Sacred Blood, Sacred Image – The Sudarium of Oviedo

If you searched today in Google on “Shroud of Turin” and ad pops up at the top advertising the book Sacred Blood, Sacred Image – The Sudarium of Oviedo by Janice Bennett. I remember reading it in 2001 when it was released and was favorably impressed with it. I think I shall go and reread it to see what my current opinion is. Here is the description from The Catholic Company that is advertising the book:

This is the story of the Sudarium of Oviedo, an ancient, bloodstained cloth believed to have covered the head of Jesus of Nazareth after his crucifixion. The author traces the known history of the linen, presents the up-to-date conclusions of EDICES, the investigative team that has been studying the cloth since 1989, discusses the cultural significance of crucifixion and blood in the context of first-century Jerusalem, and demonstrates the significance of the famous passage of John 20:5-7, as analyzed by some of the most important Biblical scholars of the world. 20 pages of color photographs. Many are from EDICES, and explain visually the bloodstains and wrinkles found on the cloth, its comparison with the Shroud of Turin, how the cloth was used, and its historical odyssey from Jerusalem to Spain.

Janice Bennett holds an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Colorado University, and was selected for Who’s Who in America 2002. She holds a B.A. degree in Journalism from NIU, and a certificate in Advanced Bible Studies from the Catholic Biblical School in Denver. She taught Spanish Literature for six years. She is a member of the Spanish Center for Sindonology (CES) based in Valencia, Spain. Janice is the author of the book St. Laurence and the Holy Grail.

Best News Article on the Shroud of Turin

Michael Day, writing in Britain’s fourth largest newspaper, The Independent, has written what is probably the most accurate and objective news article on the Shroud of Turin in years:

The face of Christ or a brilliant hoax? More than two million of the faithful, undecided or merely curious who are expected to converge on Turin Cathedral this spring will be able to decide for themselves when the most famous religious relic in the world goes on display for only the sixth time in 100 years.

The public viewing of the Turin Shroud, the cloth that some say bears the imprint of Jesus’s face after his crucifixion, will be the first since a painstaking restoration was completed in 2002.

Fiorenzo Alfieri, Turin’s councillor for culture, said this week that around one million people have already ordered tickets to see the relic, which will be on display in its bulletproof, climate-controlled case from 10 April to 23 May. Mr Alfieri expected more than two million visitors from around the globe.

Traditionally, the public is allowed to see the shroud every 25 years, but church officials have said they understand its "importance to the economy and employment" of the northern Italian city – hence their decision to allow the latest public display just 10 years after the last one.

The “tradition” was once every generation, which is approximately every 25 to 40 years. But it is a loose tradition. Exceptions have been made or the schedule manipulated in the past for royal weddings and coronations in the years when the Shroud was privately owned by the House of Savoy.

Whether the most-studied artifact in human history really does bear the image of Christ or merely the skilled work of medieval pranksters has been the source of debate for centuries, however. The cloth bears the faint image of the front and back of a tall, long-haired, bearded man and appears to be stained by blood of wounds indicative of crucifixion.

Independent carbon-dating tests done in 1988 by researchers at Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona, estimated that the Shroud was made between 1260 and 1390, suggesting it was a hoax.

But some scientists have argued that contamination over the ages may have skewed the results.

The most widely accepted explanation is that the single sample, divided into three parts for the three mentioned labs, was a partial reweaving, a repair made to an excised corner of the Shroud. This has been carefully analyzed an published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, One minor typographical detail: the peer-reviewed journal is Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425, pages 189-194, by Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California). 

One Vatican researcher claims to have found faint traces of script in Aramaic, ancient Greek and Latin on the shroud, while two Israeli scientists said plant pollen found on the cloth supported the view that it comes from the Holy Land.

In 2005, a study, published in the scientific journal Thermonautica Acta (sic), claimed that the Shroud was between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

It is Thermochimica Acta not Thermonautica Acta

In addition, people who believe in the relic’s authenticity say that scientists have never been able to adequately explain how the shroud’s image was made. Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, president of the Turin archdiocese’s commission on the Shroud, said the Vatican might consider a new round of scientific tests after the public display ends, given recent developments in the field of carbon-dating.

That is absolutely true. No explanation of the image that reproduces the image’s chemical and physical attributes has been discovered.

But in April and May visitors will be able to decide for themselves if the Shroud appears realistic. Viewing – a maximum of five minutes a person – is free by reservation, which can be made online.

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to visit the shroud on 2 May. The Vatican itself has carefully avoided opining on the Shroud’s authenticity but has instead described it as "a powerful symbol of Christ’s suffering".

It is thought that the Shroud travelled widely before it was brought to France in the 14th century by a crusader. Nuns subsequently looked after it before it was given to the Turin archbishop in 1578 by the Duke of Savoy. The relic was then bequeathed to the Pope by former King Umberto II of Italy, upon his death in 1983.

Well written. Turin Shroud expected to attract two million visitors – Europe, World – The Independent

More on the upcoming exhibition of the Shroud of Turin

Victor Simpson of the Associated Press reports. He gives short shrift to the history (a tad bit inaccurate), but overall does a fair job of reporting.

ROME – The Shroud sells.

That seems to be the early take on how major celebrations are shaping up in the Olympic city of Turin when the archdiocese this spring displays the Shroud of Turin, revered by many Christians as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth but described by some as a medieval forgery.

At least one million reservations from around the world have already poured in to secure three to five minutes to admire the cloth that has fascinated pilgrims and scientists alike, organizers of the April 10-May 23 showing told a news conference in Rome on Wednesday.

They are hoping for as many as two million over the 44 days, with interest expected to be bolstered by the presence of Pope Benedict, who is scheduled to visit the Turin cathedral – where the Shroud is kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled case – May 2.

Viewing is free by reservation, which can be made online.

Just how long a visitor can view will depend on how packed the cathedral, but there will be a maximum time of five minutes, organizers said.

Traditionally, the public gets a peek at the Shroud every 25 years, but the last showing was arranged after only two years in 2000 for the new millennium – a holy year for the Roman Catholic church. While they resisted a public display during the Winter Olympics four years ago, church officials "understanding the importance to the economy and employment" in the industrial city allowed the display this year ahead of schedule, said Fiorezo Alfieri, Turin’s cultural czar who heads the Shroud Committee.

"The showing represents a precious occasion for tourists intending to include Turin and Piedmont in their itineraries," organizers said.

It will also rekindle the scientific debate over the cloth that bears a faded image of a bearded man and what appear to be bloodstains that coincide with Christ’s crucifixion wounds.

A Vatican researcher recently said in a new book that she used computer-enhanced images of the Shroud to decipher faintly written words in Greek, Latin and Aramaic. But skeptics said the historian was reading too much into the markings and they stand by carbon-dating in 1988 that suggested the cloth dated to the 13th or 14th century.

In turn, those results have been challenged by some who suggest that test results may have been skewed by contamination and that a larger sample needs to be analyzed.

The Vatican has tiptoed around the issue, making no claim about the authenticity but calling it a powerful symbol of Christ’s suffering.

Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, president of the Turin archdiocese’s commission on the Shroud, called it "an instrument of evangelization."

He said the Vatican, which owns the cloth, might consider a new round of scientific tests after the public display ends.

French crusader Robert of Clari mentioned seeing the cloth in 1203 in Constantinople at the imperial palace, but the first actual records trace it only to Lirey in France in 1354.

The shroud was bequeathed to the pope by former king Umberto II of Italy, a member of the House of Savoy, upon his death in 1983.

It will be the first public showing since it underwent a restoration in 2002.

Scientific Article on the Discrepancies in the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin

image The article in Chemistry Today  “Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud” by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino is now available to the general public without a subscription.

The issue is chimica oggi • Chemistry Today • vol 26 n 4 / July-August 2008.

I highly recommend the article. It is perhaps the best article on the subject of the carbon dating problems.

Link is

Controversy and the Shroud of Turin

Face_on_the_Shroud_3_640x908There is more controversy among those who think the Shroud of Turin is authentic and more controversy among skeptics than  there is between the two groups. This observation is clearly demonstrated when we think about all the proposed possible ways the images might have been formed. If there is one thing we can conclude from this it is that in reality no one has the faintest idea about how the images came to be on the cloth.

Interesting Student Blog Posting on the Shroud of Turin

Student at Wooster have created a Global Catholicism in America  blog. Apparently it is only for the Spring 2010 semester. The student intend to provide a running commentary on current events dealing with Catholicism in America. If the first few posts are an indication of quality, I hope this blog lives on much longer (though they need to do some spell checking). Here is an article on the Shroud of Turin:

Debate on the Shroud of Turin’s authenticity arises again in the wake of its new exsposition (sic) in April and May of this year.

“The church has never pronounced itself in this sense. It has always left the question open to all those who want to seek its authenticity. I think it is a relic.” Pope John Paul II

Summary: The Shroud of Turin is believed by many Christians to be the burial clothe of Jesus. It is a 14 foot long cloth with what looks to be a bearded man, complete with wounds of crucifixtion, (sic) flogging and a crown of thorns. Scientists have run many tests on the shroud, including carbon-14 dating in 1988, and have come up with a date in the Middle ages.

Sceptics of the dating tecniques (sic) used have argued that the material that was tested came from a repair site and not the actual shroud. Others argue that because scientists have yet to discover, or agree on, a way the shroud’s image was created that an image like this could only be created by the divine. Pope John Paul II himself visited the shroud the last time it was on display 10 years ago and called it a “relic”. Now as the current Pope benedict (sic) XVI intends to visit Turin to see the shroud in May he must decide what to refer to the shroud as. An icon of Jesus that might not nessesarily (sic) touched him, a sign from God, or a relic of true authenticity.

A Vatican archivist by the name of Barbara Frale says that there is writing on the shroud proving it to be authentic and that of Jesus. Photographs have always been taken of the shroud as another way to study it and she claims that in older photos one can see text in three old Jerusalem languages “Jesus Nazerene”.

Class Themes: We looked at the “stuff” that Catholics have and how important these things are, relics are an important part of worship and belief. Catholics put power into objects touched by saints or the actual body parts of saints.

Questions: Is it important for  Pope Benedict XVI to agree with Pope John Paul II? Is it realistic that people still believe in the shroud even though carbon-14 dating has disproved its authenticity?

Coverage: Catholic News Service

Visit and bookmark this blog: Global Catholicism in America » Blog Archive » Sign, Icon or Relic?

Yorkshire Church Shroud of Turin Replica Display

Susan Press, of the Yorkshire Evening post:

One of the most controversial mysteries in religious history is to be explored at a church in Leeds.

St Theresa’s, in Cross Gates, is set to showcase a full-size copy of the Turin Shroud in an intriguing exhibition outlining its hotly-contested story.

For well over 100 years, believers have contended that the linen shroud is the actual cloth placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial.

Sceptics argue that the world-famous artefact post-dates the Crucifixion by more than a thousand years.

But on Sunday, February 14, regular churchgoers and the general public will be able to carry out their own investigations with the chance to see an exact replica of the shroud.

It has been provided by Pam Moon, who is one of only four people in the world to own a copy.

Mrs Moon, who lives in Staffordshire, will also be giving two talks about the Shroud at noon and 3pm to anyone interested in finding out more.

St Theresa’s parishioner Mrs Mary Wilkinson, 65, came across the intriguing exhibit on a visit to Tamworth, where Vicar’s wife Mrs Moon resides.

She said: "Whatever people think about it, and I know there are many opinions, there is no doubt this is the image of a man who was crucified and as Lent begins that is something for all of us to contemplate."

A booklet outlining the story of the Shroud will also be on sale and people visiting the exhibition are asked to make a donation to church funds.

The original Turin Shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.
The striking image which captured the world’s imagination was first observed on the evening of May 28, 1898, when amateur photographer Secondo Pia, was allowed to photograph it.

The Roman Catholic Church has never formally endorsed or rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.

The exhibition, which will be on show from 8am till 3pm on Sunday February 14, is to move on to Westminster RC Cathedral later in the year.

Full article: Turin Shroud replica on show in Leeds church – Yorkshire Evening Post