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)