Angelo Paratico has a nice quick synopsis of the modern day study of the shroud in Beyond Thirty-Nine, a blog he co-authors from Hong Kong. The posting is called The Turin’s Shroud – a Mystery hidden into a Riddle.
In Hong Kong we have one of the world’s great experts in the science of Sindonology, which is the study of the Shroud of Turin, known as Sindone in Italian. A Hong Kong resident since 1970, William Meacham, is an archeologist and a professor at HKU. He has many books published under his name and in particular there is one which is often cited by sindonologists: The Rape of the Shroud published in 2005.
In 1978 a special commission received permission to investigate scientifically this mysterious fabric, which appeared out of nowhere in Lirey, France, in the year 1353. This commission was called STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project). It started well, but soon descended into a factional war between bickering scientists and reluctant cardinals. Being these the basis, it is not surprising that the results, instead of clearing the waters, made them even murkier.
The book of Prof. Meacham is an highly scientific and well researched work, as he was one of the experts summoned to Italy and involved in the dating project of the Shroud, but was later sidelined by a group of people with a narrow view of what they were examining and, perhaps, lacking the necessary expertise. . . .
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The validity of the C14 radiocarbon dating was put in doubt from the very beginning, and for a number of good reasons. We’ll limit ourselves to the most basic ones, noting only that it is hard to believe how scientists could act so clumsily. . . .
They found that where the image appeared there were no traces of pigments or colors, and it was certainly not obtained by heating or printing. . . .
Did anyone tell Charles and Colin?
Here is some show off trivia:
This relict had remained a property of the royal house of Italy, the Savoy, until 1983 when it was finally bequeathed to the Vatican by the last king of Italy, Umberto II, in his testament. Curiously this donation had been challenged, because what did belong to the last king should have been taken over by the republican government of Italy in 1946 but this matter is still taking dust in the Italian Parliament, as more pressing matters concerning the economy are at hand.
The commentator is just a little confused. The secret Turin Commission under Cardinal Ballestrero carried out its work during 1969-76. STURP was not a Commission in the same sense but a free association of some 30 or so scientists, mainly American which carried out its work in 1978. It encountered a few problems which were easily overcome mainly through the good services of Fr Peter Rinaldi, and their intended programme of research was satisfactorily completed in reasonable harmony. Any dissent was mainly from Walter McCrone. The so-called “factional war between bickering scientists and reluctant cardinals” had little to do with STURP, which was specifically excluded from the 1988 radiocarbon testing.
There are several telling excerpts from Meacham’s book “The Rape of the Shroud” commenting on the lead up to the C-14 testing in the ADDENDUM paper I mentioned in a recent thread one or two days ago. It is a compelling read!
“ADDENDUM TO Chronological History of the Evidence for the Anomalous Nature of the C-14 Sample Area of the Shroud of Turin” By Joseph G. Marino and Edwin J. Prior 2008.
The commentator is just a little confused. The secret Turin Commission under Cardinal Ballestrero carried out its work during 1969-76.
Dave, you have confused as well. The Turin Commision was under Cardinal Michele Pellegrino. Cardinal Ballestrero became Arcibishop of Turin only in 1977.
Hi, O.K. not confused, it’s all those Italianate names with l, r & o. It was late at night and I miscopied my ref note from memory. Reads in full:
“June 1969: Cardinal Michele Pellegrino, Archbishop of Turin, Sep 1965 – Aug 1977; secretly appointed a Commission of 11 Piedmontese experts to check preservation and recommend suitable scientific tests; names revealed in 1976;” And so on.
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