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Paper Chase: Nobody Goes to the Trouble. Oh, Yes They Might.

imageColin Berry, by way of a comment, writes:

Nobody goes to the trouble of invisible, highly painstaking mending of an inconspicuous corner of the Shroud when there is major fire damage elsewhere that has been crudely patched. Rogers’ attempted demolition job on the C-14 dating offended common sense more than anything else…

No, it offends common sense to think that countless people in the world of shroud studies, those who agree with Rogers’ conclusions and those who do not, have simply ignored the reality that nobody goes to that much trouble to invisibly repair an “inconspicuous” corner of the cloth when there were all those crude patches elsewhere.

Unfortunately, there have been a few misleading newspaper accounts that confuse the repairs made following the Chambéry fire of 1532 with the repair Rogers identifies.  But that doesn’t mean Rogers or any of us who study the shroud are/were confused.

We (all of us) reason that if before 1532, had a significant corner of the shroud been cut away for any reason whatsoever, including the taking of a part of a holy relic for its healing or talisman properties or so another church might have part of a relic (none of this was uncommon – in fact it goes on today even on eBay) and had the methods and skills been available to mend the not inconspicuous corner, it might well have happened. That is all that is needed to permit a scientific finding:

The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is
significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud (Rogers, Thermochimica Acta, 2005: 193).

But there is more in the fascinating story of Margaret of Austria. Read about her in New Historical Evidence Explaining the “Invisible Patch” in the 1988 C-14 Sample Area of the Turin Shroud by M. Sue Benford and Joseph Marino.

. . . The purpose of this paper is to: 1) characterize the state of the weaving art during the time period of the hypothesized C-14 sample-area patch; 2) describe the crucial role and passions for tapestries of the House of Savoy’s Margaret of Austria and her nephew/ward Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, which would have mandated an expert restoration to the Shroud following the removal of the large corner pieces; 3) to posit a plausible scenario illustrating how and why the invisible mending on the Shroud took place around A.D. 1531, including new evidence as to why the undocumented repair took place, who was the overseer of the work, and what became of the missing corner pieces.

Only after 1532, was the damage was so severe, that it is unlikely that an invisible repair would have been made. All bets would have been off, so to speak.

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