Scholarly Incompetence or Dishonesty?

imageStephen Jones doesn’t pull his punches in what is now Part 6 of his marvelous [C]ritique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey,"

So, as previously observed, either Freeman has not read Wilson’s book thoroughly (which would be scholarly incompetence) or he has read the above, but is concealing it from his readers (which would be scholarly dishonesty).

And what was it that was above? This:

"For westerners, the most familiar example of the genre will probably be the famous Veronica cloth. This is popularly associated with the story of a woman called Veronica wiping Jesus’s face with her veil as he struggled with his cross through Jerusalem’s streets on his way to be crucified. According to the story, Jesus’s ‘Likeness’ became miraculously imprinted on Veronica’s veil. Dozens of medieval and Renaissance artists depicted the scene, and thousands of Roman Catholic churches have it included among their ‘Stations of the Cross’, leading many to suppose the story must be in the gospels … In fact the story in this form dates no earlier than the late Middle Ages, seeming to have been invented to spice up ‘miracle play’ dramatizations of the Passion story. In a twelfth-century version" there was no woman called Veronica, though at that time the canons of St Peter’s, Rome were already keeping under close guard a cloth that was supposed to be the Vera Icon or ‘True Likeness’ of Jesus. Reputedly this likeness was imprinted not during Jesus’s carrying of the cross but when he wiped his face after the ‘bloody sweat’ in the Garden of Gethsemane. A popular attraction for pilgrimages to Rome during the Middle Ages, this cloth can be traced historically no earlier than the eleventh century. It seems to have been an official ‘copy’ for the western world of something that was altogether older and more mysterious being preserved at that time in the Byzantine east, in Constantinople." (Wilson, 2010, pp.110-111).

And, part 7 is promised. This may turn into a book of sorts.

50 thoughts on “Scholarly Incompetence or Dishonesty?”

  1. For those of you who are not aware of this, the Mandylion of the Abgar legend is not the only image of Christ to have changed his nature (from a manmade portrait to a miraculous image) along history. It’s the same thing for the legend of Veronica ! Do you know that the Veronica legend followed exactly the same path than the Mandylion ??? The first versions of the legend talked about a painted portrait of Jesus (in a few versions, Veronica painted it on a long cloth) made by Veronica herself ! And then, bizarrely, just like the Mandylion, the story changed and the painted portrait became an image not made by human hands !!! So, how can we interpret this ? In my opinion, it just show that it wasn’t uncommon to see a Christian legend change with time (probably caused by some theological teaching purpose from the Church in his fight against heretics and iconoclasts) and that certainly don’t mean that this change was caused by some new “facts” coming to light !!! To me, this same kind of change for the Veronica legend and the Abgar legend is one good clue to understand that these are just Christian tales that have nothing to do with a real miraculous event that could have happened 2000 years ago. On this subject, I truly recommand anyone to read carefully the fact #6 in my paper concerning the numerous “problematic” facts that exists versus Wilson’s hypothesis. You can find this fact #6 (along with the other problematic facts) by following this link :

    Don’t you find it strange that the Veronica legend followed exactly the same path than the Abgar legend ??? Don’t it raise a red flag in your head (as it did for me) ??? Have a good reading and a good reflection too !!! And please : THINK BY YOURSELF !!!

  2. Note for Chris: I see that Chris made a comment on Stephen Jones’ site concerning Part 6 of the response to Freeman. Chris was apparently unaware of Markardt’s modification of the Wilson Mandylion theory. Markwardt’s two papers are fascinating, deal with a few of the objections to the Mandylion theory, and present I feel a much more credible scenario.

    With a high risk of provoking yet another initerminably long predictable response from Yannick Clement objecting to the theory, the two papers are as follows:

    “Antioch and the Shroud”, Jack Markwardt, paper presented at Dallas conference 1998, (but modified in 1999)

    Click to access markward.pdf

    “ANCIENT EDESSA AND THE SHROUD: HISTORY CONCEALED BY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SECRET” By Jack Markwardt; Paper presented at Ohio conference 2008

    Click to access p02.pdf

    I succeeded in saving both papers as PDFs to my PC Turin Shroud folder and refer to them from time to time. The papers were both loaded to those URLs last time I looked, but if they’re not there now, you might have to go chase looking for them (Reason why I save them)

    Even if like Yannick, one does not buy into the Mandylion theory, the two papers have a wealth of informative historical detail, which is well worth knowing.

    1. On the subject of the Veronica vail, all I wanted people to realize (because most people have no idea about that and of course, Wilson and his followers will never tell you this) that this legend have gone through the same exact changes than the Abgar legend, which is a solid historical clue that the later versions of the Abgar legend that talks about a miraculously printed face of Jesus on linen must not be taken too seriously… When it comes to historical researches, the most important thing is understanding the context in which these ancient texts were written and during the Byzantine era, we see some Christian legends (in the plural) being changed from a story that include an artistic portrait of Christ (manmade) to a story that include a miraculous imprint of his face that is considered like an authentic relic of Christ. This historical FACT tells me that these changes (in the plural) were not driven at all by some new findings concerning the real nature of theses relics of Jesus but much more because of a change in the teaching methods of the Church (that was caused by a theological war against many heretic groups including the iconoclasts). This historical context of theological debates MUST be understand if we really want to make a proper evaluation of Wilson’s hypothesis.

      In fact, if there was just the Abgar legend that would have been modified like that, the possibility of a physical discovery concerning the real nature of the image would have been higher, but because this modification to the legend is not at all an isolated case, this possibility must be considered (if we stay honest versus this topic) as improbable. What is important to note is that this evaluation of mine (which is pretty much the same as many scholars outside the pro-Shroud world) can be reached without taking account of all the other problematic facts regarding the hypothesis of Wilson ! When we take a global overview of all these other problematic facts, then the possibility that Wilson’s hypothesis can be correct reach the bottom of the barrel (let’s say 0.1% to stay polite).

      I know most people on this blog have their mind set for a very long time concerning Wilson’s hypothesis of the Mandylion (it’s true that his propaganda has work very well in Shroud circles, especially in the English speaking countries) and because of that, I will never be able to convince you of the weakness of this hypothesis, but you can be sure that I will always be there to make myself heard from you anyway, simply because I’m convinced that my point of view deserve some thoughts ! You can call this the “Don Quichotte” syndrom and I think you’re right ! ;-)

    2. That second paper is very interesting indeed and confirms information I had about the early Church from a completely different source that had nothing to do with the Shroud. Thanks daveb.

    1. Something gets lost in the translation here, I don’t understand what Carlos is asking or to whom the question and remark is addressed. Can it be translated more precisely?

      I’m always interested in Carlos comments is why I ask.


    2. I think Carlos that it is highly unlikely that the body image on the Shroud could have taken centuries before being dark enough to be visible with the naked eye. Weeks, months ? I would say : probably. Years ? Maybe. Decades or centuries : highly unlikely. I don’t think this could explain the lack of reference concerning a body image on a shroud of Christ prior to the testimony of Robert de Clari in 1204. In all logic, I think this dead silence must be attributed much more on the truly possible hidding of the image of this bloody, naked and dead Christ by the keepers of the relic because this kind of gruesome representation of Christ didn’t fit at all with the theological teaching of the time (we can see this in the artistic trend of the time concerning the representations of Christ on the cross that always show him in glory, with his eyes wide open and with no injuries or bloodstains. Note that this look pretty much like the copies we have of the Mandylion !) and also because of the natural (and sometimes legal) repulsion that most people from Antiquity and medieval time had concerning this kind of bloody burial cloth. If we use Occam’s razor principle with honesty, I’m convinced that this is the most rational explanation for the lack of historical reference for a shroud of Christ showing his body image prior to the sack of Constantinople.

  3. ¿Qué son esos círculos ( 4 y 3) que muestra la imagen propuesta, Image of Edessa (11th century), Sakli church, Goreme.?

    Carlos Otal

    1. Hola Carlito, I will try to answer your question in a very few words:

      In all likelihood, the Salki fresco (see illustration above) is not so much that of the Holy Mandylion as that of the Holy Keramion/Keramidion. The red brick and white roundel motifs can be read two ways:

      – The three brick red roundels on the left (inside wing of a reliquary?) are symbolic motifs of Sophia (Greek for Wisdom) and her three holy daughters Pistis, Elpis, and Agape (Greek Faith, Hope and Charity) whereas the four three brick red roundels (on the right side wing of the reliquary?) are symbolic motifs of the four “cardinal” virtues: dikaiosyne (Greek for justice), phronesis (Greek for prudence), sophrosyne (Greek for temperance), and andreia (Greek for courage).

      [Reminder: the 13th-14th c. CE word Baphomet is the atbash encoded word Sophia (see Schonfield) and my own my finding: the Hebrew etymology of Baphomet (Ba-phéo-émet, “In–His-Mouth-is-the-Truth”) as refering to:
      – Yeshua as “the truthful witness, the first of the dead to be born to life, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins with his own blood” (see Revelation 5:1)
      – A most famous bearded human face called “La Bocca della Verità” or “the Mouth of Truth” (in Cosmedin church 6th century CE, Rome).
      – The Sindon face (once kept in Constantinople now in Turin).]

      – The three brick red roundels on the left (inside wing of the reliquary?) are symbolic motifs of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) whereas the four three brick red roundels (on the right (inside wing of the reliquary?) are symbolic motifs of the four orthodox Christian cardinal virtues: agape (Greek for selfless love), eleos (Greek for mercy), thysia (Greek for sacrifice), and diakonia (Greek for service).

      In Byzantine iconography, the same roundel motifs are depicted on the entire garments/robes/cloaks of secular individuals of significance and the Christian Militant Saints & Martyrs.

      1. Thats an interesting perspective Max and relates to the architectural design of the Sakli church itself….interesting.


    2. Now this question translates well! …I have debated these ‘circles’ with others, including email conversations with Mark Guscin. Mark has stated to me that they most likely are irrelevant, that many other paintings have the same ‘circles’ painted in, most likely as decoration. He also mentioned if one looks closer, one can see white circles, also painted in, but are more faded and harder to see, basically making the seven (7) darker circles less meaningful. Stephen Jones on his blog has suggested they are depictions of the ‘poker holes’ one finds on the Shroud and that these holes may have been depicted on the ‘covering’ placed over the Image of Edessa/Mandylion.

      I have my own layman hypothesis on the matter, which I have put forth to Mr Guscin, in that I believe these circles ‘may’ represent the artist’s intention of relaying his knowledge, that the cloth is actually larger and folded with seven layers beneath the layer shown!..Pure speculation I know, unless one takes into account the several lines painted at each edge; left/right, that could be deduced as, or reminiscent of, multiple folds. The odd numbering of 3 ‘slanted’ on one side followed by four square on the other, seems to spark something I had seen on ancient architectural drawings dealing with levels, this is where I get my reasoning that the dark 7 circles can mean layers…The slanted 3 circles to me seems to negate the poker hole hypothesis as the poker holes are not slanted on the Shroud! I am presently trying to find these architectural drawings I referred to, so I may strengthen my point, but it may take awhile as it was years ago that I studied the topic.


      1. Ron, don’t you forget, first and foremost, seven is a symbol of the perfection and the unity. It may ALSO be here that of the seven towers “resonating” in Byzance.

    1. +Mistyping: depicted on the entire garments/robes/cloaks of
      individuals of SECULAR significance and the Christian Militant Saints & Martyrs

    2. Mistyping: whereas the FOUR brick red roundels (on the right (inside wing of the reliquary?)

  4. The SEVEN roundels are also to be symbolically read in the light of Yeshua’s teachings (see e.g; Matthew 19:21):”If you want TO BE PERFECT, go, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

  5. Max’s statement that in all likelihood the Salki fresco is a representation of the holy keramion rather than the mandylion is interesting. I am wondering if this is because of its brick-red colour, or is there some other reason? Stephen Jones’ intention in posting it was as an example of the representation of the mandylion in landscape aspect rather than the more customary portrait aspect favoured by artists, as mentioned by Wilson. Was it also usual to depict the keramion in landscape aspect?

  6. Addenda:
    Why are there two ways to read the constellation-like shaped 7 roundel motif? Because there are two different kinds of wisdom: “Heavenly Wisdom ‘vs.’ Earthly Wisdom”

    Reminder: Zeus (the king of the gods) turned Callisto and her son Arcas into bears and put them in the sky to form two constellations: the Great Bear (or Plough) and the Little Bear. Both constellations are made of 7 mains stars. In ancient times the name of the Great Bear constellation was Helike, (“turning”), because it turns around the Pole.
    In the Sakli fresco, Yeshua is the Pole as an example to follow and a guide through the journey of life, from earth to heaven.
    As to the white roundel field, it is a symbolic motif of all the good deeds the truthful and faithful place as a treasure in heaven.

    To Dave: yes, it was (see The Holy Mandylion & Holy Keramion/Keramidion Byzantine icnongraphy). In situ, it does seem that the Greek words Keramion/Keramidion are meant to play with the Greek word Kerygma meaning “proclamation [of the Kingdom of G.od]”

  7. The layout of the seven circles is irregular, and it may be tempting to think of an asterism such as Big Dipper (Plough) in Ursa Major. We are too far south in NZ to see it, but they might in North Queensland. Four stars on the right might suggest the scoop (clockwise – Pheeda, Megrez, Dubhe, Merak); With the three on the left possibly the handle (Alcor/Mizar, Alioth). However the geometry between the handle and scoop is wrong, with the facial image intervening and constraining the layout to allow the exact asterism.

    All northern hemisphere stars will of course be seen to rotate around Polaris, but of course this will appear more manifest for the brighter asterisms at the north-most declinations, such as Ursa Major.

    My Astronomy reference showed a picture of an art work of a great bear based on the constellation, claiming that it was on a Vatican ceiling. I wasn’t able to identify it, and I couldn’t find it on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

  8. No matter how sketchy it looks, in the particular grouping of the seven brick-red coloured roundels, even an 11th century CE Cappadocian sheperd could have easily recognized.the seven-star asterism known as the Plough (in the constellation of the Great Bear).

  9. If you now think they were featured on the inside of the two outer wings of a reliquary, when swung shut, the facial image was no longer intervening between handle and scoop and the asterism geometry restored .

    1. Correction: If you now think they were featured BOTH on the inside AND OUTSIDE of the two outer wings of a reliquary,

  10. Plus the fact that the Abgar legend is not the only Christian legend in history to have been modified to include an image of the face of Christ formed miraculously (the Veronica legend had been modified like that : from a painted portrait of Christ to a miraculous image on cloth), there’s also another phenomenon that is not unique to the Abgar legend and that most people don’t know : Around the same time that the Image of Edessa became known as a miraculous image (during the second half of the 6th century), two other supposed miraculous image of Christ appreared elsewhere. Maurus Green mentioned them in his 1969 paper. There was the Image of Camouliana who appeared in Constantinople in 569 and the Image of Memphis in Egypt who appeared in 570 !!! And much later, there was also the apparition of the image of the Veronica in Rome.

    Again, this historical FACT concerning the existence of MANY image of Christ supposedly miraculous is nothing good for the hypothesis of Wilson. My personal interpretation about that is exactly like the one I described yesterday concerning the fact that there was many Christian legends who were modified at one point to include a miraculous image of Christ, i.e. that this situation (the appearence of many miraculous images) should be related with some theological debate against some heretic groups at the time. These modifications of Christian legends (in the plural), along with the appearence of supposedly miraculous images of Christ (in the plural), should be considered as probable “teaching” (some could say a “propaganda”) tools used by the Orthodox Church to fight heresies and impose his dogmas and theological views about Christ… That doesn’t mean these views were wrong but this kind of probable acting by the Church was truly borderline (to say the least). I really think that’s the best historical interpretation we can do versus the Abgar legend and the Image of Edessa relic. NEVER forget this historical FACT : The inclusion of the story of a miraculously printed image of Christ in this legend and the suddent appearence of the Image of Edessa as a miraculous image of Christ are NOT unique cases in the history of the Orthodox Church during the Byzantine era (especially during the second part of the 6th century) !!! Again, you will never see Wilson focussing on this kind of important historical information ! Nevetheless, this multiplication of similar cases MUST raised a RED FLAG concerning the question of the authenticity of these kinds of legends and relics. For me, their authenticity are very doubtful and should be analyzed with a very critical look… Unfortunatelly, things are not like that in the English speaking pro-Shroud world and Wilson can say anything he wants and used all the bad speculations-extrapolations-special assumptions he wants and he will always find people to listen to him and buy his books ! Incredible. The Dan Brown Syndrom is ALIVE AND WELL ! If you don’t agree with me, just let me know what differenciate Ian Wilson from Dan Brown concerning their style of writing stories mainly based on speculative arguments ?

  11. Prioir to 1978, I think it would be fair to say that outside of a few antiquarians, knowledgeable church people, dedicated enthusiasts, and a few fervent pious Catholics, devoted to anything at all religious, there was only a nominal interest in the cloth known as the Shroud of Turin. My maternal grandmother, my Nana, was one of these last, and I remember a picture of the Shroud face she kept on her cottage wall. But it generated little informed discussion among us as children. The work of such pioneers as Yves Delage, Paul Vignon, and Guiseppe Enrie was a closed book to the grreat majority. For most Catholics, their knowledge of an image of Christ was confined to the legend of Veronica from the popular devotion of “The Stations of the Cross”.

    As a student undergraduate in 1960, our Dominican university chaplain had shown a group of us a slide presentation of what was then known of the Shroud. Very likely it had been based on the work of Pierre Barbet, which he first published in French in 1950, and was translated into English only in1960. Intriguing as his presentation was, it generated no further sustained interest from our Catholic student body. Between 1969 and 1973 further investigative work was initiated by the Turin authorities. The work of such men as Max Frei, belong to this period, and later John Jackson and Eric Jumper. Most of this investigative work was done in secret. Maurus Green had attempted unsuccessfuly to construct a history during the 1960s.

    Perre d’Arcis’ assertion that the cloth was a forgery had not been refuted, and the general view was that this revered impression, devotional though it might be, was nevertheless highly suspect.

    Ian Wilson highly trained in art history, realised that this perception could never be set aside until some attempt at a credible history prior to the 14th century could at least be postulated. The results of his attempts to construct such a history are well known. Prior to the publication of “The Turin Shroud” in 1978, few people had ever heard of the Image of Edessa, the Mandylion, the report of Robert de Clari, or the Hungarian Pray maunscript, let alone the legend of Abgar.

    Ian Wilson’s work changed the public perception of the Shroud, beyond all measure. From a mere object of pious devotion, the perception grew that maybe, just perhaps, this could well be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, imprinted with the true face and form of the Redeemer of mankind.

    It ill behoves smaller minds to denigrate the great contribution that Ian Wilson has brought to the wider public, in its perception of what the Shroud now stands for. Perhaps Wilson did not get it quite right, but that is no excuse for comparing his monumental work to such charlatans as Dan Green, and other sensationalist wannabes, but neverwillbes.

    In NZ, we have relatively few pests, some flies, wasps, and there are giant sandflies in our southern regions. They have it worse in Australia with their venomous snakes and redback spiders. In Quebec I’m told, they still have a few foxes, the lynx, and in the north even the occasional polar bear. It seems they also have gadflies, insects of no use to mankind whatsoever, who annoy and fasten on the butts of nobler animals. Socrates prided hmself in his arraignment on being such a gadfly on the state of Athens, but Yannick Clement is no Socrates!

    1. Dave, you remind me of most German people during the 30s who were completely brainwashed by the Nazi regime and their minister of the propaganda Goebbels ! Over the years, Wilson have been almost as good as Goebbels (and as good as Dan Brown too) to make believe irrational things to the English speaking pro-Shroud fanatics and especially because the vast majority of these people don’t know one bit of the Byzantine historical and artistic context, especially the theological war that was going on when the Mandylion became known as a so-called miraculous image. And you can laugh at me but it’s true anyway : it’s one of my main goal in life to demolished this bad propaganda that’s going on in the English speaking Shroud world for too many years now and tell the truth to people (even if they don’t want to hear it !!!). As I often say : Enough if ENOUGH and I just can keep quiet about that (because I know Wilson main goal as nothing to do with an authentic quest for truth by he is there mainly to search his own little truth and, along with that, why not making some money by selling books just like Dan Brown do???). You’ll see that in the upcoming paper on the subject that I co-wrote with a Frenchman named Sebastien Cataldo (and that will probably come out only next winter). I hope the public will be able to see how much problematic Wilson’s hypothesis really is, especially when we consider the known historical and theological context of the 6th century.

      And nevermind this upcoming paper, I already said pretty much all I wanted to say about Wilson and his hypothesis in my paper on the subject that was published here on the blog (link: and I still wait for someone to rationally exlain all the 22 facts that really appeared problematics concerning Wilson’s hypothesis. In fact, you can consider that there is 23 problematic facts because I found one recently and publish it here on the blog (link:

      What else can I say ? I think I’ll just let William Meacham tell you his own opinion about that. An opinion that I found very clever (and that is lacking of any pro-Shroud bias)… Here’s a quote taken from his very good article The Authentication of the Turin Shroud : “Some of the earliest representations of Christ from the 2d to 4th centuries portray him as youthful, clean-shaven, and Greco-Roman; others depict a bearded, Semitic face much more akin to that of the Shroud. Beginning in the 6th century, the face of Christ in Byzantine art became highly conventionalized, with a certain resemblance to the Shroud figure. Vignon (1939) noted 20 peculiarities in the Shroud face (e.g., a transverse streak across the forehead, a V shape at the bridge of the nose, a fork in the beard, etc.) that are common in Byzantine iconography. He suggested that the Shroud might have been the source of this artistic tradition. Whanger and Whanger (n.d.), using a system of polarized light to superimpose images, found 46 points of congruence between details of the Shroud face and the face of Christ in a 6th-century Mt. Sinai mosaic and 63 points of agreement between the Shroud face and the face of Christ on a 7th-century Byzantine coin. In other respects, however, the Shroud image differs markedly from Byzantine art of the early centuries in revealing a dead Christ, covered with wounds and blood, nude, lacking any indication of majesty or divinity. The crucifixes and crucifixion scenes of the 5th to 8th centuries invariably show a nonsuffering, glorified Christ, eyes open, clad in a tunic, with no bleeding or signs of physical agony. Again, the evidence indicates very strongly that the Shroud image does not derive from the art of this or any era, but may be the source of certain features.”

      As I say, I agree completely with Meacham about that. And I would conclude this comment by saying this : It is 99.9% sure that the Mandylion is NOT the same relic as the Shroud of Turin BUT… It’s pretty evident that the Shroud had a great influence on this so-called image not made by human hands. And more than that, it is also evident that the Shroud had a great influence on the Byzantine Pantocrator icons of Christ. And you can be sure also that the creation of these 2 “icons” (Mandylion and Pantocrator) had something to do with the great fight of the Orthodox Church against heresies like the Monophysism (that was Vignon hypothesis by the way) during the 5th and the 6th centuries. At that point, the official Church wanted desperately to sell the dogma of the Incarnation and also the dogma of the 2 natures of Christ to the faithful and what better object than a miraculous image of the living Christ could have been used as a teaching (some could say with some truth: “propaganda”) tool ??? The creation of the myth of a miraculous image of the face of Christ must be related with these theological debates and we can even clearly see this going on even at the time the Mandylion arrived in Constantinople when we know how to read between the lines many manuscripts written during that period (like the sermon of Gregory Referendarius), the 2 versions of the Narratio de Imagine Edessena or shortly before (like the letter of the three patriarchs). Once you understand the critical link that exist between the Mandylion (along with the Abgar legend) and the theological teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning the Incarnation and the 2 natures of Christ and when you understand also that this Mandylion-Abgar legend “propaganda tool” was NOT THE ONLY TOOL that was used by the Church at that critical moment in history (a time of great theological fights against many different heresies), it’s very easy to understand that the Mandylion was not at all a real image not made by human hands but it was a pure creation of the Church who was searching a good way to fight these heretics who didn’t wanted to believe in some of his dogmas !!! THAT’S THE HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL REALITY in which the Image of Edessa change from a painted portrait of Christ to a miraculous imprint of him (note : just like the Veronica vail change in the same exact manner some centuries after that).

      And Dave, when you say “Ian Wilson’s work changed the public perception of the Shroud, beyond all measure. From a mere object of pious devotion, the perception grew that maybe, just perhaps, this could well be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, imprinted with the true face and form of the Redeemer of mankind.”, I don’t agree. I think that it is the STURP scientific investigation that really deserves this honor. And it is mainly true concerning the English speaking countries because the Shroud was already well-known in most Christian countries in Europe well before 1978 ! And I believe the reality look more like this : Wilson mainly surf of the wave created by the STURP team !!! That’s what I think. If there was not a scientific investigation by an English speaking team in 1978, do you really think Wilson’s book would have get the same level of popularity ??? Asking the question is finding already the answer, don’t you think ? ;-)

  12. Yannick: Whether the Shroud is or is not the Mandylion, is not the issue. What is the issue is your totally unwarranted attack on the person of Ian Wilson. It is the worst kind of Ad Hominem attack, it is offensive, and it shows that you are blind to any other point of view except your own.

    I tell you that you will never win any support for your ideas, regardless of any merit they may have until you cease this stupid thick-headed attitude of charging Wilson with bad motives.

    In 1973, there were only three British people involved in any kind of Shroud research at all. They were Dom Maurus Green, Dr David Willis, and Ian Wilson. There were no others. Green is on record as being open to Wilson’s early ideas on the history of the Shroud. In 1969, the Cardinal of Turin had appointed a Commission, all Italians from his own Piedmont area. By 1973, he had included the Belgian, Professor Gilbert Raes, and subsequently the Swiss Max Frei, It was not until 1978, that the STURP team was established, and included American scientists, such as Jackson and Jumper. BUT It was not the STURP members who made the impact with the public, that changed the public perception of the importance of the Shroud. They were all scientists, and concerned with pursuing their science, and obtaining their results. It required a person like Wilson, who knew how to write, what would arouse the public imagination, how to write a best-seller, while being fair, informative, and as objective as he was able, in the light of what he knew or could discover. .

    Whether Wilson got it right or not is utterly irrelevant. You have no right to attack his person, for which you have no cause or justification. Disagreement with his conclusions is a completely inadequate reason for you to attack the man. And you have no other justification or evidence for doing so.

    I tell you again. No-one is going to listen to whatever arguments you can raise, no matter how good they may be, until you drop this stupid vendetta against a man who has done more to raise public awareness of the Shroud than anyone else. Your Ad hominem attacks make too much noise for anyone to hear whatever else you may be saying!

    1. Dave, I’m sorry you let the tree hide the forest (as we say in French). Forget my personal opinion versus Wilson and please focus on the facts I gave you in my paper !!! That’s the only thing that is important for anyone who seek the truth.

      If I seem to be so hard against Wilson’s way of acting, it is simply because while I was doing my long historical research concerning the Mandylion’s hypothesis and the obscure years of the Shroud, I was able to really see how much he could act with intellectual dishonesty. My historical research was great because it let me see the facts BY MYSELF and it didn’t took long for me to realized that the way Wilson always defend his personal hypothesis AGAINST ALL LOGIC (very often, by focussing on only a portion of the available facts while forgetting or modifying the others that are problematic for his hypothesis) was not the way any good scientist (or historian) should proceed. This was enough evidences for me to forge my opinion on that guy and realize that 1- He was not honest (at least, when it come to talk about the Mandylion and the ancient history about the Shroud). And 2- His main goal seem to be much more to seek his own truth about this relic (along with some money and success) than the real objective truth (i.e. the truth that we can traced by following honestly ALL the available FACTS no matter if they lead us to realize that our idea on a topic is most probably wrong).

      Because I love truth and I’m a free thinker, I never had fear to express my personal opinion (even if I know that it goes against the majority and can hurt some peoples). Sorry but that’s who I am ! With me, it is “take it or leave it !” I could also say : “What you see is what you get !” And concerning Ian Wilson, I have no fear to say that this guy is not always acting like a good scientist (or historian) should. And as I see it, I don’t think he’s much different than Dan Brown or even our friend Fanti…

  13. “In 1973, there were only three British people involved in any kind of Shroud research at all. They were Dom Maurus Green, Dr David Willis, and Ian Wilson. There were no others.”

    Yes, there was! There was a Scout Mistress!

  14. Davebs comments are unfair in that Yannick Clement has provided long academic posts refuting many of Wilson’s arguments. It is Stephen Jones who uses ad hominem attacks as this post and his recent comments on his site to anyone who disagrees with him show all too clearly. Are you right to give him space here?

    1. I forget to add this : Lyfe has perfectly understand one important aspect of my comments on this blog : When I give my opinion about something, I try hard to always back it up with solid data, facts and/or observations and I also try hard to confront my opinion with the opinion of the most known expert on the subject before I wrote my own opinion publicly. Most of the time (particularly when it come to the Mandylion hypothesis), you can be sure that my opinion is in total agreement with many other scholars that are qualified in the subject we discuss… In other word, I try hard to avoid throwing freely in the air my personal opinion without any back up with solid data and/or with the opinion of credible experts in the subject.

      Important note : A lot of time, everything is a question of interpreting the facts and data correctly. Unfortunatelly, because of the very nature of the subject, many people’s opinion is often biased by some preconceived notions or because they already and for a long have their mind set about a particular subject. Because of that, their judgement is somewhat falsen.

      Personally, I’ve always tried to follow the facts in the direction they lead me (whatever it is). I don’t have the pretention to ALWAYS follow this path, but I think I have been able to do this regularly. The proof of this is that I have changed my mind on many things regarding the Shroud since the first time I started my quest for truth about this relic.

    2. Sorry Lyfe but your NOT getting the point, first of all I don’t think Yannick has in any way refutted any of Wilson’s arguments. Many of his points have been argued, quite well and clearly by several here. Problem is, he just tends to ignore these arguments and repeats his issues over and over again. Example; he is still arguing the point about the eyes being ‘open’ and of ‘no blood shown on the copies of the Edessa cloth’?? …these points have been nullified easily more then once, yet he still sticks to them. Most all of his other arguments have been delt with all the same, some have been ignored because they are just too rediculous. But the MAIN point here is Yannick’s obvious vendetta against Wilson and his total lack of respect shown for the man!. Despite the fact that Wilson is one person who has done a great service to the popularity of the Shroud the world over, and of it’s many qualities and yes of it’s probable history. Wilson’s hypothesis may not be perfectly substantiated, …even IF someone PROPERLY refutes his work, he should always be shown RESPECT. This I’m afraid Yannick does not understand. Furthermore, Yeannick tends to judge Wilson incorrectly, as from what I gather, Wison is quite open to critisizm and has in the past openly accepted other different views to his hypothesis. Example; to the very early years of the Shroud’s existence and it’s possible location; Antioch vs. Edessa.

      Whether one agrees with his ideas or not, respect is still warranted and moreover, what Stephen Jones may say or do on his blog has absolutely no relevence to how Wilson should be treated.


  15. Dan. I have no objections to you reproducing Stephen Jones’ attempted critique of my articles on the Free Enquiry website. They are good publicity for the articles themselves which often cover much the same material as Yannick Clement here and other scholars on the manifold problems of Wilson’s hypotheses. They keep debate open. However, I do urge caution. As earlier posts of his critique on your blog show Jones has had to rewrite one of his misrepresentations of my work (Your blog August 8th) and on July 11th a poster, David Mo, showed up the inadequacy of Jones’ argument. So far as I am concerned he has consistently failed to tackle the actual points I have made but that is his problem not mine.

    Unfortunately Jones has now over-reached himself as can be seen below (from the Comment provided by him on his latest critique on his blog). There is no payment asked or received for my articles. I do not know my arguments to be false (as I have said they are not much different from those of Yannick Clement and other scholars who have dealt with Wilson’s work) and if he had made any attempt to research me he would have seen that my last two books have been published by Yale University Press and cover both the early history of Christianity and the history of relics. This is why I came into the discussion in the first place.
    I am waiting for six months to see whether there are critiques of my articles that need answering and if so I will do so. Meanwhile I will it leave it up to you as to whether you wish to associate yourself with Stephen Jones by publishing his articles in light of the unwarranted attack he has made on my integrity (below). If he had made it in a national newspaper in the UK he would have been suable for damages and then I might have made some money! Thanks.

    Jones’ latest contribution:

    He [Freeman] is merely a “freelance” `gun for hire’ who presumably was PAID MONEY by the atheist publication Free Inquiry and/or its “The Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website,” run by arch-atheist and Shroud anti-authenticist Steven Schafersman to write his two `hatchet job’ articles on the Image of Edessa for the gullible, true believers in the Shroud’s inauthenticity, `sceptical’ (so-called), readership of Free [so-called] Inquiry!

    Freeman is deliberately writing WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE FALSE for Free Inquiry’s “The Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website to MAKE MONEY.

    1. Interesting comment. What I can honestly say about the whole Mandylion hypothesis of Wilson is this : If anyone is willing to do an HONEST (without any bias) and in-deep (by taking into account ALL the existing facts) research on the subject (like me and M. Freeman have done), I truly think this person would come out with pretty much the same conclusion that was expressed recently by me and M. Freeman. That’s all I can say. I know what I have found in my in-dept research and one thing is obvious : Wilson’s idea is false. Of course, if someone desperately want to trust Wilson AT ALL COST and stay ON THE SURFACE of this subject, that’s his problem.

      Note : I don’t pretend there is absolutely no link at all between the Shroud and the Mandylion. All I say is that they were 2 separate relics. My personal opinion is the same than Vignon (that can also be found in Meacham’s paper and in Maurus Green paper) : I think the Mandylion’s image was a living portrait of the face of Christ present on the Shroud. If this is true, then that would mean the Shroud was at least present in the Middle East during the 6th century (and even possibly the 5th century).

      1. Are you inmplying that ONLY you and Freeman have done HONEST, UNBIAS and THOROUGH research on the subject? Now I’ve heard it all!..I can assure you dear Yannick, I’ve done plenty of more research, read much the same as you, if not moreso and I am pretty sure I’ve done more research then Freeman on this ‘particular’ subject, noting from what I find in his rediculous paper. Moreover, I’ve done my research honestly without bias as I have no agenda, just the truth. But as in many things it is one’s PERCEPTION of the evidence that comes in play. I don’t agree with many of your points, which you use to prove your standing. Many of your points can easily be dismissed and due to YOUR lack of an open mind, insistence on ignoring others counter-points etc;…So don’t go ASSUMING you may be more literate on the subject then others. I am sure others here will feel the same as me to your rediculous assumption.


      2. As to my last comment, I just want to say; I’ve lost any respect I may have held for you, and not just based on your last comment, but moreso because of it.


      3. Ron say : Are you inmplying that ONLY you and Freeman have done HONEST, UNBIAS and THOROUGH research on the subject?

        No my dear Ron ! There’s a bunch of real Byzantine scholars who have done the same (and more than me) on the subject and who have also came out convinced that the Mandylion was NOT the Shroud… Believe what you want if that help you to sleep !

        And one last thing : You commit a real big mistake in assuming that Freeman’s article is ridiculous. Most of his argumentations and conclusions are the very same than I and before I made them myself, I wasn’t even aware of that guy and his research ! Don’t you find that strange Ron ??? Considering this FACT of 2 researchers coming to the same conclusion on one topic completely independently of each other, don’t it make you think that maybe we’re not dumb and our similar conclusions have very good chances to be correct after all ???

  16. Ron, estoy de acuerdo con usted.

    Veamos la liturgia de la época .

    En la liturgia bizantina del 16 de agosto se identifica el Mandylion con un LIENZO MORTUORIO, la frase “A final burial cloth you wore when dead” no ofrece NINGUNA DUDA.

    “On the same day memorial of the entry of the Image Not Made By Hand of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, brought from the city of the Edessenes to this god-protected Queen of cities.


    Alive you wiped your face upon a cloth,
    A final burial cloth you wore when dead.”

    [“Commemoration of the translation from Edessa of the Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ Not Made With Hands, or the Mandylion; and of the Holy Martyr Diomedes.”]

    Carlos Otal

    1. Sorry to say this Carlos but on this topic, you’re completely off-track ! Read again the fact #10 that you can find in my recent paper ( In that part of my paper, you see the correct traduction of Mark Guscin (a true linguist) concerning the liturgical text that you refer (that is called the Synaxarion).

      You’ll see that this text make a clear distinction concerning the Mandylion, the Keramion and the Shroud of Christ !!! THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT. For the anonymous writer of this litugical text that was used regularly by the Byzantine Church, there was no doubt that the Mandylion, the Keramion (which was a tile bearing the same facial image than what was on the Mandylion) and the Shroud were THREE DIFFERENT RELICS and that the Mandylion, on the contrary to the Shroud, was an image showing a LIVING CHRIST and therefore, had NOTHING TO DO with a relic of the Passion of the Christ !

      Sorry but you can’t used this official text of the Byzantine Church to back-up Wilson’s ideas… On the contrary, you’re completely free (as I did) to use it AGAINST his ideas !!! ;-) If we don’t want to change the normal and most natural interpretation that should be made about this text (in order to make it “fit” with Wilson’s hypothesis), there’s no way to see another thing than a CLEAR DISTINCTION between the Mandylion, the Keramion and the Shroud of Christ !!!

      1. Yannick:

        Yo NO he leido a Ian Wilson (¡OH!). ¿ Será usted el que esté fuera de pista?.

        No creo que la traducción utilizada en la liturgia ortodoxa sea incorrecta, y usted NO HA ENTENDIDO lo que escribe Mark Guscin (afortunadamente el texto está escrito en ESPAÑOL)
        Refiere lo encontrada por él en 3 manuscritos del Sinaxaryon en el Monasterio de Iveron:

        “Es precisamente aquí donde los manuscritos del Synaxarion se hacen interesantes, puesto que Abgar dice a Ananias que traiga una descripción del rostro, del pelo y de todo el cuerpo de Jesús. En otras palabras, la imagen que se llevó a Edesa era algo que haría visible el cuerpo entero de Cristo. Este texto litúrgico de la iglesia ortodoxa nos dice que la Imagen de Edesa era de todo el cuerpo de Jesús de Nazaret.”

        “LA SÍNDONE Y LA IMAGEN DE EDESA” . Investigaciones en los monasterios del Monte Athos (Grecia) por Mark Guscin 2003.

        Click to access sindoneedesamarkguscin.pdf

        Marck Guscin cree muy probable la MISMA IDENTIDAD de la imagen de Edesa y la Sábana Santa.

      2. Guscin refers to one on a million alternative version (coming from a place in Greece where the monk who wrote it most probably never saw the Mandylion and the Shroud with his own eyes) and you choose to trust that one and forgot the vast majority of other versions of the Synaxarion that state this (reprint from Guscin book in which, by the way, he never mention the lone alternative version you refer to) :

        “In life, you wiped your form on a linen cloth. In death, you were put placed in the final linen shroud. A manmade tile bears your form, not made by human hands.”


        Choosing to put your faith in one little discordant version found in Mount Athos by Guscin instead of trusting the vast majority of other versions of this book in which we can read what I just quote remind me of another great mistake often done by those who have some biased ideas in favor of Wilson’s hypothesis : putting your trust in a very small minority of texts of the Abgar legend who seem to refers to a full size body image instead of just a facial image of Christ. Here again, there are just a handful of alternative versions (I have found two in my research and one have influenced a third one) like that in face of a very big amount of versions of the Abgar legend that clearly states that the Mandylion was a towel that bears an image of only the face of the living Christ.

        In fact, choosing to believe in one isolated version of the Synaxation and/or choosing to believe in two or three isolated versions of the Abgar legend instead of a vast amount of other versions of these books that state something different (i.e., that the Mandylion was a different cloth than the Shroud, that he had nothing to do with a burial cloth and that he was showing only an image of the face of Christ) is NOT the good way to do a good historical research my friend. It denote an evident bias. In reality, it is exactly the same kind of bias we can see in the anti-Shroud clique who choose to put their trust only in one single data (the C14 dating of 1988) while forgetting the vast amount of data that point in the opposite direction (i.e., that the Shroud is probablyan antique cloth) !

        THAT’S NOT THE PROPER WAY TO DO ANY KIND OF SCIENCE… This is called “Doing biased science” in my book and the Shroud world don’t need this. In the Shroud world, I think it’s about time we start listening to what the majority of the facts and data concerning the cloth or its history really have to tell us and follow them (no matter where they lead us) instead of just choosing some isolated “facts” that fits better with some preconceived ideas.

      3. Carlos, I have read again the quote from the Synaxarion you gave us in the comment #40 (just above) and I wasn’t even sure that you were pointing to an alternative version found by Guscin in Mount Athos in Greece ! So, I have decided to follow the link you gave us and found out that it is the same normal version of the Synaxarion, with one important exception : the last sentence (that refers to the Keramion) is totally missing !!!

        In the end, maybe I think this shrunken version of the Synaxarion is reponsible for your erroneous interpretation of this particular part… I think most people who read the part of the Synaxarion I provided (that come from Guscin book about the Image of Edessa) will easily conclude that the other is NOT refeering to the same object in the first two sentences !!!

        Here’s again the normal version of that part of the Synaxarion :

        “In life, you wiped your form on a linen cloth. In death, you were put placed in the final linen shroud. A manmade tile bears your form, not made by human hands.”

        The fact that the other take time to specified that the first object is an object from the lifetime of Christ and the other one is an object from after his death make the conclusion quite easy that he is talking of 2 different objects here, especially when you consider that there’s absolutely no doubt that the third sentence is also talking about a different object than the Mandylion !!!!

        And you should not forget one important thing : In his book, Guscin, while talking about the Synaxarion, NEVER makes any reference to that part of the Synaxarion in order to back up Wilson’s hypothesis… I really think you should change your interpretation of that particular part of this liturgical book of the Byzantine Church.

  17. I don’t normally read comments to Dan’s blog, but I was tipped off by a commenter on my blog that Charles Freeman had replied to a comment on my blog, on Dan’s blog, where the comment, as far as I am aware, has never appeared.

    Mr Freeman states above:

    Jones’ latest contribution:

    He [Freeman] is merely a “freelance” `gun for hire’ who presumably was PAID MONEY by the atheist publication Free Inquiry and/or its “The Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website,” run by arch-atheist and Shroud anti-authenticist Steven Schafersman to write his two `hatchet job’ articles on the Image of Edessa for the gullible, true believers in the Shroud’s inauthenticity, `sceptical’ (so-called), readership of Free [so-called] Inquiry!

    Freeman is deliberately writing WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE FALSE for Free Inquiry’s “The Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website to MAKE MONEY.

    I accept Mr Freeman’s assurance that there was no payment asked or received for his articles:

    —————————————————————————————————————————-Unfortunately Jones has now over-reached himself as can be seen below (from the Comment provided by him on his latest critique on his blog). There is no payment asked or received for my articles.

    I will delete immediately any comments (Blogger does not give the option of modifying them) which alleged that Mr Freeman was paid for his articles.

    I apologise to Mr Freeman for any hurt or embarrassment I caused him by my assumption that he was paid for his articles in Free Inquiry and/or “The Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website.”

    I will also immediately post this comment where I made the above assumption.

    Stephen E. Jones

  18. I accept Stephen Jones’ ‘apology’ .
    I have been a professional historian for thirty-nine years- first pay-cheque came in September 1973!- and have written over twenty books with several hundreds of reviews (Probably nearly 150 on Amazon alone-they can easily be found.) So Stephen Jones’ and other critical comments are part of life and don’t worry me. I only intervene when there is clear inaccuracy as here, especially one which may affect the professional reputation I have spent many years earning.
    I do not always write for money and most blogs pay nothing as here. I choose my projects carefully. I am not a ‘hired gun’ and will write an article for nothing as in this case if I feel I have something to contribute. I believe in the arguments I present so ‘WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE FALSE’ is another inaccurate statement, that could equally be seen as damaging to my professional reputation. Historians have successfully sued in the British courts for much less.
    The rebuttals of Wilson have been widespread across the academic community and anyone who works on the material and reads the work of historians who specialise in Byzantine history and literature comes up with many of the same points. I was not surprised to find that Yannick Clement has found the sources Wilson uses as inadequate as I have and he is opening the debate wider among a community who are often unaware ‘of the manifold problems with Wilson’s hypotheses’.

    1. I am receiving comments to this post only on Dan’s blog, because I wanted to see if Mr Freeman responded to my apology, and action I took to immediately remove from the comments on my blog every claim of mine that Charles Freeman was being paid to write his articles on the Shroud of Turin and the Image of Edessa. I note that Mr Freeman puts the word “apology” in single quotes. That is his problem.

      The comment “WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE FALSE” was in a sentence about Charles Freeman being paid money, so it was deleted along with that sentence.

      I have no particular desire to gratuitously hurt or embarrass Mr Freeman, or damage his reputation, so in future I am going to confine myself to objectively pointing out his false statements and any relevant information he fails to tell his readers because it would undermine his case, with no personal observations by me about Mr Freeman himself.

      I point out that Charles Freeman himself has set a precedent in this in claiming in his “The Shroud of Turin and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey” that “[Ian] Wilson fails to tell his readers that it [The Doctrine of Addai] contains relevant material which might undermine his case”:

      The Doctrine of Addai is used completely inappropriately as Wilson fails to tell his readers that it contains relevant material which might undermine his case, weak though it already is.”

      with the clear implication by Charles Freeman that Ian Wilson is being less than completely academically honest in that.

      I am going to post a copy of this comment of mine to my blog under, “My critique of Charles Freeman’s “The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey,” part 6: “The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa” (2). ”

      I am then going to unsubscribe again to this Dan Porter’s blog. So if Charles Freeman has any more complaints or criticisms about my ongoing series critiquing his paper above, he should comment under the relevant post on my blog, otherwise I won’t see it.

      Stephen E. Jones

  19. La liturgia ortodoxa parece referirse a 2 iconos, Mandylion y Keramion, no a 3 iconos como usted interpreta:

    “On the same day memorial of the entry of the Image Not Made By Hand of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, brought from the city of the Edessenes to this god-protected Queen of cities.

    Alive you wiped your face upon a cloth,
    A final burial cloth you wore when dead.

    For the Tile
    Maker of all, my Christ, a tile once made
    By hand now bears your form not made by hand”.

    Carlos Otal

    1. Did you read my quote from Guscin’s book ? That’s not at all the same thing ! And Guscin as reprinted 2 different versions of the Synaxarion that both contained the same 3 lines I have written yesterday : “In life, you wiped your form on a linen cloth. In death, you were put placed in the final linen shroud. A manmade tile bears your form, not made by human hands.”

      Clearly, your version is not the mainstreem version of the original Synaxarion that was written around the 11th century and that was reprinted in Guscin’s book. Did Guscin talk specifically about this version in the article he wrote in Spanish that you mentioned in your comment #42 ?

      Anyway, the fact that your version contain a verse that talks about the Mandylion (one word is used meaning “cloth”) and the Shroud of Christ (another word is used meaning “burial cloth”, probably “sindon”) doesn’t mean the author of the text wanted to indicates that the 2 cloths were one and the same !!! Have you noticed that the first line (where he speak of the Mandylion) contain a reference to the image on the cloth (the expression “wiped your face” is a direct reference to the story of the formation of the image in the Abgar legend), while the second line (where he speak about the Shroud) don’t have any reference to the presence of an image on this Shroud ?

      Personally, even with your alternative version, I still don’t understand how you can read this part of the Synaxarion and believe the author was talking about just one cloth.

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