A St. Louis Paper Already Online: The Roman Flagrum . . .

October 25, 2014 2 comments

This morning we learned that St. Louis conference papers will be published at shroud.com, something I am especially pleased to learn. Later, Paulette wondered if some authors might also upload their papers at Academia.edu. This, wonderfully, is already happening.  As the authors of one paper tell us:

The contents of this paper have been presented on the occasion of the international St. Louis Shroud Conference (The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science), held in St. Louis on October 9th-12th, 2014. The paper has been anticipated here, waiting for the official Proceedings.

imageThe paper is The hypotheses about the Roman flagrum that was used to scourge the Man of the Shroud. Some clarifications by Flavia Manservigi and Enrico Morin.

The authors tells us, as part of this fascinating paper:

In the Roman world many different instruments were used to inflict chastisements through flesh beating. The use of the different tools was determined by the gravity of the crime, but also by the social class of the prisoner and by its nationality.

The lowest level of this punishment was carried out in schools, against undisciplined children: in this case was used an instrument called ferula, which was a thin stick or a flat leather strip (Martial, Epigrammata, X, 62; 14, 79; Juvenal, Saturae, I, 15).

Another instrument which could be used for the domestic punishment was the so called virga (Juvenal, Saturae, VII, 210); in the case of serious crimes, it could become an instrument of death. It was a small rod made of elm or birch, which could be used singularly or joined together; in this form, virgae were also carried by the lictors as symbols of the juridical and administrative authority of the magistrates, because they were used to flog criminals (Cicero, In Verrem, 2, 5, 140; Livy, Ab Urbe conditam, II, 5; XXVI, 15-16; XXVIII, 29; XXIX, 9; Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, XVI, 30, 75; Acts of Apostles, 22, 24-29).

. . . and it goes on from there. Fascinating. Do read it.


Scientific truth is a pathway to God

October 24, 2014 34 comments

As the Huffington Post describes him:

imageBr. Guy Consolmagno SJ is an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he has two degrees in planetary sciences from MIT and a doctorate from the University of Arizona. He is a past president of the IAU Commission 16 (Moons and Planets) and past chair of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (AAS/DPS). Along with more than 200 scientific works, he is the author of six popular astronomy books (most notably Turn Left at Orion, with Dan Davis, and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? with Paul Mueller) and the winner of the 2014 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Outreach from the AAS/DPS.

He has put together an interesting posting for the HuffPo blog: Science, Religion and the Assumptions We Make.  He concludes (but do read it from the top)

I believe that the physical universe we study was was made deliberately by God who found it good — and who makes Himself known in the things He created (to quote St. Paul). Thus scientific truth is a pathway to God. Even a scientist who denies the existence of any creator God must nonetheless worship at the altar of Truth, or else that science is worthless.

And why, at the end of the day, do I choose one religion over another? I can accept that all religions ultimately are looking for the same God. But I suspect that some religions do a better job of it than others… just as Newton’s physics was an improvement over the medieval view, and quantum physics picks up where Newton’s version fails. The religions of The Book — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — all recognize a God outside of nature who created this universe and found it good. Of these, I adopt the Catholic view because to me it is the most complete, most coherent vision of God and God’s interaction with our universe.

I find that my religion’s understanding of the universe is consistent with everything that I observe about life: not only in science, but in my experience of beauty, love and all the other transcendentals that science does not treat… including those experiences that I interpret as prayer, my direct experience of God.

It’s not a proof. But it is a consistency argument. Your mileage may vary.

And one of those things may be the shroud.

St. Louis Papers to be Archived at shroud.com

October 24, 2014 4 comments

imageBarrie Schwortz reports on the STERA Facebook page:

Great News! The organizers of the recent St. Louis Shroud Conference have decided that, rather than creating and maintaining a separate website, they will have all the papers and presentations permanently archived on http://www.shroud.com. We are asking all participants to submit their final papers to us by December 15th so we can include them on a new St. Louis Conference page as part of our 19th Anniversary update on January 21, 2015. Watch for our last major update of the year in early December.

Great news, indeed.  Individual conference archives are always at risk. Over the years, the conference organization drifts away and no one is left to maintain the conference website and pay for storage space and bandwidth (although storage space is now cheap and bandwidth costs have all but disappeared except for large-scale video files). The issue is loving care, time consuming maintenance.

Barrie is simply the best.

The Guardian Notes the History Today Article by Charles Freeman

October 23, 2014 30 comments

imageThe Headline:  Turin shroud was made for medieval Easter ritual, historian says

The Lede: Charles Freeman believes relic venerated as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth dates from 14th century and was used as a prop

Charlotte Higgins writes:

The original purpose of the shroud, argues Freeman, is likely to have been as a prop in a kind of medieval, theatrical ceremony that took place at Easter – the Quem quaeritis? or “whom do you seek?”

“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” he said.

This will probably get syndicated. Many Guardian articles about the shroud do.

Accusations of Intellectual Dishonesty

October 23, 2014 50 comments

imageDiscussions can be come highly charged at times and it is easy for some of us to accuse someone of intellectual dishonesty.  If I say someone misunderstands the data (and I mean it), that’s okay.  If I say someone is misrepresenting the data, it’s a close call; it goes to intent but it is probably a good idea to avoid such language.  If I say someone is manipulating the data that is an accusation, plain and simple.  If I’m going to accuase someone, I have to be able to prove it.

I discarded such a comment this morning. Please don’t say that someone is “trying to manipulate the data.”

There have been some recent comments that I perhaps should have edited or discarded. I don’t like to do so, however. So I’m asking everyone to think carefully about how comments are worded to avoid inappropriate accusations.

430 Wikipedia Articles Mention the Shroud of Turin

October 23, 2014 6 comments

(only the English Edition was searched)

imageDo you recall when Wikipedia had a small article on the Shroud of Turin. That article now, if you print it out, is 22 pages long followed by 13 pages of references.  But that is not enough. In addition to the main article, Shroud of Turin, there are other articles that include “Shroud of Turin” in the title:

There are articles about many shroud researchers. Here are some of them in no particular order:

And there are articles with significant discussion of the shroud

Altogether, 430 Wikipedia English edition articles mention the Shroud of Turin according to Google. 

High Definition

October 22, 2014 4 comments

Colin writes:

Well, would you credit it?  There we were, assuming that HD Shroud 2.0 was only available on iPads, at a price, when all the time it was there at the click of a laptop key on good ol’ Auntie BBC, going way back to 2010.

Well, not exactly. The image from the BBC is not the HD image available on iPads. It is a low grade, non-HD, 786 by 2973 pixel, 96 dpi JPEG copy of what is available on the iPad. The real, HD image is bigger than life. You can see all the threads. So when Colin says . . .

Maybe resolution is critical to spotting the two-tone effect. Maybe that’s why it’s been missed previously, by myself and others.

. . . I’m confused.  Does Colin mean low resolution? I’ve been looking and looking at the iPad image, even cranking up the contrast. I don’t see the two-tone effect Colin sees. I, do, however, see some pink in the epsilon-shaped bloodstain on the forehead. See:


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