[ . . . ]
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and senior Italian police said there was no evidence of a particular threat at the Vatican but stressed that the tiny city state was on high alert, especially following persistent threats from the Islamic State.
Security has also been beefed up in Rome’s Jewish quarter, in front of media outlets and places of worship, and at popular tourist sites across the country.
And what is being done for the Shroud Exposition, April 19 through June 24, in Turin? How much concern will there be among pilgrims and tourists to this major event?
Picture from the blog Casa Isonzo, April 16, 2010.
Stephen Jones, having abandoned for a while his unfinished conspiracy theory that the carbon dating was wrong in 1988 because of computer hackers, is now sermonizing shroud history. He writes:
. . . Geoffroy then mounted a surprise night raid upon the castle of his betrayer, Aimery of Pavia, and took him back to his base at St Omer where Geoffroy had all the military powers of the king. There Geoffroy tortured and then decapitated his betrayer, cut his body into quarters, and hung them on the town gates. Medieval military justice no doubt, but flagrant disobedience of the New Testament command for a Christian to love his enemies (Mt 5:43-44; Lk 6:27, 35) and not to take revenge but leaving that to God (Rom 12:19). For that disobedience, did Geoffroy later pay a heavy price? . . .
Then later on the page he answers his own question with just enough of a question mark ending to maintain a fragile shred of objectivity:
. . . Just as Moses was not allowed by God to live to enter the Promised land, because of his disobedience (Dt 32:48-52; Num 20:11-13; 27:14), did God not allow Geoffroy I to live to see the Shroud exhibited beyond 1356, because of his disobedience in taking brutal personal revenge on Aimery of Pavia (see above)? . . .
It’s too bad because Stephen does excellent research.
The Smithsonian Channel has started marketing it’s Secrets series with Season 1, Episode 1: The Turin Shroud. They describe it this way:
The Shroud of Turin. Is it the burial cloth of Jesus Christ? A work of art? Or the greatest prank ever pulled? The Vatican itself refuses to take an official position on its authenticity, and with limited access to the cloth for testing, there’s seemingly no way for scientists to end the debate. Or is there? Join four experts as they explore four radically different theories, using groundbreaking research and archeological expertise. Their one goal: to decode a treasure that has been revered, rejected, and argued about for more than 600 years.
It is available through iTunes, Amazon Videos or Google Play. At Amazon, for instance, you can buy and download an HD version for $2.99 or an SD version for $1.99 if you have a supported device such as TIVO, Kindle Fire, Xbox, PlayStation, iPad or a smart TV. Or you can watch it for free on your desktop or laptop computer, with advertising.
A short preview is available.
Could the Shroud become a symbol of interdenominational unity?
Could it even become a symbol of interfaith unity?
David emails to let us know that he has updated The Enigma of the Shroud of Turin website. It is a wonderful update. “The headline,” he writes:
. . . is that the 2010 film is available in eight languages free to watch. All three films are available on the English page. . . .
That would be:
- The Silent Witness
- Material Evidence – The Shroud of Turin
- The Case for the Turin Shroud
Select a flag (on David’s new page) to watch the films.
Now for a MUST READ. David writes in his email:
I have also created an editorial page on which I have posted some (I think) new and possibly controversial ideas. I hope they get some traction and very happy if they raises discussion on your blog.
Read both the main content (The intrinsic value of the Shroud – authentic or not) and the right-hand column (A Campaign).
Here, from the right-hand column, is a snippet of what David posts:
Could the Shroud become a symbol of interdenominational unity? Could it even become a symbol of interfaith unity?
For almost 40 years I have watched the arguments for and against the Shroud’s authenticity ebb and flow. I have seen good friends fall out over them and many dedicated champions of the subject go to their graves without seeing any fundamental change in the status quo. I would like to see some wider recognition for what the Shroud could be before I get too much older and, with an exposition this summer (April 19th to June 24th.) 2015 is an auspicious year for such an aspiration.
Judaism and Islam eschew iconography and there are good reasons for that. The sentimentality of the Jesus of the Sacred Heart has “Disneyfied” Jesus.
Beautiful though it is, even Michaelangelo’s Pieta brings a level of sentimentality that can cloud judgement. Once the first Jewish Christians decided to include pagans in the new religious adventure inevitably the risk of idolisation returned and, I would argue, it did. This has been splendid news for proselytisation and art but bad news for clarity of thought. The austere and (so far) inexplicable shroud image makes no concessions to “art”.
Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope is still my favorite Go-To site for exploring shroud images (The Enrie and Durante 2002 images). But I must also praise the facility offered by the Diocese of Turin of the Haltadefinizione images on the web. It is another Go-To site.
Although based on the Haltadefinizione scans, it does not have the high definition quality of the iPad app, Shroud 2.0. But that is not what this web-based tool is for. It’s a simple, easy way for the public at large to explore the shroud’s image online. As a Go-To spot for the general public, it may be the best.
A few features:
- As with Mario’s facility, you can move the image about – left and right, and up and down – by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the image about. Movement is smooth.
- Also, as with Mario’s tool, you can zoom up and down with a mouse scroll wheel or with clickable buttons. Zoom sizes stated as percentages are simply relative values and have nothing to do with real size measurements.
- To rotate the image 90 degrees simply click on the rotation buttons.
- Four languages are supported at this time: 1) Italian, 2) English, 3) French and 4) Russian. Clickable explanations of different parts of the images are excellent and they support on-the-fly Bing or Google translation into numerous other languages. Here is one example of an explanation:
The tool does not offer rectangle drawing for copying parts of images but that is unnecessary with simple tools that are now part of every standard operating systems (I used Window’s notebook for the above extracts).
Resolution looks good but the file is still very limited in terms of size (it need not be). If you want really high definition you will need to use Shroud 2.0 from which the following image of the epsilon bloodstain was taken in my iPhone. Yes, my iPhone! And then I doubled it just for the fun of it. It is even bigger and better on an iPad. The app and image stream is available from iTunes. The app is free and the data is $3.99.
Just in time for Easter and the 2015 Shroud Exposition
John the Baptist is an artifact?
If, like half the world, you have been watching CNN during the last couple of days, you may have seen a frequent ad for an upcoming series of shows starting in March. The ad, in a quick succession of screens says: Faith, Fact, Forgery and Finding Jesus March 2015.
Google produces little information except a nearly empty page from Carmel Communications saying:
Finding Jesus: Faith, FACTS, Forgery, a CNN relics series – coming to television on March 1, 2015; a 6- week series.
More information coming soon!
Amazon tells us about a soon to be released book called, Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.: Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels by David Gibson (Author), Michael McKinley (Author). It will be available sometime around February 24th in Hardcover, Kindle, Audio CD and Downloadable Audio. The description reads:
As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "Finding Jesus"FINDING JESUS explores six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist, that give us the most direct evidence about the life and world of Jesus. The book and attendant CNN series provide a dramatic way to retell "the greatest story ever told" while introducing a broad audience to the history, the latest controversies, and newest forensic science involved in sorting out facts from the fiction of would-be forgers and deceivers. The book and the show draw on experts from all over the world. Beyond the faithful, the book will also appeal to the skeptical and to curious readers of history and archaeology, while it takes viewers of the primetime TV series deeper into the story.
I blogged about this last April writing then:
BREAKING: Jon Creamer of Televisual Media UK tells us about an upcoming six-part series on Jesus:
Nutopia is to make a ‘forensic’ drama doc about the life of Jesus in a six-part commission for CNN called Jesus Code.
Jesus Code will look at “forensics, biblical archaeology and forgery, exploring their connection to the real life of Jesus by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.”
The show will use drama reconstruction and interviews with scholars to re-examine six objects connected to the Biblical Jesus.
Executive Producer, Ben Goold (The Story of US, Mankind, The British) said “These are compelling and astonishing stories of relics such as the Turin Shroud and the True Cross that not only capture the imagination, but also offer real revelations about one of the most important figures in human history.”
Jesus Code will be produced by Nutopia in association with Paperny Entertainment. Filming will start in October in Europe, the US, North Africa and Middle East. Executive Producers are Ben Goold for Nutopia and Lynne Kirby for Paperny Entertainment and it will be distributed internationally by DRG.
Jesus Code forms part of CNN’s new documentary strand in the ET 9pm primetime line-up.
Rodney Ho of The Atlanta Journal Constitution gives the story a bit more punch with a bit less detail as part of a story on 9 p.m. time slot that Larry King occupied for a quarter century and Piers Morgan attempted to fill. The story is mostly about the big guns CNN is bringing into the hour:Mike Rowe (‘formerly of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs’), Lisa Ling (formerly of “Our America with Lisa Ling”) and John Walsh (formerly of Fox’s ‘America’s Most Wanted”). And the icing on the cake:
Finally, how could the most famous man in history have left almost no trace behind? Bringing the most compelling artifacts together for the first time, The Jesus Code will take viewers on a thrilling high-stakes journey through forensics, biblical archeology and forgery in history, exploring the evidence of Jesus’ existence by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.
Let’s see, six relics? (1) Shroud of Turin, (2) True Cross, (3) Holy Grail ???, (4) Veronica’s Veil ???, (5) Seamless Garment ???, (6) ???.
Can you guess what the other three artifacts will be?
But I decided first to google “Gian Carlo Durante”, it being the first time I’d seen his first two names, and quickly came across this fascinating pdf that documents the controversial 2002 restoration. Tucked away inside is a heart-warming sentence that Gian Carlo Durante generously waived his copyright on his 2002 photographic archive, leaving Turin and the Holy See as the sole owners.
One’s tempted to say more, a lot more, where copyright on photographic images of the TS is concerned. Frankly I’m amazed that private individuals with camera equipment, no matter how respected professionally, were ever allowed to acquire copyright anyway for what is surely a technical operation only. All that was required of them was to make as objective as possible a photographic facsimile with no obvious creative input that would aid further research. (emphasis mine)
Can you even copyright photographs of the shroud? It seems that in the United States, you cannot. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is my personal opinion).
The U. S. District Court for Southern New York has held that “exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright in the United States because the copies lack originality. Even if accurate reproductions require a great deal of skill, experience and effort, the key element for copyrightability under U.S. law is that copyrighted material must show sufficient originality.”
In other words, photographs of the shroud are probably not protected by copyright. Is this fair? Possibly not. But the courts have said, in one form or another, that the more accurate the photograph the less copyrightable it is. What about contrast enhancements, negative reversals, images produced by the VP-8 Image Analyzer or ImageJ, etc. The courts are clear here, as well; “sweat of the brow” is not a “creative spark” which deserves copyright.
So is the image on the shroud in the public domain? If it is a work of art by whatever means, it is. If it is not a work of art, well try to argue that in court and try to argue that the question is germane. It’s not.
Online Shroud of Turin Photographic Resources:
BTW: In this cyber age, where is a photograph published for copyright purposes? For instance, I may think I am uploading photographs from my computer but I’m sometimes just pushing them around in the “cloud.” Globally, servers are everywhere. I don’t even know where they are anymore. I take a picture with my iPhone that is not even stored on my camera and may be on a server in South America today and in Spain tomorrow. Yet it is my photograph. And we can forget about domain suffixes. Do any of us really think that ABC.tv is a website for ABC Television in the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu?