Picture for Today: Poster for the 1931 Exhibition of the Shroud

Posted three days ago on the Diocese of Turin’s 2015 Shroud of Turin
Exhibition Facebook page

For the public exhibition of the shroud, May 3 to 24, 1931 on the occasion of the marriage of Prince Umberto of Piedmont and Princes Maria Jos of Belgium.

Here We Go Again

The Rev. James Martin, a Catholic priest, calls the relationship between
James and Jesus "very complicated."

Ben Witherington III offers the Protestant view that Jesus and James
were full brothers, with Jesus being the elder.


imageMichael McKinley for CNN writes about this coming Sunday’s Finding Jesus broadcast:

In November 2002, the world was captivated by the biggest archaeological discovery ever made relating to Jesus: a 2,000 year-old ossuary — or bone box — bearing the tantalizing inscription in Aramaic: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

If it was true, this was the first physical evidence ever found of Jesus’ existence. And yet, if this amazing ossuary was false, then it was one of the greatest forgeries in history.

Underlying the question of the authenticity of the ossuary is an even bigger theological problem: whether or not Jesus actually had any brothers. Though the debate’s origins are ancient, the answer still divides Catholics and Protestants.

Nice Review of Russ Breault’s Presentation in Wisconsin

clip_image001Written by Amanda Lauer, the article, Expert gives Shroud of Turin presentations in Neenah  appears in The Compass, the newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. I particularly liked the last paragraph (knowing full well that you will read the whole article from the beginning):

The message of the Shroud of Turin is transcendent, said Breault. “The message is the same message as the Gospel. There’s no difference. The message really isn’t about the shroud; it’s about the message behind the shroud. It’s not about an old piece of linen, it’s about the message behind that linen, the message of salvation — the whole mission and purpose of why Jesus came to Earth as the son of man and the son of God. I’m telling the greatest story ever told through the shroud.”

Crocumentaries

imageJoe Nickell reacts to CNN’s “Finding Jesus”: Disingenuous Look at Turin “Shroud” over at the Center for Inquiry website:

… The first episode of the TV series (but curiously the last chapter of the book) was about the “Shroud” of Turin. Easter after Easter, this alleged burial cloth of Jesus is trotted out like a ghost story at Halloween, typically with the same shoddy standards.

This TV presentation was no exception. It was replete with pseudohistory and pseudoscience to such an extent that—if one is not to question the producers’ motives— one must accuse them of gross incompetence. To show why, this review necessarily focuses as much on what is left out as it does on what makes the cut. The program is thus revealed as an hour-long example of confirmation bias—by which one begins with the desired answer and works backward to the evidence, picking and choosing. The usual formula to such crocumentaries is to spend, say, half to two-thirds of the time building up the claim at hand, then bring in some skepticism—or “skepticism”— and finally attack the contrary points, so as to end on a note of mystery. The implication is that science cannot explain the image on the “shroud,” so it appears to be something beyond science. This is a type of faulty logic called an argument from ignorance.

Nickell is particularly upset with the inclusion of Nicholas Allen’s hypothesis in the show. So was just about everyone, it seems, but for different reasons. Nickell’s perspective is, well, a crock of something or other:

With his absurd “explanation” of the shroud’s image, Nicholas Allen has played into the hands of shroud propagandists. They use him to endorse the falsehood that the image is a photographic negative, then allow his farfetched notion to make skeptics look ridiculous in their desperation. The result is to make religion seem to trump science. Shroud activists are no doubt laughing all the way to the cathedral.

Note: Photograph of Joe Nickell is a press photo from www.joenickell.com

A Rebuttal of Jackson’s Refutation of Reweaving?

imageA reader writes:

Has anyone offered a rebuttal of Dr. Jackson’s refutation of the reweaving theory?  Or do all the authenticists just ignore it, as Charles Freeman says.

What say you all?

On David Gibson

imageKate O’Hare, in the Catholic Channel of Patheos, discusses a conversation with David Gibson (pictured), one of the co-authors of “Finding Jesus,” the book on which the CNN TV series of the same name is based:

On the relics examined:

Some of them are not as claimed; some of them are probably forgeries. even; but some of them are the real deal. Some of them, all of them, open a window on history and onto the Gospels and what really happened.

Even if this piece of the True Cross isn’t the True Cross, what happened? How did these things migrate across centuries, why are they so important?

On why he’s a Catholic:

Honey, I don’t have enough time. That’s a whole other thing. I was raised Evangelical. My mom’s a Billy Graham Evangelical and very strong in her faith, but for me, I found a deeper tradition and a liturgical practice in the Catholic Church, like a number of Evangelicals have.

But again, not to diss anything else, there are so many aspects of conversion which are fascinating. Each conversion story stands on its own.

In the context of this book and this series, coming from a tradition where anything associated with relics was ridiculous or superstitious, to a tradition that reveres and venerates relics, and is also very strong on historical, Biblical research, there’s a common ground there that both sides can learn from the other on the value of looking for the Jesus of history.

Two Articles on the Shroud’s History

They appear in the Italian language daily L’Indro (the links include translation into English):

image1)  Shroud: before the Middle Ages did not exist: The Mandylion is not the Shroud of Turin, which appeared only in 1355 in Lirey by Andrea Nicolotti

Google Translate says:  A much exploited in past to attribute an ancient history in a relic that is lacking is to take the hypothetical events attributed to a relic different and apply them to that, or to argue that two relics are actually the same thing. There are some stories that concern ancient images acheropite, ie ‘not made ​​by human hands’, fabrics on which it would miraculously imprinted the image of Christ. One of them is the Veronica, another is called Mandylion , ie ‘handkerchief’ or ‘towel’ of Edessa . The clip_image001legend on this handkerchief took its first steps in the V century as an appendix of another apocryphal legend and free of historical verisimilitude, already known in the previous century, which told of a correspondence exchanged between Jesus and King Abgar V of Edessa . In the text known as the ‘ Doctrine of Addai ‘it is said that King Abgar had sent his messenger to Jesus, who not only gave him a letter, but he also painted a portrait. Towards the middle of the sixth century, the legend was further modified and instead of the painted colors there was talk of a miraculous image : seeing the inability of the messenger in painting the portrait, Jesus would have washed his face and he wiped with a towel ; and on the fabric would miraculously imprinted the image of his face

image2) From the Mandylion Shroud: Reconstruction of the history of the Mandylion of Edessa in Lirey by Filippo Burgarella

Google Translate says:  To which attributes the discovery of the icon hidden for centuries in a niche of the walls of Edessa and prodigiously duplicated. A ‘icon, then, on two different media: the original on a towel folded four times (‘ rhakos tetradiplon ‘) and the copy on tile (‘ Keramion ‘). It was believed that the copy was formed by contact with the original on Keramion place to protect that niche. An Icon that in both formats ‘achiropita’, ie not painted by the hand of man, even to distinguish it from the pagan idols, facts instead of human hands (‘deadly works facta’) as reaffirm the imperial laws. Since then it was kept in the cathedral rebuilt by Emperor Justinian made. In 639 Edessa falls under Islamic rule, which saves the icon from the havoc of the Byzantine iconoclasts. From then on it is called Mandylion….

Maybe Novels Should Be Peer Reviewed

“The cover said Thermochimica Acta  … an American chemist
from the national laboratory at Los Alamos”

image

Caldwell’s previous novel, The Rule of Four, was at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list for more than six months. As Dan Brown proved with The Da Vinci Code people believe what they read in novels.

With Nelson DeMille saying, “The Fifth Gospel is nothing short of groundbreaking—a literary feast wrapped around an intriguing murder mystery. Caldwell writes with precision and passion as he takes us on an emotional journey deep into the workings of the Vatican and deeper into the hearts and souls of the men and women who have devoted their lives to the Church. The Fifth Gospel is a cathedral where skeptics and believers alike may enter and all will leave transformed.” …

With Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist praising it as much as they do, it is destined for best seller status. Library Journal wrote of it, “Captivating . . . This thriller is, at its heart, a story of sacrifice, forgiveness, and redemption. Peppered with references to real-life people, places, and events, the narrative rings true, taking the reader on an emotional journey nearly two thousand years in the making.”

And so we read why the carbon dating was wrong (remember, this is a novel):

“A fire broke out,” Ugo said. “In 1532, the Shroud was being kept in a reliquary made of silver. The fire melted part of it. A drop of molten silver landed on the Shroud, burning through every layer of the folded cloth. The damaged linen had to be repaired by Poor Clare nuns. Which brings me to my point.”

Nogara plucked a trade journal from a bookshelf and handed it to me. The cover said Thermochimica Acta.

“This coming January,” he continued, “an American chemist from the national laboratory at Los Alamos will publish an article in that scientific journal. A friend at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences sent me an early copy. See for yourself.”

[…]

And there it was: “Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin.”

It contained pictures of what looked like worms on microscope slides, and charts I couldn’t fathom. At the beginning of the text, though, in the abstract, were two sentences whose gist I understood:

Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.

“The sample wasn’t part of the Shroud?” I said. “How is that possible?”

Nogara sighed. “We didn’t realize how much work the Poor Clare nuns ad done. We knew they had seven patches over the holes. We didn’t now—because we couldn’t see—that they had also woven threads into the Shroud to strengthen it. Only under a microscope could they be distinguished. So, inadvertently, we tested a fabric that mixed original linen with repair threads. This American chemist is the first to have discovered the mistake. One of his colleagues has told me that parts of the sample weren’t even linen. The nuns made their repairs with cotton.”

A cool energy spread through the room. In Nogara’s eyes was a controlled giddiness.

“Alli,” Simon whispered, “this is it. This is finally it.”

Remember, it is a novel. Maybe novels should be peer reviewed.

If CNN Wasn’t Enough, Get Ready for NBC on Easter Sunday

and eleven more Sundays after that

As reported yesterday on WNDU (University of Notre Dame Television, an NBC affiliate):

Hollywood producer Mark Burnett and his wife, "Touched by an Angel" star Roma Downey, were at Notre Dame in February for a special screening of episode one.

The couple is eager for fans to see the finished product which they describe as "’The Bible’ meets ‘House of Cards’ meets ‘Game of Thrones.’"

The story starts with the crucifixion of Jesus, and covers the first ten chapters of the book of Acts.

Filmed in Morocco with a massive cast and crew, "A.D. The Bible Continues" creators sought to capture the grit of the times with the epic stories woven throughout the Bible.

“But also bringing the Bible story to the screen brings with it a responsibility and we certainly take that very seriously. We worked with scholars and Bible advisers and pastors, priests to make sure we told the story accurately and authentically, and then we pulled from the historian Josephis and other historians at the time to tell the story as authentically as we can.”

The 12-part series starts Easter Sunday.

And CLICK HERE to see the NBC webpage.

Will the shroud be mentioned?

Picture for Today: Exposition Reliquary Being Delivered

image

Translated, with some help from Google, from the Archdiocese of Turin Shroud Exposition Facebook page:

At dawn [March 5, 2015] the reliquary that will host the Shroud during the 67-day exposition was delivered to cathedral in Turin. The Holy Shroud will be protected by a thick glass specifically designed to improve viewing. The cloth will be transferred in the days immediately preceding the opening of 19 April.

Note:  The cathedral is currently closed to the public until the opening day of the exposition.

Barrie Schwortz on the CNN Shroud of Turin Program

“My first impression was that the program’s content was more superficial
than the image on the Shroud!”  — Barrie Schwortz


imageBarrie has joined the ranks of many who are reacting unfavorably to the first episode of Finding Jesus on CNN. He has posted A Brief Review of the Recent CNN Documentary and Further Comments on the Medieval Photograph Theory on the shroud.com website:

I personally hate to write reviews of television programs and usually leave them for others to do, but after weeks of media hype and the controversy created after this program aired, I felt compelled to write a brief review of CNN’s latest “docudrama” on the Shroud of Turin, which premiered Sunday, March 1, 2015, as the first episode in their six part “Finding Jesus” series….

On the experts:

It was also interesting to see who the producers considered to be Shroud “experts.” It was good to see a few familiar faces, like Dr. John Jackson and Mark Guscin, who both appear in the program and who are well known as credible Shroud scholars. (Although Russ Breault was originally interviewed for the program, his comments were not included in the final edited version). However, most of the other “experts” were unfamiliar to me and I could find no evidence that any of them ever actually studied the Shroud themselves. Unfortunately, that happens frequently in Shroud documentaries.

On the carbon dating of the shrouud:

Even more frustrating, when discussing the radiocarbon dating, absolutely no mention was made by anyone of the credible scientific data that exists indicating the single sample chosen for dating was anomalous and not necessarily representative of the entire Shroud. Although that theory is controversial and not accepted by everyone, it was in fact the first research to challenge the radiocarbon dating in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Simply ignoring it does a great disservice to those who dedicated themselves to doing credible scientific research on the Shroud and it certainly makes it more difficult for those who are not as well versed to understand what we truly know. Based on all the e-mails and calls I received, its absence was certainly obvious to most of the viewers of this website, since that was the question they asked me the most.

On the medieval photograph hypothesis:

But the most frustrating part of the program for me was the considerable time spent resurrecting the long ago discarded proto-photography theory presented by South African art historian Nicholas Allen, who claims the Shroud is a medieval photograph. In 2000, I presented a paper at the Sindone 2000 Shroud Conference in Orvieto, Italy, titled, “Is The Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph? A Critical Examination of the Theory” that addressed Allen’s conclusions directly and presented a side-by-side comparison of his results to the image on the Shroud (something Allen never did). I then pointed out the dramatic differences between the two images and you can see them for yourself at the above link.

In addition, Barrie has added a section to the Late Breaking News page for 2015. It reads:

Now that several days have passed and many people have had the opportunity to view the CNN documentary, it is time to look at some reviews of the program. In fact, I received so many letters and phone calls that rather than try and answer them all, I decided to write my own review of the documentary, which you will find linked below. In addition, I am providing a link to a relevant article that addresses certain issues raised in the program and links to other online sources with reviews you might find interesting. So let’s get started:

This is just a small sampling of the many comments posted on various blogs and websites. If you do a little searching, I’m sure you will find a lot more.

Keeping an audience in suspense

imageBrian Lowry, writing in Variety, figures out what is going on in the first episode of Finding Jesus:

Despite all that’s been reported about the Shroud (including debate over carbon dating conducted in 1988 to determine its age), it’s pretty clear that the program is less concerned with ascertaining whether the artifact is fake than it is with simply keeping an audience that hasn’t read much about it in suspense for as long as possible. Along the way, viewers are treated to what amounts to a Sunday-school recap, courtesy of the various talking heads, regarding what the Bible doesn’t tell us about Jesus and the horrors of crucifixion.

But maybe the producers, writers, talking heads and CNN, itself, realized they couldn’t ascertain whether the artifact is fake. Maybe a news agency is better at understanding this than a so-called history channel or a geographic society.

Mark Goodacre Answers Carbon Dating Questions on CNN Website

… and several other questions, too.

To keep up with all the Tweets to Mark click on @goodacre

To follow the continuing dialog on Facebook, visit facebook.com/FindingJesusCNN

imageMark, a professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University, is a featured expert in the CNN series, Finding Jesus.

Here are his answers to two carbon dating questions:

Vance Lipsey: Is there a better way to check the shroud than carbon dating? I’ve been told carbon dating is very inaccurate.

Goodacre: Actually, carbon dating is an excellent way to ascertain the date of an artifact. Many are disappointed, not surprisingly, that the shroud dated to between AD 1260 and 1390. I recall my own disappointment (but not surprise) on hearing the results back in 1988. But the scientists doing the carbon dating were not amateurs, and the samples were tested in three separate labs. Moreover, the carbon date cohered with other evidence that the shroud was a medieval forgery, like the fact that there is no evidence of its existence until the 14th century.

Cynthia Restivo: So I know the carbon dating was off, but wasn’t it later shown that the piece of cloth used for the testing was a section that had been repaired after some fire damage or something? Which would explain why it dated different?

Goodacre: No, that’s not been established. Those who defend the authenticity of the shroud often say the sample might have been taken from a part of the shroud that was repaired after it was damaged by fire in the 16th century. But this is special pleading. The scientists who took the sample knew what they were doing. Professor Christopher Ramsey noted that the unusual weave on the sample matched the weave on the rest of the shroud perfectly.

Will you be near the Chicago suburb of Skokie this weekend?

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Inside the pope’s bedroom and more

imageOn February 4th, I blogged about A Most Anticipated Book of Spring 2015: About the Shroud of Turin. Publishers Weekly had picked a fiction book about the Shroud of Turin as one of The Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2015The book was The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell.

At the time, I said the book would not be available until the middle of March.  Well, I was wrong. You can buy it, starting today, in Hardcover, Kindle and Audible.

Ian Caldwell, whose previous book, "The Rule of Four," was on the New York Times bestseller list for 49 weeks and translated into 35 languages, has a fascinating article in Salon, Inside the pope’s bedroom, Vatican secrecy and the lives of married priests: My 11-year quest to write “The Fifth Gospel”

imageThe novel’s genesis traces to 2003, when I came upon the surprising fact that our modern notion of Jesus’ physical appearance – the bearded, long-haired man of Christian art – goes back to about 400 AD, before which no one seems to have agreed what Jesus looked like.  The Bible offers no description, so where had this image come from?  Around the same time in history, mysterious relics appeared in the Christian East, purporting to be divine portraits of Jesus not made by human hands.  In 1978 a British scholar proposed that the cloth we know today as the Shroud of Turin might in fact be the most famous of these early relics:  an image widely known and revered in early Christendom.  Even though carbon-dating tests declared the Shroud a medieval fake almost 20 years ago, millions of faithful continue to travel to Turin during the Shroud’s periodic expositions, making this single cloth more popular than any museum on earth.  Increasingly, they share a conviction that today’s Turin Shroud is indeed that celebrated relic of times past.  Is it possible, then, that the Shroud is the most influential image in Christian history?  That, when it first emerged, it was considered so authoritative that all subsequent images of Jesus can be traced to it?

There is this:

In the years that followed, I would buy 600 research books on the Vatican, all of them aimed at solving one question or another in this way.  The books would arrive at my door from almost every country in Europe, including the Vatican itself.  My private obsession to know the history and appearance of every building within the pope’s walls, and as much as possible about the important rooms within them, provided a welcome distraction from the harder work at hand:  understanding what Catholics believe about Jesus.  For, in order to do that, I could no longer rely just on books.

Today, looking back on it, the terror of reaching out to my first priest seems overwrought.  In the time since that first interview, I have traded phone calls and emails with Holy See diplomats, Vatican priests, Church lawyers, the wives of Eastern Catholic clergy, the Jesuit former editor of America magazine, and the papal caretaker of the Shroud of Turin.  That first time, though, unnerved me.

And much, much more.

Of this new novel, world renowned novelist David Baldacci writes, “Masterful…The Fifth Gospel is that rare story: erudite and a page-turner, literary but compulsively readable. It will change the way you look at organized religion, humanity, and perhaps yourself.”

By the Numbers: The Shroud of Turin Episode of Finding Jesus

imageAccording to Michael O’Connell in The Hollywood Reporter, CNN’s Jesus Series Tops Cable News on Sunday

Christianity remains a hot topic on TV, even for cable news. As other networks (NBC, Nat Geo) ready scripted outings about Jesus Christ timed to the upcoming Easter holiday, CNN got a jump on the religious rush this Sunday night with the premiere of its new doc series, Finding Jesus.

The one-hour debut of the program topped all of cable news last night, per early Nielsen ratings, averaging 1.14 million viewers. That topped Fox News Channel (634,000) and MSNBC (275,000) combined and now ranks as CNN’s second-biggest original series opening behind 2014’s The Sixties….

Finding Jesus also made a solid showing among adults 25-54, averaging 371,000 over FNC and MSNBC’s shared 111,000 viewers.

After CNN

And so pending any new scientific breakthroughs, the mystery remains.

imageMUST READ:  Revisiting the Shroud of Turin – After CNN by Simon J. Joseph:

To my knowledge, that is where things stand with most Jesus researchers. They don’t know what to do with the Shroud. And so they do nothing. After all, the Shroud is not a "text" and does not enter the historical record until the fourteenth century. Moreover, Shroud-science, or "Sindonology," requires professional expertise in numerous scientific disciplines, none of which biblical scholars are qualified to adjudicate. This is a topic on which opinions divide and emotions run high. Some claim that the Shroud is evidence that God raised Jesus from the dead while others claims the Shroud is a forgery, a hoax, or an invented relic for the gullible medieval faithful. Furthermore, because the Shroud is seen as a Catholic relic and biblical scholarship is predominantly Protestant, Catholic/Protestant conflicts only exacerbate the controversy. In any case, biblical scholarship has done quite well for itself without appealing to or depending on the authenticity of the Shroud. But now that CNN has re-opened the debate with its new series "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery" and the Vatican will be exhibiting the Shroud again this spring in Turin (April 19 – June 24), it’s time to take another look at the Shroud.

Read the entire article on Dr. Joseph’s Blog.  Dr. Simon J. Joseph is a biblical scholar, author, and documentary filmmaker. An Adjunct Professor of Religion at California Lutheran University, Dr. Joseph holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in Religion/New Testament from Claremont Graduate University. His . . .

BOOKS   |   ARTICLES   |    FILMS

Nine Selected and Revised Papers from the Bari Conference

unscheduled decision to select 9 the above contributions for revision
and publication in the SHS Web of Conferences

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imageA special open access collection of nine selected and revised papers from the 2014 Workshop on Advances in the Turin Shroud Investigation (ATSI 2014) in Bari, Italy, September 4–5, 2014 

Why nine?  Read the following from the preface to the collection:

… Of the 30 contributions submitted to peer review, only 19 was accepted for presentation and discussion during the workshop. The Official Program for this two-day forum is reported in http://dee.poliba.it/ATSI2014/index.htm. Later, the Major Chairpersons made the unscheduled decision to select 9 of the above contributions in order for them to be re-examined with a view to a possible publication on SHS Web of Conferences. The reference Authors of each of the 9 selected papers were asked to revise their papers taking into account comments and questions raised both after presentations and during informal discussions through the workshop. Finally, the revised papers were submitted to a second round of peer-review and modified according to Reviewers’ remarks.

This restricted collection of papers essentially cover a number of topics distinctive of the Turin Shroud (TS) studies, notably in-situ and laboratory investigation on TS-like electrostatic imaging; micro-scale optical observation and macro-scale reproduction; TS coloration, conservation and pattern perception; commonalities and coincidences with the Oviedo Sudarium; archaeological survey on funerary textiles in ancient Israel with a comparison with the TS; historiographical contribution to the debated question of the burial cloths reported in the Gospel account for the benefit of related applications, e.g. Liturgy and Iconography

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF PAPERS AND LINKS

Checking In On Colin Berry: A New Image Model ‘forming in my mind’

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc

imageColin is is toying with a new image formation scheme. He is blogging about it though it is difficult to know this. Instead of posting new entries in his blog, Colin adds more text to old ones, so much so that even Google is gasping for air.

In what follows, we are looking at some new text added to a posting for February 20, Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a ‘proximity imprint’ in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman’s faded painting? If you want to follow along you can find the latest text (as of this morning) roughly 4/5 of the way down what is now a very long webpage:

… Am presently  researching, thoroughly I hope, a distinctively different angle on the manner in which the Shroud image may have been produced. It’s a difficult call to beat contact thermal imprinting, while still  producing a negative  non-directional image with 3D properties etc etc. But the new model that’s been forming in my mind, with some prompting from the writings of Luigi Garlaschelli and Joseph Accetta, might be more suited to the medieval mind (and technology) than the heated inanimate  templates (horse brasses, brass crucifixes)on the cooker hob in this blogger’s 21st century kitchen.

A few paragraphs later:

Here’s a few broadbrush ideas to be getting along with.

Firstly, there had to be template.One does not paint a negative image freehand, at least not one so photograph-like as the TS (when submitted to 19th/20th century technology). The template may have been totally inanimate (14th century provenance), e.g. a metal or ceramic bas relief, or it may been a real person (allowing for a 1st century provenance, if one is willing to junk the radiocarbon dating – count me out).

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc – applies it to one’s subject of template, then presses down linen to get an imprint. What then?  Knowing what we now know about the properties of alum, one could suggest an immediate roasting at a temperature that leads to chemical sehydration of the linen carbohydrates in areas in immediate contact with the alum paste. Knoock off the surplus paste when doen and one has (maybe) a faint yellow negative image.

clip_image001And – to be expected:

Briefly, the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge provided a possible rationale for imprinting the image of a bearded man who was NOT Jesus, but a Knight Templar, indeed the most prominent, Jacques de Molay. Why? Because de Molay, Grand Master of the outlawed order was burned at the stake in Paris 1314. Alongisde him was a fellw Templar, Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney. That name is almost but not quite identical to that of the Lord of Lirey whose widow placed the Shroud on its first recorded public display in 1357, shortly after he husband’s death at the Battle of Poitiers. Her husband is said by celebrated genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs to have been the nephew of his quasi-namesake who died in 1314, some 43 or so years earlier.  Might the TS image have been intended to represent a Knight Templar and the manner of death, especially as the "burning at the stake" had in fact been performed sadistically by slow-roasting? Was it a tribute (initially) that had remained in the family, a closely guarded secret initailly for obvious reasons when Templars were still being dispossed and worse by an alliance of convenience between the then heretic-seeking Papacy and cash-strapped French monarchy? Was it ‘reinvented’ to represent the victim of crucifixion rather than "scorching".

Was there supporting evidence that might corroborate that interpretation?

More to come:

I can hardly wait.

Daily Beast Review of CNN’s Shroud of Turin Episode

imagePoet and scholar Jay Parini, author of Jesus: The Human Face of God, writing in The Daily Beast, reviews the CNN series and particularly last night’s episode on the Shroud of Turin:

The television version is typical, well, television. The music is overly dramatic. There are trite dramatized scenes of Jesus being arrested and tried, nailed to the cross, his body being wrapped in a shroud, and so forth. These scenes are not, in fact, so much dramatic as illustrative: we get visual representations of what people are talking about. The better moments are those where we get the actual history of the Shroud: its sudden appearance in the middle of the 14th century, its even more stunning acquisition of huge importance to the faithful when, in 1898, an amateur photographer took a picture of the Shroud and a positive image of a man appeared. Was this the actual face of Jesus?

Decades of scientific investigation of the Shroud ensued, with the conclusion by art historian Nicholas Allen in 1988 that the Shroud is a fake but an interesting one that pushes the history of photography back five hundred years. A further series of radiocarbon tests on the Shroud in 1988 suggested that it dated to the 13th or 14th century, although even this has come into question, as scientists go deeper, looking at pollen samples and so forth.

The mystery was really never solved. It was complicated by the Sudarium. A sudarium is simply a piece of cloth (like a handkerchief) put over the face of a recently deceased person, and one of these corresponding to the Shroud itself was found to have ancient origins dating to about 700 CE by radiocarbon testing. But there are many complications, and—to fully understand them—one really needs the companion book. The television version glosses over the details, as it must; yet the details are riveting. By way of conclusion, Fr. Martin says, “When we look at the authenticity of the Shroud, my gut tells me that it’s real.”

Real or fake, to me, seem the wrong categories. Useful or not as aids to faith and spiritual reflection might be better categories.

Full Shroud of Turin Episode of Finding Jesus Available on CNN Website

Click HERE or on the image

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http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/02/26/finding-jesus-season-1-episode-1.cnn

Open Discussion About Finding Jesus, Episode One: Examining the Shroud of Turin

Finding Jesus Premieres on CNN Sunday at 9pm ET/PT

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Respectful Discussion Only