Into a World Not Cut Off from Reality?

August 18, 2014 16 comments


Colin Berry, in his Science Buzz blog, tells us that It’s time to change the record, all you authenticity-promoting Shroudologists. Thermal imprints can be superficial at the level of linen threads AND their component fibres:

A few photographs should suffice to justify the title of this post. Whether they will silence those who continue to disseminate mis- and disinformation about the thermal imprint, aka contact scorch hypothesis is another matter. Planet Shroudology is a world in itself, cut off it seems from earthly reality, content to parachute-drop its mock-authoritative missives or pdfs etc from on high before high-tailing it back to base.

And he calls for withdrawal of scientific claims:

I say it’s time shroudology stopped making duff claims it cannot back up with experimental evidence. In the two instances where experimental ‘evidence’ has been proferred, the authors of those inappropriately-designed and/or misinterpreted experiments, made in both instances on Dan Porter’s should do the decent thing and withdraw their claims.

Wanting to win friends and influence people he tells us:

Shroudology reeks of agenda-driven control-freakery. I expect to be banned (or issued a yellow card) for saying that. So I’ll say it again. Shroudology reeks.

Relax, Colin. We love you!

imageMetaphorically speaking, down under and on the other side of the world, where reality is seen in different terms. Stephen Jones tells us:

I haven’t read Porter’s blog since the 8th of May . . .

Sounding much like Colin, he quotes from Wikipedia:

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

In other words, “agenda-driven control-freakery.”

After several pages, all written as comments in his blog, Stephen tells us:

. . . a new carbon dating would be unlikely to produce a first century date of the Shroud because of irremovable contamination and even if it did find the Shroud was first century, extreme Shroud sceptics would still not accept that the Shroud was authentic.

There already is ABUNDANT evidence that the Shroud is authentic, but Shroud sceptics don’t accept that. Why then would they accept the evidence of a new radiocarbon dating if it supported the Shroud being authentic?

imageIt does reek.

Now go look at Colin’s pictures. And read what he has to say. It merits your time and consideration.

Oh, I was going to move those papers. Now I can’t. 

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August 18, 2014 1 comment

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Scorched by God? A Hymn for this Sunday.

August 17, 2014 11 comments

imageA reader writes:

There are limits to what science can know and explain, not so with the mysterious ways of God. Scientists, at best, can only show how man can make something that looks like what God can make. You can shovel up a pile of dirt but not show how a mountain was made. You can scorch an image into a cloth but God can scorch His own bright designs onto linen without heat, radiation or powerful beams of light.

Bright designs? Wait! Wait! The hymnal on the shelf. No, no. Use Google. There it is, a hymn by William Cowper, circa 1779. We sing it sometimes on Sunday. The first line is famous: “God moves in a mysterious way.”  People who use it as an argument think they have won. People at whom it is directed know they have won.

The last two lines, I firmly believe: “God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain.”

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

1. God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
2. Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
5. His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
Categories: Image Theory Tags: ,

Evidence of the Resurrection?

August 17, 2014 7 comments

imageYesterday, in the Evangelical Channel of Patheos, Jack Wellman asked, Is There Evidence Jesus Really Rose from the Dead? He discusses historical evidence, biblical evidence and . . .

The Shroud of Turin has been scientifically examined and the conclusion was that whoever it was had been badly scourged, and was crucified, but it appears there was some sort of crown of thorns, and that there was a stab wound in the side. A retired professor from Duke Medical Center, Dr. Alan Whanger, spent nearly his whole life studying medicine and since 1978 has spent years studying the Shroud of Turin.  Initially, he may have studied it to debunk the idea that it was genuine and might have hoped to provide evidence that it was a fake, however the more he studied it using scientific methods, the more he became convinced that it was real.1  Dr. Whanger states that this is the single, most studied object in human history.  Unlike paintings which are two-dimensional, the image of the Shroud is three-dimensional.  Several findings indicated that the Shroud’s images were from Israel and apparently in the spring of AD 30 due to the identification of 28 species, 20 of which grow specifically in Jerusalem and the other 8 within a 12 mile radius of Jerusalem, and with a common blooming time of March and April which would have been around the Passover, the time that Jesus was crucified.

In 2010, the History Channel investigated and used computer technology to add a third dimension and with generally accepted color schemes for the body: hair, eyebrows, and even the bloodied body and they concluded that the image on the Shroud was not painted, nor was it dyed, nor made by any human effort.3  Ray Downing was the computer artist who helped to create the image using powerful computer imaging and he says that this is about as close as you can get to it actually looking like the very person that was wrapped in the shroud. The Shroud was transformed by computer imaging and color scheme graphics or digital artists to produce a 3-D image from the 2-D image contained within the Shroud. The Shroud of Turin is only one of the many threads of methods which we can examine.

Another Gary Habermas, Shroud of Turin Video.

August 16, 2014 5 comments

Dave Kinsella just this week uploaded this video of Gary Habermas presenting “a convincing argument detailing the arguments in favour of the Shroud’s authenticity,” as he puts it. “I was skeptical til I watched this,” he adds. The video runs 44 minutes. It looks good. I disagree with several points, like the discussion of the coin images over the eyes. 

It is a good talk. I’ve never seen it before and I don’t know when this was recorded.

How influential is Gary Habermas when it comes to the shroud?

I don’t  know. But if you search YouTube for “GARY HABERMAS SHROUD OF TURIN” you encounter 2320 videos. There are, of course, duplicates. But it is also evident, just by the numbers, that Dr. Habermas is an influential speaker out on the circuit and on the Internet. By comparison here are two other YouTube search counts:

  • BARRIE SCHWORTZ SHROUD OF TURIN: yields 4660 videos
  • RUSS BREAULT SHROUD OF TURIN: yields 750 videos

If I search Google directly for videos thus:

  • GARY HABERMAS SHROUD OF TURIN: I get 13,100 videos
  • RUSS BREAULT SHROUD OF TURIN: I get 5,160 videos

Something seems counter intuitive here. Well, anyway, Habermas is influential. (We really should count views but I have other things to do with my life). 

And who is Gary Habermas?

And here is something I posted ten months ago:

Read more…

Jack Markwardt’s Antioch Theory

August 15, 2014 12 comments

clip_image001Jack. pictured here, will be presenting two papers at
the St. Louis Conference

1)  Modern Scholarship And The History Of The Turin Shroud

2) The Full-Length History Of The Turin Shroud

Daveb brought up the Antioch theory in response to Charles Freeman’s call for looking beyond the Edessa-Constantinople route. Daveb wrote:

I have previously mentioned Markwardt’s theory that the Shroud was taken to Antioch and kept there. It makes a lot of sense to me, more than taking it to Alexandria as Charles would seem to have it. We know that Peter was first bishop of Antioch, and there is good indicative evidence that he held the burial cloths. Markwardt [pictured here] suggests that the hiding of the Shroud in a wall in Antioch for safe-keeping when other relics were being pillaged or destroyed there, may be the true basis of the similar story from Edessa, Antioch, although often prone to earthquakes, and on the Orontes, could more likely have had a more conducive climate for the cloth’s survival in a wall than Edessa. He suggests that it was taken to Edessa only when Antioch was under threat from the Persian Chosroes. Arriving in Edessa, it was of course not stored in a wall but in the Hagia Sophia cathedral there.

I posted something on this topic back in April of 2012. I think it warrants another look. And the linked-to PDF is definitely worth reading. As posted then:

Jack Markwardt explains:

imageI originated and presented this hypothesis to an international conference convened at Ohio State University in 2008 for the simple reason that the early history of the Turin Shroud cannot be credibly linked to the ancient city of Edessa through a literal application of the Abgar legend. The preeminent historian of Edessa, J.B. Segal, after years of arduous study and investigation, concluded that the Abgar legend constitutes “one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity”. It should not be surprising, therefore, that a number of highly-respected modern historians have summarily rejected this pious fraud as evidential of the Turin Shroud’s whereabouts during the first Christian millennium, particularly because real historical evidence provides not the slightest indication that pagan Edessa was even partially converted to Christianity prior to the late second-century reign of King Abgar the Great. The preeminent historian of Antioch, Glanville Downey, ascribed that development to a two-phase evangelization mission, one which initially resulted in the baptism of Abgar the Great and ultimately concluded with the consecration of Edessa’s first bishop, Palut, in 200 CE, by Serapion, the bishop of Antioch. Relatively recent attribution of an image of Christ to the city of Edessa during the first half-millennium of Christianity arises exclusively from a substantial permutation of the Abgar legend authored, in ca. 945, by a Byzantine Emperor who desired to bestow an apostolic provenance upon the Christ-icon which had recently been transferred to his capital from Edessa. In order to explain away, in one bold imperial stroke, the complete historical anonymity of this icon during the first five Christian centuries, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus sponsored the publication and circulation of a tale which featured not only the cloth’s first-century concealment within a niche located above an Edessa city gate, but also its miraculous rediscovery there by a fictional Edessan bishop, Eulalius, during the Persian siege of 544 CE. It has been suggested, in lieu of this incredible miracle-discovery tale, that the icon was actually found in the wake of the great flood of 525 CE which damaged Edessa’s city walls; however, it is rather significant that such a truly notable event merited no mention whatsoever in the Edessan Chronicle, a Syriac work composed in ca. 540-544 CE, which not only described the great flood but also detailed the most commonplace of Edessan ecclesiastical matters. In my opinion, modern scholarship will continue to reject the identification of the acheiropoietos image of Christ which was brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944 CE with the Turin Shroud unless and until the provenance of that icon, and the circumstances surrounding its arrival in Edessa, can be reasonably established on the basis of non-legendary evidence.

I was there at Ohio in 2008 and remember the presentation, Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret. It was excellent. Read it.

Comment Promoted: Looking Beyond an Edessa-Constantinople Route

August 15, 2014 25 comments

the key problem is survival

Charles Freeman writes in a comment:

As 99.9999 per cent or more of ancient textiles ( and these included all clothing) are lost, it is hard to say anything more than that the Shroud, if it is indeed first century, is a unique SURVIVAL. I am more interested in knowing about the looms ,ancient or medieval, that could have produced it and I am aware that this is a highly specialist area and I would defer to expert opinion.

Still there is much basic work to be done. Contrary to what Ian Wilson tells us ,the Shroud is not a particularly fine linen cloth. Examples of linen with 40 to 70 warp and weft threads per cm are known from Egypt, Palestine and Syria in this period, much greater quality than the Shroud. (See the good article on weaving in the ancient eastern Mediterranean in the Cambridge History of Western textiles ( p, 110 for the figures).

Again if one looks at examples such as the Ramesses Girdle, now in Liverpool, of c. 1200 BC, which, even with computer help, has proved almost impossible to reweave, the Shroud is not especially complicated.

So when one says that the Shroud is unique, it does not mean that one should say it is something special as a cloth so long as much finer and more complicated cloths from the ancient Mediterranean are known to exist.

For me, the key problem is survival. Although I believe that the Shroud is medieval, if a first century date does come up on a radiocarbon redating, I would assume that it was kept somewhere among the large and vibrant early Christian communities of Egypt where the damp would not have got at it. I am frustrated by the way so-called Shroud researchers are not prepared to look outside the Edessa/Constantinople route, when there are so many alternatives to it to explore. The Shroud would not have survived long cooped up in a brick wall in damp (even subject to flooding) Edessa!!


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