John C. Hathaway over at The Lewis Crusade discusses Barbara Frale’s claim that there is lettering on Shroud of Turin. Frale, a Vatican researcher, discusses this in her new book The Shroud of Jesus Nazarene. While I do think the Shroud of Turin is genuine: the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. I respectfully disagree with these findings (but it is a great blog).

Hathaway writes:

And, again, it falls in the category of, “How would an alleged Medieval forger have known this??”

1.  In 1978, letters were found around the face area of the Shroud of Turin

2.  Shroud researcher Barbara Frale has made a career of figuring them out.

3.  The letters say “Jesus the Nazorean” in Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

4.  Frale wanted to know *why* the letters were there.  She did a great deal of research and found out . . .  [Read the full post for more of Hathaway’s posting].


Most scientifically-minded Shroud researchers have problems with the claim. Frale’s conclusions are based on the studies done by French researchers Marion and Courage that was published in the late 1990’s.  This study used the 1931 Giuseppe Enrie photographs taken with orthochromatic film and very angular, almost raking, lighting. They look great, visually, but they are not adequate for detail identification of fine detail.

Orthochromatic film only records black and white and interpolates for a limited range of gray with silver grain patterns. In a sense it is like halftone dots of varying shapes of silver clumps.  It would be impossible to capture the high definition required for these claimed inscriptions. I believe we are looking at classic pareidolia. See What is pareidolia and why is it important? and Crazy Stuff of the Shroud of Turin.