Close to the finishing line or the starting line?
My reading of things is that STuRP tried a few ways to try and create the image. Finding none, they declared the image a scientific mystery. The unfortunate consequence of this was a tendency of apologists for the faith to stupidly declare that modern science could not reproduce the image. The failure of STuRP only means that no one has yet found a way. It means nothing more, unless, of course, there was a miracle.
I have been reading Colin Berry’s blog posting about testing a method of coating a human subject with flour and imprinting an image onto a wet cloth which is then cooked in an oven. It is ingenious and possibly correct. Maybe modern science can find a way that does not count on a miracle. That means that a medieval craftsman might have been able to create the image on the Shroud. It does not mean that he did.
Philosophically, at least, this serves to remind us that there may be many other ways of producing the image that no one has yet thought of. At least one of those methods might be a phenomenon of nature in the tomb. One might be the consequence of the byproducts of a miracle. One might be an arts and crafts method.
Colin’s ingenious work warrants examination:
There’s something very odd about the coloration of the “Shroud” fibres at the microscopic level. It’s to do with (a) the unifomity of coloration between different fibres (b) discontinuities on coloration, i.e. a sudden loss of coloration on particular fibres and (c) the coloration affecting the entire circumference of each fibre (we’re told). The model studies to date reported here with the dry flour/wet linen imprinting seem to match at least two of those characteristics , i.e. (a) and (b) . Who knows, maybe (c) too if I make an effort to view each fibre in the round, maybe by using high magnification on coloured fibres that have separated – or been separated – from neighbours in a thread.
Where are we at? Close to the finishing line would be my guess as regards the body image. It can be accounted for as a dry flour imprint onto wet linen that seeped its natural flour oil (1.5% approx by weight) during oven roasting, causing the hot oil to track along individual linen fibres producing yellow half-tone coloration with discontinuities when/where oil was limiting. It is not impossible that imprinting of the TS body image was carried out, as here, using flour supplemented with a small amount of added vegetable oil or some other lipid-like or lipid-rich material.