Stephen Jones’ New Discovery

clip_image001He is up with a blowup of a part of the picture on the right, as described thus in Wikimedia Commons:

Abgar with the Image of Edessa. Photo of 10th century icon at St Catherine’s monastery, Mount Sinai. This is a wing of a triptych, the missing central panel of which presumably showed the Image. “Abgar” resembles portraits of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, in whose reign the Image was brought to Constantinople in 944; the icon probably dates to soon after this. It is the earliest surviving representation of the Image or Mandylion.

CLICK HERE to see Stephen’s blowup as it is displayed in his blog space at Blog Spot. He wonders in his own interrogatory-styled caption of the blowup of the face of Jesus if this is “the most significant Shroud discovery since the Pray Codex?”


A few inches down the page in his posting he tells us that “According to a leading Shroud pro-authenticist who does not want his name to be mentioned, this is, as far as he is aware, a new discovery by me.” (me = Stephen)

What was discovered? That the picture within a picture has reddish mark where the reversed 3-shaped bloodstain is found on the Shroud of Turin and 13 of the 15 Vignon markings.

I agree with the anonymous “pro-authenticist. This may be a new discovery. I don’t recall it being mentioned before. And Stephen can use my name. The only thing is I don’t see many of the Vignon markings yet.

Don’t worry if you don’t see them, either. Stephen has a better picture that he just obtained permission to use and he will show this to us later, in his next posting. He probably didn’t need to get permission (but maybe so in Australia) because a U.S. court has ruled that a “slavish” photograph of flat art that is in the public domain is not protected by copyright. Read this interesting story by Bernard Starr in HuffPo.

The important thing is to see the  better picture. Why not show it now?

imageI don’t think issues regarding the Vignon Markings are resolved. See Vignon Was Wrong But We’ll Carry On. There are 53 comments on that posting. It is too bad that Stephen refuses to read comments because there is a lot of valuable information from very knowledgeable people in those comments.

There is also: A Guest Posting by O.K. – Even in China They Know Jesus’ Characteristic Features

As for quoting from Stephen’s blog, he is attempting to impose a limitation of his own making on how much can be quoted. I always apply fair use principles as defined by U.S. Copyright Act. I think that this should suffice.  Keep in mind that I am publishing my blog in the United States. Here are the guidelines as they are stated on the WordPress site:

There aren’t hard and fast rules when it comes to defining fair use. However, the Copyright Act sets out four factors for courts to consider:

1. The purpose and character of the use: Why and how is the material used? Using content for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research is usually fair. Additionally, using material in a transformative manner, that is to say, in a manner that adds new expression, meaning, or insight, is also more likely to be considered fair use over an exact reproduction of a work. What’s more, nonprofit use is favored over commercial use.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work: Is the original factual or fiction, published or unpublished? Factual and published works are less protected, so its use is more likely to be considered fair.

3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: How much of the material is used? If the “heart” (the most memorable or significant portion) or the majority of a work wasn’t used, it’s more likely to be considered fair.

4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work: Does the use target a different market/audience? If so, it’s more like to be fair use. It’s important to note that although criticism or parody may reduce a market, it still may be fair because of its transformative nature. In other words, if the criticism of a product influences people to stop buying the product, that doesn’t count as having an “effect on the market for the work” under copyright law.

It should be noted that Stephen quotes more than anyone I have ever encountered in blogging. In fact, he will often copy almost every paragraph of a news story into his blog and inject commentary between sentences. One example is his criticism of an ANSA English News service article, “Holy Shroud to be exhibited April 19-June 24 2015.”  I could list dozens of examples or anyone may click here for a representative list of your quotation-loaded postings.

11 thoughts on “Stephen Jones’ New Discovery”

  1. I went to Stephen’s site, and zoomed the blow-up to 400% in IE. I can agree that there is a definite mark on the forehead. The picture was quite grainy which may have been the nature of the original painting medium (canvas-like?) or it may have been merely indistinct pixels from the blow-up. The mark appears a reddish color, but in my view lacks a definite shape as a reversed ‘3’ or epsilon, more like just the artist’s careful deliberate brush-stroke. The picture is of a boyish mid-teen Christ, the beard is barely perceptible, the eyes are not the classic owlish shape, and any Vignon marks if present, would require some searching for. I think the forehead mark is probably significant, but Stephen I think may be indulging in wishful thinking if he wants to claim more than this, unless he can demonstrate it more conclusively.

  2. Here we go, then; a huge blow-up of the wiipedia image.
    Although the forehead mark looks to me like a ringlet of hair rather than blood, it is indeed in roughly the right place and of roughly the right design for a valid comparison to be made with the epsilon. I think it’s a coincidence, because it is surely very odd that no other portrait has a ringlet of hair (or an epsilon of blood) which could plausibly have come from the shroud, but I understand Stephen’s point of view.
    But not the one about the neckline. Surely we’ve scotched that…

    1. “But not the one about the neckline. Surely we’ve scotched that…” (??!!) Clearly wishful thinking is not the sole prerogative of authenticists!
      Abgar painted with the features of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 10th century. There are much earlier icons. This image is a painting within a painting, and how accurately was the artist wanting to depict its detail? Was he modelling it directly from the newly arrived Mandylion from Edessa, or was he merely following an earlier artistic tradition of showing two strands of hair at the forehead? Sure, it’s a reddish colour, but hardly different from the coloration of the rest of the hair.

  3. This is a relatively small drawing but there is one convention that I think that is directly attributable to the Shroud,. Sometimes it is a little skewed in discussions because the viewers left is the image’s right. Sometimes the reproductions of the Shroud may be reversed and thus more confusion. But the difference between the right and left hair fall is unmistakable. Why would artist do that unless he was copying from something?

    That is the length of the hair on either side. The right-hand side of the image (the viewer’s left) appears shorter than the right or falls differently. That’s present in the image. The first known representation of that is the Shroud of Turin and I think that one right-short, left-long as a convention had to start somewhere. The starting place was the Shroud.

    (It may be confusing to discuss this in terms of length, it is the appearance of the Shroud that gives that impression.)

    1. John, I think this observation is very significant. You can see it prevalent also in most depictions of the pantocrator ( below ).

      This links the pantocrator to the Mandylion. However, i think the only challenge to this is that it is the opposite side that is longer on the shroud (i.e. the painter has to have realized the mirror image concept when he painted them). Which is difficult but not impossible.

  4. One additional point of personal privilege. I have never been completely convinced by Ian Wilson’s identification of Mandylion with the Shroud. I am probably convinced now. Interestingly, a Wiki page of Mandylion images, which does not include this one, NONE of them show the differential fall of the hair.

    Given that the image at issue was painted in Constantinople, and its provenance is established, I believe the identity between the the Shroud and this copy is established. The fact that it’s the image of the mandylion that shows this and NONE of the WEiki icons do is remarkable.

  5. I sit corrected, at least four or five of the Wiki images have the hair fall differential. That doesn’t change the argument for the earliest representation was undoubtedly the Shroud.

  6. Reminder : The late 11th century CE fresco of the Mandylion in Sakli/Hidden church, Gôreme, Cappadocia does show the same two reddish strands of hair at the forehead (of the same reddish of the rest of the hair) + the same asymmetrical right-and-left hair fall.

    1. Max Patrick,

      Thanks for the “asymetrical.” I knew there was a better, more precise word, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

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