More on the Y from Stephen Jones

imageStephen Jones has posted a very good analysis on his blog: Shroud of Turin depicts a Y-shaped cross? This is the hypothesis being advanced by Matteo Borrini and Luigi Garlaschelli that has been seen considerable press attention lately. Stephen has done some careful research. He usually does and I’m glad to see it.

This I agree with:

First, it would not affect the authenticity of the Shroud, or indeed the truth of Biblical Christianity, if Jesus was crucified on a Y-shaped cross. The Gospels do not describe the shape of Jesus’ cross. But having said that, the evidence is against Jesus’ cross having been Y-shaped.

And this I certainly agree with:

But a medieval forger would have depicted the traditional Roman cross (†) not a non-traditional Y-shaped cross, amongst other things:

"The forger working in France or thereabouts around or before 1350 would have to have been either an overzealous monk whose piety got the better of him or an arrogant swindler who wanted to make a bundle in the underground relic market. Both of these possibilities strike me as unlikely, since the portrayal of Jesus on the shroud is nontraditional, non-European; details like the cap or miter of thorns, the nails through the wrists instead of through the palms, and the nakedness of the loins would not inspire the devotional or artistic sensibilities of fourteenth-century Europe; rather they would have gotten the forger burned at the stake. Moreover, the accuracy of details like these would not be common knowledge to a potential forger for centuries to come." (Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," pp.170-171).

Press Release: Shroud Passion Reflection in Preparation for the Triduum

imageDateline: Shroud Exhibit and Museum (SEAM), Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 6:30-8 PM

Featuring: iSEAM Webmaster Andy Weiss

Location: 3199 N White Sands Blvd., White Sands Mall – D1, Alamogordo, NM 88310

Phone: (575) 446-2113

Location: Between the Recruiting Office and JC Penny in the mall

Admission: Free – – – donations welcome to support SEAM

About the speaker: The speaker was asked by his good friend, Pete Schumacher, who founded the museum with his wife, to create a webpage as an online compliment to this no charge museum which features a full sized picture of the Shroud of Turin, the only VP8 Image Analyzer on open, interactive display, a tactile model for the sight impaired, among many other features. In August 2009 and the ensuing years, the speaker was faced with information he has studied in light of his own life and faith and this has had a profound impact on him and the direction of his life.

About the talk: The talk will focus on the Shroud, its relation to the passion of Jesus Christ, Scripture and the writer’s own journey in life including the author’s presentation of his own poem on the passion event from 1985, long before he was aware there was such a relic and its implications for his own faith.

You are invited to join us for this Holy Week reflection as we prepare ourselves for the Triduum leading up to Easter.

Stephen Jones is even questioning my beliefs about the Resurrection

imageI normally ignore such things. But this time I am going to respond. Stephen has decided to use his blog to blast me.  He is, of course, entitled to do that. But he goes a little over the top this time. He does so by answering a comment from one of his readers. He writes and writes and writes three long comments worth. I’ll just deal with some of the highlights.

He seems to have been particularly upset when I edited one of the comments he made in this blog. I removed the name of an individual he was inferring was a computer hacker who thus, deliberately, in an academic and scientific environment, cheated and faked carbon dating results. Because he had no evidence, I found it despicable and removed the name.

That will not do. He states early in his three part long expanded comment:

If a hacker had modified the program to convert the Shroud samples’ dates to dates which clustered around 1325, then all but the hacker would be none the wiser.

In my next post I will provide evidence that [ . . . name omitted by me . . .] was the hacker.

And, then he warns me (and I guess several of us):

I told Dan and his commenters that the Holy Spirit had been prompting me to warn both them and Dan that they who personally attack me, a Christian who is only seeking to serve his Lord, that Jesus will, if they don’t repent, avenge their attacks on me[.]

Stephen tells us he is basing this on Romans 12:19, ye olde Vengeance is mine admonition.

But that is not enough. He says of me:

Dan is himself close to being a secularist. In the past he has said he has `no problem with evolution’. But the "evolution" which rules the secular scientific world is that "…God had NO PART in this process."

Secularist? Being an Episcopalian, let me quote from Wikipedia on how Anglicans view this:

Anglicans (including the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the Church of England and others) believe that the Bible "contains all things necessary to salvation," while believing that "science and Christian theology can complement one another in the quest for truth and understanding." Specifically on the subject of creation/evolution, some Anglicans view "Big Bang cosmology" as being "in tune with both the concepts of creation out of nothing and continuous creation." Their position is clearly set out in the Catechism of Creation Part II: Creation and Science.[18] In an interview, the [former] Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams expressed his thought that "creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. Whatever the biblical account of creation is, it’s not a theory alongside theories… My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it."[19]

The Catholic position is not very different (IMHO). It should be noted that (still quoting from Wikipedia):

Under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the International Theological Commission published a paper accepting the big bang of 15 billion years ago and the evolution of all life including humans from the microorganisms that formed approximately 4 billion years ago.[28]

It should also be noted (Wikipedia still) that

the National Council of Churches USA [representing most mainline Protestant denominations] has issued a teaching resource . . . . This resource cites the Episcopal Church, according to whom the stories of creation in Genesis "should not be understood as historical and scientific accounts of origins but as proclamations of basic theological truths about creation."[17]

If I’m close to being a secularist, I’m in good company. But then again, so what?

Stephen continues:

Dan also has said he has no problem with there being multiple universes, but the Multiple Universe Theory is the Atheistic attempt to explain away the fantastic level of design evident in the laws and constants of the one and only Universe that science can detect.

Does God not exist if there are multiple universes?

The best quote on the subject of the multiverse to appear in this blog was by MouseIntheHouse who wrote:

imageaccording to Frank Tipler of Tulane [pictured at blackboard]there are an infinate number of [Turin] shrouds but they are in different universes.

Just for fun read in this blog from 2011:

Now we get to the good stuff. Stephen writes:

Dan . . . even seems to think the resurrection was not physical: one instant Jesus body was in the tomb, and the next instant it is resurrected, with nothing in between.

What is not physical about this?  What is supposed to be in between? Granted, if this may not be very scientific, for what change of state occurs in this world without a process? None that I can think of. But what I said in my next instant explanation is completely biblical.

John 19:41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.


What happened between the last verse of John 19 and the first verse of John 20? Now, it is true that the accounts in the four gospels vary significantly (Here is a good chart on that) but where is there something in between?

Here is a clue to what Stephen is thinking:

So Dan is against John Jackson’s theory that the Shroud’s image was caused by the cloth’s collapse into the field of radiation where Jesus’ body had been.

That is close to, if not actually Gnosticism, the super-spiritual position that was already a problem in the New Testament letters and became a major problem in 2nd century.

Gnosticism? What super-spiritual position did I advocate? I happen to believe in a physical resurrection. I just see it differently. And even then, I’m just wondering if it might be so.  But when and why, anyway, is what I consider or believe all that important when it comes to studying the shroud?

Here is what!!!

They (and Dan) fit the description of the Apostle Paul: Tim 3:5: "having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

But was Paul thinking about blogs?

Stephen wraps up:

. . . I am preparing a post, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: The evidence for [so and so] being the hacker." . . .

I strongly believe that Jesus is going before me in this and that He will progressively reveal what REALLY happened in the C-14 dating of His Shroud.

If Jesus is for me, who CAN be against me! (Rom 8:31).

Stephen E. Jones

Danusha V. Goska to Speak in Wayne, New Jersey

clip_image001I just learned that Danusha V. Goska is scheduled to speak about the Shroud on Wednesday, April 30th, at 6:00 pm at the Catholic Campus Ministry Club on the William Paterson University Campus in Wayne, New Jersey.

Danusha V. Goska, PhD, is a writer and teacher living in New Jersey. She has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, on both coasts, and in the heartland, of the United States. She holds an MA from UC Berkeley and a PhD from Indiana University Bloomington. She currently works at WPUNJ. Her writing has been praised by a variety of scholars, including John Mearsheimer, Father John Pawlikowski, Robert Ellsberg and Paul Loeb. She has won the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant, the Halecki Award, and the Eva Kagan Kans award.

At the risk of repeating myself, again and perhaps again and yet again as I said before, I first encountered the writings of Danusha Goska more than a decade ago when I read a comment about the shroud published by Barrie Schwortz (it is about 1/3 of the way down the page). I’ve discussed her in ‘If the shroud is a forgery, where are its precedents?’ two and a half years ago. There was Bieganski the Blog: The Shroud of Turin and Catholics, Atheists, Censorship and the Shroud of Turin: Who Censored Whom? by Danusha in Send Save Delete.

One year ago this month, Danusha published an excellent book review of Thomas de Wesselow’s “The Sign.” If you haven’t read Understanding Art; Misunderstanding Premodern Man, do so.

So, if you will be near Wayne on April 30th, don’t miss her talk. Wayne, by-the-way, is a mere 25 miles from Manhattan on Interstate 80.

The Extinction of Humanity?

imageJohn Klotz, still trying to finish up his book, is up with a new post on his blog Quantum Christ: The Apocalypse of Selfishness.

. . . What I did not anticipate is where I would wind up.  I’m now beginning work on the 17th chapter which is tentatively entitled “The Apocalypse of Selfishness.”

The point is this: humanity, for the first time since its emergence as a self conscious entity, faces extinction.  The driving forces for that extinction primarily involve the selfish exploitation of the environment.  Our air, water, and land are all yielding to onslaughts from interests seeking immense wealth, whatever the environmental costs.

Thoughts to help John.

Image on the Outside of the Shroud?

imageJohn Klotz writes:

I think the normal reaction of an individual viewing the Shroud would be to mentally record the

I think the normal reaction of an individual viewing the Shroud would be to mentally record the image as being on the outside of the Shroud. That in fact must be the case, if as Thomas de Wesellow maintains that the sightings of the angels in the tomb recorded by the Gospels would be actually a sighting of the image on the Shroud as the women looked in.

One problem with this theory is that the image of the Shroud, superficial as it is, was on the inside of the Shroud as it covered the body of Christ, not the outside. If Christ’s body were still in the Shroud when the woman peered into the tomb there is no manner in which they could have seen the image unless they removed it from the corpse.

De Wesellow, like many skeptics, likes to quote scripture when it supports his theory and then explain away anything that contradicts that predisposition. He  tosses-away as inauthentic Mary Magdalene’s report: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him” after citing it for the position that Mary was accompanied by other women that Easter morning (thus the italic “we” which is de Wesellow’s)

This is where de Wesellow and I begin to part ways. In my imagination I see no corpse but a shroud partly turned over like a bed sheet in the morning. . .  and, lo, the image of the man, whom they knew was before them. Or something like that.

Barrie Schwortz to Lecture in Washington State this Month



On the STERA Facebook page, Barrie tells us:

For those of you in the Washington State area, I will be lecturing at various locations between April 7 and April 12th. See my 2014 Lecture Schedule at the following link for details. I hope to see some of you there!

The with a link, he invites us to visit his lecture schedule which offers more details:

April 6 through April 12, 2014 – Our good friend and supporter John Sickelton has once again organized a series of lectures in Washington state like the successful series we did in 2013. On Monday April 7 at 7:00pm I will speak at the Assumption Church in Bellingham. On Tuesday April 8 at 10:00am I will speak at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 Texas Street, Bellingham, sponsored by Pastor Douglas Iben. Also in Bellingham on the same day, I will speak at 6:30pm at Western Washington University at Academic West 210, sponsored by the Newman Catholic Campus Ministries. On Wednesday April 9 at 10:00am I will speak at the NW WA Fairground Rotary Building. That same evening I will speak at 7:00pm at St. Michael Church, 1512 Pine Avenue in Snohomish. On Thursday April 10 at 7:00pm I make my final presentation at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Hensen Hall, 2619 Cedar Street in Everett.

    The triptych is from Barrie’s lecture schedule page.

Let the Experiments Begin

Hugh Farey writes as a comment:

image“Edgerton linen” was hand-produced by a Kate Edgerton, from plant to woven cloth, and then, much to Ray Rogers’s chagrin, ironed, which made it go yellow, so he soaked it in hydrogen peroxide to bleach it. He hoped, and was probably correct, that this had no effect on his subsequent experiments. Although the linen is descibed as prepared “following the methods used in the Near East in Roman times,” no details are given in “A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin.” I have acquired some quite stiff unbleached linen, however, and am prepared to give it a try, using leaves from soapwort mashed in water as a source of saponin, and commercial dextrin (a readily available water-soluble glue) as the starch. I also have ammonia and urea. The problem is “freshly dead” animals. The trouble here is to acquire enough for sufficient repeatable experimentation. However, after asking around, I find that people who keep snakes as pets feed them on frozen mice, which are available quite cheaply in bulk. This looks promising, so I’m preparing an appropriate protocol for just the experiments you suggest!

imageIncidentally, although my linen feels quite stiff and heavy, it has an areal density of only 16mg/cm2, which is considerably less than the Shroud, which therefore appears to be considerably thicker than I had previously imagined. As such, I think it will be much easier to produce discolouration on one side of the cloth only. Other investigators (Thibault? Colin?) might be able to comment further on this, and readers of this blog might like to weigh a bed-sheet themselves to confirm how flimsy it is compared to the Shroud.

Am I the only one?

imageColin Berry’s latest posting on his Science Buzz blog is called. Shhh. Don’t mention slow-roasted St.Lawrence to shroudie authenticists – or the peculiar imagery on the Lirey pilgrims’ badge. Now, that is some attention grabbing headline.

I don’t think he likes this blog:

I see someone has made reference to the martyred St.Lawrence of Rome on ‘’ aka Troll Central.

He wonders and opines:

Am I the only one to have spotted a connection in the imagery of St.Lawrence’s manner of death, and that of the Man on the Turin Shroud, one that is reinforced by the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, released it is said to coincide with the first recorded appearance of the Shroud in western Europe (Lirey being a small village near Troyes in the Champagne region of France).

Points of comparison to note are the restraining rope around the waist, the upturned head of a still live man enduring agony, and, on the reverse side of the Lirey badge, a diamond-shaped trellis that might well represent a roasting grid.

OK, I’ve previously suggested that the Shroud was created as a memorial to the last of the Knights Templar. But their leaders – Jacques de Molay, Geoffroi de Charney etc.-  were also slow-roasted on the banks of the Seine in Paris in 1314 in a manner similar to that of St.Lawrence of Rome in AD 258.

Colin wonders, Am I the only one?  I think so. I can’t imagine otherwise.


More on the “Y” Crucifixion with Pictures

imageMike M writes:

I wanted to respond to that post but then again I don’t think I will do it justice without images and I still don’t know how to attach images to a comment.

I promise: when I figure it how and it is explainable, I’ll explain it.

(See Large Images Below)

I think the authors are confused between the Y cross and the "simple cross" (crucifix simplex) please see the first image below to compare the blood flow between 3 different types of crosses. I don’t think there would be much difference between the blood flow on the arms if Jesus was crucified on the Latin cross or the Y-cross.

However I don’t know why the authors (and Luigi ) ignored the blood flow on the left arm, there can be clearly seen 2 directional rivulets of blood indicating that the arms were not positioned in the the same direction. Please see image number 2 for an illustration of this. As can be clearly seen the blood flow going straight down ( in the right arm) is also consistent with the blood pooling in the right elbow as have been suggested in Dr. Lavoie’s experiments to explain the blood stain going off the elbow. While the blood flowing in 2 directions on the left arm is because the blood can either flow on the arm itself ( if the flow is slow and of low volume) or directly downwards due to gravity (if the flow is excessive and the weight of the blood becomes too much to flow parallel to the stretched arm) in that case the arm would be stretched out and there would be no pooling of blood on the left elbow ( as is clearly seen on the shroud). I realize that some think the double rivulets are due to Jesus moving in 2 different directions to breath, I don’t believe this to be the case since the double flow is only apparent on one arm and not both and also because I don’t think that Jesus would be able to move with that huge nail in his wrists. All motion, if any, would be at elbow/shoulder level and not wrist level. Therefore I strongly believe the 2nd image would be the most probable for the man on the shroud from the moment he was nailed to the cross till Rigor Mortis. Thanks,





Barrie Schwortz: So why is a good Jewish boy like me doing this?

clip_image001The Rev Trisha Elliott (pictured) has an interesting piece in the UC Observer (unofficial journal of the United Church of Canada) entitled The many faces of Jesus:

Barrie Schwortz’s photographs of the Shroud of Turin, a roughly four-metre-long burial cloth said to have retained the imprints of Jesus’ features, have been exhibited the world over. Schwortz was a photographer on the team of scientists that examined the shroud in 1978. Since then, he has gathered and disseminated the science of the shroud, which, after spending 17 years as a skeptic, he now believes is authentic. It’s an unlikely obsession for a Jewish man raised in an Orthodox home. “We had two sets of silverware, Friday candles and morning prayers — like Fiddler on the Roof. So why is a good Jewish boy like me doing this? Well, it means a lot to people. When it was on exhibit in New Zealand and the Philippines, we had to get pillows out because people fell down before it, the tears streaming down their faces. The image really touches people.”

Schwortz thinks doubt drives the quest to discover the physicality of Jesus. “People’s faith can be weakened from time to time. Perhaps in the cloth, there is a little reminder for the Thomases of the world.”

I guess uncovering Jesus’ grainy image on a piece of cloth is reassuring. But that doesn’t explain why we invest time creating images, nor does it explain how they work. Maybe their power lies partly in our frame of mind.

There is this question:

. . . Do images of Jesus offer reassurance and neurological stimulation? Do they fulfil a theological quest? Are they a natural result of an incarnational theology or a desire to have a personal relationship with the Divine? Are they less a window into Jesus than a reflection of ourselves? Can they be deeply racist and prophetically socially subversive? Yes. But the hows and whys are complicated. Of this though, I’m certain: when we gaze on an image of Jesus, there is so much more going on than meets the eye.

Paradigm Collapse Trauma

As crazy, fringe, and sensational . . .  like finding the Ark of the Covenant
or proving the Shroud of Turin is authentic

imageMichael Posner, in The Times of Israel, tells us that Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici sues academic for libel

A fascinating $1-million libel trial is playing out in a Lod courtroom, one that many archaeologists, scientists and religious scholars are watching closely. The plaintiff is Israeli/Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici [pictured], a three-time Emmy award winner best known as the host of “The Naked Archaeologist,” a syndicated TV series. He is also a frequent blogger for the Times of Israel

[ . . . ]

“Some scholars see any claims to have found the bones of Jesus as crazy, fringe, and sensational,” explains UNC’s James Tabor. “Much like finding the Ark of the Covenant or proving the Shroud of Turin is authentic.”

Israeli/Jewish scholars, Tabor adds, “tend to not want to deal with things that challenge the basic assumptions of Christianity — not because they believe those assumptions, but just because it is best left alone. And academics of Christian background may hesitate to find the bones of Jesus for theological reasons — i.e., it threatens orthodox Christianity.”

The latter constituency, Jacobovici suggests, may be suffering from “paradigm collapse trauma.”

As archaeology gets closer and closer to the historical Jesus, he says, “it seems to contradict Pauline Christian theology in fundamental ways. As the evidence mounts, the inability to look at it also gets stronger.”

Paradigm collapse trauma. I like it. My new, favorite three-word accusation. Take that you radiocarbon datingists or you Wilsonists.

A “Y” Shaped Crucifixion According to the Shroud of Turin?

presented his results at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences
in Seattle in February

<<< YouTube Link >>>

Linda Geddes writing today in New Scientist Magazine:

Borrini wanted to know if the "bloodstains" on the left arm, the clearest ones, were consistent with the flow of blood from the wrist of a crucified person. So he asked Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia, Italy, to assume different crucifixion postures, while a cannula attached to his wrist dribbled donated blood down his arm.

They found that the marks on the shroud did correspond to a crucifixion, but only if the arms were placed above the head in a "Y" position, rather than in the classic "T" depiction. "This would have been a very painful position and one which would have created difficulty breathing," says Borrini. Someone crucified in this way may have died from asphyxiation. Borrini presented his results at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Seattle in February.

Borrini says similar positions were used during medieval torture, but in those cases the victims were suspended from a beam by binding their wrists with rope, rather than using nails.

The results confirm earlier experiments by Gilbert Lavoie, a Massachusetts-based doctor, that suggested a Y-shaped crucifixion. "The blood-flow is absolutely consistent with what you see on the Shroud," Lavoie says. He described his studies in Unlocking the Secrets of the Shroud.

"The imprint on the Shroud does not correspond with many traditional artistic images of crucifixion," says Niels Svensson, a doctor in Maribo, Denmark, who has also studied the Shroud.

Part 2: Barrie Schwortz on Roy Schoeman’s Salvation is from the Jews Radio Show

Easy Direct Links on Radio Maria

Part 1

Part 2

imageBarrie writes on the STERA Facebook page:

Here’s a link to Part 2 of my appearance on Roy Schoeman’s radio program, Salvation is from the Jews:

Apparently, my comment in Part 1 when I referred to certainevidence as "anecdotal at best" upset some people, which is never my intent. However, I always feel obligated to answer as honestly as I can and recognize and accept that some people may strongly disagree with my personal conclusions. I came to accept the Shroud as authentic because of the scientific evidence alone. Some of it is published in credible journals and carries more weight than others. That is not to say that anecdotal evidence is any less important in the overall study of the Shroud. It just doesn’t meet the same scientific standards. It is nothing personal. That is just how it is.

When I am speaking publicly I am simply voicing my own personal opinions, based on 38 years of involvement and study of the Shroud. As a witness and direct participant in the events themselves, my perspective is undoubtedly different from most. Still, disagreement is normal in science and can often lead to great advancements in knowledge. So let’s just agree to disagree from time to time. After all, we ARE talking about the Shroud of Turin!


Previous Posting: Barrie Schwortz on Roy Schoeman’s Salvation is from the Jews Radio Show

The Holy Grail Found in Spain?

imageDateline: Tues, April 1, 2014, Mark Piggott for the International Business Times (IBTimes). Headline: After Two Thousand Years – Has Holy Grail Been Found? (note the question mark):

Two historians claim they have proof that the ‘Holy Grail‘ – the onyx goblet from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper – has been discovered at a little museum in Leon, northern Spain. Ironically for such a mystical object, whose very name has become synonymous with impossible searches, it was on public display the whole time – right under the public’s nose.

Covered in emeralds, pearls, sapphires and amethysts, the mediaeval chalice has sat on display at the Basilica of San Isidoro in Leon for a thousand years. In a new book, ‘Kings of the Grail’, historians Margarita Torres and Jose Ortiza del Rio say there is ‘no doubt’ that hidden inside the chalice is the very cup that touched the lips of Jesus – and they claim to have unearthed two "ancient scrolls" from Egypt to prove it.

The story had legs; the usual: The Daily Mirror, the New York Daily News, Yahoo (the paragraphs above are in Yahoo echo-land. Did you also note the date, April Fools Day? Some people did.

Sachin Trivedl, also IBTimes writes:

Both "Indana Jones" and Dan Brown may be wrong. A church in Spain reportedly had to remove a precious cup on display after some historians claimed that it was in fact the Holy Grail. Sceptics however are not convinced and wonder if it’s a coincidence that it was found on April Fools’ Day.

According to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald, the church which had the cup is located in San Isidro basilica, northwestern city of Leon in Spain. People flocked to the small room to get a glimpse of the cup and the curators later decided to remove the cup from the small room as they search for a bigger place for the display.

The buzz around the cup was created after two historians Margarita Torres and Jose Manuel Ortega del Rio claimed that the cup was the Holy Grail in their book "Kings of the Grail." The book was published last week.

People who came to know about it on April 1 wonder if this was some coincidence that the Holy Grail may have been found on April Fools’ Day. Many still remain sceptical about it while believers continue to flock to the church to get a glimpse.

The cup is made of agate, gold and onyx. It also has precious stones encrusted on it. The cup has been made by joining two goblets together. One of the goblets was known to belong to the Infanta Dona Urraca, daughter of Fernando I, King of Leon.

Reactions are pouring in from the social media about the news. Some have pointed out that Dan Brown may have got it wrong in book "The Da Vinci Code" and the Holy Grail may be real. . . .

That would make Dan Scavone wrong, too. He (sort of) thinks that the Shroud of Turin may be the Holy Grail and that it never was a cup. See: Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud

In 1978, Ian Wilson published a surprising break-through in the history of the Turin Shroud: that the Edessa icon was in fact unfolded to reveal the Shroud still in Turin today. It was the latter that "disappeared," according to Robert of Clari, after the fall of Constantinople in 1204, the same that reappeared in Lirey about 1355 in possession of Geoffroy de Charny.

The present hypothesis reinforces Wilson’s discovery, and it tentatively identifies the Turin Shroud as the real object that inspired the romances of the Holy Grail.


Go to Alamogordo and Decide

imageNeala Schwartzberg writing Is the Shroud of Turin Real? Visit the exhibit and decide. in (and it was headlined by the World News Network,

The Shroud of Turin has been described as the greatest relic in Christendom, but it is permanently stored in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. However, in a bit down-at-the-heels shopping center in Alamogordo is a remarkable exhibit devoted to the Shroud which might be the next best thing to a visit to Turin. It comes with the added benefit of extensive research and documentation about this extraordinary relic.

[ . . . ]

The researchers concluded that there are no answers to the question of how the image was produced, or what produced the image. Now, despite all technology, it remains a mystery.

No answers. Now you have to read my other posting, today, The Shroud that Defies Scientific Explanation (Part 2)

Developing a Hacking Theory

clip_image001Stephen Jones in a posting on his blog, Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Further to my replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey has investigated the console computers used in Oxford and Arizona. For each he writes, it “CERTAINLY was programmable and therefore HACKABLE!”

Though I am so far utterly skeptical of his hacking theory, I am glad he is doing some necessary research.

The Shroud that Defies Scientific Explanation (Part 2)

imageSetup 1: Last December, John Klotz in a comment to Charles Freeman wrote:

. . . Usually, the argument is that science demands absolute answers and legal standards such as beyond reasonable doubt do not apply in the august chambers of science. I think that’s nonsense of course. As I have written: “We do not order our lives by proof beyond reasonable doubt.” I also have written: “Fear the person who has no doubt. Witness George Armstrong Custer.”

Setup 2: As part of a comment yesterday, Jason Engwer wrote:

Sometimes it’s objected that classifying the Shroud image as a miracle, or associating it with a miracle, would bring about an end to scientific investigation of the image. I don’t see why that would be the case. People often continue to investigate something they consider miraculous. I wouldn’t want scientific investigation ended. I’d encourage people to keep investigating the image. And the people who aren’t convinced that the image is miraculous would keep on investigating it regardless of what other individuals believe. I doubt there are many people who want an end to the investigation. The more the Joe Nickells and Luigi Garlaschellis of the world fail to duplicate the image, the more my view of the matter is strengthened. Keep it up! And if I’m wrong about the image’s miraculous nature, or if there’s some natural means of duplicating an image that was created by some other means that was miraculous, I want to know that. I don’t want an end of the investigation.

The bold emphasis above is mine. I must add Colin Berry’s name to this. He’s earned his wings and his name will forever be repeated around the high-back tables of shroudie watering holes.

Setup 3: It was back in December last year that Fr. Duncan (+Dunk) responded to daveb who was at the time discussing the point that nobody knows how the image was formed (see I agree. I agree. I agree. Mostly.):

In one form or another it is the most used argument for the Holy Shroud’s authenticity: nobody knows how the image was formed therefore it is real.

I would probably say, since we are talking about authenticity, that nobody knows how the image was forged or manmade, and then, yes, I must agree that the argument is used frequently. Philosophically, I don’t like it. It is classic Argumentum ad Ignorantiam (argument from ignorance). Nonetheless, I find myself sometimes using it with the shroud. It seems so true.

But, but and but:

Myra Adams, in a recent article, Jesus `most significant person ever’ in new research study, (and see my posting, How the Shroud Becomes Part of the Conversation) stated:

. . . that is why the mysterious Shroud, which could prove Christ’s physical resurrection – the foundation of Christianity, is still an open and active cause célèbre among believers in Jesus’ divinity and members of the scientific community who continue to study the Shroud and remain intrigued by its unique properties.

which resulted in a swift reaction from Stephen Jones:

The Shroud of Turin already has proved, beyond reasonable doubt, Christ’s physical resurrection and therefore that Christianity is true. But that does not mean that that proof cannot continue to be unreasonably denied, by those (including some Christians) who don’t like the implications of there being scientific proof that Christianity is true.

I was taken aback a bit by that. I think the shroud is real. I’m still reluctant to say that its authenticity is proven even as I agree (though dragged along kicking and screaming) with John Klotz’ wise words above. And I must agree with Jason Engwer that investigating must go on. Does that make me a denier? Is it true that I don’t like the implications “of there being scientific proof that Christianity is true.” ? No, of course not.

Let’s consider how Stephen cleverly explored this problem in his blog last October. In a posting, Shroud of Turin News, October 2013. Stephen began by  quoting Jonathan Pitts of The Baltimore Sun:

To believers, the Shroud of Turin, as it’s known, is the cloth that cloaked the body of Jesus before his planned burial. To skeptics, it’s a hoax conjured up to sell Christianity or draw tourists.

And then, Stephen responded:

The "skeptics" (who are themselves "believers" in the Shroud’s non-authenticity) have no evidence that the Shroud was "a hoax conjured up to sell Christianity or draw tourists". They cannot cogently explain: Who conjured it up? How was it conjured up? When was it conjured up? Why can’t they conjured it up (i.e. make a convincing replicate copy of the whole Shroud)? The "skeptics" (so-called) cannot even agree on how the Shroud was "conjured up". As Ian Wilson concluded after reviewing all the major sceptical theories of how the Shroud was forged:

"Yet ingenious as so many of these ideas are, the plain fact is that they are extremely varied and from not one of them has come sufficient of a groundswell of support to suggest that it truly convincingly might hold the key to how the Shroud was forged – if indeed it was forged." (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.10-11).

Quoting Pitts again, Stephen writes:

It has been studied by everyone from theologians to NASA historians, and still, no one knows. "The shroud is the most analyzed artifact in history, yet it’s still the world’s greatest unsolved mystery,"

We can forgive Pitts for the NASA historians faux pas. Stephen follows through with:

This alone is effectively proof that the Shroud is authentic. It is an important qualification of the usual "argument from ignorance", that if something should have been discovered by qualified investigators but hasn’t been, that "absence of proof of its occurrence" is "positive proof of its non-occurrence":

"Argumentum ad Ignorantiam (argument from ignorance)… A qualification should be made at this point. In some circumstances it can safely be assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence for it would have been discovered by qualified investigators. In such a case it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its nonoccurrence. Of course, the proof here is not based on ignorance but on our knowledge that if it had occurred it would be known. For example, if a serious security investigation fails to unearth any evidence that Mr. X is a foreign agent, it would be wrong to conclude that their research has left us ignorant. It has rather established that Mr. X is not one. Failure to draw such conclusions is the other side of the bad coin of innuendo, as when one says of a man that there is `no proof’ that he is a scoundrel. In some cases not to draw a conclusion is as much a breach of correct reasoning as it would be to draw a mistaken conclusion." (Copi, I.M., "Introduction to Logic," 1986, pp.94-95. Emphasis original).

Stephen then concludes:

Similarly, if the Shroud were a 14th century or earlier fake, the science of the 20th-21st century should have discovered that by now (see below on the 1988 radiocarbon date of the Shroud to 1260-1390 is itself a fake!). So that absence of proof by modern science that the Shroud is a fake, after 35 plus years of intensive scientific study of the Shroud, is positive proof that the Shroud is not a fake!

Absence of proof equals positive proof? Ouch!

Which of course brings us back to John and Jason. There is, however, one more rock to look under. And isn’t that also the definition of insanity.