Paper Chase: New Paper Challenges Rogers

imageAdrie van der Hoeven has published a lengthy article, Internal selvedge in starched and dyed temple mantle – No invisible repair in Turin Shroud – No Maillard reaction on the Holy Shroud Guild website. I have not read it but I picked out this concluding paragraph under Discussion on page 33:

The physical, chemical, and microscopical data of the radiocarbon sample area show no signs of a repair or inexplicable differences with the main Shroud, and even indicate that the sample area and main Shroud are one cloth and that this cloth most probably was a first-century Jewish temple garment. As an invisible 16th-century repair of the Shroud  seems to be precluded, another explanation of the reported medieval radiocarbon date of a first-century cloth might be found. Antonacci reported an experiment showing that ancient linen is radiocarbon-juvenized by neutron irradiation. Di Lazzaro reported experiments showing a Shroud-like coloration of linen can be created by VUV-irradiation.  Fanti reported experiments showing that a Corona Discharge (an electrical discharge naturally accompanied by particle- and VUV-irradiation) can create Shroudlike images, which fit the characteristics of the Shroud’s superficial body images better than (results of) all other proposed  image formation processes do. Di Lazzaro invited Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, to collaborate  in a team to study the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating results.  Such a collaboration could produce very interesting insights.

Krauss: I don’t really give a damn what "nothing" means to philosophers; I care about the "nothing" of reality."

imageDawkins seems to be on my radar since David Rolfe’s Shroud of Turin challenge to him. This article, Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete? by Ross Andersen in Atlantic caught my attention:

In January, Lawrence Krauss [pictured], a theoretical physicist and Director of the Origins Institute at Arizona State University, published A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, a book that, as its title suggests, purports to explain how something—and not just any something, but the entire universe—could have emerged from nothing, the kind of nothing implicated by quantum field theory. But before attempting to do so, the book first tells the story of modern cosmology, whipping its way through the big bang to microwave background radiation and the discovery of dark energy. It’s a story that Krauss is well positioned to tell; in recent years he has emerged as an unusually gifted explainer of astrophysics. One of his lectures has been viewed over a million times on YouTube and his cultural reach extends to some unlikely places—last year Miley Cyrus came under fire when she tweeted a quote from Krauss that some Christians found offensive. Krauss’ book quickly became a bestseller, drawing raves from popular atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, the latter of which even compared it to The Origin of Species for the way its final chapters were supposed to finally upend "last trump card of the theologian."

I haven’t read the book, but I have added it to my ‘when I get some time’ list. There is a good interview by Andersen with Krause in this article. I like Krause’s answers in that they seem honest. That doesn’t mean I agree. Here is a snippet:

Continue reading “Krauss: I don’t really give a damn what "nothing" means to philosophers; I care about the "nothing" of reality."”

History Done Right.

Jack Markwardt explains:

imageI originated and presented this hypothesis to an international conference convened at Ohio State University in 2008 for the simple reason that the early history of the Turin Shroud cannot be credibly linked to the ancient city of Edessa through a literal application of the Abgar legend. The preeminent historian of Edessa, J.B. Segal, after years of arduous study and investigation, concluded that the Abgar legend constitutes “one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity”. It should not be surprising, therefore, that a number of highly-respected modern historians have summarily rejected this pious fraud as evidential of the Turin Shroud’s whereabouts during the first Christian millennium, particularly because real historical evidence provides not the slightest indication that pagan Edessa was even partially converted to Christianity prior to the late second-century reign of King Abgar the Great. The preeminent historian of Antioch, Glanville Downey, ascribed that development to a two-phase evangelization mission, one which initially resulted in the baptism of Abgar the Great and ultimately concluded with the consecration of Edessa’s first bishop, Palut, in 200 CE, by Serapion, the bishop of Antioch. Relatively recent attribution of an image of Christ to the city of Edessa during the first half-millennium of Christianity arises exclusively from a substantial permutation of the Abgar legend authored, in ca. 945, by a Byzantine Emperor who desired to bestow an apostolic provenance upon the Christ-icon which had recently been transferred to his capital from Edessa. In order to explain away, in one bold imperial stroke, the complete historical anonymity of this icon during the first five Christian centuries, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus sponsored the publication and circulation of a tale which featured not only the cloth’s first-century concealment within a niche located above an Edessa city gate, but also its miraculous rediscovery there by a fictional Edessan bishop, Eulalius, during the Persian siege of 544 CE. It has been suggested, in lieu of this incredible miracle-discovery tale, that the icon was actually found in the wake of the great flood of 525 CE which damaged Edessa’s city walls; however, it is rather significant that such a truly notable event merited no mention whatsoever in the Edessan Chronicle, a Syriac work composed in ca. 540-544 CE, which not only described the great flood but also detailed the most commonplace of Edessan ecclesiastical matters. In my opinion, modern scholarship will continue to reject the identification of the acheiropoietos image of Christ which was brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944 CE with the Turin Shroud unless and until the provenance of that icon, and the circumstances surrounding its arrival in Edessa, can be reasonably established on the basis of non-legendary evidence.

I was there at Ohio in 2008 and remember the presentation, Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret. It was excellent. Read it.

And I don’t like P. Z. Myers, Either

imagePart of P.Z. Myers Sunday Sacrilege: Sacking the City of God in his blog Pharyngula. I guess if you are a Christian and take classes from this guy at the University of Minnesota, Morris, it’s a good idea to keep your faith to yourself:

Now wait, there might be some people saying (not anyone here, of course) that that’s no fair. Maybe you’re a liberal Christian, and I’m picking on the extremists (although, when we’re talking about roughly half the United States being evolution-denying, drill-baby-drill, apocalypse-loving christians, it’s more accurate to say I’m describing a representative sample). Perhaps you’re a moderate, you support good science, education, and the environment, you just love Jesus or Mohammed, too.

I’m sorry, but I don’t like you.

Do read the whole thing if you want to get an idea about this guy (right in picture) who is now outpacing Richard Dawkins (left with jacket) on the internet.

A Report from the Shroud of Turin Conference in Valencia

imageGoogle translation of an article appearing in

Scientific experts in the study of the Shroud of Turin have analyzed this Saturday in Valencia, studies on the footprint of the relic, during the first session of the First International Congress on the Shroud to be held in Valencia until Monday.


The doctor of physical sciences Manuel Carreira said that "on the Shroud of Turin is kept a single image in the history of archeology" and that "today, as a physicist I can say that there is no suitable explanation to explain how was generated. " The scientist has referred to the imprint can be seen on the surface of the shroud and it is for a man tortured, as the Gospels indicate that Jesus did.

Meanwhile, photographer and scientist STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) research team in the U.S. to investigate the Shroud of Turin in 1978, Barrie Schwortz, showed attendees a selection of over 2,500 images taken during the investigation, reported by the Archbishop in a statement.

In addition, the U.S. PhD in Physics, John Jackson, who was the coordinator of STURP, made a critical review of scientific procedures carried out in 1978 and stressed the importance of continuing the analysis using technological advances that have occurred since then to refine the observations and hypotheses about the process of generating the image on the web.

The director of the documentary The Silent Witness "(1978), David Rolfe, has proposed to those who claim to have been able to reproduce by artificial means the image to present to the scientific community to verify their models if they exhibit the same characteristics that observed on the Shroud of Turin, such as the effects of three-dimensional photographic or negativity.

Finally, Paolo di Lazzaro, head of the Laboratory Eccimeri of the National Agency for New Technologies of Italy, made a summary of five years of experiments with different types of lasers to try to explain the image sindónica.


The First International Conference on the Shroud has been opened in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine of Valencia by Jorge Manuel Rodríguez, president of the Spanish Centre Sindonology, organizer of the congress, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Rodriguez stressed that "it is a scientific meeting which aims to determine the current status of research on the sheet, according to tradition, wrapped the body of Jesus of Nazareth in the tomb after the crucifixion, preserved since 1578 in Turin, and determine possible future protocol analysis. "

Source: Scientific experts analyze in Valencia Shroud studies on the imprint of the relic –

Carbon Dating the Shroud of Turin Again?

imageCharles Freeman, by way of a comment, writes:

Dan I am sure that you would support, and I hope make strong moves to use your influence, to campaign for a new radio-carbon -14 dating. After all, in the past twenty-five years r-c dating has become more scientifically accurate and it should be able to avoid the criticisms of the 1988 dating. Maybe it would also pinpoint a more precise date within or outside of the 1260-1390 period.

Those of us who stick to the presumption of the 1988 dating standing do so a) because in relation to the three possible alternatives, a swapping over of samples by the Cardinal and Tite, some form of contamination ( many different contaminants, soot, sweat, carbon monoxide suggested) or an invisible rewoven patch selected as the sample, critics of the testing disagree so violently among themselves – e.g see Antonacci’s critique of Raymond Rogers’ 2005 paper- that the independent observer cannot be convinced that a single clear refutation of the 1988 testing has been proposed by the critics b) There is not a hint in any of these critiques that resolution of the problems proposed would lead to a radio-carbon 14 dating in the first century.

Only those who are absolutely committed to supporting one date or the other have anything to fear from a retesting and as STURP has been among the main critics of the 1988 tests, it is presumably their primary responsibility to call for a new test by at least three independent radio-carbon-14 laboratories. STURP would presumably provide observers who would be present alongside textile and radio-carbon 14 experts to make sure that representative samples of the whole Shroud are chosen. As shroud or burial cloths undoubtedly did exist in the tomb of Jesus in c. 30, there is just a possibility they survived and I for one would not rule that out.

I don’t think any of us should have anything to fear by a redo, certainly not if our goal is the truth. This time, however, carbon dating must be done correctly and with complete transparency. Sampling, chemical analysis, cleaning and testing protocols must be developed by knowledgeable  representatives of various constituencies including radiocarbon dating scientists, archaeologists who have studied the shroud, chemists with special competence in flax and other materials that may be present on the cloth, ancient textile experts, the owners and/or custodians (Vatican/Archdiocese of Turin). The protocol must be widely published in detail well in advance of the testing. I would allow for a review panel and a public report.

Many open issues need to be addressed before testing. For instance, are there any unresolved questions about how suitable carbon dating is for linen as evidenced by tests on human and ibis mummies? Are there questions about the effect of thymol which was used to disinfect the shroud’s reliquary. There are controversies about such concerns and that is just the point. Resolve them or at least consider and account for them as much as possible.

To minimize future accusations of mistakes or shenanigans (I like that word), media representatives should be involved in every phase of the test. Clear ‘firewalls’ must be implemented and impartially observed for blind/control samples. All sample and subsample data including weight, chemical analysis, and radiocarbon dating must be preserved and made public.

New Peer Reviewed Paper on the Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin.

imageIn the April 2012 issue of the journal Statistics and Computing is an article entitled “Regression analysis with partially labelled regressors: carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin,” by Marco Riani, Anthony C. Atkinson, Giulio Fanti and Fabio Crosilla. The abstract reads:

The twelve results from the 1988 radio carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin show surprising heterogeneity. We try to explain this lack of homogeneity by regression on spatial coordinates. However, although the locations of the samples sent to the three laboratories involved are known, the locations of the 12 subsamples within these samples are not. We consider all 387,072 plausible spatial allocations and analyse the resulting distributions of statistics. Plots of robust regression residuals from the forward search indicate that some sets of allocations are implausible. We establish the existence of a trend in the results and suggest how better experimental design would have enabled stronger conclusions to have been drawn from this multi-centre experiment.

This just adds to the mountain of information that completely invalidates 1988 carbon dating of the shroud. Even so, you will hear people say, as they have said here, the dating stands until redone. Or you will hear that it is still the default or official test. You will even hear that the evidence that disputes the carbon dating is insufficient or Improper. What are they thinking? Is there some Marquess of Queensberry rule in science that disallows common sense? Granted this statistical analysis will feel like a hard, low, below the belt blow. Nonetheless, it knocks the air of quality out of the work done by the three labs in 1988.

Unfortunately the article is behind a pay wall ($34.95). Regression analysis with partially labelled regressors: carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin – Online First – Springer

When History Trumps Science

imageA reader writes:

The Hymn of the Pearl, the Mozarabic Rite and the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, taken together, nullifies the C14 dating. Period.

A good scientist must wonder. Throw in all the evidence of many things going wrong with the carbon dating, and you must declare the carbon dating invalid and wrong.

If authentic, the Shroud must have been at the heart the beginning of Christianity

imageMUST READ:  “The Sign, by Thomas de Wesselow, claims that the Shroud is very definitely there and is central to the climax of the whole story, writes David Rolfe. I agree.

And he writes as part of an article, Biblical evidence and the Shroud of Turin, at The Enigma of the Shroud of Turin:

Until now, this debate has not been germane to the Shroud as sindonologists have been preoccupied with the more pressing issue of authenticity. But that has all changed with the publication of Thomas de Wesselow’s book. In a stroke he has catapaulted the Shroud right back into the heart of the gospels and the birth of the new religion. I welcome it as an opportunity to set the Shroud within that crucible. For, if it is authentic, as I have come to believe, it must have been at the heart of it. Hold on to your hats! If you regard Scripture as sacrosanct, this leg of the journey is a bumpy one but I think it will be worth taking. The Shroud takes us into the tomb and whatever happened there to create a world-changing new religion. De Wesselow’s least considered chapter concerns the image itself. He has already stuck his neck out far enough by merely granting the Shroud academic respect, he could not possibly countenance something "unexplainable" as far as the image is concerned. He looked for the best possible rational explanation for the image he could find and, despite its limitations, plumped for it. That is perfectly understandable.

Read the full posting, Biblical evidence and the Shroud of Turin.

Hymn of the Pearl: Description of the Shroud of Turin?

imageSimon Peter Sutherland wonders:

[Some] historical text is from what is called “The Hymn of the pearl”. This text is said to have been written by the apostle Thomas himself and is somewhat mysterious and less direct, maybe even poetical, but nevertheless, a reference. This work is referred to in the third century Acts of Thomas and the work itself is generally agreed to date to the 2nd century AD.

The text reads as follows;

But, when suddenly I saw my garment reflected as in a mirror, I perceived in it my whole self as well and through it I knew and saw myself. For though we originated from the one and the same we were partially divided, then again we were one, with a single form. The treasurers too who had brought the garment I saw as two beings, but there existed a single form in both, One royal symbol consisting of two halves…And the image of the King of Kings was all over it

imageHere is something I wrote in this blog in September of 2008 when few people were reading this blog.

There is a wonderful early 3rd century text called the Acts of Thomas (not to be confused with the Gospel of Thomas). Many scholars argue it is Gnostic and the Catholic Church has called it heretical. But that does not diminish its significance for historians. It is the legendary story — true, partly true or false — of the apostle Thomas’ (Judas Thomas or Thomas Judas Didymus) mission to India and his martyrdom. Authorship is often attributed to the Gnostic poet Bardesane of Edessa, perhaps as early as 216 CE).

Within the Acts of Thomas is an extraordinary Syriac poem, The Hymn of the Pearl, (also known as the Hymn of the Robe of Gloryand the Hymn of the Soul). The poem is thought to be older than the Acts of Thomas. It is inserted in different places in different versions of the Acts found among early Greek and Syriac Christian traditions.

Within the Hymn of the Pearl there are a few lines of poetry that are intriguing. These lines, referred to as the “two images segment,” seem to have been inserted into the hymn. This is one common translation of those lines with optional interpretations (other translations appear after the fold):

Suddenly, I saw my image on my [burial] garment like in a mirror

Myself and myself through myself [or myself facing outward and inward]

As though divided, yet one likeness

Two images: but one likeness of the King [of kings]

pearl_26What could these lines possibly mean? The poem does not offer a clue.

If we infer from the context of the poem that the first-person speaker of these lines is Jesus (contextually justifiable in a stylistic sense and not a literal sense) then these words might be a wonderful description of the Shroud of Turin, Jesus’ purported burial shroud.

On the shroud, we find two images: one facing outward and one facing inward, though the modern interpretation is usually expressed as a front and back image.

eusebiusThis hypothesis is reinforced by the Legend of Abgar, as related by Eusebius of Caesarea in the early 4th century. According to Eusebius, a cloth bearing an image of Jesus was brought to Edessa by the apostle Thomas or the disciple Thadeus (of the biblical 70).

The words, “like in a mirror,” are puzzling. Several interpretations have been suggested: 1) The image is a collimated image as is, indeed, a mirror. 2) The image is reversed left to right, also an attribute of an image in a mirror. 3) The image is life size. 4) The image on the shroud is a negative and this is a primitive attempt to describe negativity.

There is little question that the Hymn of the Pearl, originated in the Mesopotamian city of Edessa. And it was in Edessa, in 544 AD, that the Edessa Cloth was discovered — the cloth that we now know, from solid historical records, was a full burial cloth in which . . .

You can see [not only] the figure of a face, but [also] the figure of the whole body.

– The Codex Vossianus Latinus

The Rev. Albert Dreisbach, an Episcopal priest who studied the Shroud of Turin for many years asks us . . .

to ponder what these seemingly strange expressions might mean, if they do NOT have reference to the Turin Shroud . . .

Other Translations of the Hymn of the Pearl

Continue reading “Hymn of the Pearl: Description of the Shroud of Turin?”

Voice of Russia: Relics of the True Cross and More

imageJulia Galiullina writing for the Voice of Russia, Detectives of centuries-old forgeries: Voice of Russia:

A center which will check the authenticity of old Christian relics has opened in the Russian city of Voronezh as a branch of the local university.

This is the first such center in Russia.

At present, the Russian Orthodox Church is receiving many relics from abroad, and a strong need has appeared to check their authenticity.

[ . . . ]

Fake Christian relics started to appear in the 11th century A.D. At that time, many churches wanted to have relics of great and venerated saints, and swindlers often used this demand to their advantage.

Some centuries later, fake particles of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, nails and other “sacred” artifacts, which allegedly had to do with His passions, started to appear.

Many relics, either genuine or fake, were obtained by Europeans during the crusades. Later, they were kept in monasteries all over Europe and attracted many pilgrims.

[ . . . ]

The first examination which the newly-founded center in Voronezh held was to examine the authenticity of 10 pieces of wood, which were allegedly parts of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The examination proved that some of these particles were genuine, while the others were fake.


Image: Discovery of the True Cross (ca. 1385) Fresco, Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

New Book: Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit

imageJoe Marino writes:

I just got the book by archaeologist Jodi Magness called Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit.  Chapter 11 is titled "Tombs and Burial Customs."  The chapter is 35 pages long.  In the first paragraph she says "To understand the burials of Jesus and James, it is necessary first to consider the evidence for ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem."  She focuses on the James ossuary from 2002 and the "Jesus family tomb" that the Discovery Channel did a documentary on in 2007.

And the Shroud?  If authentic, it could tell us something about burial customs in Jerusalem.  How much material on the Shroud?  You guessed it:  none, zippo, zilch.  You would think she would at least mention it to dismiss it.  This is just like that recent book by Josh McDowell about Evidences for the Christian faith, a 600+ page book (as I recall) that didn’t mention the Shroud.

Modern scholarship leaves a bit to be desired at times.

In a follow up email he writes:

"The Gospel accounts include an accurate (although not necessarily historical) description of Jesus’ body being wrapped in a linen shroud."  She cites Raymond Brown’s "The Death of the Messiah."

She doesn’t elaborate either in the text or the end notes.  I don’t have access at the moment to Brown’s work but I’m curious as to why if she acknowledges (albeit on Brown’s authority) that if it was normal practice to wrap corpses in linen shrouds, that Jesus would not have been.  Brown wrote 1 extensive article on the Shroud and was basically neutral.  I wonder if this sentence is an indirect knock on the Shroud?  But why wouldn’t she just come right out and mention the Shroud but say she didn’t think it was authentic?

She just leaves everybody hanging on this.  Again, not good scholarship in my opinion.

John C. Iannone Seeks Funding for a new shroud film

imageJohn C. John C. Iannone, a published Christian writer, lecturer and filmmaker who has written the script for the film "The Image and The Rose" (working title The Shroud) is seeking kick starter funding for a new film:

The Image and the Rose (working title "The Shroud") is a dramatic film inspired by true events of a conspiracy by sinister forces to discredit and then destroy in a fire (1997) the Holy Shroud, the burial cloth of Jesus in Turin, Italy as scientific teams were demonstrating its authenticity. Their efforts are thwarted by a Team: James (Archaeologist); Rebecca (CIA Agent) and Brother Thomas (Vatican Archivist) who risk their lives to stop the conspirators (Knights of the Blue Rose). It is a high-paced  mystery/thriller called by some a cross between the spirituality of The Passion of the Christ and the mystery and intrigue of The DaVinci Code.

For more information and to pledge funding, if you wish, see The Image and the Rose (A Film) by John C. Iannone — Kickstarter. Also see North Star Production Studios, LLC.

Comments on the Challenge to Richard Dawkins

imageI’m not sure I understand the title of the posting over at Battle for the Core: Dawkins Too Busy with the Crowd to Worship His Savior?  Jon Haines writes:

If for nothing else, this project makes a point…that the confidence in the explanatory power of modern empirical science esps (MES) espoused by Richard Dawkins remains limited. The shroud of Turin remains a mystery– that doesn’t mean that there is no answer of course there is an answer–all knowledge, including that acquired by modern empirical science (MES) is based on the principle of sufficient reason…that every effect must have a cause. That is why This organization has offered 20,000 pounds for the person who can solve it. In the Aristotelaisn/Thomistic worldview, that cause includes more than the mere mechanical cause of a given effect. What is the mechanical explanation for the coming about of this piece of cloth with an image on it? Any ideas?

What Does The Resurrection Mean? Andrew Sullivan and Ross Douthat

imageMUST WATCH:  Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast, Catholic and conservative (though some might question that) and Ross Douthat of the New York Times, Catholic and conservative discuss What Does The Resurrection Mean?

From Andrew Sullivan’s bio:

Sullivan has spoken at many universities and colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Boston University, Boston College, Northwestern, the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Emory, the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, Oxford University, and Milton Academy. He has appeared on over 100 radio shows across the United States, as well as on Nightline, Face The Nation, Meet The Press, Crossfire, Hardball, The O’Reilly Factor, The Larry King Show, Reliable Sources, Hannity and Colmes, and many others. He remains a senior editor at The New Republic, and his book "The Conservative Soul" was published by HarperCollins in 2006.

From Mark Oppenheimer in the New York Times on Ross Douthat:

The obvious allusion in the title of Ross Douthat’s new book, “Bad Religion,” is to a veteran Los Angeles punk band. But I kept thinking of Dan Aykroyd’s “Saturday Night Live” character Leonard Pinth-Garnell, a pompous fop who hosted sketches like “Bad Cinema” and“Bad Ballet.” Pinth-Garnell would introduce a ridiculous performance — think of John Belushi attempting arabesques — then sum up merrily at the end: “Well now! That wasn’t very good at all, was it?”

Mr. Douthat, a Catholic conservativeand an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, has written a book about contemporary American Christianity that is quite good. But the religion he describes is comically bad. On the left, he maintains, American Christianity is beholden to a self-centered, Oprah-fied spirituality, and, on the right, Christianity is too often represented by a jingoistic, wealth-obsessed evangelicalism. Mainline Protestantism is disappearing, and a beleaguered Catholicism is running out of priests. (The author ignores Jews and other non-Christians, who should be grateful to slip his noose.)

Conspiracy Theory anyone?

imageColin Berry writes to me in his blog:

“STURP ended its activities in 1981″. Ho,ho. If you believe that, you will believe anything, especially if you look at the participants in the Valencia Shroud shindig – starting this coming Saturday, just the latest in the never-ending Shroudology circus)

and this:

But it  is not just your site, is it Dan? You are the mouthpiece for something much bigger.  But what?  Why the coyness, Dan? Who are your backers who together have the resources to respond to criticism with lightning speed? I doubt if there was more than an hour between my post being read this morning  (yes, WordPress give me a site meter too) to be followed a few hours later with your magisterial put-down.

See picture. We meet every morning to read your posts.

Full posting:  A reply to Dan Porter and his Shroud of Turin associates re the significance of the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge

I get it when people say they believe it is fake or real

imageA reader writes:

I’m the skipper-owner of a small sport fishing boat near Key Largo. I have a small locker below where I keep my stuff. Inside the lid is a picture of the face from the Shroud of Turin. I look at it each morning.

I have to admit, there are times when I look at that picture and I think that it can not be real. There is just no way that image was formed by a burst of energy or some chemical reaction. Then there are times when I think that it can not be fake. No medieval forger could have or would have created a so perfect negative image with all the complexity and realism. So I get it when people say they believe it is fake or real.  

I just finished reading The Sign by Thomas de Wesselow. I agree with his reasons for believing the shroud is real. But his idea that the apostles were convinced of the resurrection by the images appears to be pure nonsense and conjecture. Thanks for your blog. It has been helpful to me.

Questions about the Lirey Medal

imageColin Berry poses some good questions (what he refers to as left is topmost image below and as right is bottommost):

Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge aka Cluny Medal (left),undoubtedly of 14th century provenance, recovered from River Seine in 1855, depicting the Shroud of Turin, as now called, then in possession of Geoffroi de Charny of Lirey, France versus (right) the 1865 drawing by celebrated Parisian merchant/collector/publisher Arthur Forgeais. Note the differences especially re face, chain on waist, feet and tomb(?) to be discussed shortly.

Points for discussion: why is the original shown without a beard or obvious signs of crucifixion? Why the chain (not a recognized feature of the Shroud)? What is at or immediately under the feet? Is that really a tomb as commonly assumed, whether open or closed? Is that a crown of thorns above the "tomb" or something else? And does the badge or drawing really show trickles or pools of blood on the back,feet etc as is often claimed?

The yellowish image above (top right) is taken from a photograph by Mario Latendresse. Maybe, just maybe, there is a hint of a beard in it. As for the chain, it seems to be a misinterpretation of the bloodstain. Bottom line: I think we are reading far too much into this medal when we start speculating (bordering on conspiracy theory-like thinking) that this is an image of someone else.




Drawing was enlarged with PhotoShop using Bicubic smoothing method.

Source: Comparison of Lirey Badge

Holy Face of Laon: Continuing Jones’ Four Proofs that the AD 1260-1390 Radiocarbon date for the Shroud has to be Wrong!

imageStephen E. Jones continues with his . . .

. . . Continuing from part "#2 The Vignon markings (4)" with this part #2 (5) of my series "Four proofs that the AD 1260-1390 radiocarbon date for the Shroud has to be wrong!"

Examples of 6th to 12th century artistic representations of Christ’s face which bear the Vignon markings found on the Shroud . . . .

Read: The Shroud of Turin: Four proofs that the AD 1260-1390 radiocarbon date for the Shroud has to be wrong!: #2 The Vignon markings (5)

Shroud of Turin Relationship to NDE and OBE?

imageVery interesting posting by John Klotz in his blog, Living Free. He writes:, the Internet equivalent of MSNBC has a lengthy article by a author of a book to be released next week entitled “Brain Wars.” It’s about Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE) and Near Death Experiences (NDE)

It is my position that the Shroud has a direct relationship to the issues raised.

You should probably take the time to read the article John points to.

The Cluny Medal with shields of Geoffrey de Charny and Jeanne de Vergy

imageColin Berry should re-evaluate his historical hypothesis based on the lead medal in the Cluny museum in Paris.  It was probably a souvenir of a pilgrimage to Lirey or a commemorative medal for an exhibition in Lirey.  Note that you can see both the front and back images of the man on the shroud. 

Given that the medal has the two shields of Geoffrey de Charny of Lirey and Jeanne de Vergy of Besançon, it is most unlikely that the medal was struck before the two were married in 1349 or after Geoffrey’s death in 1356. The year 1349 is the same year that the Cathedral of St. Etienne in Besançon burned, the cathedral where, until that year for many years previously, the shroud (or a copy) was periodically stored and displayed at Eastertide.

César Barta, José M. Orenga and Daniel Duque from the Centro Español de Sindonología, in a paper, The Noalejo Shroud copies write:

It is also evident on the oldest known copy of the Shroud of Turin – the pilgrim’s medal from Lirey found in the Seine and preserved at the Cluny Museum in Paris. Despite its small size, this medal shows the herring bone weave on the Shroud and also the bloodstain on the back. In this case, all the details are depicted in relief, and we could say that the elbows are given the same relief as the arms, legs and the rest of the figure. All this leads us to think that the elbows were just as visible as the rest of the body on the dorsal image of the Shroud of Turin before the 1532 fire.

V. Guerrera in "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," writes:

A fortuitous discovery which adds another piece to the case for the Shroud’s historicity concerns a pilgrim’s medallion dating from about 1357 which was found in the Seine River in Paris in 1855 by Arthur Forgeais. This small lead object, most likely a souvenir of a pilgrim’s visit, is now kept in the Museum of Cluny. It depicts the frontal and dorsal image of a body on a long sheet being held out for veneration by two clerics vested in copes. It is obvious that the heads are broken. The image is an uncanny replica of what is now known as the Shroud of Turin. The double body image depicts a naked figure with crossed hands and trickles of blood on the back and feet. As an added touch of realism one can also detect the herringbone weave pattern that appears on the Shroud. Of striking note are the two coats of arms represented on the reliquary beneath the Shroud on the medallion. The one on the left (as viewed by reader) is that of Geoffrey I de Charny, represented with three small inner shields. The original would have been silver on a red background. The one on the right is that of Jeanne de Vergy, represented with three flowers which would have been gold. Flanked between the coats of arms are the instruments of the Passion. Clearly visible are the flagrum, the scourging column, the lance, nails, and, in the middle of the two shields, a roundel symbolizing the empty tomb surmounted by a cross upon which is hung a crown of thorns. Although the exact date or origin of the medal is not certain, the coats of arms give us a clue. Since Geoffrey I de Charny was Lord of Lirey, the medallion probably came from that region. Humbert de Villersexel, the second husband of Marguerite de Charny, to whom various relics were entrusted for safekeeping in 1418, acknowledged receiving `a cloth, on which is the figure or representation of the Shroud of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is in a casket emblazoned with the de Charny crest.’ Geoffrey I de Charny died on September 19, 1356; therefore, it is highly unlikely that his crest would have been engraved on a medallion produced after that year.

The medal is not a tribute, rememberance, or anything else for Geoffroi de Charney, a completely different person, perhaps related, perhaps not, who died in 1314 in Paris. 

“Only those in the know  – the few remaining members of a powerful but persecuted  fraternity – may have been aware of its true meaning and significance,” wrote Colin. Yeah, right!

Colin Berry, Historybod: A Tale of Two Meanings

imageRemember ‘The Second Messiah: Templars, the Turin Shroud and the Great Secret of Freemasonry,’ by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. Amazon in the U.K. has five copies. In the U.S. where you can buy a Kindle version, Amazon proclaims, “Using the latest scientific techniques , the authors prove that the shroud [Jacques de]Molay was wrapped in is the one now known as the Turin Shroud.

Well, Colin Berry, has a new twist on this. Yes, it is still a scorch ala Berry and not the chemical approach taken by Knight and Lomas and . . .

. . . the figure depicted on the Badge  and indeed the Shroud is not really that of Christ – even if  most casual observers assume  that -  but Geoffroi de Charney, being portrayed as a Christ-like figure who shared a similar fate. And it was his nephew (?) who commissioned the Shroud as a memorial to his uncle (?), given he had no body to place in the family tomb. He commissioned an artefact that would combine two powerful ideas – martyrdom for having the wrong ideas, punished by burning at the stake, and Christ’s crucifixion.

Who is Geoffroi de Charney? He was a Templar knight burned at the stake with de Molay. Henry Charles Lea reports in ‘A History of the Inquisition of the Middle ages’:

That same day, by sunset, a pile was erected on a small island in the Seine, the Isle des Juifs, near the palace garden. There de Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death, refusing all offers of pardon for retraction, and bearing their torment with a composure which won for them the reputation of martyrs among the people, who reverently collected their ashes as relics’.

imageWhat badge? Apparently Colin thinks they commissioned a medal. Yes, this medal:

That explains of course why the figure looks nothing like Christ – no long hair, beard  etc. because it’s a proxy for Christ – a martyred Templar. It explains why he looks as if  he were wearing armour around the shoulders and chest.   But here’s the clincher – that chain around the waist, and possibly  the ankles too (or kindling?) It has nothing to do with crucifixion – obviously, but everything to do with being burned at the stake.

[ . . . ]

. . .  the Badge could be used as a bas-relief, given all those knobbly bits. Either do a rubbing,  as with brass rubbing, or heat it, press onto linen, as if a rubber stamp, and one gets a negative scorched imprint, hey, just like the one on the Shroud. The ability to use the badge as a printing template may have been pushed as a “selling point”.  (OK, that one’s a bit of a long shot, but I have been pondering for weeks why those shoulders etc look so plump  and bloated – seeking an alternative to the “armour” hypothesis – it was to ensure a good impression).

So at what stage did the scorch image of a martyred Knight morph into that of the crucified Christ with all the extra details – the blood stains, the spear wound in the side, the nail wound in the wrist? And was it done on the same image, or was it done starting with a clean sheet (of linen) so to speak?

[. . . ]

One could describe the Shroud as the visual equivalent of a double entendre  (say one thing but mean another).  Only those in the know  – the few remaining members of a powerful but persecuted  fraternity – may have been aware of its true meaning and significance.

And before developing this great historical hypothesis, Colin warned:

Those blood stains [= his previous posting] will look like a side show, compared with the post I am preparing for tomorrow … Some folk here will need to have their tranquilisers and blood pressure pills handy. Hint: New Bridge (Paris).

or an antacid tablet. I didn’t do it justice. Read Was the Shroud of Turin intended as a visual double entendre – with an martyred Knight Templar serving as proxy for the crucified Christ?