Botany of the Shroud by Avinoam Danin is now available

imageAvinoam Danin’s newest book, Botany of the Shroud: The Story of Floral Images on the Shroud of Turin is now available online.  Here are some reviews from Prof Danin’s website:

"The book is absolutely beautiful and a great contribution!"

— Dr. P. Raven, Director, The Missouri Botanical Garden

"Having read it from cover to cover I found it extremely interesting and important; beautifully produced and ingeniously designed."

— Rex Morgan, Sindonologist, Australia

"While many have questioned the Shroud’s true origin, one small book by a widely-respected Jewish botanist provides strong evidence of its authenticity… The theological significance of Danin’s conclusions is immense…"

— Tania Mann, L’Osservatore Romano

The price of the book is $30.00. Though I am something of a skeptic when it comes to images of plants on the Shroud, I certainly intend to read his book. I’ve met Prof Danin and I have a great deal of respect for him.

Washington D. C. has a new bishop

imageThe Washington National Cathedral (the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul), closed since being damaged by an earthquake on August 23, reopened Saturday in time for the consecration and installation of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s newest bishop, the now Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde (pictured on right and below with her husband and one of her sons).

What a joyous event.

This cathedral has always meant a great deal to me. I had a summer job here when I was in high school. It was in the cathedral’s extensive bookshop that I first bought my first books on the Shroud of Turin. Just recently, I bought Pope Benedict XVI’s, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, which I think should be mandatory reading for every thinking Christian.

Whenever I am in Washington D. C. I stop to visit the cathedral, explore the bookshop anew and sit for awhile in the Resurrection Chapel in the undercroft beneath the south transept.


More than you want to know about crucifixion

imageVanderbilt anthropologist Kristina Killgrove explains a lot about crucifixion in an article entitled Line on the left, one cross each: Bioarchaeology of Crucifixion:

The Romans practiced crucifixion – literally, "fixed to a cross" – for nearly a millennium.  Like death by guillotine in early modern times, crucifixion was a public act, but unlike the swift action of the guillotine, crucifixion involved a long and painful – hence, excruciating – death.  So crucifixion was both a deterrent of further crimes and a humiliation of the dying person, who had to spend the last days of his life naked, in full view of any passersby, until he died of dehydration, asphyxiation, infection, or other causes.  The Roman orator Cicero noted that "of all punishments, it is the most cruel and most terrifying" and Jewish historian Josephus called it "the most wretched of deaths."

. . . Only one bioarchaeological example of crucifixion has ever been found.  In 1968, Vassilios Tzaferis excavated some tombs in the northeastern section of Jerusalem, at a site called Giv’at ha-Mivtar. . . .

Well worth reading!

The Shroud of Turin is Number One on This List

imageIndian journalist, Mukut Kanti Saha, has compiled an interesting list of what he calls the Top 10 Bizarre & Controversial Archeological Discoveries. I have never heard of most of these.

Update: A reader writes: “Actually, he stole that entire list from Thanks for mentioning it anyway. Can you remove the link to his site and place the link to the source site – – You can even see he left all the link to my site in the content when he swiped it.”

The apparent plagerism reads:

Many strange archeological discoveries have been made in modern history. Hundreds of artifacts have been unearthed that have baffled scientists and challenged modern man’s view of history. Many of these objects have been labeled out of place artifacts or anachronisms. These archeological discoveries are always controversial and the scientific community is extremely selective in what they accept as fact. Every object on this list has been accused of being an elaborate hoax. In many cases, a conspiracy is the only explanation, without an extensive rewriting of the world’s history books. These artifacts tell a story of ancient civilizations, Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contracts, and mysterious technological advancements. Many of these archeological discoveries challenge the scientific theory of evolution, as well as many religious beliefs.

Here is his list from number ten to number one, the Shroud of Turin:  10. Acámbaro Figures,  9. The Dropa Stones,  8. Horned Human Skull,  7. Map of the Creator,  6. Aluminium Wedge of Aiud,  5. Los Lunas Decalogue Stone,  4. Piri Reis Map,  3. Giants of North America,  2. Kensington Runestone , 1. The Shroud of Turin

And of the shroud, he writes:

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The linen is a full body portrait and measures 14 feet, 3 inches long by 3 feet, 7 inches wide. The shroud is wrapped in red silk and has been kept in a silver chest in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy since 1578. The origins of the artifact and its image have been the subject of intense debate among scientists, historians, and researchers. Believers contend that the shroud is the cloth that was placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus. Detractors contend that the shroud cloth material postdates the crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium. In 1988, radiocarbon dating was done on the shroud in an attempt to determine the relic’s authenticity. The test indicated that the cloth was woven between 1260 and 1390 A.D, much later than the time of Jesus.

These results have been challenged by peer-reviewed journals and many critics have raised questions about the original nature of the sample used in the test. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved the image in association with the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. On May 28, 1898, amateur Italian photographer Secondo Pia took the first photograph of the shroud and was startled by what he discovered. The negatives gave the appearance of a positive image, which implies that the shroud itself is a negative of some kind. Image analysis by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory found that rather than being like a photographic negative, the image unexpectedly has the property of decoding into a 3-D image. This property could not be replicated by researchers. One theory is that the image on the shroud is simply painted on. Both skeptics and proponents tend to have very strong positions on the formation and discovery of the Shroud of Turin. At times the controversy is pitting science versus divine formation, which makes dialogue very difficult. The Shroud of Turin remains one of the most mysterious artifacts in the world.

Paper Chase: The Findings of Robert Bucklin

imageJoe Marino passed this along from a blog on a website called Free Christian Teaching.

Dr. Robert Bucklin M.D, was a former Professor of Pathology and Forensic Pathologist in Los Angeles, and member of STURP (The Shroud of Turin Research Project.) He personally conducted over 25,000 autopsies in his capacity as a Forensic Pathologist, to determine the Identity and exact cause of death of the "Man on the Shroud."

He conducted an autopsy on the Shroud of Turin for STURP, and described the wounds of "The Man on the Shroud" in minute detail. His full findings may be read on He positively identified the Man on the Shroud as Jesus Christ, and Crucifixion as the means of execution.

A summary of Dr Robert Bucklin’s research on the Body of the Man on the Shroud is as follows:

1. The body was approximately 5ft 11inches tall.
2. The body weighed approximately 175 pounds.
3. The body was anatomically well developed and normal.
4. The body had stiffened in Rigor Mortis.
5. The body had long hair, and a short beard.
6. The body had multiple puncture wounds over the entire scull area.
7. The body had an abrasion at the tip of the nose.
8. The right cheek was distinctly swollen.
9. Rounded foreign objects can be seen over the right and left eyes.
10. There is a large blood stain over the right chest area, consistent with the post mortem wound to the chest.
11. There is a penetrating skin wound in the right chest wall produced by a sharp puncturing instrument.
12. The blood flows from the injuries in the wrist indicate that the victim died with his hands raised about 65 degrees from the horizontal.
13. The body had been nailed through both wrists.
14. Only four fingers are visible of both hands, suggesting injury to the Median nerve of both wrists.
15. The body had been nailed through both feet.
16. The left foot had been flexed over the right foot before nailing.
17. There are a series of traumatic injuries which extend from the shoulder areas to the lower portion of the back, and down to the backs of the calves. These images are dumbbell-shaped imprints, applied possibly by a whip.
18. There is abrasion and denuding of the skin over the right and left shoulder blade area consistent with a heavy object, like a beam resting over the shoulders.
19. The whip injuries occurred earlier than the other injuries.
20. Had been scourged with His hands above His heads, by two separate soldiers.
21. The victim was executed in an upright position with His arms extended upwards.
22. A Crucifixion type posture would be the most plausible explanation for these findings.
23.The wound in the right side released a watery type fluid from the body cavities as well as blood from the heart area.
24. The Man on the Shroud died of postural asphyxia as the result of His position during the Crucifixion.
25. There is also evidence of severe blood loss from the skin wounds, as well as fluid accumulation in the chest cavities related to terminal cardio-respiratory failure.
26. In the case of Man on the Shroud, the forensic pathologist will have information relative to the circumstances of death by Crucifixion which he can support by his anatomical findings.
27. The forensic pathologist will be aware that the Individual Whose Image is depicted on the cloth has undergone:
– Puncture injuries to His wrists and feet
– Puncture injuries to His head
– Multiple traumatic whip-like injuries to His back
– Post mortem puncture injury to His chest area which has released both blood and a water type of fluid.

Dr Robert Bucklin concluded, "From this data it is not an unreasonable conclusion for the forensic pathologist to determine that only One Person in history has undergone this sequence of events. That Person is Jesus Christ."

Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

New Bust of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin. Soon.

imageFrom an interview with world renowned Thai sculptor Sunti Pichetchaikul in the Bangkok Post. Pichetchaikul who now lives and works in the US and has since built a reputation as a master hyper-realistic sculptor. As the paper reports:

He has been the centre of media attention in the US since finishing fourth (third runner-up) from a field of 1,582 artists from 39 countries and 43 US states at the third edition of the prestigious Art Prize competition, held recently in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Asked if he planned any future projects, he responded:  

This Christmas I will be unveiling a bronze bust of Jesus of Nazareth from the Shroud of Turin to begin my Legends of the World collection. Following Jesus, I was granted permission to sculpt His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, which I will begin this winter. . . .

While Contemplating the Ridiculous

imageIn contemplating the subject of fanciful information and perhaps in hoping to close on the subject – was it footprints from mysterious energy perhaps surrounding a perhaps saint and did that energy surround Christ, too, thus affecting the carbon 14 content of relics? –  I came across this story in the Huffington Post Travel Section:

Reports are cropping up that the fabled Ark of the Covenant, said to contain the remnants of the Ten Commandments, has been discovered along with the Tomb of Alexander the Great on the Greek island of Thasos.

The Focus Information Agency, a Bulgarian outfit not exactly renowned for accuracy, is reporting that, a Russian web portal that purports to be an "official information partner of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Greece," has claimed that a group led by Nikolaos Kumardzis, an archeologist apparently unaffiliated with any other dig, has identified one of the world’s great treasures. At least one Armenian newspaper is running a similar story.

What more confirmation could anyone possibly want?

. . . Because the Ark of the Covenant story is likely to bounce around the internet, exciting then disappointing people, we thought it would be nice to offer up a selection of places where relics were actually discovered.

The picture is of a toy Ark of the Covenant that comes complete with an archeologist doll from Hasbro toys.

Note below that the description of the Shroud of Turin from HuffPost, which shows that they are not really that much more reliable and accurate than the Russian internet portal or the Armenian newspaper.

  • Spear of Destiny (Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem)
  • True Cross (a piece discovered in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre)
  • Crown of Thorns (the one in a church on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion)
  • Holy Grail in Zaragoza, Spain (at least, it’s an artifact of something, maybe)
  • Shroud of Turin (the cloth, supposedly used to wipe Christ’s face prior to the crucifixion)
  • The Gifts of the Magi (at St. Paul’s Monastery at Mount Athos)
  • John the Baptist’s Head (at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria)
  • Muhammad’s Beard (Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace)
  • The Holy Mantle of Muhammad (also at the Topkapi Palace)
  • Buddha’s Tooth (at a temple in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy)

At least to the paper’s credit they say of the Shroud that “[t]he cloth has come under a great deal of scrutiny partially because it provenance is unknown” even if they don’t know what it is.

Why did they omit the relics of St. Columba who, after all, discovered the Loch Ness Monster?

Quote for Today: Did Leonardo Paint This

With reference to London’s National Gallery’s Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan show, Richard Dorment writes in The Telegraph:

imageThe last picture in the show is a newly attributed Christ as the Saviour of the World. In reproduction, it looks like the kind of creepy 19th-century symbolist picture that would have interested Madame Blavatsky. But seen face to face, the miraculous handling of the hand raised in blessing, the rock crystal orb, and hair all add up to convincing arguments in favour of Leonardo’s authorship. Still, it looks like nothing else in the show. The hypnotic head and upper torso fill the panel edge to edge like an icon, whereas Leonardo’s figures move, torque, and engage with the atmosphere around them. Perhaps its strangeness can be accounted for by the commission. Was it meant to be seen from afar, or to be carried in a procession like a banner? Certainly it is related to the image of Christ’s face imprinted on the Sudarium, or veil of Veronica, which was venerated as one of the most famous relics in Christendom. All I can say is that if Leonardo did paint it then I’ll bet a fiver he’s also the joker behind the Turin Shroud.

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, National Gallery in London: review – Telegraph

Another Tinfoil Hat Alert

imageThis stuff is absolutely nuts. And what does Barrie Schwortz, Isabel Piczek and the Shroud of Turin have to do with this? From his blog, L.A. Marzulli posts a promo for Watchers 3 – Fingerprints of the Supernatural!

L.A. Marzulli, author of the Cosmic Chess Match and popular guest on talk shows such as Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, hosts the third installment of the Watchers series. All over the world mysterious and unexplained events continue with little or no explanation from our governments or media. People are seeing multiple suns or hearing strange, anomalous sounds. NASA’s SOHO images seem to be revealing unknown objects around the sun. Planet X/Nibiru – could there be large unseen forces affecting our solar system? Then there’s the Shroud of Turin, which may be the most probed, enigmatic artifact on the planet. L.A. talks with two of the premier experts: recently knighted The Right Honorable Barrie Schwortz, whose photographs of the Shroud are iconic, and Dame Isabel Piczek, muralist and particle physicist. With the unprecedented Arab Spring, how does the unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Jordan affect Israel? Is this uprising of millions of people being fanned by unseen supernatural forces? Later, the world experts weigh in on the Torah Codes, explaining how science and an understanding of ancient Hebrew are both required to get the best results. What new updates have been discovered by Dr. Roger Leir? Have so-called “alien implants” become more inscrutable and is there evidence that the technology may be ramping up for some unknown purpose? L.A. Marzulli will interview the experts on each topic. Watchers 3 has the most impressive line-up so far in the series.

imageimageYou can order the Watchers 3. While you are at it why not order The Alien Interviews and this great T shirt so everyone will know that you’re a nut too.

Shroud of Turin Humor

Haim Watzman’s article is worth five minutes if you have a sense of humor. “The Truth About Dave — Necessary Stories,” a column from The Jerusalem Report:

I think it was my senior year in high school in which my friend Dave first discovered the truth. And since I was his best friend, he was determined to impart the truth to me as well.

It was a cover story in Time magazine, I’m pretty sure, that set Dave off. It was a big spread about the Shroud of Turin, a cloth that many Christians believe bears an image of the crucified Jesus. New research, the magazine reported, proved that the cloth and the image indeed dated from the first century AD.

“Wow,” said Dave, putting down the magazine and digging into the chocolate ice cream I’d dished out to him in my family’s kitchen. “We all gotta become Christians now!”

“Ha,” I said. Dave had, after all, been in my Hebrew school car pool. His Mom made a mean kugel and his older sister was going out with the son of the military attaché at the Israeli embassy.

“I’m serious,” said Dave. “It says here that it’s Jesus on the shroud. That means you have to believe in him.”

Oh yes it is a mystery, at least the Shroud of Turin is.

imageLawrence Buentello has a great blog, Larry’s Squishy Brain. Do check it out. A recent posting, It’s No Mystery, I’m Afraid, got my attention. He wrote:

Science not only quashed the boundaries of religion, it pretty much killed the possibilities for most everything else that doesn’t align itself with scientific evidence. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing all around—knowing the boundaries of reality, and the true face of the universe, is a wonderful ability.

Some of us, perhaps most of us who accept more orthodox forms of religion love science, love knowing more and more of the true face of the universe. Far from quashing the boundaries of religion, knowing the truth of evolution or the magnitude of a 13.7 billion year old universe tells me so much more about God’s creation. Wondering about what might be beyond the universe’s boundaries enlivens religion, expands its intellectual boundaries. Is there anything outside the Hubble Volume? Are there infinite bubble universes? Is there another me in some universe that knows the answer? Or as MIT’s Alan Guth put it in a BBC roundtable discussion with several prominent cosmologists and theoretical physicists in 2002:

Essentially anything that can happen does happen in one of the alternatives which means that superimposed on top of the Universe that we know of is an alternative universe where Al Gore is President and Elvis Presley is still alive.

And Larry wrote:

Radiocarbon dating has proven, I’m afraid, that the Shroud of Turin is just not that old, no matter how much you want to believe Jesus was buried in it.

imageWell I don’t think we can ever know if Jesus was buried in it but I don’t think radiocarbon dating has proven it is not possible. Science is like that and we must keep up with change. When Father (Monsignor) Georges Henri Lemaître proposed what was derisively called the Big Bang by Fred Hoyle, Einstein and many others were forced to eventually change their minds and accept that the universe was expanding. One scientific theory replaced an older conclusion. Later Alan Guth and Andrei Linde would revise that by adding to it a period of inflation. And we don’t know that we have a final picture yet.

As for the Shroud of Turin, chemical analysis, peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that samples tested are chemically unlike the whole cloth. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair. Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature when the carbon dating results were published, recently wrote: “It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever.”  Richard Dawkins now admits it is controversial. Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, thinks more testing is needed. Countless other scientists do too. If we wish to be scientific we must admit we do not know how old the cloth is. Radiocarbon dating has proven nothing and new tests are needed.

But I do agree with Larry that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. And I do miss so much exciting mystery. But then there really is plenty of mystery left. For instance, Philip Ball offered up this in Nature Online:

The scientific study of the Turin Shroud is like a microcosm of the scientific search for God. It does more to inflame any debate than settle it . . . . And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artifact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status. It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made.

It is simply a mystery begging for a scientific answer.

And so now Shroud of Turin is a paint color

Paint colors have funny names. Kathy will tell you that I deliberately avoid reading the silly names written on the back of the paint samples so that they don’t color (sorry) my decision. I don’t want to know that one shade of white is called Wedding Cake while another is named Shroud of Turin or Albino Bicuspid or something like that.

Case in point: Our new ceiling color is called Mystic Fairy. Really? Can you see walking into Home Depot and asking for a gallon of Mystic Fairy?

I doubt it, but it makes for interesting writing at Restoring Dr. Hart’s Mansion.

When it comes to the Shroud I am right and you are wrong

imageDivineRemedy’s latest, Chapter 54: Chutes and Ladders:

As of late, I am more and more cognizant of the controversy of the Shroud. If there is only one truth… there is only one truth. Likely none of us fully knows it.

When we entangle ourselves in the morality game of chutes and ladders, striving to climb above each other’s understanding and knowing, claiming our way is what is true…down the chute we go.

. . .

How apropos that the Shroud should induce so much doubt. Even those who believe it is real possibly, at some point, have had moments of doubt and fear that they will be proven wrong.

Are we not all more and more cognizant of the controversy of the Shroud? I think it is a good thing. I trust that in the end all that will be left is truth or mystery.

A Scientific Approach to Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin

imageIt is a wonderful, relatively new blog. I’m just starting to explore it. There is a problem: it’s in Italian and I don’t read Italian. But Google does a reasonable job of translation and the Chrome browser makes it automatic.

With a picture of my favorite philosopher, Richard Swinburne, in the masthead I was hooked before reading a word. Having read some, I am now doubly hooked.

There is a wonderful article, “A Scientific Approach to Image Formation of the Shroud (first part)” (second part) by Paul Di Lazzaro. Here is the introductory biographical sketch because it warrants attention:

With this article we’ll start the collaboration with  Paul Di Lazzaro , a physicist and director of research at the Research Centre ENEA Frascati, winner of the Italian Physical Society in 1990 and 2008 Award of Excellence in Enea. And ‘the author of over 195 articles published in international journals and 6 patents for industrial inventions. Member of several international committees, is currently considered one of the leading European experts in the field of high power laser systems and their applications in micro-electronics, plasma generation, selective and superficial cleaning materials, biology, light-matter interaction. Since 2005 he has been interested in scientific studies on the image on the Shroud of Turin, coordinating different experiments in coloring-like shroud of linen fabrics irradiated with excimer lasers, and working as Chairman of the International Workshop on the approach to scientific images acheropite held at the Center ENEA Frascati Research 4 to 6 May 2010. By Dr. Lazarus has made ​​available to answer any questions that may be posted in the comments below the article.

Note that there are 194 good comments to part I of this article. Read them after you read the full article. This comment from someone named Jack could have been from me:

I can not wait to read the second part, which will set out the results … however, I would ask you, Dr. Lazarus, what do you think of the American Chemical studies of Rogers that the image appeared due to specific chemical reactions and claims to have obtained the same type of yellowing on the Shroud … here it is: / rogers2.pdf

And then there is this from Part II:

. . . Our main purpose is to perform accurate experiments, controlled and reproducible, suitable to understand the details of the physical and chemical mechanisms that have produced the Shroud image, thanks to a powerful and versatile instrument such as the excimer laser. In this sense, our experimental data can be helpful to scholars who seek to color the linen experiments involving VUV light but are difficult to control, reproduce and characterize such corona discharges [Fanti 2010b] or electrostatic discharge and radon released during seismic events [de Liso].

We are not the conclusion, we are composing pieces of a fascinating and complex scientific puzzle. The enigma of the image of the Shroud of Turin is still "a challenge to intelligence" [John Paul II].

And there are 241 comments to part II.

So here are the links again:

Part I   Part II

I highly recommend using Chrome for translations but you can translate from Firefox and Explorer using toolbar options (it is actually easier to install Chrome for translations – and its is so superior for PDF files that it is worth it).


A Google translation of part I is below the fold.

Continue reading “A Scientific Approach to Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin”

The Spanish Connection: Of Tablecloths and Tallits and the Shroud of Turin

Gabriel from Spain writes:

imageLet me draw your attention to another relic which is currently being analyzed by John Jackson (Colorado Center) and the Spanish Centre of Sindonology.

According to their preliminary studies, these researchers consider plausible that this relic which is kept in Coria (Spain) could have been the tablecloth of the Last Supper and therefore have a connection with the Shroud. The researchers think that in fact it is a Jewish prayer robe (tallit) belonging to the first century.

This has been recently published in ABC, a major Spanish journal

He then provided this Spanish language link (

And here is a Google translation from that link into English:

Cáceres, Oct 30 (EFE) .- Researchers "Turin Shroud Center" in Colorado (United States) and the Spanish Centre for Sindonology initiated a scientific study of the Last Supper Tablecloth of Jesus Christ, a relic attributed to Jesus of Nazareth this centuries in the cathedral of Coria (Cáceres).

A scientific lines, driven by the American researcher John Jackson, relates the shroud, present in Turin (Italy), and the tablecloth Coria, as explained, told Efe, the delegate of the Spanish Centre Extremadura Sindonology Ignacio Dols.

Dols, who coordinates studies of the relic of Coria, explained that the center of John Jackson, "Turin Shroud Center" part of the premise that the blanket that wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, might be supposed to be a tablecloth ritual remained tablecloth spread over Coria.

Both fabrics have a similar size (4.32 by 0.90 meters, approximately) and are pure linen.

Next year the team will return to Jackson Extremadura town to continue his research and show the results of the studies initiated in November 2006 and April 2007 on the tablecloth.

This is the only relic exposed in the world which claims correspond to the fabric used in the Last Supper by Jesus of Nazareth and the twelve apostles.

John Jackson, formerly of NASA, leads the American team that investigated the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Shroud of Oviedo, a detailed work on the material used microscopic and photographic art techniques.

In this work, has both research Sindonology Spanish Center, the branch of science that deals with the study of the relics that are related directly or indirectly with Jesus Christ and the Holy Shroud.

Research has been attended Relief Mantilla de los Rios and Pilar Benito Garcia, members of the Spanish Historical Heritage Institute, Ministry of Education.

The analysis points out that the relic of Coria is a pure linen cloth, which coincides with the prayer shawls of the Jewish people, called "tallit".

"Science confirms that what tradition says seem likely to be true" and that the cloth is "perfectly consistent with the type of tissue, the type of texture and type of linen" used in Palestine in the first century, which provides "certainty" about their age, according to Ignacio Dols.

Therefore, he said, the Spanish Center for Sindonology has "sufficient evidence" to continue research and shed light on the relic, found in the basement of the sanctuary of the ancient cathedral of Coria in the late fourteenth century and whose authenticity Catholic Church has not pronounced.

The research will be necessary to recover the studies in the 60 at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid by researchers and Carrato Hernández Pacheco Gómez Ibáñez Moreno.

So far, explained Ignacio Dols, documents are missing, although the Earl of Shin certified in a publication that was present studies and recounts some of his conclusions. EFE

The Latest in Pareidolia: Face In Tumour

Yes, there are still some people who think the image on the Shroud is mere Pareidolia. But this is. From the Huffington Post on Nov 2:

imageAs reported by The Toronto Star, Canadian doctors were shocked when they looked at an ultrasound image of a testicular tumour (see image above).

“It was very ghoulish, like a man screaming in pain,” Doctor Naji Touma, who works at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., told The Star about the picture taken in 2009.

Dr. Touma and Greg Roberts wrote in their paper submitted to the journal Urology that they saw a “…man’s face staring up out of the image, his mouth agape as if the face seen on the ultrasound scan itself.”

Their Urology abstract notes:

"A brief debate ensued on whether the image could have been a sign from a deity (perhaps ‘Min’ the Egyptian god of male virility); however, the consensus deemed it a mere coincidental occurrence rather than a divine proclamation."

Source and full article:Face In Tumour: Testicular Growth Shocks Doctors After Ultrasound – The Huffington Post

Science and Religion, An Interesting Optimism

imageIt is an interesting article, “Peace Breaks Out in the War Between Religion and Science,” by Michael Zimmerman in the Huffington Post. It is particularly timely because of some recent discussion in this blog. Dr. Zimmerman is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology at Butler University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is past editor of the Newsletter of the Ohio Center for Science Education as well as the founder of The Clergy Letter Project :

Yes, there are religious leaders who proclaim that their religious teachings dictate their scientific beliefs. Fundamentalists who adhere dogmatically to a specific interpretation of ancient texts and demand that those bizarre interpretations be taught in science classes fall into this category. Fundamentalists like Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis who unilaterally break science into "operational" science and "historical" science fall into this category. And fundamentalists like those at the Discovery Institute who promote a redefinition of science to include the supernatural also fall into this category. But these people and organizations, as loud and as well funded as they are, do not represent the vast majority of religious individuals. When we conflate these two dramatically different groups and assume they have the same motives and intellectual underpinnings, we’re making a huge mistake and missing an opportunity for enhanced understanding.

And, yes, there are some scientists, who do exactly this. They characterize anyone who holds any religious belief in the same fashion as they describe those who are dogmatic in their misunderstanding of science. Some of these scientists believe that science must lead to atheism and, while such a path may have made sense for them, it is demonstrably not the case for large numbers of other scientists and millions of citizens interested in both religion and science.

Comment Promoted: Promissory Materialism

imageStephen E. Jones (articulate, always perceptive commenter on many Shroud of Turin matters) offers a wonderful comment on my posting, “David Barash on the Hardest Problem in Science:”

While I appreciate Prof. Barash’s candour (and nothing I write here should be construed as a personal attack on him or his ilk), nevertheless, Materialists have for decades (if not centuries) been making promises like, “I am also nearly as confident that some day, we’ll understand how.” It even has a name, “Promissory Materialism“!

And make a point to go read his series of posts, Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus by starting with #1 in his October archives and moving into November.

A Guest Posting by Giulio Fanti

imageI am Giulio Fanti, associate professor in Mechanical and Thermal Measurements at Padova University (Italy) ( I study the Turin Shroud from 1997 from a scientific point of view; some publication on the argument are at the address: Other more recent publications on the Turin Shroud are listed here:

– G. FANTI, "Hypotheses regarding the formation of the body image on the Turin Shroud.
A critical compendium", accepted for J. Imaging Sci. Technol. Nov-Dec. 2011.
– G. FANTI, T. HEIMBURGER, "Letter to the Editor: Comments on – Life-Size Reproduction of the Shroud of Turin and Its Image" by L. Garlaschelli- " J. Imaging Sci. Technol. Vol. 55, 020102 (Feb 25, 2011)
– G. FANTI, "La Sindone, una sfida alla scienza moderna", Atti e Memorie dell’Accademia Galileiana di Scienze ed Arti in Padova, Anno Accademico 2009-2010, Vol. CXXII, Parte II, pp. 27-46 (2011).

– FANTI G., "Can a Corona Discharge Explain the Body Image of the Turin Shroud?", Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, Vol. 54, No. 2, March/April 2010, p.020508-1/10.
– G. FANTI, J.A. BOTELLA, P. DI LAZZARO, T. HEIMBURGER, R. SCHNEIDER, N. SVENSSON," Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality", J. of Imaging Sci. Technol., 54 No. 4, p. 040201-1/8, (2010).
– G. FANTI, R. BASSO, G. BIANCHINI, "Turin Shroud: Compatibility Between a Digitized Body Image and a Computerized Anthropomorphous Manikin", J. of Imaging Sci. Technol., 54 No.5, p. 050503-1/8, (2010).
– P. DI LAZZARO , G. FANTI, E. NICHELATTI, G. BALDACCHINI," Deep Ultraviolet Radiation Simulates the Turin Shroud Image", J. of Imaging Sci. Technol., 54 No. 4, p. 040301/6, (2010).
– RIANI M., FANTI G., CROSILLA F., ATKINSONS A., "Statistica robusta e radiodatazione della Sindone" SIS Magazine
– FANTI G., PRIVITERA C., "A Quantitative Image of the Turin Shroud for Details Recognition", Proc. Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Research Center of Frascati (Italy), 4-5-6 May 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9.
– HEIMBURGER T. FANTI G., "A Scientific Comparison between the Turin Shroud and the First Handmade Whole Copy", Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, – ENEA Research Center of Frascati (Italy), 4-5-6 May 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9.
– FANTI G., J.A. BOTELLA, F. CROSILLA, F. LATTARULO, N. SVENSSON, R. SCHNEIDER, A.D. WHANGER "List of Evidences of the Turin Shroud", Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Research Center of Frascati (Italy), 4-5-6 May 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9.
– FACCINI B., FANTI G., "New Image Processing of the Turin Shroud Scourge Marks", Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Research Center of Frascati (Italy), 4-5-6 May 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9.
– M., A.C. ATKINSON, G. FANTI, F. CROSILLA," A robust statistical analysis of the 1988 Turin Shroud radiocarbon dating results", Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Research Center of Frascati (Italy), 4-5-6 May 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9.
– A. C. LIND, M. ANTONACCI, G. FANTI, D. ELMORE, J. M. GUTHRIE, "Production of Radiocarbon by Neutron Radiation on Linen", Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Research Center of Frascati (Italy), 4-5-6 May 2010, ISBN 978-88-8286-232-9.
– G. FANTI, "Sindone – La scienza spiega la fede", Ed. Messaggero S.A., Padova, 2010, ISBN 978-88-250-2629-0.

– FANTI G., Proceedings of Shroud Science Group International Conference "The Shroud Of Turin: Perspectives on A Multifaceted Enigma", Ohio State University, August 14-17, 2008, Libreria Progetto, Padova, Italy 2009, ISBN 987-88-96477-03-8.

I am Christian Catholic by faith and I had the privilege to confirm more than one time my faith by means of personal physical proofs.

From my researches on the Turin Shroud and on other Objects connected with the Supernatural I understood that positivism is not always applicable and that there is necessary to suppose the existence of something that is out the traditional science to explain some phenomena connected with God, to the Mother of God, or to Religion in general.
I therefore approach problems related to the Turin Shroud and to other supposed relics knowing that Science and Faith are not in contrast each other but the one helps to explain the other.

I am sure that the Turin Shroud is authentic in the sense that it enveloped the dead Body of Jesus Christ and I tend to suppose authentic also the Oviedo Sudario, the Tunique of Argenteiul and the Titulus Crucis (being the first more reliable for me than the last) from knowledge I have on these Objects (that is not so wide as the knowledge I have for the Turin Shroud).

I am the leader of a Research Project on the Turin Shroud financed by the University of Padova also addressed to study the possible environmental effects that could have influenced the radiocarbon dating on the Turin Shroud and also from these on progress results I formulated the hypothesis recently presented. I repeat, it is only a working hypothesis that should be tested in the future, but for me it must not be a priori discharged.
There should be too much to write about the argument and much of it should be read in my publications, therefore my messages must be synthesized as much as possible. For example in this view I only presented two hypothesis in my recent posting in reference to the two possibilities of authenticity or falseness of the four Relics of Christ.

In fact there is obviously a third possibility that can be shared in other sub-possibilities that can be, naming T=True and F=False in reference to: A)Turin Shroud, B)Oviedo Sudario, C)Argenteuil Tunique, D)Titulus Crucis:

1) AT-BT-CT-DF; 2) AT-BT-CF-DF; 3) AT-BF-CF-DF; 4) AT-BT-CF-DT; 5) ….
but for the aim of discussion it seems less relevant because if we accept sub-possibility 1) for example, the discussion changes of a small quantity because it is only developed in reference to three Relics that can be true or false instead of four.

If sub-possibility 2) is accepted we still have two Relics that put in discussion the radiocarbon results and my discussion still holds.

I want not comment here some free observation made in the blog attempting to smear the name of Shroud Science Group only using my personal point of view because it is obviously tendentious. And before to affirm that my proposal is biased there should be shown scientific proofs, but not proofs only based on a positivistic conception of the physical world.

Who freely defines the facts related to Medjugorje as "ludicrous" is certainly an ignorant in the sense that he ignores the scientific results obtained by University Professors who physically measured particular phenomena using calibrated instruments. And the hypothesis that something surrounds the body of special person is not a fantasy but it is also sustained by those physical measurements.

Instead to almost blindly make reference to R. Rogers’ findings (that refer to non well defined samples), it should be better to make reference to direct analysis performed on samples taken from the Turin Shroud with the aim to propose a clear evidence of the contamination that could have affected the 1988 radiocarbon result.

I stop here because I want not to waste time in sterile a discussion that I am convinced will only produce rivers of words trying to evidence the fact that I am in error or worst to try to discredit my name. I want only to say to those bloggers that it should be better if they study the Turin Shroud in the details, with the wish that in such a way they will be closer to the real Truth and in particular to the Truth hidden by the Turin Shroud: the Resurrection of Christ.

David Barash on the Hardest Problem in Science

imageInteresting article by David Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington. Hard problem in the following paragraph refers to consciousness:

I write this as an utter and absolute, dyed-in-the-wool, scientifically oriented, hard-headed, empirically insistent, atheistically committed materialist, altogether certain that matter and energy rule the world, not mystical abracadabra. But I still can’t get any purchase on this “hard problem,” the very label being a notable understatement.

Cogito ergo sum may well be the most famous phrase in Western thought, yet I am convinced that Descartes’ renowned dualism is nonsense, that mind arises from nothing more nor less than the actions of the brain. I am also nearly as confident that some day, we’ll understand how. But in the meanwhile, I can’t help appreciating Ambrose Bierce’s reformulation: cogito cogito ergo cogito sum—“I think I think therefore I think I am,” which Bierce noted might actually be as close to truth as philosophers, at least, have ever gotten.

He should try out the image on the Shroud of Turin. Full article: The Hardest Problem in Science? – Brainstorm – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Modified Geiger Counters to Measure Holiness

imageA reader in Chicago writes regarding Giulio Fanti on the Carbon Dating of Certain Relics and A Reaction to Giulio Fanti’s Suggestion:

And they divided up his raimant/tunic/robe/garment/garments/clothes by casting lots/dice/or some variation of rock-paper-scissors. Had Geiger counters been present they would have been clicking.

The Markan priority is glaring. Yet despite and perhaps because of John we must wonder if the division of garments really happened and it was not merely a case of historizing prophecy (Psalm 22:18). If it happened there were probably multiple garments and some form of sortition such as drawing a short straw or rolling dice.

There is no reason to think the Argenteuil is one of those garments. The same must be said for the Trier and the Mtskheta. But they each could be and all could be real. However, the Argenteuil has been carbon 14 dated and in the absence of compelling reason to doubt the tests, it should be considered fake. Because I’m Greek I’m 25% convinced the Mtskheta is the real seamless garment.

Here is what else I think. The Turin Shroud may be real and there is compelling reason to fully reject the carbon dating because of chemical differences and evidence of mending. That is 100% solid stuff. The Oviedo may be real despite carbon dating because the work was sloppy and the results suspicious. I’m sort of 50/50 on the Oviedo. As for the the Argenteuil and the Titulus, I’m about 2%. Trying to validate belief in these relics with extreme pseudoscience and new age folderol is pure fantasy, the slathering of nuttiness onto biblical literalism. Next SSG will be studying pyramid crystals, herbs and magic potions. Next they will be using modified Geiger counters to measure holiness.  This is [***].

I removed the last word.

A Reaction to Giulio Fanti’s Suggestion

A reader writes:

imageWith regards to the SSG posting about the Argenteuil robe and carbon dating by Giulio, I am speechless. Good grief.

In the Catholic Church there are two competing claimants to the title of the seamless robe or chilote of Christ. Legendary accounts of the robe at Argenteuil’s provenance has it being given by the Byzantine empress Irene to Charlemagne in the 9th century. In other words it came by way of Byzantium. The earliest extant written records go back only to 1195 and describe it as a child’s garment. We can’t know otherwise by looking at it because it was cut up into many pieces during the French Revolution and each piece was hidden away in a different secret location. Today only few pieces remain that have been seamed together. Some do claim that it is the seamless robe but there isn’t any good evidence for doing so.

A robe at Trier is an alternate claimant.  Like the Argenteuil robe it only has a certain documented history that goes back only to the 12th century, though legend takes it back to St. Helena. Over the years it has been repaired and patched so much that it is hard to tell what might be authentic and what might not be. It is as good a candidate as the Argenteuil robe.

The claims don’t end there. Allegedly, the robe, or at least some piece of it, is to be found in the Patriarchal Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, Georgia, brought to that city by a Jewish Rabbi called Elias who bought the entire robe from a soldier who was present at the crucifixion. It is as good a story as any and I suppose it more likely true than the other stories. Portions of this robe are found at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Petersburg, Kiev’s Sophia Cathedral and the Moscow Cathedral of the Dormition.

The Shroud of Turin, on the other hand, has a respectable history going back to the Hymn of the Pearl, the letters of Sister Egeria, the Mozarabic Rite, John of Damascus, the capture by Curcuas and the subsequent witness of Gregory Referendus and Constantine VII and the Pray Manuscript. All of this would be almost worthless information were it not for the distinct, still inexplicable image on the Shroud.

The Sudarium has a reasonably well documented history back to the seventh century. From bloodstains there are reasons to believe that these two cloths covered the same body at about the same time. The idea that they might have been forged, both or one or the other, to have such similar bloodstain patterns is implausible to anyone who traces their possible paths during the Medieval. The Shroud and the Sudarium have been carbon dated with very dissimilar results. There are valid reasons to doubts the correctness of those dates independent of their differences. 

To throw the Argenteuil robe into the mix with the Shroud and Sudarium and claim that a series of undesirable radiocarbon dates suggest some supernatural aura attached to Jesus as a source of c14 rejuvenation is preposterous beyond scientific embarrassment.