Paper Chase: Offensive Coins? Heads or Tails?

… nothing but a numismatic and pseudosindonological myth

imageMax-Patrick Hamon writes:

Please find attached in pdf format ‘Part One’ (OFFENSIVE COINS? HEADS OR TAILS? Or the Stauffer pseudo- numismatic evidence) of a longer paper (I wrote in 2008, updated in 2011 and not yet published) entitled: Turin Shroud: Coin Over Eyes And Die-Hard Misinformation.

I uploaded it. So, just click on the above title or on the image of the first page shown here.

48 thoughts on “Paper Chase: Offensive Coins? Heads or Tails?”

  1. Here I Stand

    This paper illustrates one point: pro-authenticist commentators should limit the reach of their arguments to what is proven by substantial evidence and avoid reaching too far and creating opportunities for rebuttal of controvertible observations.

    The coins in the eyes as proof is “a bridge too far.” It is unnecessary and creates a diversion from the two most evident facts supporting authenticity: the blood stains and the image which was created within three days of the man in the image’s death. The image is of a crucified man and is in general accord with the Gospel descriptions of the Christ’s Crucifixion and its aftermath

    The pseudo-skeptics have not produced a scientifically defensible hypothesis to contradict those facts and those facts are compatible with the Resurrection and incompatible with any other proven hypothesis.

    I am tempted adopt the famous quotation attributed to Luther: “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise” except Luther never said that.

  2. John you misleadingly wrote:

    “The coins in the eyes as PROOF (upper cases mine) is “A BRIDGE TOO FAR.” It is UNNECESSARY (upper cases mine) and creates A DIVERSION (upper cases mine) from the two most evident facts supporting authenticity: the blood stains and the image which was created within three days of the man in the image’s death.”

    Actually I wrote: “Now, irrespective of the PUTATIVE OR REAL (upper cases mine) very partial fingerprint-like APPEARANCE of these coins on the Turin Shroud4, the true fact remains ‘the Stauffer numismatic evidence’ can be contradicted by literary sources (namely the Torah, Talmud, and the Gospels), numismatics ‘archaeoperception’ and archaeology, whether implicitly or explicitly”.

    Besides methinks your quantum physics to acconut for the TS image IS “a thousand bridges too far” and totally unnecessary as proof of the resurrection. Had you really studied and researched on the putative or real nature of the very partial tiny BLOOD (and PLASMA?) impressions left on the TS man’s orbital regions, you just could not so firmly and blindly “stand” as you do now.

    I will email Dan two tables that tend (for lack of triple and even quadruple checking via three first generation photographic documents namely 2002 Durante TS face digital photograph and HAL9000 HD TS man’s right and left orbital region photographs) to prove sufficiently identifiable parts of Pilate coin obverse images do exist that are not possibly visual noise. Indeed my point is really subtantiated (not “a bridge too far”) and just in the “bull’s eye” as far as datation (by means of paleography) and authenticity are concerned.

    Reminder: Barrie Schwortz who wrote/told Yannick Clément: “if they (Yeshua’s buriers) did use coins, they CERTAINLY (upper cases mine) would not have put a pagan Caesar coin on the face of the prophesized Messiah!”, is totally wrong. The coin devices are specifically designed to agree with BOTH Roman and Judean sensitivities (e.g. the lituus once seen through the Judean’s eyes as shevet (“rod” or “sceptre of Judah”) on the contrary does refer to the prophesized Messiah!). Schwortz (without even being aware!) bases his opinion on false premises (Stauffer pseudo-theory and unsubstantiated numismatic evidence) and does lack archaeoperceptive ambivalence/sight-and-brain coordination system flexibilty in terms of Romans’ and Judeans’ image and symbol respective reference frame.

    1. Your coin theory is missing only one thing: corroboration. That doesn’t mean you aren’t correct, it just means that until another expert, in all those uber unique fields you account yourself one, corroborates your theory then it remains merely an intriguing ‘what if’.

      1. david, since I can subtantiate my point with eidomatic numismatic image extraction based on archaeological bloodstain pattern analysis it definitely has nothing to do with “your whatifery’.

        1. Max,

          I did not see in your paper any photograph of the eyes of the Shroud. Am I missing something?

          The definition of the Shroud photographs available this far do not allow for a definitive determination of the identity of the “coins” if such they be. A discussion of whose face is on the coins at the time of the Crucifixion seems to me to be irrelevant unless there is unequivocal evidence of the identity of the coins.

          Your critique of Barrie is misplaced and I doubt with all your experience you are as expert in photography as Barrie, he has a masters degree from the Brooks Institute which was the number photography school this side of the pond. He also photographed the Shroud.

          The problem with so much of the secondary evidence is that it opens vigorous debates that about evidence that can be ambiguous. The other side of the coin is that all the subsidiary circumstances do point towards the authenticity of the Shroud.

          As far as the Quantum is concerned, existence at the Quantum level is in fact a mystery that physics has yet to unravel and increasingly the evidence for conscious intervention at the quantum level is increasing, not decreasing. If an individual accepts the Resurrection “on faith” he/she shouldn’t be upset if advances in physics at the quantum lever begin to explain things formerly thought otherwise inexplicable. For example Stuart Hameroff has advanced quantum theories that explain a several phenonema that have been described but derided by skeptics for centuries including Near Death Experiences and point the way to the reality of eternal life.

          As intriguing as Hameroff’s theories are they remain theories but point the way to further avenues of research.

        2. John you wrote: “Your critique of Barrie is misplaced and I doubt with all your experience you are as expert in photography as Barrie”.

          My critique is not misplaced at all but totally relevant as far as coin issue die-hard misinformation is concerned. Shall I repeat, when it comes to the putative or real nature of very partial tiny archaeological bloodstain (and plasma?) pattern analysis a technical photographer is not qualified to tell us whether you’re are the victim of false postives (“I think I see what is not really there”) or false negatives (“I think I don’t see what is really there”) OR EVEN BOTH.

          The fact is Barrie is not at all infaillble as one of the Shroudology popes but currently fails to consider the very possibility of false negatives in terms of optical illusions and pareidoliae (see his co-authored paper with Lazzaro and Murra), which speaks volumes on how reliable is his opinion as overnight “archaeological image/imprint analyst/crypanalyst”.

          Archaeoperceptively speaking, neither he is qualified to tell us how exactly Second Temple period Judeans really saw/deciphered Pilate coin stylised/ambivalent isolated central devices. His 20th-21th Jewish technical photographer’s viewpoint on Second temple period ambivalent images and symbols is totally irrelevant here with a potential to mislead.

          You also wrote: “I did not see in your paper any photograph of the eyes of the Shroud. Am I missing something?”

          Shall I repeat this is only “part one” of a longer paper. As such it focuses on the Pilate coin offensiveness issue irrespective of the PUTATIVE OR REAL (upper cases mine) very partial fingerprint-like APPEARANCE of these coins on the Shroud face.

        3. The short answer is that you have not in these postings provided me or anyone else with an photo image from the “coins” on the eyes. I await with interest the posting when you do it.

        4. David, you wrote: “But who can confirm your eidomatic numistic image extraction based on archeological blood stain pattern analysis? That’s my point.”

          Fair enough. Actually you shall be able to confirm it yourself and so shall anybody by just taking a good look at my illustrative tables and recognize for yourself indeed there are sufficiently identifiable parts of Pilate coin obverse images on the Shroud right and left orbital areas that are not possibly visual noise.

        5. Yesterday I reminded Max (and Hugh) that image processing is not at all that easy, as is evident in the response to question 8, where there is also an exchange with Barrie Schwortz, so how is it possible to jump to conclusions about coins?:

          The question about Jesus’ identity as messiah has also been dragged into the discussion to provide support for the coins-over-the-eyes theory. Is it justified? Have “Shroudies” now solved the problem of the mysterium Christi, something that not even the world’s best biblical scholars have been able to do?
          For instance, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ, considered to be one of the twentieth century’s greatest New Testament scholars, sees a distinction between the pre- and post-Easter Jesus in the Gospels. On the other hand, Monsignor John P. Meier, the world’s topmost historical Jesus researcher, does not think so:

          Jesus was subtle even in his actions sometimes, as Yigael Yadin, the Israeli archaeologist, clearly understood. His views do not necessarily clash with what Fr. Fitzmyer has gleaned from the Dead Sea Scrolls, although Professor Geza Vermes did not take these into account:

          So let us leave Jesus’ self-awareness, and what the disciples understood about him. in the pre-Easter phase, out of the discussion.
          Most of the disciples abandoned Jesus when he was arrested. If anyone could put coins over the eyes it would be Nicodemus, who must have had money in his pocket. There are, however, two problems with this hypothesis:
          1) There is still no clear evidence that any coin can be seen over an eye. Giorgio was supposed to upload a paper with images to support the coins-over-the eyes-theory
          2) Max thinks that coins in tombs justify his position. He does not take into account that the Sadducees were heavily influenced by the Greeks, in fact imitated their lifestyle in some ways. Since “Sheol” was very much in the collective unconscious of all Jewish groups, whether Sadducees, Pharisees or Essenes, nothing rules out the possibilty that coins were used to pay Charon to ferry souls across the river Styx. That was how Israeli archaeologist Zvi Greenhut interpreted his find.

    2. John Klotz

      In Marilyn Schlitz’s new book, “Death Makes Life Possible” she has an interview with Hameroff and they are talking about what happens at the time of death.

      ” As the heart stopped, and the blood stopped flowing, and the blood pressure pretty much went to zero, this number dwindled down to about zero, and the heart stopped. But then in seven out of seven cases that Chawla studied, there was a sudden burst of brain activity that turned out to be gamma synchrony. This is a correlane of consciousness, that lasted anywhere from ninety seconds to twenty minutes in one case”


      Years ago I was reading a book by VS Ramachandran and he wrote about, “mirror neurons.” I found that to be very interesting, but I put it aside to study other things. Now since I started studying the yoga of Karhmir Shaivism I’m coming back to it and the idea that we are all really one and everything is consciousness. Here is a clip about mirror neurons. You may find it interesting.

  3. Max, congratulations on this piece of writing, it is one of the most coherent and comprehensible pieces I’ve ever seen from you, and I wish you had the time and patience to write as plainly as this in your postings here. To me, it seems a well-written piece of research, and I hope you will be able to find a suitable place to publish it in due course.

    What I take from the article is that the Jews were able to accept the coins as suitable for temple use, as they were able to interpret the symbols in terms of their own culture. However I am a little confused concerning the assertion that the Romans made an effort to avoid offending Jewish sensibilities, by not including images of persons or animals on their coins.

    From the story in Mark 12:14, which both Matthew and Luke also include, we know that the poll-tax coin must have had an image of Caesar (presumably at this time, Tiberius).

    “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s.” Matthew 22:15-22

    Clearly the silver denarii had an image of Caesar. Any comment in light of your paper?

  4. Daveb, thank you for your kind words.

    Methinks you shall make a distinction between sacred and secular taxes. In Luke 20:22, Sanhedrin hired “spies” were sent to Yeshua. Their mission was to seize on Yeshua’s likely unguarded answer to their political and theological question (“Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?”) as a basis of handing him over to the Roman procurator on the charge that he taught the people not to pay tribute to Caesar. This would amount to a charge of seditious rebellion against Rome and would carry the death penalty.

    The denarius, which had a bust of Tiberius Caesar on it, was a relatively small silver coin issued from the imperial mint in Lyons by the command of Caesar himself. Its “superscription” read: “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the divine Augustus.”The reverse of the coin had an image of the emperor’s mother, Julia Augusta (Livia), sitting on a throne holding a scepter in one hand and an olive branch in the other, and an inscription that read Pontifex Maximus, that is, “High Priest.” The denarius thus proclaimed the power and glory of Rome and the divine origin and character of Tiberius.

    Now all sacred taxes were to be paid in silver Tyrian currency not silver Roman dinarii with and image of Caesar. Besides the latter were not allowed to enter the Temple and were to be changed for Tyrian currency whereas the poll tax denarius was paid in silver Roman currency only to the Roman authorities via the Sadducean authorities. In Judea a Roman procurator took over control and was responsible for securing the taxes while the Sadducean authorities, whose loyalty was proved again and again, were his agents. So not only did they advocate the payment of the tribute, they were loyal agents in seeing that it was collected.

  5. AS I have said before, I had not in the past nor do I now see any coins over the eyes of Jesus Christ nor do I see coins anywhere in the image. Sounds like pareidolia to me. Originally I was not looking for them and did not see them. After a few people said they saw them, I was like “what did I miss?” and went back and looked at a few different copies of the images, but still did not see them.

  6. To Emmet: don’t you mistake metallic coins or coin images for very partial tiny blood (and plasma?) stain patterns of coin obverses at scale 1:1 and 2:3 due to uneven linen cloth stretching and shrinking on formation image process..

  7. Louis wrote:
    “Since “Sheol” was very much in the collective unconscious of all Jewish groups, whether Sadducees, Pharisees or Essenes, nothing rules out the possibilty that coins were used to pay Charon to ferry souls across the river Styx. That was how Israeli archaeologist Zvi Greenhut interpreted his find.”

    Archaeologist Greenhut may or may not be correct in surmising that some Jews were influenced by the Greek practice of placing coins on eyes to pay ferryman Charon. I personally think it a piece of “top of the head speculation” and is irrelevant to the custom. I see it as a Greek rationalisation of a fairly universal practice. On another recent thread on the same topic I wrote:

    “Placing coins over the eyes of the dead is a very old folk custom, probably dates from the time of Croesus who invented coinage, and before that it was pebbles. The Charonic obol legend is merely a piece of aetiology, a false explanation to rationalise a long-held fairly universal practice, in the local contemporary terms of Greek mythology. It signifies no more than what family members believed was a respectful duty towards the deceased.”

    They needed only one coin to pay Charon, so why two? Because there are two eyes, the windows of the soul, and visitors to the deceased ought not be permitted to look into his eyes. That’s as good an explanation as the Charon legend. Forget the Charon legend, it’s irrelevant.

  8. Daveb sees the need to go into the origin of some customs, however that is irrelevant here because we are discussing pagan influence on first-century Jews. I have not bought the coins-over-the eyes hypothesis because the images are not clear.
    My previous comment was also to draw attention to the fact that assertions about Jesus’ as messiah were incorrectly used in the discussion to bolster support for the coins hypothesis. The justification for my point of view is in the attachments,where the topmost biblical scholars express their points of view and where it is possible to see what the disciples thought about Jesus and when.

  9. Louis and his archaeologist acquaintances may surmise that coins over the eyes indicate a pagan influence on 1st century Jews, influenced by the Greek Charon myth. I do not, nor do I accept that field archaeologists’ interpretations of their discoveries are infallible. Coins over the eyes of the dead is a very ancient folk custom practised by a variety of cultures and is not confined to the Greeks. I assert that coins over the eyes of the dead cannot be asserted as evidence of pagan influence among 1st century Judeans, nor does it demonstrate they were influenced by the Charon myth. Doubtless there was some inevitable two-way cross-culturation in those times, but inferences concerning their significance can be open to a variety of interpretations, including that of no significance.

    1. The following three paragraphs have comments that I would not like to have posted; I am obliged to do so in view of daveb’s provocative and disrespectful comments:
      His comments are an indication that he is still not aware of the “blind spots” about which a “Shroudie” in France warned him last year, and also does not learn from mistakes, having driven an Oxford scholar away from this blog, but not before telling him that he was aware of the “secret library” which he possesses, the reason why he quite often does not provide sources.
      Further, he has the nasty habit of threatening to leave the blog from time to time, after which he sees one or two commenters telling him not to do so, which really serves no purpose other than serving to inflate the ego. This when he does not appeal to Dan because of his age, which is nothing more than emotional blackmail.
      The latest demonstration of his unbecoming behaviour is his comment above, where he says “Louis and his archaeologist acquaintances”. The biblical scholars, archaeologists, paleographers and other than these, theologians, university professors, exegetes, parapsychologists, historians, scientists and more are not my “acquaintances”. My relationship with them is professional because of what I write.


      Cross-culturation has taken place all over the world, in all societies and in all civilisations. That is because no religion is born in a vacuum. I reiterate that the Sadducees were no exception, some Temple priests having even indulged in witchcraft in order to get to reach the post of High Priest. They did not listen to the prophets: “I will have mercy and not sacrifice”. It is for reasons like these that some scholars have now suggested that there should be no “biblical studies”, it should be a part of “Near Eastern studies”.
      Even the Essenes were not immune to pagan influence, having derived their dualism, although subordinate to monotheism, from Iran. 300 BC to AD 200 was a period of intense pluralism, as both Jewish and Christian scholars have noted:
      The Essenes tried to tackle the problem of evil that began dividing Jewish groups in 300 BC and reached what they believed was a solution: “God has has put two spirits, good and bad, in human beings”, but then, as they believed they were the “sons of light” while all other people, including other Jewish groups were the “sons of darkness” they formed an “eschatological army”, again demonstrating the influence of Iranian dualism. In the process they also absorbed details from a Hebrew Herodian army manual, which is turn, was based on a Roman army manual and the Romans were the “kittim” whom the Essenes hated. Little did they know where Herod (Idumean ancestry) got his ideas.
      The question of the Essenes had Yigael Yadin, respected Israeli archaeologist and scholar, and biblical scholars Fr. J.A.Fitzmyer and Prof. G.Vermes come to different conclusions:
      Hugh (below) has commented on the coins found in tombs and that is what I also thought.
      The images used to support the coins-over-the-eyes hypothesis are far from clear.

      1. Louis’ comments against my character are quite unnecessary, nor do I accept them. I see them as evidence that he is quite unable to accept any reasonable criticism of his comments when others consider them faulty. His response in this situation is to attack the person.

        Louis had clearly implied that the presence of coins in skulls of Sadducee graves was evidence that they had been influenced by the Greek Charon myth. The term “Charon’s obol” is a catch-all phrase commonly used by some archaeologists to refer to the much more general practice of placing coins or other similar material about the head of the deceased, usually upon the eyes. Strictly the term can only apply to a single coin placed in the mouth.

        Few expressions of religions have not been affected by cross-culturation, and it is evident throughout the various expressions of Christianity today. Iranian religion for instance had a profound influence on Judaism, associated sects particularly the Essenes, and also on Christianity. This is no new discovery. Many fundamental religious beliefs and concepts had their primitive origins in Iran.

        The presence of coins in Sadducee graves does not ipso facto demonstrate that this is evidence of their being unduly influenced by Greek pagan practices.

        1. Daveb is trying to hit below the belly since he has no response to what I stated above. I did not make any attacks on his character as his behaviour demonstrates that. Who made an attack on his character was a “Shroudie” in France, last year.
          What has he contributed with his comments above? He has taken my comments and tries to pass them off as they are his own.
          “Few expressions of religions have not been affected by cross-culturation, and it is evident throughout the various expressions of Christianity today. Iranian religion for instance had a profound influence on Judaism, associated sects particularly the Essenes, and also on Christianity.”
          My comments, posted earlier:
          “Cross-culturation has taken place all over the world, in all societies and in all civilisations. That is because no religion is born in a vacuum.”
          “Even the Essenes were not immune to pagan influence, having derived their dualism, although subordinate to monotheism, from Iran”
          I am not retired, with time to attack professionals working in the field of biblical studies and archaeology, with no qualifications for this, as he is doing, and I don’t remember anyone appointing him as judge of just about anything under the sun.

  10. For an extremely comprehensive discussion of the so-called “Charon’s obol”, the universality of the practice, and the variations in interpretation see:'s_obol

    In some cases it is coins, in some it is interpreted as food for the journey, in some Christian cultures it has included gold-foil crosses, and it gave rise to the Christian practice of “viaticum” of placing the eucharistic host in the dying person’s mouth. Strictly, Charon’s obol is a single coin placed in the mouth, and coins that are sometimes found in the mouths of skulls, have sometimes dropped there from the eye sockets. The ancient practice extended from Ireland, to Britain and most of Europe, and further east. There were actually more Roman graves with coins in the skulls (about 50%) than ever occurred in Greece. Greek playwrights were fond of lampooning the practice, because of its association with paying the ferryman. (What would happen to the deceased, if they did not pay the ferryman?) On another web-site, a Magyar grandmother explained the practice of placing coins over the eyes, so that visitors might not see their own death reflected in the person’s eyes. Clearly there are a variety of cultural reasons for the practice. The eyes are the windows of the soul, and visitors should not intrude thus far into the deceased’s privacy. Archaeologists typically call it “Charon’s obol” as a catch-all phrase for the more universal and general practice, without necessarily attributing it to the specifically Greek practice.

  11. “Coins that are sometimes found in the mouths of skulls.” Archaeologists try to be as clear as they can, but it is rarely easy to be certain where a coin found in association with a skull was initially placed, or even if it was deliberately placed at all. A skull doesn’t really have a mouth, and very few intact brain cases are found with coins rattling around inside, having fortuitously fallen through the rather small slits at the back of the eyesockets, or dropped in through the foramen magnum. A fair assumption is that if you find one coin near a skull, it was placed in the mouth, and if you find two, they were on the eyes.

  12. I find the personal invective that has infected this thread to be a bit disconcerting about an issue that most correspondents find essentially irrelevant becasue the evidence of the actual photographs appears inconclusive at best and thus of marginal relevance.

    I find the photograph of Pope Francis reaching out to touch the frame to be both an elegant and emotional affirmation of the Shroud’s importance to humanity and I think it was not an accident that the virtually concurrent publication of Laudato Si with his pilgrimage to Turin to be more than an accident of timing.

    As broad a thrust as Ludarto is, Francis carefully avoided rhetorical landmines that might have created distracting side issues.. He never used the most familiar word for the crisis he was describing: Apocalypse. I will do it for him How’s that for arrogance, but watch this space or at least my blog in the next few days. Or my published comment to today’s NYT coverage of Laudato – along with more than 400 other comments.(but hey, I have 22 likes so far)

    1. John,

      The coin issue is neither irrelevant nor a distracting side issue at all as you misleadingly keeps claiming whereas quantum physics is as far as the TS image formation process is concerned since most likley the TS man’s bloodied body imprint is providential and not supernatural at all.

      Reminder: TS face/eye orbital region appropriate eidomatic enhancements from authentic photographs (1931 Enrie’s B&W, 1978 Miller’s UV, 2002 Durante’s digital and 20008 HAL9000’s HD digital) photographs can be conclusive in light of Jewish numismatics and ancient coins and thus of essential relevance in terms of datation and authenticity to say the least.

      1. Max,

        You have made enormous contributions to the discussion. The issues you raise are complex. I confess to being a “popularizer.” That is I try to discuss the authenticity issue with the fewest strong points that a “lay person” might understand rather than go too deeply into areas which require specialized knowledge.

        I find the Bucklin autopsy and other pathologist reports which are broadly consistent to be something that anyone who reads a daily newspaper can understand. There are some arcane disagreements of what the precise cause of death from crucifixion is. The same goes for discussion of blood stains and now particularly in the past year, I think the work of Pam Moon and her expert have foreclosed the repair issue from serious debate and thoroughly vindicated Ray Rogers.

        Where I am intellectually is this: The Shroud is authentic, but what does that really mean?

  13. Louis questions my competence to comment on matters religious, and accuses me of drawing on the ideas of others, then claiming them as my own.

    During the 1980s, having already achieved my professional and technical qualifications in civil engineering, I decided in mid-career to follow up a youthful aspiration in the liberal arts. As well as several papers in English Literature, Language, and Applied Mathematics and Statistics, it also included a major in Religious Studies. This last was no mere narrow focus on Biblical Studies, which I have not neglected, but was extremely broad-ranging.

    As well as the core subjects of Universal Religions, (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism), it included papers on Primal Religions (African, Pacific, NZ Maori, Australian Aboriginal), Oriental Religions (Chinese & Japanese), Ancient Religions (Egyptian, Babylonian, Iranian, Persian), Phenomenology of Religions, Critical Issues in Modern Religion, and many more.

    I have presented seminar papers on the Bhagavad Gita, on Baal Hadad, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Teilhard de Chardin, Encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII, Japanese Shinto and various others. I have been acquainted with and studied the Hindu Vedas, the Upanishads, the Darius inscription, the Bardesanic Hymn of the Pearl, the Zend Avesta, Boethius and Augustine, and oh yes, Biblical Studies. I have read such authors as Rudolf Otto, Ninian Smart, Eric Sharpe and many more.

    I continue in later life to be intrigued by the manifold human expressions in religious matters. The passage of time necessarily narrows one’s focus and I would need to revisit some of the more arcane topics to comment usefully on them. I have throughout much of my life been personally involved in my own church activities.

    Some might find my eclectic range of studies a cause for some amusement and derision. I have found it extremely broadening. My intentions in setting them forth here is not in a spirit of boastfulness, nor to establish a claim of specialist expertise, but merely as a response to accusations of ignorant inexpert amateurism. I think I have some competence in being able to make useful comments on many of these topics.

    If others find anything of interest in what I might have to say, that is sufficient reward in itself.

    1. daveb,

      I think that it’s a shame you felt that you should have to defend yourself by writing this post. I have found you postings to be erudite and helpful. You have been exceptionally helpful to mean on other occasions. There are a few contributors to this blog who seem to be very “full of themselves.” That’s not you and I don’t think it has been Louis.

      On occasion I have tried to prick a balloon or two but usually with humour or sarcasm. However, maybe that’s a Yankee trait.

      1. Thank you for your kind comments, John. Any assistance I provided was always cheerfully given and I considered it a privilege to be able to share in your project. Inflated balloons need to be pricked, we need to lighten up, give a little humour, and rather than sarcasm let’s call it subtle irony.

      2. John
        I regret having to draw your attention to the remarks you made above and to make the following comments:
        Either you have not read the exchange between me and daveb carefully or you have chosen to turn a blind eye to his provocative comments directed at me. I have also noticed that you have been promoting him on this blog recently.
        He has not responded to what I told him, on the contrary he continues with mischief-making,as seen in his comment above, delighted that he has received encouragement from you.
        I have a message for him: Please stop behaving like an impostor, hiding under the pseudonym “daveb of wellington”, providing no email address, driving Oxford scholars away from this blog, and not paying attention to what other bloggers told him about his character on this very blog last year.
        You say you found his postings “erudite”. Really? He has sources which he hides, as the Oxford scholar told him, and then consults them to then write lengthy comments on this blog to try to show that he is erudite. He says he has presented seminar papers. So what? It is very easy to consult the right sources and present seminar papers. I know dozens of people who do this.
        What kind of erudition is it to
        a) insist that the gospel of Matthew was written for the gentiles? Have you seen my exchange with him on the thread “Stephen Jones on the Thomas de Wesselow Presentation.”?
        b) to take my comments on pagan influence on first-cetury Jews, particularly among the Essenes, and try to pass them off as his own, as he did above?
        Remember, above all, he is not working in the field of biblical studies as a professional writer. He is a retired engineer who seems to have a lot of time to direct provocative comments at others who work in this field.

    2. Daveb wrote,

      ” I think I have some competence in being able to make useful comments on many of these topics. ”

      We may agree or disagree on some points Dave, but I agree with your statement above.

      1. The seminar papers I referred to above were presented as part of the Stage III course requirements of the Religious Studies department of Massey University in Palmerston North, to live-in classes under the supervision of their professors, Brian Colless and Peter Donovan, and were favourably reviewed and evaluated by them. The sources I used included the recommended texts, departmental publications, most of which I still retain, and other texts found in the Religious Studies section of the University Library and elsewhere. There are no secret sources. Such formal papers are the appropriate forum for the citing of sources, and are not normally expected in the casual blog comments of a public web-site. During the 1980s, the internet had yet to be invented and those sources were not then available. Preparation of the papers required very many hours of research, marshalling of ideas, writing and re-editing, and in those days, hammering out the text on a portable type-writer, altogether no simple task, all the while maintaining professional work commitments to my employers and family.

        Comparative Religion is an extremely complex discipline, and extends well beyond the subject of Biblical Studies, but I have always found it intellectually rewarding and stimulating, as Religion has been a major human preoccupation from time immemorial.

        Matthew’s gospel in particular is quite complex, and on which professional scholarly opinions continue to be sharply divided as to its composition and intended recipients.

        I have no particular wish to flaunt my identity and my use of a pseudonym is an accepted convention on this site. Those wishing to make personal contact with me including present correspondents have always been able to do so.

  14. Reply to John. You ask: “The Shroud is authentic, but what does that really mean?”

    It means the TS is the NT sanguis-et-corpuscript of Yeshu’a or, more simply said, the Fifth Gospel in Christ’s flesh image and blood for those who have eyes to see and can see.
    It is not alike “the THing/WORD (of G-od)” (in Hebrew Davar as memorial of a prodigious event in time) to be kept inside the Ark of the New Convenant (while inside the Ark of the –Firs– Covenant there were three THings/Words of G-od as memorials of prodigious events in time too, namely the Two Tables of the Law, a golden pot of Manna and Aaron’s Rod that budded).

      1. Reminder: Actually this is an old Revelation (see Book of Revelation of Yeshu’a as “sacrificial lamb”) and what is providential is first and foremost brought by G-od.

        1. Max,

          Until 1898 and the first photographs were taken, the “Revelation” could not be meaningfully understood. The initial explosion of interest in Pia’s photographs and all the scientific investigations that followed demonstrate the central place science is playing in revealing the revelation of the Shroud. That’s my opinion anyway.

        2. Methinks science and archaeology without profound curiosity (that is tackling complex issues and not leaving them aside) won’t go anywhere, and religion without science and archaeology is triply crippled. Too bad you have no profound curiosity re the coin-on-eye issue (“there is no need of coins”).

    1. Typo: it (the Shroud) is not UNlike “the THing/WORD (of G-od)” (in Hebrew Davar as memorial of a prodigious event in time) to be kept inside the Ark of the New Convenant

  15. John you also wrote prior to photography the “Revelation” could not be meaningfully understood. Methinks you’re wrong. When it comes to truly spiritual people (those you have eyes and can see), the Shroud has spoken (and still speaks) for itself with or without the help of photography. Don’t you mistake spiritual Revelation for photographic revelation.

    1. Reminder: Religion is popular & spirituality is personal and are two different things though the two can be related.

    1. According to the Letter to the Hebrews, those who have eyes and can see, can see the glory of Yeshua’s/the Great High Priest’s dwelling bloodily/bodily (in his burial shroud) as if in “the true tabernacle”. Tabernacle = Latin Deus Habitet = Hebrew Gar El = Old French Graal.

      1. Reminder: the old French word Graal plays on/can be derived from the Hebrew phrase Gar El that means both “G-od dwells (in it)/shines (out of it)”.

  16. Many blogs run by atheists, sceptics, secular archaeologists, who do not preach about Jesus, also do not accept pseudonyms and anonymous commenters. The reason is that this, quite often, encourages character assassination, nasty personal attacks and insinuations, provocative comments, four-letter words and more. These mainly come from mischief-makers and amateurs in the topics being discussed. I do hope that “the accepted convention on this site” will also include rules regulating comments.
    That Matthew, well-versed in Torah and Tanakh, was writing in a Palestinian Jewish milieu for Jewish Christians, is accepted by the best scholars.The explanation was given in the thread where this topic was discussed.

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