A Question from Giulio Fanti about a Byzantine Coin

clip_image001He writes:

[This] face of Christ, minted in a quite common Byzantine coin of Manuel I (1143-1180 AD) is clearly different from the much more popular TS-like face of many Byzantine coins of these centuries.

It shows short hair, no beard and a strange sign, a bubble on the chin bottom. Can someone give me more information on this face?

In particular I ask for a similar image from a fresco or an icon of this period showing a face of Christ having the same featuires.

I also ask for an explanation of the bubble on the chin bottom (it is not a defect because it also appears in other different coins).

Thank you in advance. Best regards.


Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Fox News Propels Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus to Number One

imageThis will probably be the hottest book about Jesus this year. Erik Wemple explains why in the Washington Post:

Fox News has done a great deal to promote Reza Aslan’s new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” How so? An interview conducted by Lauren Green on FoxNews.com managed to so thoroughly insult and trash Aslan’s motives in writing the book that the whole world is clicking on the tete-a-tete.

The Fox News interview is available on many sites The YouTube version (below) has had over two million viewings in just two days. Cable and online excerpts extend bits of the interview to several more million people.

Erik Wemple prepared a transcript of the interview, which I enjoyed better than the video – but you have to see at least some of the video. This has to be the stupidest television interview ever.

Right now, thanks in large measure to the interview, Zealot is the number 1 best seller on Amazon. That is simply unbelievable for a scholarly historical book about Jesus – come to think of it scholarly or historical about anyone.  The book is also, as of a few minutes ago, number 1 on the New York Times non-fiction list. It is sold out in many retail stores. Amazon is requiring extra days for handling and shipping. Your best bet may be Kindle or, if you like to listen to books, Audible.

I just did a scan of the book at Google books. Although Jesus’ burial and tomb are discussed, there is no mention of the shroud – not that I expected it.

New Documentary Video from Simon Brown

Did I completely miss any mention of this new video by Simon Brown that appeared on YouTube in May? I’ve mentioned other videos from Brown such as New Video on the Sudarium of Oveido in April of this year and MUST SEE: The Evidence and The True Face of The Shroud in April of 2011.

Here is The Turin Shroud The New Evidence. Discovery History Channel as uploaded in May, this year. It is in four parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

On May 2, 2013, Simon Brown wrote on YouTube:

CLICK HERE TO READ THE BOOK on line,http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shrou…

The Evidence of the Shroud Speaks for Itself

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither
shadow of turning. 
James 1:17

As stated above by our brother James (the half brother of Jesus Christ) this scripture conveys the profound truth that God the Father has truly given us the greatest gift from above, His only begotten Son; who not only lived a perfect and sinless life but also paid for all of our sins. He has made it possible for all those who believe on Him and turn away from their sins, follow Him and be covered by His mercy, grace and love, so that they may inherit eternal life with Christ.

Just as I consider The Shroud of Turin to be a gift from God above, I believe it establishes scientific and historical proof of the reliability of the Bible and also perhaps—just for the sceptics’ and doubting Thomas’s—the supernatural evidence of God’s love for humans. This Shroud gives us physical evidence of the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus—by crucifixion—the recorded graphic detail of a supernatural picture of His pain and suffering He endured on the cross.

The image on the shroud reveals the torture of the forty lashes, shows us the scars and pierced body, and the painful puncture wounds from the crown of thorns which pierced His head. It shows us His plucked out beard and records His humiliation by the Romans, who punched and bruised His swollen cheek bones. It shows His pain from carrying His own cross, which can be seen by the damaged knee from falling. It shows His agony from the blood shed of His pierced hands and feet, that bears silent witness to the horror of the cross. It bears the spear wound in His side, and yes, the ultimate triumph of the Resurrection of Jesus (Yeshua) meaning Salvation. All this is recorded supernaturally on The Shroud of Turin.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE BOOK http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shrou…

The Evidence of the Shroud Speaks for Itself

Paper Chase: Media Discourse and the Shroud of Turin

imageAs reported on The Ohio State University > University Libraries > Knowledge Bank

Abstract: Marilyn R. Waldman Award for best essay by an undergraduate: Tamira Stephens, “Media Discourse and the Shroud of Turin,” in Michael McVicar’s Comp St 651, Religion and Media, Spring 2012.

The concluding paragraph of the essay reads:

While we may never fully know, it is an intriguing thought experiment to try to imagine how the Shroud of Turin would be understood today without the media’s involvement. As we can conceive of the Shroud as a medium in and of itself thanks to the theories posited by McLuhan, and certain belief in and about the Shroud as being improbably without the advent of evolving technology thanks to Sconce, it is quite impossible to tease these relationships apart. The Shroud and the media are forever intertwined, and it is quite likely that without the media and their messages about the Shroud, this fascinating relic-along with the belief that the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Christ-would not exist as it does today.

It is definitely worth your time. Right? Wrong? Or do we continue to blame the media?

The Shroud of Turin and C14: Case closed. Or, perhaps, not.

imageRenny001’s Blog offers a perspective on skepticism and debunking:

Skepticism should be applied to claims made about physical facts and events, as well as the truth-claims of individuals and belief sytstems. There is, however, a difference between skepticism and debunkery. Skepticism proceeds from doubt; debunkery begins and concludes with a kind of solidified, inevitable doubt necessitated by ideology rather than detailed survey and rational interpretation of fact(s). In this post I would like to address two examples of what I consider to be debunkery, and how they represent faith-statements rather than factually-based conclusions.  I will be including links so that the reader can judge the “pro” side  for him or herself. The two examples are the Shroud of Turin and the Roswell, New Mexico UFO “crash” case (aka “the crash at Corona”).

Denial of Shroud authenticity is mostly based on the C-14 testing of 1988. The testing occurred; a date was procured, with parameters limited to a period of approximately the 13th-14th century.  Case closed. Or, perhaps, not. Critical review of the testing has found it, to say the least, somewhat lacking in normative features.

Read on

Guest Posting: Challenging Frederick Zugibe on Washing of the Body

Guest posting by Yannick Clément

Hi folks!

In a recent post, I brought in a new and, I believe, very strong argument that goes against the hypothesis developed by Doctor Frederick Zugibe who claim that a partial washing of the body prior to the deposit of the body inside the Shroud was responsible for the presence of all the scourge marks on the cloth. You can read this post of mine here: https://shroudstory.com/2013/07/15/stephen-jones-newest-addition-to-his-shroud-of-turin-series/#comment-39278

First, I want you to watch closely this screenshot I’ve taken from the Shroud Scope, which show a portion of the lower back region of the Shroud man that we can see in the dorsal image on the Shroud : 

(Note: You may click on the picture to enlarge it).

Shroud_Portion of the dorsal view in positive with measurements

(Note: You may click on the picture to enlarge it).

On this picture, you can see two very precise imprints of scourge marks (the quality of these bloody imprints is very good) that are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of an evident post-mortem blood flow in the lower back region.

First, I want to categorically stated this: Pellicori and Miller made a very good study of the UV fluorescence photos of the Shroud that were taken in Turin by STURP in 1978 and they were clear about the fact that almost every single scourge mark on the cloth was showing an halo of clear serum around them. Among other things, this observation can be seen as a very solid indicator that all the scourge marks on the cloth were caused by the same blood transfer process. Because almost all the scourge marks are showing the same precise dumbbell-like shape, the same presence of halos of serum around them, the same color, etc., there is no good reason to think that these scourge marks on the Shroud were caused by more than one single blood transfer process. Also, it is important to understand that the blood flows that we see below the side wound and the numerous blood flows that we see in the lower back region in the dorsal part of the Shroud have been caused by the post-mortem blood (probably mixed with a clear liquid) that came out after the lance blow to the chest and before any possible washing of the body. Finally, it’s important to understand that these post-mortem blood flows eventually came down on the rib cage and across the lower back region and that such a post-mortem bleeding was considered to be unclean by the Jewish Law and therefore, could not be washed away during the burial procedure. These facts are very important to consider for my challenge.

Barbet, Adler, Lavoie and others medical experts concluded that these scourge marks were caused by a transfer of exudates of still moistened (Adler and Lavoie) or re-moistened (Barbet) blood clots on the cloth by a direct contact between the corpse and the Shroud during the burial procedure, while others, like Zugibe that we just see, believed these particular stains were caused by a partial washing of the Shroud man’s body (especially in all the areas where we see some scourge marks on the cloth, i.e. the chest, the back, the buttocks and the legs).

In sum, Zugibe claimed that a rapid washing of the body would have been enough to remove the dried blood clots that would have been present over all the scourge wounds, with the result of producing an oozing of post-mortem blood from the re-opened wounds. It is this oozing of post-mortem bloody material that would have caused, by direct contacts, all the precise imprints in the form of a dumbbell that we see in many places on the cloth, once the partially washed body would have been placed inside the Shroud. For more information about that, see:http://www.shroud.com/zugibe2.htm. Here’s a short summary, written by Zugibe himself, which you can find in this paper: “The act of washing would then cause an oozing from each of the wounds thereby accounting for the imprints at their locations consistent with those on the Shroud.”

So, if Zugibe was right, that would mean that the rapid washing of a portion of the body would have included the area immediately adjacent to the numerous post-mortem blood flows in the lower back region of the Shroud man that we can see on the picture below, because in this zone, there are a number of evident scourge marks, including the ones I pointed out with a black arrow, which are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of one of these post-mortem blood flows (note again that these blood flows were considered unclean and cannot have been washed during the burial procedure).

After this introduction, here’s my argument again (which is also my challenge to all the defenders of Zugibe’s hypothesis): How in the world does the person who did this rapid washing (remember that it if the Shroud man is Jesus, this would have been an hasty burial) could have dared to wash the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flow (including the area located at less than 2 cm where we see a very evident scourge mark on the picture below), while we know for a fact that it was strictly forbidden for a Jew to remove or even disturb the post-mortem blood that would have stuck to the skin of the dead person? Can you imagine the risks of disturbing this particular post-mortem blood flow? Remember that such a washing would have been done with a sponge or something like this in a very rapid manner… As I said in my previous post, in such a context, we should expect the person who did the washing to have take care of not disturbing all the post-mortem blood flows by not washing the areas surrounding these stains, which would have caused a sort of “buffer zone” around each of these blood flows that would have been free of any washing, with the expected result of leaving undisturbed all the possible dried scourge wounds present there, thus preventing any imprint of these dried wounds on the cloth. But on the contrary, that’s not at all what we see on the Shroud, especially in the lower back region where there are many scourge marks that are immediately adjacent to some post-mortem blood flows…

Again, if Zugibe’s hypothesis was right, that mean the rapid washing would have included the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flows on the lower back, because we can see many scourge marks in this area that are very close to these blood flows. Seriously, does that sound credible and rational to you in the context of a Jewish burial that would have been done in a way to prevent any disturbance of the post-mortem blood that was still present on the corpse because it was considered impure by the Jewish Law? One thing’s for sure: Not for me! This idea of a very precise (almost surgical) washing in this zone is quite simply ludicrous to me.

I prefer by far my own hypothesis, which is mainly based on Doctor Pierre Barbet’s own ideas on the subject. For a summary of my hypothesis, see:https://shroudstory.com/2013/07/15/stephen-jones-newest-addition-to-his-shroud-of-turin-series/#comment-39120. Note that, unlike Zugibe’s hypothesis, mine is totally consistent with the presence of these scourge marks in the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flows on the back and can explain them very easily in a totally rational and credible manner…

And if you think otherwise, then you will have to rationally explain to me how a rapid and partial washing done in haste could have been performed so precisely that it was able to remove the supposed dried blood clots that were covering all the scourge wounds, including those that are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of a post-mortem blood flow (see picture below) without touching and disturbing this particular post-mortem blood flow? Also, you will have to rationally explain to me why someone performing such a rapid and partial washing would have dare to wash the immediate surrounding area where there were some important post-mortem blood flows that had, legally, to stay on the skin of the Shroud man (up to just 1 or 2 cm away from one of those post-mortem blood flows)? Why taking such a risk of breaking the Law for a washing of the body that would have been only partially done anyway?

Additional argument: I would like to add another very strong argument that goes against Zugibe’s hypothesis, which is the fact that evident traces of dirt have been found by STURP in the knee area on the Shroud, which is a region where we can find some scourge marks. So, if a washing would have been done there, while eventually causing the imprints of those scourge marks, it’s pretty evident that no traces of dirt like this would have been found in this area. The fact that such traces of dirt have only been found there (along with some more traces in the ankle area) is a solid indicator that these areas had been stained during the walk the Shroud man did between the place where he was scourged and the place of crucifixion (most probably caused by one or many fall(s) to the ground during the time he was carrying the horizontal beam of the cross). Note that if such a dirt staining had occurred after the washing and before the deposit of the body inside the Shroud, there would certainly have been many others areas of the body that would have been stained in the same way and therefore, others traces of dirt would had been found elsewhere on the Shroud. That’s why I consider this particular dirt stain in the knee area as another very good argument that goes against Zugibe’s partial washing hypothesis. In fact, this particular argument just reinforce the first one concerning the presence of some scourge marks very close to a post-mortem blood flow… Also, it is important to note that the presence of a such a dirt stain in the knee area can be explain very well and rationally by my own hypothesis. Effectively, the presence of some dirt stains near some scourge wounds was surely not enough to prevent the transfer of these scourge wounds if the blood clots over them were still humid or if they had become re-moistened at the time the body was placed in the Shroud (or shortly thereafter)…

In the end, when we use the Occam’s razor principle while considering the presence of these scourge marks in the immediate vicinity of some post-mortem blood flows, along with the finding of evident traces of dirt in the region of the knees where there are some scourge marks, I think it’s fair to say that my own hypothesis can offer an explanation that is far more credible, rational and easy to believe than the one proposed by Zugibe. Note that I don’t say this because I think I’m better than anyone else. No. In fact, I only say this because I truly and honestly believe my hypothesis is much more rational, especially when we take into accounts the important facts I just gave you.

Final note: If you don’t agree with me and want to give me a rational explanation for the presence of some scourge marks in the vicinity of a post-mortem blood flow in the lower back region and the presence of some scourge marks in the knee area where there was traces of dirt, in the context of a partial and rapid washing of the body during the burial procedure, fine! I want to hear your thoughts. But I just hope you won’t use wild speculations to do so! Remember that Occam’s razor hate wild speculations!

And the problem is a four-pedal loom?

imageFrequent commenter David Mo, who has an interesting and comprehensive blog, La sombra en el sudario (Google translates it nicely), writes elsewhere in this blog:

Fulbright has succeeded in rebutting some claims in the popular press that asserted that such a larger cloth as the Shroud was impossible before modern times. But nothing more. And this is to use a sledgehammer to crack nuts. The examples she provide are well known by experts in Middle East history. No surprise. Some experts had said the Shroud fabric is not possible in the Palestine of the 1rst Century for different reasons. There is universal consensus between sindonists and no sindonists: to weave the herringbone of Turin Shroud a loom of four pedals is needed (Virginio Timossi, 1942 et al.). And the problem is that such a loom is known in Mediterranean area just after the 4th Century when it came from China. About this Fulbright says nothing.

Picture is of a small, modern-day four pedal (treadle) loom.

3D Turin Shroud Man Coming to an iPhone Near You?

imageA reader writes:

Recently, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a new patent application by Apple that reveals they’re working on a next generation 3D Holographic-like display system. In one application suggestion, Apple will display a 3D Siri to replace the now voice only Sire. A 3D figure would be able to point at icons on the screen and even click on links for users. The Holographic-like display is a small projection system invented by Christoph H. Krah at Apples Cupertino lab. Ideas for apps include video conferencing, object modeling and entertainment.

Now we can wonder if the Archdiocese of Turin will release a new Shroud 3D app. Imagine the TSM (Jesus) standing on your iPhone pointing to part of the Shroud and maybe even quoting from the Sermon on the Mount.  .

In the meantime, mikefromspace is making signficant headway at getting out the gate firs app-wiset. Watch his YouTube video, Shroud of Turin 3D Hologram. It shows the 3D beautifully. Enjoy.

Then visit mikefromspace’s YouTube Channel.

Near Death Experiences and the Shroud of Turin?

imagePaul in a comment about where science and religion are treading on the same ground writes,  “to get another perspective read about near death experiences.” Perhaps we should.

In past couple years two books have dominated the subject in the marketplace:

  • Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander has been on the The New York Times Best Seller list for 37 weeks. Alexander has taught at Duke University Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the University of Virginia Medical School. The book has not been without controversy. Although Alexander is an Episcopalian, the book is not from a particularly religious point of view. The book has not been without controversy. That, of course, is expected from the neuroscience community. An important CNN article on this book is Proof of heaven popular, except with the church
  • Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo is an account of heaven by his four year old son. The book has reached major milestonea by staying on the New York Times best seller list for more than two years. Within three weeks of its release, the book achieved a third place position on the list. By January 2011, 200,000 copies had been printed and the book hit #1 on the New York Times list as well as top positions on the best-seller lists from USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and National Public Radio. The book is from a very literalist Christian Evangelical point of view. This book was essentially ignored by the scientific community. Criticism of it has been mainly from Evangelical  biblical scholars.

Here are three earlier postings in this blog that addressed the subject:

What did Wilson and/or Flury-Lemberg actually observe about stitching?

imageCharles Freeman, by way of a comment in another posting about thread count, asks:

Does anyone have the original comment that Flury-Lemberg made about the first century sewing techniques from Masada? There were a lot of textile fragments that had been sewn (many are listed in the excavation report with notes on the sewing technique used ) and I wonder if she had specified which one it was.

DaveB responds:

Wilson discusses this at some length on ensuing pages (my pp 72-74).
My reading of Wilson is that Mme F-L seemed to envisage that the original bolt of cloth was very much wider than the present Shroud (W’s diagram implies about 3 x wider). The bolt was then expertly cut lengthwise, firstly for the main cloth of the Shroud, and then secondly for a narrow side strip. The two raw edges were then expertly sewn together, so that the final Shroud cloth presented two selvedges on its two outside edges. The seam was not visible from the face side and was only revealed when the backing cloth was removed. It seems that in her 40 years of working with ancient textiles, Mme F-L had only come across this type of invisible seam only once before, on the 1st century textiles found at Masada. Wilson provides a diagram of the seam from a Masada cloth sample. Wilson’s bibliography provides three published references by Mme Flury-Lemburg, for any further information required.

Charles then wonders what Wilson and/or Flury-Lemberg actually observed

Thanks, DaveB. ‘The stitching pattern, which she says was the work of a professional, is surprisingly similar to the hem of a cloth found in the tombs of the Jewish fortress of Masada.’ From an interview with Flury-Lemberg. If you actually look at the excavation reports from Masada- there is a very good section on the textiles in one of the volumes-they list 60 textiles 9the vast majority are wool ,not linen,) with stitchings on them. Obviously the types of stitching used varies but they are only described not illustrated. So presumably Wilson/Flury-Lemberg have either seen the originals or seen an illustrated account of them to which they have been able to relate the stitching on the Shroud .Presumably somewhere there are also illustrations of the stitching of the seam to compare the two. The evidence for these statements often proves much harder to actually pin down than one would believe.

Max? Anyone? Thread count for the Shroud of Turin

imageThis request from Barrie Schwortz came to my attention and I thought I would pass it along in case anyone knew the answer:

A website viewer has written me [=Barrie] looking for any credible references for the thread count of the Shroud. . . .  Can anyone provide any suggestions or links?

According to an unpublished paper by Max Patrick Hamon in a blog posting entitled "Coins on Eyes Issue Again ":

The Shroud thread count is 38 lengthwise (warp) threads of 0.14mm in average diameter and 26 widthwise (weft) threads of 0.25mm in average diameter woven into a measured one-centimeter square of the shroud fabric6

Max offers a citation number (6) but he doesn’t have any notes or a bibliography as part of the material posted. Anyone have more information? Max?

A point now where science and religion are in fact treading on the same ground

imageIn my previous posting, New Atheist vs Old Atheist Debate, I quoted from John Klotz, a good friend of this blog. from his blog about a year ago, For readability, I quote him again:

The question of whether human consciousness is a distinct phenomenon that survives death, is at the core of most religious belief. Now, it is becoming a scientific issue as well. Science is dealing with two related phenomena: the existence of human consciousness and the nature of existence of all matter at the quantum level. Science in attempting to explain human consciousness is science attempting to define the soul. Is our consciousness a discreet process that may operate independent of space and time? Or,  is it only an accumulation of sensations that ends when the individual dies and the brain is  rendered inert and decaying? Can  our consciousness operate independent of time and space? Is there any scientific basis for eternal life? Is the Resurrection real?

Now John has leveraged this same posting from his blog in a response to an Opinionator column in the New York Times Online, “Nothing to See Here: Demoting the Uncertainty Principle,” by Craig Callender:

In Arizona, Stuart Hameroff who has written on the nature of consciousness with Nobel winner Roger Penrose argues for that proposition. See http://johnklotz.blogspot.com/2012/08/michael-redux-quantum-mechanics.html

[ . . . You have to read John’s full response]

We are reaching a point now where science and religion are in fact treading on the same ground.

Dateline: United States, July 22, 2013. Another Press Release for The Chimera

Previous coverage in this blog, all last month:

imageIn the ‘getting dizzy’ posting I complained about inaccuracies. Fr. Veneroso responded appropriately. At least that’s how I saw it. Setting those aside, the book turned out to be an enjoyable summer read.

So here is the latest press release:

J.R. Veneroso Sends Readers on a Relentless Journey into a World Steeped in Historical and Religious Intrigue. The Shroud of Turin figures as a key theme in Veneroso’s explosive new novel.

The Shroud of Turin is surrounded by as much mystery as reverence. For centuries historians, researchers and theologians have engaged in relentless debate over the Shroud’s authenticity. In J.R. Veneroso’s gripping new novel, The Chimera, the controversial relic becomes the center of a conspiracy that could shake the foundation of Christianity and rewrite the future of humankind.

When scientists uncover a Vatican plot to discredit the Shroud of Turin, they risk their lives to find out why. They soon discover something greater and more sinister is at work. What began as a desperate chase to recover a missing artifact quickly unfurls to a dangerous, race against time to prevent a second holocaust from engulfing the world.

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.

Steeped in historical and religious intrigue, The Chimera will take readers on a riveting quest across continents. Veneroso has masterfully blended the real with the speculative, the past with the present and the present with the future to create fiction that is immersive, compelling and highly explosive.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to http://www.Xlibris.com.

About the Author
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.

The Chimera * by J.R. Veneroso
Publication Date: June 12, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 322 pages; 978-1-4836-3018-2
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 322 pages; 978-1-4836-3019-9
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4836-3020-5

For publisher and other contact information see the full press release at PRWEB.

Science is, after all, nothing more than . . .

imageDave Pollard reviews a book I’ve been wanting to find the time to read, The Science Delusion by Curtis White. He writes:

The book takes on a whole horde of fervent adherents to scientism, technophilia, the myth of ‘progress’ and simplistic ‘theories of everything’. It courageously deconstructs the ludicrous arguments of the “new athiests” (Dawkins, Hitchens, Hawking et al), the dumb-it-down science ‘journalists’ and pop neuroscience cultists (Jonah Lehrer, Damasio, Seung, Huxley, Pinker, Florida, many marketing ‘gurus’ and linguists, and many of the TEDTalk performers). The collective message of these groups is, in White’s words: “The human mind is a machine of flesh, neurons and chemicals; with enough money and computing power the jigsaw puzzle of the brain will be completed, and we will know what we are and how we should act”.

. . . and he offers up a definition of science that should be useful should I ever get into a bar argument about what science is after three or four beers.

Science is, after all, nothing more than the creation of approximate, limited and ever-changing models and metaphors of some aspects of reality, that are often interesting and sometimes (enormously) useful.

. . . and I’m thinking of writing a comment and wonder if there is some way to work in Shroud Science. It never hurts to work that in. So I’m searching for a quote from this year’s news, perhaps from Eastertide, and I encounter this in the New York Times (Elisabetta Povoledo, March 29, 2013)

Scientists have struggled to explain the image of the man on the cloth, which has markings compatible with the wounds of someone who was crucified. Mr. [Giulio] Fanti said he thought the image could have been created by a “very intense burst of energy,” which could have mutated the percentage of carbon-14 in the linen, leading some scientists to wrongly date it to the 13th century.

Shish. Shush. No comment.

Any good reasons for associating anything supernatural with the shroud?

imageA reader writes:

I happened upon you blog and was curious as to what (if any) you believe to be the chief reasons why the shroud image formation ought to be seen as naturalistically implausible.  I believe the shroud image to be that of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth and am curious to know if there are good reasons for associating anything ‘supernatural’ with his burial shroud.

So 1) Chief reasons why the image formation ought to be seen as naturalistic?

Ray Rogers got as close as anyone, but that was only to produce fuzzy coloring on linen similar to the image on the shroud in many respects. But it wasn’t a distinct image. And frankly, I have many doubts that Rogers’ proposed chemical reactions will produce an image like the one found on the shroud. Maybe it is part of the answer.

So 2) Are there good reasons for associating anything supernatural with his burial shroud?

No, not really. Paolo Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra, Enrico Nichelatti, Antonino Santoni and Giuseppe Baldacchini at ENEA, in Italy, have produced color on a fiber with a UV laser. It, too, is similar to a shroud’s imaged fiber in many respects. The doubts I have with Rogers’ chemical reactions seem to apply just as much here. And where does this UV light come from? The implication is the Resurrection no matter what is said or not said. And who is to say that a supernatural event like the Resurrection produces light or any form of radiation.

In April, Mark Antonacci, author of The Resurrection of the Shroud, wrote to me. In part, he said:

[A]ll naturalistic and artistic methods that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage’s initial scientific study in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the many body image features (or blood marks) found throughout the Shroud’s full-length images.

I responded, here, that I agreed. In fact, I said that if you strike the words naturalistic and artistic and just say all methods, I agree. I did say, too, that I would add the words “so far.” Who knows what is yet to be proposed.

I explicitly stated in my response to Mark that I also consider any image caused by radiation of any kind to have been naturalistically caused, the only question being where did the very natural radiation come from. A miracle, perhaps?

The evidence just isn’t there for any image theory. And that that is so doesn’t suggest anything. So, no, I don’t see any good reasons for associating anything ‘supernatural’ with Jesus’ burial shroud. So far.

Picture: Part of the ENEA team: Dr. Daniele Murra, Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro and Dr. Giuseppe Baldacchini (from left to right)

Imagine taking Easter out and there just isn’t a story

N. T. Wright is a favorite. Many consider him the leading expert on the Resurrection:

Timothy Cardinal Dolan: Se non e vero e ben trovato

imageRobert Curtis, just a bit late, sits down to write a review of ‘Life Lessons from Life with My Brother, Timothy Cardinal Dolan’ in the Catholic Sun. “I understand that the book arrived in 2011” he said, “and that some of you may have already read it, but I just got hold of it so now I’m doing the review!”

This paragraph of the review caught my attention – Google’s attention:

Dolan’s approach to miracles, artifacts, and special things like the Shroud of Turin is interesting. Of them, he says, “Se non e vero e ben trovato,” an old Italian saying that roughly translates to “If it’s not true, it ought to be.” Delightfully profound, Dolan claims that there are always going to be things we can’t explain that the Faith will produce but that our belief in them always carries a power that can convert others; a good approach, especially in today’s miasma of relativism.

That’s just too easy.

In paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.

Speaking of Movies About the Shroud of Turin

The last time I checked in, The Power of Few staring Christopher Walken, Christian Slater and Anthony Anderson was supposed to be released on DVD in mid-July or thereabouts. I’ve seen nothing and I had set up some Google alerts. Let’s look anyway. There it is on Netflix. And it is on Amazon for $15.78, $17.79 in Blu-Ray and $3.99 for on demand. Now all I need is some time to watch it. I still have the first season of House of Cards loaded up and have not watched a single episode.


Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 3.1 out of 5 audience rating. Steven Cohen at Hi-Def Digest paints a picture of what to expect:

Structured in an episodic multi-perspective narrative, the movie focuses on several different characters throughout the span of roughly the same half hour time period. The intersecting stories include a tale about a young man (Devon Gearhart) desperately trying to get medication for his baby brother, a courier (Q’orianka Kilcher) helping out a potential witness (Jesse Bradford) on the run from a duo of gangsters (Anthony Anderson & Juvenile), government agents (Christian Slater & Nicky Whelan) attempting to thwart a terrorist attack, and two homeless men (Christopher Walken & Jordan Prentice) who elude the police while babbling about cloning Jesus… or something. All these divergent stories eventually culminate in a single violent incident involving a grocery heist, drive by shooting, car crash, and the apparent theft of the legendary Shroud of Turin — but could this tragic outcome somehow be averted?

I guess we could debate the meaning of legendary. Or make some pop corn and sit back. 

The Investigator: New Film About the Death and Resurrection of Christ

On a hat tip from Russ Breault we learn of a new movie opening in theaters this September. Here is a trailer and press release for The Investigator, about a high school teacher who leads students to investigate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Gary Habermas, a leading expert on the resurrection of Christ worked as a consultant on the film, and as we all know, he is a big proponent of the shroud’s authenticity. Is there any mention of the shroud? We’ll have to wait and see.



Movie Inspired by the Life of Rich Romano

Opens in theatres September 2013

imageLOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 16, 2013) – Gabriel’s Messenger Films  presents the captivating feature film, The Investigator, starring Wade Williams and David M. Sanborn (West Side Story, The Miracle and King David). Releasing in theaters September 2013, the film is written and inspired by events in the life of Rich Romano (brother of actor Ray Romano), and features an experienced team of production executives, cast, and crew.

The Investigator is designed to encourage and uplift families in difficult times, and it tells the story of Police Sergeant James Buanacore (Williams), a twenty-year veteran investigator whose life crisis prompts him to make the most important investigation of his life – into the life of Jesus Christ.

Depressed and angry, James isolates himself until his famous brother (Sanborn) encourages him to take a job as a criminal justice teacher and baseball coach at a Christian high school. With his cop mentality challenging his students, James struggles through experiences with an unsupportive principal, a guidance counselor with a secret, and rebellious students. But when his best option seems to be quitting, a student challenges him to begin the investigation that will change his life and those of his students, forever…the investigation into the homicide of Jesus Christ. Using historical records and circumstantial evidence, he and his students conduct a mock trial, and the verdict surprises them all.

The Investigator is a stirring film that will touch audiences and challenge them to consider the reality of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The movie’s heartfelt themes include reconciliation, second chances, forgiveness, sacrifice and overcoming obstacles and challenges in life. In partnership with Gabriel Messenger Films, Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel in Ft. Lauderdale is working with renowned historian Dr. Gary Habermas, the foremost expert on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to create a workbook based on the themes of the film. Serving as a companion piece to the film, the workbook will be available to churches, ministries, and groups. The Dove Foundation, which reviews movies based on moral content, has given its “seal of approval” to The Investigator.

Filmed on location in Pinellas County in Florida, The Investigator is the flagship family-friendly release under Gabriel’s Messenger’s Films. A portion of proceeds from the movie will be donated to charity.

The Investigator is directed by Curtis Graham, best known for his work on Misconceptions and The Glass Window, and produced by Nicole Abisinio, recipient of numerous awards for Prime Of Your Life and known for her work in Broken Flowers. A strong crew also includes Editor Dan O’Brien (To Save a Life, Dancing with the Stars and Dear John), Emmy Award winning Costume Designer Dana Campbell, and Camera Operator Bob Scott (Fireproof and Facing the Giants).

What People are Saying About The Investigator:

“I didn’t think they made this kind of film anymore! Redemptive message, high quality, good acting, a keep you glued story, educational, inspirational, and for the whole family! It’s more than just a movie it has the power to change your life!”

-Pastor Bob Coy, Senior Pastor,
Calvary Chapel, FT. Lauderdale
“Our entire Executive Team watched The Investigator and were touched by the message of redemption and restoration that this movie brings. What a great story inspired by true events that reminds us about what is important in life. This is a movie that will appeal to anyone and will inspire them to greater things In their lives.”

-Pastor Craig Altman, Lead Pastor

Grace Family Church, Tampa, FL

”A moving and thought-provoking film about one man’s journey to investigate his faith and return to Christ.”

-Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg

For more information regarding The Investigator, please visit:

Official movie website: www.theinvestigatormovie.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/investigatormovie?fref=ts

YouTube Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheInvestigatorMovie

For media inquiries please contact:

Tracy Cole 310.871.8349

FYI for Everyone of Your Readers

imageBT writes from New London:

FYI for everyone of your readers. I recently came across a wonderful rare book, Holy Shroud of Turin by Arthur Stapylton Barnes of Trinity College, Cambridge University from Kissinger Rare Reprints.

Here is a description of the reprint of this 1934 book from AbeBooks.com:

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

It was originally published in 1934 by Burns Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., of London; Publsihers to the Holy See. This is a Print on Demand version, available in both Hard Cover and Paperback through AbeCooks.com and Amazon.com

New Atheist vs Old Atheist Debate

The topic of atheism has popped up many times on this blog with no instance perhaps better than when Mark Shea, just a couple of weeks ago, was quoted as saying:

. . . The Atheist of the Gaps believes in such fake relics [e.g. the Luigi Garlaschelli fake pictured below] with childlike faith no matter how badly that fake fails to actually reproduce the Shroud. That’s because they need it to be a fake. It is an article of faith in advance of and in the teeth of all evidence,

This new video, just posted on Hemant Mehta’s blog, is a bit more off-topic. It is a five minute debate between Atheist Andrew Brown of The Guardian and Atheist Daniel Dennett, Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (Simon & Schuster, 1995). Off-topic, yes, but fun to watch.

Mehta comments:

What the New Atheists (and I would lump many other atheist activists under this umbrella, too) offer is a no-holds-barred critique of religion that comes at you all at once from many different angles. Instead of the periodic trickles of atheism we saw a few decades ago, “New Atheism” hits you like a firehose. You can’t escape the books and podcasts and websites and non-religious celebrities. Nor can you ignore the media mentions of atheists that happen with increasing frequency… or the way we’ve dominated Internet discourse. The New Atheism has made it safer for people to declare their godlessness. (That’s not to say it’s easy everywhere, but it is certainly easier than it used to be.)

As for Dennett, he believes that consciousness is but an illusion and that it may be possible to reprogram all of us. That is convenient, isn’t it. If he can figure out how, then he can make us all agree with him.

Shea had also written:

Strangely and hilariously, the absolute atheist refusal to consider the possibility of the Shroud’s genuineness vs. the Christian openness to all the strange possibilities this strange world holds is called by the Atheist of the Gaps, "Christian obscurantist close-mindedness vs. Atheist rational willingness to follow the facts wherever they lead". It’s of a piece with the "open-minded" atheist Emile Zola who, witnessing a miraculous healing at Lourdes, responded by declaring "Even if I saw all the sick at Lourdes healed, I would not believe."

If Émile Zola hadn’t lived so long before Dennett was born, we might suspect that he was the product of just such a reprogramming experiment.

This bring us to Michael Redux: Quantum mechanics, consciousness and love by this blog’s regular reader and frequent commenter John Klotz from about a year ago:

The question of whether human consciousness is a distinct phenomenon that survives death, is at the core of most religious belief. Now, it is becoming a scientific issue as well. Science is dealing with two related phenomena: the existence of human consciousness and the nature of existence of all matter at the quantum level. Science in attempting to explain human consciousness is science attempting to define the soul. Is our consciousness a discreet process that may operate independent of space and time? Or,  is it only an accumulation of sensations that ends when the individual dies and the brain is  rendered inert and decaying? Can  our consciousness operate independent of time and space? Is there any scientific basis for eternal life? Is the Resurrection real?

imageOK now. Watch the watch. You’re getting sleepy. Count slowly from ten to zero. Say after me: ‘The shroud is real. The carbon dating is wrong. A mouse lives in Dennett’s beard.’

The Linen God Roll Out Continues

imageJim O’Shea promotes his new book over at the American Christian  Fiction Writers’ The Voice of Christian Fiction:

My new thriller, “The Linen God”, is focused on mysterious secrets embedded within the most studied and controversial religious relic in human history, the Shroud of Turin. The ancient Jewish burial cloth bears the photonegative image of a crucified man, alleged to be that of Jesus Christ. Although science has been unable to prove how the image was formed (there are no pigments in the cloth), the Shroud has long been considered a Medieval forgery by most scientists and historians.

However, researchers now claim to have scientific evidence that the Shroud of Turin dates to somewhere between 280 BC and 220 AD. Professor Giulio Fanti and his research team at the University of Padua in Italy reports the results of some chemical and mechanical tests they performed which they claim “confirms that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century.” The “Vatican Insider” has chimed in as well. I’ll spare you the bulk of the highly technical statement, and provide just the summary statement below.

“Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years.”

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