Alan Whanger and his wife Mary are internationally recognized Shroud researchers, having been actively involved since 1979. Alan developed a Polarized Image Overlay technique for doing exacting image comparisons. Together they cofounded the Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin (CSST), a non-profit organization whose mission is to do research on the Shroud of Turin and related Relics of the Passion; to publish the findings; and to establish a center for display, research, and education. Alan is a frequent lecturer at conferences throughout the world.
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I am much interested that the Byzantine coins of Justinian II of 692-695 are being reevaluated to better understand the influence of the Shroud image. The gold solidus coin, which was the first coin with a depiction of Jesus on it, was the one which led to our development of our Polarized Image Overlay Technique which allows a rather exacting capacity to discern and quantify the Points of Congruence (PC) between the two images being compared. A PC is a similar image or structure in the same location on the two compared images, a method rather similar to forensic facial or fingerprint analysis. I had discussed this at considerable length in my message #4222 "Studying the Images of the Shroud", and I would refer the reader to that message rather than repeat much of it here.
In a court of law, 45 to 60 PC are sufficient to determine that two faces are the same. We (Mary and myself) carefully did a congruency count on the Justinian II solidus coin and the Shroud facial image, and found and diagramed 145 PC, showing massive evidence that the coin image is an extraordinarily accurate reproduction of the Shroud face, which could only have been accomplished by the artist die cutter looking directly at the Shroud face as the model for the coin. We later examined the Pantocrator icon, and found over 250 PC with it and the Shroud, indicating to us, that the Pantocrator icon is the most accurate non-phototrophic image of the Shroud that we found, again indicating that the artist could only have produced these details by looking carefully at the Shroud image itself as the model.
The readers can do these overlays for themselves on our website at http://www.shroudcouncil.org in the Shroud Image Overlay Movies by moving the slider back and forth.
The question of the lines across the neck has come up. By examining the overlay images of the Justinian II solidus and tremissis coins, it is quite clear that the lines on the neck of the Shroud (certainly a fold or wrinkle) are accurately reproduced on the coins.
We have examined literally hundreds of early images and icons, evaluating them for the influence that the Shroud image might have had on them. The earliest image that we found which shows Shroud influence is the statue of the god Zeus-Kyrios in Dura-Europos, which is dated to AD 31 and shows the lines on the neck. The next earliest we found was the image of the god Aphlad from AD 54, which also shows the lines on the neck (as well as the notch in the beard.). One of the earliest images of Jesus is the portrait of Jesus in the Catacomb of Callistus in Rome, possibly dating from the third century. It clearly shows the lines on the neck. These and a number of other icons and images can be seen in our book, The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery.
Thus, the lines on the neck are a very valuable clue as to the age and influence of the Shroud facial image, indicating that the Shroud facial image can be traced by artistic means to the third decade of the first century.
Look at the evidence! Similarities are determined by side-to-side comparisons. Documentable congruencies are determined by overlay analysis.