Hot New Topic: The Wife of Jesus

imageBlogger Jack Swint opines at his Op Ed News site:

It wasn’t that long ago that scholars were re-debating over whether or not the Shroud Of Turin Is Authentic or not. That 2011 report did its best to refute the hypothesis that the Shroud might be the work of a medieval forger. But, in the end, there is no scientific or theological proof that the Shroud is authentic.

Now, it appears a new topic for Christianity, and its doubters, will be in debating whether or not Jesus was married. Does it actually matter if he had a wife? Does it take away from the overall belief that Jesus Christ is both the Son Of God and the greatest man who ever lived? No!

Bottom-line; let’s not lose any sleep over it.

It is a new topic with legs. Here is how Time summarizes the story:

On Tuesday, Harvard historian Karen L. King presented to the world a small papyrus fragment, which she calls The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife. It could suggest Jesus was indeed married: “Jesus said to them, my wife … she will be able to be my disciple” reads a part of the fragment of a Coptic codex dating back to the fourth century A.D. “ This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife,” King, who is the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard’s Divinity School, wrote in a draft paper presented at a conference in Rome.

Here are some useful links:

Latest on David Rolfe’s Site on Maillard Reaction

imageI think we now have a clue of what we will hear from Denis Mannix next month at the BSTS meeting (October 21st 2012 at 14:00 – 18:00 in Beaconsfield, Bucks). Check out A proposed study into the Maillard reaction as a possible explanation of the image on the Turin Shroud on David Rolfe’s site:

To test the theory we need . . .

a) a dummy corpse with a skin-like surface with distinguishing features eg wounds/cuts. This surface must be able to be maintained at a temperature higher than the surrounding air space. This is the most difficult thing to arrange. It may be that an inflated filled plastic glove with a length of electrically-heated metal inside it and a temperature indicating strip on the surface would serve. Some ingenuity will be needed here. A further improvement would be if the material of the dummy was able to act as a reservoir for the amines that will be applied to it, eg some sort of felt (see below)

b) a piece of linen test cloth similar in porosity to the Shroud. This must be given a coating of a reducing sugar, eg glucose, by soaking in a glucose solution and being allowed to dry in air. Trial may show that a subsequent soaking in a surface-active agent, again with drying in air gives a more intense image

c) a supply of amines such as those arising from a traumatised body eg. cadaverine or putrescine . These are available from Chemicals Suppliers.

d) a draught-tight transparent container in which the test cloth can be held in a roughly horizontal stretched position vertically above the dummy with a fixed separation-distance ranging from 1 to 2 inches down to physical contact.

Laboratory skills are important in this study. The experimental work should be done with the aid of an experienced laboratory technician. It will consist of several/many trial runs to discover the test conditions that will result in an image on the cloth similar to the dummy.

I’m not sure it is that simple. If you haven’t read There should be some kind of reaction at the upcoming BSTS meeting, you should. If you don’t remember it, reread it. Be sure to read the comments by Yannick and anoxie.

Tetradiplon: So how is the Shroud of Turin folded?

Read Stephen Jones’ posting on his blog and study the graphics.image Stephen may be right but I need to look into this a bit more. I was trying to replicate Ian Wilson’s folding pattern. I’m not convinced that tetradiplon is four doublings in the most literal sense or doublings into what is essentially fourths.  Give me your comments. And allow me some time to consult with others. Here is a bit of what Stephen has to say:

A commenter on Dan Porter’s Shroud of Turin blog pointed out what I had previously realised, but had forgotten, that Dan’s "Tetradiplon" graphic illustrating how the Shroud of Turin, when "four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon), with Jesus’ face uppermost, results in Jesus’ face only within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (exactly as in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa), has a flaw in that it only shows three doublings of the Shroud (see above).

Even Ian Wilson’s illustrations of this in his books (e.g. "The Evidence of the Shroud," 1986, p.113; "Holy Faces, Secret Places," 1991, p.142; "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.153; "The Turin Shroud," 2000, p.111; and "The Shroud," 2010, p.141), show the Shroud doubled only three times.

But some months ago I cut out a photo of the Shroud and proved to myself that the Shroud can be doubled four times in such a way that it results in Jesus’ face in a rectangular segment of the cloth, in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in early copies of the Image of Edessa. Here I will show how it can be done, in what is a reasonable way to fold a long cloth, minimising strain at its fold edges.

Better than David Rolfe’s Dawkins Challenge?

imageColin Berry wants your opinion on his draft of a letter to Sir Paul Nurse (pictured), President of the Royal Society (the British academy of science).

WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE about these three concluding paragraphs?

It cannot be good for the reputation of science that such an impasse still exists, some 30 years after the STURP investigators worked and reported on Shroud specimens. It cannot be good for the reputation of science that there is still an air of mystery, of ‘enduring enigma’ given the accumulated data on that artefact. Is there something that has been overlooked, or perhaps prematurely discounted? Or should we be discarding ALL present theories and looking for entirely new explanations as to how this puzzling  and/or challenging artefact came into existence?

Would it be presumptuous of me to suggest that perhaps the time has come to put these questions to the general membership of the Royal Society, for the UK’s premier learned society with its 350 years of distinguished research and scholarship, to examine the issues and controversies, to issue a call for clarification and expansion where deemed necessary, to invite submissions from those (like this retired scientist) who may have views they wish to express and receive wider circulation, especially among his more illustrious peers?

No, Shroud research is not in the same league as more urgent matters such as climate change etc where the RS has recently become involved over the use/misuse of science. But there is a sense in which this piece of cloth with its bloodstains has come to symbolise in many people’s minds the limitations of the scientific method, and even raised doubts as to the competence or objectivity of  the scientists on one or other side of present controversies. Might this not be a good moment to “call in the umpire”?  Who better to serve that role than the formidable collective brainpower of Britain’s Royal Society, the heirs to Newton, Hooke, Pepys, Faraday, Darwin, Rutherford and a host of other luminaries?

I would love see it. This could be even better than David Rolfe’s Dawkins Challenge. Shall I hold my breath?

Colin’s most significant contribution is not his scorching hypothesis. He, who claims to be “the voice crying in the sindonological wilderness camp,” is not winning that argument. Rather, it is his constant reminder that “there is still an air of mystery, of ‘enduring enigma’.”


Popularity of History Channel’s “The Real Face of Jesus?”

imageI was recently informed that the 90 minute documentary, “The Real Face of Jesus?”, has aired 21 times in the U.S. That translates into many millions of viewers. Add to that many international showings and the many times the film has been downloaded from Amazon or iTunes. For several weeks it was the leading historical documentary on iTunes.

An Email from Colin Berry

imageColin Berry writes (posted with permission):

Hello Dan

I request that you remove the libellous comment posted by Stephen E Jones, since you will know that I have not demanded anything. Everything was phrased as a request that you seek permission. added to which I made clear that I did not regard your use of my graphics as fair use if they are used to adorn headline attacks on me or my views.

I would have posted to Jones’s own site, but for the fact that he now reports any comment I send there as "spam". The man is a menace, and is now using YOUR site to get at me, while effectively denying me a right of reply. Repeat – the man is a menace.

Are you going to respond to my latest posting?  If not, I am minded to refer the phoney science that you claim represents the position of 4 named investigators to the UK’s Royal Society as an open letter. I won’t do that behind your back, believing as I do in total transparency. I have prepared a draft, and will publish that first as a declaration of intent. Are you sure the 3 living members wish to be associated with your phoney science if it appears in a future RS newsletter, inviting comments from influential  chemists and physicists?

Cool Regards

Colin Berry

I wrote back:

Hi Colin. Thanks for writing. I’ve looked at Stephen’s comment and find nothing sufficiently objectionable with it that would prompt me to remove it. I guess it is a matter of interpretation. Anyway, you are more than welcome to comment. As a matter of fact I have been thinking of publishing this letter to get your point of view out there. Why not, instead, write something so it appears the way you want it to.

Am I going to respond to your latest posting? I’m not inclined to do so so please feel free to write to the Royal Society. Again, you are free to comment. Would you like to write a full article? I’d be happy to publish it if you send it along.


Dan Porter

Who is Jesus?

imageAsks Father James in his Featured Sunday Homilies:

Had Jesus of Nazareth been a Roman or a Greek, certainly his contemporaries would have left behind statues in his honor.  However, because the Jews had a strict understanding of idolatry, their interpretation of the Mosaic Law did not allow them to make any images whatsoever of any human person.  It would have been interesting if we had been left something that would illustrate the physical attributes of the Lord. 

Throughout the centuries, there has been much discussion on the subject.  The Shroud of Turin and Veronica’s veil tell us a lot about his Middle Eastern features; however, our faith is best served by depending on the one authenticated source, the Gospels.

EWTN Series on the Shroud of Turin

imageA reader writes:

According to Adam’s Ale, this week EWTN is running a series on the Shroud of Turin on the series "Women of Grace." Today’s program reviewed the history of the Shroud and how it got to Turin in 1578.

Some of the circumstantial evidence for its antiquity includes the fact that when the Shroud (which had been hidden for several hundred years) was re-discovered around 500 AD, art and mosaic images of Jesus dramatically changed from a youthful unbearded "Roman" face to the man with a beard that we universally now see.

The remaining 4 programs will be broadcast this week at 11:00 am and re-aired at 11:30 pm. The most up-to-date scientific information and theories will be explored."

Here are some of the video’s on the EWTN site that you can watch now:

  • Revelation of the Road: The Shroud’s Journey SEPTEMBER 10, 2012: (Program 10350) Guests: Dr. J. Wayne Phillips, Father Edmund Sylvia One of the most fascinating and most investigated relics is the Sh…-377  View Video
  • The Shroud of Turin Research Project, Pt 1 SEPTEMBER 11, 2012: (Program 10351) Guests: Dr. J. Wayne Phillips, Father Edmund Sylvia In May, 2010, Pope Benedict the XVII made pilgrimage to Turin, Ita…-378 View Video
  • Carbon Dating and Image Formation: Science and the Shroud, Part 2 SEPTEMBER 12, 2012: (Program 10352) Guests: Dr. J. Wayne Phillips, Father Edmund Sylvia Occasionally in the pursuit of scientific investigation, contradic…-379 View Video
  • New Discoveries, New Theories: Science and the Shroud, Part 3 SEPTEMBER 13, 2012: (Program 10353) Guests: Dr. J. Wayne Phillips, Father Edmund Sylvia Science and reason are not antithetical to belief and faith. In fa…-380 View Video
  • Dynamic Duo: The Sudarium and the Shroud SEPTEMBER 14, 2012: (Program 10354) Guests: Dr. J. Wayne Phillips, Father Edmund Sylvia Conduct just about any kind of an investigation and nothing is mor…-381 View Video

Stephen Jones’ Critique of Charles Freeman Continues and Continues and Continues

In this ninth part, of Stephen’s critique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 9: "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa" dealing with the Tetradiplon question, he writes:

And that:

"If we take a full-length photographic print of the Shroud, double it, then double it twice again, we find the Shroud in eight (or two times four) segments, an arrangement seeming to correspond to what is intended by the sixth-century description (fig. 25). And the quite startling finding from folding the Shroud in this way is that its face appears disembodied on a landscape-aspect cloth exactly corresponding to the later ‘direct’ artists’ copies of the Image of Edessa."


. . .  "Tetradiplon," The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ, Dan Porter, 2009. Illustration of Ian Wilson’s discovery, that if the Shroud of Turin is doubled four times, keeping Jesus’ face image uppermost, the result is Jesus’ face only, in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in the earlies copies of the Image of Edessa!]

So again Freeman, "fails to tell his readers relevant material which might undermine his case, weak though it already is" (to quote Freeman’s own criticism of Wilson in this very paper), so that he can take a cheap shot at Wilson, knowing that his Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website readers would be unlikely to notice his self-contradiction.

Part 10 is coming, Stephen tells us.

Gary Habermas and Shroud of Turin Poster

imageShannon just posted the picture of a poster in the portfolio section of her blog with the following text:

Gary Habermas spoke on the resurrection of Jesus as well as the Shroud of Turin.  The Shroud is a mysterious and exceptional piece of history.  Regardless of the final analysis, whether it is authentically Jesus, a fraud, or perhaps an anonymously crucified individual, it is an exceptional artifact. Gary is an expert on the Resurrection of Jesus and has published several voluminous books on the subject.  His research into the historical Jesus has lead him to take a close look at the Shroud of Turin and the claims that it seems to be making from a historical perspective.

He will speaking at an upcoming Apologetics Conference, September 28-29 at the First Baptist Church, North Spartanburg, S.C.

No one bothered to record his human appearance

imageDavid Yount writes in the Abilene Reporter News:

Despite the medieval mania for collecting purported relics associated with Jesus, no Christian presumes to have a notion of his actual appearance. Had the Shroud of Turin been proved to be the authentic cloth in which he was buried, it still would have offered few clues. In the Roman catacombs, Jesus is depicted as clean-shaven; later artists persuaded themselves that by giving him a beard he would appear older and wiser.

If no one bothered to record his human appearance, what attracted people to him? When he chose his apostles, they immediately dropped everything — including work and family — to follow him.

Detailed Instructions for Creating a Shroud of Turin Tortilla

imageThree pages of detailed instructions for creating a Shroud of Turin tortilla. All you need is a Epilog Helix Flatbed Laser Etcher (shown), a jpeg image of the face on the Shroud of Turin, and Adobe Photoshop for making adjustments.

Will it work on linen. Did Leonardo da Vinci work with medieval laser engravers, as well?

The Colin Berry Theory: Like Evolution, the Big Bang and Relativity, it’s just a theory.

imageA reader writes:

I was floored. Colin Berry actually wrote, “Colin, c’est moi, is doing his best to provide the evidence, and at the same time fill in on the background detail of the Scorch Hypothesis. Btw: I believe it now deserves to be called a theory, but I’m trying to avoid being too confrontational right now).”

I guess you can do that if you ignore or alter facts. However, the Drs. Jackson, Rogers, Di Lazzaro and Heimburger, all independently at different times, have adequately shown that such a theory, hypothesis, wild-ass-guess is wrong by pointing out that heat cannot form a physically superficial discoloration of linen fibers.

Note 1: The picture shown is a phase contrast microscopic view of an image fiber provided by Ray Rogers. It demonstrates the superficiality of the image on the fibers that should not be confused with what Colin Berry says is superficiality.

Note 2: Colin has some photographs that he claims support his “theory.” He does not want me to show them to you on this blog. (It boggles the mind. It would be like YouTube telling bloggers not to imbed a video but only to link to it.) Consequently, I have provided, under fair-use provisions, his caption text. You can click on each of the captions to see the pictures.  

Note to Colin: If you are going to propose a “theory” for how the image was created, it is important that the “theory” be capable of reproducing all of the image characteristics, not just those you choose and not just according to your own altered criteria. Paulette summarized a few of these criteria nicely. The first three define superficiality nicely. The others are significant as well and I very much doubt that your “theory” matches any of them:

1. The image does not penetrate below the topmost two or three fibrils of the yarn
2. The discoloration of the fibrils themselves, presumably from dehydration and oxidation, is between 200 and 600 nanometers thick (billionths of a meter).
3. The medulla of the fiber is clear in both image and non-image fibrils
4. The image can be removed from a fibril with adhesive tape.
5. The image doesn’t fluoresce in UV light.
6. The halftone effect evident in the image is from striated color patterns.

BTW: Here is a link to the quoted text on Colin’s site.

Russ Breault to Speak at First Baptist Church of Matthews

imageRelease from First Baptist Church of Matthews, North Carolina:

Now’s Your Chance to check out one of the greatest mysteries of the ages!

Russ Breault has studied and spoken on the Shroud of Turin for decades.

On September 29th, 2012 Russ is bringing his two-hour presentation, the Shroud of Turin Education Project to the First Baptist Church of Matthews. The presentation begins at 4:00 PM; doors will open at 3:30 pm.

If you are in the area check it out. For more information contact the First Baptist Church of Matthews church office at 704) 847-9150.

Click on the Trailer. Satan is behind it

imageA website called Justification by Grace wants you to download a free special report, “The Shroud of Turin: Holy or Hoax”.  The report runs 24 pages. Oh, and you are going to love the URL. It is

Here are a couple of bullets from the summary page:

  • Is the Turin shroud the burial cloth of Jesus Christ? Certainly not, if the Bible is truly the Word of God, then there is no way that the shroud can be true; and as we have  seen, can only be explained as a deception of Satan, just as the Word declares.
  • Why all this controversy surrounding this object? Satan attempts to bring doubt to God’s Word, and there are few surer ways to stir doubt than to raise controversy.
    The author wants your name and email address. It looks like you can use anything for an email address (if you are interested).

Where’s the Evidence, Colin?

imageA reader writes:

Dr Berry wrote, “here’s the evidence” to claim that Dr.  Di Lazzaro’s was wrong when he said, “Heating linen cannot give a superficial coloration”. And then he provided nothing but a photograph of a faint scorch mark he made. So what! My mother used to make faint scorch marks on linen with a cheap electric iron. Just because it is faint does not mean it is superficial. In fact, I’ll eat my hat if it is. Why do you even give Dr Berry any notice? (link added by me)

Colin actually wrote of the image he created on linen:

“Heating linen cannot give a superficial coloration” says Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro. Oh yes it can – and here’s the evidence…

He shows a photograph (here is a link to the photograph that he doesn’t want me to show in this blog) of a faint scorch and some char on a piece of linen and proclaims:

Why then did the linen under the hot metal not char like the strip that was kept in the oven? Why is the image so superficial?

Superficial? How does he know it is superficial? What does he mean by superficial? Is he equating the word with the word faint? Of course, the image on the shroud is faint. But it is also superficial in scientifically observed, quantified ways. Paolo Di Lazzaro, based on scientific experiments conducted at ENEA, also provided a comprehensive explanation.  I have provided a copy of a letter from Paolo, below.

When Colin made his preposterous claim, Paulette reacted quickly:

What in the world is Colin thinking? Where are his measurements? Does he even know what superficiality means?

There are several aspect of the superficiality of the image that cannot be ignored. The first three are absolute superficiality characteristics of the image. The last three are likely consequences of that superficiality.

1. The image does not penetrate below the topmost two or three fibrils of the yarn
2. The discoloration of the fibrils themselves, presumably from dehydration and oxidation, is between 200 and 600 nanometers thick (billionths of a meter).
3. The medulla of the fiber is clear in both image and non-image fibrils
4. The image can be removed from a fibril with adhesive tape.
5. The image doesn’t fluoresce in UV light.
6. The halftone effect evident in the image is from striated color patterns.

Then Ron wrote:

Paulette; please let’s not quibble about the details, Colin Berry has MANAGED to scourch linen here…. ;-)

Ron even added the smiley. But Colin got upset. He accused Ron of a flippant and supercilious put-down. Does Colin not remember that he accused Paolo Di Lazzaro of Mickey Mouse science without offering a reason? How flippant and supercilious is that? Colin first set the tone when he started blogging about the shroud with one arrogant statement after another. Ron is perfectly justified in saying what he did. I would have said it if I’d thought of it. 

So where is the evidence, Colin Berry?

And here is the explanation sent to me by Paolo Di Lazzaro on February 21 of this year:

Dear Dan and All:

I checked the idea of Colin Berry in the website you quoted. In short, from a physics point of view, his model is untenable, especially concerning the depth of coloration. Let me explain why.

Berry wrote: “The scorching will initially be confined to those parts of the fabric that are in immediate contact with the hot metal; no air gap is permissible, since radiated heat will not scorch white linen. What is more, the scorch will be confined to the outermost fibres of the thread, because the scorch will tend remain trapped within the first-encountered fibres, rather than being able to “jump across” to adjacent fibres. Why is that? It is because the resistant cellulose cores that are unaffected are able to conduct away heat rapidly, bringing the temperature of the hot template down to below that which will induce scorching Is it realistic to suppose that cellulose fibres could conduct away heat without themselves becoming degraded? Yes. I believe it is.”

It is quite easy showing the above assumption is wrong, and it is one of the few cases where it is faster doing the experiment than to explain the theory. According with a paper quoted by Berry, the onset of pyrolysis in hemicelluloses is at about 220°C. We have heated a 5-cents euro coin at about 230 °C in contact with a linen cloth. Just 5 seconds after the coin reached the max temperature the whole cross section of threads in contact with the coin was colored. After15 seconds all the thickness of the cloth was colored and the round shaped image of the coin appeared on the opposite side. After checking in our Lab, we repeated this easy and small-size experiments in the RAI3 TV studios (GeoScienza) to demonstrate that heating linen cannot give a superficial coloration. See starting from the minute 16:30.

After the experimental demonstration, let’s approach the basic elementary physics that explain why the idea of Berry is untenable, and heat cannot produce a superficial coloration.

The hot metal transfers energy(heat) to the primary cell wall (pcw) of the linen fibrils by contact. From a microscopic view, transferring energy by contact means the hot (i.e. fastly moving)atoms of metal hit hemicelluloses molecules transferring momentum, thus increasing both amplitude and velocity of the motion of hemicellulose molecules around the equilibrium position (centroid). As a consequence, hemicellulose increases its temperature.

In the regions of contact between pcw and cellulosic medulla, we still have a transfer of heat by contact, like in the previous metal-pcw case. The temperature of the medulla will increase. In the region where there is no contact (e.g.,a small air gap between pcw and medulla) we have heat transfer by irradiation.In fact, every material emits radiation having a spectrum peaked at a wavelength which depends on its temperature: the higher the temperature, the shorter the wavelength. This is the well known phenomenon of the black body emission, governed by Planck’s law, Wien’s law and so on (first year exam for students of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineer).

As an example, at 20 °C the walls of a room emit radiation with a broad spectrum, peaked in the far infrared at about 10-micrometers wavelength. In the case of hemicelluloses at 200 °C the pcw emits infrared radiation peaked at 6,1 micrometers. In the case we are considering, the 6-micrometer wavelength will interact with the cellulose of the core of the linen fibril (medulla), exciting vibrational levels of cellulose that decay in heat thus increasing the temperature of the medulla.

In addition, a well known optics law tells us the penetration depth of the interaction between radiation and medulla cannot be smaller than the wavelength, that is, not smaller than 6 micrometers in this case. This fact alone explain why infrared radiation cannot produce a superficial coloration of fibers.

By the way, it is not possible that “the resistant cellulose cores that are unaffected are able to conduct away heat rapidly” (see above Berry’s statement) because of elementary fluid dynamic equations (a classical engineering problem), of a not convenient area/volume ratio of cylinders (elementary geometry) and because Berry assumes a exothermic pyrolysis of cellulose, that is,by definition, a runaway process, extended in time.

In summary, when heating a linen cloth by a hot metal in contact, well known physics models foresee the pyrolysis of the whole fibers and threads, and this is exactly what we observe in the experiments.

Useless to say, it is all the approach of Colin Berry to find a middle age technology able to create the Shroud image that is hopeless: just consider the half tone effect. It could not have been made by medieval forgers because they would need a modern microscope to observe and then control their micrometric-scale coloration.

All the best


A Curmudgeon: What if another God next to him is doing a different simulation?

imageInteresting article, Multiverses & The Shroud of Turin, by the curmudgeon at curmudgeograph:

Like the shroud, the jury about whether pure randomness explains everything, has not even been sent out for deliberation.  The mystery still remains.  Though I cannot see how such a universe can explain us, I’m not upset at the investigations.  I’d like to say I can be fair and show criteria that would persuade me, but getting right down to it, it would be much easier to prove that the Shroud of Turin is only an artful hoax.

What is Colin Berry talking about?

Note: I have removed a small version of a photograph copied from Colin Berry’s blog at his request. Here is a link to it if you want to see it.

Colin Berry, in a posting “Heating linen cannot give a superficial coloration” says Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro. Oh yes it can – and here’s the evidence… writes":


Here, hot from the presses (literally!) is the result of the first experiment, performed yesterday, using my new clip-on oven thermometer.

It was carried out under the scrupulously-controlled experimental conditions only possible  in the “British Shroud of Turin Advanced Physical and Chemical Research Institute” (which others know more simply as “Colin’s Kitchen”).

What am I missing? Why does he say an image he creates with a heated object is superficial? He writes:

Why then did the linen under the hot metal not char like the strip that was kept in the oven? Why is the image so superficial?

How does he know it is superficial? Because there is no char? Does the “British Shroud of Turin Advanced Physical and Chemical Research Institute” have a microscope? Is he just guessing?

What is Colin Berry talking about when he uses the word superficial?

Quote for Today: Hans Belting and commentary

image“Consider these words of the distinguished German art scholar, Hans Belting (pictured),” writes daveb or Wellington nz in a comment:

Art historians dislike the Shroud, as the latter is either an orignal (thus antedating Christian imagery), or it is a late medieval fake (thus postdating the history of intelligent and beautiful images)” : Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art 1998, p.9.

And then Dave editorializes:

So we know that the Byzantine Art historians, are uncomfortable with it. From the various contributions they have made recently, it would seem that they are quite prepared even to deny that such a cloth was ever in Constantinople. Not for them the evidence of Robert de Clari, the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, the complaint of the Patriarch to the Pope that the French Crusaders had made off with it, nor any other such clues. That is their affair, and it may very well come back to haunt them. Now for those who deem it credible that such a cloth was indeed in Constantinople before the year 1204, and was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, consider the following:

So the Shroud must have arrived in Constantinople some time during the period 30 AD and 1204 AD. By the year 328, Helena had apparently ensured that Contantinople was apparently swamped with relics of the crucifixion, the early martyrs, and indeed according to Charles Freeman and his mentor John Calvin there was a whole shipload of True Crosses there. Curiously, the Shroud is not included in any of the inventories of this largesse, so presumably it arrived there after 328 AD,

Let us fast-forward to the year 943 AD. The great Armenian general of the Byzantines John Curcuas with an army of 80,000, had turned the course of history by his military conquest of the Turks. The Arabs had been weakened and here he is at the gates of Edessa which lie at his mercy together with a potentially utter defeat of the Muslims. What would you do as a general? Would you not press on and make the defeat complete? What does Curcuas do? Why, he camps at the gate and negotiates over several months for some old icon, a piece of rag with a picture on it, or so we are told. The Arabs are perplexed; the Caliph in Baghdad has to be consulted, and eventually the icon is surrendered.

Now there are two possible scenarios to consider. Either the Byzantines already have the purported burial cloth, and this must be known by the Emperor and the Patriarch, or else they do not. If they already have such a relic, together with Helena’s largesse, why would they ever send such a prestigious general with his army merely to capture some picture, when there was a much more lucrative prize on offer, the utter rout of the Arabs? Very likely then, the burial cloth would have arrived in Constantinople some time after 943.

The Mandylion, as it is called, is brought to the Emperor, together with whatever else had been captured, with great ceremony, it is seen so prestigious that a special feast day on August 16 is declared for its arrival, still celebrated throughout Eastern Orthodoxy even today. The Mandylion is made part of the Orthodox liturgy, and the legend of Abgar is recited.

Let us now surmise that the Mandylion is not the Shroud, and therefore it arrives in Constantinople at some later date. Surprisingly, I cannot tell you the feast day for the arrival of the burial cloths of Jesus Christ in Constantinople. The Orthodox do not celebrate the arrival of such a prestigious relic. Robert de Clari saw something very like it in 1204, and the Patriarch complained to the Pope that the Crusaders made off with it. But of the arrival of teh burial cloths there is no mention.

But of course I shall be told that all of this is my over-wrought imagnation working overtime. It couldn’t happen that way at all. We have it on the best authority from Byzantine scholars who work so hard to affirm with each other in their closed circle that they are right and they are the specialists, even although Hans Belting knows that they are uncomfortable with the very idea of burial cloths.

Perhaps it is just my imagination. You be the judge!

Laugh for Today: Colin Berry’s Latest Idea

imageWe must begin with the title of Colin Berry’s latest posting: Corona discharge for Shroud of Turin – advance notice of my paper for presentation at the Quantum Theology 2012 Conference, Instituto Polytecnica of Mamma Mia, Italy

We then need to look at some of what he wrote. He really does have a sense of humor:

The starting point was the recent confirmation at CERN of the fleeting existence of theHiggs boson, aka the God particle, responsible for conferring mass.  We believe that in first century Palestine there was an anti-matter particle corresponding to the Higgs boson which we call the Son of God particle. The special location of Palestine in relation to tectonic plate boundaries and their associated magnetic field allowed the Son of God (SOG) particle to have a brief existence which we estimate to be  33+/-1.5 years. . . .

The stabilising environment could not survive for long following the death of the host, probably not more than 1.5+/- 0.75 days. There then occurred one God Almighty flash, aka Corona Discharge,  as God particles mutually annihilated Son-of-God particles to create a new transient entity that we call the Wholly Ghost-form of matter and energy. . . . All matter from within a putative burial shroud then disappeared, leaving just a faint scorch on the fabric. . . .

Did you spot the theological error? Perhaps Colin never read Acts.

We obviously intend to publish these ideas in a peer-reviewed journal – namely the local Hobbington Gazette that is perused by – among others – my good friend Lord xxxxx.  He, living locally, and not just a peer of the realm, but someone who borrows my grass strimmer from time to time, can always be relied upon to provide a fast peer-review service.

He then links to an abstract of an upcoming paper by Giulio Fanti and a few people, which I linked to yesterday, and signs off with:

Good try, chaps, but you never quite managed the quantum leap in thinking that led toMY Corona Discharge model.

Maybe you should stop drinking that Moretti beer and instead try the real ale down at my Hobbington local. After a pint or two you won’t just find yourselves on a different planet, as you are at present, but an entirely different GALAXY….

Enjoy. We trimmed Colin’s text a bit and added inline comments – fair use and all that – so you may want to read the whole thing by clicking above.

A different approach to what some see as problems with the image on the Shroud of Turin

imageMatt Turley writes:

Dan, my artistry and eye is integral to my profession, and the one thing I found it hard to reconcile with was the Shroud man’s elongated, seemingly ‘stretched’ arms. Eve with fall-off as the the arm contour falls away like a cylinder, the limbs seemed way to long, the head too small. But then it occurred to me that all the strain and might required to buy more life upon the cross resulted ultimately in two dislocated shoulders, probably at the same time.

Also, the blood is so clearly crimson under most lighting, and has never diminished throughout the Ages – maybe the cloth somehow lives and breathes as an organic entity, hence the skewed dating via three labs.

Just some thoughts.

Stephen Jones’ Latest in his never-ending critique of Charles Freeman

imageStephen Jones is now on part 8 of [His] critique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 8: "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa". He makes an interesting point about Charles Freeman’s assertion of a Byzantine taboo on showing Christ dead:

But Freeman does not go far enough: if the Turin Shroud had not already existed in every age since the first century, depictions of Christ naked, bloodstained, and having died an horrific death by crucifixion, would never have been created at all, let alone venerated, because "The theological counter-attack would have been overwhelming"!

Yes, but how true is the assertion? How true, not if true!

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