Stephen Jones has put together a thoughtful posting on the Stuttgart Psalter image of Jesus being flogged: A 9th century depiction of Christ being scourged naked from behind with the scourgers’ fingers in the shape of the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud!
Do read it. It is nicely done. I should mention, though, I don’t find the configuration of the fingers on a hand of each man doing the scourging very compelling. The whip mark distribution and the fact that Jesus is naked in the picture in a pose that seems shroud inspired is, to my way of thinking, more important.
It is nicely done, I agree.
But being nice doesn’t make it correct…
Although the depiction of scourge wounds is indeed rare, especially as early as the 9th century, they are more common in psalters and other less public works than in big paintings. The marks here are on a body only a few centimetres high, so the fact that there are only 20 or so, each one representing a cut about 10cm long, should not count against them. However, it is quite wrong to call them “realistic.” Both the Ducio and Colombe paintings are considerably more so. Lorenzetto and Huguet also attempt realism, while Memling, for example, clearly stylises the effect. De Wesselow is probably correct in saying that artists deliberately shied away from any confusion with the “five wounds.”
Next, however, we are told the artist accurately depicted the Roman flagrum. Regular readers will know this is one of my hobby horses, but the flagrum in the accompanying photo was not “recovered from the Roman City of Herculaneum”, and nor does Wilson, to whom this absurdity seems to be attributed, say it was. I believe it was made specifically to fit the marks made on the shroud in the early 20th century.
Then we move to the “smoking gun”, which is the unnatural depiction of “curved fingers” apparently mimicking the epsilon blood stain. It is clear that neither Jones nor Hamon are familiar with many others of the 150 or so illustrations in the Stuttgart psalter, the majority of which contain unnaturally curved fingers, a hefty proportion of which are in exactly the same configuration as they are here. Several of these show people pointing to their own head, which I believe to be a convention representing thinking, and perhaps by corollary, guilt.
Although it is a wonderful find, neither the psalter, nor this particular picture, are anything like evidence for an early provenance for the shroud.
Hugh you wrote: “It is CLEAR (upper cases mine) that neither Jones nor Hamon are familiar with many others of the 150 or so illustrations in the Stuttgart psalter,”
I don’t know for Jones but as for me I AM PERFECTLY FAMILIAR WITH THE SP MINIATURES. THANK YOU (I was the first to draw you attention to the SP miniatures which you TOTALLY IGNORED. So don’t you try now to posture as a Stuggart Psalter specialist, PLEASE.
Besides, It does seem you find it HARD TO UNDERSTAND, the hand-gesture is specifically IN CONJUNCTION with the head of the Christt-like figure (and the same hand gesture is repeated twice by the scourgers pointing at heads within the same miniature.
It also DOES seem to escape you, several miniatures are missing in particular Yeshua’s Anointin/Burial and the Visitatio at the Empty Tomb.
It also DOES seem to escape you that in Carolingian times, ALL the monasteries and abbeys were under the Benedictine rule and Benedictine artwork is rooted in early cryptochristian tradition and the quest for G.od as far as secrecy is concerned re the glory residing in most sacred objects that were held in honour by early cryptoChristians. Through which most sacred objects the patriarchs and faithfuls received mercy; in which most sacred objects they were always strengthened. Such objects were kept in great secrecy in early cryptoChristianism.
It also DOES seem you TOTALLY ignore the way Benedictine monk/abbot-artists used to hide “the sacred/divine secrets” in their artworks.
It is not because I drew your attention to the Stuggart Psalter that it makes you overnight an omniscient specialist of the PS miniatures…
Unfortunately, Jones biased my presentation of the tailed-epsilon. On the TS it is reversed. Thus, visually speaking Jones’s “re-illustration of mine” makes the configuration of the fingers on the two scourgers’ hands less compelling. Shame…
“TOTALLY IGNORED.” Nonsense; I was the second person to comment on it in detail.
“Stuggart Psalter specialist.” Nonsense. I’m simply reporting my observations.
“The hand-gesture is specifically IN CONJUNCTION with the head of the Christt-like figure (and the same hand gesture is repeated twice by the scourgers pointing at heads within the same miniature.” Nonsense. There is nothing special about the hand gesture. The fact that it occurs in connection with a depiction of Christ is co-incidental.
“Several miniatures are missing.” So what?
“It also DOES seem to escape you that in Carolingian times, ALL the monasteries and abbeys were under the Benedictine rule and Benedictine artwork is rooted in early cryptochristian tradition and the quest for G.od as far as secrecy is concerned re the glory residing in most sacred objects that were held in honour by early cryptoChristians. Through which most sacred objects the patriarchs and faithfuls received mercy; in which most sacred objects they were always strengthened. Such objects were kept in great secrecy in early cryptoChristianism.” I have no evidence that any of this is true. Have you? I should love to read about it.
“It also DOES seem you TOTALLY ignore the way Benedictine monk/abbot-artists used to hide “the sacred/divine secrets” in their artworks.” It does, doesn’t it? I agree with you there…
Hugh wrote: ““Stuggart Psalter specialist.” Nonsense. I’m simply reporting my observations.”
1/ You are reporting your MOST SUBJECTIVE observations as alleged ‘plain facts’, THAT is NON SENSE.
2/ Reminder for Earth Science specialist: I was familiar with the Stuggart Psalter as early as 1998… You TOTALLY IGNORED the Stuggart Psalter BEFORE I drew your attention to it. THAT is A FACT (while your comment is just verging on bad faith and nonsense).
3/you wrote: “The fact that it occurs in connection with a depiction of Christ is co-incidental.” Can you prove it beyond the shadow of a rational doubt? YOU JUST CANNOT.
Besides the SP, can you show me any OTHER examples of such specific hand gestures in conjunction with a stark naked Christ-like figure in the whole Medieval Christological iconography? YOU JUST CANNOT.
You wrote: “I have no evidence that [most sacred objects were kept in great secrecy in early cryptoChristianism] is true. Have you? I should love to read about it.” Oh really?
1/ What do you make of the fact cryptochristians were living in clandestiny and had to hide from their persecutors (30-313 CE)? NOTHING
2/ What do yo make of the Syriac and Byzantine Secret liturgical rituals? NOTHING.
and, more recently, what do you make of the fact during World War II, The Holy Shroud was hidden in a Benedictine Abbey? NOTHING.
Your obvervations denying any secrecy in conjunction with (crypto)Christian sacred objects have no rhyme nor reasons, just blabla.
Correction: “It does seem you find it HARD TO UNDERSTAND, the hand-gesture is specifically IN CONJUNCTION with the head of the SHROUD-LIKE Christ-like figure (and the same hand gesture is repeated twice by the scourgers pointing at heads within the same miniature.”
I can only paraphrase what I already wrote in my ‘flash illutrative reply’:
” What really may be not that obvious to layman Hugh Farey’s eyes can just stare in the face of an old (yet not so old) Archaeological Image Cryptanalyst…
I saw it last night after my wife and I shared a bottle French wine. No such luck this morning. Tonight I’ll try an Italian Chianti.
Dan, If I were you either I’d ask my ophtalmologist/eye doctor or I’ll stop drinking or try a Stuggart potent red wine (Stuttgart has a long history of wine-growing and its museums dedicated to the art of viniculture unfortunately most of the very best German Württemberg wines never leave the country). C’est pour les connaisseurs ONLY.
Hugh you also wrote out of your shallow arch-scepticism:“Several miniatures are missing.” So what?”
Had you been familiar with Medieval (Carolingian, Romanesque, Gothic) and/or Renaissance Benedictine steganographic art (an art which most obviously you ignore the very existence), or had you more memory (see my comment on March 18, 2013 at 7:14pm | #32 Reply | ), you would have known:
“One of the medieval Benedictine monks’ and nuns’ steganographic techniques consisted in scattering/fragmenting a secret/sacred informative image into spy clues to be reinserted in a series of 3 to 5 illustrations within the same manuscript.”
Yeshua’s Flogging, Crucifixion, Anointing, Burial or even Visitatio of the Holy Women at the Empty Tomb scenes shall first and foremost be searched for… Shame to the sole exception of the Yeshua’s flogging scene, most curioulsy the rest of the steganographically relevant scenes are lost to us…
“One of the medieval Benedictine monks’ and nuns’ steganographic techniques consisted in scattering/fragmenting a secret/sacred informative image into spy clues to be reinserted in a series of 3 to 5 illustrations within the same manuscript.” That’s a very interesting quotation, Max. What is its source?
My own 25 years’ practice/experience of Medieval and Renaissance Benedictine artworks and the Benedictine monks and nuns art of hiding most sacred image/secret information in plain sight.
BTW Hugh, you wrote out of your own ignorance: “There is nothing special about the hand gesture. The fact that it occurs in connection with a depiction of Christ is co-incidental.” (…) “It is CLEAR (upper cases mine) that (…) Hamon (is not) familiar with many others of the 150 or so illustrations in the Stuttgart psalter”.
Have you done your stats homework about the very specific hand-gesture occurrences of FOUR-fingered hands/FIVE fingered hands forming a tailed epsilon each time with the index finger pointing to a head within the whole MS? How many occurrences? How do you objectively discriminate between co-incidental and non-co-incidental hand-gesture, I very much like to know… Don’t try to overrate yourself (at my expense) into an iconographic cryptanalyst, which you MOST OBVIOUSLY are not, PLEASE.
No, Max, I haven’t tabulated the whole psalter, but then, neither have you. The first 20 illustrations of http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de reproduction contain 17 illustrations with depictions of 73 people and 6 ‘hands of God.’ The illustrations also show 79 hands, of which 59 have five fingers and are more or less accurately depicted (with one or two very snaky fingers), while 20 have four fingers, the outside two being much longer than the inside two. Of these three or four are pointing, two of them at their own heads. As I suggested before, these people appear to be guilty of something.
I don’t think I need to go on. Although I have not tabulated the entire manuscript of 130 pages or so, I have looked through it carefully, and doubt that the relative proportions of people or hands changes much. The hand gestures of the people holding whips clearly has nothing whatever to do with the epsilon stain, and, if it is a convention, has more to do with the depiction of guilt than any other hidden meaning.
I’ve no doubt readers will understand that I have indeed managed to “objectively discriminate between co-incidental and non-co-incidental hand-gesture,” and demonstrated that by actually looking at the whole context of an illustration anybody can become an ‘iconographic cryptanalyst’ without much fear of contradiction.
By means of a self-delusive most arrogant comment, British Earth Science Secondary High school teacher Hugh Farey claims/’thinks’ he can turn into a professional cryptologist/ Medieval image cryptanalyst overnight. His stance does speak volumes!
Here is my reply to this layman thinking himself a medieval image expert:
Your self-delusiveness and sheer arrogance as far as Benedictine artist’s (influenced?) image (crypt)analysis is concerned, has you go as far as commenting on your own comment (?????!!!!!): “I’ve no doubt readers will understand that I HAVE INDEED MANAGED (upper cases mine) to “objectively discriminate between co-incidental and non- co-incidental hand-gesture,” and demonstrated that by actually looking at the whole context of an illustration anybody can become an ‘iconographic cryptanalyst’ without much fear of contradiction.”
ONLY the gullible can take your claim at face value. ONLY a most arrogant Medieval image NON-(crypt)analyst cannot fear contradiction.
Firstly, you claimed to have managed to “objectively discriminate between co-incidental and non-co-incidental hand-gesture”, actually you JUST FAILED TO for lack of using appropriate rigorous reading grids to get refined stats and extract the relevant data/information thereof for you to reach a truly objective picture of the iconographic issue.
Actually, your PSEUDO-statistical approach and PSEUDO-objective demonstration are TOTALLY INVALID is just for the gullible as:
a) Your alleged cryptanalysis bears only on “The first 20 illustrations of http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de reproduction contain 17 illustrations”. How do you know the latter are REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WHOLE?
b) Your ‘random sample’ of “depictions of 73 people and 6 ‘hands of God’” along with your telling me “The illustrations also show 79 hands, of which 59 have five fingers and are more or less accurately depicted (with one or two very snaky fingers), while 20 have four fingers, the outside two being much longer than the inside two. Of these three or four are pointing, two of them at their own heads”, TOTALLY FAIL TO OBJECTIVELY DISCRIMINATE between: 5 elongated and non-elongated fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or a 3 with a tail with right then left hand, back- then palm- of-hand view, in vertical, horizontal then oblique position; 4 elongated and non-elongated fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or a 3 with a tail with left then right hand, back- then palm- of-hand view, in vertical, horizontal then oblique position; 4 elongated and non-elongated fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or a 3 with a tail AND pointing to Jesus’ figure or head with right then left hand, back- then palm- of-hand view, in vertical, horizontal then oblique position; 4 elongated and non-elongated fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or a 3 with a tail AND pointing to other figures or heads with right then left hand, back- then palm- of-hand view, in vertical, horizontal then oblique position; etc. Your alleged ‘stats’ ARE TOTALLY MEANINGLESS (and even a total nonsense) and your alleged ‘demonstration’ is NO DEMONSTRATION AT ALL but in your arch-sceptic’s dream.
Secondly, you also claimed “The hand gestures of the people holding whips CLEARLY (upper cases mine) has nothing whatever to do with the epsilon stain, and, if it is a convention, HAS MORE TO DO WITH the depiction of GUILT (sic!) than any other hidden meaning.”
Actually, your PSEUDO-interpretation is TOTALLY INVALID too and just for the gullible as:
a) It TOTALLY OVERLOOKS THE 5 MAIN CONTEXTUAL LAYERS HERE INVOLVED: 1/intrinsic immediate context (i.e. the miniature itself); 2/extended intrinsic immediate context (the Stuggart Psalter itself); 3/extrinsic immediate context (Carolingian miniature iconography); 4/extrinsic typological context (Flogging/Scourging of Christ iconography); 5/extrinsic extended/overall context (Medieval iconography).
b) Your utter ignorance of Benedictine, Carolingian and Medieval iconography has you TOTALLY MISSED ONE CRUCIAL EVIDENCE: this most specific hand-gesture is exceptional in the whole Medieval MS corpus yet appears as an intriguing graphic leitmotiv throughout the Stuggart Psalter ONLY.
c) Your overlooking the fact the hand gesture can be seen as A SLIGHTLY CRYPTIC VARIANT of an apotropaic hand gesture known as ‘sign of horns’ formed by extending the index and little fingers while vertically/horizontally/obliquely holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb visible (palm-of-hand view) or invisible (back-of-hand view). Done with the right hand, it can be read as Victory over Evil/Death Sign or Election/Lucky Sign; done with the left hand, it can read as Mockery/Defeat of Good over Evil/Unlucky/Evil Eye Sign; in the Stuggart Psalter when done with the left and/or right it can also be read as Recognition/Identification Sign according to the miniature specific context.
d) Your non-discrimination between right/left hand gestures forming the tale-tell sign of an Epsilon or 3 with a tail; your non-discrimination between back- and palm- of-hand views, in vertical, horizontal and oblique positions, have you TOTALLY MISSED THE REAL THING/MEANING of the 4 fingered hand gesture forming an Epsilon or 3 with a tail.
Actually if ever you have achieved to demonstrate anything here, it is how shallow, arrogant and unscholarly your arch-scepticism is.
(To continue if need be i.e. just in case you still are “without much fear of contradiction”).
Max, please, is there one person among your cryptoarcheology peers who can corroborate your assertions? You simply can’t keep proving your work by quoting yourself. Even if you are some kind of pioneer in this field, and thus have no peers, you must then accept the skepticism that all pioneers face from others — and accept it with a smile, instead of tirades. Knowing in your heart that you are right should be consolation enough, no?
David, I do understand your layman’s view. Shall I repeat here, FACTS or MOST LIKELY FACTS (at worse) are my sole peers. I am not just quoting myself I am referring to facts and true scholarship. If you don’t beleive me, why don’t you ask yourself a cryptologist familiar with medieval iconography and/or Benedictine steganography?
Your utter ignorance of Benedictine, Carolingian and Medieval iconography has you TOTALLY MISS ONE CRUCIAL EVIDENCE:
Your non-discrimination between […] and your non-discrimination between […] have you TOTALLY MISS THE REAL THING/MEANING of the 4 fingered hand gesture forming an Epsilon or 3 with a tail.
Reminder: the executioner’s elongated-fingered left hand gesture forming a Shroud-like Epsilon with a tail and with his elongated index finger directly pointing to the very head of a Shroud-like stark naked Christ figure back view is NOT ‘co-incidental’ at all: it is UNIQUE in the whole Medieval MS miniature corpus.
It is an iconosteganographic crux.
I didn’t know you were into dinosaur bones…
Mr superficial half-tone striated Cretacean Brachiosaurus aka big oldbone, don’t you rush to self-centred comments!
In other words, the Stuggart Psalter miniature is crucial/’smoking gun’ iconographic evidence proving the Shroud now kept in Turin was already in existence as early as 9th c. CE..
Not so much “smoking gun” – more a fairground pop gun with the cork stuck in the end of the barrel, refusing to move when one pulls on the trigger.
Could Mr CB as baked Egyptian mummy and barbecued Knight Templar scorch specialist just mind his smoky kitchen and leeches?
Max, you are totally incomprehensible so that even if you are the world’s number one cryptopalaeobore or whatever, no one is going to recognise the fact so why don’t you do a course in the writing of plain English? What possible use is all this to anyone in the way you present it here?
Charles, what don’t you yourself do a course in the seeing/perceiving of what is hidden in plain sight? That should spare me a thousand words….
BTW, the art of hiding information in plain sight is called steganography.
Where CB’s theory only needs a ‘tepid’ gullible, mine does need an astute observer.
…with genuine forensic descriptive knowledge of the Turin Shroud man image.
among dozens of tale-telling examples that can be taken from the Stuggart Psalter, the Betrayal of Judas (fol. -8r) is one that speaks more than a thousand words: MOST CURIOUSLY Judas doesn’t betray Jesus just with a kiss but with a kiss AND the 4 fingered left hand gesture forming a 3 with a tail (that is an inverted left-right Epsilon with a tail) pointing to Jesus forehead, just above eyebrow. There are still more of such intriguing spy clues in the whole SP yet they need an astute observer to be decoded whether or not in plain English…
I already can hear Hugh Farey’s comment claiming it is ‘just’ co-incidental… The true fact is the Art of Steganography is extremely discreet yet not discreet enough for a Medieval image (crypt)analyst familiar with the Shroud image now kept in Turin…
…not to detect it when applied within MS miniatures.
So. No evidence at all suggesting I might be wrong. I guess I must be right!
Hugh, keep your bad faith and cheap arch-scepticism for the gullible, PLEASE. I can make the intellectual blind see…if need be!
Hugh, re the Stuggart Psalter 4 fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or 3 with a tail and pointing to Jesus’ forehead, you can keep being in denial of the whole series of pieces of evidence building up into crucial evidence, this is an iconographic fact. The latter is both exceptional in Medeival MS AND deliberately repeated all through the PS.
Methinks you have eyes but intellectually you just cannot see…
In the Betrayal of Judas, the latter’s left hand gesture can read both as a sign of recognition/identifiction (at face value) and a cryptic evocation of Jesus’ most specific bloodmark on his forehead (at steganographic level).
Or it can be read as a sign of guilt or betrayal, or both, which indeed it clearly is. The psalter is full of “ordinary” hands showing recognition/identification, so this isn’t that, and it is also full of similar hands indicating guilt/betrayal which have no connection with the epsilon bloodmark, so it isn’t that. Sorry, Max, no cigar this time.
re the Stuggart Psalter 4 fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or 3 with a tail and pointing to Jesus’ forehead, first SERIOUSLY do your homework: in the Garden of Gethsemane Judas identifies Jesus as Jesus FOR THE SOLDIERS.
Besides in several scenes Jesus himself points TO HIMSELF a right 4 ingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or 3 with a tail (as a sign of Election or Victory over Evil. The hand gesture has NOTHING TO DO with guilt (sic!).
Reminder for the layman in cryptology: the miniaturist and steganographer uses the 4 fingered hand gestures forming an Epsilon or 3 with a tail as a graphic leitmotiv to better hide the tale-telling sacred bloodmark in plain sight.
I disagree with your Garden of Gethsemane interpretation. Judas identifies Jesus by hugging and kissing him. The hand is not pointing to Jesus but himself, a sign of guilt and betrayal. When pointed at somebody else, it can be used to suggest either that they have been betrayed, or that they have betrayed someone themselves. That particular finger configuration is also occasionally used simply when drawing somebody holding something, when it might not have any particular significance at all. If you’d like to mention the plates which show Jesus pointing to himself, I’ll do my best to explain them for you.
you “disagree” with me JUST out of your mere shallow arrogant unscholarly arch-scepticism verging to absurdity and blind ignorance since methinks you are not even able to correctly discriminate, “on one hand” between a teaching hand, a blessing hand and a hand of Justice and “on the other hand” between a Victory over Evil/Apotropaic hand, a G.od Election hand, a Victory over Good/ Perversion hand as mockery sign, a Recognition/Identification hand. My Goodness, how could somebody totally ignorant of medieval hand gesture symbolism could explain to me anything about medieval hand gesture symbolism? This speaks volumes on your very cheap arrogant unscholarly arch-scepticism!
You even go as far as writing against the iconographic fact/common sense: “The hand (Judas’) is not pointing to Jesus but himself (Judas)”. You mean pointing to himself via Jesus so? Oh really?
The true visual fact is Judas draws the soldiers’ attention with his right hand finger index (this just in case you haven’t noticed it yet!) WHILE pointing at Jesus with his left hand finger index for the soldiers to arrest Jesus, his master (this just in case you would ignore both in the Second Temple period and in Carolingian time, ID photographs were still to be inventented). In other words, Judas is just telling via his kiss and hand signs: “this is the man to arrest”.
Judas’ right hand gesture looks natural WHILE the left one looks totally unnatural (= against nature). Whether you like it or not, Judas’ 4 fingered left hand gesture forming a 3 with a tail (that is an inverted left-right Epsilon with a tail) points to Jesus forehead, just above eyebrow. At symbolic level, it is both an Identification hand and a Victory over Good hand (implying PERVERSION not guilt at all).
Re your alleged ‘guilt sign’, this is just a figment of your own unscholarly imagination in terms of Medieval symbolism. It never ever existed as such. First get coached in medieval iconography and symbolism before passing comments lest you keep writing more and more nonsense on this thread…
Reminder 2: the bloodmark shows on BOTH sides of the linen cloth (as an Epsilon with a tail on the inner side and as a 3 with a tail on the outer side).
Both in the Stuggart Psalter and on the Shroud inner and outer sides, an Epsilon with a tail and a 3 with a tail tale-telling signs can be observed. Jusk ask HufgF, he will explain to you the reason why it is just co-incidental.
Both in the Stuggart Psalter fol 43v miniature and on the Shroud dorsal image the Head of the Christ-like fihure has no plain round halo. Just ask HughF, he will explain to you the reason why it is just co-incidental.
Re the two executioners’ doubled-pelleted whip lashes, he will tell you the two whips are only lashes with one-pelleted tips. Therfore I would advise him to go to Stuggart and see for himself (better ask the curator to have the MS wide open enough at fol 43v and 44r in order to see the second whip lash-tips and get x25 magnifying glass) or… see his eye doctor.
Re the half undone pig-tail (same advice as above to detect a slightly darker and longer area, first broad from top of the head then narrowing into a straid right down in the middle of hair flow) etc etc… Just co-incidental, oh really?
Actually, it is tale-telling HughF, as the devil’s advocate uch in the vein of Mr CB aka “Big S old bone” just cannot identify the symbolic hand gesture of Perversion or Mockery sign…
Sorry, Max, but I don’t accept any of your observations or the conclusions you draw from them. I do find the symbolism of the gestures and the wiggly fingers fascinating though, and do not feel I’ve really got to the bottom of them. Can you recommend any books/websites that might be useful, or are you just guessing as well?
Re Christ Passion, within the Stuggart Psalter MS, a miniature can be read in parallel with that of the Flogging of Christ (fol. -43v): the Second Beating of Christ (fol. -73r) just after Pilate turned Yeshua/Jesus to his soldiers to be beaten.
One of them is about to beat Yeshua/Jesus with a long reed (rod) and diagonally points at Yeshua’s/Jesus’ forehead one elongated left index finger with three more fingers forming a tailed-3-shaped like Perversion hand of Victory over Good while another soldier points at his own head a second 4 fingered Perversion hand of Victory over Good yet with a tailed-Epsilon configuration.
The latter seems to invite the soldier with the long reed to hit Yeshua/Jesus on the nose instead. The former’s 4-fingered hand gesture forming a 3 with a tail and one elongated finger diagonally pointing at Yeshua’s/Jesus’ forehead is NOT just co-incidental AGAIN despite what any hon. NON Medieval/Carolingian Art Historian or NON iconographic cryptanalyst ‘thinks’.
No. The two people who are actually hitting Christ are making the gesture. One points to himself, as a guilty man, and the other to Christ, the figure being betrayed. It’s perfectly clear, and occurs in other places in the psalter.
Max; I have repeatedly asked for references from you that would help me understand that your interpretation has some kind of scholarly validity, and is not simply as subjective as mine. You have repeatedly ignored these requests, and instead called me “posturing,” “a shallow arch-skeptic,” “self-deluded,” “arrogant,” “ignorant,” “pseudo-statistical,” “pseudo-objective,” “of bad faith,” and “unscholarly.” I am fortunate that other people read these comments, and, it appears, do not find me as described. Everything I have observed can be observed by anybody. If my conclusions are unjustified, then anybody can explain why, using appropriate references. Nobody has, least of all you. Simply saying I’m wrong isn’t really good enough, you have to explain how, and unless you are playing some kind of game with us, it increasingly looks as if you have nothing whatever to substantiate your dogmatism.
For instance, you speak, apparently with some knowledge of a “Victory over Evil/Apotropaic hand”, a “G.od Election hand”, a “Victory over Good/ Perversion hand,” and a “Recognition/Identification hand.” Are any of these recognised shapes in medieval iconography? If so, where can I find them discussed and illustrated? Are any of them typically shown as four-fingered hands, the outer two extended and the inner two flexed? If so, where can I find other examples? Please, Max, don’t just reply saying how stupid I am, show me how to become better informed. Thank you so much.
Hugh, how could you believe me, your are intellectually blind and totally ignorant as far as Medieval Benedictine Art of Steganography is concerned. As long as the Art is totally unfamiliar to you, it just doesn’t exist through your eyes… How scientific, how scholarly this approach of yours is indeed!
Hugh, you wrote: “I disagree with your Garden of Gethsemane interpretation. Judas identifies Jesus by hugging”.
Actually Jesus is hugging Judas yet Judas is NOT hugging Jesus at all. You really need to do your homework as far as just correctly reading people attitude in Medieval miniatures… or see your eye doctor.
Ok, I might be risking a hurricane but…
Max you have some interesting and useful perspectives at times, but your mannerisms leave a lot to be desired, and frankly this so called epsilon connection thing is bonkers. It’s stuff like this that really gives shroudies a bad name. This is coming from me, someone who thinks on balance the shroud is probably authentic, and from me someone who thinks the Pray Manuscript is probably influenced by the shroud. So clearly I don’t have a closed mind to either authenticity nor historic art connections with the shroud predating the 1200s.
You have brought our attention to an interesting historic fragment, but nothing more. Please can we move on now.
‘Intellectually’ speaking, you just ‘think’ you have not a close mind…
What do you REALLY know about the Medieval Benedictine Art of Steganography aka the Medieval Art of hiding sacred/secret information in full sight? NOTHING except what I just wrote in this very blog.
Could you refer me to any another Medieval MS showing 4 fingered hand gestures forming BOTH tailed-Epsilon AND tailed-3 configurations with pointing index finger to a Christ-like figure’s head AND/OR forehead IN BLATANT CONJUNCTION WITH Christ Passion? You JUST CANNOT. That’s precisely what makes the SP-TS connnection unique here.
You wrote: “[…]frankly this so called epsilon connection thing is bonkers.”
OBJJECTIVELY speaking, what are your scholarly intellectual tools to claim the “epsilon connection thing is bonkers”?
BT,W, I was NOT ONLY referring to the FOUR unaturally curved fingers forming a TAILED-EPSILON BUT ALSO to those forming a TAILED-3. Methinks you STILL just cannot discriminate between right and left hand gestures forming a TAILED-EPSILON and/or a TAILED-3.
Reminder for Matthias: BOTH in the Stuggart Psalter and on the Shroud inner and outer sides, an Epsilon with a tail and a 3 with a tail tale-telling signs can be observed.
It is CRYSTAL CLEAR too you JUST CANNOT discriminate between ordinary natural hand gestures, symbolic hand gestures and cryptoallegorical non natural hand gestures and your opinion is just that of a non-enlightened amateur. The true fact is neither YOU nor HUGH are REALLY familiar with the subtlties of Medieval cryptic and/or non cryptic miniatures, paintings, graffitis and scupltures yet ‘think’ the ST-TS connection is bonkers JUST out of your blatant ignorance of iconographic analysis, Medieval Art History and Medieval Benedictine Steganography…
Nice to you if you enjoy your shallow most unscholarly opinion and ‘think’ you are smart to move on and totally outlook this extrinsinc proof the Shroud now kept in Turin was in existence more than half a millennium before the radiocarbon date…
Typo: “Nice to you if you enjoy your shallow most unscholarly opinion and ‘think’ you are smart to move on and totally OVERlook this extrinsinc proof the Shroud now kept in Turin was in existence more than half a millennium before the radiocarbon date…”
wow, that was some hurricane.
Typo: the SP-TS connection
‘It is CRYSTAL CLEAR too you JUST CANNOT discriminate between ordinary natural hand gestures, symbolic hand gestures and cryptoallegorical non natural hand gestures.’
I can’t either, Max, so perhaps you can enlighten the non-enlightened by explaining the differences and how to spot them. Thanks.
For Medieval Christian iconography and symbolism textbooks for first-year students… just check the Archaeology-Art History department library of any good university. As a starter (or homework), you can read the nearly 1000 page ‘bible’ of Christian symbolism: Bestiary of Christ by French Christain symbolist, Louis Charbonneau-Lassay, ed Archè-Milano, 1940… For hand gestures symbolism, just look up pp. 109-123.
Matthias, you also wrote: “It’s stuff like this that really gives shroudies a bad name.”
Firstly I am not a/ain’t no “shroudie”. You and Hugh are. This shows by your very ignorance of the fundamentals; an ignorance that gives “shroudies’ a bad name.
Hugh CANNOT even correctly read a miniatures. He just cannot tell left hand from right hand, an nordinary hand from a symbolic one; natural hand from unatural one, hugging attitude from non hugging attitude in a miniature etc and the man wants us to believe he ‘objectively’ has demonstrated the 4-fingered intriguing configurations with index finger pointing was just ‘co-incidental’ on the very basis of his meaningless stats derived from his non-representative random sampling of miniatures in the SP! THIS gives shroudies a bad name…
Reminder (just in case Charles missed it):
The tailed-Epsilon and tailed-3 intriguing 4-fingered configurations with index finger pointing at Christ-like or non Christ-like figure can be decoded as A SLIGHTLY CRYPTIC VARIANT of an apotropaic hand gesture known as ‘sign of horns’ (formed by extending the index and little fingers while vertically/horizontally/obliquely holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb visible or invisible).
Done with the right hand and according to the miniature theme and context, the hand gesture can be read as Victory over Evil/Death/Protective hand or G.od Election/Lucky/Redemption/Benevolent hand; done with the left hand, it can be read as Mockery sign/Defeat of Good /Unlucky/Evil Eye/Perversion/Persecution hand; in the Stuggart Psalter when done with the left and/or right it can also be read as Recognition/Identification hand or even more simply as an ordinary hand if done without the index finger pointing (e.g. hand just holding a rod or spear)
Each of these intriguing hand gestures shall be read/studied each time according to the miniature specific context and theme.
Remember: the whole Art of Steganography is to EMBED sacred/secret information in plain sight: the more you see the unnatural hand gesture with index finger pointing (or not pointing) in the ST, the more it tends to look just casual though actually, the hand gesture is exceptional as you just cannot find such a specific hand gesture in the whole Medieval MS corpus but in the Stuggart Psalter…
Now what is also exceptional in Medieval iconography is this stark naked Shroud-dorsal-image-like back view of a Christ figure with no halo surrounding his head (fol. -43v) and seen in conjunction with a tailed-Epsilon 4-fingered configuration with index finger pointing at its head. This may be just ‘co-incidental’ to the layman’ eyes NOT to the astute observer’s…
Reminder: the Image of Edessa was an apotropaic (Gorgone-like/Bocca-della-Verità-like) image… and the tailed-Epsilon 4-fingered configuration with index finger pointing at the head of Christ is A SLIGHTLY CRYPTIC VARIANT of an apotropaic hand gesture.
Hugh, by way of a comment on the Second Beating of Christ in the Stuggart Psalter (fol. - 73r) you wrote:
“The two people who are actually hitting Christ are making the gesture. ONE POINTS TO HIMSELF AS A GUILTY MAN (upper cases mine) and the other to CHRIST THE FIGURE BEING BETRAYED (upper cases mine). […]
Since you ‘think’ “that by actually looking at the whole context of an illustration anybody can become an ‘iconographic cryptanalyst’ without much fear of contradiction”, are you man enough to ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
Could you refer me to any book/paper on the TYPOLOGY OF MEDIEVAL HAND GESTURES allegedly symbolizing ‘GUILT’, PLEASE? How do we get to this specific hand gestures to be found in the Stuggart Psalter ONLY? Could you trace the evolution for me of this specific hand gesture or sign? What is its prototype if the hand gesture in the SP is not a variant of the apotropaic ‘sign of horns’?
The “people” in the Stuggart Psalter (fol. - 73r) scene actually are unarmed soldiers or, to be precise, early 9th c. CE Carolingian monk artist’s rendition” of the Roman soldiers mocking Yeshua/Jesus as King of the Judeans after Pilate had turned over Yeshua/Jesus to them (just in case you could not really decode the scene at first meaning level).
Could you please NOW account for the THEME OF BETRAYAL & GUILT as central in a scene with Judas in absentia and only unarmed soldiers in presentia? Reminder: the Betrayal of Judas is on folio -8r while the Second beating of Christ is on folio -73r, i.e. nearly 150 pages away.
Besides could you account for the depiction of a stark naked Christ figure with NO HALO at all surrounding his head (fol. -43v)? Absent or non absent the Baptism of Christ iconography, could you provide me with another example of a similar Christ figure seen back view?
And finally could you also provide me with other examples of the same hand gestures forming BOTH an Epislon and a 3 with a tail and index finger pointing at head or forehead from additional Medieval MS?
WAITING FOR YOUR REPLIES.
Thank goodness for the scientific method (hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, evaluation, new hypothesis, more experimentation etc etc). It beats obsessive dogmatism any day, even if it doesn’t lead direct to the correct answer…
Better to travel hopefully than to arrive..
Mr Cretacean Brachiosaurus aka big S old bone, you may be a foodie chemist, you are NOT a scholar AT ALL. You cannot even correctly read a miniature or an archaeological image. Do you really think e.g. your alleged analysis of the Pray MS or Lirey Pilgrim Badge is Big Science or Big Scholarlship? Just keep deluding yourself. Your talk iis nothing but that of the pot calling the kettle black…
Re steganography and the PS, I have no real time for a thorough study. I am not off pension. I am working (80 to 100 hours per week). Besides this is not the place here to launch myself into too technical an explanation as far as the SP cryptology is concerned.
The fact remains though I will DEMONSTRATE and PROVE beyond the shadow of a rational doubt the Pray Hungarian MS-Turin Shroud connection (this will come in due time just after my return from Spain and Portugal. hopefully, I’ll make an effort to write it away in plain English).
Mr CB Meaning Big S(cience), got any news from your baked Egyptian mummies of moons ago? Alcomically speaking, how do you manage to rejuvenate a barbecued Knight Templar in his 70s (aka Jacques de Molay) into a 35-45 Christ-like figure via your Template scorch theory? Yes just keep dreaming other are just obsessive dogamtics and sick to your IMPECCABLE PSEUDO SCIENCE AND PSEUDO SCHOLARSHIP self-delusively thinking you mean big S(cience) and big S(cholarship).
Typo: Yes just keep dreaming other are just obsessive dogmatics and CLUTCH at your PECCABLE PSEUDO SCIENCE AND PSEUDO SCHOLARSHIP self-delusively thinking you mean big S(cience) and big S(cholarship).
Besides could you account for the depiction of a stark naked Christ figure with NO HALO at all surrounding his head (fol. -43v)? Absent or non absent the Baptism of Christ MEDIEVAL pre 14th c. CE iconography, could you provide me with another example of a similar Christ figure seen back view to the sole exception of the Lirey Pilgrim Badge?
Reminder for Hugh: Each of the TWO 16th c. CE pre-Chambery fire known painted copies depicts the Man of the Shroud’s dorsal head image with NO HALO.
Hi Max! No, I can’t do any of these things. Can you?
1) Could you refer me to any book/paper on the TYPOLOGY OF MEDIEVAL HAND GESTURES symbolizing ANYTHING, PLEASE?
2) How do we get to this specific hand gesture to be found in the Stuggart Psalter ONLY?
3) Could you trace the evolution for me of this specific hand gesture or sign?
4) What is its prototype if the hand gesture in the SP is a variant of the apotropaic ‘sign of horns’?
No chance, I guess.
Still, I must thank you for your finally mentioning an authority other than your own. You will be pleased that I have ordered a copy of “A Bestiary of Christ” and very much look forward to pages 109 – 123. I have even looked at the ‘glimpse’ view on Google Books. Remarkably, there is no reference to a “Hand of Victory”, nor “Victory over Evil”, nor “Victory over Good.” But then I expect you know that.
There is, however, a reference to a “Hand of Justice,” so I looked that up on Wikipedia. The Hand of Justice shown is a model of one used at Napoleon’s coronation and looks nothing like the gesture we have been discussing. However, it led me to investigate the “Sacramentaire de Charles le Chauve” which you may not be familiar with, as it also contains instances of the gesture you claim appears in the Stuttgart psalter only.
first you wrote: “anybody can become an ‘iconographic cryptanalyst’ without much fear of contradiction”, then ACTUALLY NOW YOU HAVE TO ADMIT your own impotency to become one as “[you] can’t do any of these things” since all your claims are UNSUBTANTIATED in other word just wind and blabla.
Re the hermeneutics of the most specific four-fingered hand gesture forming BOTH a “3 with a tail” AND “an Epsilon with a tail” with the elongated/telescopic and non elongated/telescopic index finger pointing to a character’s head or forehead, let’s see what you JUST CANNOT DO or of which you are TOTALLY IGNORANT and what I can do and do know:
1/ you JUST CANNOT justify any evident conventional hand gesture symbolizing ‘GUILT’ or ‘BETRAYAL’ within any pre-existing or existing TYPOLOGY OF MEDIEVAL HAND GESTURES. Your claim has no iconographic ground at all. It is nothing else but a figment of your layman’s imagination. Your ‘guilt sign’ and ‘betrayal sign’ are just NON-FACTUAL.
Reminder: Unless you can provide us with a proof to the contrary, which you JUST CANNOT, to the alleged ‘sole exception’ of the PS MS, such a specific hand gesture never ever appears in conjunction with any Betrayal of Christ scene in medieval iconography. THIS IS AN ICONOGRAPHIC FACT. It is clear you haven’t done much research work and are totally ignorant of medieval iconography. Could you JUST DO your homework, please, before writing your unsubstantiated prose?
THE TRUE ICONOGRAPHICAL FACT is the specific hand gesture can read as a CRYPTIC VARIANT of the APOTROPAIC sign of ‘horned hand’ done with a vertical or horizontal RIGHT hand (back-hand or palm view) to ward off Evil/Evil Eye/Perversion. Such a sign DOES EXIST and your ignorance of this very fact is just flabbergasting! Actually it dates back to Antiquity.
(Re the starting theme of the whole debate namely the CRYPTIC HAND GESTURE forming an Epsilon with tail in conjunction with Christ head to be read as VISUAL PUN on BOTH the ‘horned hand’ and the Shroud face tailed-Epsilon-like shaped blood mark,) Whether done with the RIGHT or LEFT hand within the context of an execution, the specific hand gesture can symbolize either Fair Retribution/Good Justice from G.od or Kings (see RIGHT hand gesture e.g. in Le Livre des Merveilles by Marco Polo, Ms. Fr. 2810, Bibliothèque nationale de France, miniature of King Chesumur Rendering Good Justice, fol. 19v) or Persecution/Perverted Justice from Men (see LEFT hand gesture e.g., in the Stuggart Psalter, miniatures of both the flogging of Christ and the Second Beating of Christ, Stuggart Psalter fol. -73r). In each miniature the hand gesture symbolizing the Sign of Good Justice (or Victory over Evil/Sin) or on the contrary Perverted Justice (or Victory over Good/Righteousness) is EVIDENT as far as a Medieval Art History or Iconographic Analysis and/or Cryptanalysis is concerned. Just ask any Medieval Art Historian worth his salt, they ALL but can confirm my reading.
(To be continued)
Just a side note observation of the devil’s horns hand gesture. It is indeed an ancient sign but interestingly enough it was reintroduced into modern usage by the late Ronnie James Dio, heavy metal singer of Black Sabbath and Dio. He drew on his childhood experience of his grandmother using the sign. Contrary to what many critics of heavy metal have assumed, Dio used the symbol as his grandmother had – as a symbol of warding off evil and not to curse. Though he was agnostic at best, Dio was fascinated by mythology and hidden symbolism. I think, Max, you would have enjoyed chatting with him.
Max here writing
Hugh, you wrote (bragging mostly out of your Christian inkling for humility and charity I presume): “I am really more of a paleoarchaeosteganocryptananalyst (having studied it for 15 minutes), than I am a materials scientist (having only studied it for 40 years)” AND you told me “If you’d like to mention the plates which show Jesus pointing to himself, I’ll do my best to explain them for you.”
So I will take you to YOUR OWN WORDS, and, soon (as I am very busy at the moment), will ask you a few questions about 3-4 SP plates. Since you ‘think’ you can turn nto a image cryptanalyst overnight or 15 minutes,, I tink it will easy job for you… SEE YOU SOON…
BTW I will also resume my replies to your unsustantiated claims and nonsensical expertise…
Hugh, you also wrote: “it led me to investigate the “Sacramentaire de Charles le Chauve” which you may not be familiar with, as it also contains instances of the gesture you claim appears in the Stuttgart psalter only.”
BTW I am more familiar with the “Sacramentaire de Charles le Chauve” than you can even think and also have a couple of questions to submit to your alleged ‘overnight expertise’ as paleoarchaeosteganocryptananalyst), if you really want to play this game with me…
BTW, don’t you misquote me:I wrote: “the more you see the UNNATURAL hand gesture with index finger pointing in the ST, the more it tends to look just casual though actually, the hand gesture is exceptional as you just cannot find such a specific hand gesture in the whole Medieval MS corpus but in the Stuggart Psalter…” I was referring to UNNATURAL hand sign done with a TELESCOPIC finger index in conjunction with BOTH RIGHT & LEFT HAND GESTURES forming BOTH an Epsilon with a tail AND a 3 with a tail BOTH in conjunction with the head/forehead of a Chrsit-like figure. Is the word SUBTLETY unknown to you? Methinks it is as you’re are just another (see Mr CB) arrogant intellectual blind as far as icongraphic analysis and cryptanalysis are concerned.
Reminder for layman HughF: do you STILL ‘think’ Judas is just ‘hugging’ Jesus (and the hand gesture is a sign of guilt???!!!) in the SP Betrayal of Christ scene? If you still do, DO SEE YOUR EYE DOCTOR Mr ‘the’ pseudo-medieval image expert!
Your TOTALLY BIASED intrepretation is just NONSENSICAL.. Any body with a good eyesight can see for himself (I repeat) Jesus is actually hugging Judas yet Judas IS NOT HUGGING JESUS AT ALL… Your interpretation is just c***.
Max, if you don’t want the term ‘mad archaeocryptanalyst’ added to the lexicon (a la mad scientist) I’d recommend you stop with the unwarranted personal taunts and just present your evidence. It should stand on its own.
What about Mr HughF unwarranted personal taunts (insulting my approach and expertise while he cannot even correctly read a miniature and just cannot discriminate between right and left hand symbolic signification, between ordinary, symbolic and cryptically unnatural hand gestures as far as medieval iconography is concerned? Who are you to tell me what I have to do or not do? If you are a ‘tepid man’, good to you… I am not.
Max, passion for one’s work is a good thing. But when one repeatedly throws in derogatory jabs it makes one look insecure about oneself. This then undermines credibility. This is my concern because you, like everyone else here, bring new insights and it would be a shame for them to be dismissed because of the prickly presentation at times. I’ll say no more on the matter now, I didn’t come here to be anyone’s confessor. ;)
I think with NOT A FEW Christians (when the latter are arguing against non-Christians), it’s tit for tat as alleged ‘Christians’ just overlook or seem to totally ignore the very teaching of their own Master aka Yeshua/Jesus. Thus it will be tit for tat with HughF.
Hugh you wrote: “The Hand of Justice shown is a model of one used at Napoleon’s coronation and looks nothing like the gesture we have been discussing. However, it led me to investigate the “Sacramentaire de Charles le Chauve” which you may not be familiar with, as it also contains instances of the gesture you claim appears in the Stuttgart psalter only.”
The true fact is the ROYAL hand of Justice (which, BTW dates back to the middle of the 13th c. CE and NOT to Napoleon????!!!!!!) shall not be mistaken NEITHER with the LEFT Hand of G.od or Hand of Justice/Hand of Rigor NOR with the RIGHT hand of G.od or Hand of Mercy (because you are just totally ignorant of the medieval hand gesture typology, actually you still cannot discriminate between the three symbolic hand gesture).
Re the sacramentary of Charles the Bald, the latter contains only one instance (and not instanceS as you tried to misleadingly imply) of the symbolic hand gesture of G.od Election/Royal Power bestowed upon an earthly king, which has NOTHING to do with ‘guilt’ or ‘betrayal’ (SEE your nonsensical interpretation of the specific hand gesture). Besides the finger index is NEITHER pointing to any head or forehead (but just to a cloud) NOR the hand gesture forms a VERTICAL 3 with a tail NOR a VERTICAL Epsilon with a tail NOR the hand gesture is/looks UNNATURAL at all seen in conjunction with its owner’s body or compared to the specific hand gesture in the SP scenes of the Betrayal of Judas and the Flogging of Christ…
You are just a layman totally lost in medieval hand gesture typology mixing oranges with stones and beavers while ‘thinking’/dreaming you can turn into a medieval image analyst/cryptanlyst overnight or in 15 minutes.
You also wrote: “You will be pleased that I have ordered a copy of “A Bestiary of Christ” and very much look forward to pages 109 – 123. I have even looked at the ‘glimpse’ view on Google Books. Remarkably, there is no reference to a “Hand of Victory”, nor “Victory over Evil”, nor “Victory over Good.”
A bestiary of Christ is a book to read for beginners and first-year students in Archaeology-Art History (in France). A third-year student is expected to be able to correct, revise and complete the typologies by himself. You are worlds and lightyears far from becoming a medieval analyst or cryptanalyst . You still have more and more homework to do my green man till you can correctly read a medieval miniature…
In the Stuttgart Psalter is there meaning when Our Lord’s right hand has the pointer finger and middle finger separated and extra long? It is in the Judas betrayal miniature -8r and in -22r which may be the Ascension- Our Lord on a throne with 2 angels and maybe the 12 Apostles below. In one case St. Peter has the same hand gesture [ 22]-9v a scene which seems to be the Last Judgment.
I was going through the Psalter looking at how many times Our Lord was depicted with the 2 little strands of hair on His forehead (lots, and the 2 angels in the Ascension scene have it too) when I noticed this hand gesture. Not much about it on the internet which is how I found you all.
The hand gestures of the Stuttgart psalter almost certainly mean something, and are not exclusive to that work, although it seems to be one of the most expressive. However I am not aware of any systematic study of Byzantine conventions that make them easy to interpret. I wish I was. Max Patrick Hamon (sse above), whose work I have a lot of respect for although we drive each other up the wall sometimes, has had a go at the one with the two middle fingers clenched, suggesting either evil horns or victory horns according to which hand is doing it and where it is pointing, but there are several others, including that spidery pair of scissors to which I think you are referring.
I’m glad you found us. The study of the Shroud is quite an esoteric occupation, but it encompasses so many different disciplines, historical, artistic and scientific, that we are for ever in search of specialists for advice. If you ever come across a Byzantine symbol dictionary with good references to fingers, do let us know!
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