Wonderful: Pam Moon’s New Shroud of Turin Exhibition Website


From the Home page:

This exhibition, featuring life-sized photographic replicas of the Shroud of Turin was created in 2008, using the 1978 photographs of Barrie Schwortz (www.shroud.com).  It aims to use the replica of the Shroud as a visual aid to tell the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and to examine the mystery of the cloth. The exhibition takes the journey of Jesus from his trial through the events of Good Friday to the empty tomb, using passages from the four gospels.  It tries to demonstrate what the flogging, the whip; the piercings, the nails and spear were really like, using the Shroud as a teaching aid.

Do visit the site and browse through the various pages.

Keep it Simple: Can Anyone Help?

imageWatch: Occam’s Razor ~ The Simplest Explanations Are Usually The Best

John Klotz writes:

To one and all,

I am beginning my examination of the Shroud applying Occam’s Razor when I ran across a lecture on the web. The lecturer and his location are not identified.

The good part first. Printed under the digital display of the actual lecture were a few printed comments that I found quite pertinent and applicable including a quote from Einstein and a “classical Occam’s razor joke."

The quote was good but the joke is cosmologically hilarious.

If anyone cam advise who the lecturer is, I’d appreciate it although it was more of a personal, life adjusting exercise than scientific exploration.

First Einstein. Then the classical Occham Razor joke and then the URL

“’The great and wise Einstein is said to have said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ This got me thinking about simplicity. Thinking about simplicity is a dangerous thing to do, and sure enough I over thought it and cut myself on Occam’s Razor."

“If you don’t know what Occam’s Razor is, think about this classic joke,

“Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson go on a camping trip. After sharing a few glasses of chardonnay, they retire for the night.

“At about 3 AM, Holmes nudges Watson and says, “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”

“Watson said, “I see millions of stars.”

“Holmes asks, “And, what does that tell you?”

“Watson replies, “Astronomically, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Theologically, it tells me that whatever made all of this is beyond human comprehension. Horologically, it tells me that it’s about 3 AM. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Holmes?”

“Holmes retorts, “Watson you idiot, someone stole our tent.”


The lecturer who speaks with an English-Aussie-Kiwi (?) accent self identifies himself several times as a “progressive.” The backdrop indicates to me that he was addressing a “new age” or perhaps  Buddhist audience. He bows at the end. It isn’t a scientific lecture on quantum mechanics but I must admit that the last ten minutes when he speaks of the difference between the “Complexity” of life and the “Complications” of life are very interesting.

There isn’t much relevant to my task in the lecture. I would like to quote but the textual introduction on the URL is priceless.

Can anyone help?

John, I found this, The C3Exchange,  if it is of any help?

Yannick Clément on the Letters Between Jesus and King Abgar

imageYannick Clément never fails to surprise and amaze us. Here is an email I received from him. I suggest reading the email, watching the beginning of an introductory video that I suggest, then watching some of the video he recommends to us, rereading his email and then commenting. You might want to glance at these resources as well.

Yannick writes:

I’m currently watching with great interest a series of history courses given at Yale University in 2009 (I think) concerning the New Testament that are available on Youtube and I came across one very interesting part in which the professor (a very good one) talk about the so-called exchange of letters between King Abgar and Jesus. This can be found at the very beginning of this video: 17. New Testament Yale – Colossians and Ephesians*

* Note: the professor is Dale Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University (first watch 1. New Testament Yale- Introduction)

I would like you to watch this and note how evident it is for this expert in history (as well as it is for all the other experts if we believe what the teacher says about that) that those letters are not authentic at all. In fact, after the long research I have done personally on the subject, I’m very confident to state that those letters were probably produced by a forger in Edessa between the late 2nd and the 3rd Century in order to back-up the “orthodoxy” of the main Christian Church in this city (by making believe that the Church was founded right after the Ascension of Christ, by someone (Addai or Thaddeus) who was a direct disciple of Jesus), at a time when there were many “heretical” doctrines proposed by various groups of Christians (some of which were already present in the region of Edessa around that time).

Taking this HISTORICAL FACT into account (look like this is something Ian Wilson haven’t done), I ask you this: Since the whole Abgar legend is mainly resting on those (false) letters supposedly written by Abgar and Jesus, how in the world can the Mandylion (which is a much later addition to the legend) can have any chance to be authentic?

I ask you this good question on a personal level, but feel free to share my email (and my question) with all the bloggers out there…  It’s up to you!

I have never believed the letters were real but thought it was reasonable that the shroud made its way to Edessa. That something was in Edessa that sounds like the shroud still seems like a real possibility.

Paper Chase: The Role of the Internet in the Future of Shroud Research way back in 1998

imageBarrie Schwortz writes on STERA’s Facebook page:

With the 18th anniversary of http://www.shroud.com coming up on January 21, 2014, I thought you might like to read the paper I presented in Turin in June 1998 (when the website was only 2 years old) that shared my vision of how the internet could play an important role in future Shroud research. I just read it again for the first time in 16 years and it is somewhat dated, but you might find it interesting. Here it is, in case you missed it:http://www.shroud.com/schwortz.htm

I am sure that I speak for most of us when I say thank you, Barrie. And congratulations for having your outstanding vision, your dedication to excellence and your perseverance in the face of a lot of difficult work. You made it happen.

Today, if we type “Shroud of Turin” into a Google search box, we discover that there are about . . .

  • 869,000 webpages (HTML and PDF, many among dedicated websites)
  • 247,000 videos (admittedly many duplicates)
  • 144,000 blog postings
  • countless images (and countless copies)

Barrie, your website is a treasure trove. And, but and so too is everything about the shroud found elsewhere on the internet. You didn’t create all of that material, Barrie. But in one way or another you inspired it – you inspired us. I regret to inform you, however, are not allowed to tire or retire. You have been too successful to allow that to happen.

What one single characteristic about the shroud . . . ?

imageA 14 year old reader from San Francisco writes:

Is there one single characteristic about the shroud that more than anything else convinces you it is truly Jesus’ burial cloth? How convinced are you? I think both of these questions must be asked together. I will tell you my answers after a few others provide theirs.

I have read most of your blog for the last two years and have read every English language book about the shroud I could find in the public library or for the Kindle. That is certainly most of titles published in this and the previous century. 

The Year of the Bible in Movies: 2014

Jimageonathan Merritt writes in Religion News Service:

The scrappy Christian film industry has been budding for the last several years, proving that people of faith are hungry for content that speaks to the soul. But what many religious films possess in terms of spiritual content, they often lack in star power and budgets. This year, however, big studios such as Sony and Lionsgate are entering the fray by releasing films of, well, biblical proportions. To wit:

“Son of God” | 20th Century Fox (February 2014)
Reality TV pioneer Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey, shocked the world last year when their History Channel series “The Bible” set cable TV records. Now, the Christian power couple has taken footage from that series and partnered with 20th Century Fox to create “Son of God,” a film about Jesus’ life that will doubtlessly attract churchgoing Americans. As the first film on this list to release, it may be helpful box office barometer for the others.

“Noah” | Regency Enterprises (November 2014)
A flood of publicity has already been created around the “Noah” film and its impressive $130 million budget. . . .

“Heaven is For Real” | Sony Pictures (April 2014)
Though not technically a biblical movie, Sony Pictures’ “Heaven is For Real” must also be mentioned because . . . . [Because you will watch it]

“Exodus” | 20th Century Fox (December 2014)
Twentieth Century Fox has kept a tight lid on Ridley Scott’s “Exodus.” All we know is that the film is an adaptation of the biblical story of the ancient Israelite people’s liberation from Egypt. Christian Bale will star as Moses, and Sigourney Weaver will co-star. . . .

“Mary, Mother of Christ” | Lionsgate Films (December 2014)
The long awaited prequel to “The Passion of The Christ” is scheduled to arrive before Christmas after a long set of delays. The cast includes the late Peter O’Toole, Sir Ben Kinglsey, Julia Ormond, and 16-year-old Israeli newcomer Odeya Rush as the holy mother herself. The hefty cast combined with a serious budget from Lionsgate and the backing of several Christian notables (including mega-church pastor Joel Osteen who gets an executive producer credit) give this movie serious box office potential.

The uptick in biblical movies is a testament to the ongoing power of those ancient narratives to capture the hearts and minds of the masses. And it also reminds us that Hollywood is driven by money more than by agendas. The Bible’s stories are an enduring draw, so Hollywood is doing what it has always done best—turning a buck by giving audiences what they want.

2013 was the year of movie flops about the shroud. Remember . . .


Rest in Peace Ian Barbour

Karl Giberson, Ph.D, Professor, Stonehill College writes of his friend in the Huffington Post. Ian Barbour died on Christmas Eve:

imageBarbour [pictured] entered this conversation [of science and religion] as a lone, although uniquely qualified, voice in the 1950s. The conversation he started established to the satisfaction of most scholars in the field that White’s simplistic warfare metaphor was bogus, which was no mean accomplishment. Barbour had a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, earned under the great Enrico Fermi. He also did graduate work in theology and ethics at Yale Divinity School. He taught both religion and physics at Carleton College in Minnesota over the course of a long career that produced over a dozen major books and countless articles.

Barbour’s CV is extraordinary. His 1966 classic Issues in Science & Religion, which I read as an undergraduate, created the vocabulary and categories for the science-and-religion dialogue. He gave two sets of Gifford lectures, published under the titles "Religion in an Age of Science" and "Ethics in an Age of Technology." His modest volume When Science Meets Religion, published in 2000, is a classic text in the field, summarizing a lifetime of hard thinking about important questions. I have used it many times in my classes. Barbour’s books have been used in over 7,500 science-and-religion courses around the world, and countless courses in other fields. I first read Barbour in my undergraduate epistemology class, when we were assigned his book Myths, Models, and Paradigms. His deep understanding of both science and theology allowed him to find parallels in the ways that systems of thought were constructed.

imageIn 1999 Barbour was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, which was long overdue. He donated much of the seven-figure award to the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, CA, where it supports the study of science and religion by a new generation of young scholars.

Barbour was a delightful, effervescent personality, perpetually scurrying from one engagement to the next as if to remind us all that there was important work to be done. I last saw him a decade ago in Nassau, where we were "swimming with dolphins" after a major science-and-religion meeting. He was 80 years old and still looking for adventure.

Few scholars have shaped their field like Ian Barbour. Nothing, in fact, indicates a serious engagement with science and religion like familiarity with Barbour’s ubiquitous scheme of making connections between the two fields.

Wikipedia on Ian Barbour

Religion and Science (Gifford Lectures Series)

Brilliant: The Pause Button with the Rosary Hanging From It


Updated Paper from Yannick Clément

imageYannick Clément writes (I hope he doesn’t mind this bit of a personal note):

I hope you took time to check out the video of my song « Louiseville » (song about the place I live) that I put recently on Youtube! Hope you like the melody and the beat!

I did, and here is the song (hope you don’t mind, it is good).

Also, I want to let you know that I finally got time to add what I consider “the most pertinent quotes” concerning the image formation problem that can be found in the imagerecent paper of Ray Rogers that was published on Barrie’s website (“An alternate hypothesis for the image color”, written in 2001) in my own paper “Raymond N Rogers observations and conclusions concerning the body image that is visible on the Shroud of Turin” and this updated version of my paper can now be read on Shroudnm.com and on the website of the Holy Shroud Guild.

Here’s the 2 links:

So, it would be nice if you could add a topic about that on your blog to let everyone knows that this updated version of my paper is now available on those 2 websites. And it would be good if you could tell people the quote numbers that were updated, which are : 24, 50, 54, 55, 56, 57, 115, 148, 149, 150 and 151.

Yannick, if I shouldn’t put up the video let me know and I’ll take it down (I enjoyed it, very much and Google’s got it).

What did Stephen Jones just say?


Stephen Jones is also commenting on Rep. Rebecca Hamilton’s article 2013 Favs: New Tests Date the Shroud from the Time of Christ in Patheos. Stephen writes:

But as I wrote in my post, "Shroud of Turin News, October 2013:

"But if the Shroud is a deliberate fraud, then it would almost certainly be a work of Satan, and no Church that calls itself Christian should be promoting a deliberate fraud (much less a work of Satan)!"

So I for one do not believe that the Risen Lord Jesus, who sits at the Father’s right hand and controls everything . . . would allow such a convincing fake as the Shroud would then be, to exist.

So 2013 was a great year for the Shroud. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for us Shroud pro-authenticists in 2014?

“So I for one . . . ” is clearly the most profoundly interesting  Shroud of Turin quotation for 2014, so far.

Paper Chase: Z Twist Again

Happy New Year 2014

imageIn November (last year), there was some mention of the use of z-twist in Unraveling Unusual Stitches in the Turin Shroud, in which Charles Freeman is quoted

We next go on to the reference to figs. 111-113 on pages 201-11 of the Masada report. Yes these figs. do exist and on these pages. They all refer to the same fragment of wool. It is picked out and illustrated as it is wool, 2:2, Z twist spin, balanced diamond twill. So except for the Z spin being similar to that of the Shroud , I can’t see why this is relevant- it is not herringbone, linen or 3:1. In the discussion on the origins of the textiles found at Masada (p. 239), this cloth is placed in their group iv. The excavators’ conclusion is that these textiles probably came from northern Europe as this kind of twist (Z) and this kind of pattern is known from examples there. They suggest it may have come in with Roman soldiers who were involved in the crushing of the Masada revolt. I simply cannot see why Wilson provides a reference to a piece of cloth that has absolutely nothing in common with the Shroud except that its thread is Z spun (and thus as the excavators suggest probably spun in northern Europe).

and in Of Similarities: The Tunic of Argenteuil and the Shroud of Turin, in which Grzegorz Gorny is quoted from the book Witnesses to Mystery: Investigations into Christ’s Relics referring to the ‘Tunic of Argenteuil’ (hat tip to Joe Marino for the quotation):

Could that man have been Jesus of Nazareth?  It was confirmed that the tunic was produced using horizontal looms, whose width matched the proportions of those looms used in Christ’s time.  The weave, made using a so-called Z twist, indicates that the robe was probably made in the Near or Middle East.  The fabric’s dye was made of dyer’s madder (Rubia tinctorum), which was in widespread use in ancient times around the Mediterranean Basin.  The dyeing took place before the fabric was woven, and alum was used alongside the dye to dress the cloth.  Both of these practices were common in the first century.

Now, thanks to by Paolo Di Lazzaro, I learn of a report in Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel (vol. 124, Year 2012)

During September 2011, a one-day salvage excavation was conducted at the Sheikh Munis site in Ramat Aviv (Permit No. A-6273; map ref. 181587–667/668248–320; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of student dormitories. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Tel Aviv University . . .

And although z-twist remnants were found in two tombs, the tombs seem to be late Ottoman. How much significance can be drawn from this? But it does raise questions, again, about how much z-twist linen existed in earlier Palestine.

From the report:

Tomb 7–8. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual, identified as a female 20–30 years of age, was discovered. A bundle of linen threads (diam. c. 1 cm; Fig. 6) was discovered in the tomb. The threads were not dyed and of cream color.They were Z-spun, which is not characteristic of the weaving technique in the country during this period. There are green dots of metallic corrosion on the bundle of threads, whichprobably belonged to a textile bead. A similar item was discovered in an excavation at Kefar Sava (‘Atiqot 61:91, Fig. 9).

[ . . . ]

Tomb 37. The tomb contained hamra fill. One burial was discovered, but was not inspected. The tomb was covered with stone slabs (thickness 0.3–0.4 m; Fig. 8).Two copper rings were discovered on one of the fingers of the deceased and two fragments of a ring were lying alongside the hand (Figs. 9, 10). The rings are round hoops and remains of a metal sheet are visible in the center of two of them.Thin hoop rings are characteristic of the Late Ottoman period. A small piece of textile (0.5×1.0 cm; Fig. 11) attached to a bronze ring was discovered in the tomb; the textile was preserved thanks to the corrosion of the metal. The textile is made of undyed linen (it is brown today), is Z-spun, c. 12 threads per sq cm and of medium spinning. The traditional spinning in Israel was S-spun and therefore it is assumed that the textile was imported. The weaving is a plain weave, which is fairly common. The textile probably belonged to a shroud.

Israel Antiquities Authority logo

“For Sure Someone is Lying Here” — Talk About Chumming the Comment Pool

clip_image001When O.K. wrote his comment to This may be the Shroud of Turin Story of the Year, I thought that this needed to be its own thread, fast. But it was New Years’ Eve. It can wait to morning. Okay the ball has dropped and I’m still awake. Here goes.

(No. Rebecca Hamilton is not the story of 2013. Fanti’s methods, rightly or wrongly were. Maybe we can get to the bottom of the Caltech story in 2014. That would be a great story of the year. Or do I hear a big groan?)

Okay, so, O.K. wrote:

You mention the weird, unverified, undocumented [claim] that a secret test was made of an unauthorised, unverified thread by a scientist improperly making use of an AMS machine out-of-hours, mysteriously coming up with two dates, 800 years apart, with an average of 600AD. I wish I knew more about it, but it says nothing about the regular process of C14 dating as a procedure, and still less about the conduct of the three official laboratories. If it suggests anything, it does not suggest a splice, but a 7th century Byzantine fake.

If you haven’t heard about this already, check this: http://www.shroud.com/late02.htm (see “Caltech Responds To Benford/Marino Claims”).

Actually the story is repeated by several sources, for example Mark Antonacci’s Ressurrection of the Shroud as well as 1993 Zenon Ziółkowski book Spór o Całun Turyński. There were witnesses for that claim, and although Caltech and Rossman deny this took place, I hardly believe it. We can be certain one thing, FOR SURE SOMEONE IS LYING HERE!

Here for your “fair use” convenience is the bit from Barrie’s site, ca 2002.

Caltech Responds To Benford/Marino Claims

In my August 16, 2002 update (see below), I included several new Shroud papers by Sue Benford and Joseph Marino, as well as reprinting an article that had originally appeared in Il Messaggero, a major Rome newspaper. The Benford/Marino paper claimed that an unauthorized age dating of the Shroud of Turin took place in 1982, and stated that the work was done by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Il Messaggero article quoted Benford and Marino on this matter.

On October 1, 2002, I received an e-mail letter from Mr. Adam Cochran, the Intellectual Property Counsel of Caltech, which I am reprinting here in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Schwortz

I am writing to bring to your attention a number of misstatements that appear on your web site, regarding the involvement of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Caltech Professor George R. Rossman in unauthorized age-dating studies on threads from the Shroud of Turin. These statements are not true.

Specifically, under the heading "Late Breaking News," there is a report from the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero in which the following text appears:

"In 1982 a thread of the Raes sample had already been dated with a radiocarbon method at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech (sic))."

Elsewhere on your site, there is a PDF file entitled:

"Textile Evidence Supports Skewed Radiocarbon Date of Shroud of Turin (by) M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino" which states:

"Unauthorized dating of Raes thread
Heller delivered the thread to the California Institute of Technology (CalTech (sic)) for dating by world-renowned mineralogist Dr. George R. Rossman . . . . Rossman cut the thread in half and, using what Adler described as Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTMS), dated each end of the thread separately. . . . Rossman found that the non-contaminated end of the thread dated to 200 AD while the starched end dated to 1200 AD. . . . . In a personal conversation with one of the authors (Benford), Rossman confirmed that he was, indeed, the person who carried out the 1982 C-14 testing on the Raes thread provided by Adler."

The truth is that Dr. Rossman has never worked on the Shroud of Turin (or threads from it), nor have members of his research group. He has never been involved in age-dating studies and has no expertise in the area. Furthermore, the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences has never had FTMS instruments. In fact, to my knowledge no one at Caltech has ever done 14-C age-dating work at the Institute. The interview alleged to have occurred between Dr. Rossman and the author of one of the articles, in fact, never happened.

We ask that you annotate the above mentioned Late Breaking News and Benford/Marino articles to indicate Caltech’s position by linking to this letter, which is posted on your site. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Adam Cochran
The Intellectual Property Counsel
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California 91125

After agreeing to publish the Caltech letter, I contacted Sue Benford and Joseph Marino and asked them to provide additional clarification of the claims that they made in their paper. This is their response:

On Sept. 12, 2002, p. 15, Il Messegaro (Rome, Italy) reported correspondence they had received from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) regarding a 1982 unauthorized dating of a thread from the Shroud of Turin. In the article, Caltech representatives argued that "Neither Prof. Rossman nor any other group of research on behalf of the Caltech have ever carried out a study on the Shroud or on a sample of thread taken from it." It is our understanding that Caltech has submitted a similar statement for posting on the shroud.com website. As the discoverers of the details related to this testing, we would like to take this opportunity to respond to this statement with some facts.

The original source of our information about the California Institute of Technology’s test, was from former Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) chemist Dr. Alan Adler in an audiotaped interview between him and Mark Antonacci on 28 December 1988. This source is cited in our paper (www.shroud.com/pdfs/textevid.pdf). Not only does the tape reveal the institution performing the test, but also refers to Dr. Rossman as the person who did the testing. On the tape, Adler further describes Rossman as a leading expert in the niche area of "moon rocks." A review of Rossman’s publications on the Caltech website indicates several publications in this subject area; thus, confirming his identity (see below for a partial listing).

In order to obtain more information about the 1982 testing procedure and to verify Adler’s statements, we contacted Rossman by telephone on June 30, 2002. He acknowledged having done the 1982 age-dating test but quickly ended the conversation stating he wanted no further communication about the Shroud.

In addition to the audiotape of Adler’s interview, we also have the phone records documenting our two brief phone calls to Rossman’s home on the date specified. Further, immediately following these two calls, we talked to Barrie Schwortz and relayed the specifics of the Rossman communication. In addition, the portion of the audiotape describing the 1982 testing was played for Dr. William Meacham, who asked for verification of the details in our paper.

It is important to note that Caltech has refuted our claims without first attempting to contact us seeking verification of our evidence. Should any of the Caltech representatives, including Dr. Rossman, wish to hear the audiotape in question, we would be happy to play it for them. We hope this helps to clarify the facts in this situation.

M. Sue Benford and Joseph Marino

Partial listing of Rossman’s lunar ("moon rock") publications:

Bell PM, Mao HK, Rossman GR (1975) Absorption spectroscopy of ionic and molecular units in crystals and glasses. In Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy of Lunar and Terrestrial Minerals, C. Karr, Jr., ed., Academic Press, New York, 1-38.

Rossman GR (1977) Optical absorption spectra of major minerals in Luna 24 sample 24170 (abstract). Lunar Science Institute, Conference on Luna 24, Houston, Texas. December. Abs.: Conference on Luna 24, Lunar Science Institute, 156-159.

Taylor LA, Rossman GR, Qu Q (1995) Where has all the lunar water gone? (abstract). Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf. March, 1995.

Posted October 15, 2002