Stephen Jones is up with Part 10 of his critique of Charles Freeman

imageJones is up with part 10 of his “critique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 10: "The Image of Edessa"

Nicely Done!

I now agree that the much mentioned topless square between the eyebrows that we see on the shroud is probably the result of vertical banding. As Jones describes it in the caption for this picture:

Closeup of face of the Man on the Shroud, showing that the `topless square’ is part of a flaw or change in the Shroud’s weave which runs all the way down the face (and in fact appears to run down the entire length) of the Shroud: ShroudScope "Durante 2002 Vertical"

But I don’t necessarily agree with Wilson, as quoted below by Jones. I don’t think that the open box is necessarily a tell-tale clue: 

However, it features one highly important extra detail: on the forehead between the eyebrows there is a starkly geometrical shape resembling a topless square. Artistically it does not seem to make much sense. If it was intended to be a furrowed brow, it is depicted most unnaturally in comparison with the rest of the face. But if we look at the equivalent point on the Shroud face … we find exactly the same feature, equally as geometric and equally as unnatural, probably just a flaw in the weave. The only possible deduction is that fourteen centuries ago an artist saw this feature on the cloth that he knew as the Image of Edessa and applied it to his Christ Pantocrator portrait of Jesus. In so doing he provided a tell-tale clue that the likeness of Jesus from which he was working was that on the cloth we today know as the Shroud.

The following is from a posting I wrote back in February of this year:

imageStephen Jones continues his postings on the Vignon markings:

[A]s can be seen above, the Ravenna Pantocrator mosaic has at least thirteen of the fifteen Vignon markings on the Shroud [see part #2 (1)] namely: "(2) three-sided `square’ between brows, (3) V shape at bridge of nose, (4) second V within marking 2, (5) raised right eyebrow, (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, … (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair" [3]

I do find the Vignon markings very telling, when considered collectively, in large numbers. But we must be careful when considering them independently or just a few at a time. Jones is sensitive to that.

For instance, what are we to make of the “three-sided `square’ between brows,” sometimes referred to as a squared off U or a topless box? Too much, sometimes. It could be a defect in the cloth that was seen by an artist as a facial feature. It could be that it really was a feature of Jesus’ face. Or it could be, as some have suggested, an object resting on the face, a phylactery perhaps.

I recall a discussion when someone said it must be a defect of the cloth because Jesus was too young to have such an old-man wrinkle. I have a three-sided square in exactly the same place, but I’m old. So I asked my young thirtyish Jewish neighbor to furl his brow, just as I showed him I could do, to see if a young Jesus could have this feature. It didn’t work. However, another neighbor who is half Welsh and half Italian and is only twenty-seven years old can make a perfect topless box above his nose by squinting just slightly in bright sunlight. If I trust only some of the Vignon markings, then since Leonardo da Vinci was at least half Italian, I must conclude that the shroud is a medieval photograph of him taken in bright sunlight.

imageI did try to find a picture of Leonardo da Vinci with the feature. There weren’t all that many pictures of the old man. But I did find pictures of another Leonardo with a topless box above his nose. And he is a young fellow. And Italian. (This should cause Picknett and Prince to rethink their theory.) It cannot have been the great medieval photographer, Leonardo; no topless box on him.

I do think the Vignon markings may tell us something. We must exercise care, however.

35 thoughts on “Stephen Jones is up with Part 10 of his critique of Charles Freeman”

  1. It has become fashionable in some circles to dismiss the Vignon markings as a “joke” and to parody them as for example on Davor Aslanovski’s site. Possibly Stephen Jones follows Ian Wilson’s text a little too slavishly, But he makes the point that Vignon originally identified 20 such markings, Wilson reduced these to 15, but Jones also mentions that some enthusiasts claimed to have identified 60. Whatever, 15 correspondences are too many to dismiss so lightly.

    Prior to the 6th C, there were considerable variances in the very few portraits of Christ now available, one such portraying him as a beardless Apollo. Augustine asserted that nobody knew what Jesus looked like, but suddenly in the sixth century, the iconography seems to have become fairly standardised. It has to be apparent to any fair-minded judgment that whatever template was used for these depictions, there must have been a select few who had access to the Shroud facial image, and these various markings were included in that template. This is not to make a case that the template was wholly based on the Images of the Shroud or the Edessa nor that the Edesssa was necessarily the Shroud as asserted by Wilson, but it is interesting that much of the iconography seems to have radiated out from Edessa. Perhaps there were other images available at the time or earlier copies which contributed to the template.

    Jones makes a telling point when he comments:
    “An interesting argument is that in the law courts (where proof `beyond reasonable doubt’ is required), cases of plagiarism or breach of copyright will be settled in the plaintiff’s favour if it can be shown that the text (or whatever) is supposed to have been copied contains errors present in the original. Similarly, in tracing the texts of ancient authors, the best evidence that two versions are copies one from another or from the same original is when both contain the same errors. A charming example is an intrusive colon within a phrase in two fourteenth-century texts of Euripides: one colon turned out to be a scrap of straw embedded in the paper, proving that the other text was a later copy.” [Patterson, C., 1999, “Evolution,” Cornell University Press: Ithaca NY, Second edition, p.117].

    If a scrap of straw can be accepted as evidence of copying Euripedes, then 15 Vignon markings on 6th century icongraphy has to be even more compelling that the Shroud facial image was certainly known at that time!

  2. Dan said : ” I now agree that the much mentioned topless square between the eyebrows that we see on the shroud is probably the result of vertical banding.”

    Please folks, be serious and honest for once !

    That doesn’t mean for one second that the Mandylion (or any other ancient icons that could present such particular feature) was the same thing as the Shroud !!!! NO WAY !!!! That only means what Paul Vignon conclude almost 100 years ago : That these images of Christ are most probably influenced directly or indirectly by the Shroud of Turin !!!

    I really think Vignon’s conclusion is very solid and RATIONAL, i.e. that all these images of Christ that came out during the 5th, 6th and 7th century (some considered miraculous imprint on linen, some being just icons) were most probably influenced by the image that is present on the Shroud of Turin (which was most probably still kept in Palestine or already transferred in Constantinople at that time).

    Remember one big truth : THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION IN ANCIENT SOURCES OF THE PRESENCE OF A BURIAL CLOTH OF CHRIST IN EDESSA FOR THE ERA PRIOR TO THE TRANSFER OF THE RELIC TO CONSTANTINOPLE IN 944 AND ALSO AFTER THAT TRANSFER. This is the REALITY purged of any wild speculation or extrapolation !!!

    If this reality would be otherwise, be sure that I would be the first in line to defend Wilson’s idea concerning the Mandylion, but unfortunatelly, that’s not the case.

  3. Yannick,

    I don’t think it was necessary to digress on the Edessa theory in response to Steve’s post. The Shroud exists in the here and now where ever it was. It would be helpful in these discussions if everybody would concentrate on the issue at hand and not waste time riding their particular hobby horse in response to every post, whether relevant or not.

    The icons exists today as material objects. The Shroud exists today as a material object. I don’t care if it was used as a towel by King Clovis’s wife and then was carried-off by elves. It is here and now in Turin.

    Dare I say there will never be a clear province established form the Tomb to Turin. So what? The physical evidence of the Shroud as it exists today and the comparisons to the early icons (including the Justinian coins) are sufficient to establish its identity as existing as early as the Fifth Century and being important enough in those times to cause the images of Christ to be changed from a beardless Adonis to the bearded man of the icons.

    There are other physical attributes of the Shroud, as it exists today, that take it back to the Tomb the Sunday after the Crucifixion. QED

    1. Quote : “Dare I say there will never be a clear province established form the Tomb to Turin. So what? The physical evidence of the Shroud as it exists today and the comparisons to the early icons (including the Justinian coins) are sufficient to establish its identity as existing as early as the Fifth Century and being important enough in those times to cause the images of Christ to be changed from a beardless Adonis to the bearded man of the icons.”

      I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT THAT. On the other hand, if I always come back with critics against Wilson’s hypothesis whenever the occasion seem to be right is just because there are too much people in the Shroud world who believe too much blindly in this incorrect hypothesis and I just want set the record straight as much as I can. We have to look elsewhere for a better explanation concerning the obscure years of the Shroud and as you cleverly said : it’s possible (maybe even probable) that this obscure history of the Shroud will never be known, especially if there is no new discoveries related to that in archaeology or in ancient manuscript… And like you also said : In the end, it’s not that important. Another C14 dating done on better samples (at least from 3 differents spots on the main body of the cloth) is what should be done to learn the true age of the cloth. And to reduce the possibility of contaminations, I would take just thread samples on the reverse side of the cloth because it was pretty well protected from contamination since 1534 (at least better protected than the inner part of the cloth).

  4. It is Yannick who is confused. If he’s bothered to read my comment above, he has failed to comprehend what I’ve written. Perhaps he could use Google translate to read it in his native Quebecois better to understand it. Nowhere in there have I asserted that Mandylion and Shroud were one and the same object. I dare say it is progress that he seems prepared to concede that the iconography was influenced by the Shroud facial image. But where was it? He says that there’s no mention of a burial cloth in Edessa prior to the relic’s transfer thence to Constantinople. He says perhaps it was in Constantinople, but likewise there’s no mention of the burial cloth in Constantinople, and it wasn’t taken there by Helena. He says perhaps it was in Palestine, Where in Palestine? It certainly wasn’t in Jerusalem after 70 AD, and it certainly wasn’t in Antioch after 540 AD when the city was destroyed. Rebuilding work had commenced there shortly beforehand following eathquakes. Perhaps the Shroud was discovered then, and where’s the nearest other city? Why, Edessa of course! And where does this 6th icongraphy commence, also Edessa!

    Perhaps he imagines it was in St Catherine’s monastery in Sinai, or perhaps it was in Armenia, or Georgia – Sorry, no record!

    In the fourth century, Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria (ca. 328-373), affirmed that a sacred Christ-icon,12 traceable to Jerusalem and the year 68, was then present in Syria:
    “…but two years before Titus and Vespasian sacked the city [i.e Jerusalem], the faithful and disciples of Christ were warned by the Holy Spirit to depart from the city and go to the kingdom of King Agrippa, because at that time Agrippa was a Roman ally. Leaving the city, they went to his regions and carried everything relating to our faith. At that time even the icon with certain other ecclesiastical objects were moved and they today still remain in Syria. I possess this information as handed down to me from my migrating parents and by hereditary right. It is plain and certain why the icon of our holy Lord and Savior came from Judaea to Syria” Syria must surely mean Antioch.

    No record in Edessa? Consider these lines from the Edessan poem “Hymn of the Pearl”, in a sindonistic context:
    “On a sudden, as I faced it,
    The garment seemed to me like a mirror of myself.
    I saw it all in my whole self,
    Moreover I faced my whole self in (facing) it,
    For we were two in distinction
    And yet again one in one likeness.
    And the image of the King of kings
    Was depicted in full all over it… ”

    No doubt some Byzantine historian will twist and turn to wring some other meaning from it!

    1. My comment was not directed against you personally Daveb and what you can believe or not versus the Mandylion ! In fact, I didn’t even had time to read your comment… The thing I agree is the heart of the message expressed by John, which is that it is possible and even probable the true ancient history of the Shroud could stay in the shadows forever !

      And this fact tells me that if the Shroud is the genuine burial cloth of Jesus as I believe it is, then that mean the inner part of the cloth (with most of the bloodstains and body image) was most probably kept hidden from public eyes for most of this era that goes between ca. 30 A.D. and ca. 1357 in Lirey, France.

      I think John has expressed one big truth that all the partisans of Wilson don’t seem to be ready to accept…

    2. Most byzantine scholars don’t see a link between this hymn of the Pearl, the Image of Edessa and the Shroud because of the literary CONTEXT of the manuscript which does a description of the newly rebuild Cathedral of Edessa and use a textual image (the so-called “mirror image of the author”) to described the beauty of the marble walls of the building. This has probably nothing to do with a physical description of the Image of Edessa that would indicates that this particular author would have been aware of the presence of a complete body image on the Mandylion.

      Effectively, in all logic, if this author would have made a clear description of the relic, that would mean he would have been aware that this relic was not just showing an image of the face of Christ but of all his body (front and back). In that context, why there’s almost no other ancient text following this one that took over this “great information” ? And why this author of the hymn would have describe a complete body image on a “garment” without at the same time making any reference to the fact that this “garment” was in fact a burial cloth and that it was showing a lot of bloodstains ?

      Honestly, this link that have been made between the Image of Edessa, the Shroud and this hymn of the Pearl is very improbable and most Byzantine scholars recognized that BECAUSE OF THE CONTEXT OF THE TEXT.

  5. Can anyone tell me whether Paul Vignon took his markings from the Shroud as it is seen in normal light because from photographs it is difficult to see any markings at all and unless it was much clearer in ancient times it is difficult to know how anyone could have copied it.
    There is a famous mosaic of the emperor Justinian in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna dating apparently from 548. There seem to be Vignon markings on it – can Dan please post it so people can make the comparison with those of Christ? Would a copier use the face of Christ to depict an emperor?

    1. Apparently Vignon did view the Shroud ‘itself’ in 1933, in normal interior ‘light’ of the cathedral, and at very close quarters for several minutes, plus he viewed the Shroud “outside” in daylight. A commentor asked the same question on Stephen Jone’s part 10 of his Freeman critique. Best go there for a more detailed answer.

      The markings then, it appears, can be seen on the Shroud itself when viewed in real-life circumstances and not just from contrast enhanced photos. This apparent fact gives much credence to artists of the past abilities to see and copy these markings in thier paintings.

      It just dawned on me that Barrie Schwortz had extensive viewing of the Shroud in ’78 at very close and variable ranges. I wonder if Barrie can chime in on here about these markings! Now I wouldn’t expect he was looking for these in particular throughout his time there, but maybe he may have noticed them? It was also along time ago and maybe doesn’t remember. But I would be interested in Barrie’s thoughts on this, if any.

      R

      1. Stephen Jones was challenged on the Vignon markings in comments on Part Six of his critique of Charles Freeman (his post of August 23rd). Faced with examples of Vignon markings, from catacomb art, of the fourth century, Jones, at the end of the comments postings, suggested that the Shroud was copied in Antioch in the fourth century. (Stephen Jones prefers the Markwardt’s Antioch theory over Wilson’s Edessa theory for the early hiding of the Shroud.)The presence of Vignon markings in earlier Christian and imperial art has always been a problem for Wilson’s theory of the copying of the Shroud in the sixth century.
        I was amazed how limited Vignon’s examination of the Shroud was- an hour with a group of others at midnight and ten minutes in the open air when there was a crowd around it-not much time for a scholarly assessment!

  6. One comment about the quote we can read on top of the page that goes like this : “Closeup of face of the Man on the Shroud, showing that the `topless square’ is part of a flaw or change in the Shroud’s weave which runs all the way down the face (and in fact appears to run down the entire length) of the Shroud.”

    I’m sorry but this change can well be due to the banding effect described by Ray Rogers much more than a “change in the Shroud’s weave”. For Rogers, this banding effect on the Shroud is a good sign of the very old age of the Shroud because it seem to come from an ancient technology of making linen cloths that was dropped during the 8th century and that consisted to bleach linen threads by batch before the weaving, which caused slight differences in the quantity of impurities that would be left on top of the linen fibers. And if Rogers was right, this banding effect had a big influenced in the image formation process because tonality of the image seem to be directly proportional to the tonality of the bands.

    The outcome of this ancient way to bleach the threads was a final cloth showing bands of different tones. For example, the Holland cloth (ancient back-up cloth for the Shroud) is a medieval cloth for sure and don’t show this banding effect, most probably because this cloth was bleached only one time at the end of the weaving, once the cloth was final.

  7. Lyfe :Stephen Jones was challenged on the Vignon markings in comments on Part Six of his critique of Charles Freeman (his post of August 23rd). Faced with examples of Vignon markings, from catacomb art, of the fourth century, Jones, at the end of the comments postings, suggested that the Shroud was copied in Antioch in the fourth century. (Stephen Jones prefers the Markwardt’s Antioch theory over Wilson’s Edessa theory for the early hiding of the Shroud.)The presence of Vignon markings in earlier Christian and imperial art has always been a problem for Wilson’s theory of the copying of the Shroud in the sixth century.I was amazed how limited Vignon’s examination of the Shroud was- an hour with a group of others at midnight and ten minutes in the open air when there was a crowd around it-not much time for a scholarly assessment!

    How long does one need to indentify markings? Especially if you already know ‘exactly’ what you are looking for and where? …I would suspect less then a minute, two or three at the most? The point is; the question has been answered, as in, Vignon DID actually view the Shroud in real-life at various ranges and in various ‘lighted’ conditions. He was allowed a 10 minute private viewing, what more does one need!! Your nit-picking is just rediculous.

    I don’t think the catacomb frescos show any ‘discernable’ Vignon markings to tell you the truth and I have studied them closely. The parted hair and some facial similarities may occur, but not much of anything in the sense of the Vignon markings. The similarities could simply be due to Jesus’s appearence being brought down through word of mouth, nothing else. Furthermore these catacomb depictions were not wide-spread and it is very unlikely many people would be viewing frescos painted deep in the catacombs, very unlikely! Most all ‘wide-spread’ renditions of Jesus up to the 6th century were still of a youthfull appollo type figure. Therefore, I don’t agree Wilson’s hypothesis is put in jeopardy whatsoever.

    R

    1. Well, I am sure Stephen Jones can defend his own interpretation of the Vignon markings that I have not seen anywhere before.
      It does leave open the question as to which is the first portrait of Jesus that shows the Vignon markings when they have not been present in any earlier portrait.
      Everyone knows the problem of looking at the Shroud of Turinwithout any enhancement. Some people say that they can only see the face if they stand some way back from it and that theycannot see any markings clearly if they look at it close up. I remain amazed that when there is such a fuss over the Vignon markings when we have according to Stephen Jones,a man who admits that he is replacing science by meditation and can give no clear account that he has examined the Shroud carefullybut ,of course ‘if you already know exactly what you are looking for and where’ youare bound to find it!
      Perhaps you can tell us which is your earliest Vignon portrait of Christ.

      1. Stephen Jones ,in the posting above, includes the Christ Pantocrator from Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. According to the Sacred destinations description this is dated to c. 500. So Jones accepts that the Vignon markings are in place by then which presumably fits with his fourth century date for the copying. Does Wilson include this image among his own study of the subject as one of those influenced by the Shroud?

  8. Lyfe :Stephen Jones ,in the posting above, includes the Christ Pantocrator from Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. According to the Sacred destinations description this is dated to c. 500. So Jones accepts that the Vignon markings are in place by then which presumably fits with his fourth century date for the copying. Does Wilson include this image among his own study of the subject as one of those influenced by the Shroud?

    First of all, Vignon was studying these ‘markings’ WELL before he viewed the Shroud, so it is a big yes to him knowing ‘exactly ‘ what to look for. So again I’ll repeat; only minutes would be required to substantiate his findings!…Furthermore; some of the markings are apparenttly from faults in the weave or banding or whatever, but not of the image itself! So they would be noticeable moreso then the image itself. So I see no reason Vignon should be questioned on this or his integrity questioned.
    Secondly; Stephen Jones is allowed his interpretations, just as well as anyone else, but I think you may be wrong in what he concluded from the Christ Pantocrator in Ravenna which is ‘actually’ dated as late as 547 ad. Which puts it right inline with the discovery of the cloth in Edessa. So not the 5th century but the mid-6th. There are no renditions of Christ before this period which contain ‘discernable’ Vignon markings to my knowledge.

    R

    1. On the internet, while doing my research for my upcoming paper, I have found that the most probable dating for this first known image of the Christ in Majesty (the one from Ravenna) is 521-547, with a good probability that this was done prior to the death of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great who completed the building of the Basilica of Ravenna in 526, the same year he died. Personally, I favored the dating of 521-526 because I have read here (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christus_Ravenna_Mosaic.jpg) that this very particular artwork (that could well be the ancestor of the Pantocrator icons in the Byzantine world) is said to have been completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. Of course, it is also possible that the artwork was done after the Byzantine took the city in 540 and the upper date 547 could still be true.

      BUT THE THING IS THIS : The Mandylion was NOT discovered in 525 as Wilson wrongly try to make believe ! This is another very good example of the great intellectual dishonesty of this author and it’s truly disgusting. He knows as well as me that both ancient historians Procopius of Cesarea and Evagrius Scholasticus NEVER said that this relic had been discovered during the great flood in Edessa in 525 and so, even if these 2 ancient historians did mention the flood in their work !!! It is a FACT that both historians never said a damn word about the Mandylion in the part of their manuscripts where they described that flood ! If the Mandylion would have been discovered during that catastrophic event, you can be CERTAIN that these 2 highly respected historians would have talked about that. Look, even ca. 550, Procopius of Cesarea was not aware of the presence of any miraculous imprint of Jesus face in Edessa while he was writting about the Persian invasion of 544 !!! On that base, can’t you realized that this concept of an image of Christ not made by human hands only surfaced in Edessa AFTER that time ??? The miraculous imprint of Christ COULD NOT have became publicly known prior to that date of 550 and that’s a fact ! And nevertheless, BEFORE that time, there was already at least one artwork (the one of Ravenna) that was showing a bearded Christ with long hair depiction that was obviously based (directly or not) on the Shroud’s face !!!

      Of course, you will never found these information in any of Wilson’s articles or books !!!! WHAT A SHAME !!!!

      Lyfe is totally correct in his remark that the presence of an artwork that is obviously based (directly or indirectly) on the Shroud’s face already during the first half of the 6th century is truly problematic for Wilson’s hypothesis and I definately should have add this fact in my recent paper on the subject ! Make it one more problematic fact against Wilson’s hypothesis !!!! Wilson is most probably aware of the problem and obviously, that’s why he invent (without any historical basis whatsoever) the story of a discovery of the Mandylion during that flood of 525 !!! He obviously did that simply because he NEED his Mandylion to have been present in Edessa well before the middle of the 6th century !!!! If that’s not intellectual dishonesty just to defend at all cost your preconceive ideas, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS !!!

      Sorry Wilson but your Mandylion not made by human hands only appeared in Edessa during the second half of the 6th century and there was already some artworks obviously based directly on the Shroud or indirectly based on a copy of the Shroud’s face !!!! This fact ALONE is enough to understand that all his hypothesis is incorrect ! All these different artworks that first appeared during the 6th century and that all show a bearded Christ with long hair very similar to the Shroud’s face (i.e. the Christ in Majesty, the Pantocrator icons and I have to fear to add all the so-called miraculous imprints of Jesus face – like the Mandylion – that all appeared during the second half of the 6th century in the Middle East) were obviously based directly or indirectly on the image on the Shroud and NOT on the Image of Edessa (Mandylion) !

      Note that I will talk in length about this great piece of evidence in my upcoming paper about the question of the identity of the Shroud man…

  9. I should have written “Sorry Wilson but your Mandylion not made by human hands only appeared in Edessa during the second half of the 6th century AT BEST and there was already some artworks obviously based directly on the Shroud or indirectly based on a copy of the Shroud’s face WELL BEFORE THAT TIME !!!!

    Now, that’s much better and clear !!!

  10. I also made a little mistake by writting “I have to fear to add all the so-called miraculous imprints of Jesus face”. Of course, you should read : “I have NO fear to add all the so-called miraculous imprints of Jesus face.” Sorry for this typing error.

  11. Because of my previous errors and incomplete thoughts, I have decided to write again my comment here because I truly think he is somewhat important in this never ending debate about Wilson’s hypothesis and I want it to be as perfectly understandable as it can be. So, here it is again :

    On the internet, while doing my research for my upcoming paper, I have found that the most probable dating for this first known image of the Christ in Majesty (the one from Ravenna) is 521-547, with a good probability that this was done prior to the death of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great who completed the building of the Basilica of Ravenna in 526, the same year he died. Personally, I favored the dating of 521-526 because I have read here (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christus_Ravenna_Mosaic.jpg) that this very particular artwork (that could well be the ancestor of the Pantocrator icons in the Byzantine world) is said to have been completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. Of course, it is also possible that the artwork was done after the Byzantine took the city in 540 and the upper date 547 could still be true.

    BUT THE THING IS THIS : The Mandylion was NOT discovered in 525 as Wilson wrongly try to make believe ! This is another very good example of the great intellectual dishonesty of this author and it’s truly disgusting. He knows as well as me that both ancient historians Procopius of Cesarea and Evagrius Scholasticus NEVER said that this relic had been discovered during the great flood in Edessa in 525 and so, even if these 2 ancient historians did mention the flood in their work !!! It is a FACT that both historians never said a damn word about the Mandylion in the part of their manuscripts where they described that flood ! If the Mandylion would have been discovered during that catastrophic event, you can be CERTAIN that these 2 highly respected historians would have talked about that. Look, even ca. 550, Procopius of Cesarea was not aware of the presence of any miraculous imprint of Jesus face in Edessa while he was writting about the Persian invasion of 544 !!! On that base, can’t you realized that this concept of an image of Christ not made by human hands only surfaced in Edessa AFTER that time ??? The miraculous imprint of Christ COULD NOT have became publicly known prior to that date of 550 and that’s a fact ! And nevertheless, BEFORE that time, there was already at least one artwork (the one of Ravenna) that was showing a bearded Christ with long hair depiction that was obviously based (directly or not) on the Shroud’s face !!!

    Of course, you will never found these information in any of Wilson’s articles or books !!!! WHAT A SHAME !!!!

    Lyfe is totally correct in his remark that the presence of an artwork that is obviously based (directly or indirectly) on the Shroud’s face already during the first half of the 6th century is truly problematic for Wilson’s hypothesis and I definately should have add this fact in my recent paper on the subject ! Make it one more problematic fact against Wilson’s hypothesis !!!! Wilson is most probably aware of the problem and obviously, that’s why he invent (without any historical basis whatsoever) the story of a discovery of the Mandylion during that flood of 525 !!! He obviously did that simply because he NEED his Mandylion to have been present in Edessa well before the middle of the 6th century !!!! If that’s not intellectual dishonesty just to defend at all cost your preconceive ideas, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS !!!

    Sorry Wilson but your Mandylion not made by human hands only appeared in Edessa during the second half of the 6th century AT BEST and there was already some artworks obviously based directly on the Shroud or indirectly based on a copy of the Shroud’s face WELL BEFORE THAT TIME !!!! This fact ALONE is enough to understand that all his hypothesis is incorrect ! All these different artworks that first appeared during the 6th century and that all show a bearded Christ with long hair very similar to the Shroud’s face (i.e. the Christ in Majesty, the Pantocrator icons and I have no fear to add all the so-called miraculous imprints of Jesus face – like the Mandylion – that all appeared during the second half of the 6th century in the Middle East) were obviously based directly or indirectly on the image on the Shroud and NOT on the Image of Edessa (Mandylion) !

    Note that I will talk in length about this great piece of evidence in my upcoming paper about the question of the identity of the Shroud man…

  12. And to make you reflect some more about other possible options concerning the appearence of the Image of Edessa (Mandylion) during the second part of the 6th century (at best, because it is not totally clear if this image really was there before the beginning of the 7th century. Some scholars think that the reference found in Evagrius Scholasticus is a later addition done during the 7th Ecumenical council of Nicea in 787, which reaffirmed the cult of Sacred images), here’s a little reflection of mine : Have you noticed that almost every copies of the Mandylion that have survived to this day shared an important feature with almost all the known Pantocrator icons ? Among many other things pointed out by Vignon, in almost every copies of these 2 forms of Byzantine depictions of Christ’s face, we can clearly see the 2 ear lobes which are not covered by the hair !!! And here’s another question for you : Can you see the ears on the Shroud ? ABSOLUTELY NOT !

    Because we know for a fact that the Christ in Majesty of Ravenna (which is possible the artistic ancestor of the Pantocrator icons) was made BEFORE the apparition of an image “not made by human hands” in Edessa and because of some striking similarities between this form of bearded Christ icons and the copies of the Mandylion (like the ear lobes not covered by the hair among many other things), I submit this little hypothesis to your reflection: And what if this image of Ravenna (along with possibly some Pantocrator icons) were truly the real and only artistic source for this Image of Edessa ?

    I think this hypothesis cannot be worse than the one defended at all cost by Wilson and his fans. What do you think of my idea ?

    1. Yannick. I think everyone is agreed that the Ravenna Pantocrator was made before Wilson says that the Image of Edessa was discovered in the wall in Edessa.I asked a friend who knows about Byzantine art for his view on the date ( he has studied the Ravenna mosaics) and he thinks it is about 500 AD (the same date you get if you put Christ Enthroned, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in the Sacred Destinations website)because it was completed before the church was consecrated in 504. He said this is the view of Robert Cormack who is an expert on Byzantine art. I think your point that the Image of Edessa has many similarities with earlier art is a very interesting one and it does make sense because of the fully frontal bearded face. I hope you do more research on this.

      1. Sorry ,it is ROBIN Cormack- I have just googled him. Apparently the 500 AD date is given alongside an illustration in his Oxford University Press book on Byzantine Art.

  13. YC; “Because we know for a {fact} that the Christ in Majesty of Ravenna (which is possible the artistic ancestor of the Pantocrator icons) was made BEFORE the apparition of an image “not made by human hands” in Edessa” {parentheisis mine}.
    -Yannick you should really be more careful with your word choices. There is ‘absolutely’ no FACT in what you say.

    Lyfe; “Yannick. I think {everyone is agreed} that the Ravenna Pantocrator was made before Wilson says that the Image of Edessa was discovered in the wall in Edessa.” {parentheses mine}
    -Who is everyone? You and Yannick, LOL.

    I think the both of you need to give yourselfs a good smack upside your heads. Both of you have come to your own conclusions, through a s***-load of speculation, to put it mildly!

    As to the dating of the Ravenna pantocrator; It could be hypothesized, that it could date even later then 547! As it was never established ‘conclusively’, it was created by the so called “Master of Sant Appolinare”. This was just speculation and conjecture…It is just as ‘likey’ the mosaic which is of a ‘Byzantine style’ was created years later, after Justinian I had secured Italy into his empire. Lets not forget it is well agreed that it was Justinian I who in ‘most likelyhood’ commissioned the making of the Pantocrator image and had commissioned the one at St Catherine’s in the Sinai, at relatively the same time period…Is this scenario speculation? Absolutely yes, but more logical and plausible then scenarios put forth by the two of you.

    Oh and by the way Wilson’s hypothsis to the dating i.e; ‘discovery’ of the Edessa cloth? He states in his book; sometime between 503 and 544, whether you want to believe his sources or interpretations are correct or not Yannick. So even if the Ravenna pantocrator was created in 526, it would not dispell Wilson’s hypothesis.

    R

    1. Ron, Wilson can claim all he wants that the Mandylion was discovered sometime between 503 and 544 (because clearly, he NEED this dating for his hypothesis), but as M. Freeman indicates : THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO HISTORICAL BASIS FOR THIS CLAIM ! This 503 to 544 dating come out of Wilson’s imagination and anybody can do these kind of non-historical claims.

      Here’s the FACTS (I thought I was clear in my previous comment but anyway, I’ll wrote them again just for you) :

      1- The Ravenna mosaic was made BEFORE 550 A.D.
      2- Procopius wrote about the Persian failed invasion of Edessa around 550 and NEVER said a damn word about the presence of a miraculous imprint of Christ’s face. CLEARLY, the Mandylion was not present in Edessa BEFORE that date.
      3- Evagrius talk about the presence of the Mandylion in Edessa during the Persian invasion but because of Procopius writings, we know for a FACT that this mention is false. Procopius talk about the Persian invasion of 544 and did mentioned the letter of Christ to Abgar (which are part of the original version of the Abgar legend) and said that this was this Holy Letter who saved the city from the Persian ! He NEVER talks about a miraculous cloth. Clearly, this relic was simply not there at the time of the invasion. As I said, some scholars thinks that this is a later addition in Evagrius manuscript that was made by the Church to back-up the miraculous story of the Mandylion.
      4- There is absolutely no ancient writers (and no ancient historians like Evagrius or Procopius) that mention the presence of the Mandylion before 544 and as I said, it’s clear that this relic was NOT in Edessa BEFORE ca. 550.

      These are the facts. And because of the Vignon’s markings, there’s a very high probability that the Shroud served as a (direct or indirect) source for the creation of the Ravenna mosaic. It’s highly probable that the Shroud was already existing BEFORE the creation of this mosaic, not the Mandylion. Conclusion : The Shroud never was the Mandylion.

  14. The reason why that mosaic is given an earlier dating is that it is in the same sequence commissioned by the heretical (Arian) Theodoric who died in 526.They redid many of the mosaics but left some of those, including the Christ, that they found inoffensive. As I understand most Byzantine experts, Lyfe quotes Robin Cormack who is about as good as you can get, date the Christ to c. 500 because the church was consecrated just afterwards and they theory is that they would not have consecrated it without finishing the mosaics.
    I don’t know where Wilson gets his 502 date from. It goes beyond any evidence that the first source, Evragius suggests for the appearance of the Image.
    So why not accept the opinion of the experts that it is probably c. 500?

    1. CF; “So why not accept the opinion of the experts that it is probably c. 500?” – …For one, the experts may be wrong and their ‘reasoning’ is simply speculation. Two, it seems more likely from the artistic style of the fresco, it is strictly Byzantine in origin. Also for reasons already mentioned, it seems more probable to be of a later date; i.e; 526 or possibly later as in 547?

      R

      1. Well I don’ think Cormack deals in speculation . Google him and then let us know why we should prefer your version over his.

      2. The problem you have to overcome is that the Christ is of the same workmanship asthe scenes from the life of Christ on the side walls . Now these are ‘Arian ‘ because they show Christ ageing with time. So they are from the Arian reign of Theodoric who died in 526. Scholars such as Cormack prefer an earlier date because they argue that all the mosaics would have been completed before the consecration of 504. So , Ron, YOU are the one who has to challenge this view. Please give specific reasons from your personal knowledge of the Christ mosaic why you go against scholarly opinion in thinking that it is so much later.

      3. In the end, the exact date for the mosaic of Ravenna is not so important concerning the hypothesis of Wilson. What’s truly important is these facts :

        1- This mosaic was done BEFORE 550 A.D.
        2- The Mandylion appeared in Edessa AFTER 550 A.D. (ref.: Procopius of Cesarea who never mention it at that time)

        Consequences of these 2 facts :

        1- The Mandylion was NOT the source of the mosaic of Ravenna.
        2- Because of all the points of congruence between the mosaic and the image on the Shroud, it’s most probable that the Shroud was one of the main source (directly or indirectly) for that mosaic.
        3- The Shroud and the Mandylion are two different relics associated with Christ.
        4- There’s a fairly good probability that this mosaic, along with possibly some Pantocrator icons, could have been one of the main source for the creation of the image of Edessa (Mandylion).

        That’s the right way to analyse all the data we have.

      4. YC wrote:

        “4- There’s a fairly good probability that this mosaic, along with possibly some Pantocrator icons, could have been one of the main source for the creation of [the acheiropoietic/’non-made-by-human-hand’ facial imprint on a small face cloth known as] the image of Edessa (Mandylion) =

        This opinion is just crap!

      5. It’s funny because I thought exactly the same of the opinion of Wilson !!! Ha ha ha !!!

        Max, just look at all the Pantocrator icons you can found on the net and compare them to all the copies of the Mandylion you can found. You’ll see that there much more points of congruence between these 2 sorts of images of Jesus face than between the Mandylion and the Shroud’s face ! Don’t you forget that there’s one critical difference between all the Mandylion copies and the Shroud’s image ? A little child could see that difference but I think you and Wilson just don’t want to see it… THE BLOODSTAINS GODDAMN !!!! There’s no blood on any of the Mandylion copies while there’s full of blood in the face region of the Shroud. The Mandylion is an icon of the living Christ while the Shroud is a burial cloth of his Passion and death. If that’s not a major difference, then I don’t what !!!

        There’s absolutely no major differences like that between the Pantocrator icons and the Mandylion copies. These 2 sets of images of Christ’s face are too much similar to be due to hazard. One must depend on the other. And since we know for a fact that there were at least one Pantocrator-like image of Christ that was made before 550 (the one from Ravenna) while the Mandylion was still not in Edessa at that time, I think the probability for the Pantocrator style image of Christ to have been the source of the Mandylion is quite good !

      6. First phrase should read : It’s funny because I thought and still think exactly the same of the opinion of Wilson versus the Mandylion !!! Ha ha ha !!!

      7. Another mistake. You should read : If that’s not a major difference, then I don’t know what !!! Sorry…

  15. Ron, Wilson can give all the dating he can imagine in his head in order to save the credibility of his baby but as me and M. Freeman’s clearly indicates (and that’s the most important thing to note) : There’s absolutely no written reference for the presence of the Image in Edessa prior to the Persian failed invasion of 544 and even then, we know for a FACT that this dating that is found in the manuscript of Evagrius is incorrect because of the manuscript of Procopius, who was an authentic historian who described in length this failed invasion of the Persian without ever making any reference to the presence of a miraculous image in the city at the time. Since Procopius have written his manuscript ca. 550, since he did mentioned the letter send by Jesus to king Abgar (which was part of the original version of the Abgar legend), since he never said a damn word about the Image of Edessa (Mandylion) and since he indicates that it was this letter at the time who served as a palladium for the city and was responsible for the victory of the Edessenian people against the Persian army, it is CLEAR that this miraculous image could not have appeared in Edessa before ca. 550.

    And since we know for a FACT that the Ravenna mosaic was made during the first half of the 6th century, it is sure that it was done BEFORE this Image of Edessa became known. On that solid base, it is easy to understand the extreme weakness of Wilson’s hypothesis !

    As I said to Dan yesterday, and you must believe me, after my long inquiry on the subject, if I was convinced that Wilson’s hypothesis had some chances to be correct, be sure that I would be the first to strongly defend it publicly. But the reality is precisely the opposite of that ! In my paper on the subject that I posted in late June on the blog, I described 22 problematic facts concerning Wilson’s hypothesis ! 22 !!! Not 3 or 4 but 22 !!!! And since that time, I already found 3 more problematic facts (the one concerning this Ravenna mosaic being the most recent in the list) !!! So, the count is now 25 !!!! Isn’t that enough for you to realize that Wilson’s hypothesis must be considered highly unlikely at best (and in my mind, I would say “impossible” !) ??? I think any reasonable person without any pro-Wilson bias would understand that…

    To conclude, I want to say this very important comment : In the end, I don’t care too much if Wilson want to sell is crazy ideas to the public. We live in a free world right ? But what enraged me is the FACT that this extremely weak hypothesis has been defended blindly and without any critical sense by a lot of pro-Shroud researchers over the years (some of them being real historians !), which gave a smell of propaganda to the whole issue ! Since I seek only the truth regarding any aspect of the Shroud (whatever this truth can be), I simply cannot accept this situation. I’m very sad for all the people who knows not much in history and who have been fooled by Wilson’s ideas, which were bring forward by many pro-Shroud people over the years. THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO FIGHT. In the end, the only thing I want is this : to open the eyes of people over this hypothesis that has been often presented in the pro-Shroud circles just like an accepted theory, which is VERY far from being the case. You don’t believe me ? Just ask any authentic Byzantine expert and you’ll see what he will tell you about that !!!!

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