If the shroud is a forgery, where are its precedents?

imageYesterday, Stephen Jones copy-pasted a complete essay by Danusha Goska from the pages of shroud.com thus making it more accessible. The essay, in two short paragraphs, contains one of the most powerful reasons for being quite sure that the image is not a scorch or a photograph or any sort of medieval Rube Garlaschelli Goldberg creation:

Items of expressive culture are not found in isolation. They are not found without evidence of practice. If one excavates an ancient site and finds one pot, one finds other pots like it, and the remains of failed or broken pots in middens.

If the shroud is a forgery, where are its precedents? Where are the other forged shrouds like it? Where is there evidence of practice shrouds of this type? If the technology to create the shroud was available in medieval Europe, where are other products of this technology? Humankind is an exhaustively exploitative species. We make full use of any technology we discover, and leave ample evidence of that use. . . .

You will never convince the world with mere science if you ignore the realities of history.

Picture: Annunciation to Mary, 14th century stained glass, Regensburg Cathedral, Germany

Upcoming Talks by David Rolfe

imageDavid Rolfe has two upcoming talks. One is at St Joseph’s Church, Maidenhead at 7:30 pm Good Friday 18th April. 

On May 16th, at 7:00 pm he will be at the Gulbenkian Theatre at the University of Kent, in Canterbury. I understand that there will be a reception with refreshments at 6:30 prior to David’s talk

David also informs me that the 2010 Exposition film may be download at: http://www.shroud-enigma.com/Shop/Shop.php and that until Easter you can get it at half price, that is £5.99 less 50% = £2.99.  They just need to enter the code SS2014

Happy Passover


imageElon Gilad has an interesting write up on Passover in Haaretz this morning:

Once the house is clean, a large meal is prepared. Jews in Israel and the Diaspora of varying levels of religiosity assemble round the table and enjoy a scripted holiday meal.

The Haggadah

The script of the meal is contained in a book called the Haggadah (“the telling”), which dictates the evening’s proceedings.

The Haggadah wasn’t written by any one person or group. Rather, it evolved over the centuries, beginning in the years after the destruction of the Second Temple and to this very day.

While the major parts of the Haggadah remain the same, variations arose based on culture, local tradition and the like. As for the evolution of the book still taking place – there has been a virtual explosion of versions in recent generations, including versions for feminists, for the LGBT community, and so on. There are even versions for atheists that leave the Lord entirely out of the process.

The major objective of the evening is to retell the story of the exodus of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt, as told in the Book of Exodus. This is traditionally believed to have taken place in 1,313 B.C.E.

Most of the Haggadah is in Hebrew, though some parts are in Aramaic. It tells the story of the Exodus, with foods serving as props.

Picture: A Passover Haggadah from Vienna, 1930. Photo by Reuters

Russ Breault in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday

imageSt. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saratoga Springs, New York, is announcing:

Shroud Encounter

Starts: April 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Ends: April 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

On Wednesday April 16th St Paul’s will welcome Russ Breault for a presentation of Shroud Encounter at 7 pm, followed by a reception at 8:30 pm.

Shroud Encounter is a dramatic big screen experience and in-depth exploration into the mysteries of the Shroud of Turin. Using a CSI approach, audiences are taken on a thought provoking adventure through early church history, ancient art, modern science, and medical forensics.

Could the Shroud be the most important archaeological artifact ever found, or is it just a medieval fake? Does it provide clues to what happened during the crucifixion and resurrection, or is it just a pious art work created to represent these events? After thousands of hours of scientific analysis, the Shroud remains a profound mystery.

Tickets are required and can be obtained through the church office.

Join us for what promises to be an interesting, thought-provoking, and even entertaining evening!

Logo for the 2015 Exposition: l’Amore più grande

The Greatest Love


BING Translation of undated press release as it appeared at Santa Sindone website yesterday:

The face of the shroud

ready the logo of exposition 2015

The custodian of the shroud. Cesare Nosiglia presents tonight at Parco Ruffini, within the Diocesan youth Celebration, the official logo of the exposition 2015. The graphic trade mark was chosen and Armando Testa Agency developed starting from ideas of young torinesi (groups of students of the Accademia Albertina, and boys participating in the walk of the Diocesan Synod of young).


The logo A face that invokes the human traits of the shroud; the word Shroud and 2015 the motto love bigger. A background consisting of variations of color reminiscent of the sindonico tissue; the arrangement of text and colors in space suggests the image of the cross. These are the elements of the logo for the exposition 2015 presented tonight around 20.45, within the Diocesan Celebration of youth, at Palasport Ruffini Park.


Young The logo is launched at the Festival of young people because it was made by young people. In recent months of February and March, groups of students of the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino and young people participating in the Synod’s coordinated by the youth of the diocese have worked to create a graphic sign that draws the contents of the tagline and theme of the exposition.

The custodian of the shroud. Nosiglia had launched the proposal, for the exposition of young people came from their ideas for the interpretation that will be at the base of the graphic identity of the exposition. We wanted a product that could join the youth creativity and reflection on the meaning of the exposition and the Shroud in a new context, in the light of the chosen motto love bigger, taken from the Gospel of John.

The motto wants to highlight how God’s love for men the same love of Jesus Christ. And donate life discover his true vocation of men and women, in any condition, even in difficult situations of suffering and illness that afflict us.


The creative path-The youth worked either alone or in groups, with the accompaniment of the Academy’s lecturers and experts in Youth Ministry.

Jobs products were reviewed by a Committee chaired by Archbishop they belonged to members of the Committee and of the Diocesan Commission for the shroud. The most interesting works judged 4, whose authors will be featured tonight at the party of young people, were subjected to the experts of the Armando Testa Agency, which made the necessary changes to give the work a professional character. The Armando Testa Agency has offered its advice.


Info about Exposition: press@sindone.org

Faces of Jesus: Is a Shroud of Turin Genre Evolving?

clip_image001Melanie Jean Juneau, a mother on nine, has put up a collection of faces of Jesus, most derived from the Shroud of Turin in one way or another.

Does anyone know the artist of the last picture in her posting. I’ve seen it but that is all I know about it.

I think the portraits of Jesus based on the Shroud of Turin resemble the famous painting by Akiane that Cotton Burpo*, the boy who supposedly visited heaven, claims looks like Jesus. The upcoming movie about his visit should stir that up quite a bit.

Here is what Melanie says about the faces:

This first image is a 3-D image of the Risen Christ. from an image of The Shroud Of Turin.i Beside it is the shroud of Turin overlaid on the Sinai icons. In the second row both of the small light images on the left are called the Real Face of Jesus and are not a paintings but computer generated images from the Shroud of Turin, as seen on History Channel. The image on the right, in the second row is an actual painting but once again based on the Shroud. The last. large work of art is  also based on the shroud.large painting is beautiful, capturing a strong man with deep, compassionate eyes.Don’t think I’ve ever seen this painting of Jesus. I am not sure of the artist but it is my favorite.

What do you think? Is a new Shroud of Turin genre evolving?

* Wikipedia: Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back is a 2010 New York Times best-selling Christian book written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. It was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The book documents the report of a near-death experience by Burpo’s then-four-year-old son, Colton. The book tells how the boy began saying he had visited heaven.

By April 2012 over one million ebooks had been sold.[1] A movie based off the book, Heaven Is for Real, is scheduled for release April 16, 2014.

Christian Post: The skeptic inside of us may knee-jerk away from going to see "Heaven Is for Real." However, may I suggest fighting that impulse and instead, taking yourself to see an extremely powerful movie that, in the end, is a movie about our own questions regarding life and the life-after.

The movie is about our humanness because nearly all of us question where it is we go when we die. We may not be part of a pastor’s family, and surely most of us have never had a near-death experience, but we go about our lives doing much like the Burpo family portrayed in the movie, doing the best they can at making sense of things in day-to-day living, until the unexplainable happens.

Another Enduring Belief Question: Jesus in the Nude

But can’t we argue that a nude jesus was still and extraordinary rarity

imageJoe Marino wrote last night:

There have been several discussions on the blog recently regarding long-held Shroud beliefs, e.g, whether the bloodstains went on the cloth before the image and re finding out the VP-8 image analyzer wasn’t actually used by NASA.

I saw the May/June issue of Biblical Archaeology Review at work and noticed a letter to the editor that pertains to another enduring belief:  that early and medieval artists never depicted Jesus in the nude (and thus the nude Shroud image was a point in favor of authenticity).

And here is the letter to the editor:

Crucifixion in the Nude:

I was quite taken by the two fascinating articles on crucifixion in your March/April 2013 issue.  One was Larry W. Hurtado’s Staurogram:  Earliest Depiction of Jesus’ Crucifixion,” the other Ben Witherington III’s “Images of Crucifixion:  Fresh Evidence.”  I was especially intrigued that two of the earliest crucifixions depicted men who were crucified in the nude.  While I have nothing to add to the early pictorial history of crucifixion, your readers might be interested to learn that there is at least one depiction of Christ, crucified in the nude, although he did not stay that way very long.  The illustration occurs on a Spanish polyptych painted in Barcelona in about 1350 ascribed to Ferrer Bassa and family.  In one panel he hangs on the cross nude.  In a subsequent panel he is clothed with a loincloth.  The episode is based on a devotional text (1), according to which he “is stripped, and is now nude before all he multitude for the third time, his wounds reopened by the adhesion of his garments to his flesh.  Now for the first tie the Mother beholds her Son thus taken and prepared for the anguish of death.  She is saddened and shamed beyond measure when she sees him entirely nude:  They did not leave him even his loincloth.  Therefore she hurries and approached the Son, embraces him, and girds him with the veil from her head ..”

This devotional text clearly inspired the artist.  The polyptych is permanently on view in Morgan’s study at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.


imageI believe that the devotional text is pseudo-Bonaventure’s Meditationes passionis Christi; Devote meditatione sopra la passione del nostro Signore.

But can’t we argue that a nude jesus was still an extraordinary rarity

Palm Sunday


Icon by Fr. Theodore Jurewicz, Master Iconographer at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Indifferent to gravity, Jesus’ hair floomfs out and falls to his shoulders


imageTwo years ago, Stephen Wagner, in his role as“Paranormal Phenomenon Guide” for the web publication About.com, wrote an article titled, Why the Shroud of Turin is Fake. I mentioned it in this blog on April 2, 2012. I thought it was silly. I still do.

Just yesterday, Stephen tells us that one of his readers named Robert has responded with his own ideas about why the shroud is probably not authentic.

Instead, what we see on the shroud is an image that projects from a complex shape all in one direction – that is, toward the perspective of an observer. There is focus, definition, proportion, all codified through the perspective of an observer. It’s how we’re used to seeing things, so people don’t pick up on it as an anomaly or error, but it’s not at all how the image must appear if it’s what it purports to be.

The shroud image requires that the shroud rose up above Jesus, stretched itself smooth and taut, and then a signal rose up from his body and headed toward a focus. No energy was scattered, it all just went one way and one way only – toward the eye of the viewer. And as it passed through the hovering, smooth sheet, it imprinted information only on the superficial fibers, somehow carrying along with it some understanding of its own distance traveled, so that it could render an artistic coding of the depth dimension, in terms of shadowing, etc.


The idea is fairly absurd, on its face, but let’s imagine that that happened. The sheet rises up in a ghostly manner, and smooths itself out. Oh wait – it’s attached at the top, where it doubles back around under the body. So it can’t rise up to get some distance for the photo. Also, the goo and the gore which is in nice registry with the image, wouldn’t correspond in that way if the image was formed out of contact with the body.

There are all sorts of problems with the shroud. Jesus is lying on his back, having been through a very rough day, and yet his hair is not only fluffy and nicely styled, and not only projects its own image directly upward to the sheet, but it is indifferent to the effects of gravity. His hair is the hair of someone standing up. It floomfs out and falls to his shoulders. The hair of someone who’s been bleeding and sweating all day and is lying on his back, doesn’t look like that, even if we imagine that he was carefully shampooed, rinsed, and blow-dried.

And how does Robert address the fact that nobody can explain how the image was formed?

"How was it made?" is a pretty tough question to answer about nearly anything – we don’t even know exactly how cigarettes are made because the manufacturers don’t want us to know.

[ . . . ]

My own feeling is that the image was meant to be ghostly and suggestive (though records show that it was much brighter and clearer at the time of its creation than it is now), and that it was really the now-mostly-vanished gore that was painted on that was the "image" seen centuries ago.

[ . . . ]

Someone figured out how to reverse color scale, liked the strangeness of images made that way, and realized how perfect that technique would be for a magical "picture".

Anything new? Is Robert the new L’enfant Terrible of skeptical explanations?

A Gift to the Shroud of Turin Blogosphere from Stephen Jones

thank you, Stephen

imageStephen writes in a posting titled, The Shroud of Turin: A gift to our proof-demanding era?

Today I came across a reference to this 1973 article by Ian Wilson in the Catholic Herald. I could not find it webbed as text anywhere, even by the Catholic Herald. So I decided to laboriously convert it from images to text for my own use. But then I thought I might as well post it on my blog!

If we wanted to read Ian Wilson’s article in the Catholic Herald, “A gift to our proof-demanding era?”, before Stephen converted it for us, and we still can by clicking here, we would soon come to the first new paragraph of the second column in linotype:

In the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace is an unusual icon, itself not more than three centuries old, but expressing in pictorial form a legendary story of considerable antiquity. The centre-piece, a likeness of Christ’s face seen imprinted on a cloth, at first sight bears a remarkable resemblance to our familiar Veronica.

As the inscription tells us, however, this is the Holy Mandylion, a reputedly miraculous piece of linen first brought to the Syro-Turkish city of Edessa (now Urfa) during the very first century of the Christian era. It was instrumental in the conversion of many of Edessa’s chief citizens, including the petty king or toparch, Abgar V, an authentic contemporary of Christ. reigning from AD 13-50. But persecution broke out and shortly after the cloth disappeared. its whereabouts remaining unknown until the sixth century AD when it was discovered sealed inside a niche in the city’s walls.

Without hesitation it was hailed as the miraculously created true likeness of Christ and so coveted by the emperors of Byzantium that in 944 a bargain was sealed with Edessa’s Arab masters for the relic’s transfer.

It is easy, however to read the full article on Stephen’s blog by reading his posting, The Shroud of Turin: A gift to our proof-demanding era?

Note: Click the icon above for a larger version.

thank you, Stephen. I know how laborious this can be.


Petrus Soons to Present His Scientific Research at the University of Miami

if these images are truly scientific, then the unexplained screams out to be explained.

imageeVeritas: News for the Faculty and Staff of the University of Miami, reports that a 3D Exhibition on Shroud of Turin Visits Campus April 14:

UM’s Catholic Campus Ministry, along with the Franciscans of Mary, Missionaries of Gratitude, will present the 3D-hologram exhibit, “The Holy Shroud—the Burial Cloth of Christ,” and a lecture by its creator at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 14, on the University Center Patio.

At the event, which is open to students, faculty, and staff, Dutch scientist Petrus Soons will present his scientific research on the images of Christ on the shroud.

For more information on Soons and the history and creation of the Holy Shroud of Turin in 3D, visit http://shroud3d.com/.  For more information on the event, please contact Michelle Ducker at michelle@ucatholic.org or Lourdes Wolf Marenus at lwolf@miami.edu.

As some of you know, I certainly have real reservations about Petrus Soons’ 3D work., that statement being the title of a posting from November 2012 in which I wrote what follows (below the line).

Bernardo Galmarini, “the 3D expert that produced the conversion from 2D to 3D,” writes on the shroud3d site [which is Petrus Soons’ site]:

I thought at first, that in this more scientific conversion, the hidden information in the Shroud (3D information in the gray-scale), would be a nuisance or obstacle to produce a human representation of the face, and that I would have to struggle continuously against this. Strangely enough, this hidden scientific information in the Shroud became the key and the basis for this work, reducing my artistic work to only softening the “holes” and deformities (caused surely by the passing of time) and the adapting to what this scientific version commands you to do: filling in and normalizing the “holes” or “dead areas” in the hidden information of the linen. For example: the areas without information in the forehead have been corrected following the surrounding gray-scale with coherent information and with a normal human forehead in mind. This process was helped by the fact, that the central zone of the forehead and the bony structure of the orbits contain very coherent information and that of course was taken as a guideline.

That statement lacks needed clarity. There are certainly holes and deformities. Why is not clear in most cases. It seems completely unjustified to speculate that these are caused by the passing of time. Without knowing how the image was formed, without knowing much about how the shroud was stored or displayed over many centuries, we shouldn’t make such guesses.

bandinginfaceExactly what are the holes and deformities? They have not been detailed on the website. The bloodstains certainly are a problem and to make adjustments for these is perhaps warranted. But what about other deformities? How is the problem of banding addressed? Banding, a variegated background pattern to the cloth, perhaps the result of how the thread of the cloth was bleached and having nothing to do with the passing of time, is certainly the single biggest deformity that exists. It gets peculiar treatment in this new 3D work. The left side of the face (our right) has been partially retouched to minimize the effect. The other side of the face is shaped as though there was no banding but the banding remains. Pictured here is an estimate of the banding in the area of the face.

At the bottom of the beard and the lower areas of the hair, darker areas that are not the result of banding are strikingly evident. These relatively dark areas don’t recede towards the background as expected for grayscale plotting. (You can’t see this without 3D glasses. Don’t even try.) What is the rationale for this obviously apparent artistic adjustment? Moreover, hair above the forehead pompadours frontward without grayscale tones to support it. This hair and facial hair treatment seems artistic.

The entire head and shoulders seem to be completely detached from the background. You can, with 3D glasses on, move your own head ever so slightly and see detached movement. (Again, you can’t see this without 3D glasses.) Galmarini speaks of “hidden scientific information,” presumably but not explicitly the grayscale. I can’t find any data in support of this phenomenon. It seems as though an artificial outline has been introduced around the human form. There does not seem to be any such outline on the Shroud. In fact, researchers, over the years, have noted this lack of outline because it is something that an artist, had an artist created the Shroud, would have certainly included. Interestingly, the areas of the lower neck and upper shoulders, though darker than the background, don’t recede into the background and don’t show detached movement. Most amazingly, the lower part of a prominent water stain above the face is now worn in the hair like a miniature yarmulke while the upper part of the stain adorns the background. This, to my way of thinking, strongly suggests the use of false outlines. What other reason can there be other than to enhance the 3D effect?

The most surprising thing is that the grayscale tones that to the untrained eye look like highlights and shadows, but that in fact become the basis for plotting three-dimensionality, remain in place in the plotted image. If you plot a three-dimensional object from the grayscale density you should have something that looks like a stone statue. Whatever highlights and shadows seem to exist in any resulting computerized virtual-reality image should only be from artificially introduced light placed at a calculated angle and distance in the virtual world. This is what the VP8 Analyzer does and what other software packages such as POV-Ray do. But in the anaglyph in question, it looks as though the original image was stretched like a thin film over the calculated shape. Original highlights, shadows and even herringbone twill patterns are there.

I’m willing to be convinced that I am wrong, that the anaglyph in question is scientific. I would actually like this. If this were so we would have something that is truly amazing. Clarity is needed, however. Specifics are required. I would like to see how much of this conversion to 3D is reproducible in a scientific sense and how much is "only softening the ‘holes’ and deformities."

In order to claim that the 3D images on this site are scientific the steps and procedures must be reproducible by others, at least in theory. Documentation is needed.

  1. We should know the software or algorithm used to plot the image including any variables or settings used.
  2. The terminology “hidden scientific information” should be clarified. It is essential to understand how plotting software uses this data.
  3. Expose higher resolution images for examination if the work was done in higher resolution. While this image may be 800 pixels wide, the resolution is no better than 72 ppi. Ordinary books carry pictures at four times the number of pixels per inch.
  4. We should be able to see, in anaglyph form for comparison, the unadjusted, scientifically plotted part of the project so that we can judge for ourselves just how much of the final product is by way of adjustment.
  5. All adjustments made should be explained and justified.

It bothers me to think that these images will be used, as the pastor suggests, in presentations to show the 3D characteristics of the Shroud. These images are certainly being displayed in churches, in exhibits and on the internet without the qualification that this is art and not science. If that is so, it is most unfortunate.

On the other hand, if these images are truly scientific, then the unexplained screams out to be explained.

Don’t get me wrong. There is 3D data in the Shroud’s images. It is the most important quality for knowing that these are not images formed by reflected light as a painter would envision or a camera would capture a human form. The 3D data is a quality that must be accounted for in any hypothesis attempting to explain how the images were formed, be it miraculously, naturally, by fakery or even as honest art. Indeed, this quality, treated scientifically without various forms of electronic manipulation, sooner or later, may suggest how the images were formed.

Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.

imageMy favorite Episcopal priests turned Catholic priest, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pictured here with his wife and four children, weighs in on the GJW (The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife):

However, clever folks on both sides could piece together any sort of saying of Jesus from the scrap we have here. The headline grabbing text seems to read, “Jesus said to them, “My wife…” Is Jesus referring to his wife? Theoretically it could be, but in the absence of any other evidence that Jesus was married, and going against the early text and 2000 years of tradition that he was not married this is unlikely. What might the rest of the text say? Perhaps Jesus was quoting another text about marriage thus, “My wife is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones said Adam…” or “My wife is also my sister and my mother in the Lord.” Who knows?

While it is interesting to follow the scholarship and the debate about this ancient manuscript, what also interests me is the way the secular press have handled it. First of all they have called it “the Jesus Wife Manuscript”. No doubt the headlines will blaze about how Jesus was married and we now have ancient proof for it. This will then become the popular scream. “Of course priests should marry. Jesus was married!!!” Another detail was in the Boston Globe story. The papyrus was carbon tested by one laboratory at 700 BC. So carbon testing can come up with a result that is clearly about a thousand years off? Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin suddenly the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.

“Of course priests should marry. Jesus was married!!!”

Actually, I think so but not because of the GJW

Fr. Longenecker wants your help:

imageMy blog is part of my ministry and I have a wife and kids to support as well as run a busy parish. If you would like to help out financially you can make a donation through PayPal by hitting the "Donate" button below.

I knew there would be a way to work in a picture of the $2.2 million mansion that is the residence of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. (Fr. Longenecker is not part of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.)


Two Upcoming Shroud Encounters


like tomorrow and the day after in Georgia

Come see this highly acclaimed presentation enhanced with over 200 dramatic images. It is a true CSI investigation revealing clues from science, history and scripture as the mystery is explored.

  • Saturday, April 12 at 7:00pm in EDT at Saint Monica Catholic Church, 1700 Buford Hwy, Duluth, GA (www.saintmonicas.com)

  • Sunday, April 13 at 7:00pm in EDT at Kingswood UMC Church, 5015 Tilly Mill Rd, Dunwoody, GA (kingswoodumc.org)

More on the Carbon Dating of the GJW, ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Fragment

Christian Askeland has posted a very good analysis, Jesus’s Wife Resurrected from Dead, in the blog Evangelical Textual Criticism.

Radiocarbon Dating:

Using two labs, the GJW fragment and a Sahidic John fragment associated with the same papyri lot were carbon dated. The rounded 2-sigma ranges for the manuscripts are as follows:





640–800 CE

650–870 CE


680–880 CE

410–200 BCE




Only the Harvard report indicates the date of the test (14 March 2014); one might surmise that the second test was ordered after the extremely early date arrived from Arizona. Whatever the case, if one of the two GJW 14C dates were to be accurate, it would probably be the Harvard range (650–870 CE), which is corroborated by the related GJohn manuscript (chart above). Having said this, the result remains somewhat inconclusive. (δ13C levels were also higher than expected, suggesting contamination in all samples.)

So does this confirm the authenticity of the GJW? Such a late dating bulldozes King’s first appraisal of the manuscript as a fourth century witness. The GJW fragment under question is broken on all sides except the top, where apparently the modern forger cut the empty section off of a larger fragment which was in fact ancient. Carbon dating has no value for authenticating such a manuscript, although if the Ptolemaic date (410–200 BCE) offered by the Arizona AMS lab were accurate (of which I am not convinced), fraud would be certain.


If a husband were to genetically test his children to determine whether his wife had been faithful, and the tests returned indicating that that the children could not conclusively be proven to not be his, would this assure him of his wife’s fidelity? Could he then, based upon these tests, be confident that he had indeed fathered the children? Karen King has produced no new evidence to authenticate this fragment.  On the contrary, her prior contentions that the GJW fragment was (1) part of a literary codex and (2) was fourth century are now indefensible.  Her method of argumentation was not self-critical or objective, but will doubtlessly be sufficient for those who already want to believe.

Useful links:

Ray Schneider: Why is the carbon dating wrong? I don’t know. That it is wrong I am quite certain . . .

Ray is up with a recommendation on his blog, Political Brambles:

Ray writes:

With Easter soon to come it’s appropriate to think about the Shroud of Turin and this video is hard to beat since it touches upon so many of the issues. . . .

. . . This video demonstrates the correspondence between the sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud which, in my mind at least, proves that the 1988 carbon date is wrong.  Why is it wrong?  I don’t know.  That it is wrong I am quite certain for the shroud duplicates blood stains that are on the sudarium of Oviedo which is much older than the shroud and so both cloths were in contact with the same body.

It is a good video, produced and directed by Reuben Aaronson for The Learning Channel. It runs for about 52 minutes.

Carbon Dating Problems with the “Jesus’ Wife” Fragment

imageSTART HERE with a Boston Globe article,  No evidence of modern forgery in ancient text mentioning ‘Jesus’s wife’  along with a video to get up to speed (if you’re not).

A reader writes:

Note that there is a new "Jesus’ Wife" publication. [See “Jesus’ Wife” Articles in HTR: Initial Thoughts in Larry Hurtado’s Blog.]  The observation which may interest you is the huge discrepancy in C14 dating by experts with the possibility of contamination effects.

These cannot be statistically consistent. (And recent statistical analysis of the SOT results indicate that they also were inconsistent among samples.)

(I believe there was also a problem with a control sample.)

People make a big deal of C14 testing, when it probably is not very reliable for certain materials. It might be noted that just because someone is a specialist in some field of science does _not_ at all mean they are statistical or even methodological experts. 95% aren’t.

The carbon dating discussion in Larry’s blog runs less than a paragraph and reads:

. . . The two radio-carbon tests, however, are both a bit puzzling and interesting.  The proposed dates of the two tests are out from each other by several hundred years.  The one report (by Hodgins) notes the curious date-result (405-350 BCE and/or 307-209 BCE), about a thousand years earlier than the date from the other carbon-dating test (659-969 CE), and Hodgins suggests some kind of contamination of the sample.  But I’d assume that a contamination would come from something later than the ancient setting, and so skew the date later, not earlier.  I’ll need some help with this!

New DVD of the Women of Grace Programs on the Shroud Plus Some

imageA reader writes:

There is a brand new DVD out. It is called The Secrets of the Shroud, featuring Dr. Wayne Phillips, the leading expert on the Shroud of Turin. It includes five wonderful programs from the Women of Grace show. There are stunning slides and images of the Shroud and all the current scientific research. The cost is $25.00.  Order it at http://shop.womenofgrace.com/product/1821/

Here are the shows that appeared on EWTN on the Women of Grace program:

  • DVD – 1
    • 10350 – Revelation of the Road: The Shroud’s Journey
    • 10351 – The Shroud of Turin Research Project
    • 10352 – Carbon Dating and Image Formation: Science and the Shroud
  • DVD – 2
    • 10353 – New Discoveries, New Theories: Science and the Shroud
    • 10354 – Dynamic Duo: The Sudarium and the Shroud
  • I linked to these shows in September 2012: EWTN Series on the Shroud of Turin. Apparently, the first of the five programs is still available for viewing on EWTN:  Revelation of the Road: The Shroud’s Journey (Program 10350) with Dr Phillips and Father Edmund Sylvia. You might want to view this first before shelling out $25.00.

Also, I found a recent Jesuit high school lecture in five parts featuring Dr. Wayne Phillips. It was uploaded to YouTube just a week ago. According to information at YouTube, J. Wayne Phillips ‘is an expert Shroud of Turin and has a degree in Shroud Studies from the Vatican Apostolorum College. He also has a medical degree from the University of Miami.

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3   Part 4    Part 5

 Watch Later

      When you don’t know the answer, the imagination can run rife.

      imageTom Keane, a contributing columnist for the Boston Globe, has an interesting opinion piece out this morning: Our yearning for mystery and surprise:

      OURS IS a time of science and surveillance, stripped of mystery by the ongoing march of human progress. And then there is Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a curiously welcome comeuppance to all of our certainties, one that suggests some things remain beyond our reckoning, that the earth still has room to surprise and astonish. We long for the extraordinary even as it becomes ever harder to find.

      [ . . . ]

      When you don’t know the answer, the imagination can run rife. Anything can seem possible.

      The Bermuda Triangle, loosely bounded by Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda, is a supernatural killer of those who cross its waters. “Nessie,” perhaps a descendent of the dinosaurs, lives in Scotland’s vast and deep Loch Ness. The human-like Big Foot or Sasquatch roams the Pacific Northwest. The US government hides the remains of aliens recovered in Roswell, N.M.

      There are many other such unknowns: America’s lost tribe, the Shroud of Turin, the Overtoun Bridge, the “Wow!” signal, Stonehenge, the Voynich Manuscript. All intrigue us because they provide glimpses of a something beyond the quotidian, a sense that there are ineffable forces at work.

      [ . . . ]

      Indeed, even the few puzzles that remain are hardly unfathomable. Amelia Earhart’s flight likely was just a victim of poor navigation and spent fuel. There have been losses in the Bermuda Triangle, but many of the incidents have been exaggerated and those that occurred are better ascribed to meteorological phenomena. The famous photo of the Loch Ness monster was a fraud. Big Foot is an untenable myth, also bolstered by fakery. And the only thing that crashed in Roswell was a US Air Force surveillance balloon.

      That’s not to say we know everything. There are still great mysteries: dark matter and dark energy, action at a distance by quantumly intertwined particles, multiverses, string theory. But this is esoteric stuff that seems to have very little to do with our daily lives.

      But there is something particularly different about the shroud, something that makes the mystery seem enduringly unsolvable.

      I, too, can be a practitioner of p$eudo$cience

      imageOver on his science buzz blog, Colin Berry reacts to the statement, “There is no possibility whatsoever that the image on the Shroud is a scorch" that appeared in Larry Schauf’s article in Catholic Answers.

      First there is a snide unwarranted ad hom from Colin:

      Yes, how many times have we seen those words . . .  quoted by shroud-authenticity promoters, the latest being from a gent with a leading role in the post-STURP, cat-that-got-the-cream $TERA. That’s the "$hroud of Turin Education and Research Association" ho ho ho in case you didn’t know. Sounds of cash registers ringing…

      According to Charity Navigator, the Shroud of Turin Education & Research Association Incorporated, EIN 263322158 is a 501(c)(3) organization. The latest IRS 909 filing on record, December of 2012, reports total assets of $13,457 and total revenues of $71,754, all from “contributions, gifts, grants and similar amounts received.” The only compensation to any of the eight “Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees” was $46,000 to Barrie Schwortz for Expert Contract Services as reported on a 1099-MISC. Hardly worth the dollar sign insult that Colin dishes out every now and then. STERA seems to be a most admirable organization when you consider the website it maintains (shroud.com) and the valuable education role it plays through lectures and other presentations. This is all public information and Colin could have checked it out before acting in such an arrogant, insulting manner. We all get our money’s worth from STERA, even Colin who quotes from its archives frequently.

      imageColin continues on the words about the image being a scorch:

      I’ve lost count of the number of big cheeses in the Shroudie Land who have solemnly incanted those words. Yet the vast majority have never bothered to produce a single contact scorch. I have – hundreds of them. While I sadly lack the technology to prove it, I invite others to disprove my contention that a contact scorch on linen can be as superficial as one likes, right down to the molecular scale at surface (primary cell wall) level. I see no theoretical or practical objections whatsoever.

      And “While I sadly lack the technology to prove it, I invite others to disprove my contention” that a teapot is in orbit around the earth. “I see no theoretical or practical objections whatsoever.”

      I, too, can be a practitioner of pseudoscience.

      Then Colin unloads:

      Oh, and let’s not forget the occasion when the $TERA top man no less deployed the nuclear option : … there is no possibility whatsoever that the image on the Shroud is a scorch because …   drum roll ..  it fails to show obligatory fluorescence under ultraviolet light. Yeah, right…Thanks for the chemistry lesson. Sadly I missed out on the photography module at University, having to do tedious and irrelevant stuff like 2 years of subsidiary organic chemistry. Uv fluorescence is a property of certain specific molecules. Those molecules are not necessarily permanent fixtures. They can oxidise, polymerise, volatilize etc. Lack of fluoresence, centuries after formation, proves nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING., except maybe to photographers-turned-organic chemists and/or other $hroudie-circus showmen.

      The jury may be out on the question of whether or not all scorches in linen fluorescence under ultraviolet light. What is not in question is Colin’s strutting arrogance.

      Lawrence E. Schauf for the Prosecution: The Trial of the Shroud



      imageLawrence 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.

      Garlaschelli and Borrini Study Flawed

      imagePaulette commented:

      The study is flawed. Ever worked as an EMS? On sweaty, grimy, warm skin someone’s blood will run every which way, even in nearly horizontally rivulets. It flows. It gushes. It spurts. It mixes with sweat. I’ve been sprayed with blood from flailing limbs. Put a few drops of blood on your arm and jerk it hard to mimic a spasm. You can never reproduce violent outdoor traumatic blood flow on a body in pain with plastic tubing, air conditioning, calm and shower fresh skin.

      Mike “Like”’d. So do I.

      Write Up on Russ Breault’s Talk in Freeport



      Pretzel City, USA

      As reported by WIFR TV:

      FREEPORT (WIFR) — We don’t have to travel halfway around the world to see one of the most well-known holy relics. There’s a replica right here in the Stateline.

      Russ Breault who’s an international expert on the Shroud of Turin brought a replica of the cloth to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Freeport.

      The Shroud of Turin is the cloth that Jesus was believed to have been buried in. Breault talked about the technology he’s used to prove those claims.

      Pastor Stephen Precht says the presentation is a chance for all Christians to learn more about their faith.

      “This could lend further indication that yes, everything the scripture says is true. It would also reflect to me the torture, the barbarity that Jesus went through, through the beatings and the cross as it would be reflected in the shroud itself,” Precht said.

      Breault’s research on the shroud has been featured on the History and Discovery channels as well as on CBS News.