Lawrence E. Schauf, a STERA director and former federal prosecutor, has written an interesting article on the Shroud: “Trial of the Shroud of Turin, Is it an image of Christ? You decide.”
You must download this issue of the magazine as a PDF file for $3.95 in order to read it. It is worth it.
Imagine this hypothetical scenario: The Shroud of Turin is stolen from its home in Turin, Italy, and brought by the thief to the United States, where it’s recovered by the FBI. A grand jury charges the defendant with stealing an authentic and priceless relic, which is a felony. The defendant has pleaded not guilty, alleging the cloth is a mere curiosity—a worthless fraud.
After three weeks, the trial reaches closing arguments. Each side seeks to have the jurors recall the evidence most favorable to its position. The prosecution carries the heaviest legal burden, since it must establish the defendant’s guilt by establishing the authenticity of the Shroud “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Therefore, procedure dictates that the prosecution addresses the jury both first and last.
And so it goes for several well written, compelling and lavishly illustrated pages. The text (represented by the ellipses below) in support of each of these major points is important.
- First, there is no possibility that the Shroud is “just a painting.” . . .
- Second, there is no possibility whatsoever that the image on the Shroud is a scorch. . . .
- Third, there is no possibility that the Shroud image is a rubbing of iron oxide. . . .
- Fourth, there is no possibility that the Shroud is a medieval photograph. . . .
- Lastly, there is also no possibility that the Shroud is medieval in origin, even though much of the world has been deceived into believing so. . . .
Schauf draws to a close on the last point above, the carbon dating:
Conclusion: There is overwhelming evidence that the sample used for the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin was anomalous and did not represent the main body of the Shroud cloth. The 1988 C-14 test results that declared the cloth was medieval in origin should be set aside due to their use of an invalid sample.
He draws to a close on the whole matter of authenticity:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if the Shroud of Turin was anything other than the burial cloth and image of Jesus, no one would question its antiquity and authenticity. . . .
Did the prosecution make the case that the shroud is authentic? I’m not sure. There must be a legal term for it, when a juror casts his vote with the prosecution even though he doesn’t think the case was made. That is how I feel. I’ve got my own arguments. That is a problem with the shroud. I think of it as a wonderful problem, however.
Anyway, the article is a must read. Too bad it is behind a pay wall. You must download this issue of the magazine as a PDF file for $3.95 to read it. It is worth it.
BTW: Schauf is also working to produce a feature-length movie titled The Shroud.
Mostly warmed over STURP and not very up to date. Scorch discussion limited to fact that scorched linen will fluoresce and mocking Joe Nickell. What about Colin Berry, not that he is right. Article will also piss off many Italians.. Sorry, I’m not pleased.
It’s fun, but, as any such reconstruction by one or other of the chief attorneys must almost inevitably be, it’s hopelessly biased. The article begins with that famous quotation from Walsh that is so simplistic as to be fatuous. “Either the most awesome and instructive relic … or one of the most ingenious, most unbeleivably clever products of the human mind … there is no middle ground.” This is transparent nonsense, and, while attempting from the start to prejudice the impartial reader in favour of the shroud, predudices me in exactly the other direction.
Sadly (and of course a realistic ‘transcript’ would be far too long to include in a magazine article) we cannot read of the examination, and cross examination, of the witnesses. We hear that “experts” have established the journey of the Shroud from 1st century Jerusalem to 21st century Turin, but we do not read how they established it, or how the defence attorney queried it. We hear Zugibe’s, Piczek’s, Marino and Benford’s and Rogers’s evidence, but we do not hear how they responded to cross-examination. We even read that the radiocarbon dating was “likely fraudulent” without any evidence at all.
But Shauf’s biggest error (and being a lawyer he may have made it deliberately) was to make the defence speech exactly the opposite of what he said it had to be at the beginning, namely an attempt to demonstrate how the shroud was made. He explains on on the first page that “the prosecution … must establish the defendant’s guilt … beyond reasonable doubt.” It is therefore quite unnecessary for the defence to attempt to provide alternative explanations, and the list Shauf presents is both incomplete and over-simplistic. If I were defending the putative thief, I would not bother with them at all. I certainly would not attempt to prove that one or other of them was the truth. But I would convince the jury that not a single one of the pages of evidence supporting the authenticity of the shroud was proof beyond reasonable doubt, and although many of them would instinctively think I was wrong, my client would walk free!
Yes its a bit like the argument that goes “Jesus was either the Son of God or mad”. There are of course other possibilities.
The existing evidence would result in a hung jury.
Where is the mention of the blood and serum stains evidence? I repeat myself again and again but this is crucial. In fact, this is where the main argument lies concerning the authenticity of the Shroud and sadly, most people forget or don’t pay too much attention to such an important aspect of the Shroud. It’s always the image that retain attention over the rest and I think this is a wrong way to understand this relic and, by extension, to analyse the question of its authenticity.
Brad & Barrie,
This online article about my article came as a surprise to me.
Who is charging for the download of the article??!
The Catholic Answers Online Shop sells digital copies of Catholic Answers, and that’s who gets the money. If this is your first time on shroudstory.com, have a browse through it, it’s packed with interesting ideas.
Catholic Answers in the normal course of business is selling individual PDFs of the entire magazine for $3.95. If you have a link to a free copy or can provide a copy to me in PDF format for posting on this blog, I will be happy to provide this information to others. It is really too bad when articles like yours get locked up behind pay walls.
BTW, no sooner had I purchased the article, I received an email solicitation asking me to contribute to Catholic Answers Forum. It read, in part:
“Catholic Answers Forums is a valuable service for people everywhere. It provides information, companionship, and the chance to grow closer to God.
“But it needs your help to stay online and keep helping people. Specifically: It needs to raise $70,000.
“That’s why we’re writing to you . . .”
If Catholic answers cost $70,000 imagine how much the questions must be!
Is Catholic Answers a business or a charity? In addition to passing the.hat they sell cruises, books and DVDs. They call themselves a lay-run apostolates of Catholic apologetics and evangelization.
Another good example of what I call “Jesus inc.” Everything that surround Christ is one of the biggest business in the world, particularly in the USA (but not in Québec no more where the Churchmen were once almost the only native “elite” over 99% of the poor people. Things have changed drastically during the 60s up until today where the Church here is literally dying)…
The Québec clergymen of the pre-60s era are the biggest responsible for the slow death of the Catholic Church in Québec. I guess this is pretty much the same thing elsewhere in Occident, but certainly not as drastical as it is here. Quebecers have a tendency to go to the extreme a bit more than the average person… :-)
They do some good work, but they are primarily a business at this point. The founder and his subordinates all get a good salary, so I don’t know why they are in such need of funds.
The defense attorney is this hypothetical scenario failed to mention the possibility Gnostics created the Holy Shroud in the 1st or 2nd century using methods that have been lost to history. There is more evidence for this than there is for authenticity because it gives a partial explanation of how the image was created. However, what is really wrongheaded about article is that there is no need to decide whether or not the Shroud is authentic. Since there is no need to decide, you can’t accuse someone of having bad judgment for not deciding the Shroud is authentic. The only decision that has to be made is whether or not to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God or will be at the end of time. In this decision, you can’t criticize the judgment of people who don’t believe because you can’t see the truth of it. We believe in life after death because God is telling us. Faith is both a decision and a gift from God.
If there is any evidence for this palaver, (i.e. that the Gnostics did it) then by all means, present it. Otherwise it is simply that: nonsense.
The evidence is 1) There were a lot of Gnostics in Edessa; 2) Gnostics said that Pilate painted a picture of Jesus; 3) a tomb in Rome contains a Shroud-like painting probably owned by Gnostics; 4) Gnostics were morally capable of crucifying someone to get an image.
1) The fact of there being “a lot of gnostics in edessa” ,when scrutinized, reveals itself as piddling. This is merely concomitant to the Shroud’s torturous path.
2) “Pilate painted a picture of Jesus”? Again, this is a specious anecdote. Of course, this largely hinging upon mere structural similarities.
3)”[…] owned by the Gnostics”. Anecdotal. Once again, this is a mere (once again) structural similarity. Also, inform yourself on the substratal logical fallacies, with special observance on “non-sequitur” and “red herring”.
4) No. Inform yourself on necessities of Gnostic theology. Which, of course, requires some basic knowledge of Neo-Platonism and Platonism. But, let me state here, (courtesy of http://www.theopedia.com/Gnosticism): “Lastly, as far as most scholars know, Gnostics considered themselves Christians and saw Jesus as a heavenly messenger. However, they rejected the idea of God becoming incarnate (God becoming a man), dying and rising bodily. “These beliefs were considered unspiritual and against true wisdom because they entangled spirit with matter.” Most Gnostics believe that whoever entered Jesus at his baptism left him before he died on the cross.”
Just to keep the record straight, there is a fifth bit of evidence that I already mentioned: 5) there is a detailed image and images are always created by humans. This means there is more evidence against authenticity than for authenticity. However, I am not making the judgment that the Shroud was done by Gnostics. I am not saying your judgment is poor. I am saying you should keep your ideas about authenticity to yourself. I see no need to decide whether or not the Shroud is authentic.
Once you have presented a cogent, unambiguous argument (unlike the one you presented me) for this palaver, then I may consider it.
Anybody new to David’s ideas would do well to search for Roemer and Gnostics at site:shroudstory.com, where they are comprehensiviely discussed. I wouldn’t want to go over it again unless some new evidence is adduced.
How can anyone of gnosis respect DR’s drivel?
Drivel is what you get from atheists. My guess is that you think atheists just have poor judgment. You wouldn’t dare say to Richard Dawkins to his face that his books are drivel.
RD is intelligent, however one does not have to agree with him about everything and he can be highly prejudiced. When we come to gnostics, it must also be said that there are different kinds, and this is not the first time that they have been brought into the realm of Shroud studies:
The “Hymn of the Pearl” is attributed to the GNOSTIC-CHRISTIAN Bardaisan, a notable Syriac hymnodist who lived in Edessa at the time of King Abgar VIII the Great at the turn of the 2nd to 3rd centuries. The hymn is interpolated into the ‘Acts of Judas Thaddeus’ written in Edessa. The hymn tells how a prince the son of a king is divested of his shining robe, and is sent into Egypt to wrest a pearl from a serpent. He succeeds in snatching the pearl from the serpent, he returns home, and his robe now seems to be an image of himself. It is clearly an analogy of Christ sent to redeem humanity from Satan.
“On a sudden, as I faced it, The garment seemed to me like a mirror of myself. I saw it all in my whole self, Moreover I faced my whole self in (facing) it, For we were two in distinction And yet again one in one likeness. And the image of the King of kings Was depicted in full all over it…”
It would therefore seem that Bardaisan had seen the full body image of the Shroud at the time that Bishop Avercius Marcellus, primate of Hieropolis, was sent by Pope Eleutherius to baptize Abgar VIII and his court at Abgar’s request, and given temporary custody of the Shroud from Antioch using it as a kind of visual aid for his mission. Other royal scribes wrote up the incident as an analogy, the ‘Doctrine of Addai’, including it in the royal archives, and relating it to an earlier king Abgar V Ukkama, to conceal its true meaning from the despotic anti-christian emperor Septimius Severus who succeeded the more tolerant emperor Commodus in 193AD, after the baptisms had occurred.
It would seem that the noted Gnostic-Christian Bardaisan considered the Shroud image as authentic enough for him to write his hymn, and it would therefore seem to give the lie to any hypothesis that the Shroud was some kind of synthetic artifact created using some unknown and unspecified process by any Gnostic technologist of the 2nd century.
Are you aware of the fact that two books were written by atheists using the authenticity of the Holy Shroud to explain the Resurrection of Jesus historically? Bardaisan was simply venerating the Holy Shroud, as I do. Venerating the Shroud is not evidence that the Shroud is authentic. The Shroud is a sign. It is a reason to believe in Jesus, and is part of our salvation history. Saying the Shroud is authentic is misrepresenting our salvation history.
I consider that David Roemer’s concept of logic is deeply flawed.
“Are you aware of the fact that two books were written by atheists using the authenticity of the Holy Shroud to explain the Resurrection of Jesus historically?”
Equally it can also be said that many Christians see in the ‘authenticity of the Shroud’ a conclusive proof of the Resurrection: the fact that the image had to be formed within 40 hours of death, has not been distorted or effaced by subsequent corruption, and yet there is no body. The fact that atheists may use the Shroud to interpret and rationalise the scriptural texts as an explanation of what the women and apostles believed about the resurrection is no argument. Christians have recourse to the Scriptures to explain their belief, and yet the devil may also quote scripture, check out the Temptation of Jesus in the desert recorded in Matthew.
I first came across the “Hymn of the Pearl” during the 1980s while studying ‘Ancient Religions’ under Dr Brian Colless of the Religious Studies Dept of Massey University in NZ, and using his own translations of several ancient texts from a variety of sources, Babylonian, Iranian, Phoenician and others.
Dr Colless has a view that the ‘Hymn of the Pearl’ may in fact be Iranian and does not seem to consider the possibility that it is Syriac, that it may even be more Christian than Gnostic, but that may be arguable. It is not necessarily a view held by other experts in ancient literatures. For example Markwardt cites sources that attribute it to Bardaisan, the notable Christian-Gnostic hymnodist of Edessa during the reign of Abgar VIII. For the full text of the Colless’ translation of the entire poem, followed by his own particular interpretation as a Christian text see:
What is “proof of the resurrection”? The Resurrection is both an historical event and an object of faith. There are two kinds of knowledge: faith and reason. In reason, we know something is true because we can see the truth of it. In faith, we know something is true because God is telling us. That Jesus is alive in a new life with God is a matter of faith. I am giving you my reasons for believing in Jesus and am summoning you to believe. I am not going to criticize your judgment if you decide not to believe. However, I am demanding that you agree Jesus rose from the dead. It is an historical fact that everyone accepts. If you don’t admit it you have bad judgment or are ignorant. I have two reasons to believe: 1) the Resurrection and 2) the Holy Shroud. You have only one reason 1) the Resurrection. Like Cardinal Dolan, you are giving arguments against faith even as you profess your faith.
Larry’s presentation is quite excellent no matter what side of the line one falls. He presents what he has been able to understand as the best arguments for both sides. He is also an authentically nice man.
Larry the Shroud is not a painting at all, it has no paint but human blood staines.
Not even Turin or Rome mix things up by associating Shroud with Resurrection. How can that be done when the relic is not an article of faith and the Church is still waiting for more information on provenance?
Another mistake is to lump all gnostics together, which demonstrates ignorance of ancient history. There were several kinds of gnostics and their true mark is syncretism, Bar Daisan (Bardesanes) was not Christian in the true sense of the word and incorporated even reincarnation in his belief system, which he is believed to have derived from India. There were other groups with even more different beliefs, and one of them unfortunately became a topic in the realm of Shroud studies, with no justification:
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