What if Jesus Defies Expectations Again

clip_image001Stephen in his blog, Psalm Trees: Apologia of an Island Catholic, sees it all perhaps because the cloth, like Christ, defies expectations

On the other hand, Christ himself had a habit of defying people’s expectations.  The Jews expected a King who would ride in on a great charger and vanquish their enemies.  Instead, they got an itinerant rabbi who rode a donkey, challenged their understanding of the Law and then suffered an agonizing death upon a cross at Golgotha.  Hardly fit the job description of a Messiah now, did it?  But if we look as closely at the Shroud as we do the person of Jesus in the Gospels, we find confirmation of the miracle of Resurrection.  We find empirical evidence validating Christ’s Gospel claims as to his identity and his purpose in this world.  In other words, from the Shroud emerges a physical representation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, hope of the world and guarantor of eternal life to all that place their faith in Him.  Quite remarkable to find all that in a dirty piece of linen!

But, well: 

Of course, it goes without saying that if the Shroud does turn out to be a clever fraud or some sort of natural formation, it would not impact the truth claims of Christianity at all.  Its authenticity is either evidence overwhelmingly in favor of Resurrection or it is evidence of nothing at all.  The only thing it cannot be is evidence against the Resurrection.

The Naturalists:

It is possible however, that the Shroud could provide a powerful, empirical challenge to the naturalist worldview. If it can be demonstrated scientifically to be the actual burial shroud of a crucified man dating back to the 1st century A.D, whose image on the Shroud bears the marks of wounds received in cohesion with the Gospel accounts and for which no plausible naturalistic explanation can be given to account for either the formation of the image or all the circumstantial physical evidence, then the conclusion that the Shroud is indeed evidence of a Resurrection event, is something that merits serious consideration by those willing to challenge their own philosophical bias against the foundational claim of Christianity.

Reluctant Christians:

I should note that it is not only naturalists and persons of other major religions who reject the Shroud’s authenticity, but some Christians do also.  I suggest that at least some of these Christians are motivated by an understandable reluctance to place too much faith in a physical object that could still turn out to be fraudulent. . . .

The Jesus Seminar and their ilk:

. . . Members of the Jesus Seminar, for instance and other liberal, progressive Christians that reject a bodily Resurrection would be inclined to ignore evidence in favor of the Shroud or actively seek counter hypotheses to account for the scientific evidence.

What we can expect:

. . .  If the evidence for its legitimacy is sound, then its presence would accomplish several tasks.  First, it would establish that the Biblical God exists and that by raising Jesus from the dead He vindicated the exclusive and authoritative claims that Christ made about Himself to be the Son of God, able to forgive sin and offer salvation to the world.  Second, it would thus immediately falsify naturalism and all other worldviews besides the Christian worldview.  Thirdly, however, it would also falsify the claims from those within Christianity that regard the Resurrection as merely a metaphor and not a physical, bodily event that occurred within the space-time continuum.

But what if Jesus and his burial cloth defies expectations again?

It’s a total feeling sort of thing.

imageBT writes from New London:

I truly appreciate every one of the 300 comments in the recent thread about the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, particularly the skeptical ones. I read them carefully. I also considered the evidence from the Stavronikita Epitaphios. I had always thought the illustration in the codex was possible evidence for the shroud’s existence well before the date determined by radiocarbon testing. But I was cautious. I sometimes wondered if it was really true that features found in the drawing requiring knowledge of the shroud were indeed there because of such knowledge. I was 75% convinced they were. Now, I am 99% convinced.

Yeah, me too.

And you could almost see a small smile in Hugh Farey’s face as he responded to daveb:

You did help. The Byzantine herringbone pattern is another chip on the pile on the authentic side of the balance. It’s still not enough for me, as you predicted, but it’s more evidence. I like evidence!

Hugh is, of course, referring to the pattern on the Stavronikita Epitaphios.

We are talking about two threads: 1)Discussion about the Pray Codex and it’s relation to the Shroud is over? and 2) Comment Promoted: The Stavronikita Epitaphios. O.K. got the first one going. I count 297 comments. That has to be a record. DaveB got the second one going.

It’s a total feeling sort of thing. I can’t prove it. I won’t try. I think the Hungarian Pray Manuscript does represent the shroud. So does the burial sheet in the Stavronikita Epitaphios. I’m convinced.

Shroud Encounters of the Wikipedia Kind

imageFrom a recently updated Wikipedia article, one of countless articles being scrutinized by the WikiProject Christianity group. entitled Depictions of Jesus:

The conventional image of a fully bearded Jesus with long hair did not become established until the 6th century in Eastern Christianity, and much later in the West. Earlier images were much more varied. Images of Jesus tend to show ethnic characteristics similar to those of the culture in which the image has been created. Beliefs that certain images are historically authentic, or have acquired an authoritative status from Church tradition, remain powerful among some of the faithful, in Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Roman Catholicism. The Shroud of Turin is now the best-known example, though the Image of Edessa and the Veil of Veronica were better known in medieval times[citation needed].

The image shone here, one of dozens in the article, is described as, “Christ in majesty, still with no beard, from an English 12th century illuminated manuscript.”

Colin Berry has some preliminary results

imageClick in to his site to see First test of the quicklime hypothesis (Turin Shroud image) – in pictures.  Don’t knock him for having produced only scorch marks and not an image yet. Who really has, so far?  Nicholas Allen, Joe Nickell,  Craig-Bresee, Luigi Garlaschelli?  Actually, Colin has with hot metal. Let’s see where he goes with this.

Experimentation is always a step forward no matter the results.

In this case only a qualified chemist who knows what he is doing should be experimenting this way.

Comment Promoted: The Stavronikita Epitaphios

imageDaveb writes in the Discussion about the Pray Codex and it’s relation to the Shroud is over? thread:

Some two years ago on this site, there was considerable discussion [Herringbone Weave within Stavronikita Epitaphios (Revisited)] on the Epitaphios Stavronikita. Several features necessarily connect it to the Shroud, one in particular was an undeniable replication of the herring-bone twill. Other features included a bloodied, scourged, prostrate Christ with crossed hands over the groin. Despite the many similarities, thumbs are nevertheless clearly visible. However, there was clearly disagreement about the date of provenance, some asserting it as late 15th – 16th centuries, while others insisted that it was as early as 12th century, a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. I have attempted to pursue this further via the web, but the only references to this particular epitaphios all relate back to Dan’s web-site only. There appear to be no other web references to it. I can’t even find it on any of the Mt Athos Stavronikita monastery web-sites.

There were several other comments relating to herring-bone twill representations, including several from Max PH referring to the St Mark’s 7th century carving. Someone had found a reference to the Stavronikita in a university library, but the matter of dating it still remains unresolved.

Even though the TS was known in the west by the 14th century, would monks or artisans at Mt Athos be likely to use this knowledge as a model for an epitaphios for use in Greek Orthodox liturgies at this time? I think not! A rational explanation for whatever model was used for it, demands that some remembered features of the Shroud cloth when it was under Greek custody influenced its design.

Meantime, someone may like to pursue the date of provenance of the epitaphios stavronikita with better success and more conclusivity than I’ve been able to manage.

I had said then that the implications are significant. Look very carefully at the weave pattern on the burial shroud pictured (two photographs) and the enlarged section showing the cloth below the shoulder.

Photo 1:image

Photo 2:


Section beneath shoulder showing herringbone:



If you are going to be in or around Kearney, Nebraska

image. . .  today or tomorrow – or passing through on Interstate 80 going between, say Des Moines, Iowa and Cheyenne, Wyoming – there is an exhibit of the Man of the Shroud at the Kearney Ramada Inn just north of the highway interchange on Route 44 between the Chrysler Jeep dealership and the Dairy Queen.

According to the Kearney Hub:

The hours [are] 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission charge.

Viewers will see a life-size photographic transparency 14 feet tall by 3 feet wide that replicates the Shroud of Turin.

The exhibit includes many detailed, back-lit panels with information surrounding the shroud and the death and resurrection of Jesus. It also features a life-size sculpture of Jesus on a 9-foot-tall cross graphically depicting every wound revealed in the image of the Shroud.

imageThe circles in the above Google Earth photograph are not crop circles.  Well, actually they are. They are created by giant irrigation sprinklers that go around in circles.

The point is this: the Shroud of Turin is increasingly becoming a subject of interest just about everywhere. That’s wonderful.

Anticipating the Conference: Robert Siefker on Observations, Data and Hypotheses

Robert Siefker  |  12-Oct-2014  |  11:00-11:30 am


In 2013 The Shroud Center of Colorado (TSC) posted Version 1 of a new document on its website entitled The Shroud: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses.  Version 2, including updates to exiting materials and a new section on Shroud History, should be available by the time of the St. Louis Shroud Conference and it is our desire to present Version 2 at the Conference.  . . .

As an organization TSC has studied the Shroud for literally 10’s of thousands of hours and the publishing of the Critical Summary is part of the effort of the organization to make our understanding of the Shroud available to the serious inquirer. We disclose in the Critical Summary that TSC as an organization holds that a critical assessment of the totality of currently available data on the Shroud supports the judgment that the Shroud of Turin once wrapped the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Nevertheless, we respect the autonomy of each person to formulate his or her own judgment concerning what conclusions the data leads him or her to. Unfortunately, many people make a snap judgment concerning the Shroud based on only one or two pieces of data, the publishing of conflicting hypotheses or simply their inability to get their arms around the large corpus of Shroud “data”. The Critical Summary is a fairly long document, pushing 100 pages, but we believe an individual must spend at least a number of hours in studying the extensive evidence related to the Shroud in order to begin to form his or her own judgments and arguments concerning this fascinating object.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

BTW:  Link to Version 1 as a PDF file (which is pictured, above)