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Paper Chase: Documenting the Shroud’s missing years by Dan Scavone

imageFirst of all, I have heard from others, that I handled the Besancon part of my posting about Alva B. See’s book poorly. I said nothing more about it than that some of it seems historical. That was careless treatment, someone said. I agree. With some help, I have lined out (see below the fold) some portions of the text to show what seems to have been guesses, or if we are to take the author seriously, “divine revelations.” Regardless, what is found in See’s book is not good, objective, well researched history.

The expert on Besancon, is Dan Scavone, renowned medieval historian, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Southern Indiana, who writes in “Documenting the Shroud’s missing years:”

History proceeds from documents, not arguments from silence. Besançon alone, of all the major theories of the Turin Shroud’s whereabouts during the missing 150 years, has documents to support its possession of the Shroud after the Fourth Crusade until about 1350, after which the Shroud’s history from Lirey to Turin is well established. No other hypothesis for the Shroud during this time—whether that of the templars, the Smyrna Crusade, or the Sainte-Chapelle—even mentions Jesus’ shroud. Nor can any other theory document a path of the Shroud from Constantinople to the ever-silent Geoffroy I de Charny.

Go read “Documenting the Shroud’s missing years.” Now! It is only eight pages and you will not regret it.

And here are the rough corrections to See’s text.

At the time of the fourth Crusade, Otho de hi la Roche, Duke of Athens and Sparta, who was in command of the district of Blachernes where the Shroud was kept, {perhaps} received it as part of his recompense. He sent it to his father in 1204 a.d. and his father gave it to the Bishop of Besancon who placed it in the cathedral. It was exposed for veneration each year on Easter Sunday up till 1349. In that year, a fire broke out in the cathedral that caused slight damage to the Holy shroud. To save it from further damage, it was removed from the cathedral and in the confusion it was stolen and given to King Philip of France. King Philip gave it to his friend Geoffrey Count of Charney and Lord of Liry. It was natural that the Bishop of Besancon should try to recover the Shroud, but as the King of France had given it to his friend, it was impossible for him to do so. Two years later, {many years later} a painted copy began to be exhibited in the Cathedral of Besancon to satisfy the devotion of those who had been accustomed to venerate the real Shroud; about the same time, probably a little earlier, Geoffrey of Liry employed a painter to paint a copy. Dom Chamart found conclusive evidence that the Shroud exhibited at Besancon after 1352 was only a painting, but a painting that had been copied from the real Shroud. He adds, “Dunod in his History of the Church of Besancon speaks of the Shroud preserved in the Cathedral of St. Etienne (Besancon) in the thirteenth century, and proceeds thus: ‘In March, i4, the church was destroyed by fire, and the box in which the Holy shroud was kept, seemingly without much formality, was lost. Some years afterwards the relic was found again by happy chance, and to make sure that it was the same as was formerly venerated in the church of St. Etienne, it was laid upon a dead man, who immediately revived. . . .

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