OLD NEWS: Andrea Tornielli writing March 9, 2012, in Vatican Insider:
The Shroud of Turin, the linen sheet which, according to tradition, Jesus’ body had been wrapped in and carries the imprint of a man who was crucified in the same way described in Gospels, is still a mystery. A recently published study has concluded that the most likely hypothesis for the explanation of the origin of the image imprinted on the shroud is radiation, particularly the “corona discharge effect.”
This is according to Giulio Fanti, Professor of Professor of Mechanical and Thermic Measurements at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Padua who has been carrying out research on the Shroud for a number of years. The academic has presented the results of his study in an article that has just been published by the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology.
. . .
The article scientifically examines all core hypotheses, comparing them to 24 of the Shroud’s unique characteristics, deemed to be the most important of the more than one hundred features published up until recently in international scientific journals. The first hypotheses formulated by researchers who analysed the first photographs taken of the Shroud in the early 1900’s are being reviewed and examined. For example the theories which attributed the formation of the depicted figure to chalk or ammonia, to the effect of lightening or a mould containing zinc powder. “I therefore took the most sophisticated of all the hypotheses into consideration, such as those relating to the diffusion of gas or to the Shroud’s contact with the body that had been wrapped in a sheet soaked in aromas and various other substances,” Professor Fanti said.
“During my research – Fanti went on to say – I also considered the possibility of the combination of more than one mechanism in the image’s formation, returning to the ideas of those who, as of the second half of the last century, started to doubt the authenticity of the Shroud and therefore started suggesting image reproduction techniques used by medieval artists.”
You may recall that we discussed this on December 26, last year: New Paper in JIST by Giulio Fanti: Regarding the Formation of the Body Image on the Turin Shroud
It was not well received by some: Not happy with Giulio Fanti’s Paper in JIST
I must say I find the paper very unconvincing. And I haven’t seen any emerging support for it in the two and a half months since the it was published.
I will just briefly take one word of Ray Rogers to answer the question that is the title of this topic : NO !!!!
It is as simple as this to answer the question because it had been demonstrate long ago that Corona discharge cannot account for every chemical and physical properties of the Shroud image… In all logic, the answer to the mystery of the image MUST be seek elsewhere. Why not look more deeply in the direction of some interractions (most probably chemical in nature) between a dead and tortured body and a linen cloth that has been made in the old fashion way ? After all, this is exactly the set-up that was present in the tomb on friday night !!!
Of course, to investigate more deeply this hypothesis, the biggest problem will always be to find some fresh corpse that has been tortured for a long time before death… And the production of linen samples with the very same ancient method as describe by Pliny the Elder could also be a hard task… At least, some biochemist could make some researches with biological products that could have been present on the dead body or in the dead body shortly after death. I think there is some very interesting chemical experiments that could be done but that have never been done before… I still wait to see some experiments like that being made. Rogers had never the time to really analysed this issue in deep before he died. Just too bad. Someone should take over !!!
I too would like to see some experiments done with cadavers etc and linen prepared properly. I think it would have to involve multiple cadavers with their shrouds removed at different time intervals. I think it would go a long way to help us understand the possibilities regarding the shroud.
What I’d also like to see, in such an experiment, is the condition of the blood stains on the shroud once the shroud is removed from the body. Is it really discernable as broken or unbroken? I am not so sure what such stains would look like nor whether their condition is discernable from what we see on the shroud today.
Nice comment Chris ! Experiments between fresh corpses and linen cloths made the old fashion way have never been tempted. Who knows what would come out of this kind of experiment ? We could be surprised.
Personaly, I have a feeling that normal corpse wouldn’t create an image. Instead, I have a feeling that it takes a dead body that have been severely beaten and tortured over a long period of time prior to his death in order to produce the biological products in suffiscient quantities that it could react greatly with a thin coating of sugar on the top surface of a linen cloth and produce a real coloration over time.
Of course, I have no way at all to comfort by belief. But, that’s the way I feel about this mystery. I think after all the experiments made by Fanti, Di Lazzaro, Rinaudo, etc. that tried very hard to comfort some hypothesis directly linked with the Resurrection of Christ, I think it is about time that some scientists that have their feet on the ground could take over the few experiments made by Ray Rogers before his death and push the “natural” investigation much further !!! Except for the few tests made by Rogers, there’s a definitive lack of testing that have been done in this “natural” spectrum. It’s about time that this situation change ! As I said, after all, a dead and tortured body that is resting in a linen Shroud is all we can be sure about the set-up that was present in the tomb on friday night !!! So, why not forget the Resurrection for a time and try to investigate much further exclusively from those elements that we are 100% sure ? I think it is basic logic ! Unfortunately, in the Shroud world, logic and the seek of truth is not always what drives the researchers !!!
Yannick, I agree. More testing of a possible natural cause for the image is needed. I also share your suspicions regarding the need for a tortured body but gosh that is so gruesome to even think about. It would probably be best to test cadavers of multiple states. It would also be nice to replicate Christ’s burial conditions as closely as possible i.e. use of a limestone tomb during the proper time of year in the same proximity.
Should such experiments yield an image like the shroud’s I think it still a quite a scenario to ponder and be in awe at. What are the chances a snapshot of the most famous execution in man’s history would be created? The fact that such circumstances may have prevailed should give pause to the most ardent skepdic.
Of course if such experiments don’t yield anything we would have to re-evaluate everything.
Again, interesting comment Chris. The real problem science face when it comes to reproduce the conditions of Jesus burial is the fact that we don’t know a lot of informations about it !!! We don’t know the temperature outside and inside the tomb, the humidity degree outside and inside the tomb, if there was rain during the time the body of Christ was exposed, the time that the body stayed in a vertical position on the cross after death, the time the body stayed in an horizontal position underneath the cross after they took him down, etc, etc.
Because of this fact, I think it will always be really difficult to know if any experiment with corpse can really be relevant… That’s THE major problem science will always faced. It wouldn’t be an easy task !!!
By the way, on the particular question of the undisturbed blood stains, Pierre Barbet was categorical about that : In the present state of our knowledge, the high (undisturbed) quality of the blood stains (who are mainly mirror images of blood clots that were still humid enough – at various degree – to stained the cloth) is impossible to explain scientifically. Normally, there would have been some clear signs of wrenching and parts of the blood stains would be missing. In other words, normally, we would see incomplete blood stains almost everywhere, but it’s not the case.
I don’t see any good reason to doubt those words because they were pronounced by a real expert in this field. And, for Barbet, this particular (and very weird) aspect of the Shroud was THE only clear sign (not proof) of the Resurrection of Christ he could see on this cloth !!! I feel exactly the same…
Thanks for the information on the bloodstains, I am very intrigued by it. In any case I think it would be very interesting to do some experimenting. What do we see when we remove a shroud at various time lengths from cadaver? Would they be dry or would they be wet? Could they be in an intermitten state? Would be great to see all this demonstrated.
Interesting comment Christ. I agree that new test could be done and it would be interesting to see the results and compare them to the Shroud. But I’ve heard that test like that have been made in the first half of the 20th century by doctor R.W. Hynek (a Czechoslovakian doctor) and also, Paul Vignon (a Frenchman who is one of the main pionnier of the scientific research of the Shroud). I don’t know much about those tests and I’ve never read any scientific article about them, but I think they were never able to reproduce exactly the high quality of the blood stains we see on the Shroud. Maybe our friend Carlos from Spain could help me on this topic. I’m sure he knows this subject better than me…
But I agree with you that more test like that would be a very good thing. In science, you can’t obtain enough confirmations of one expert’s conclusion (Barbet’s conclusion in this particular case).
Oups… What a nice slip of the tongue ! I call you Christ instead of Chris ! ;-)
By the way, in my case, the blood aspect (I should say : the biological aspect) of the Shroud is what fascinate me the most !!! It’s very telling in regard of the concept of the Incarnation of God… The Shroud study tell me this : Jesus (God) was a REAL human being like you and me !!! A mortal being like you and me. When you stop 2 minutes to meditate on that, it’s fascinating and it’s very telling to understand who God really is. He accepted to take flesh and blood, he who was a pure spirit… And it wasn’t a joke (like some heretics – like the Monophysists – thoughts throughout the long history of the Church). It was real. Incredible !
Yannick, I agree the biological aspect definitely gives us something very powerful to meditate on. He was fully God and yet fully Man. None of the emotions or trials of the physical body did He spare Himself but took them on in free will. He showed us He understands and knows us. Likewise He showed us that He understands our own mortality by suffering our human death. He demonstrates for us before our very eyes our sinful nature and it’s rejection of truth because it is this very sinful nature that rejected Him and the truth He preached while he walked on earth and placed Him on the cross. He thoroughly knew our own human nature better than we will ever probably know ourselves.
It also gives rise to a preponderance of how the spirit inhabits the body and it’s immortal nature. He deigned to bestow upon us that nature which is His own, hence we are made in His image truly. And even though this body and eventually this universe will pass away He rescues us from this temporal state by giving us His nature. His rescue is absolute of the good and the evil alike. Both shall live after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil but it is by choice in free will whether or not we will spend this eternal life with Him or without Him.
Chris, Yannick: The two of you have been going on about gruesome experiments with dead bodies and cadavers; Get real, that’s not gonna happen, altho there may be a few spare in Syria at present, if we’re going all the way with bad taste!
I’ve suggested over the last month that some small scale experiments with small animals – lab rats, rabbits -, might be a better route to go. Advantages: Experiments are small scale, so less costly and easier; scope for controlling lots of different variables; Limited ethical objections, altho anti-vivisectionists could give you a hard time; you could entertain yourselves traumatising the rabbits & rats if you think that part’s important.
Altho’ there seems to be nothing in the corona discharge aspect, the idea of two separate processes acting in conjunction has I think some appeal. We read of eathquakes and heavy dust clouds (sun hidden). Suppose the chemical mix inside the wrapped shroud got to some critical make-up, and there were a few ligntning strikes at the same time, from all the natural phenomena going on. This might have acted as a photographic flash bulb activating the chemical mix. It might help to explain why there’s only a frontal and dorsal image and no lateral image.
Speculative and maybe a bit too imaginative; Although there’s a few ideas out there. nobody else has come up with a definite conclusive answer!
Quote from Dave : “Chris, Yannick: The two of you have been going on about gruesome experiments with dead bodies and cadavers”
Answer : First I would say that it would surely not be the first time in the history of science that experiments would be made with real corpse ! But, since the main goal would be to “only” understand the image formation process of a body image present on a religious relic (and not trying to understand better a disease or something like that), I agree that it is most probably sure that experiments like that will never be done. I have already talked about the alternative that could be done : Trying different biological products (in different amount and proportions) that could have been present on the skin and/or inside the body of Jesus at the moment of the entombment (like urea, lactic acid, free radicals, sweat, etc, etc.) and see if they could produce a chemical reaction that could give a coloration like the Shroud when they are in presence of a small layer of impurity of the same nature than what Rogers explained in his papers on the Shroud. Those experiments should be tried with only one product at the time, and then tried with a mix of products. They could also involve different kind of burial products that could have been present on the skin (like aloes, myrrh, olive oil, etc.). I personally think that would be much more relevant than experiments with corpse of some animals… And, from my point of view, since I love animals, I think it would be much more ethical.
Quote : “Altho’ there seems to be nothing in the corona discharge aspect, the idea of two separate processes acting in conjunction has I think some appeal. We read of eathquakes and heavy dust clouds (sun hidden). Suppose the chemical mix inside the wrapped shroud got to some critical make-up, and there were a few ligntning strikes at the same time, from all the natural phenomena going on. This might have acted as a photographic flash bulb activating the chemical mix. It might help to explain why there’s only a frontal and dorsal image and no lateral image.
Speculative and maybe a bit too imaginative;”
Answer : Yes, I think it’s way too much imaginative ! Because of what Ray Rogers said about it, I really think we have to completely discard the Corona discharge hypothesis (even if we think that was only a part of the process). Because of some facts about the Shroud that were found by the STURP team (like the fact that the image formation took place most probably at normal temperature, without any abnormal increase of temperature), I think the answer is to be found in some undetermined chemical process (one or more) that were at work between the corpse (particularly, the skin) and a thin layer of impurities on the top surface of the Shroud. Like I said before, after all, the original set-up was exactly that : a corpse that was tortured for a long period of time and a Shroud that presented most probably a thin layer of impurities on his external and internal surface. I think that Shroud science should get back to basic thinking and get his feet on the ground right now ! I think we should get back to the basic facts that we are sure with a great level of confidence (like the ones I just describe) and start with those facts without trying to add supernatural or very unlikely events. GET BACK TO WHAT WE KNOW FOR SURE (OR PROBABLY SURE) AND MAKE A RESEARCH INVOLVING THOSE ELEMENTS AND NOTHING ELSE (IN DIFFERENT SET-UP REGARDING THINGS LIKE TEMPERATURE, HUMIDITY, TIME, ETC.). In my mind, that’s the best thing that could happen to Shroud science. And I really think we could be surprise of the results…
Quote : “Although there’s a few ideas out there. nobody else has come up with a definite conclusive answer!”
Answer : It’s true and that prove only one thing : MORE RESEARCHES NEED TO BE DONE, ESPECIALLY RESEARCHES INVOLVING BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS AND LINEN SAMPLES THAT PRESENTS A THIN LAYER OF IMPURITIES ON THEIR SURFACE AS DESCRIBED BY RAY ROGERS !!!
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