Why Giulio Fanti Matters

Julian Sheffield writing in the Daily Episcopalian section of Episcopal Cafe explains why Fanti matters:


Mr. Fanti’s hypothesis cited in "Turin Shroud Going on TV, With Video From Pope" (New York Times, March 30), that the image on the Shroud of Turin resulted from "a very intense burst of energy" recasts the Shroud as a testament to Christ’s Resurrection, and not, as currently revered, a relic of Christ’s passion and death. This is a crucial reconception, one that makes sense of the scriptural record, and suggests that the morbid, and ultimately destructive, fascination of Christianity with the suffering of Christ is misplaced.

The scriptural record of the Resurrection of Christ has been interpreted as hoax, mass hypnosis, metaphor, and fact. While we live, none of us will know for sure which interpretation is closest to truth, but assuming arguendo that it contains fact, assuming arguendo that there is a God who became human in an extreme act of solidarity with humanity, the question of how it can be true demands to be explored.

Assuming arguendo God, the God of Christianity set up a universe with laws that God’s self is committed to respecting. God does not violate God’s laws. We haven’t yet discovered all those laws, and we don’t fully understand the ones we have discovered, but we have discovered enough to make sense out of some of the events described by scriptural record of the Resurrection.

The Resurrection is described as occurring with a great burst of light and sound (Matthew 28:2, I Corinthians 15:12). The resurrected body of Jesus is described as being in two distant places at the same time (Emmaus, Luke 24:13-31, and Jerusalem, Luke 24:35-36) and being able to pass through solid objects (doors, John 20:19). It is characterized by a changing, unrepeated aspect or physical appearance; the disciples, even those who have experienced the resurrected body once, never recognize the resurrected Jesus except by spoken words and gestures (Mary in the garden John 20:16, Thomas John 20:26-27, the disciples fishing all night John 21:1-13, and many more).

We now have a concept in physics that could account for these descriptions of the resurrection appearances: the risen body of Jesus conforms to the physical laws of something traveling beyond the speed of light. It can be at multiple places simultaneously, can pass through slow matter, can appear as it wills when it wills (coming perilously close to attributing volition to an object).

Further, Mr. Fanti’s hypothesis of "a very intense burst of energy" burning the image on the shroud would describe precisely the mechanics of a body moving from a state of rest to beyond the speed of light. Just such images were burned onto walls by atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Which points to why Mr. Fanti’s hypothesis matters. So much suffering is endured by so many humans and creatures in this world, it is understandable that people take comfort from a God who suffers with them. But the church has glorified suffering in such a persistent way that it tends towards and has actively articulated justification of inflicting and enduring suffering in the name of holiness and sacrifice, acceptance of the so-called will of God.

In fact, the will of the God co-opted by this kind of thinking, is not towards suffering or redemption by suffering. The will of this God is towards resurrection.

Physics can explain the accidents of the resurrection, the outward appearances and anomalies. But physics cannot explain, as yet, how God raised Jesus from the dead. And therein lies the hope of Christians, and perhaps of the world. If the catholic church chooses to appropriate it, the Shroud of Turin can be a locus for it to turn from worshipping suffering to worshipping the God who raises the dead – even a dead church may be raised.

Source: Shroud of Turin and physics of resurrection.

28 thoughts on “Why Giulio Fanti Matters”

  1. While I appreciate the writer’s sentiment, this feels like a case of ‘leading the witness’.

  2. Quote : “In fact, the will of the God co-opted by this kind of thinking, is not towards suffering or redemption by suffering. The will of this God is towards resurrection.”

    Comment : I say “amen” to that and I would add this : The will of God is also towards UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION OF ALL HUMANITY and don’t make any mistake about that : HE WILL SUCCEED. Or else, we would not be there to talk about that because he would not have created anything. If God’s plan versus creation is not Universal salvation of every living creature, then that would mean Jesus message would not be true (i.e. that we’re all brothers and sisters and we have all the same father in Heaven).

    And concerning the idea that a burst of energy could explain the image on the Shroud, I just want to suggest anyone (and particularly Julian Sheffield) to read my paper about Ray Rogers point of view versus the image : http://shroudnm.com/docs/2013-01-10-Yannick-Clément-Reflections-on-Ray-Rogers-Shroud-Work.pdf

    At the end of this reading, if Julian or anyone else still think Fanti’s hypothesis is relevant to the Shroud, fine for him but I’m sure many persons who will read this with an open mind will come to the conclusion that the image on the cloth is most probably related to a dead body and not a “glorious body of light” or something similar.

    1. One last and important precision : if the image is really the product of a natural process involving a corpse (as Rogers and many other scientists thought over the years) THAT COULD NEVER BE TAKEN AS A PROOF AGAINST THE REALITY OF JESUS RESURRECTION. In other words, the image can well be due to the presence of the dead body of Jesus in that cloth for many hours before his body disappeared at the time of the Resurrection (which is, in fact, wrong because Jesus was already resurrected from the moment he died on the cross but this was a SPIRITUAL reality that nodoby was able to see with our eyes of flesh). In the end, what’s important to understand is that any image formation hypothesis involving a close interraction between a dead body and the surface of the cloth is not in contradiction with the reality of Jesus Resurrection. Very often, people don’t seem to understand this.

      1. Sorry. I need to complete my last comment : When I say that Jesus was already resurrected from the moment he died on the cross, people could be confused versus the idea that he was resurrected only when his body disappeared from the tomb on Easter morning (or on Saturday). For me, this disappearence of the body (and the subsequent apparitions) must be understood just like the empty tomb itself and the open entrance of the tomb with the rock that has been rolled, i.e. as SIGNS of the spiritual reality of Jesus Resurrection and the entry of all his humanity in the eternal Kingdom of the Father (which is not a Kingdom of this world but a SPIRITUAL kingdom outside our space-time, but that can still be reached by us through prayer).

      2. If it’s possible for Satan to be saved, then I have to wonder what it actually is that anybody needs saving from? I mean, why didn’t God just take everyone straight into Heaven rather than messing about with the earth? BTW, Do you think that Jesus radiated any form of light when he was resurrected?

      3. Chris, we don’t have to do anything to enter the Kingdom of God ! It is a purely free gift of our Father in Heaven and Jesus’ Passion is the most awesome sign of this. It’s not because of our good or bad deeds that we will enter into God’s Kingdom one day. It’s not even because of our faith or of our lack of faith. It is simply because God consider each one of us as his beloved child. That’s it. There’s no other reason that this one and Jesus mission was to reveal this truth to us. Most of the Jews in Jesus time (as well as most of today’s Christians I’m affraid) believed that, to be save, we had to follow the law perfectly ! THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE !!! Why ? Simply because we’re all sinners… So, in that context, salvation can ONLY BE A FREE GIFT OF GOD.

        And concerning your question of why do we have to spend times here on Earth before entering into God’s Kingdom, this is a real mystery my friend. So far, I have found only one “good” answer about that: To really and fully appreciate the great joy and confort of a good fireplace, we must experiment cold. And if we made the experience of spending one full day outside when the temperature is very very cold, then we will appreciate even more the good heat of the fireplace!!! In other words, it’s only by experimenting the suffering, the toughness, the treasons, the deceptions, etc. of life on Earth (everything that is contrary to God in sum) that we will fully enjoy at the max our eternal life in Heaven with the Father.

        And for Satan, who knows if he’s not really helping God (consciously or not) in this plan to make us experiment everything that is not God in order for us to appreciate even more our entry into God’s kingdom! Note that in the book of Job, Satan is depicted as someone who is an official member of the court of God… Who knows???

      1. Who knows? The mercy of our God is unlimited.

        Have you noticed from where Jesus saw Satan fall when his disciple told him that they were able to cast out demons in his name? From Heaven !

        As Father Roger Poudrier tell us in his book about the Mercy of God: When we’ll get to Heaven someday, we will have big surprises ! I don’t say that Satan will be saved at the end of times. I just say that it is premature to say no because of the greatness of the mercy of God.

      2. One thing’s for sure : If we really pretend to be Christian, we should never despair of the eternal salvation of anybody, not even Satan (or Hitler or Judas or Ben Laden or anyone else), because we should know that the Mercy and Love of our Father is totally unlimited.

        One thing I know in my heart : Hoping for the eternal Salvation of everybody is truly Christian. Don’t forget that the word “Catholic” means “Universal” ! :-)

    1. Sorry, when someone open the door on that subject, I enter the room ! ;-)

      If someone don’t talk about faith, I won’t push the door, but if I see an opening, you won’t be able to shut my mouth, sorry.

      If you can’t stand what I say, just don’t read me.

  3. Here it is! Fanti’s peer-reviewed paper in Vibrational Spectroscopy

    The possibility to define a two-way relationship between age and a spectral property of ancient flax textiles has been investigated in the present paper employing both FT-IR and Raman analyses on selected samples dated from about 3250 B.C. to 2000 A.D.

    After a first selection to eliminate polluted samples, based on visual inspection, on proper mechanical tests and on a first glance at the resulting spectra, eleven samples of the original 14 have been used for Raman analysis and eight for FT-IR analysis.

    For the first time, the possibility to define a correlation among spectral properties and age of flax samples, by using calibration curves, has been proved.

    In agreement with the kinetics theoretical model, the experimental relationships are of an exponential type, giving correlation coefficients higher than 0.9. The better results were obtained using FT-IR because Raman analysis needs to consider an additional variable due to the non negligible influence of fluorescence.

    Presently, the method allows to assign an uncertainty of centuries to the measured data, but future calibrations based on a greater number of samples (though it is not easy to find ancient samples adequate for the test) and coupled with ad-hoc cleaning procedures could significantly improve its accuracy.


    Tristan Casabianca.

  4. Yannick Clément :

    Sorry, when someone open the door on that subject, I enter the room ! ;-)
    If someone don’t talk about faith, I won’t push the door, but if I see an opening, you won’t be able to shut my mouth, sorry.
    If you can’t stand what I say, just don’t read me.

    This is not a realigious site and even if I do not read you( which i do not in these matteres), I still have to scroll down through your preaching.
    it is not appropriate and if nobody responds it is usually not because everybody agrees with you… just a hint ;)

    1. If your goal here is that everybody agree with everything you wrote, I can tell you that you’ll be very disappointed ! He he !

      And concerning the idea that this is not a religious site, I disagree. Many topics are definately religious and are focussing on spirituality and faith. Read the first comment I made on top of the page… I made a comment versus a true religious statement written in the main text that saying “In fact, the will of the God co-opted by this kind of thinking, is not towards suffering or redemption by suffering. The will of this God is towards resurrection.”

      I only wrote a comment about that. It wasn’t me who started the religious talk here.

      I don’t understand people who told others what to say or what they don’t want to ear. We live in a FREE WORLD my friend. Everyone cannot think just like you and we’re all free to comment on subjects that we like. Censorship should be called “censorshit”…

  5. I would have to respectively disagree with he following statement:

    “…recasts the Shroud as a testament to Christ’s Resurrection, and not, as currently revered, a relic of Christ’s passion and death.”

    I see the Shroud as revealing both the passion and resurrection. It doesn’t have to be either/or.

    1. As well as the Incarnation of God my friend Andy!!!! For me, the Shroud is mainly a record of Christ HUMANITY. The Resurrection can only be seen on that cloth through faith.

  6. If I might return to the original article, I’m afraid it suffers from something the New Scientist (UK) magazine calls “quantum fruitloopery,” which is the tendency non-scientists have to hope that the weird predictions of quantum physics (mostly the implications of duality) may be hauled in to explain any previously unexplained phenomena. It usually follows the line: “since quantum mechanics says that things can be in two places at the same time, therefore any observation of simultaneous appearance can be (or will eventually be) explained by quantum mechanics.” This is simply not true.

    This statement: “The risen body of Jesus conforms to the physical laws of something traveling beyond the speed of light. It can be at multiple places simultaneously, can pass through slow matter, can appear as it wills when it wills,” quite literally makes no sense.

  7. The Gospels themselves tell us what the post-Resurrection events demonstrate without going into science. What it is possible to say today, in the 21st century, is that Jesus was beyond space and time after the Resurrection. He would “step on the accelerator” and enter our “frequency” and leave our “frequency” by “taking his foot off the accelerator.”

    1. As God who created our material universe, I have no difficulty to believe that Jesus could enter and leave our world whenever he wanted after his human death on the cross. And I have no difficulty too to believe he could take whatever human form he wanted after his human death on the cross, which was truly not the same as the one he had before his death (the Gospels are pretty clear about that).

      Because I believe Jesus is the Creator of our universe (along with the Father and the Holy Spirit) and I believe in his Incarnation, I don’t see any reason why he could not do so!

  8. The Gospels also tell us that Jesus could assume different forms while he was in our “frequency”, after the Resurrection, and Caravaggio depicted this in his extremely beautiful “Supper at Emmaus” paintings.

    1. And do you know one of the most profound meaning of Jesus acting like this after his Resurrection? Because he wanted to make us understand that in every brother and sister we encounter in our life (i.e. every human being), it is Jesus himself which we encounter!!! By the way, this is the most profound meaning of the parable of Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats… And, in truth, this is the heart of the Christian faith : we all have the same Father who is in Heaven and we’re all brothers and sisters. That’s why Jesus told us that there is only 2 commandments in reality : Love God and love one another! Once a Christian truly believe this, I think he has understood the most important aspect of Jesus teaching. And after this, the challenge is to try to live it, which is not easy because we’re all sinners. But God doesn’t ask us to do more than to try to live it the best we can with his Grace…

      In sum, God is spiritualy present in everyone of his children and the fact that the Resurrected Jesus took different human forms during his apparitions was intended to make us understand this mysterious reality called “the mystical body of Christ” by St Paul… Another important reason why he acted like this is because he also wanted to respect the liberty of his disciples to believe in him or not and didn’t wanted to force their faith because God is Love and never force anyone to believe in him or not). Note that, almost everytime, they only recognize him after seeing a SIGN (the breaking of the bread, the tonality of the voice who said “Mary”, the miraculous fishing, the holes in his hands and side, etc.). This reality also contain one important teaching for us : It’s not through scientific facts that we can recognize God in our human life but through SIGNS seen with the eyes of FAITH… I think Fanti (and a bunch of other researchers in the Shroud world) never understood this important reality concerning God.

  9. It would be incorrect to indulge in generalisations and any Christian, Shroud researcher, enthusiast and so on would, needless to say, be making a mistake in basing faith on the TS. The NT also mentions signs, which do not require faith as a pre-condition, and this is the gift called “discernment”. Faith can be reinforced by this discernment.

    1. “Faith can be reinforced by this discernment.”

      I agree with you, but, in the eyes of Jesus, faith is more important than anything else. In the Gospels, have you noticed how much Jesus was in awe every time he was seeing true and pure faith (not based on any proofs) in someone? That speaks loud to me… I think a very important aspect of our life on Earth is to learn confidence (in God as well as in our brothers and sisters). In other words : learn to love (because there’s no true love without confidence).

  10. OK, no cause for disagreement, but as commented previously the discernment can reinforce faith which as you said is more important.

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