Archive for March, 2012

Carbon Dating of the Shroud: Digging Even Deeper

March 28, 2012 1 comment

imageA Google translation of an article pertaining to an interview with Francesca Saracino, the director of the documentary "The Night of the Shroud."  It appeared yesterday, March 27, 2012 in Unione Cristiani Cattolici Razionali follows. The article is a bit confusing. Perhaps something is lost in translation. It helps to first look at a quotation from an email that Francesca Saracino sent to me earlier this month: 

. . . We’re just looking for the best way to give more international exposure for a documentary that will change many things on the issue of Carbon 14 test on the Shroud. But it takes time to do this.

And now the automated translation of the Italian version:

Among the experts on the Shroud the release of the documentary "The night of the Shroud" , produced by RAI Polyphemus and directed by Francesca Saracino , was eagerly awaited. For the first time it has shed light on research on the characters and the alleged mysterious maneuvers that characterized the controversialradiocarbon dating performed in 1988.

Since then there has been considerable debate within the scientific world, many of the doubts raised from  Harry Gove , the chief spokesman and coordinator of scientists for the dating of the Shroud that has changed his mind, showing in  a scientific study  serious  doubts on medieval dating of the Shroud. Then the chemist  Raymond N. Rogers , one of the leading experts worldwide in thermal analysis, that at the end of a scientific study  has well said"The radiocarbon date emerged from the examination should not be considered valid for determining the true age of the Shroud" . Even the head of a laboratory that has been made ​​to date, Christopher Ramsey  of Oxford, said  in a statement in 2008 that  "There are plenty of other evidence that suggests to many that the shroud is older than the date recorded Radiocarbon ‘ . Obviously, it cited the report of the  Italian Statistical Society , with which were found  calculation errors and the modification of some data to arrive at the trust level from 1 to 5%, the minimum threshold in order to present the scientific examination .

Now this documentary, which will be screened tomorrow, March 28, 2012  from 17:30 to 19:00 at the ‘John Paul II Auditorium (free admission) of the Regina Apostolorum in Rome . To achieve it were analyzed unpublished documents: video, audio, files, letters, photos, and witnesses were interviewed at the event, as the prof. Franco Testore, the textile expert who performed the weighing of samples for analysis.

imageOCCF has interviewed the director, Francesca Saracino , trying to steal some information in preview. He politely replied that "it is a long search lasted two and a half years to find evidence on different assumptions or less risky, which in recent years have been made" . She also confirms that in these years "the hypothesis of a plot, an analysis of the" Pilot "was carried out by a series of clues, but never really anything concrete," evidence "was found. We We found evidence that something strange was really there. And ‘this is the novelty of this documentary. Many documentaries have been made ​​on the Shroud, which is considered the theme of the C14, but no one has touched on this subject by digging deep into the Windows before, during and after the date … we did . "

The question as we see it’s really hot. After a few months ago ENEA researchers have rejected the possibility of a medieval forger, now falls (permanently?) the reliability of radiocarbon dating. The most mysterious thing was the presence of strangers to scientists and clergy employees, who have somehow influenced the work:  "In this documentary shows" , he replied the director. "My guess is, there is fear to get the truth about the Shroud " . Who’s in Rome you can certainly lose tomorrow this event, even if"there will be other presentations in various parts of Italy but now I can not give you certain dates.We already have a home video distribution (which has not started yet though) very important, which will soon be revealing the name and we are looking for a broadcast television as well. On this last point we are finding some difficulty for two reasons: on one hand the global crisis, on the other hand, the subject covered in the documentary is always very uncomfortable. For then we faced as we become even more uncomfortable " .

Quote for Today: Stephen E. Jones on Thomas de Wesselow:

March 28, 2012 3 comments

imageFrom some comments on a Telegraph article:

If true, I point out, he is overturning 2,000 years of Christian history. But he doesn’t even blink over his teacup. He’s either … out to make a quick buck with an eye-catching theory that caters for gullible readers of the likes of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail … or he’s absolutely sincere. If de Wesselow is sincere (bearing in mind that he has proposed his theory via a no-doubt very lucrative Easter market book contract, not in the normal non-paying Shroud literature), then as Billy Graham once put it, he is "sincerely wrong."

"I am an art historian," he responds calmly, "not a theologian, so I can approach the problem from a new angle." This is arrogance, born of ignorance. As pointed out above, while it is comparatively rare on the pro-authenticity side, there is nothing new in de Wesselow position that: 1) the Shroud is authentic; but 2) Jesus was not resurrected. The agnostic Yves Delage believed that in the early 1900s. And more recently so did Rodney Hoare (see above).

It’s a MUST READ posting. Stephen does much more than make this observation. He challenges the scholarship of the de Wesselow. I can’t wait for him to read the book. 

Categories: Books, News & Views

Sky News Interview with Thomas De Wesselow

March 27, 2012 5 comments
Categories: Books, News & Views, Video

Penguin: We wanted to get it out before Easter

March 27, 2012 3 comments

imageHere is The Bookseller version of the story:

Penguin has been employing "Harry Potter-style security measures" for a book it releases today [26th March], billing the secret non-fiction title as containing an "astonishing breakthrough" which explains the birth of Christianity for the first time.

The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection by Cambridge art historian Thomas de Wesselow has been kept a closely guarded secret by Penguin, with only three staff at Penguin in the know about it until this year. C.e.o. Tom Weldon and Viking editorial director Joel Rickett acquired world rights through Philippa Harrison at Ed Victor.

The book tackles the question of how Christianity was born. The religion began when, after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ followers claimed to have seen him alive again. In The Sign, de Wesselow argues that it was the Turin Shroud, the cloths Jesus was wrapped in after his reurrection, which his followers saw, seeing the imprint of Jesus in the cloth and taking it as a sign of resurrection. Though the shroud has been assumed to be a fake created in medieval times, de Wesselow provides what the publisher describes as "conclusive evidence" that the shroud is authentic, based on the fact that the imprint of Jesus’ body is a negative image.

Penguin UK has ordered an initial print run of 25,000 hardbacks for the UK market, and 20,000 trade paperbacks for the international export market. It will also be available in e-book at an initial price of £9.99.

Dutton in the US will publish the title on 2nd April, . . .

[. . . ]

He added: "We wanted to get it out before Easter. The chains are backing it amazingly and putting it in incredible positions. There’s a mixed record for secret books in the trade—we’ve had to judge it slightly. We didn’t want to barrel out there with 100,000 copies and totally saturate things." . . .

Bookstores around New York opened at midnight for the latest Harry Potter book and customers camped on the sidewalk to be in the door before stocks ran out. I’m not expecting the same thing.

It will be available at Amazon on April 3rd. So will the Kindle version. It is already available at Amazon UK if you just can’t wait.

Full article: Penguin unveils secret book on Turin Shroud | The Bookseller

Categories: Books

Paper Chase: “Lazarus & Jesus . . . “ by Kim Dreisbach

March 27, 2012 4 comments

imageRon references a paper by Fr. Kim Dreisbach (pictured), “Lazarus & Jesus . . . “ and notes that he can’t find it online. The fault is mine. It was at and the link was broken due to some work I was doing on the site. Here is a new link that works:

To quote from the abstract:

Exegesis of John 11 & 12 reveals a superbly ingenious way of affirming the survival and significance of both the Shroud and the Oviedo Cloth to "insiders in the know" while cleverly denying that knowledge to "outsiders" who could seize and destroy them.

John 20:12 is a masterpiece wherein both the evangelist* and redactor* deflect drawing attention to the Shroud by avoiding the Synoptics’ use of the word sindon while simultaneously affirming its image(s).

[. . .]

Further analysis will reveal not only the influence of these burial linens on subsequent liturgical practices, but it also shed significant light about what was actually visible upon them.

DaveB wrote: “It seems Dreisbach an Episcopalian minister, was widely respected among the Shroud world, but he died some years ago.” 

Yes, he was highly respected. He was a friend. This blog is dedicated to him. Read why here.

Categories: History, News & Views

Get Thee Upset! Or Not: Thomas de Wesselow’s New Book on the Shroud

March 26, 2012 8 comments

imageHere is a perspective on Thomas de Wesselow’s new book, The Sign, from Arminta Wallace in the Irish Times:

On the respectable sceptic’s list of extremely dodgy propositions, it’s right up there alongside UFOs and Elvis sightings. But that may be about to change. A book published today argues that the shroud really is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ – and that it turns everything we think we know about the Easter origins of Christian faith, quite literally, on its head.

This now is going to upset some people:

In the book, however, he goes on to make an even more astonishing claim. Having concluded that the shroud really was the burial shroud of Jesus, he found himself wondering why it wasn’t mentioned in the Bible’s Easter narratives. Then he had a eureka moment. “I’m very visual,” he says. “I see problems visually. So I’m thinking about this, and why don’t they mention it in the gospel texts, and then I think, ‘Hang on a minute. The figure of the angel; the details about one, or sometimes two, men being present in Jesus’s tomb. Oh, my God’ . . .”

He believes that the figures – described in the gospels as dressed in white, and luminous – were not supernatural apparitions but, in fact, the shroud itself, as seen through the eyes of first-century Palestinians.

And this is going to really upset some people, even more:

In the quiet of Jesus’s tomb, his friends and followers interpreted the marks on his burial cloth as a sign that he had been, not bodily resurrected – his body was still there – but reborn in another spiritual form. De Wesselow points out that one of the few characteristics all the “resurrection” stories have in common is that everyone finds it difficult to recognise The Risen Jesus – which would have been the case with the shroud, since it’s a negative image, and famously nebulous to boot.

Actually, the attempt to explain the post-resurrection experiences and encounters works just as well if the body isn’t there. Actually, it may work better.

imageWe seem, as the pressers are telling it, De Wesselow had a eureka moment. We also have him telling us of his careful research. Certainly, in his research, he encountered a 2001 paper by Fr. Kim Dreisbach, “Thomas and the Cenacle Reconsidered,” at (The above adaptation of Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas tells it all.)

The paper by Dreisbach (pictured here} should be read. I remember having great discussions with him about it.

Certainly – it had to be – this quote from Gregory Riley’s Resurrection Reconsidered, as quoted by Dreisbach, was discovered by De Wesselow:

Finally, the picture of the Doubting Thomas in John is shown to correspond well with the Thomas literature as a whole. All three of the major Thomas documents preserved, the Gospel of Thomas, the Book of Thomas and the Acts of Thomas are consistent in their denigration of the body, and their denial of physical resurrection… The Gospel of Thomas declares that no one will be able to raise his body. The Book of Thomas pronounces woe upon, and assigns to eternal punishment, those who hold future hope for the body. The Acts of Thomas, while containing many "orthodox" interpolations and revisions, nevertheless presents a like picture, and closes with a similar scene similar to that in the Gospel Easter stories; yet in the scene in the Acts the body of the twin brother of Jesus remains in the grave, while his soul ascends to heaven. This is supported, among  other passages, by one of the most famous poems in Gnostic Christian literature, the Hymn of the Pearl, which describes the archetypical journey of the soul for the
Thomas disciple: the soul descends into a body, and abandons it upon return to the heavenly realms.

So should the article in the Irish Times be read which includes two interesting sub-sections:

  • ‘Oh dear’: The religious affairs correspondent’s view by Patsy McGarry
  • ‘Thorough, well-researched, fair-minded’: the art critic’s view by Aidan Dunne
  • There is a morning’s worth of reading and thinking here.

Source: Exhibit A in a 2,000-year-old mystery – The Irish Times – Mon, Mar 26, 2012

Breault at Sussex County Community College

March 26, 2012 Comments off

imageThis time it is Sussex County Community College Performing Arts Center in Newton, New Jersey, just about a hour’s drive from Manhattan on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm. There is an admission charge between $7 and $10. The promotion material gets better and better.

Shroud Encounter is a production of Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc. and will be presented by international expert Russ Breault who has been featured on several documentaries airing on CBS and the History Channel. The presentation is a fast moving, big-screen experience using nearly 200 images covering all aspects of Shroud research.

The Shroud of Turin is the most analyzed artifact in the world yet still remains a mystery. Although the presence of specific pollen indicates the shroud originated in Israel, the 14-foot long linen cloth that has been in Turin, Italy for over 400 years and bears the faint front and back image of a 5’10″ bearded, crucified man with apparent wounds and bloodstains that match the crucifixion account as recorded in the Bible. Twenty-four scientists concluded that the image was not produced by an artist as there is no trace of paint, pigment, or dyes. The image is so superficially imposed it is only present on the top micro-fibers- only the depth of a single bacterium and is not present underneath the blood, meaning the blood was present first. Millions believe this is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, but there is no proof of decomposition present. Dismissed in 1988 due to carbon dating indicating the cloth originated in medieval times, the cloth was brought back to the public eye in 2005 when a scientific journal published a report citing the labs violated sampling protocol, deeming their results inconclusive and invalid.

Shroud Encounter will cover all aspects of the history, science, art and theories of how the image may have been formed. For more information, please visit

And if you miss that, Russ will be at East Carolina University Hendrix Auditorium in Greenville, NC, on April 11 at 8:00 pm.

Categories: Event, History, Science
%d bloggers like this: