A Most Embarrassing Book. Why? It mentions the Shroud of Turin

Dear Jason Gardner, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Seagoville, Texas. You asked in your blog:

[W]hat book that you’ve actually purchased with actual money are you most embarrassed to have bought?

And then you tell us your answer. It was Jesus: The Great Debate by Grant R. Jeffrey (1999, available in paperback and Kindle). You went on:

Nothing personal against Mr. Jefferey, but I can’t take seriously these days any book that argues for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

I’ve never read the book so I can’t comment on it. But what struck me as peculiar about your posting was that you would find it embarrassing to have purchased a book.  I can’t recall ever in my life being embarrassed for having purchased a book. I might not agree with the author. I might not like a book. I may find it ludicrous or distasteful. I might know it is a wacky book before buying it, But why should I be embarrassed. Honestly, I may not want to brag about buying some particular book. But should I be embarrassed?

What struck me as particularly interesting was that you “can’t take seriously these days any book that argues for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.”

I get it. I once felt that way about the Shroud. Could it be real? How ridiculous. How could anyone think it is real: the actual burial shroud of Jesus? The fact that the Shroud of Turin has an image on it, believed to be a picture of Christ, made it seem beyond preposterous.

On a flight from New York to Miami, I was reading Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Thomas Cahill’s book about the apostolic era. Having enjoyed Cahill’s previous best seller, The Gifts of the Jews, I thought I would enjoy his newest book. And indeed I was. Suddenly, with no logical reason that I could see, Cahill introduced the Shroud of Turin. It might have been a treasure of the early church, he thought. I laughed out loud. I laughed so loudly that people on the plane were turning around to see who was creating such a foolish scene.

I remember, at the time, being surprised that I knew so little about the Shroud. Then in my mid-fifties, I had always been an avid reader of history, particularly early church history. I could not recall ever reading anything about the Shroud of Turin. It was so far from being something I cared about that I never paid it any attention. Thus, when in 1979, Walter McCrone, a world renowned forensic microscopist, claimed that he found paint on a few Shroud fibers, I didn’t notice the story. McCrone, having noted that the shroud had suddenly appeared in 1356 in the hands of a French knight who would not say where it came from and that a local bishop soon thereafter claimed that an artist “cunningly painted” it, declared it fake.  Had I noticed the story in 1979, I would have certainly accepted his conclusion. It would have made sense.

A decade later, when three radiocarbon dating laboratories, using carbon 14 dating, supposedly proved the Shroud of Turin was medieval, I didn’t notice. Had I, I would have certainly accepted the conclusion. I trust science. I did then and, more than ever, I do now.

Moreover, I am naturally skeptical about any relic with a historical footprint in medieval Europe. The year 1356 was a time of unbridled superstition in demons, witches, magic, and miracle-working relics.

Well, I’ve come around. I think the Shroud is genuine. My bookshelves are filled with books that argue both sides of the controversy. I’ve read them all. Some I’ve read many times. I am not embarrassed by any of them. Truly, though, I may be disappointed that I spent the money on some of them.

imageMight I not have taken Cahill seriously – it was a wonderful book – simply because he argued for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin? That would have been tragic. Can I not take Gary Habermas seriously because he argued for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin? I’m thinking, in particular, about his wonderful book, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. What a great book that has been for me.

My question to you sir is why are you so convinced that the Shroud is not real? Why are you so convinced that it would cause you embarrassment to read a book by an author who thinks it might be real? What if the book was otherwise a great book?

Why do you think the Shroud is not real?

Yours truly,

Dan Porter



The Most Embarrassing Book I’ve Ever Purchased | Εις Δοξαν

The Face of God: Another Review

Another review of Paul Badde’s new book, The Face of God: Edward Pentin writes in Zenit News:

imageROME, DEC. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- "A gripping cultural thriller" is the assessment of the German magazine Der Spiegel.

It’s referring to "The Face of God," a book by the German journalist and historian Paul Badde that recounts his fascinating quest to uncover the truth behind the Holy Face of Manoppello.

He describes it as a kind of "logbook of the discovery from the beginning" — a vivid and engaging account of how he and a small number of experts came to "rediscover" the Holy Face as the authentic cloth allegedly found in Christ’s empty tomb by the apostles Peter and John.

Exhibited in a church in Manoppello, a small town in Italy’s Abruzzo region, it bears the mysterious image of a man’s face on byssus cloth, or sea silk — a fabric so thin and delicate that it’s impossible to paint on. Yet the image of a bearded, almost dreamy face, marked by wounds, is clearly visible from both the front and back. It possesses a luminous quality and an expression that changes depending on the direction of the light. It also has the exact same dimensions as the face imprinted on the Shroud of Turin.

"It can’t be painted, there’s no trace of color on it and yet it somehow looks painted," Badde tells ZENIT in his apartment near the Vatican. "It’s completely inexplicable."

The first person to claim it as the Holy Face was German Jesuit Heinrich Pfeiffer in 1999. His first theory coincided with local tradition: that the image was stolen from the Vatican in the disputed process of the construction of the new Basilica of St. Peter’s, sometime between 1506 and 1606. But since then, he and others believe it disappeared during the Sack of Rome (1527) and found its way to Manoppello. He also believes that the image derived from forces unleashed by the Resurrection — forces which, he says, also cast an imprint of a body on the Shroud of Turin. From the very beginning, both cloths have been classified as "acheiropoietos" — Greek for images "not made by man’s hand."

Recreating the scene

It’s here where the story becomes most fascinating. The discoverers of the Holy Face claim the reason why Peter and John became convinced of the Resurrection was because Peter saw the Holy Shroud (among other cloths, collectively called "othonia" by John) on a raised area on the right side of the tomb. "Separate from these cloths," and therefore probably on the lower, left side of the tomb, was what John called the "soudarion" — the thin veil with the Holy Face. Mary Magdalen was the first to discover the empty tomb and was upset and ran to the apostles. But when Peter and John hurriedly returned in the early dawn, they reacted differently.

Badde poses the question why. "Peter wasn’t smarter, he wasn’t braver, yet she ran away saying they’ve taken him away," he points out. The rediscoverers of the Holy Face claim it was because Peter saw the luminous cloth in the tomb, and not any other object (including the Shroud) in that part of the grave because of such poor light (when Mary Magdalen entered earlier, it was too dark to see even the soudarion). Such a theory is plausible, Badde believes, "if you take the Gospel seriously, take these objects seriously, take the structure of the tomb seriously, and then the hour and the light."

Another, perhaps more crucial point, is if the Holy Face is so pivotal to the apostles immediate realization of the Resurrection, why has it been hardly discussed in the course of history? Badde points out the importance of religious purity to the Jews and that, to them, objects from a tomb are always impure. Had it therefore become public knowledge to the Jews that such an object was being venerated, the apostles would have been hounded out and may not have survived to form the first Christian communities. (Badde recalls that in the Gospels, when Jesus returned to visit their home, they kept the doors locked because, he believes, they were afraid they’d be seen with this image which was "absolutely unbearable" to the other Jews).

No empty tomb

A further key aspect of the Holy Face is its connection with the Shroud of Turin. "The two images fit as one, as a single seal," Badde says, and stresses that the dimensions of the face match exactly – a discovery made by another German researcher, Sister Pascalis Shlömer, an iconographer. "These are the first [Gospel] texts, and they’re complementary texts," he says. "The Shroud talks about the Passion; this talks about the Resurrection."

For this reason, he won’t accept talk of an empty tomb — even from the Holy Father. After the Pope referred to it as such in Jerusalem last year, Badde wrote to him, stressing that John never spoke of an empty tomb because there were items in it.

Benedict XVI visited the Holy Face in Manoppello in September 2006 and is reputed to be a strong advocate of the image and the discoveries. Throughout his pontificate, he has stressed the importance of contemplating the face of Christ, and traveled to see the image despite some stiff resistance in the Vatican – also recalled in Badde’s book. During that trip, the Holy Father talked about the importance of being transformed "by the radiance of his face."

His visit was a direct consequence of Badde’s book, first published in German in 2004 and now updated for its first English edition. "The last time I saw Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope, I was carrying out the rubbish near our apartment, and he said he’d seen my article in September 2004 and congratulated me. We were neighbors," Badde remembers. "After he’d read my book, he decided to visit Manoppello, one of the first trips of his pontificate." Both Badde and Benedict XVI were this year given keys by the mayor of the town, which has been transformed since the papal visit and now receives hundreds of pilgrims from all over the world.

But not everyone is convinced of the findings. Some have dismissed Fr. Pfeiffer’s theories as fiction. Others contend that despite claims of divine origins, the Holy Face is a man-made image in the style of the late Middle Ages or early Renaissance. One writer has even suggested the face is in fact a lost self-portrait by the artist Albrecht Dürer. A further objection is that the image does not bear a familial resemblance to other historical copies of Veronica’s Veil, although Badde refutes the claim in his book by showing illustrations of images made prior to 1608 with facial expressions just like the Manoppello image.

Naturally, he stands fully behind its claims to authenticity. "I am completely convinced," he says, "For me it’s an enormous confirmation of the truth of Jesus and the teaching of the Church." He also sees it as a bridge between Eastern and Western Christianity (Manoppello is located close to Pescara harbor that looks toward Greece) and therefore of ecumenical importance. And he views its rediscovery as providential for modern times. "It really is sensational, especially for the New Evangelization," he says. "Pilgrims will now begin to discover it."

German connection

Another mystery surrounding the image is why so many Germans have been involved in its discovery and promotion. Badde puts it down to divine Providence, possibly compensation for Germany’s role in creating today’s alienated and highly secular society. "We had the Reformation that opened the doors to the last iconoclasm," he says. "Marxism was born in Germany, in Germany they stripped the Churches."

Another German went to visit the image recently. Badde took his friend Peter Seewald, who interviewed the Pope for the new book ‘Light of the World’, and says he was profoundly moved. "He stood in front of the face, turned to me and said: ‘No one told me he’s laughing,’" Badde recounts. "I told him he’s laughing because you came here." After this encounter Peter Seewald dedicated the first Italian copy of his book to the Cappuchin Friars of Manoppello, calling the Face of God the "Light of the World."

Badde is aware some see the image as bland, almost comical — not the high art one would expect if drawn by the divine hand. Badde says he doesn’t reject outright what the skeptics are saying, but highlights the variety of reactions of those who’ve seen it. "Some are immediately struck by it, for others it’s a process," he says. "I’ve seen many tears there, I’ve seen people laughing, some just take pictures with their iPhone — all the reactions are different."
And all the while the mystery of just how this image came to appear on such a fine fabric continues to confound scientists. A few years ago on German television, Badde offered €2 million to anyone who can make a copy of it.

"So far no one has come forward," says Badde. "It’s just impossible to write on the material and also reproduce the liveliness of the image."

The English edition of ‘The Face of God – The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus’ is published by Ignatius Press.
— — —
On the Net:  "The Face of God": www.ignatius.com/Products/FAGO-H/the-face-of-god.aspx

Source: Catholic.net – Catholics on the net (I believe that this full posting meets Zenit’s terms for fair use.)

Shroud of Turin Video that Redefines Torture

Only one thing can be more painful: the full length version of this movie due out on December 25th. This is just a trailer.

Challenge or Opportunity for Christianity

imageOver the next two decades, this observation by Barrett Brown, may well be the biggest challenge or opportunity for the wider orthodox church (Collectively: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant and Eastern Orthodox traditions). Brown is a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquirer and Vanity Fair . His work has also appeared in Skeptic, McSweeney’s, American Atheist, The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press and D Magazine.

There is no period in human history that matches the years between 1990 and 2010 in the degree to which the common terminology used at end would have been unrecognizable to those who lived at its beginning. Because the dynamic which has caused this to be the case does not seem to have crested, we ourselves should not expect to recognize some great portion of the terminology that will be in regular use in 2030. It is even possible that 2030 will be as different from 2010 as 2010 is from 1990, although this would quite a feat; the central dynamic by which each of several billion people may now communicate and collaborate with any of those other several billion people has already been established, and all that remains now is for more of those people to realize the implications of this and then act upon those implications, as they have already begun to do, even if the media at large is still having trouble with the former.

Right now I would sadly bet on the anarchists. It isn’t that they know better what to do. It is that they operate with a different moral compass. See Anonymous preparing for new Wikileaks effort in The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

The Man of pain: the Holy Shroud

The documentary shown to everyone waiting to see the Shroud of Turin in 1998 is now, newly available on YouTube. It is well worth watching:

Idiotic Paradigm of the Day

From CNN:

imageAnonymous Operations members told CNN Thursday their goal was "freedom of information. Any and all information."

And to achieve this goal they will attack and shutdown the “information systems” of people they oppose. Freedom of information, my ass. It is called cyber terrorism.

Now suppose that a bunch cyber savvy Atheists, tired with buying advertising billboards, decide to attach the sites of church or perhaps a Shroud of Turin website such as this. Or maybe some Christian fundamentalists decide to attack Richard Dawkins blog.

Is this the beginning of a new culture war? Here is the lede to the CNN story:

Computer hackers who support WikiLeaks released a do-it-yourself hacking tool online Thursday so other people can replicate the attacks they say took down the websites of MasterCard and Visa. They say Amazon.com is the target, with the attack due to start at about 11 a.m. ET.

WikiLeaks backers plan Amazon.com attack – CNN.com

Good, Easy to Understand Article on Carbon Dating

imageFrom The Archaeology News Network an outstand article, A Date with Carbon, on carbon dating:

If you know the rate that carbon-14 decays at, and how much of the carbon in a shroud, iceman or piece of old wood or bone is radioactive, you can work out how long ago they stopped breathing or photosynthesising. It just involves a bit of maths.

Of course, it helps if you have a valid sample and most radiocarbon dating experts who reference the Shroud of Turin know that the sample taken in 1988 is now known to have been invalid. See my comments in the right column.

Highly recommended: A date with carbon | The Archaeology News Network

15th Anniversary of shroud.com on January 21

imageI was just reminded by Barrie Schwortz, the editor and founder of shroud.com and president of STERA, that there will be an update to his site on January 21st. This update scheduled for January 21, 2011, will be on the 15th Anniversary of the site.

STERA, the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc. is a not for profit and can always use some financial assistance. This is the richest online archive of important papers about the Shroud of Turin.  Think about making a Tax Deductible Contribution by Mail or Contribute Online

Of Political Christmas Crèches

assange 2Naples garbage crisis has become a subject among the artists and craftsmen along Via San Gregorio Armeno that specializes in Christmas statues and creches. As Reuters puts it:

And so it came to pass that the Madonna, St. Joseph and even the baby Jesus wear face masks to protect themselves from the stench of the uncollected garbage in Naples.

And then there is this from Reuters:

Gennaro Di Virgilio, who each year chooses at least one contemporary character to sculpt and place near the scenes of the traditional story of Jesus’ birth in a manger.

image“I included him to poke a little fun at the world and have a good time,” said Di Virgilio, 29, whose family has been making nativity statuettes and ornate creches since 1830. “In a sense, Assange is the man of the year,” said Di Virgilio, whose tiny shop is one of many on a narrow Naples street named Via San Gregorio Armeno that specialized in Christmas statues, creches and trinkets all year.

There is only one copy of the Assange statuette, which costs 130 euros. Di Virgilio says he will make others on request. There are, however, multiple copies of statuettes of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that Italians can place in the manger with the Holy Family, the wise men, the ox and the sheep.

More details: Wikileaks founder Assange “man of the year” in Naples nativity creches | Analysis & Opinion |

Quote of the Day: What the Internet Killed

imageFacts: The Internet provides a cheap, if not free, publishing forum to everyone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except when you consider that anyone can disseminate false information. Examples of false statements gaining traction abound, from nonexistent “death panels” in the health-care-reform bill passed this year to the mistaken belief that the president is a Muslim. These days, politicians, pundits, lobbyists, and bloggers make so many false statements that more than two dozen fact-checking operations have been launched by news organizations or universities this year in an effort to stem the torrent of untruth. The best-known one, PolitiFact, won a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts during the 2008 election. — What the Internet Killed – Newsweek

It didn’t take the Internet. Think of Walter McCrone, Picknett and Prince and all manner of Shroud of Turin skeptics.

Modern Shroud of Turin Based Coins

imageWe hear much about ancient coins modeled from the image on the Shroud of Turin. But new coins? This year, Cook Islands created a $25.00 coin with Queen Elizabeth on one side and UV enhanced image of the face from the Shroud of Turin on the other side.

Answers to tough questions

imageMy good friend Russ Breault has started a new Shroud of Turin blog space. There isn’t much there yet except questions. But check back often. The Shroud of Turin: Answers to tough questions

The premise of this site is that the Shroud COULD be authentic.  The questions are answered from this standpoint.

One thing is for sure; the mysteries of the Shroud are many.  There are questions that may never be answered to any scientific satisfaction.

It is the Shroud’s enduring mystery that makes the subject so fascinating.  Read through the questions and the respective answers that have been posted by the Shroud Science Group (SSG), an online gathering of scientists and scholars from around the world whose lives have been dedicated to understanding this profound artifact.

This should be great. And while you are at it, check out Russ’ Shroud University. Great videos.

More on Turin Shroud Madness?

Chidambaram Ramesh has responded to my post: Turin Shroud Madness?

imageWhen I first saw the ‘loon alert’ posted Dr. Jim West in Zwinglius Redivivus on my book “The Shroud of Turin: An Imprint of the Soul, Apparition or Quantum Bio-Hologram”, and your endorsement to it, I was a little surprised. How the people like you take the liberty to comment on a book which you know only by its title and not its contents, I wondered.

Still, I consider I am obliged to make my point more clearly and invite constructive criticism and healthy discussion on my book rather than these preconceived destructive comments.

First of all, let me put forth the following:

1. The quantum bio-holographic concept perhaps will seem a ridiculous story to those who read only the title of books; but those who desire may see this truth confirmed if they have recourse to the works of David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order), Mae-Wan Ho (The Rainbow and the Worm, The Physics of Organisms), László (The interconnected universe: conceptual foundations of transdisciplinary unified theory) Loocke (The physical nature of consciousness), Dr.Mitchell (Nature’s Mind: The Quantum Hologram and What is Consciousness? An essay on the relativistic quantum hologrphic model of the brain/mind, working by phase conjugate adaptive resonance ), Dr.Sue Benford (Empirical Evidence Supporting Macro-scale quantum holography in non-local effcts) and so on.

2. A couple of decades back, Dr.Jackson proposed that ‘the body of the Man in the Shroud became mechanically transparent to its physical surroundings; it emitted radiation from all points within and on the surface of the body. This radiation interacted with the cloth as it fell into the mechanically transparent body thereby forming the body image on the Shroud”. How could a human body become mechanically transparent to its physical surroundings? It is only a bio-hologram, my book explains.

3. My book is not of the nature of a scientific fiction. Rather, it provides concrete evidences to support the theory that organisms, even after their physical death, are capable of manifesting their body contour in its entirety. I have included experimental/observational facts as recorded by men of such high philosophical equipment and analytical ability like Arthanus Kircher, Isaac Disraeli, Sir Thomas Browne, Ebenezer Sibly, Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, Carl Linnaeus, Sir Kenelme Digby – to name a few. On the scientific front, the latest findings of morphogenetic fields (morphic fields as advocated by Rupert Sheldrake), DNA-Phantom effect by Peter Gariaev group in Russia (the findings have demonstrated beyond doubt that the DNA when irradiated with ordinary light generates weak images and is able to form 3-D holographic images of both the bio-structures which make up the organism and of the organism as a whole), Holographic transmission of bio-information as demonstrated by Mae-won, V.Budakovski of Russia, etc.

4. Finally, I have made a detailed comparison of the Shroud image with that of a quantum holographic imprint. Both exhibit light-reversal (photographic negativity), encoding of depth-information, non-directionality, uniformity, optimal viewing distance, Half-tone effect, dehydration of linen fibres due to moderate (not a violent) radiation, double-superficiality etc. If all the unique characteristics of the Shroud image can be satisfactorily explained by one hypothesis alone, must not that solution found on some grains of truth?

Last but not the least, the theory of quantum bio-hologram never contradicts the Christian dualistic dogma of mortal body and immortal soul. The biblical faith of resurrection might outwardly seem to foreshadow physical resuscitation of the material body in ‘flesh and blood’. Jesus Christ Himself has told us that after the resurrection, men shall be like angels, that is to say, they will have immortal bodies, incorruptible, light and luminous without however, losing their corporeal qualities, such as was the body of Jesus Christ after His Resurrection. When the apostle John attempted to touch the body of Christ, found no hardness of flesh, and met with no resistance from it; although he thrust his hand into the inner part of it. The characteristics of the spiritual body viz., the whole will see, the whole will hear, the whole serve as hands and the whole as feet, indubitably refers to the ‘holistic property’ of a bio-hologram. The transparent qualities of the resurrected body, its ability to pass through solid objections, phantom look-alike and luminousness explicitly refers to a bio-holographic image.

The contents of my book run into about 55,000 words. You can hardly make a correct presumption its contents from its title, nor can I be able to explain everything here. I have sent you a copy of the book. I hope it will convince you.

Sir, I promised you that I will read your book. And I understand from you that it has been sent. It is not uncommon for someone to approach any book with bias. It is a complete myth that even the greatest of literary reviewers have completely open minds to a book. This is particularly true in the fields of religion and politics. When I read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, I did not do so with an open mind. Nor did I approach Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great. How could I reasonably be expected to do so.

In a previous post, I wrote:

Is it fair to review a book if you are biased before opening the cover? Yes. The author has been promoting his ideas before publishing. That is common and it welcomes reviews by skeptics (though I think the Shroud is genuine). Let’s just say that this book must be reviewed. It is going to take a lot of  scientific evidence (or something) to convince me of these notions that I don’t think rise to the level of hypotheses that are stated as though they are facts:

  • [Alchemy] Palingenesis (spectral resuscitation of plants out of their ashes), natural magic, quantum physics and the recent findings of morphogenetic fields, he has unequivocally established that all material body of organisms, even if consumed to ashes, retain their selfsame form and figure.
  • 2-dimensional quantum holographic imprints
  • dehydration of linen fibres due to radiation
  • can all be explained with the quantum holographic flux model

You wrote:

I was a little surprised. How the people like you take the liberty to comment on a book which you know only by its title and not its contents, I wondered.

You have it wrong. I actually commented on the title. The title is a turn-off to those who are scientifically minded. I will comment on the contents when I read your book.

Turin Shroud Madness? « Shroud of Turin Blog

Quote for Today


imageGod gave Moses the 10 Commandments, and He gave to Irving Berlin ‘Easter Parade’ and ‘White Christmas.’ The two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ – the divinity that’s the very heart of the Jewish rejection of Christianity – and what does Irving Berlin do? Easter he turns into a fashion show and Christmas into a holiday about snow. — Philip Roth’s narrator puts it in Operation Shylock

Dig far enough in this CNN posting and you will find a reader comment about the Shroud of Turin image of Jesus. Who owns the image?

Read the opinion piece here: My Take: Who owns Jesus? Who owns yoga? – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs

Shroud of Turin? What Shroud of Turin?

La La Land: There are times when I want to deny that I have ever heard of the Shroud of Turin.

imageAliens are not our friends or so says this week’s guest Nigel Kerner who is joined by his colleague Dr. Andrew Silverman on what may be the most provocative Paranormal Podcast ever.

If you think the aliens are here “to serve man”, think again — they are here to get one thing…listen to the show to find out what plus learn how the Shroud Of Turin plays a fascinating role in this hypothesis.

La La Land: Crop circles, the Urantia Book crowd, Alchemy Palingenesis (spectral resuscitation of plants out of their ashes), natural magic, morphogenetic fields and now the little grey guy with big eyes from Roswell. Look around to make sure no one is watching. Tie yourself to your chair. Then if you dare, click Grey Aliens and The Harvesting Of Souls with Nigel Kerner – Paranormal Podcast 169 : PARANORMAL PODCAST NETWORK – JimHarold.com

The Shroud Codex Revisited

imageJeffrey Mirus doesn’t like Jerome Corsi’s The Shroud Codex. In Catholic Culture he wrote:

Jerome Corsi’s novel The Shroud Codex is a sustained examination of the evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Unfortunately, this evidence is presented in a work of fiction, so the reader has no way of knowing if the evidence is real or fanciful. This is a dubious way to promote the Shroud, and it is a complete failure as a novel.

I disagree. Too bad that MIrus is just getting around to this. Way, way back in April, I wrote, Big Recommendation as follows:

imageThe Shroud Codex is a novel, but a novel you can learn from. Just as you can learn a great deal of history from well-written historical novels, you can learn a great deal about the Shroud of Turin from The Shroud Codex. If you know everything there is to know about the Shroud, it is still a wonderfully gripping, enjoyable novel. Read it for fun. You will be glad you did.

After writing a review I went to the web to read other reviews. There are not many yet since the book was just released yesterday. But what I found was completely positive. One review said what I had to say so much better than I could do so that I decided to quote from it and throw away what I wrote. Jean Heimann in Catholic Fire wrote:

The Shroud Codex is a compelling and intriguing mystery, which mesmerizes the reader from the very first page. It is a book that is hard to put down, as the reader is driven to learn the truth about the Shroud of Turin and the impact that it has on the lives of the characters.

What seems most interesting and unique to me about The Shroud Codex is the fact that it contains a variety of genres, thus, making it appealing to a wide audience. It could be included in all of the following categories: religion and spirituality, history, science, science fiction, the paranormal, and mystery. Because of this, I believe that it will attract believers as well as non—believers alike who want to learn more about this ancient, fragile, bloodstained cloth, that many believe to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

Read it yourself. Draw your own conclusions:

More on New Conference Proceedings: International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images

Paolo Di Lazzaro, the chair and proceedings editor, was kind enough to send me the full title page and table of contents, reproduced here (with some minor formatting tweaks to accommodate the blog’s peculiarities). Click here for the abstract, cover photo and a link for ordering.

A quick glance at the contents (topics and the presenters) should convince every serious Shroud of Turin scholar that this is a must. Click Here to Order.

Congratulations are in order to Paolo and everyone who assisted him. And a special thanks is in order to all those who took the time to prepare and offer presentations. It is good to see in the list so many friends and members of the Shroud Science Group.

of the
IWSAI 2010
International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images
Paolo Di Lazzaro
Chair / Editor
4 – 6 May 2010
Frascati, Italy
Organized by
Italian National Agency for New Technologies,
Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

vi Conference Committee
vii Foreword
ix Letter by B. Schwortz
x Verse

3 Sub-micrometer coloration depth of linens by vacuum ultraviolet radiation. (Invited paper)
— P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, A. Santoni, G. Baldacchini
11 Shroud-like experimental image formation during natural electrostatic discharges.
— G. de Liso
19 A scientific comparison between the Turin Shroud and the first handmade whole copy.
— T. Heimburger, G. Fanti
31 Sight and brain: an introduction to the visually misleading images.
— D. Murra, P. Di Lazzaro
35 Construction of a quantitative image of the Turin Shroud for details recognition.
— G. Fanti, C. Privitera
47 New image processing of the Turin Shroud scourge marks.
— B. Faccini, G. Fanti
55 ShroudScope, a web tool to analyze high-resolution photographs of the Shroud of Turin.
— M. Latendresse
63 Dislocations in plant fibers and in Turin Shroud fibers.
— L.G. Thygesen
67 List of evidences of the Turin Shroud.
— G. Fanti, J.A. Botella, F. Crosilla, F. Lattarulo, N. Svensson, R. Schneider, A. Whanger
79 Akeldama repudiation of Turin Shroud omits evidence from the Judean Desert.
— (Invited paper) D. Fulbright
87 Documenting the Shroud missing years. (Invited paper)
— D. Scavone
95 The “missing years” of the holy Shroud.
— A. Piana
103 Were sixth-century natural disasters factors in the transfer of relics from Palestine?
— D. Fulbright
111 Edessan sources for the legend of the holy Grail.
— D. Scavone
117 An unknown hideaway of the holy Shroud?
— A. Piana
123 Two unpublished letters of Secondo Pia about the 1898 Shroud photography.
— R. Falcinelli
129 Did Jesus give his Shroud to the servant of Peter?
— D. Fulbright
133 Why Jesus did not bring the patibulum but the whole cross.
— C.M. Glori
139 The promise (and threat) of the Shroud. (Invited paper)
— P.H. Wiebe
147 The brightest light of all.
— A. Silverman, N. Kerner
155 The copies of the Shroud.
— E. Marinelli, M. Marinelli
161 Crux mensuralis of Grottaferrata and Shroud of Turin.
— G. Baldacchini, F. Baldacchini, L. Casarosa, G. Falcone
171 The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin. A question of authenticity. (Invited paper)
— J.L. Fernandez Sanchez
181 Medical and forensic aspects of the man depicted on the Shroud of Turin. (Invited paper)
— N. Svensson
187 A medical study of the surface anatomy of the image and a medical forensic evaluation of the
blood marks of the Shroud of Turin in relation to image formation.
— G. Lavoie
197 The Tilma of Guadalupe. (Invited paper)
— J.C. Espriella Godinez
203 The concept of acheiropoietos, the icons of the likeness of Christ and the Veil of Manoppello.
— H. Pfeiffer
209 Properties of byssal threads and the chemical nature of colors of the Veil of Manoppello.
— J.S. Jaworski
217 The face on the Shroud and on the Veil of Manoppello.
— A. Resch
227 The face of Manoppello and the veil of Veronica: new studies.
— R. Falcinelli
239 Can contamination be detected on the Shroud to explain its 1988 dating? (Keynote lecture)
— M. Antonacci
249 A robust statistical analysis of the 1988 Turin Shroud radiocarbon dating results.
— (Invited paper) G. Fanti, F. Crosilla, M. Riani, A.C. Atkinson
255 Production of radiocarbon by neutron radiation on linen.
— A.C. Lind, M. Antonacci, G. Fanti, D. Elmore, J.M. Guthrie
263 Two archaeometric methods for cellulosic textile finds using enzymatic test.
— L. Campanella
267 A critical review of the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. ANOVA – a useful
method to evaluate sets of high precision AMS radiocarbon measurements.
— R. Van Haelst

Charles Lewis Got It Right

imageI usually don’t like statements like, “Dear atheists: most of us don’t care what you think,” which is what Charles Lewis wrote in The National Post. But the article is so well written and so on the money, that I must recommend it:

There are always debates between atheists and believers. They have been going on forever but they seem to have ramped up ever since a dedicated group of “new atheists” began writing popular works that captured the secular imagination.

You know who they are: Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and the rest of their dreary crew who are out to prove how stupid religious people are.

Recently Hitchens and former British prime minister Tony Blair debated in Toronto and ever since I have read bits and pieces about who bested whom.

Blair probably should not have even bothered and instead should have gone to mass that night or spent an evening helping out at a shelter or visiting someone who was lonely and sick in a hospital. That would have said a lot more about his faith than wasting a lot of words on a pompous ass whose main intellectual arsenal is sneering and using sarcasm.

This perennial debate between atheists and the religious has no end in sight. It seems to sell tickets and for a certain type of intellectual it is like watching boxing without the blood.

But the debate is useless for one simple reason: most atheists do not have a clue what religion is about. They see religious people as blind sheep following a series of incomprehensible rules and dogmas and then scoff at their lack of enlightenment. They find the flaw in the painting and say it is all now ruined. Atheists are utopians who believe a perfect society can be built if only religion was not in the way. [Emphasis mine]

As far as I can see, those Godless societies have not done too well, unless you consider North Korea a success.

. . .

Thomas Merton, the great monk and mystic, wrote: “Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities, but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”

Atheists are under the ridiculous illusion that religious people think that all they have to do is call out to God and help will be on the way. If it were so, Jesus never would have gone up on the cross. The crucifixion is not a contradiction and the anti-religious cannot get their heads around that. Faith is not the avoidance of trouble, it is facing it head on and then finding holiness. [Emphasis mine]

Faith is not up for debate. I do not care whether Christopher Hitchens or the guy who sits three rows away thinks I am living in a fantasy. Why would I care? If faith could be broken by mindless criticism then it would not be faith. And the old woman kneeling in the pew every Sunday, or the Orthodox Jew who would never miss a Sabbath in Synagogue, have no need to ask permission of anyone to justify what they do and what they believe. They are far tougher than the people who criticize.

Thomas Merton also said: “Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.”

He could have said the same thing about faith.

Read the full article: Dear atheists: most of us don’t care what you think | Holy Post | National Post

John C. Iannone’s Shroud of Turin Website

imageIf you haven’t visited John C. Iannone’s website, you should. He writes:

Below is a summary of scientific and historical evidence supportive of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin as the ancient burial cloth of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.

Shroud of Turin – evidence of authenticity

New Conference Proceedings Released

imageThe “Proceedings of the IWSAI 2010, International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images,” is now available.  (Paolo Di Lazzaro Chair/Editor, 274 pages, published by ENEA, November 2010.)

ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9

IWSAI Proceedings volumes can be ordered trom ENEA. An order form and other information can be found in the ENEA website. Click Here to Order.


The International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images (IWSAI) was held at the ENEA Research Centre of Frascati, Italy, May 4 through May 6, 2010.

The IWSAI was aimed at promoting a scientific discussion on physical, chemical, biological, forensic and historical aspects of the Turin Shroud, the Tilma of Guadalupe and the Veil of Manoppello, in order to gain a deeper insight into these controversial images. They are controversial, indeed, mainly because, according to tradition, they are acheiropoietos images, that is, "not made by hands" and Science is still not able to fully explain their origin.

There were forty-three presentations by thirty-five speakers from Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Spain and USA. Forty papers were submitted for publication and thirty-five were accepted for publication in this volume after a rigorous peer-review process. The selected papers published in this Proceedings volume offer a multidisciplinary approach to the acheiropoietos images: in fact they face almost all the relevant topics, from the formation of the images to the Shroud dating; from image processing to textile properties; from archaeology and history to iconography; from philosophy to forensic medicine.

The IWSAI has been a peculiar (if not unique) event, from many points of view. It was the first time that the Turin Shroud, the Tilma of Guadalupe, and the Veil of Manoppello were discussed together, in an unprecedented attempt at cross-fertilization of the up-to-date knowledge of them. It was the first time that a top-level Research Centre was the venue of a congress concerned with acheiropoietos images. It was the first time that a genuine fiber of the Shroud was observed and analyzed through the microscope, in person, directly in front of the audience of the Workshop. And it is the first time as well that a Proceedings volume devoted to acheiropoietos images contains only peer-reviewed papers.

Some of the topics include:

  • Badde’s work on Manoppello,
  • the VUV mechanisms of linen coloration,
  • the comparison between the Garlaschelli’s copy and the Shroud,
  • the “mind-matter continuum”, 
  • the Campanella’s method to date cellulosic textiles, 
  • new analyses of the radiocarbon data, 
  • a list of the old copies that were in contact to the Shroud,
  • the new LIST paper, 
  • the Sudarium of Oviedo

Turin Shroud Madness?

Dr. Jim West in Zwinglius Redivivus issues a Loon Alert on Chidambaram Ramesh’s new book “Shroud of Turin: An Imprint of the Soul, Apparition, or Quantum Bio-Hologram.”

And this one’s loonier than most.  Though quantifying insanity is a dicey matter.

He is probably right. The book title alone may do more damage to the credibility of Shroud of Turin studies than most skeptics have in a long while. I haven’t read the book yet, so we will need to see. Put I’ve posted some of my reservations in the blog. As soon as I read the book, I’ll comment more.

See: Loon Alert: More Turin Shroud Madness « Zwinglius Redivivus

Changing Religious Practice in America

Ross Douthat in the New York Times:

imageThere has been a similar change in religious practice. In the 1970s, college- educated Americans were slightly less likely to attend church than high school graduates. Today, piety increasingly correlates with education: college graduates are America’s most faithful churchgoers, while religious observance has dropped precipitously among the less-educated.

In part, these shifts may be a testament to the upward mobility of religious believers. America’s college-educated population probably looks more conservative and (relatively speaking) more religious because religious conservatives have become better educated. Evangelical Christians, in particular, are now one of America’s best-educated demographics . . . .

This means that a culture war that’s often seen as a clash between liberal elites and a conservative middle America looks more and more like a conflict within the educated class — pitting Wheaton and Baylor against Brown and Bard, Redeemer Presbyterian Church against the 92nd Street Y, C. S. Lewis devotees against the Philip Pullman fan club.

The full article is worth a read: The Changing Culture War – NYTimes.com