A reader in Houston wonders:
So is this a measure of controversy or success?
A reader in Argentina disagrees with my spot analysis:
You have misread the effect of the carbon dating. Interest was already in decline. The bottom line is that after STURP public interest was kept alive almost exclusively by Barrie Schwortz and you other webanairs.
And Sean Fitzpatrick observes:
I see three peaks. The run-ups were Pia and Vignon, STURP and SSG. Notice that ‘Shroud of Turin’ replaced ‘Holy Shroud’ as the choice title in the late 1970s.
Here are three options. Or you can watch the documentary on History, Christmas Day at 10:00pm ET. (9CT, 8MT, 10PT, but check local schedules).
- History Channel has it in stock and is offering it for $24.95 plus $2.95 for shipping (free shipping if you order it today or tomorrow).
- Amazon (U.S.) is selling it for $22.49. Shipping costs are about the same. If you have Amazon Prime, shipping is free for two day delivery.
- You can also buy and download the full 1 hour and 28 minute video from Apple iTunes for $3.99. If you have the right cables you can hook up your iPod, iPhone or iPad to a full-size television. You do not need to own a mobile device to download the iTunes software and then watch the iTunes version of the Real Face of Jesus on your computer. iTunes gives "The Real Face of Jesus?" a popularity rating of 10 out 10.
For someone who wants to own this amazing documentary, the iTunes option is the lowest price.
The History Channel’s acclaimed documentary, “The Real Face of Jesus?” will air again on History, Christmas Day at 10pm ET (9CT, 8MT, 10PT, but check local schedules). Here also are three articles about the show from History’s website:
The Real Face of Jesus? follows a team of graphic experts as they use cutting-edge 3D software to bring a holy relic known as the Shroud of Turin to life. Read more
The Shroud of Turin, a 14-foot cloth in which many believe Jesus Christ was buried, may be the most studied artifact in history—and the most controversial. Read more
Through 3D technology, computer graphics artists attempt to answer a question that has captivated painters, sculptors, scholars and theologians for hundreds of years: What did Jesus Christ look like? Read more
Why backaches, wisdom teeth, goose bumps and hiccups: Rob Dunn in the Smithsonian Magazine has a fascinating article: “The Top Ten Daily Consequences of Having Evolved.” This isn’t exactly going to be exciting to the ID crowd. But for the rest of us, enjoy. Here is a tidbit:
Hiccups no longer serve a function, but they persist without causing us harm—aside from frustration and occasional embarrassment. One of the reasons it is so difficult to stop hiccupping is that the entire process is controlled by a part of our brain that evolved long before consciousness, and so try as you might, you cannot think hiccups away.
Read the full article hereThe Top Ten Daily Consequences of Having Evolved | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine
So far, it looks great. There is much to investigate and report about this new Shroud of Turin website. In particular, the 3D content on this site needs to be understood. For instance, as with the Petrus Soons’ site, we need to know how much of the 3D image generation is algorithmic and how much is artful adjustments.
Looking again, it is looking wonderful and there seems to be additional content. I understand that the site will be officially launched on January 22, 2011.
I was impressed by the candor of four paragraphs on the home page starting with this paragraph:
The Christian religion does not base itself on an idea. It is based on a historical character who lived and was executed by Roman crucifixion. In the view of many who have studied the Shroud closely, Christians and non-Christians, there is a possibity, albeit a remote one and against all rational expectations, that this mysterious length of linen preserved in Turin is genuine and that the image preserved on the surface of its fibres is of Jesus of Nazareth laid out in death.
Do watch the trailer on the home page at http://www.shroudtv.com/
Here we see a plot of occurrences of three different “bigrams” shown as a percentage of all words and meaningful bigrams in a statistically significant sample of books published in English between 1898 and 2008. By 1910 the Secondo Pia excitement of 1898 had faded. STURP was in 1978 and the carbon dating in 1988. The carbon dating of the shroud was being doubted in some quarters by the mid-1990s onward and Rogers’ paper was published in 2005. The data is not available beyond 2008. It will be interesting to see what it shows. Values before 1898 are consistently about zero going back to 1600.
Does this tell us anything or is it just interesting?
Source: Google Labs
Here is the website for a site called Carpet Rugs. Notice the table of contents. Yes, each one of those items is an article about what the chapter title describes except for the first item. Children’s Carpet is actually about the Shroud of Turin.
It is a well written article. Only thing is it was a well written article four years ago in December of 2006 by Denise Wang for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. It seems to have been plagiarized word-for-word, apparently without permission or credit. Why? It is an unethical technique used to try to fool search engines to gain favorable listing positions for unrelated search arguments. I have removed the links but go ahead and read the article, The Shroud of Turin vs. Scientfic Examination at the original Yahoo location. It is a good article.
- Children’s Carpet
- Kids Carpet
- Co2 Laser Cutter
- Closets Organizers
- Excimer Laser
- Shelf Pins
- Kitchen Ceiling Light
- Steel Fence
- Natural Bamboo Floors
- Vinyl Gates
I continue to contend that lunatic theories are a bigger threat to the credibility of the Shroud of Turin than any of its skeptics. Now we see another example from someone named Arthur Cristian who welcomes PayPal contributions to “Support The Love For Life Campaign, Kindom (sic) & The Cristian Family.”
He writes on his website to tells us about one of Dr. Joye Pugh most lunatic theories:
The Shroud of Turin, says Joye, is a legitimate artifact from Jesus’ crucifixion and has been used, by modern science, for nefarious purposes. The Shroud is real, says Joye. Carbon dating of this artifact may have been a conspiracy to conceal its legitimacy. Evidence found in the Book of Revelation suggests that the Antichrist is a demonic clone. Clones do not have a soul which makes them the perfect vehicle for demonic influence.
Joye’s research unearths a myriad of clues suggesting that Princess Diana was used by the Royal Family as a "sacrificial lamb" to usher in the Antichrist – Prince William. She believes the Shroud of Turin will eventually be proven legitimate and Prince William’s DNA will match Christ’s DNA taken from the shroud. When it is revealed that Prince William shares the same DNA as Christ (cloned), the public will embrace him as the Messiah. Dr. Joye ties this event in with a staged "alien threat" which, she believes, will frighten the public into trusting Prince (King) William as their leader and protector. Her theory ties in with 2012, the London Olympics, secret excavations in Iraq, ley lines, and HAARP.
Who is Dr. Joye Pugh? Google her to find out. Wear your tinfoil hat.
INITIALLY ADDRESSED TO THE SHROUD SCIENCE GROUP
Rebecca and I just returned from Turin where we participated in a special Mass in which replicas of the Shroud and the Tilma of Guadalupe were spiritually associated with one another. We attended this event, not as researchers, but as Catholic Christians believing that the formal association of what the images on both cloths depict is meaningful and important for today’s world.
Upon our return, Rebecca called to my attention some discussion on the Shroud Science Group regarding this event and I wish to offer some of my own reflections. It seems that the discussion was precipitated by comments made by Dan Porter on his “Shroud of Turin Blog” where he writes about the event in Turin, “What kind of signal does this send? Confusion. Keep the story tiny and buried.” With respect for Mr. Porter, I could not disagree more with this summation; I think the signal sent is, to the contrary, Spiritually valuable and that the story should be widely disseminated and definitely not buried.
The ceremony was held last Sunday on December 12th (The main feast day of our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico) in the context of a special Mass that was presided over by a Bishop and about a half-dozen con-celebrating priests. The Mass was held in a special Shroud Chapel which is part of the Shroud Museum in Turin. Those who have visited this chapel may recall that the full-length Shroud image is placed above and behind the altar where Mass is celebrated. Off to the right, not in the Sanctuary but right in front of it, was a Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. During the Mass, the Bishop came down from the altar and first incensed the Guadalupe image and then blessed it. The image was positioned so that the face of the Virgin was oriented towards the image of her son as depicted on the Shroud. An operatic soprano from Mexico sang beautiful hymns as did a chorus of seminarians from Italy. Special readings from Scripture were delivered by representatives of both Turin and Mexico. Following the Mass, the group from Turin and Mexico were treated to a nice luncheon provided by a community of Sisters. Following this everyone said good-bye in a spirit of Christian charity.
It is important to understand that the purpose of the ceremony was not to stimulate scientific discussions about the physical nature of the two images, for that would miss the entire point of the event which was spiritual in essence. The theological essence represented by the intimate association of the two images is often misunderstood in today’s world. Catholic theology understands that the Shroud image, if authentic, is that of the human nature taken by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who is God, for the purpose of our salvation. This human nature was taken voluntarily from the Virgin Mary by the action of God, the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from God, the Father. Since the Virgin Mary is who is depicted in the Tilma of Guadalupe, the association of the two images, Shroud and Guadalupe, should be obvious.
The Catholic Church further believes that the human nature taken from Mary was not contaminated by Original Sin, as we are, because of a special favor granted to Mary by virtue of the Redemption of Christ of which she played a unique and necessary role by allowing the Incarnation of the Son of God to enter into our world order. Therefore, Mary was conceived without sin so as to be a fitting vessel for the Holy Incarnation of God into our world. She was also assumed body and soul into heaven because of this spiritual favor granted to her (Note that there is no burial site attributed anywhere in the Christian world to Mary where her earthy remains would be located, whereas we have many burial sites of saints such as Mark, James, and even Peter). Anyone who wishes to read more of these theological matters can find them readily explained in the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is available in many bookstores and in many languages.
I should also emphasize that the theological validity of the Tilma of Guadalupe should not rest on certain physical attributes of it that might be acquired by science. Rebecca and I, for one believe in the apparitions of Guadalupe, not because of some scientific result, but rather because of the testimony provided by Juan Diego to whom the apparitions occurred (incidentally one year before the Chambrey fire on the Shroud. Juan Diego was recently declared to be a saint by Pope John Paul II and Rebecca and I had the privilege of attending his canonization Mass in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The apparitions so moved Juan Diego that he spent the rest of his life talking to whoever was interested and this led directly to the fact that Mexico is today Christian (Catholic). The magnitude of such a faith response comprising some millions of people is for us good testimony to the validity and spiritual fruit of the apparitions themselves. The content of these apparitions are completely in line with the Gospel message, with the Tilma image being an intimate reflection of those apparitions, the composition of which (in a theological and spiritual sense) we believe must have been guided in some way by Divine Providence.
Hopefully, these comments might be helpful to anyone who finds what happened in Turin last Sunday confusing or inappropriate. I would offer that becoming overly focused on the physical or scientific aspects of the Tilma, whatever may have been their physical origin, misses the spiritual and theological aspects that are considerably more important. As perhaps a crude analogy, it would be like becoming fixated on the chemical and physical aspects of the ink that records the words of Scripture in a given Bible to the point of not being able to discern that these words are the words of God in the words of men, inspired by the Divine Providence, something that can only be illuminated by the grace of faith and not merely through our limited capabilities of science.
The Zenit piece about the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe being enthroned in Turin contains this strange sentence: “The Shroud and the tilma of Guadalupe are similar in that neither depiction is considered the work of an artist, but rather images created miraculously.”
I’m surprised you didn’t jump on that. You and nearly every reasonable shroud scholar in recent years has emphasized that we don’t know how the images were created. Saying miraculously means claiming to know how.
Okay. But if I say miraculously – and I’m not – I’m at best expressing belief. So no, I don’t really “know” if I say miraculously since that cannot be proven.
Frankly, I’m inclined to think that the images on the Shroud of Turin were created by some yet unknown, non-miraculous natural phenomenon such as an amino/carbonyl chemical reaction. Many others think the images are the by-product of the miracle of Resurrection by some yet unknown form of energy. To me, that sort of miraculous formation makes no sense at all. I would prefer a full-throttled, unrelated-to-the-Resurrection miracle if it must be miraculous.
What I do have a problem with in that Zenit statement is the total lack of journalistic objectivity. To say that neither depiction is considered the work of an artist needs qualification. I certainly don’t think there is enough information to claim anything about how the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was created. My opinion, until I see evidence to the contrary, is that it was created by an artist.
A “godless liberal living somewhere in Central Texas” who doesn’t have much to say about himself (but is a fan of PZ Myers, which says a lot) in his blog, Surly Edition: The Braying Equus Asinus of the Reality Based Community, wonders:
Would I be total dick if I responded to Xmas letter by pointing out Shroud of Turin is FAKE? It’s Fake!! Hmm. Yes, yes I would.
Why do you think so? What does the Shroud of Turin have to do with Christmas (or Xmas if you prefer)? How do you know it is a fake? You may “believe” it, which is perfectly fine, but it is not a proven fact. Have you read Richard Dawkins’ latest? Did you catch what he said about the Shroud during a discussion of carbon dating? It is not a proven fact.
What is a fact is that a lot of Christians don’t believe it is real. In fact, as I glance at your blog, I notice that you have considerable disdain for particularly fundamentalist Christians who are often inclined to believe, as you do, that the Shroud is a fake.
I also sense that you don’t understand very much about Christianity. I think your response to a Christmas letter, no matter what you write, would be appreciated at some level. Really. Try it.
Merry Christmas, Godless Liberal in Central Texas. Merry Christmas!
The latest comment from Greenboro Public Library posting on the Shroud of Turin way back in January of this year. Dana Riney wonders:
I’ve often wondered how the smoke of the fire which the shroud was exposed to would affect the radiocarbon dating of the material with which it was made. I haven’t read extensively on the subject, but believe that the dating is based on the rate of decay of carbon based material. Wouldn’t the smoke of a carbon based fire impregnating the material skew the results of such a test showing it to be much younger? That is a question for someone much smarter than me to answer. Reflecting on the chunk of wood found on Mount Ararat and claimed to be from Noah’s Ark (I believe it was found by a Frenchman named Navarre sp.), and found by radiocarbon dating to be much younger, how would the freezing cold affect the carbon dating of an object. I’ve seen deer steaks taken from my freezer and thawed after almost a year look as if they were taken from a deer tagged yesterday.
Dana, my understanding is that it would take an awful lot of smoke contamination, perhaps as much in weight as the original cloth to alter the date back to approximately the time of Christ. But then, that still wouldn’t do it because the cleaning procedures would have eliminated the vast majority of that carbon. As for the freezing cold suggestion, it should have no effect whatsoever. We are talking about radioactive decay which is not affected by temperature.
But there are significant, completely scientific, non-religious reasons to doubt the validity of the shroud’s dating. Chemical analysis, all properly peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that the sample that was tested was chemically unlike the whole cloth. It is now widely believed that the sample was a mixture of older, original threads and newer threads woven in as part of a medieval repair. Robust statistical studies as well as microscopic analysis support this theory. Given all this, we must therefore admit that we do not know how old the cloth is. If the newer thread is about half of the total amount of the sample – and it seems to be roughly so – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.
Antonio Bini writing in the Holy Face of Manoppello blog:
Di Lazzaro is well known for having conducted research by means of an impulse of ultraviolet light of just a few billionths of a second within a very restricted interval of the values of energy and density of power that has been able to color the surface of a linen cloth, with the same chromaticity as that of the image on the Shroud of Turin.
The results of the research, to which Professor Giulio Fanti, instructor at the University of Padua and expert on the shroud and the Holy Face also contributed, were presented in 2008 in the United States.
Dr. Di Lazzaro also organized last May, at the research center of ENEA in Frascati, an authoritative international scientific workshop on the images known as "acheropite": the Shroud of Turin, Tilma of Guadalupe, Holy Face of Manoppello. See http://acheiropoietos.info.
The scientist, who is shown in the photo above at the Shrine while in discussion with Sr. Blandina and with Dr. Francesca Esposito Bini of the Radiology Department of the General Hospital in Pescara, has affirmed that according to the research that has been conducted, the Holy Face presents characteristics which in themselves are unexplainable.
A reader writes:
Many people think that Catholics agree on everything or at least should. We don’t and we shouldn’t. We are supposed to agree on essential teachings of the church. Mostly we do. And that is about it. These days, most American and European Catholics are very disappointed with the professional conduct of our bishops. Many of us think women should be ordained as priests. Priests should be able to marry. Like you, I think the shroud is probably real. I am quite sure that the Our Lady of Guadalupe is a painting. I’m with Clinton. Who painted it?
A reader calling himself Deesrickchevrolet, wrote in Mike Adkins blog.
Some couple just proved the part they test on the Turin shroud, had been repaired so it threw the carbon dating off. One man who tested it, said that’s bull. But he took some of the old samples, and low and behold he found what the couple was looking at, He did his report and tried to get a new test, But cancer killed him before he could get it redone.
If you change the word ‘proved’ to suggested or hypothesized and polish up some of the other wording this word-omelette works. It shows that the message about the carbon dating is getting out there.
Also on Sunday, a replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was enthroned in Turin and the two cities were twinned. Turin is the city where the infamous Shroud of Turin is kept — the cloth that shows an image of a crucified man, believed to be the shroud that enwrapped Jesus in the tomb.
The Shroud and the tilma of Guadalupe are similar in that neither depiction is considered the work of an artist, but rather images created miraculously.
What kind of signal does this send? There has been much less scientific examination of the the tilma whereas the shroud is widely considered to be the most scientifically analyzed artifact in history. The story of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is related to a reported vision or apparition, which must be taken on faith if accepted at all. The stories behind the image on the shroud are mere legends. The dissimilarities are numerous.
Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican Christians, in large numbers, are open to the possibilities that the Shroud of Turin is authentic. There are no such possibilities, as far as I can see, when it comes to Our Lady of Guadalupe. That is certainly how I feel about it.
As I see it, the historical and scientific evidence in support of the Shroud’s authenticity is overwhelming. I see nothing like this for what I imagine is probably a wonderful painting of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Recall that last year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking Msgr. Diego Monroy, the rector of the Basilica, who painted the image. Her comment may have been “ill-informed,” but it reminds us that non-Catholics have very different beliefs about Mary.
What kind of signal does this send? Confusion. Keep the story tiny and buried.
On the subject of the silly ‘Atheist’ billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel, Catholic Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic comments in his well read blog, The Dish:
The Christmas stories in the Bible – and they are multiple and contradictory – are obviously myths. They are obviously not to be taken literally. They are meant as signs to the deeper, profounder truth that Christians hold to: that the force behind all that exists actually intervened in the consciousness of humankind in the form of a man so saturated in godliness that merely being near him healed people of the weight of the world’s sins. This is so enormous and radical an idea that it is not suprising that early Christian writers told stories to bring it more firmly to life. But they were stories, telling of a deeper more ineffable truth. If only contemporary Christians could let go of the literalism in pursuit of the far more extraordinary fact of the Incarnation.
Sullivan quotes Rabbi Rami Shapiro who is also right:
If we reclaimed the power of myth, and understood its role in our lives, we could reclaim the world’s religions as keepers of myth and train clergy to be guides to myth who can help us live out the mythic and imaginal dimensions of our lives through acts of compassion and contemplative spiritual practice.
Richard Chadwick, a British interior designer, is very astute in what he writes about the Shroud of Turin:
An artifact moreover that the art world chooses to ignore almost totally, on the grounds that if it’s a fake it would overturn pretty much all current beliefs and understanding of artistic development in Europe prior to the Renaissance… a ‘fake’ causing trouble ? ……….and if it’s real it causes even more trouble……….. hhhhmmmmm…….. so lets see…
[I]t is not sufficiant to just accept ‘ fake ‘ as the default position without acknowledging the inherent questions that lie therein . It seems to me that the burden of proof here lies with both options ; the artifact, however continues to exist as an enigma and it may well be that its very power lies in its continuing unresolved state - ‘ the inherent power of the Mystery ‘.
Read the full posting. In fact, print it out or save it or something. It is a keeper: Richard Chadwick Interior Sketches Blog: HANDLE WITH CARE…
Mark Vernon, English writer and journalist and former Anglican priest comments on the late Very Rev. Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark Cathedral (pictured at right) and Christopher Hitchens. The rare quality comment in the third paragraph, particularly that which is in parentheses, is an important point that we all to often forget.
On the face of it, Colin Slee and Christopher Hitchens have little in common. One an inspiring dean, the other a commanding polemicist. But I was thinking about them both yesterday, in Southwark Cathedral, at Colin Slee’s tremendous and moving requiem. For not dissimilar things are said of both men.
Jeffrey John put it well in his homily: Slee was ‘surprisingly unscared’ in life. The same is said of Hitchens when individuals reflect on his moral courage.
What both men have, or had, is a kind of personal, as opposed to political, freedom – an inner freedom that allows them to speak of what they see to be true. It’s a great gift and stands out, I guess, not just because of the courage it requires, but because of another rare quality both have displayed: clear convictions about what is good and true. (This is not the same as having clear convictions about what is bad and false, an easier set of opinions to hold. You also have to be prepared to take the risks of being proven wrong.)
Second only to when “Brother Stephen lifted that shroud in Turin and asked ‘what does this look like to you guys?’”
Sean Hannity, from Fox News . . .
. . . was debating with a man who wanted rich people to pay more taxes than poor people and he asked him the now famous question "have you ever been given a job by a poor person?” . . . That’s when all seven hundred of us [Jesuits] broke out in spontaneous applause and Brother Matthew declared ‘I move that we give this year’s award to Sean Hannity for his question that unlike any other in our order’s history with the exception of when Brother Stephen lifted that shroud in Turin and asked ‘what does this look like to you guys?’ captures the imagination. Sean Hannity won this year’s Cluelessly Perceptive Profundity Award," said Brother Timmothy.