Home > News & Views > Gary Habermas on the Shroud at Apologetics Conference Last Friday

Gary Habermas on the Shroud at Apologetics Conference Last Friday

October 13, 2013

a 16th century painting?

imageThe Christian Post in reporting (at least that’s the headline and there is a question mark) Radiation From the Shroud of Turin a Clue to Jesus’ Resurrection?:

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Radiation and various blood stains found on the Shroud of Turin may be possible clues that the cloth is not a forgery and is indeed evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, offered Gary Habermas, distinguished research professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University, on Friday during a presentation at Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference.

Habermas, who has been lecturing on the topic since the 1970s, reminded the audience of a number of interesting discoveries that scientists have been able to make about the Shroud, but refused to make any definitive statements on whether this is indeed the authentic burial robe of Jesus Christ.

One of the discoveries based on enhanced images of the Shroud presented is that the person’s teeth were showing through the skin – possible signs of the resurrection for those who believe that the man is indeed Jesus Christ.

"His skin is intact, his beard is intact, but you are able to see what’s inside coming out, just like if you are able to see what’s on the back of a hand," Habermas said during the presentation, while showing a photo of an exposed human skull juxtapositioned next to the head of the man in the Shroud, with the teeth from the two images aligned.

As I have stated before, I Don’t See Flowers and Coins and Teeth on the Shroud of Turin:

The shroud is dirty, creased and wrinkled. It has been exposed to dust, moisture, smoke from fire and almost certainly candles and incense. It has been exposed to moisture and there are clear water stains in places. It has been folded different ways and rolled up for storage. Folding causes creases. It has been held aloft and probably hung in ways that over time caused stretching. The cloth was woven on a hand loom with handspun thread that is not perfectly uniform. All of this contributes to visual information and visual misinformation.

coins.23 So does the banding patterns, the variegated appearance of the cloth. We know that it alters the appearance of the face very dramatically. It certainly must contribute to what some say they see on the shroud. For instance, if you look closely, you are likely to see what looks like teeth behind the man’s lips, as though somehow the image contains x-ray qualities. But vertical banding lines may be the reason we see teeth. Clear banding lines extend well beyond the teeth, beyond the face even, and seemingly for the length of the cloth.

And then there is this. Is there perhaps a mistake in the newspaper’s account?

The research professor presented a slide of a 16th century painting of Christ showing remarkable resemblances to the imprints on the Shroud, and examined some of the oddities in it.

Enhanced images seemingly show that the beard is angled a little bit to the left than straight through the center of the face, and that it has a small indent in the middle. While some believe that the image suggests the man in the Shroud had a short beard, Habermas argued that the indent is actually a blood stain, and that the beard extends further down than the image suggests.

Many of these characteristics were present in the 16th century painting, and even other paintings dating back to 6th century B.C.

"The point of this is to say there was a Shroud; they knew what it was, and they had an image of it after the 16th century," he said.

"I’m not saying that the Shroud face is Jesus, I’m saying that the guy who (composed the painting) thought it was Jesus’ face."

Categories: News & Views
  1. Hugh Farey
    October 13, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I don’t how accurately the Christian Post is reporting Habermas’s lecture, but one or two statements strike me as peculiar.

    “One of the discoveries based on enhanced images of the Shroud presented is that the person’s teeth were showing through the skin – possible signs of the resurrection for those who believe that the man is indeed Jesus Christ. […] This is one of the best indications that the man in the Shroud, who was dead and was crucified, (has) radiation coming out. [… (The teeth) are on the inside, but on the photo they are showing outside. Whichever way (the radiation) is coming, it dragged the image from the inside to the outside.” Even if there was the slightest evidence that the teeth are visible on the shroud image, which I deny, this explanation is, as have often remarked in other contexts, literally scientific non-sense.

    “Further radio carbon dating tests conducted in early 2013 by Padua University scientists established that the Shroud was likely made somewhere between 280 B.C. and A.D. 220, which is around the same time many Christians believe Jesus walked on Earth.” Established? Really? These were highly speculative spectrographic tests that made an interesting contribution to non-destructive radiocarbon analysis. To say they “established” anything at all is grossly overestimating them.

    “Furthermore, traces of dirt on the man’s feet, which have been subjected to chemical analysis published in a peer-reviewed secular chemistry journal, were noted to be from a species of limestone that is found almost exclusively in Jerusalem.” Aragonite is the second commonest form of limestone on the planet and although there is indeed aragonite limestone in Jerusalem, detailed isotopic tests would be needed to identify a specimen of limestone found on the shroud as from that particular area. No such tests have been conducted on the very few alleged particles that have been found, and without them, it could have come from almost anywhere.

  2. Louis
    October 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Professor Avinoam Danin’s “Botany of the Shroud” has some excellent colour illustrations, from which it is possible to see at least one thorn and something like a stem and perhaps some flowers. With his trained eye he seems to have spotted some of these things on the Shroud during the private showing (photograph in one of the BSTS newsletters) after the Round Table in Turin, and showed them to Cardinal Severino Poletto. The authorities do not seem to have cooperated with him to continue the work he was doing, which went beyond Turin, which is why this topic has come to a standstill.

    The Aramaic, Latin and Greek letters some scholars see on the relic are even more controversial and I am working on the rationale behind the claim and should have some news soon.

  3. O.K.
    October 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Louis :
    The Aramaic, Latin and Greek letters some scholars see on the relic are even more controversial and I am working on the rationale behind the claim and should have some news soon.

    Louis, they are not controversial, they (or at least some of them) ARE REALLY THERE. Only biased opinions of some well known figures in the Shroud world make them controversial.

    See some scans from two books:

    1.MARION, André – COURAGE, Anne-Laure – Nouvelles decouvertes sur le Suaire de Turin

    2. FRALE, Barbara – La sindone di Gesů Nazareno:

    Those are the results of André Marion work in 1994. But also see the results of Thierry Castex in 2009:

    http://thierrycastex.blogspot.fr/

    You see. Some of them (NAZARENNUS,m IH(SIGMA)O are hard to guess), but others (PEZw and particularly SB) are obvious for every child! Letters C and E in the word ‘INNECE’ are also beyond discussion. The whole talking about pareidolia is NONSENSE!

    So why the existence of the letters is disputed by many, for example Dan and Barrie Schowrtz? I think the reason is simple (Dan please forgive me that criticism!). Because the existence of letters is FACT that the so-favored by them Roger’s Maillard Reaction CANNOT EXPLAIN! That’s why the existence of letters, flowers, coins etc. MUST be disputed. Because their eventual existence would be inconvenient fact for that theory.

    • Hugh Farey
      October 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Louis, they are most certainly controversial, whether they are really there or not. You do not need biased opinions, OK, to create a controversy; honest ones will do, if there are enough of them on both sides to establish disagreement. Dan’s and my honest opinions are that the face of the image “is really there,” and that the coins, flowers and letters “are really not there.” I believe that the first view is uncontroversial, and second one is. I have looked closely at the negative of the face in the light of Thierry’s paper and utterly deny that any of the letters are so obvious a child could spot them. The existence of the letters does not become a fact by writing in capitals, nor by the addition of exclamation marks; it becomes a fact by general acceptance, and this, so far, it certainly does not have.
      What’s more, denying the letters does not necessarily constitute a rejection of authenticity, or a slavish adherence to the Maillard reaction hypothesis, or any other conclusion about the shroud. If they were clear, then they would certainly add to the information we have about it. But they aren’t, and thus remain controversial, at least for the time being.

      • O.K.
        October 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        Hugh, you forgot that the pictures were numerically cleared form most of the noise and background. And as Andre Marion wrote in his book, the job he and Courage did on the Shroud was ROUTINELY performed by them on old parchments and papyri.

        And now simple question. Hugh do you see SB letters on the scans I posted?

        Yes or No.

      • Louis
        October 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        Hugh, I am open to suggestions in Shroud studies, whether these are pro- or anti-authenticity and the debate is ongoing. Things could have become easier for us if the Turin archdiocese had released the almost 2000 microphotographs in its possession and it seems that the inner circle in that city helps decide what can and cannot be done. This is apparently a protective measure, to a large extent due to lack of unity in the realm of Shroud studies, which does not generate confidence in the eyes of the Church. The message of Pope Benedict XVI, read out by Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas at the last Shroud conference in Dallas has fallen on deaf ears. Worse, have a look at what has been published in Shroud newsletters or posted on some Shroud websites. How on earth can anyone expect something more from Turin when the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in these newsletters and sites?

      • Hugh Farey
        October 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        I think some apparently clear letters would appear as false positives if almost any sheet was manipulated digitally in the same way. I do see the letters SB in Diagram 7 of your first Reference, and the same letters among a plethora of possibilities in one of Tierry Castex’s photos of the whole face. I do not, however, consider any of them proved, or even satisfactorily demonstrated. I have ordered a copy of Marion and Courage’s book, however, and look forward to being convinced by them…

      • Max Patrick Hamon
        October 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        Hugh, you wrote: “Dan’s and my honest opinions are that the face of the image “is really there,” and that the coins, flowers and letters “are really not there.”

        Atre you talking about what you THINK you don’t see? PLEASE dont you mistake it what other think they see.

        Optical illusion CAN WORK BOTH WAYS!

        Are Dan or You or Guscin or Schorwz Archaeoloical image analysts or cryptanalysts. Can you discriminate betwween false negatives and false positives? Between botanical or numismatical or paleaographical misreaidng and non-univocity? Etc. YOUR OPINION IS JUS AN OPINION NOT A FACT!

  4. Louis
    October 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Hi O.K. I see that you have a good collection of Shroud material and books and that is good because at this rate you will make it to the top of the new generation of Shroud scholars.
    Thanks for the two scans, duly downloaded and stored, Thierry’s excellent images having been analysed a long time ago. My inquiry goes a little beyond these and hopefully there should be some news soon.

    Rogers never tried to impose the Maillard reaction theory because he was wise enough to understand that there were shortcomings and replications have not been successful not least because an ideal scenario is not easy to find. So there is no reason why some things others see on the relic should be dismissed only because they clash with what is proposed by the Maillard Reaction theory. If everything that is said about the Shroud must conform to what Rogers thought then we will be on the wrong track because that is like appealing to a Procustean bed.

  5. Louis
    October 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Hugh, let us have your views after you have seen the book by Marion and Courage.

    • October 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Why should anyone have to pay to read someone’s views? Why not publish the gist of them on the internet. I for one refuse to pay upfront only to find later that the views expressed are biased or half-baked. If their views are so important, they should go straight into the public domain.

      • Louis
        October 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        As far as I know Hugh will be the next BSTS newsletter editor, therefore his interest in acquiring material. I presume he will find the illustrations in the book better for analysis than those scanned and posted by O.K.

  6. Louis
    October 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Max, can you post a brief summary of your views on the flowers and letters. I am working on the question of letters. Thanks.

  7. O.K.
    October 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Louis :
    As far as I know Hugh will be the next BSTS newsletter editor, therefore his interest in acquiring material. I presume he will find the illustrations in the book better for analysis than those scanned and posted by O.K.

    He will find the same. I want to remind that Marion was very careful in his analysis of the supposed letters. Their existence is one thing, their interpretation is another.

  8. Louis
    October 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    It is not just the illustrations, O.K., there is also material to read, with justifications and a lot more. Previous newsletter editors have acquired Shroud books, many sent for review.

    • O.K.
      October 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Yes, but you mentioned just the illustrations -which I presume are the same in all editions.

  9. Louis
    October 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    That might be true and the debate is sure to continue and better conclusions could be reached if the microphotographs were available to us. It is a vicious circle, with Shroud scientists publishing papers using unauthorised Shroud material, prompting Cardinals Giovanni Saldarini and Severino Poletto, and now Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia to blow their tops. With all this, the microphotographs are not to be seen.

  10. leahmoana
    October 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Max Patrick Hamon :
    Hugh, you wrote: “Dan’s and my honest opinions are that the face of the image “is really there,” and that the coins, flowers and letters “are really not there.”
    Atre you talking about what you THINK you don’t see? PLEASE dont you mistake it what other think they see.
    Optical illusion CAN WORK BOTH WAYS!
    Are Dan or You or Guscin or Schorwz Archaeoloical image analysts or cryptanalysts. Can you discriminate betwween false negatives and false positives? Between botanical or numismatical or paleaographical misreaidng and non-univocity? Etc. YOUR OPINION IS JUS AN OPINION NOT A FACT!

    Max, how does one become a cryptanalyst? Is there a course I can take? Online preferably. Textbooks? Can you name some other cryptanalysts who agree with your observations re: images on the Shroud? Since it is impossible for unqualified laymen like Dan or Hugh and I to peer-review your observations, we have no choice but to become cryptanalysts ourselves or seek the corroboration of those already trained in the field.

    • David Goulet
      October 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Sorry that was from me. I’m not on my regular computer.

  11. Louis
    October 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Gary Habermas is good in apologetics. Look at what he will probably have to tackle next, or simply ignore because it comes from Simcha Jacobovici:

    http://www.renaud-bray.com/books_product.aspx?id=1058879&def=Lost+gospel%28The%29%2CJACOBOVICI%2C+SIMCHA%2CWILSON%2C+BARRIE%2C9781554686537

  1. October 17, 2013 at 6:26 am
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