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Full Shroud of Turin Episode of Finding Jesus Available on CNN Website

March 2, 2015 11 comments

Important New Pollen Discovery on the Sudarium of Oviedo?

February 15, 2015 23 comments

imageThe English language pages of the Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM) are reporting that UCAM’s researchers have found scientific evidence that places the Shroud of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin in the same scenario::

The research group of the Catholic University of Murcia which is studying samples of the Shroud of Oviedo, has discovered a grain of pollen from one plant that, according to the Pollen Expert of EDICES, Marzia Boi, is compatible with the botanical species of Helicrysum Sp., also identified in the Holy Shroud (Shroud of Turin). Moreover, it has dropped the hypothesis of subsequent contamination, as the pollen is adhered to the blood; this means that the pollen arrived on the shroud at the same time as the blood, not randomly at some point along its history.  This fact is very important because it makes it possible to prove the authenticity of the Shroud of Oviedo, and deny that it is a forgery.

La Opinion de Murcia in a story four days ago adds this interesting piece of information (Translation by Google):

This research has been possible thanks to the innovative scanning electron microscope last generation that tells the UCAM. In this sense, the president of the UCAM, José Luis Mendoza, notes that [the university] acquired "the microscope to offer this service" to investigate in depth the aforementioned relic. This is a new finding that is not part of the research line that is centered study, since what is sought in the sample being processed is human biological material.

The Valencia newspaper, Las Provincias, in its coverage of the discovery, offers up this (Translation by Google):

The plant known as ‘Helicrysum’ has been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes in the Middle East; also was used in Jewish burials during the first century of the Christian era, so it is no wonder their presence on blood remnants of a canvas used to shroud a corpse.

Will this story get legs beyond regional papers and a university website?

Click on picture for larger view and here for and even larger image on the university’s site.

Two More Articles About Upcoming CNN Series on Finding Jesus

February 13, 2015 15 comments

Has anyone noticed that two weeks out
CNN is advertising this series several times per day.
 

image1)  Another Beliefnet article, Is This The Actual Face of Jesus? , delves into the upcoming CNN series about Jesus, particularly the first show on March 1, 2015, about the Shroud of Turin. The lead reads:

In the upcoming original CNN series, Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery, The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that some Christians believe is the actual burial cloth of Christ, bearing His image. Others have their doubts.

It then begins with the rather bold sentence:

This March, the CNN series will delve into the archaeological findings surrounding The Shroud of Turin and travel as far as the Cathedral of San Salvador, in Spain, to answer this question once and for all.

And this:

“We believe based on our research the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus,” says series expert and Director of the Turin Shroud Centre of Colorado Dr. John Jackson. A physicist and professor at heart, he was first introduced to The Shroud by his mother at the age of 13 and quickly became fascinated with the relic but asserts his position is not to convince others of his conclusion but lead them to draw one for themselves, "The Shroud has both religious and scientific dimensions. This ignites curiosity on both sides of the spectrum. So we try to put it back on the people who come to our lectures to think for themselves rather than regurgitating our data and reasoning. It’s much more effective that way." In 1978, Jackson led a team of scientists who spent five days intensely studying the Shroud for authenticity, before ultimately concluding it is genuine and not an artistic fake.

[ . . . ]

Jackson encourages fellow Christians to look at the series through the lens of both science and faith, "Maybe the Shroud has something to say about the primordial concern [of life and death] we have as human beings. Therefore, I think it’s incredibly important. Not that we base our faith on the Shroud, but that it can illuminate our faith in Christianity."

image2)  And The Blaze has an article, The Truth About Jesus? New TV Series Promises to Blend ‘Science and Archeology’ to Explore the Bible :

Set to premiere on March 1 at 9 p.m., “Finding Jesus” will include media personalities and experts who will discuss these matters in detail, including Pastor Erwin MacManus of MOSAIC Los Angeles, California, and Huffington Post religion editor Rev. Paul Raushenbush.

Reporter David Gibson will release a companion book later this month by the same name that will dive deeper into the contents of the documentary, claiming in a book description that the relics depicted “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,” a book explanation reads. “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.”

A Gedankened Image Forming Process

December 17, 2014 16 comments

We believe our hypothesis can readily be tested simply by . . . 


our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism.
It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection

imageWhen I spotted Electric Charge Separation as the Mechanism for Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin: A Natural Mechanism by D.S. Spicer and E .T. Toton on shroud.com’s St. Louis Conference page, and I read the abstract again, I quickly looked for something else to read. It’s  the non-scientist in me; this was going to be difficult paper, I realized.

I was wrong. It was very interesting and easy to understand.

I always jump to the end where I found this under Discussion and Conclusions on page 15:

As should be clear, our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism. It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection, nor should it. The image is not the recording of the Resurrection but it is an image capture of the body of a crucified man consistent with the historical records of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That no hitherto satisfying mechanism for image formation has been discovered is not proof that a supernatural explanation must be the only other choice, nor does the discovery of a credible mechanism of image formation impugn the belief in the reality of the Resurrection. If it were possible to take a photo of the Ascension-where is the miracle? Is it the Ascension or the photo of it? We believe that the Shroud Image is indeed the image of Jesus Christ’s lifeless body only and it strengthens the historical argument for His existence, death, and His Resurrection.

Got it!  That’s clear.  Now back to the beginning. This part of the introduction had me hooked. Read on!

In this paper we examine a novel image formation mechanism that comprises a uniform low frequency quasi-electrostatic field and polar molecules to produce the image of a crucified man on a linen cloth known as the Shroud of Turin. Given that to date the historical evidence tracks the origins of the cloth back to at least the 6th century AD, that forensic evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the man enclosed by the Shroud was in fact crucified, which totally undermines the assertion of forgery by revealing details in physics, chemistry and medical knowledge only available in the 20th century, and that there are additional physical tests, other than the one-off and often cited C14 test against the authenticity of the Shroud, that date the Shroud to the 1st century AD, we will assume that the crucified man was in fact Jesus of Nazareth and use the New Testament Gospels as a source of information for Jesus’ crucifixion.

Among the many STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) findings regarding the images of a crucified man found on the Shroud of Turin (ST) there are six that point to a clear and natural explanation for both the dorsal and ventral images of the cloth [21, 16, 1, 2, 3, 8, 20]. These are:

  1. Images on the cloth exist only of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of body and these images lie only on the fibers found at the extremities of the cloth
  2. No image or discoloration exists between the two surfaces of cloth, i.e., within the cloth
  3. There is no image of the top of the head or sides of the body enclosed by the cloth [14]
  4. The image density on the cloth appears to embody information on the vertical distance between the cloth and the portion of the ventral body imaged, as if the cloth were held flat and horizontal slightly above the body or, in the case of the dorsal image, between the cloth on either the floor or shelf on which the body lied and the back of the body. In essence, the closer the cloth was to the body the darker the image, and the farther away the fainter the image [13]
  5. A body image is visible in areas where there was no contact between the body and the cloth
  6. The coloration does not appear under the threads where they cross in the weave of the cloth

And there was this timely paragraph that pertains to recent discussions on this blog about why the image does not fluoresce – of course, assuming . . .

The STURP measurements showed that the Shroud fluoresced everywhere except in regions of the image. This suggests to us that the image formation mechanism somehow changed the allowed atomic transitions that permits the rest of the cloth outside of the image areas to fluoresce. This fact suggests that identifying what is allowing fluorescence can help to determine what chemically causes the image. A good start would be to see whether calcium fluoride or residual pectins (an Alan Adler suggestion[1]) are present on the cloth.


[1] Brian Walsh private communication

The Rings of Saturn

October 1, 2014 2 comments

imageIn an opinion piece, Stu Salkeld, editor of the St. Albert Gazette, writes:

Some people would be astounded to know how far back the tourism industry stretches. Some claim it stretches back to the 14th century in Europe, when a preponderance of holy relics appeared rather suddenly. The number and diversity were impressive: the Shroud of Turin, said to be Jesus Christ’s image on his burial shroud, which was unheard of until the relic trade began in the 1300s, the Sudarium of the Lord, a facecloth that is said to have captured Christ’s profile after he died on the cross, the Spear of Destiny, which a Roman centurion wielded as he stabbed Christ on the cross (four of these currently exist in Europe) and probably the least known, the Holy Prepuce, or Holy Foreskin.

[. . . ]

The medieval relic trade was profitable. Pilgrims from across Christendom travelled what, at the time, were rather dangerous roads to visit cities such as Turin that held artifacts said to be associated with Christ, the saints or other holy figures and while they were on the road pilgrims spent a lot of shekels, much as modern tourists do today. However, the authenticity of many relics was almost immediately called into question, even by the church itself. For example, in a 1389 letter, Bishop Pierre D’Arcis denounced the Shroud of Turin as a fraud to Clement VII.

Some claim; is that transparent bias?  Can you spot the history mistakes?

Why the picture of Saturn? Read the article.

The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend?

September 26, 2014 4 comments

imageAndrea Nicolotti’s book, From the Mandylion of Edessa to the Shroud of Turin: The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend (Art and Material Culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe) has finally been published in English. It was available in Italian in 2011. Andrea, who has commented in this blog on occasion, considers this to be a “revised and augmented edition.”

The price for the Hardcover edition is $124.00 at Amazon. The list price is $142.00.  (Please note that Amazon is reporting that the book has not been released even though the publication date is September 15th. Nonetheless, Amazon is accepting orders at this time).

A limited preview of the first chapter and the conclusion from the last chapter is available at Academia.org. The Table of Contents and Index are also provided.

The whet your appetite here are three paragraphs from the conclusion:

There is not a shred of evidence that the Mandylion of Edessa was a long shroud or that it showed the entire body of the crucified and wounded figure of Christ. Those who argue for the shared identity of the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion of Edessa have based their arguments on evidence that cannot withstand close scrutiny. In order to argue for the authenticity of the Turinese relic, some have gone to great lengths. In so doing, they have approached the changing nature of the legends concerning this relic too simplistically. More-over, they have used evolving legends as if they were trustworthy historical sources, which is utterly unacceptable.

It is clear that the ultimate aim of the theory that identifies the Shroud with the Mandylion is to demonstrate that the Shroud of Turin has existed and can be documented since antiquity. But the first historical documents that mention the Shroud date to the fourteenth century, and the date obtained by radiocarbon dating places it between 1260 and 1390 CE. The history of the Shroud is the topic of my next book, but it is important to clarify that even if the Shroud was authentic and dated from the first century, it is a completely different object than the Edessean image.

We can therefore end this analysis by quoting the 1786 opinion of the Marquis Giovanni de Serpos, in regard to the reliability of that “sweet illusion” and the “birth of a devout imagination” in the legend of Abgar: “Everything so far narrated must be counted as mere fable.”

Order it today and Amazon will ship it the minute it becomes available. I look forward to reading this book and his next book on the history of the Shroud.

The Tour of Nine Replicas Continues

September 17, 2014 1 comment

The Reporter News in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, offers a headline, a picture and a photo caption:

The Headline: Faithful turn out in Hatfield to see a replica of the Shroud of Turin

The Photo Caption:  Anna Marie Parsons leans down to touch a replica of the Shroud of Turin on display at St. Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield on Sunday evening. Pope Benedict XVI approved nine replicas of the Shroud of Turin and then individually blessed the cloths. Each cloth was sent on tours all around the world.

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