MUST LISTEN: Thomas De Wesselow’s talk at Shroud Enigma

imageDavid Rolfe writes:

I have uploaded Thomas De Wesselow’s talk given to the BSTS on Sunday Oct.21st.

Few members of this group harbour doubts that the Shroud is a medieval painting. However, for the vast majority, that is the answer they will give if asked the question: "What is the Shroud?" De Wesselow takes on this proposition head on and from first principles as only an expert in medieval art can.

The link to the talk is:

Best wishes to all

Or just click here or on the photograph. It runs for about an hour.

15 thoughts on “MUST LISTEN: Thomas De Wesselow’s talk at Shroud Enigma”

  1. Several points that I think De Wesselow really drove home well was the idea that a 14th century forger would not have gone to all the trouble to make the image as intricate as it was (and certainly not as a negative, even if he knew how to produce one). Another point is the fact that the blood would had to have been painted on, so if the image itself is not a painting but a different type of forgery, the artist would had to have used 2 different methods to produce his fake, which once again brings it back to its intricacy. He’s absolutely convinced that the Shroud can’t be a 14th century forgery. It’s really nice to hear an art historian from the period from which the Shroud supposedly was forged give his expert point of view.

    1. In fact Joe, if you read again my paper (note #34), you’ll see that this idea that a forger could have painted the bloodstains on the Shroud is totally ludicrous ! Forget this right now because this is just IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t forget the presence of the serum stains around almost every bloodstains on the cloth, which is a clear indicator that these stains came from exudates of blood clots and not from blood in a liquid form. This important fact is well enough to completely reject any idea of a forger who would have painted the bloodstains on the Shroud ! The ONLY way the Shroud could have been created by a forger is to think that someone would have used a real crucified corpse that was showing all the stigmata of Christ, that he would have put this corpse in an antique linen cloth, that he would have waited between 24 and 72 hours and that he would finally had taken out the corpse from inside the Shroud so carefully that the bloodstains on the cloth remained completelly undisturbed (which is scientifically unexplainable for the moment).

      It’s very important to understand that such a scenario is the ONLY one that can possess some degree of credibility versus the reality of the Shroud… ALL the other forgery scenarios MUST be totally rejected. PERIOD ! And because of the fact that the Pantocrator-styled images of Christ (dated from the beginning of the 6th century onwards) were probably influenced in some way by the Shroud, my conclusion is that if there really was this kind of “natural” forgery done, this could only have happened BEFORE 500 A.D. But I must add that this particular scenario doesn’t possess the same smell of truth than the one that claim the Shroud to be the authentic burial cloth of Christ. In fact, it don’t even come close…

      1. No doubt, Yannick. But this is from one expertise, blood chemistry. Dr. DeWesselow’s opinion in his area of expertise adds to the mountains of evidence that this is not a work of art.

  2. De Wesselow has not gone deep enough into biblical studies and his contribution lies in drawing attention to the complexity of the Shroud image, and he does seem to recognise that the process was different from the ones that generated the images in the other objects shown in his presentation.

    He has written about a pool of urine on the Jospice Mattress, failing to take into account that there is also a blurred head image, probably caused by some slight head movement, which had nothing to do with urine, therefore my (published) contention that the process involved was Telergy. The BBC team brought by Father Francis O’Leary also did not explain the head image. If urine can be ruled out as contributing in some way to generating the imprint, the question of bilirubin, cited in a paper published previously also does not arise.

    Yet, these are minor points, and the presentation on the whole is very good.

    1. Would it be considered heresy to say that I don’t believe there is a face image on the Jospice Mattress that needs to be explained by telergy. There are some smudges entirely consistent with a pillow and head slumped to one side.

      I found Thomas de Wesselow’s lecture compelling. He argued with good illustrations and in detail why neither the image not the bloodstains were not compatible technically, conceptually and stylistically, taking each aspect individually, with 14th century culture. I myself have difficulty in disbelieving the 1988 C14 ratings, but I appreciate that if it is a 14th century forgery, the shroud is certainly a ‘one-off,’ quite outside the cultural norms of its time.

      His point in introducing the Jospice image was not to suggest that the two were made in a similar way, but to illustrate his next point, which was that naturally-made (as opposed to supernaturally-made) images are not unknown or intrinsically impossible.

  3. There is no call for talk about heresy here. No one is obliged to accept Telergy, but then the smudges should be explained further, keeping in mind that that was also not the way Father Francis O’Leary interpreted them. My previous comment said “he does seem to recognise that the process was different from the ones that generated the images in the other objects” making the first part of the last paragraph in the comment also uncalled for. What was called for was some explanation about the urine, about which the comment is silent.

    My comment did not dwell on naturally-made or super-naturally made images, however since this point has been raised, it must be said that my differences with good Father Francis O’Leary were exactly about this, that is, no supernatural process was involved in generating the Jospice Mattress Imprint.

    Lastly, the last line of my comment did not criticize the presentation as a whole.

  4. I understand. My apologies. I think de Wesselow didn’t pursue the formation of the Jospice image, or for that matter Volckringer images, simply because he wanted them as illustrations that “natural images are possible” before going on to explore the shroud more thoroughly. I agree with you that it does not appear that the Jospice image has been wholly explained, and it would be good if more work was done on it.

  5. Yes, de Wesselow adopted the right approach by pointing out that natural images were possible, however in my view neither a “pool of urine” or bilirubin had anything to do with generating the Jospice Mattress Imprint. If it was that easy we would have lots of similar imprints around, before and after the Jospice imprint became known. The rationale for the telergy mentioned in my article comes from this situation.

    Another weak point is that the Maillard reaction has not been proved and therefore Rogers does not seem to have been dogmatic about it, as de Wesselow states in his book. What Mannix proposes, therefore, is a good start. Even then, a real dead body with some of the characteristics needed would be the best option and, of course, that is difficult to obtain.

  6. Very interesting talk. I fully agree with Joe, it’s nice to have an art historian expert add his professional input. This is what we need – experts in their own disciplines examining the Shroud and giving their expert testimony.

  7. Is De Wesselow’s (or any of the other talks from the BSTS meeting) available anywhere as an mp3?

  8. It is really worthwhile making de Wesselow’s presentation available as an mp3, mainly because it demonstrates that the Shroud is really an extraordinary relic.

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