New YouTube Presentation: Is the Shroud a Medieval Forgery?

Here is a new slide presentation on YouTube from Third Column Ministries called The Shroud of Turin: a medieval forgery?  Published September 1, 2015, it is about one hour and fifteen minutes long.

Link to video on YouTube

19 thoughts on “New YouTube Presentation: Is the Shroud a Medieval Forgery?”

  1. I enjoyed this video, and i’m always glad to see proponents of the Shroud. However, I would like it very much if someone on here would clear up the pollen/plant/flower evidence in regards to the Shroud because it is all very controversial, and confusing to me. And its frustrating especially when i’m trying to create an article on the Shroud.

  2. Please try reading a much more balanced and elucidative paper by Professor Emmanuella marinelli titled «The question of pollen grains on the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo»
    Nevertheless we cannot deny the great effort and honesty of the late Dr Max Frei and important cooperation of israeli botanists Professors Danin and Baruch who confirmed many of Frei’s taxonomical pollen classification at least at genus level.

    Antero de Frias Moreira
    (Centro Português de Sindonologia)

  3. Professor Marinelli’s paper is an an excellent review of the evidence, but does not comment or evaluate it very thoroughly. She does have the advantage of Max Frei’s articles in Italian, which seem to have been more comprehensive than his account in Shroud Spectrum International, but I do not think they clarify the case.

    To review a little of what Frei is quoted as having said:

    “The tapes are put in contact with a light pressure, and, due to their stickiness, when they are detached, they remove all the microtraces without damaging or altering the support in any way.” — If Frei changed his tactics between 1973 and 1978, when he applied the tapes with such force the STuRP team were horrified, then there should be a big difference between the amount of debris on them. If a light pressure was all that was needed in 1973, why did he change his modus operandi in 1978?

    “The advantage of this method, widely used in criminology, is that – once the tape is folded on itself – loss of material or secondary contamination are completely excluded.” — Fine, but he didn’t fold the tapes in on themselves; he stuck them to microscope slides, as in the photos at

    “In subsequent analyses of dust samples it was possible to find and classify a large number of pollen grains which, properly treated, have allowed the precise determination of the family, genus and species of the plant itself.” — It is not true that pollen is classifiable at species level even today, and was even less so 40 years ago.

    “Each identification result was checked on herbarium material and in botanical gardens worldwide renowned for their collections, as well as documented in photomicrographic surveys.” — I’m afraid that without proper documentation I simply don’t believe this. In the absence of adequate comparison material Frei went to places he thought were relevant and collected his own. Whether he made a micrographical survey is open to doubt.

    And so on.

    Antero’s last comment reads “… Professors Danin and Baruch who confirmed many of Frei’s taxonomical pollen classification at least at genus level.”

    Really? Prof. Danin has changed his mind about the validity of any of Frei’s findings.. In 1998 he wrote (

    “Dr. Uri Baruch, palynologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who made his M.SC. and Ph.D. dissertations on the flora of Israel, analyzed most of Frei’s 1973 sticky tape pollen specimens and ten of the twenty-five 1978 sticky tapes. He examined 165 pollen grains, of which 45 (27.3%) were Gundelia tournefortii.”

    But in 2011, he wrote (

    “The sample we used in our previous publications is the grain presented on the left side of Fig. 15.2.2. [a single ‘Shroud’ pollen previously identified as Gundelia tournefortii]. At first sight one can say that it has “thorns” similar to those on the right side of Fig. 15.2.2. [a group of modern pollen identified as Gundelia tournefortii]. However, looking more thoroughly, one can see that the “thorns” of the right photograph are more pointed and denser compared to the “thorns” in the left photograph. The right photograph is of grains taken from a Gundelia tournefortii flowers. It is not the same as the grain on the left.”


    “Prof. Litt concluded that none of the pollen grains he saw could be named at a species level. Hence, all the conclusions drawn from previous palynological investigations of Dr. Frei’s material should be suspended until a new collection of pollen grains can be carried out and the grains thus obtained can be studied with modern equipment and by an expert of pollen of this area.”

    and finally

    “Since writing [Prof. Litt’s] conclusions in 2001 no pollen grains have been collected and investigated as he suggested, so the data concerning pollen grains should not be used in Shroud research.”

    Matthew L., may I offer a word of advice? In researching your article, although you may want to use Charles’s, my own or Antero’s suggestions as gateways, always go right back to primary sources wherever you can, and make your own decisions based on them, rather than merely quoting the opinions of others. Charles, and ‘his’ author, do not believe the Shroud can be authentic at all. Antero, and ‘his’ author, are confirmed authenticists, and I (of course) am completely unbiased (yes, all right, don’t laugh…). So don’t take our words for it, don’t take the words of the authors of the articles referenced, go back to the primary sources…

    1. I think i’m leaning in the direction that the pollen/plant/flower evidence isn’t as strong as many believe, but you do say in the conclusion of your article..

      “In spite of all the secrecy and confusion there remain a few grains of pollen
      from some exclusively wind-blown Middle Eastern trees that are difficult
      to explain except that they fell on the Shroud while it was in Israel.”

      So you do think there is at least a minimal amount of evidence that shows the Shroud was in the Middle East? Obviously if it was it must have been before the rock-solid historical record because it doesn’t appear in the middle east anywhere during it.

      1. Matthew- don’t rule out the possibility that the pollen was brought back from the Holy Land by pilgrims – just as people are still bringing back water from the River Jordan. The fact that Frei’s pollen was overwhelmingly concentrated on one tape is indicative of the fact that it was placed on the cloth deliberately rather than drifted in at random.Cynics say,of course, that Frei placed it there himself.. . . .
        Lots of other similar medieval examples e.g. soil was brought back from the Holy Land to form the Campo Santo , the burial ground in the centre of Pisa.
        It does seem ,however, that scholarship,e.g. Boi, and the examples Hugh gives, suggests that the pollen evidence cannot be trusted.

        1. P.S. I was interested to read on p. 59 of David Sox’s The Shroud Unmasked that during the 1978 tests there were several requests to touch articles on the Shroud. In particular, there was an English lady (unnamed) who brought a bunch of flowers and one of them, a rose, was indeed laid on the Shroud and returned to the lady. This cannot have been the only case where this happened and , as happened in many similar cases, one should expect to find later additions to the Shroud from all this touching. It makes any analysis of material gathered from the surface very problematic.

          But this point has already been made of the pigments – assumed by some members of STURP to have been later additions from painted cloths. I have my doubts (if the pigments fell onto the Shroud ,why did they not fall off again when it was next exhibited) but at least the principle that surface materials may be later additions is here accepted.

          The real problem with additions to the Shroud is that in the late sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century, the Shroud was brought out and displayed almost every year so most earlier material would have fallen off if it were loose.

        2. I can’t reply to your other comment for some reason, and you sure have made your views public! The skeptics tend to love linking the article you mention. However, I am fully convinced partly because of Thomas de Wesselow that the shroud is absolutely not any type of painting, but the real burial cloth of someone. There is real blood on the shroud which is completely confirmed by dozens of pathologist/blood chemist, and there is no brush marks whatsoever. Everything like the naked corpse, wound marks on wrists, single nail through feet, whip marks, crown of thorns etc. looks authentic.

          For example, medieval, and christian art shows at least a loin cloth on Jesus, and sometimes much more clothing, wound marks in the palms, a crown of thorns that is almost like a sweatband. Also how would a forger know what a roman flagella wound looked like? Yehohanan the crucified man from the 1st century had a single nail through his feet like the man on the Shroud appears to have been nailed through the feet.

          Moreover, the feet on the shroud are not even visible, and why would an artist make an incomplete “painting”, and why would he go to such extreme measures to make a forgery? An obvious artwork was revered as the burial cloth of Christ centuries ago it isn’t very hard to convince people, and you didn’t have to go to such extreme measures that would be necessary to create the shroud. Medieval paintings differ in style, and don’t match the rugged look of the man on the shroud that is medically accurate etc.

          I do agree there is not absolute conclusive evidence that traces the Shroud back to the 1st century, but I don’t think that is required. It is either Jesus or a forgery, and if it is Jesus it comes from the 1st century. There is however clues that it was in existence early on like coins, christ pantocrators, pray manuscript, sudarium of oviedo, and perhaps Jerusalem dirt/limestone, and perhaps what i’m not sure of pollen.

        3. Also I wouldn’t say the textile type observations support the shroud or don’t support the shroud. It seems to me that the textile observations completely leave open the possibility of the shroud coming from the 1st century or medieval times. There are certain things that fit better from the 1st century though, and like Dr. Flury-Lemberg has said there is nothing that shows the cloth could not have come from the 1st century syrian area. The 3:1 Herringbone Weave pattern is interesting because it is expensive, and what you would expect from a rich man like Joseph, and why would an artist use such a pricey cloth? One of the major motives for art is financial gain, and it seems pretty counter-productive to me to use such a cloth.

    2. ***Angel says: Hi, Hugh!

      Atheists, trumpeting the work of Walter McCrone, the C-14 date, 1260-1390, attributed to the Shroud and its lack of provenance (prior to the medieval period) are directing faithful Christian believers to Joe Nickell’s book, “Inquest on the Shroud of Turin,”

      Unless questions (presented by Nickells) are addressed by sindonologists, including his reconstruction of the Shroud face, utilizing a rubbing technique that incorporates iron oxide and calcining green vitriol (medieval artist’s techniques) atheists will continue to view the Shroud as a fake. Nickells also concluded the pollen from Palestine was introduced onto the cloth by an outsider and the blood was painted on.

      Have you read this book (copyright 1998)?

      1. I think De Wesselow dealt with Nickells silly rubbing technique as well as the blood being “painted on”…That is just mind-boggling wrong. You’re right though Atheist will always bring up McCrone, and the C-14 dating which gets old after awhile, but I can’t force anyone to believe the Shroud is authentic.

        1. Matthew, of course you can’t force anyone to believe the Shroud is authentic- why would you want to anyway?

          There was a burial cloth in Jesus’s tomb at one point around c.AD 30. Is the cloth now in Turin it or not? It is a scientific question, as Barrie Schwortz continually reminds us.

          One of my contacts, who came my way as the result of my History Today article, who was working on a presentation on the Shroud told me that she could not find a clear case for the Shroud being first century anywhere. So perhaps your contribution might help her. She told me that does not help inquirers because it never sets out the case.

          I have set out my own views in my History Today article as I think the nature of the weave, the evidence for this being originally a painted cloth, the iconography of the images which are typical of the fourteenth century all concur to make it ,not a fake, but a fourteenth century creation for some other purpose which the De Charny’s tried to pass off as authentic. At least my views are openly out there, clearly expressed, and have attracted
          a lot of interest and support but I am not forcing you or anyone to support them! My argument stands independently of the C14 tests although they do fit with them but I can disregard them without damaging my central argument.

    3. «Professor Marinelli’s paper is an an excellent review of the evidence, but does not comment or evaluate it very thoroughly.»

      That’s your opinion from which I disagree and I invite people to read both papers and draw their own conclusions.

      I wonder if as time goes by pollen material under the tapes deteriorate and preclude a correct identification at higher taxonomical levels-I’m convinced this really happens.
      Perhaps because of this condition Professors Scannerini and Caramiello disagree from former Dr.Frei’s classification not to mention Danin, Baruch and later Professor Litt,
      Nevertheless we should consider that more than 20 years elapsed from the time Dr.Frei collected the samples.

      The question is: if these botanists had observed the tapes in 1978 would the disagreement be so great?

      Although we cannot too much insist on the pollen issue as described by Dr. Max Frei as very strong piece of evidence on the geographical trail of the Shroud, we can’t dismiss it either as a fraud.

      Until further pallinological studies are done (perhaps on Frei’s tapes or even better on new collected samples)In my humble opinion I think the words of botanist Dr. Mariotti Lippi summarizes what we can state with safety on the pollen evidence

      «….I concluded that the Shroud in some unspecified period of time stayed in the Midle East.Where exactly I was not able to say, nor when.

      Unfortunately it’s not wise to push the pollen evidence beyond reasonable limits and enter in disputable field

      Antero de Frias Moreira
      Centro Português de Sindonologia

  4. Hi Angel, I have read it, although it must have been some time ago and although I have it I’ve not been able to find it in the last few minutes! I think Nickell’s conclusions are summed up in his article, “Claims of Invalid “Shroud” Radiocarbon Date Cut from Whole Cloth”, on the website, although he has restated them in various other articles since then.

    Before I address Nickell, there is something a bit worrying about your own post, if I may be so brave. Atheists are directing Christians to Nickell? This casts so many aspersions it is difficult to know where to begin. Atheists are all duplicitous? Christians are all stupid? The Shroud constitutes a watershed between atheism and Christianity? I’m not sure what to make of it myself.

    Anyway, back to Nickell, whose 2005 article began as a rebuttal of Rogers’s Thermochimica Acta paper.

    “Ray Rogers, a retired research chemist, now admits there is the equivalent of a watercolor paint on the alleged burial cloth of Jesus.” This is deliberately provocative, of course. Nickell knows perfectly well that Rogers insisted that the material with the dye and water-soluble gum on was not part of the original cloth, and that even if it was, the radiocarbon sample is nowhere near where there would be any ‘watercolor paint’ anyway.

    This attitude continues throughout the article, and I don’t want to pursue it here. I would advise readers (especially all those gullible Christians who do what atheists tell them) to look up the primary sources (there we go again) and decide for themselves, but not to fall into the trap which Nickell appears to have fallen into himself, that of thinking that simply by discrediting one’s opponent’s evidence for their hypothesis, one somehow provides evidence for one’s own. Much of what NIckell says is not necessarily incorrect.

    i don’t think it wise to disparage Walter McCrone too much. In some ways he was not unlike Ray Rogers, and their characters were such that it is not surprising that they first became friends, nor that they later fell out. Both were scrupulous scientists widely respected in their fields, both founded ongoing successful scientific journals, and both sporadically drove people mad by their attitudes and practices. Which of them was the more correct in their conclusions regarding the Shroud is still an open question.

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