The following is a guest posting by David Rolfe,
a regular participant on this blog.

imageThe page on which Dan posted news of the endorsement for my Crowd Funding campaign from Dr. Rowan Williams has sparked a debate that has now just under a hundred contributions. The ignition for this was Dr. William’s reference to being impressed with Ian Wilson’s Edessa Image theory. This has run in parallel with a guest posting from Yannick that uses a recently rediscovered paper by Ray Rogers to spark 42 comments on the question of the nature and cause of the image.  With respect to all the contributors, (among which I have to include myself), I suggest that any objective and disinterested observer of these pages would conclude that the whole exercise risks going round in ever decreasing circles and, if one was being harsh, risks becoming a fatuous exercise. This is not because, for the most part, the minds being exercised are particularly deficient. It is because the available information about which so much is argued is so stale and limited. We all know that is because the Shroud – for all serious purposes of study – has been removed from the world.  It might just as well have been consumed in the fire of 1997 as far as its study and scholarship is concerned.

imageYes, we have some more widely available images available in an app but I have seen no great revelations come from these yet.  At this rate, we all, along with the likes of Dr. Zugibe [pictured to the right with Al Alder in a tee shirt], Kim Deisbach [pictured below] and many other great Shroud scholars gone before, will have to wait to get to the other side to find out anything more of substance.  As anyone who has read my posts here and elsewhere over the last few years will know my preoccupation has been with trying to create some momentum to encourage the powers that be to reopen the Shroud to science. So far,to no avail.  Meanwhile, the Shroud lies useless not just to its own scholarship, but to that part of the world’s population that might have most to learn from it if it does, indeed, have something more meaningful to tell us.

imageAmong the reasons cited by Bruno Barberis for the Vatican being reluctant to proceed further with another scientific examination is, believe it or not, the question of money. Hard to imagine, I know, that an organisation as wealthy as the Vatican and its dedicated Knights and other prestigious orders, cannot find the necessary cash to undertake this task. But such things are expensive and whatever must be done must be done without any risk from undue sponsorship or anything else that might allow its conclusions to risk being compromised. Perhaps Crowd Funding might one day be the answer.

That brings me to my own current crowd funding campaign which is just entering its final two weeks. To date, it has raised just under 20% its target of $25k. I am told it is not unusual for the bulk of funds to materialise in the final stages. I must hope this is the case. So far, with some notable exceptions, the reaction from our Shroud community has been disappointing. Are they holding back until now or simply turning their back? This post, by way of its comments, may well allow me to find out. I am proud to have got the endorsement of many but not least, Bruno Barberis, himself.  Getting the backing of a former Archbishop also gave me some grounds for optimism. 

The secret of crowd funding is revealed in the name. It is about many giving a little. $10 is all it takes to, at least, show some moral support and, collectively, a great deal more. I have been very disappointed that so few "shroudies" have felt able to. So, I ask them here. Please tell me through your comments to this why you think such a donation is not worth the potential upside?  Or alternatively, suggest a better way of bringing about a new climate for the Shroud and its study.

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