Significant Endorsement: Former Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury backs The Shroud Affair

clip_image001If you had looked three days ago, you might have noticed the name of a new contributor to David Rolfe’s Shroud Affair Crowd Funding Campaign: The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr. Rowan Williams, who until just this past March was the Archbishop of Canterbury (+Rowan Cantuar), the senior bishop of the Church of England and the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, the primus inter pares (first among equals) of all Anglican primates worldwide. A friend and confidant of Pope Benedict XVI, known widely as a brilliant theologian and a man of towering intellect (Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature and the Learned Society of Wales), he is today Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

In the early hours of the morning, today, the following press release appeared on the web.

Press Release ( PDF Version)
August 31st 12:00 am GMT


Former Archbishop of Canterbury backs The Shroud Affair

Dr. Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and former Archbishop of Canterbury, comes out in favour of a new project focussed on the Shroud of Turin designed to bring it back into the academic domain.

The project is: The Shroud Affair, currently the subject of an Indiegogo Crowd Funding campaign that can be viewed here. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-shroud-affair

imageDr. Rowan Williams (left) said: "David Rolfe’s original film The Silent Witness and its associated publicity made a big impact back in the 70’s and I find the evidence based on the development of iconography developed by Ian Wilson that links the Shroud with the Edessa image and expounded in that film persuasive.  At the same time, a close look at the single C14 test performed in 1988 seems to leave some loose ends.  This might be easier to put aside if anyone had been able to come up with an explanation for the image which, so far, has not been forthcoming.  So, I welcome David Rolfe’s initiative and share with him the hope that at some point a properly structured scientific examination might try again to address the Shroud’s secrets. In any event, it would be pleasing to find a way for cinema-goers to become acquainted with a story that, thanks to that single C14 test, is fast becoming forgotten."

clip_image001David Rolfe (right) said: "For a long time the few trying to reconcile the conflict between the mass of data that supports the genuine antiquity of the Shroud and the single, suspect C14 test that has overshadowed it have felt as if we have been crying in the wilderness. To have Dr. Williams’ public endorsement and practical support for The Shroud Affair campaign and what it represents is a significant step forward.  When will other academics have the courage to revisit this subject? If the image was purported to be a pharaoh or any another character from ancient history, academia would not rest until it had fathomed the nature of the image. As it is, the Shroud ‘s image remains a total mystery. What are they afraid of?”

The former heads of both the Anglican and Catholic Church have now both now made a significant gesture in refocussing scientific attention on the Shroud. Dr. Williams by the endorsement above and ex Pope Benedict making an unscheduled worldwide TV transmission of the Shroud his valedictory act.


Download PDF Here.

Links in the first paragraph are all to Wikipedia articles. Picture of Dr. Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI accompanied the press release and is from Getty Images.

Update to Shroud.com

imageBarrie Schwortz writes to members of Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List:

Just a short note to let you know that another huge update to Shroud.com is now online. Just go to to our Home Page and click on the August 31, 2013 Latest Update link to see the details.

This update includes our newly redesigned Main Menu/Home Page, custom Mobile Phone Versions of our Home Page in English and Spanish, three more issues of Shroud Spectrum International, the latest (and possibly the last) issue of the BSTS Newsletter, new Shroud papers and books, information on recent and upcoming Shroud conferences, several Special Features, an update on David Rolfe’s Shroud Affair project and much, much more. Rather than trying to list them all, just click on the above link and get started! We think you will find a lot of useful information that will keep you busy for some time to come. And don’t forget to visit the Private Subscribers Page for exclusive offers not available to the general public.

[ . . . ]

Quick Links…

Of inexplicable explanations

imageBT writes from New London:

After reading this blog for more than a year, I have decided the image was not produced by a manmade, a natural or even a supernatural process.  Yet, there it is, very faint, seemingly a negative, which when processed “photographically” reveals more details than any human or lesser god could have imagined.  But it is not an image is it?  It is analog 3D data that just happens to look like an image.

The more we try to understand it the more unexplainable it becomes. I was therefore very pleased to read the thoughtful discussion between Matthias and Hugh Farey about the unexplainable nature of what we call the image.

Me. too! Here, to make it easier for anyone who missed it or wants to reread it, is an ever-so-slightly edited version of that discussion:

Matthias asks:

Hugh
You are not willing to consider a miraculous unexplainable cause?

Hugh Farey responds:

No, I’m not. However, the reason is not, perhaps, what you might think. When we describe something as unexplainable, we can mean one of two things. One is inexplicability due to a simple lack of evidence. I hear a noise in the night; in the morning I can’t discover any reason for it. There is no evidence. It is inexplicable. Here is the Pray manuscript. It has a diagonal line of crosses in a pattern made mostly of rectilinear ones. It may never be possible to account for this. It may be inexplicable. This kind of inexplicability is a source of frustration but it stimulates exploration, investigation, further study and consideration. I like it.

The other kind is intrinsic inexplicability. This event is wholly beyond any human understanding, even if you had stood there with cameras, microscopes and the full panoply of forensic apparatus. Luckily, it is impossible to prove that any event is of this kind, but if it ever were, how dull! What would there be to do? Marvel? But for how long? I would get fed up with it very quickly and go and find something else to play with. That’s why no Scientist, whether convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud or not, can entertain the idea that it is truly unexplainable.

Matthias:

Hugh
I am not sure what your religious beliefs are – atheist, agnostic, Christian etc.
As a Christian, I believe in the resurrection. Not the physical resuscitation of Christ’s body, but a materialisation as a spiritual body as described by Paul.
In my view, science will never explain this, unless one favours some kind of naturalistic explanation (eg. hallucinations etc)

Although I search for an explanation of the Shroud image’s formation, I also acknowledge that if it was a product of Christ’s resurrection then our chances of explaining it in scientific terms is probably zilch.

Despite much brain power over the years, no single theory convincingly explains the image. Of course there might still be a valid scientific explanation! But I think the fact that there isn’t, despite all the analysis over the years, is suggestive of a reasonable likelihood of a miraculous creation.

My own view is that Christ’s body dematerialised, and the image is somehow a byproduct of that. He then rematerialised in a spiritual form that somehow had quasi physical characteristics eg. three dimensionality etc – that took his appearance beyond a “ghost” and that is the resurrection.

Hugh Farey:

Well, for what it’s worth, I’m a Catholic-born, card-carrying, practising Roman Catholic and Head of Science at a Catholic school whose school badge is the triple tiara and crossed keys of the pontificate. I couldn’t be any more institutionally Christian without becoming a monk! (I could no doubt be a much nicer person, but that’s another facet altogether).

However, one of the Catholic version of Christianity’s core beliefs in is the rationality of the Universe, and the conviction that Faith and Reason cannot conflict. This was first expressed explicitly by St Augustine of Hippo, reiterated by Thomas Aquinas confirmed most recently by John-Paul II and Benedict XV, and is the rationale behind the Pontifical Academy of Science. (Is there another religion in the world with a scientific institution so close to its heart?)

The nature of the resurrection may, perhaps, be inexplicable. To deny that anything happened at all, which is the usual atheist line, is absurd, but all attempts to pin down exactly what it was have proved fruitless, and theology has moved on. The science of the physical resurrection, in other words, has stopped. Inexplicable – leave it and move on.

That’s exactly why, as I explained above, I won’t be treating the shroud as inexplicable.

Several of the commenters on this blog (including yourself, it seems) would like to have it both ways, and try to intertwine the rational and the irrational, the scientific and the mystic. They would like Jesus to have exploded in a burst of radiation, or dematerialised in an instant vacuum, or even simply ceased decomposing, woke up and yawned; and they would like this to have happened ‘miraculously,’ but without disturbing the laws of physics. This may be permissible within the bounds of individual conscience, but it is not Catholic orthodoxy or teaching.

By now, I can feel some of you stuttering with rage and thinking that I have demoted the shroud to the relevance of one of Napoleon’s handkerchiefs. Nothing could be further than the truth. Although St Augustine said that Faith and Reason could never conflict, he famously said that Faith ‘precedes’ Reason. He didn’t altogether mean that if there was uncertainty about a question then Faith should be given the benefit of the doubt, but more that unless you believe something is worth the bother, there would be no point in trying to find out more about it in the first place.

The shroud will continue to be important even if it is no more miraculous than any of the great masters’ paintings and sculptures of the life of Christ. It can be an object of personal contemplation, a means of education, a focus of unity among those drawn to its image. It inspires awe, immanence and compassion. Whether it is eventually completely explained rationally, or abandoned as an object of scientific study altogether, it will continue to influence people in one way or another for as long as it lasts.

Matthias:

Well, I strongly disagree. If you are a practising Catholic who believes in the resurrection, which you admit may be an inexplicable phenomenon, then why is it a jump to consider that the shroud is a by product of the inexplicable resurrection, and an explanation of its image formation is also inexplicable because it was caused by an inexplicable event? It is not a logical inconsistency at all!

Hugh Farey:

“an inexplicable explanation”

Maybe my interpretation of ‘logical inconsistency’ is different from yours.

Be that as it may, it misses the point somewhat. If I were to accept that there is an inexplicable explanation to the physics of resurrection, how would I begin to investigate it? You go for ‘dematerialisation.’ Shall we follow John Jackson’s idea, that the shroud collapsed “into and through the underlying body structure?” Or Isobel Piczek – that the shroud is a quantum hologram derived from an event horizon? Or di Lazzaro – that the resurrection involved UV laser radiation? The first two are incapable of exploration, as the vocabulary used is scientifically meaningless, and although UV laser radiation certainly does exist, if we accept that it occurred miraculously, then there’s nothing more to explore anyway. Remember that my point is not that the shroud cannot be inexplicable, but that if it is, there is nothing for a scientist to do about it.

Matthias:

some things in life are inexplicable, and always will be in my view.
I’m happy to leave some mystery in life.

There is a degree of human arrogance in our belief that we can explain everything ,predict everything etc.

Despite the advances in science, we are still SO ignorant of so many things, and keep getting so many things wrong.

Look, if a convincing comprehensive scientific explanation came out tomorrow for the image, I’d be happy to change my view. It’s just I think that’s unlikely

Has there ever been a single, undeniable, unmistakable photograph of any of these things on the shroud?

imageAnd this is why we’ll never get to the real truth about the shroud. This appeared as the Letter of the Week in The Southern Cross: Southern Africa’s Catholic Weekly:

The outline of a coin of the period with the name of Emperor Tiberius partially visible can even be seen covering one of the eyes, a custom prevalent for keeping the eyes of a corpse closed.

The Shroud also seems to have a kind of X-ray quality, for teeth can partially be seen showing through the slightly open lips.

Less delicately, below the joined hands, the penis tip of one who had been circumcised is visible.

[ . . . ]

Imprints seen under magnification on the Shroud reveal those of flowers and spices used in the Jewish burial procedure.

Has there ever been a single, undeniable, unmistakable photograph of any of these things on the shroud?

Hard to buy the made in the 1340s line of dogma

imageMark Shea, in Catholic and Enjoying It over at Patheos Press, nets out the significance of two parts of an article in The TOF Spot blog:

Mike Flynn on the Shroud of Turin

[Posted] August 27, 2013 By Mark Shea

He offers a [1] nice discussion of the state of the Question, followed by an absolutely [2] fascinating speculative reconstruction of its history, featuring a gob of documentation I was unfamiliar with. After this, I think it’s pretty darn hard to buy the “It was made in the 1340s” line of dogma.

My challenge to Shroud skeptics and similar Atheism of the Gaps types remains unchanged. If it’s a fake, make another one.

Again because you really should read these: 

Note: I had linked to the first part (nice discussion) on August 14 with Or it is the first century burial cloth of Yussuf Schmoe?

Not Proof Of But Instead Best Explained By

imageIn  his blog, Donald E. Hester, while introducing a paper he wrote, “Examining the Evidence of the Shroud of Turin,” for a course at Biola University, explains:

Here is a paper I wrote last spring on the Shroud of Turin. I have to admit that I was beyond skeptical about the Shroud. I thought it was a medieval forgery and that Christians that claimed it was one of the burial cloths of Christ were bringing discredit to Christians in general. My intent in writing the paper was actually do some research so that I could speak intelligently about it being a forgery. However, facts are relentless, and the week before I started to write the paper a new dating test conclude the Shroud dates from the 1st century. If you take one fact, the carbon dating in 1988, you will come to the conclusion that it is a medieval forgery. However, all other data, points to a relic from the first century. What changed my mind was three pieces of evidence, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the fact that the piece dated in 1988 came from a part that was repaired during the 1500’s, and the new dating tests that utilize non-destructive dating methods.

Click here to read the paper

One final note: The Shroud of Turin is not something that proves the Resurrection of Jesus. However, the Resurrection of Jesus is currently the best explanation as to how the image got on the Shroud.

It is a good paper. Do read it.

Nicely Done Continued

imageA reader writes:

The image dual images are flipped L/R

The relative magnitudes of brightness are somewhat misleading, since they depend on response of film or of digital camera sensors (which are entirely different, the digital camera being more linear (not perfectly so) over range of brightness, while film in not, but has far greater dynamic range).

In addition, human vision is highly nonlinear (logarithmic in response to brightness), so that it resolves far more contrast in the dark range than in the brighter ranges. So small contrast in the SOT (seen naturally), which is relatively bright with a small contrast image, when inverted becomes much higher contrast when seen. It is not really an effect of camera negative, per se, but of inversion making the contrast more visible by the eye, which is more sensitive in the dark ranges. (This will depend on the re-zeroing of the image as inverted.)

If this was done properly, you wouldn’t use film products. You would employ a 256 bit approx. linearly digital camera to obtain accurate physical information over a linear range.

Then you could decide whether to invert the image for human visualization with higher contrast in the darker ranges (with a suitable zero, for max brightness in the original SOT linear image).

You can confirm all this by using Photoshop, taking photos with digital and film cameras, and inverting the results.

I have always been a little puzzled by the effects of using image obtain by film cameras. Especially if the original NASA 3D program was intended to be used with film as opposed to digital camera images.

You can eliminate all this distortion by histogramming output of a digital image of the original, also comparing to a nearby patch which does not show the image of the body.

And so the digital scan found in the iPad app, Shroud 2.0, comes to mind. To what extent have those images been manipulated for presentation value?

When is a Scorch NOT a Scorch?

imageRuss Breault writes:

Given the conversation thread started with the posting of David Rolfe’s picture of the Shroud image showing its actual coloration, this video may be of interest.  There are two themes.  The second theme is called "When is a Scorch NOT a Scorch?"

The Mystery is the Message from Russ Breault on Vimeo.

.

Nicely Done: You must download this

imageIn response to a question by Ron, David Rolfe commented:

It was also quite a shock to see how much more subtle the image is to the eye in natural light. The nature of any image reproduction process tends to accentuate the inherent contrast of the image. When copies of the Shroud are reproduced there is an even greater tendency to accentuate contrast to enable the viewer to perceive the image easily. All ordinary computer screens vary in their contrast so I cannot predict what may actually be seen on any individual screen but I have tried to recreate an image that can be downloaded here: http://we.tl/YG9iVXHwyD that more faithfully shows the actual colours. The background cloth is almost ivory and the image, even for someone as used to seeing its photographs as I am, is barely perceptible and – close up – is almost impossible to decipher.

However, as we well know, once “unlocked” by photography, so much more depth and contour becomes readily seen.

If you have an LCD monitor, try to look at it perpendicularly and try to size the face as close to real-life as possible.

An afterhours visit to the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem

A high school group, the Senior High Sojourners, from First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma,  visits the museum in the Notre Dame Center. One student writes:

We made our way over to the holographic display of a crucified version of the man imprinted in the shroud that is behind a sheet-covered statue.  My Dad explained that the sculpture is the creation —thanks to technology and computer graphics of 3 dimensional proportions of the mysterious man, allowing these technicians to built the body that was super-imposed onto the burial cloth. 

As Steve and my Dad removed the draped sheet that was covering a life-sized man- drained of was all light and life.  I was completely awestruck, I suddenly felt the need of a chair, for standing seemed quite difficult.  I struggled to find my breath.  Looking into the face of a man stricken with death– and one of the most torturous sorts.  Just soaking him in, all of his lifelessness.  For me it wasn’t the usual hollow emptiness of a statue.  This was like no other sculpture I’d ever experienced.  Because it was that…an experience.

I don’t think that it was simply the interpretations or scientific observations that had been discovered, dissected, and parsed from the shroud.  It was more this image, or rather human being, whom I was gazing upon.  A man– so emaciated by compassionless pain and forsaken death that to me was a frozen proof of horror and unimaginable sorrow staring me in the face. 

Representations of this event of passion moves me, but not in the hands down irrefutable, incomparable way that this Man of the Shroud brought upon me. 

An unshakable distraught-ness.  A feeling of helplessness, as well as of shame, guilt, mercy and undeserved  love washed over me.  Regardless of the fact that the man in the shroud could very well just be a man.  There was an equal possibility that he could also have been Jesus. 

I have been overwhelmed before..but never have I been so emotionally, spiritually, and physically rocked by anything.  I will never think of Good (unbelievable) Friday in the same way ever again– It

wasn’t that i didn’t hold a reverence for it before.  But there is just some quality or characteristic that was represented in this crucified man’s face and body.  a possibility of what He may have looked like– an actual crucified man, or truly the Prince of Peace’s countenance that can never be transferred through any silver screen.  I don’t care who the director is.

Tonight was earthshaking of the highest caliber on my Richter Scale.

This night will be forever set apart in my mind.

This one visit makes the research and efforts of so many people all worth it.

So who is funding The Shroud Affair so far?

imageDavid Rolfe writes:

Here’s an update for you from the The Shroud Affair’ team . . . Roll of Honor now live. Thank you all very much.

If you are of a mind to do so, go ahead, add your name or add an anonymous contribution.

Google, McCrone and my Dog

imageForget the NSA; Google, I’m told, tracks every web search I make. And it probably reads my emails, too. And it obviously sells something about me to advertisers. Just this morning I logged into my veterinarian’s pet medication site to check on a prescription for my dog. There was a link to an article about what to do if a dog is bitten by a snake. Living in South Carolina, where we see Copperheads a couple of times a week, I was interested and clicked on the article. Right there, near the top of the page, was an advertisement from Amazon informing me that Walter McCrone’s “Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin” was now available on Kindle. You think that was a targeted ad? For dog lovers or for people who searches for material about the shroud? You think anyone else sees that ad in a veterinary medicine portal?

Did I want to see a sample? Yes! The following, appearing in the book, is from a proposal letter that McCrone sent to Fr. Peter M. Rinaldi in 1977. Amazing:

For centuries the Turin Shroud has been a holy relic of the Catholic Church but owned by the Italian House of Savoy. The Shroud rests in a silver chest in the Cathedral of St. John in Turin, Italy. The provenance for the Shroud is known dependably for more than 600 years with considerable evidence extending this date back to the time of Christ.

It would be a tremendous accomplishment if the Shroud could be dated, and a date near the time of Christ would certainly lend considerable weight to the evidence that it is indeed the Shroud of Christ Himself. It is also important to determine the nature of the image on the linen. If the image and the stains that form a part of that image are shown to have been caused by body fluids, this would be further authentication. Finally, success in these two areas (the date and presence of body fluids) would then make it be very difficult not to conclude that the Shroud is indeed that of Christ.

We believe there is an excellent chance that the Shroud can be dated, using very new techniques, and that the chemical nature of the stains can be established. We further believe that this can be done without removing easily detectable samples from the Shroud. We will discuss each of these analytical problems in turn, beginning with the problem of dating very small samples of organic materials such as linen.

So I ordered the book for my dog.

By that criteria the shroud should be worth billions

imageInteresting article about the Jehoash Tablet, a purported artifact of King Solomon’s Temple by Meredith Bennett-Smith in the Huffington Post. But I’d question this:

"We have no way of really knowing its background and where it came from,"Jonathan Rosenbaum, an expert in antiquities forgery told FoxNews.com. "This is a common problem."

Nevertheless, a payout for the relics — real or fake — could be huge, according to Rosenbaum.

"If you can produce something that scholars will debate, then you’ve got the potential if you are the owner for millions," he told FoxNews.com.

By that criteria the shroud should be worth billions. Maybe the IAA just wants to bury the thing in some basement vault.

Two Shroud Encounters in the Atlanta area this September

Two Shroud Encounter presentations with Russ Breault are scheduled in the Atlanta, Georgia area this September:

  • Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Wednesday, September 11th at 7:00 PM
  • Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Thursday, September 19th at 7:30 PM.

This highly acclaimed presentation is featured as part of the Areopagus Apologetics Forum. Here is a brief promotion video:

Shroud Encounter Promo–Areopagus Forum at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and Perimeter Church–Atlanta from Russ Breault on Vimeo.

When I pray I see a face, a human face among other human faces

and how much, I wonder, is growing familiarity with the shroud
shaping how we imagine the face in an angry crowd

imageThe book has been available in Great Britain for over a year. Now it is coming to the U.S.  We’ll see it on the shelves this October. Here is the description of the book at Amazon:

Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic is a wonderfully pugnacious defense of Christianity. Refuting critics such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the "new atheist" crowd, Spufford, a former atheist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, argues that Christianity is recognizable, drawing on the deep and deeply ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the grown-up dignity of Christian experience.

Fans of C. S. Lewis, N. T. Wright, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Karr, Diana Butler Bass, Rob Bell, and James Martin will appreciate Spufford’s crisp, lively, and abashedly defiant thesis.

Unapologetic is a book for believers who are fed up with being patronized, for non-believers curious about how faith can possibly work in the twenty-first century, and for anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic, anti-imaginative and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now being made.

Here is a quotation picked up from a posting three days ago by Ethan Richardson in Mockingbird:

Christians too, of course, draw consolation from the patterns faith makes as it repeats in time. For us too there’s an important wisdom in not leading a life whose only measure is the impulse of the moment. But our main comfort in the face of unjustifiable suffering is very different. It’s not an investment in order we’re asked to make; it’s a gamble on change. Our hope in not in time cycling on predictably and benevolently under an almighty hand. Our hope is in time interrupted, disrupted, abruptly altering from moment to moment. We don’t say that God’s in His heaven and all’s well with the world; not deep down. We say: all is not well with the world, but at least God is here in it, with us. We don’t have an argument that solves the problem of the cruel world, but we have a story.

imageWhen I pray, I am not praying to a philosophically complicated absentee creator. When I manage to pay attention to the continual love song, I am not trying to envisage the impossible-to-imagine domain beyond the universe. I do not picture kings, thrones, crystal pavements, or any of the possible cosmological updatings of these things. I look across, not up; I look into the world, not out or away. When I pray I see a face, a human face among other human faces. It is a face in an angry crowd, a crowd engorged by the imageconfidence that it is doing the right thing, that it is being virtuous. The man in the middle of the crowd does not look virtuous. He looks tired and frightened and battered by the passions around him. But he is the crowd’s focus and centre. The centre of everything, in fact, because if you are a Christian you do not believe that the characteristic action of the God of everything is to mould the course of the universe powerfully from afar.For a Christian, the most essential thing God does in time, in all of human history, is to be that man in the crowd; a man under arrest, and on his way to our common catastrophe (106-108).

And how much, I wonder, is growing familiarity with the shroud shaping how we imagine the face in an angry crowd.

The photograph of Francis Spufford is from The Telegraph.

Shroud of Turin Quote of the Year (so far)

imageEven Che Guevara, a proven ideological monster, started looking good next to this Jesus, to speak only about their looks. Che still looks good on his youth poster, but Jesus, who didn’t photograph so well on the shroud of Turin, doesn’t even look human when Aslan’s done with him.

–– Andrei Codrescu,writing in the Los
Angeles Review of Books,
importantly reprinted
just yesterday in Salon, arguing that Reza Aslan’s
“Zealot” paints Jesus as a Nazarene Che Guevara
(Hat tip to John Klotz)

For context, you should read the full embracing paragraph:

clip_image001. . . This carefully strategic Jesus of “history” is born of Aslan’s own pruning and sifting of the meager “historical evidence.” Jesus the Zealot emerges as little more than a collection of bullet points for Aslan’s arguments against the “love Jesus.” (Produced, incidentally, by the same “historical evidence.”) Zealot certainly took away my appetite to revisit Jesus Christ Superstar. I had to stay home and study my Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and all the other dreary horrors of the “revolutionary” horde that bored the piss out of my childhood. Even Che Guevara, a proven ideological monster, started looking good next to this Jesus, to speak only about their looks. Che still looks good on his youth poster, but Jesus, who didn’t photograph so well on the shroud of Turin, doesn’t even look human when Aslan’s done with him.

Actually, you should read the entire almost-long-form article.

Recall, I mentioned the book recently: Fox News Propels Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus to Number One (the video embedded in that posting has since been removed from YouTube at the request of Fox News).

Watch 3 Shroud of Turin Films Online Free

imageDavid Rolfe writes:

For the remainder of the campaign all three of my Shroud films can be viewed for free here:

[PERFORMACE FILMS PREVIEW]

Please circulate as far and wide as you can.  There are links to the campaign on the page and at the end of each film.

Have a good weekend and thank you.

David

(Above letter reformatted by me for the blog.)

As of this posting, you have 38 days left to watch these three excellent films and you have 38 days left to contribute.

So how big is crowdfunding? In an email release, Indigogo, the firm David chose, justifiably brags:

Indiegogo has now broken the world record for hosting the biggest crowdfunding campaign of all time! Thank you to everyone for making this happen, and for making history.

Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge has over $10,267,352 pledged from more than 22,053 contributions from people in 63 countries. To find out more about the campaign, check out our infographic below:

The Ubuntu Edge is a planned smart phone targeting the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

Comments du jour: I have read Meacham’s book, twice actually

imageIt is by now the 55th comment in the thread, Here is a crowdfunding campaign we should be able to support and the subject has drifted which is fine.

Yannick Clément writes:

If you read again Meacham’s book Ron, you will note that the question of sampling the charred material around the fire holes was a possibility that was totally rejected at the protocol meeting in Turin that was done before the sampling of 1988 and even Meacham himself was against this kind of unsure sampling.

Later on, after the 2002 restoration, Meacham made a full turn of 180 degree about that because Ray Rogers convinced him that such a material was very good and not that risky for an accurate C14 dating. At that point in time, Meacham, Rogers and other Shroud researchers wrote to Turin and ask the authorities to do a new C14 dating with the charred material that has been scraped away from the 1532 fire holes and well preserved in glass bottles during the 2002 restoration. If I remember well, the Turin authorities did not even send them an answer!!!

Ron responds:

Who cares! …Yannick you seem to think you alone have read books (closely) and maintain the ‘real’ knowledge. As I stated before I have read Meacham’s book, twice actually, along with dozens of others and have studied the process of radiocarbon dating in detail. I am completely aware of all that went on leading to the 1988 c14 fiasco, and my point stands…If they had used some common-sense, my idea of how it should have been tackled should have been followed…Why they ‘truly’ did not, is the million dollar question and ridiculous to think it was simply due to aesthetics. Furthermore, I do not need to rely simply on Meacham’s book, to come to my conclusions. I can think for myself.

Crowdfunding? As I mentioned, the subject drifted, which. I repeat, is fine.  It was now about carbon dating. What Meacham wrote about, thought about and speculated on became the main thread of discussion by comment 14. It is an informative discussion.  If you missed the discussion, I recommend it.

The Barefoot Man: It is Christ’s Shroud not Turin’s

imageComedian and Ethel Merman interpreter Dominic Mattos, who according to his profile page at Inside Jokes Comedy Club read Theology at Oxford University, had just attended IOSOT, the triennial International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, in Munich.

I’d never visited Bavaria before but felt sure it would be full of the Baroque Catholicism I love, and of good heavy food and beer. I was not disappointed.

[…]

At about 4 o’clock, when I was almost fully catatonic, a small man came into the book exhibit. He had a beard, a rucksack, and was barefoot (which I didn’t notice at first). I was vaguely aware that he was going around the room talking to the publishers,  but beyond that my mind remained as utterly blank as it had been before. A few minutes later he arrived at my stand, and held a small card out for me to look at. I sat inert for a while longer before coming to. The man asked me what was on the card. I saw that it was a picture of the Turin Shroud. So I said , it’s ‘The Turin Shroud’. He said something to the effect of; ‘yes, but it should really be called the "Christ" shroud, because it’s Christ’s shroud not Turin’s, the latter being a place’. I nodded in agreement, I could not – and had no wish to – fault his logic. Then he said the card was his gift to me. I said thank-you very much.  He then offered me another card, with a truly ghastly picture of Jesus on it. I politely declined and said I liked the shroud better and to take two of his cards would be greedy. Then he said ‘thank-you, you very nice. Goodbye’, and pottered off around the room. By this point my brain had woken up and I took more notice of my recent conversation partner. I noticed his barefootedness, and beard, and simple and direct approach. I also noticed that most people were instantly refusing any conversation with him. This didn’t seem to bother him much and in a few minutes he was gone.

I sat and reflected for a while. My chief reflection was that had I been in any way awake, or any less inert, I would not have been in any way receptive to this man. I would have turned him away instantly. I’d have presumed him to be crazy, and indeed he may be so. As it was I was given a small grace, for I also reflected that this man had asked nothing of me. He was not a beggar – at least he did not beg anything of me – and he did not push me to say, or react to, anything. It didn’t occur to me to offer him anything in return, and this did not bother him. No, this man had quite simply brought me Christ, on my feast day when I had been unable to go to Mass, and because of my inertia I had found myself able to accept him. This made me well up a tiny bit – the heat was getting to me – so I said a few Aves for the man, and tucked the picture away. Here it is:. . .

Quote for Today

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Right, sort of like that Shroud of Turin. Maybe it wrapped up Jesus and maybe it didn’t, but it sure looked real.

— Brian Lowry in Variety . . .

. . . reacting to the Associated Press’ Frazier Moore discussing how unscripted the TV show was by telling readers, “The ties that bind these characters are true-to-life, and the star quality they exhibit just being themselves couldn’t be faked.”

And since I am reading the entertainment columnists this morning I shouldn’t ignore the New York Post’s Michael Riedel:

There’s always an element of the ticky-tacky on Broadway in the summer, but the sense around Shubert Alley is that this current crop resembles some of those low-rent losers from the ’80s.

Shows like “Starmites,” “Senator Joe,” “Late Nite Comic” and — my favorite — “Into the Light,” a musical about the Shroud of Turin, which the late, great Peter Stone dubbed, “Jesus Christ Tablecloth.”

Then maybe, again, I should ignore it. See Into the Light Best Forgotten

Update on The Shroud Affair Crowdfunding Campaign

Link: http://vimeo.com/72378836

Or it is the first century burial cloth of Yussuf Schmoe?

imageTHUMBS UP— Nice blog posting: Pour a hot cup or pop open a cold one and sit back and carefully read Shrouded In Mystery on the OFloinn’s blog, The TOF Spot. The sad part is realizing you must wait for Part II. 

John Walsh in The Shroud (Random House, 1963) wrote:

"The Shroud of Turin is either the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence… or it is one of the most ingenious, most unbelievably clever, products of the human mind and hand on record."

But there are, of course, other logical possibilities.

  • It is neither a relic nor a clever product, but simply a natural occurrence.
  • It really is a first century burial cloth, but it is Yussuf Schmoe, crucified in AD 80, not Jesus Christ.
  • It really is the burial cloth of Jesus, but it evidences only his death, not his resurrection.

And of course, that the Shroud may have a train of material causes that account for it does not preclude its being miraculous. The word for "miracle" is simply mirabilium, which means "marvel." 

"We marvel at something when, seeing an effect, we do not know the cause.  And since one and the same cause is at times known to certain people and not to others, it happens that some marvel and some do not."       — St. Thomas Aquinas. Contra gentiles

Watch for Part II.