The Linen God by Jim O’Shea is now available

imageI mentioned this just a month ago in New Novel Coming: The Linen God by Jim O’Shea. Now I have an email from Jim. The book, I am told, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Jim writes:

As a fellow Shroud advocate, you’ll be happy to know the long-awaited release of "The Linen God" is finally here!
"The Linen God" is a thriller in the tradition of Robert Ludlum and Frank Peretti, examining the fascinating history and science behind the legendary Shroud of Turin. The Amazon and B&N links below have a synopsis and sample chapters if you’d like to read more. "The Linen God" is currently rated 4.85 Stars" (out of 5) and early reviewer’s comments have included:

– "a wonderfully engaging, page-turning thriller. " – Award-winning author Doug Peterson.

– "The twists and turns kept me reading well into the night. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a new twist threw me head long into a vortex of deceit, murder,love and hope." – author D.M. Sel

imageI’m convinced the success of a mainstream novel can create exposure for the Shroud much the same way "The DaVinci Code" drew so much attention to DaVinci’s Last Supper. However, unlike Dan Brown’s secular works, "The Linen God" is a triumph of our Christian faith over the ultimate evil.

It’s available now at Amazon or Barnes and Noble in paperback, Kindle, and Nook formats ….with a special introductory price for a short time. The links are below:

[ Amazon

Barnes and Noble. ]

I hope you get a chance to read "The Linen God"…….and perhaps tell your friends!

Thanks in advance,

Jim O’Shea

PS. If I haven’t asked for too much already, my Facebook and website URL’s are below. I’d love if you stopped by there too!

Thanks again.

Note: I could not find the Nook format over at Barnes & Noble. I purchased the Kindle version.

A bit of interweaving in the Arizona sample?

clip_image001Hugh Farey recently posted something of an eyeball challenge on the JREF Forum (James Randi Educational Foundation). This is on a BBS hierarchy styled discussion page organized thus: JREF Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy » Merged: Miracle of the Shroud / Blood on the shroud.

James Randi (pictured), according to Wikipedia . . .

(born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; August 7, 1928) is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). Randi began his career as a magician named The Amazing Randi, but after retiring at age 60, he was able to devote most of his time to investigating paranormal,occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively calls "woo-woo".

It is worth a visit to the “Merged Shroud” page for a food read. Scroll down to 7978 for Hugh’s posting or read it below just as he sent it to me in an email:

To help move the discussion on, I believe I have found a bit of interweaving on the Arizona Shroud sample. There are, I believe, three photographs of the same bit of cloth, which can all be identified by a tiny twist of some blue material in the top right hand corner.

Photo 1: in the Jull/Freer-Waters paper, hugely magnified. This only shows a few threads, and I am only using it as a link. The wiggly blue thing is very obvious.

Photo 2: in…roud-of-turin/. This is a rather poor newspaper photo (I don’t know where from) showing a much bigger area of cloth. Nevertheless, the wiggly blue thing is still clearly visible.

Photo 3: at, Figure 2, top picture. This shows the same area, now much trimmed at the bottom, presumably for Freer-Waters’s fibre examinations but the wiggly blue thing is still there in the top right hand corner.
Calling the thread with the blue thing 1, and counting to the left, thread number 19 has a smaller, darker thread alongside it over a small part of its upper length. 

I do not claim that this is part of an invisible mend, or, indeed that was a deliberate insertion at all. It may be entirely fortuitous, or the beginning of another thread as one was coming to its end, or any of a number of possible things, but I believe it is the sort of thing one might search for if one wanted evidence of some kind of irregularity in the weave of the Shroud.

Would anybody on shroudstory like to comment?

Best wishes,


I’m trying to see it. Maybe after a bit more coffee. Unfortunately, photo 1 is behind a pay wall. Let me see if I can get a copy of it to post here. The other photos are repeated below:

Continue reading “A bit of interweaving in the Arizona sample?”

A New Rule and this Blog’s Raison d’etre

imageI delayed approving the following comment from Colin Berry while I thought about it. He did submit it as a comment to be seen. He knows what he is doing. See it you shall. It says a lot.

First, you should be aware that a number of people have dropped away from the blog, some for good. One person wrote, “You have lost your way. You have allowed back and forth insults to dominate and kill almost every meaningful discussion.”

I know that a few people participate in the back and forth insults and that Colin is often the target. But invariably, he starts it. Then when the verbal brawls turn against him, he complains. That is how I see it.  This pattern began when he first came on the scene over a year ago, when instead of substantively criticizing the work of other scientists like Al Adler, Ray Rogers and Paolo Di Lazzaro, as he might have done, he resorted to calling their work “Mickey Mouse science.” He referred to the scientists at ENEA as “idiots” and a “bunch of jokers.” He accused almost everyone of practicing pseudoscience which he never would define. Even then we lost many readers and potential contributors to meaningful discussions.

Here is his most recent comment:

Urgent message to site “moderator”, i.e. Dan Porter. This attempt by MPH and others to pillory me on your site must cease, and cease immediately. Yes, I know you have blocked some of MPH’s comments, but that is not good enough, given the background of systematic harassment that I have been receiving from MPH and several others too.

For the record, it is I who operated at professorial level in the late 1980s, as the link below (just one of several I could cite) will demonstrate, when I was employed as a departmental head at an industrial research association, outwith a University, but could still find myself being invited – professor-like – to act as public examiner for a Swedish doctoral thesis, i.e. at the prestigious Lund University.

Yet you have allowed MPH to belittle my academic credentials on an almost daily basis, while an academic nonentity, with no visible track record on the internet, bar some attendances at Shroudie congresses, claims to have been a University professor some 35 years ago when that clearly was not the case. There is no evidence that he ever operated at that level. You have also allowed a Florida-based medic of Ukrainian origin, Soviet-era, to question my mental health (clear abuse of pseudo-psychiatry against a perceived dissident) and you have allowed daveb to attack my personal integrity, claiming without a shred of evidence that I engage in pseudoscience. Too cap it all, you yourself have now attempted in this posting to make a vaguely worded personal attack, and blocked at least one of my replies, possibly two, denying me the right of reply, allowing further comments to appear that attempt to blacken my credentials as a scientist and as a sane and responsible commentator.

As I say, this has to stop, and it has to stop now. I shall not make idle threats now, but rest assured there will be a corrective action taken if you continue to allow your site to be used systematically in this fashion for character assassination and/or to undermine and damage my professional credentials.

I don’t like threats. My impulse is to fight back. But this blog is about the Shroud of Turin. It is a hobby for me in my retirement years. It is a lot of work and I enjoy it. I enjoy the different points of view. I want to keep it going and not have people chased away by demeaning fights.

The easiest thing to do is this: I’m asking everyone to stop all criticism of Colin. Let’s do exactly as he says. (And while we are at it let’s try to show more respect for each other. We’ve had other dust ups, recently.)

Colin may, if he wishes, submit comments. But none that contain insults will be allowed. I did write to him to tell him that his threat was noted and I thanked him for his past participation. He wrote back:

Intent (not threat) will now be acted upon. The opposition is not just from agenda-pushing authenticists. It is from the site that gives them a platform on the internet from which they can engage in character assassination.

Watch my sciencebuzz site. It will now become  an site. I’ve finally sussed out your raison d’etre. Every aspect of your MO will now be scrutinized in detail.  You have become my latest research project.

imageRaison d’etre is a pretty good craft ale made by Dogfish Head on this side of the pond. July and August are coming. Typically, shroud discussions get slow in these hot months (except for DaveB, down under). A good craft ale might help me think of new ideas for the blog, to keep things going without the excitement generated by personal insults.

So the new rule is understood? And the raison d’etre? Right? We have a choice. This blog or the other blog. Or both.

Colin, really, we need your worldview, your skepticism, your creative mind and your friendship.


A modest inquiry from John Klotz

imageJohn writes:

A modest inquiry

I am working on a manuscript, the working title of which begins: The Coming of the Quantum Christ. One of the problems that I have, (and I think others may have) is the vast amount of literature on the Shroud and the concern that one does not want to be constantly rediscovering the wheel. On the otherhand, there have been a couple of times when I have come across things that   I would have thought were well known or available and it turned out the they weren’t.

One example is that I thought it worthwhile to dig out a copy of Fr. Rinaldi’s original Sign article on the Shroud and found it tucked away in a Sign archive in Pennsylvania. Barrie then posted it on because it was a interesting historical artifact.

Recently, the issue has been cotton. There were references to cotton in the Shroud that predated the 1988 carbon testing that are often cited, particularly one by Raes. Buried in the 1989 publication of the carbon dating results in Nature by the carbon dating scientist was a was the following “thank” [sic]:

“Oxford thank [sic] P. H. South (Precision Process (Textiles) Ltd, Derby) for examining and identifying the cotton found on the shroud sample;”

I am not the only person to have noted the significance of the 1990 BSTS newsletter item discussed an article Precision’s South as the nature of what they found.

My query is this: Between 1990 when the BSTS published an article quoting South and 1999, when Benford and Marino published reported their findings (and reoprted them in 2000 at Orvieto, Italy) had anybody else published on the presence of cotton and the Shroud and its implications for carbon dating ?

If you would rather not comment publicly, you can E-Mail me at

PS: If Oxford assumes as a matter of course an editorial “we” I apologize for my “[sic]”. Also, as the uncrowned “king” of typos, who am I to “sic” Oxford?

“Oxford thank”do not sound right.

Any help for John?

The Face of God and the Shroud of Turin

Russ Breault writes:

I posted a new video called "The Face".  I have long pondered why the face on the Shroud is its most profound feature and has become an iconic symbol of the Christian faith since it was first photographed over 100 years ago.  What is the significance of the face and is there a message to be conveyed?  This short video explores those two questions.

The Vimeo page hosting the video reads:

The scripture is filled with references regarding God’s face. What does it mean when God turns his face away or hides his face? What does it mean when he turns his face towards us? Or when his face shines upon us? Is there a deeper meaning as to why the face image from the Shroud of Turin is the cloth’s most prominent feature?

The Face: Exploring the meaning of the Shroud from Russ Breault on Vimeo.

The Shroud of Barrys Bay

imageDavid Goulet, known to those who read some of the more insightful comments in this blog, has an article, The mystery of the Shroud, in Barrys Bay This Week (that’s Barrys Bay, Ontario):

I haven’t written for a while about one of my favourite topics, the Shroud of Turin – the alleged burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Given the upswing in interest in the controversial relic this past year it’s time to take a look at it again.

I’ve been following two Shroud blogs, ahem, religiously. The first is which is run by the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association (STERA) and host Barry Schwortz. It is an archive for all the scientific papers.

Another site is Dan Porter’s where there’s a daily sifting of the latest Shroud news. It’s frequented by several skeptics who are quick to attack any hint of pseudo-science. Many posters are obviously believers in the Shroud’s authenticity. This leads to passionate exchanges that often turn into schoolyard shouting matches. Fun stuff.

One of the more interesting Shroudies (as Shroud followers are nicknamed) is Canadian Yannick Clement who, though not a professional scientist, brings a pure science approach to his observations. Yannick recently distilled his conclusions about the Shroud into four possibilities:

Go ahead and read more at The mystery of the Shroud.

And as David notes:

A favourite tactic, sadly, is to launch ad hominem attacks at the opposition’s experts – like legal attorneys desperate to undermine witness testimony via character assassination.

Personal Attacks on Others

Colin Berry wrote in a comment:

This retired science bod refuses to remain silent, and will NOT be shut up by yours or anyone else’s ill-informed put-downs..

That is his right: to refuse to remain silent. But he will not get to continue his cruel attacks on others within this blog. Positive contributions in science, history or philosophy that pertain to the subject of a posting are welcome. For the time being, however, Colin’s comments will be reviewed by me before being posted. If necessary I may edit or reject what he submits.

The number of complaints I have received is sufficient reason for me to take this action with Colin’s comments. I have no issue with his skepticism or his worldview. We need that here. But we don’t need unwarranted, mean personal attacks on others. Such comments are a thing of the past in this blog.



There was this from Hugh Farey (as a comment):

. . .  “Villarreal revealed that, during testing at the lab, one of the threads came apart in the middle forming two separate pieces.Surprisingly, the two ends of the thread had different chemical compositions, lending credence to the theory that the threads were spliced together during a repair.” I don’t know where this idea came from. The 2008 Ohio paper by VillarreaI I have in front of me says that after Rogers had found what he thought was a splice of two different materials, Villarreal found that in fact both ends were cotton. Disappointed by this result, Benford and Schwotz sent him two more threads, and they were both cotton too.

Thibault Heimburger responded with a link to a paper he wrote. It is in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Hugh continued to dialog:

A brilliant paper, Thibault, as I might have expected. However

The picture of the “broken splice,” is not a splice. Not in any way I interpret the term splice anyway. The ‘broken’ end is far too tight to be part of a thread that has been joined together by some sort of interweaving of unravelled fibres. It looks more as if the two ends were simply butted together and glued with that “crust” which, surprisingly, is wholly invisible on the picture of the intact thread, and which, in spite of being a completely different colour, Rogers missed. Whichever it is, however, there is no known method of invisible repair which uses such a splice/join as a way of adding its repair material, and it is difficult to envision any reason why anybody should want to.

I understand your point about the discrepancy between the FTIR findings (cotton), and your observations (linen mixed with cotton), but am not convinced that all or even most of the Raes and/or C14 sample was made of these interpolated fibres, of whatever material. And that, I guess, is the heart of the matter. I feel certain that the extent of any interpolated material would be visible in the area immediately surrounding the C14 sample on a sufficiently high-resolution photo.

Then there is this that just arrived from John Klotz:


Depends on what you believe, I guess.

Joe Marino sent this along. How to discuss the shroud is short messages:

Paper Chase: Computerized Anthropometric Analysis of the Image

imageIn light of Stephen Jones’ most recent update (see this blog and his blog), I am reminded of the paper, Computerized anthropometric analysis of the Man of the Turin Shroud by Giulio Fanti, Emanuela Marinelli and Alessandro Cagnazzo:

Particularly, the tibio-femoral index of the Man of the Shroud turned out to be 83.8%. If the data is compared with the indices typical of different races, it is evident that the value is very lose to that of the Semitic race, characterised by an index of 83.66%.

This analysis cannot show that the Man of the Shroud was certainly Jewish because of the uncertainty of the data obtained (in the order of some percentage point) and because the data obtained by bibliographic research is not completely exhaustive, but it is certainly significant that an anthropometric analysis carried out with the greatest possible objectivity could have led to such an extraordinary result.

How valid is this?

Stephen Jones Update: Man of the Shroud is Jewish, Muscular and 30-45 years old.

imageIn update 3.2 he concludes: 

That the man on the Shroud is Jewish, with a muscular physique, and aged between thirty and forty-five, is consistent with what the Bible says or implies about Jesus.

How do we know he was Jewish? Well, according to Jones:

The man on the Shroud was a Jew, according to the late Harvard physical anthropologist Carleton S. Coon. The man on the Shroud has shoulder length hair which is parted in the middle, but of the numerous Greek and Roman portraits we have, there is not one of a man with middle-parted hair falling to the shoulders. Similarly a full beard like that on the Shroud is rarely found in a Greek or Roman portrait, but Jews regarded a full beard as a mark of manhood. Also the manner of burial was first-century Jewish, with the deceased lying on his back, his hands crossed in front covering his pelvic region and his body covered with a single linen sheet.

The Phoenix Pareidolia: But the most famous apparition of Jesus is the Shroud of Turin – a piece of 14th century linen

imageAre we talking about a 14th century apparition, or what? Leave it to The Sun:

A FLOOR tile said to feature an image of Jesus Christ on its surface has seen visitors flock to an American airport.

The apparition in Terminal 3 of the busy transport hub in Phoenix, Arizona, has disciples returning regularly to marvel at its resemblance to the son of God.

image[ . . . ]

Unemployed dental hygienist Becky Martin — who has been to visit the site every day for the last TWO WEEKS — told Phoenix New Times: “It’s definitely Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“He appears to us from time to time in ordinary places, to remind us that He is here with us always, being our spiritual guide.”

And when Becky was asked whether it might be easier for Him to just send a telegram, she replied: “No, if He did everyone would just think it was a fake.

[ . . . ]

Catholic priest Father John Shelter warned believers against getting too carried away.

He said: “The Church doesn’t automatically put its seal of approval on every apparition.

“They typically wait a few years before weighing in on its significance.

[ . . . ]

The most famous apparition of Jesus is thought to be the Shroud of Turin – a piece of fourteenth century linen said to bear the image of Christ which is housed in northern Italy.

It is still the subject of intense debate and speculation to this day.

Keep it simple; just call it a piece of 14th century linen.

Video: A Wild Bill Look Under the Shroud of Turin

Joe Marino passes this along. It is an interesting twelve minute point of view:

Getting Dizzy Reading Veneroso’s The Chimera

imageAnd I haven’t even started chapter 2. I know it’s fiction, but . . .

1)  Coins over the eyes:

“What about the computer-enhanced markings on the eyelids? They match perfectly— perfectly, I tell you —inscriptions on coins minted during the reign of Pontius Pilate. And do you know how Jews of the first century buried their dead?” “Yes, I know.”

“With coins on the eyelids!” “Yes, I know.” “Well, of course you know,” Stanton responded triumphantly. “We all know. Any thinking person knows. Only His Holiness refuses to know.”

. . . “Only His Holiness refuses to know.” Well not exactly. Most informed people know the claim about coins over the eyes is myth.

2)  Carbon 14 Dating:

Only the carbon-14 dating flew in the face of the other findings. And on this, a flawed test disavowed by its own researchers, the Vatican was preparing to pronounce the shroud a “pious forgery.” Mysterious all the more, but a forgery nonetheless.

. . . “disavowed by its own researchers.” Not exactly.

3)  Father Secondo Pia’s rectory:

Next, her imagination floated to the makeshift darkroom of Father Secondo Pia’s rectory on that fateful day in 1898. He had received papal permission to subject the Holy Shroud to the objective eye of that new-fangled invention called photography. When he developed his film and looked at the negative, the priest found himself staring openmouthed at the positive image of a person who looked for all the world like Jesus Christ.

. . . “the priest found himself staring openmouthed.”  Fr. Pia?

4)  STURP:

Eighty years later, Pope Paul VI— less hostile toward scientific inquiry or, perhaps, more secure in his faith— allowed access to the shroud by an impressive array of twenty-four eminent scientists from the United States, including avowed atheists. The more they studied , the more excited and intrigued they became. Preliminary results awed even the most stoic. Atheists evolved into polite skeptics, skeptics into cautious believers , believers into outspoken advocates. So often did her mother [a fictitious member of STURP] describe the scene in 1978 Jeannette felt she had been there herself.

Yet one question continued to baffle: How was the image made? It appeared only on the outermost surface of the fibers. Lack of pigment and brushstroke ruled out painting. Most scientists concluded the shroud was no work of art, although one insisted no less a genius than Leonardo da Vinci had produced the image by a process still unknown.

. . . [a STURP member insisted that] “Leonardo da Vinci had produced the image. . .” Not exactly.

5)  Impartial and unimpeachable researcher:

Yet as a woman who lost faith in organized religion even as she refound faith in God, Gramm stubbornly refused to leave the Roman Catholic Church. “They baptized me, they’re stuck with me,” she insisted. Describing herself as an “ex-Catholic, as in exiled,” Gramm had nothing to gain by siding with a church she regarded as patriarchal, archaic, and oppressive of women. In short, she was a perfect, impartial, and unimpeachable witness to the shroud’s authenticity.

. . . “a perfect, impartial, and unimpeachable witness to the shroud’s authenticity.” Not at all.

6) The pope is about to do the impossible, suppress research. Having only two or three days to stop him from doing so:

“We need to conduct a new C-14 on the main cloth right away. We need to fax the others, but only those we can trust: Nickoloff in Moscow, Liang in Hong Kong, and Zendri. Where is he? We definitely need Zendri.” “Still here in Rome, I think. We can call and have him meet us at the airport,” she said, extracting her cellular phone from her shoulder bag. “If we move fast, we can catch the next shuttle to Milan,” Gramm said . . . .

. . . “conduct a new C-14 on the main cloth right away.” I can’t wait.

Quotes taken from J.R. Veneroso (2013-05-03). The Chimera. Xlibris. Kindle Edition.

Nice 3D Image

A reader sent this to me. It is an animated GIF image file made from the History Channel’s “Real Face of Jesus” documentary. I think it nicely shows something of the 3D data contained in the image.

Shroud face before 3D animated rotation relative to the original

Colin Berry: a hunch – just that – that Rogers may have been used

imageIs Colin, pictured, a master of baseless innuendo when he writes?:

So what did Rogers think? That maybe the alleged splicing and dyeing had been done on or after 1988 in an attempt to contaminate Shroud samples with modern carbon? Was Rogers deliberately trying to implant the idea of a dark conspiracy to discredit the Shroud? Or was Rogers just an honest foot soldier, dutifully reporting what he saw, or thought he saw, leaving others to make what they wanted of his alarmist findings? If the latter, then who’s to say that the real conspiracy, if there was one, was to discredit the radiocarbon dating retroactively by slipping some post-88 doctored threads into the public domain, i.e. onto a respected scientist not given to suspecting, far less entertaining conspiracy theories, such that the entire 88 sample then becomes discredited on a guilt-by-association basis.

I have a hunch – just that – that Raymond Rogers may have been used, and that he was too trusting to realize that he was being used. But he was culpable in one respect – he should never have submitted his extracurricular homework on a few donated threads to his own professional journal, such that 8 years later folk on this site still crow about his work having appeared in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal, the Latinized title of which is invariably mispelled!

Mario Latendresse reports on Gilroy Meeting:

clip_image001Mario tells us:

I took the leisurely step to attend the meeting at Gilroy. Mark Okuda did a nice clear presentation. It was a college level science workshop. He personally did not appear to have any take about the authenticity of the Shroud. Which is refreshing. In essence, the presentation was not really about the Shroud, but how a scientific investigation can be done about the Shroud. He focused around some of the science involved in authenticating the Shroud as a shroud. Since it was a science workshop, you had some scientific instruments, like microscopes around the room for people to use, blood testing kits, radio C14 calculations to be done, etc. For the microscopes, he showed how to distinguish between linen and cotton fibrils. The difference was quite clear. One striking aspect is that a linen fibril has lots of microscopic fractures across its width. It would be easy for anybody to confuse these fractures with colored fibrils. Overall, Mark Okuda is a really good teacher. As a side note, it was free (i.e., paid by the Santa Clara county library administration) and the presentation might be repeated again in the Santa Clara county (essentially, the Silicon Valley).

In reference to Shroud of Turin Talk in Gilroy, California

Picture is from

Trailer for The Chimera By J.R. Veneroso

Joseph Veneroso, by way of a blog comment, refers us to the trailer for his newly published book. Here it is. Also see Amazon’s Book Description.

Shroud of Turin Talk in Gilroy, California

imageIf you will be near Gilroy this evening:

Talk: The Shroud of Turin: Fact or Fiction?

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2013
  • 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm PDT
  • Gilroy Library, 350 West Sixth Street, Gilroy, CA 95020

Overview: Learn how artifacts are aged and how the “official” age of the shroud might be in question.

Three independent scientific labs yielded a calibrated calendar age range with at least 95% confidence that dated the linen of the Shroud of Turin around AD 1260 – 1390 (±10 yrs.).  These results provided evidence that the Shroud of Turin was not the reported cloth that Jesus Christ was wrapped in after the crucifixion. This session will address how artifacts are aged and a take a closer examination of how the “official” age of the shroud might be in question.

Workshop presenter: Mr. Mark Okuda Evergreen Valley College Instructor, Department of Biology

For More Information:

Off Topic: But did anyone mention the Maillard reaction?

clip_image001Now here is a church I could like:

Berlenbach coordinates a monthly beer appreciation club at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, in which they brew good beer (I’ve seen firsthand the hops growing up the side of the church exterior) and hold tastings and food pairings. His parish made T-shirts available at the event stating "Church Basement Brewery" on the front, and "Serving God’s love, twelve ounces at a time" on the back.

and a synagogue:

When one attendee [at Fergie’s Pub in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon – see A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister Walked Into a Bar… ] doubted whether Abraham would enjoy a beer, Freedman [the rabbi] aptly shifted gears. "I’m not sure if I can speak for Abraham, but Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the great rabbis in recent history, spoke of a theology of amazement: a rediscovery of the wonder of our world and the fact that we are even alive to experience creation at all. And if you think about it — fermentation is an amazing thing! That you could leave some hops and barley and yeast in water … and over time … something called fermentation happens, and you have an amazing beverage! Heschel called us to marvel at the creation God has given us, and I think we have to include brewing and beer in this amazement."

But did anyone mention the Maillard reaction?

Buffet-Style History and Science

imageGreg Lane,  on his blog, Through the Eyes of this Calvinist, has just republished a piece from a Church History Timeline entry for the year 1502, (the year the Sainte Chapelle was completed; go figure). It’s a stuck-in-cyberspace, seven-paragraph pick-and-choose selection of historical an scientific tidbits. It is worth reading just for an example of Golden Corral writing:

Clement VII, one of the rival popes of the fourteenth century, after first trying to hush up those who would expose the shroud of Turin, signed papers declaring it a fraud. Supposedly, the artist who painted it acknowledged it as a forgery. According to contemporary documents, certain men, for hire, had pretended the “relic” cured them, giving it a reputation, because the forgers desired to make money off it. At that time Bishop Pierre D’Arcis excommunicated those who showed it, but they were raking in so much money they found ways to get around his decision.

[ . . . ]

More than one scientific committee studied the relic. The scientific conclusion, which it must be emphasized is by no means unanimous, is that the shroud is indeed a forgery, painted in tempera. Bits of paint were found on the cloth. The blood looks red; real blood turns brown or black. The tempera technique has been reproduced by several modern artists who claim to have created shroud-like “negatives” using only the materials available to the forgers of the 14th century.

New Shroud of Turin Novel, The Chimera by Fr. J. R. Veneroso

imageAmazon’s Book Description:

What secret does the Shroud of Turin contain to justify murder? When scientists uncover a Vatican plot to discredit the Shroud of Turin, they risk their lives to find out why. Unbeknownst to all but a few people, the pope has authorized a dangerous experiment: clone Jesus. Not only are church authorities unprepared for what Jesus would say, they are less prepared for what Jesus would look like. Giving their secret project urgency is a similar experiment by a neo-Nazi cult with cloning ambitions of its own: splice the DNA of Jesus to that of Adolf Hitler.

The Author (from the back cover):

imageFr. J. R. Veneroso is a Catholic priest missioner with the Maryknoll Society. After serving twelve years in Korea, he attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and served as editor in chief for Maryknoll magazine. He is the author of several books, including God in Unexpected Places, Good News for Today, and Honor the Void, published through Orbis Books. Since 1997, he has studied the facts and controversies surrounding Catholicism’s most mysterious relic: the Shroud of Turin.

A Short Review by one purchaser:

Father Joe either has an amazingly frightful imagination or some startling inside information. This book kept me on the edge of my seat for hours.

A Longer Review by another:

Father Joe Venoroso has certainly taken his place with Father Joseph Girzone and the dearly departed Andrew Greeley with this innovative, and at times terrifying novel which manages to get into the deepest parts of this Catholic’s psyche, at least. Truth be told, he reminds me less of the two aforementioned fantastic authors and more (in this novel) of Charles Williams (Charles Williams Omnibus: War in Heaven / Many Dimensions / The Place of the Lion / Shadows of Ecstasy / The Greater Trumps / Descent into Hell / All Hallows’ Eve / Et in Sempiternum Pereant). This is Catholic fantasy, science fiction, and theology of the highest order.

To sample just a few questions from a book that might be bothersome (and revelatory at the same time) to the believer, here are a few posed in the book with a great degree of subtlety:

What if Christ was NOT the egalitarian love letter to the world we believe He was? What if He was something else?

What if He was that love letter and an institution, through scientific meddling and a genuine misunderstanding, lied to us about Him on a level that could cause about fifteen riots a la LA in the early 90’s?

What if God willed something horrendous and we knew for a fact that it was God doing so?

Though I would not speak for him, I think that Father Veneroso’s questions here are not meant to terrify us, not just that, but to awaken us out of our complacency, particularly about the state of our Church. Will we always be patriarchal caucasians determined to maintain our power? Could even the scenarios in this novel make us change? A must read for any Catholic with faith and concern left for the Church.

Hardcover $26.99, Paperback $17.15, Kindle $3.49

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