Dematerialization 101

After too much wine, I guess I might imagine that dematerialization might have happened.

clip_image001Though my recent posting, The Process of Resurrection, got few comments (only 14), it did generate some emails to which I here respond without bothering to repeat the content of the emails; you’ll get the gist of them.

No, the Resurrection is not a scientific fact. No John Jackson did not prove any such thing. And no, the “fact” that Jesus walked through a closed door is not evidence that his post-resurrection body had dematerialized. Nor did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene not to touch him because he was mechanically transparent.

The Bible doesn’t even say that Jesus walked through anything. John 20:19 (New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition) reads:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Where does it say that he walked or passed through a door or a wall? Now go read The Process of Resurrection if you haven’t already done so. Read about angels and the in-between. Understand, we are talking metaphorically.

Verse 26 doesn’t offer any support to the idea that Jesus passed through anything:

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

And verse 27 doesn’t say that Jesus had rematerialized mechanically while in the upper room with Thomas:

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

It doesn’t say that Thomas touched Jesus.  Maybe this was history’s greatest bluff and Thomas was not only a doubter but someone who failed to call that bluff.

Verse 17 does not mean that Jesus’ body was dematerialized:

Jesus said to her “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father…

Wishful imagination is permitted. But it is only wishful imagination. The author of John’s Gospel, whoever he was, could have been more specific. And Jesus could have been clearer.

“Do not doubt but believe,” said Jesus to Thomas.

What we find in the Bible, in John’s Gospel, or in any of the Old or New Testament books, is not scientific fact. And no, it isn’t even evidence. To my way of thinking this is not only true in the fields of science but also so in the objective study of history.  It is not historical fact that Jesus appeared to anyone after his burial. Thus I don’t know if the events in the cenacle happened as John’s Gospel tells it. I don’t know if these events happened at all.

But I do believe the stories; that is a different way of thinking, altogether. I peg my faith on what I believe not on what I know to be fact.

“Do not doubt but believe,” said Jesus to Thomas.

So, I should also tell you what I don’t believe.  I don’t believe that Jesus’ body dematerialized and/or rematerialized, not as part of the Resurrection and not at any other time before the Ascension.  There is no biblical, scientific or historical basis whatsoever for thinking so.

I’m saying I don’t believe it. I’m not saying I believe it didn’t happen. The distinction is in why.

But the shroud proves dematerialization, nonetheless, right?

Wrong! The idea that Jesus’ burial cloth fell through a mechanically transparent body while something energetic created an image on the cloth is complete fantasy.  I turn to the best short answer anyone has ever written on the subject. There is nothing new in what Hugh Farey writes, just wonderfully, right-on, articulate brevity:

[You say:] “The fall-through hypothesis fits the data of the image characteristics.”

Well, of course. The trouble with the fall-through hypothesis is that, being imaginary, its parameters can be adjusted so that it fits whatever observations we want. If a critic were to say that the instantaneous disappearance of 70kg of mass would create a sudden large vacuum which would suck the shroud into a screwed up ball in the middle, then we simply have to invent a physics in which that doesn’t happen. If he says that the energy emitted by such a disappearance would exceed that produced by several megatons of nuclear bomb, vaporising the Shroud and most of Jerusalem with it, we simply invent a physics in which that doesn’t happen either. All we need is for a “body wrapped in the Shroud to become volumetrically radiant […] and simultaneously mechanically transparent, thus offering time-decreasing resistance to the cloth as it collapsed through the body space.” Simples. Made-up physics can explain anything.

After too much wine, I guess I might imagine dematerialization might have happened. After all, nobody can prove it didn’t.

78 thoughts on “Dematerialization 101”

  1. Dematerialization – miracle, miracle – that is how the burial cloth got the negative image of the battered body of Jesus for us to debate like this.

      1. Here ya go, Dan, your dematerialization:

        “They had a lengthy discussion, including inviting Jesus to their house, preparing a meal, and after the blessing, when he broke the bread, “their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)(the road to Emmaus)

      2. Also, w.r.t. Verse 26 not offering any support to the idea that Jesus passed through anything: “‘A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ “:

        You are missing the logic of the author including specific words. If there wasn’t something miraculous going on, the author would simply have said, “A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you’ “.

        But that’s not the way the passage was written: the author included the words, “Although the doors were shut.” Words have meaning and words have purpose. The author clearly intended to convey that something very special happened.

        1. Wait a minute. I never said that there wasn’t something miraculous going on. Words, indeed, do have meaning. The words dematerialization (of the sort that might produce byproducts to form an image) and commensurate rematerialization imply a process. Going through a door or a wall, or for that matter a floor or a ceiling, implies a process, as well. But it does not necessarily mean de-re-materialization. And then if we consider the way St. Thomas tells us angels come and go, we have another “miraculous going on” option that does not involve de-re-materialization. All of this is, of course, pure speculation. In other words there is no reason to infer dematerialization from scripture at the expense of any other possibility. There is a reason to infer something miraculous but undefined. But…but…but, all this inferring, which may or may not be de-re-materialization, is valid only if we are assuming a literal reading of scripture. So to use any of it as evidence you must first prove that a literal interpretation is correct and justified. That is tricky and probably impossible.

  2. John 21:12 indicates Jesus’ Body could change His appearance. Again, a different kind of material, a different set of physical laws concerning matter. The resurrected body is different.
    Drawing inferences from these scriptures and the Shroud seems to be perfectly acceptable.
    Going into a lab and duplicating the process is heretofore unimaginable.

      1. The word “vanished” is the Greek “ginomai” which has a number of similar meanings but the best appears to be “became”, as in “became out of their sight”.

        Vanished = Dematerialized

        What that dematerialization would do to cloth, aye — there’s the rub.

    1. If we conclude the Shroud is a genuine burial cloth of a real Jew, then we must assume that the Shroud man wasn’t placed inside the Shroud in his final resting place, which was most likely a stone bench carved inside one of the tomb walls. His body must have been placed and covered by the Shroud in some other place (a place with much more space to do this job). Such a place could well have been the central room of the tomb or, this is possible, in the open air outside the tomb.
      If this probable scenario is truly correct (taking into account the normal configuration of Jewish tombs, it is the most logical), then we must conclude that the enveloped body of the Shroud man must have been transferred from this initial place where he was placed inside the Shroud to his final resting place inside the tomb (most likely on a small stone bench carved in a wall).
      In that case, it’s logical to assume that many bloodstains were already formed before the enveloped body was placed in his final resting place. It is also logical to assume that, because of this body transfer (manual transfer) from one place to another, some changes (minor or major, it’s difficult to conclude) in the Shroud configuration must have occurred before the start of the image formation, which can easily and logically explain some discrepancies between the body image and some bloodstains (like, for example, the presence of some scourge marks behind the knees in the dorsal image, in a place where there’s absolutely no body image or the presence of a bloodstain outside the frontal body image, in the area of the right elbow).
      In that context, Latendresse assumption that there have been absolutely no change in the Shroud configuration is most likely false (especially when you keep in mind that the body was most probably placed inside the Shroud in a different place than his final resting place inside the tomb). I must also add that this conclusion of mine doesn’t go against his other assumption (which I believe is right) that there have been no important flattening of the Shroud before the start of the image formation. On that subject, I think Jackson’s assumption is false.

        1. Simply because it’s impossible to place a nearly 6 foot tall man inside a 14 feet long shroud in a small place like a niche carved into a wall inside an ancient Jewish rock tomb. That doesn’t make sense at all. The body must have been « prepared » elsewhere before being placed in his final resting place. This manual transfer must have caused some minor changes in the intial Shroud configuration. Note 1: when I say « prepared », that doesn’t mean the body was oint with burial spices or things like that. I think the only « preparation » that we know for sure is that it was placed inside the cloth with great care (because there is no smudges of blood on the cloth). Note 2: My conclusion that there was probably a small change in the initial configuration of the cloth is very different than Jackson’s assumption.

        2. Here’s a typical rock bench carved in one of the walls of an ancient Jewish rock tomb :
          It’s not serious to believe the Shroud man could have been enveloped inside the Shroud in such a small niche. In all logic, his body must have been placed inside the cloth elsewhere (most probably near the niche or near the tomb) and then manually transferred to its final resting place, which was most probably that kind of small niche inside a wall.
          In all logic, such a manual transfer (even if it was probably short) must have created some changes (probably small) in the initial configuration of the cloth, which can explain the few discrepancies that exist between the body image and the bloodstains.

        3. Following my last comment, I would use the words of the late Ray Rogers: No need for a miracle here!

    2. One small addition : Because there are not a lot of discrepancies between the body image and the bloodstains, this lead me to believe that the change in the Shroud configuration that most probably occured during the transfer of the enveloped body must have been quite minor in general. The only question I left open is if there were some small parts of the cloth’s configuration that changed more drastically between the time the Shroud man’s body was initially placed in the cloth and the start of the image formation… Hard to say for sure.

    3. Jackson’s hypothesis starts with an invalid inference (inference 3 in his paper at He assumes that the cloth MUST have been in two different configuration. This is completely false and easily demonstrated to be false. More on this at Common sense has left some Shroud researchers.

      Agreed Mario. I wholly agree with what you said -including the last sentence.
      I demonstrated that forcefully flattened Shroud hypothesis is untenable in my recent paper about 3D (especially Part 3).

  3. Re Dematerialisation:

    The concept that Christ’s resurrected body was able to pass through walls is, I think unhelpful. From the evidence of the witnesses, it is clear that they perceived it both as something physical, and yet mysterious, with properties that went beyond the merely physical as we know it. To refer to it as a “spiritual body” seems to me a contradiction in terms. A pure spirit does not have a body, nor is a body pure spirit. It is christian doctrine that Christ’s body was resurrected, and we are to understand this as having some physical meaning, not merely a resurrection in the spirit.

    If we are to look for an analogy, then I prefer one that sees our own familiar universe as a sub-set of a higher universe. Thus an ant on a table-top may see his own universe as merely two-dimensional with no up nor down. However from our own three-dimensional universe we may observe the ant and perceive that it does actually exist in a three-dimensional universe. I think perhaps that the resurrection was something like that. Christ was able to alight onto the table-top of our own three-dimensional universe from his multi-dimensional higher universe. The question of passing through walls and closed doors does not enter into the equation. And I don’t see that this concept involves the creation of any kind of new physics, but is merely a broadening of our perspective. But it is only an analogy, hopefully more helpful than passing through walls. Like the ant we are confined prisoners, perceiving only three dimensions.

    1. Daveb ; . A pure spirit does not have a body, nor is a body pure spirit.

      I do not agree on this as when Mother Mary got the message about her concievement she saw the Angel. Even Sheppards saw the angels.

      What sort of bodies these angels had? Bodies simmilar to humans or not?

      1. Sampath, I have done about 7 months of research on angels, gave a series of talks and will be using these series of talks to do a mini-retreat Saturday at the Shroud museum. If you are interested in the notes, click my name which will take you to the homepage where the notes are available for anyone to download.

    2. Sampath, you are in good company, as the subject has been debated from the time of the ancient Greeks. One of the semantic problems is that the term “spirit” in most languages seem to have several different meanings. Essentially there seem to be two approaches, a) metaphysical, b) theological. Significant metaphysical contributors include Leibnitz, Hegel and Berkeley, and it is necessary to read what they have to say about the subject to arrive at any conclusions, if that is at all possible. On the theological aspects of the problem, my preference is for a Thomistic approach. However several of the early fathers of the church have also written about the subject and some of them have asserted that the angels are not immaterial beings.

      I think you might be interested in reading an article on the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia web-site, which has an interesting discussion and provides some overview of the notion of spirit:

      However my main assertion is that following the resurrection, Christ’s human body was no longer found in the tomb, and yet he appeared to several witnesses in some kind of corporeal form. Thomas was invited to touch his wounds, Jesus ate and drank with his friends, and there are reports of his preparing a breakfast for them on the lake-side. All these action involve a bodily reality. He was not a ghostly apparition with no substance,

      1. Hi Daveb

        Thank you. But my experience is quite different. My Father had a different experience. He had a Guardian Angel and that Guardian Angel walked with him. Carried a torch to take him in dark. Told many things about his children. When they came to a place where there is light he disappeared. With one promise he told many things to my Father and ask him not to tell to anyone. But my Father broke that promise and by telling those stories to my mother. After that incident that Guardian Angel did not come to walk with my Father.

        That is a true story.

        1. And yet, Sampath, in the book of Tobit the angel Raphael reveals that when they saw him eat and drink, he wasn’t actually eating and drinking, but they were seeing a vision. Is it possible a similar thing happened to your father? Aquinas asserted that angels take on actual matter in order to perform their mission. So we have two opinions of at least Catholic theologians.

        2. Hi Mr. Weiss – I have experience with both situations. As Aquinas asserted my father really came across a Angel who took actual matter. That is why Angel managed to hold a torch. Other fact was most of things Angel told to my Father was fulfilled. My 4 siblings are the witness to that story (1. Dentist, 2. Former Surveyor General of SL, 3. Active member of Sri Lanka Catholic Church 4. PhD in Structural Engineering, and me)

          That is why I don’t have any doubts to accept the dematerialization process during the resurrection and subsequent formation of the image.

          Most of the people who can not understand dematerialization process do not anything about Angels and post resurrection body of Jesus.

        3. I wouldn’t know your Father’s experience, but from a Catholic perspective, there are two possibilities. How do you know you weren’t seeing a vision? I am not questioning the veracity of your claim, just wondering how you can be so certain it was not a vision?

        4. Don Andy – I am not questioning the veracity of your claim, just wondering how you can be so certain it was not a vision?

          How can the same vision could happen during so many weeks?

          What the guardian angel told to my father was fulfilled.

      2. Daveb

        You know what my question is, What is spirit made of? Is God and spirit made of the same thing? What is a, “thought” made of? I mean it seems like it would be something other than matter. Is thought and spirit the same thing as consciousness? I think about these questions everyday.

      3. Hello John. I agree that the concept of spirit, and much else, is something different from matter. However, in the history of both philosophy and theology, the concept has been highly contentious. The Catholic Encyclopedia link I gave above is an interesting brief discussion, but I believe it is a transcript of the older early 1900s version and it may possibly be now somewhat dated. Nevertheless it is still informative.

        My Encyc Brit package has much to say in an article on such metaphysics, but of course with no real conclusion. It is evident that Leibnitz, Berkeley and Hegel had much to say on the concept of spirit, but there are several others, both ancient and a Google search on “notions of spirit” easily demonstrates.

        Recently my local U3A group ran a series of discussions on Evolution covering a lot of similar ground. The later works of Darwin seem to see the development of morality and religion as part of the evolutionary process, and seems to have an essentially materialist bias. It culminates in the work of Richard Dawkins. As with any group of people discussing the topic, it proved to be contentious and of course resulting in no real consensus. People will believe what they choose to believe.

        I think there is much of informative value in what the evolutionists can tell us. My personal belief is that it demonstrates God’s plan of revelation to us. But to ignore the contribution that religion has made to the development of civillisation in the course of its history is a gross error of judgement. To me it corroborates this plan of God to bring mankind to Himself. I prefer the approach of Teilhard de Chardin, in his seeking to synthesize science and religion.

      4. Daveb
        A reasonable argument can be mounted that, generally speaking, the descriptions of Christ’s resurrected body became more corporeal over time.
        So in Paul’s letters, our earliest sources, there is much more of a spiritual emphasis.
        I think with any interpretation there is a strong element of speculation. My own view is that Christ’s resurrected body was apparition- like, but somehow more ‘formed’ than that.

        I consider that the oral and written tradition evolved into a more corporeal tradition.

        But my own belief is that the resurrected body was not, in fact, corporeal.

        But that’s only my view and I think people can validly argue the other way.

      5. Thomas, I think your argument is on weak ground for several reasons.

        1) The gospels are concerned with the mission of Jesus while he was on earth. They derived from certain oral traditions, to some extent independent. These traditions occurred within a society for which oral tradition was far more important than it is for instance in modern western society. They rapidly assume a fixed form to the extent that any deviations from the accepted format can be deemed to be an incompetence. I am familiar with this fixed attitude towards oral transmission of cultural traditions, particularly genealogies and rituals, among NZ Maori and Pacifica peoples. It also occurs in African primal societies.

        2) These oral traditions were used in different ways by the individual evangelists. Thus both Matthew and Luke, as well as using Mark, have access to another source common to them. Also Matthew and Luke each have access to a third and fourth source but which are not used by the other. John’s gospel is to a large extent independent, but like Matthew and Luke also uses much of Mark’s Passion narrative. They were also written at a time when there would have been witnesses still living. The essential point is that in spite of whatever individual differences in use of source material occur, or their approach and style, all four gospels are fundamentally corroborative,

        3. The conversion of Paul occurs well after the events of Jesus’ earthly life at a time when the followers were being persecuted. In fact we are told that he supervised the stoning of Stephen. He is not concerned with narrating the events of Christ’s death nor of his resurrection, but seeks to interpret them in his own particular way. He is not a witness to the actual resurrection event as reported in the gospels, but a witness to the resurrected Christ as manifest to himself in his own particular conversion at a much later date.

        4. Paul’s conversion is in fact narrated in Acts by the same author as the third gospel, Luke. In fact Luke reports Paul’s conversion at three separate places: Acts 9:1-9; Acts 22:3-16; and Acts 22:2-16, with some differences in detail owing to the use of different sources.

        5. Paul’s own letters, although set down in writing at an earlier time than the gospels, report his own experience of Christ resurrected as the personal manifestation to himself. There seems to be no specific evidence that he was familiar with Christ’s earthly mission or had even encountered him. In his own words, it was as if he were born out of due time.

        1. Daveb: Paul’s letters set down at an earlier time than the gospels? Very much not a consensus view:

          Luke was a traveling companion of Paul, and is mentioned in three of Paul’s letters as “Luke the beloved physician.” Luke joined Paul on his second missionary journey in Troas. During Paul’s third journey, Luke joined him in Philippi (Acts 20:6) and went with him to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16).

          Paul quotes Luke as Scripture:

          When Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:18) he quoted a passage from Luke as Scripture: “FOR THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads the grain,’ and, ‘the laborer is worthy of his wages’.”

          The first verse quoted is from Deuteronomy 25:4. However, the second is a quotation of Jesus recorded by Luke: “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7). THIS SAYING IS NOT FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. Paul uses the exact same Greek words that Luke used. Consequently, Paul must have known of Luke’s Gospel at this time and considered it Scripture.

        2. Daveb: C’mon Dave: “There seems to be no specific evidence that Paul was familiar with Christ’s earthly mission or had even encountered him.”

          Most theologians would say the Paul encountered Christ on the road to Damascus; in fact, most would say it was a physical encounter (light, sound).

        3. Hi Daveb

          Sorry to trouble you. Most Aaccept that Gospel of Luke was copied from other avaiable sources (Q and may be another)

          Which book Luke wrote first? Acts or Gospel of Luke?

          Furthermore in Acts Luke give us 3 versions of Paul confrontation with Jesus. Which one was correct?

        4. Daveb, I really enjoy your comments. I do have one for you, your item #2 is only a theory by a German (presuming you are referring the the “Q” (Quelle) common source) and has many weaknesses, far more than validate it from my own research.

      6. Response to Nabber:

        1) The use of the Pastoral Letter, I Timothy, is not a good choice for an attempt to claim that the gospels were written before the Pauline corpus. It is now generally considered pseudonymous, and almost certainly non-Pauline. It is absent in some of the early canons, but was eventually included for its pastoral content. It is hardly surprising that it might cite a passage or so from a gospel account.

        With the early expectation of the Parousia there would seem little point in committing the events of Jesus’ life to writing. Because this expectation went unfulfilled, the decision would then have been made to commit the oral traditions received into the written form of the gospels. That they originated from a set of various oral traditions is evident from their pericope format, a set of structured brief episodes likely recited during communal worship, now gathered together into a coherent narrative.

        2) My point was that there was little if any evidence to demonstrate that Paul had any personal acquaintance with the earthly mission of Jesus, whereas the gospels are primarily concerned with setting down this narrative. His encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus occurs well after the events of the gospels. That there seems to be have been physical aspects to this encounter, would only seem to support an argument that Christ’s resurrection was of a physical nature, rather than arguing against it.

      7. Response to Sampath:

        The book, “Acts of the Apostles” is presented at its outset as a continuation of Luke’s gospel. Both are addressed to one Theophilus, who may be some official, a real person, or it may just be a literary device, similar to that used by some other Greek authors. “Theo-philus” could be translated as “Lover of God”, that is it may be intended for a general reader who wishes to know more about God.

        Perhaps 50% of Mark’s gospel is used by Luke (In Matthew it is about 90%). Like Matthew, Luke also uses Q. However there is also material unique to Luke (L). This includes the “old age” birth-story of John the Baptist, Luke’s Infancy narrative, and several parables (e.g. Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son). All the material about John the Baptist is deliberately placed before that of Jesus. Luke tends to humanise the portrait of Jesus compared to the starker picture presented by Mark and Matthew, there is a concern for piety and prayer, it comes from the Septuagint tradition, and there is compassion for the poor and despised. However there also seems to be some ignorance concerning certain Jewish customs and Jewish geography. (Luke does not appreciate that it is impossible to have a solar eclipse during Passover.)

        From about Ch 13 of Acts dealing with Paul’s mission to the Gentiles, the author adopts the pronoun “We” as if he is a companion on Paul’s journeys. This may be the case, or it may be a literary device to establish the authority of his text with Paul as his guarantor. Several differences from Paul’s own accounts and his pattern of thought have seemed difficult to reconcile the author of Acts as a close companion of Paul. So he may be working from sources other than his own experience.

        The three accounts in Acts of Paul’s conversion pose no difficulty in reconciliation. In Acts 9:1-9 the conversion is part of the narrative; In Acts 22:3-16, the conversion is presented as Paul recounting his experience to appease the rioting Jews seeking to kill him; In Acts 26:2-18 it is presented as his own account before King Agrippa and the governor Festus before Paul’s departure for Rome. The differences are in only minor matters of detail.

        If you are look for a good annotated on-line Bible text, then I recommend the USCCB version which I often use myself when on-line. I find the annotations particularly useful in commenting here.

        1. Thank you Daveb.

          Then I can’t understand why Paul did not learn from Luke about the Gospel of Jesus.

          How can they talk about Jesus without knowing the missioin of Jesus.

          Jesus main mission was telling about the Kingdom of God and how can we go there.

          Based on Parable of Goats and Sheep Jesus told that Work (doing things to others in the name of Love) are more important than faith and that is the criteria for Judgement on the Judgement Day.

      8. Response to Don Andy:

        Any theory as to the compilation of the gospels must account satisfactorily for the following sets of observations:

        1) In approximate figures, Mark’s text has 661 verses, more than 600 of which appear in Matthew and 350 in Luke. Only c. 31 verses of Mark are found nowhere in Matthew or Luke. In the material common to all three Synoptics, there is very seldom verbatim agreement of Matthew and Luke against Mark, though such agreement is common between Matthew and Mark or Luke and Mark or where all three concur.

        2) The postulated common saying source of Matthew and Luke, Q, would account for much verbatim agreement of Matthew and Luke when they include sayings absent from Mark. The fact that the sayings are used in different ways or different contexts in Matthew and Luke is an indication of a somewhat free way in which the editors could take material and mold it to their given situations and needs.

        3) The placement of Q material in Luke and Matthew disagrees at certain points according to the needs and theologies of the addressees of the gospels, but in Matthew the Marcan chronology is the basic scheme into which Q is put. Mark’s order is kept, on the whole, by Matthew and Luke, but, where it differs, at least one agrees with Mark. After chapter 4 in Matthew and Luke, not a single passage from Q is in the same place. Q was a source written in Greek as was Mark, which can be demonstrated by word agreement (not possible, for example, with a translation from Aramaic, although perhaps the Greek has vestiges of Semitic structure form).

        It is therefore a reasonable conclusion that both Matthew and Luke had access to Mark’s gospel, but there has to be an explanation as to why there is common material in Matthew and Luke not present in Mark. Augustine’s speculation that Mark was an abbreviation of Matthew does not stand up to scrutiny in terms of modern scholarship. Nevertheless the theory does re-emerge from time to time and has done so recently, but it remains a minority view. Note that there is more agreement between Mark-Matthew and Mark-Luke than there is between all three. This points to Mark as being a source used by both Matthew and Luke. We then need an explanation as to a separate common Matthew-Luke source for material not found in Mark. The Q source theory satisfies this requirement. There is much that continues to be debated, such as whether there was a type of original Aramaic version of a Proto-Matthew now lost, which Mark may have used, but these debates are of more interest to specialists in exegesis, and being speculative I think are of lesser general interest.

        1. Response to Don Andy at Nov 25, 20:18 pm:

          Andy, I note you have now been promoted to Deacon. Congratulations.

          Some few years ago I participated in a two year fortnightly analysis on the gospel of Matthew, given by a local scholarly priest with postgraduate qualifications from Boston. He is now much in demand by the Catholic bishops of NZ for the training of seminarians in the priesthood.

          There is no perhaps about it. There is nothing wild about the Q theory. I am aware of an ultra-conservative reaction seeking to give precedence to Matthew’s gospel over Mark. I believe it may have permeated certain areas of the Catholic Church within USA. It was originally claimed by Augustine that Mark was an abbreviation of Matthew. My tutor is an Augustinan priest, with a particularly conservative approach towards most matters, a cause for some occasional differences between us. He firmly adheres to the Q theory, and it seems to be the majority view among most orthodox biblical exegesists.

  4. Perhaps Jesus was knocking on the door. He then realized the disciples could not hear him knocking because his hand had been dematerialized. So Jesus says, “The heck with this. I will just temporarily dematerialize the door.” 🙃

    1. For the proper way to prepare a Critical Summary of Silliness, you should contact the Ministry of Silly Walks…

    1. Very specific and concrete aspects of what is assumed and stated in that paper (jacksonpropp.pdf) can be shown to be erroneous.

      For example, it is stated by the document cited (jacksonpropp.pdf):

      “Recently, one important prediction of the hypothesis, that a double superficial frontal
      image without an associated dorsal image should exist on the Shroud, was reported by
      Fanti and Maggiolo (Ref 3).”

      This is mostly false. That paper of Fanti and Maggiolo shows that the only place a superficial image could be detected is around the face. Even that claim about an image around the face is strongly challenged. Actually, in 2002, once the back cloth was removed, it was obvious that no image, for the frontal part, appears on the reverse side of the Shroud. So, to claim the opposite in that paper (jacksonpropp.pdf) is misleading.

      Also, the very axiom used to introduce that theory is wrong. Inference 3 assumes that the bloodstains seen in the hair *must* come from the face and cites Gilbert Lavoie’s paper. There is no proof of that at all in that paper. Note that there is a difference between “may” and “must”.

      Overall, that theory is based on a wrong axiom and the prediction it claimed (image of the frontal part on the reverse side) turned out to be false.

      1. Mario, how would you define the difference between the characterization “mostly false” and “false”? In fact Fanti and Maggiolo’s paper does provide collaboration for Jackson’s prediction. There does appear to be double superficiality of aspects of the Shroud body image. You of course do not need to accept Jackson’s hypothesis. You are encouraged to use good reasoning and continue to challenge Jackson’s hypothesis.

        1. Robert, as an example of “mostly false” vs “false”, I will take as an example the very first sentence of the paper by Jackson ( It is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein. That quote is:

          “Common sense is the deposit of prejudice laid down in the mind before the age of eighteen.”

          This attribution to Einstein is “mostly false”, but not “false” (or should I say “completely false”). Einstein did not write or said that sentence. Therefore, it cannot be a quote attributed to Einstein. Yet, he could have thought that it was true, because Einstein wrote a preface to a book written by Lincoln Barnett who stated that quote. Did Einstein saw the quote? We do not know. That subtle point was discussed by

          Similarly, to state that the paper by Fanti and Maggiolo supports the prediction of a double superficially of the frontal image of the Shroud is mostly false, because there was no image found by them for the most part of the frontal image. And for the part found (face) it is dubious.

          As for “You of course do not need to accept Jackson’s hypothesis.”. I do not understand your point. You are posting on a public forum opened for discussion.

    2. Jackson doesn’t ever intend to do silly. He is a very serious person in his research and his work and he is an honest researcher, if he makes mistakes or not, that is not the point of this comment. My point is perhaps we ought to not go overboard in characterizing (or perhaps mis-characterizing) one’s work? Mario doesn’t seem to be doing that, but he has real objections (if one accepts them or not). I respect that.

  5. If ‘controversial’ and ‘silly’ lie at the ends of a balanced ‘description’ bar, then I’m afraid Jackson’s hypothesis lies somewhat closer to the ‘silly’ end than the ‘controversial.’ However I do not see that either of these terms are particularly appropriate. There is a long and worthy tradition of “what if” speculation, in science and in various other disciplines, in which the axioms upon which a hypothesis is based are not all rooted either in observation or logic.

    What if animals could talk? What if Napoleon had succeeded in invaded Britain, or Japan had never attacked Pearl Harbour? What if light travelled at the same speed as sound? Scientists and historians have enjoyed developing interesting and sometimes useful scenarios based on these ideas, knowing full well that the premises were wholly unsubstantiated.

    One of Jackson’s axioms is that a body can become instantaneously mechanically transparent. From that, and the rest of his postulates, Jackson has built a reasonable scenario which, according to his ‘new physics’, could produce an image exactly as seen on the Shroud. The scenario is controversial. To suggest that the axioms upon which it is based are controversial – is silly. Even Jackson knows very well that there is no known physics on which such a predicate could be based, although he desperately hopes that, simply because science has occasionally been wrong before, something may turn up to justify it eventually.

    “As a physicist, I admit to having my own difficulties with this concept … [but] … I would like to ask the reader to put aside, for the moment, any reservations he or she might have concerning the “unconventional” nature of this concept and consider it merely as a hypothesis to be evaluated critically using the well established principles of the Scientific Method.”
    Well, fair enough.

    1. Well and fairly stated Hugh. One minor correction is that it is not an axiom of Jackson’s hypothesis that a body can become instantaneously mechanically transparent. Jackson nor does anybody else have any explanation for how that might be the case. Jackson has stated the following:

      “My concern as early as 1976, fourteen years before the 1990 paper, was one of physics – how to reconcile the 3-d characteristic of the Shroud image with its high resolution. I described this concern mathematically in a paper for the Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on the Shroud of Turin entitled, ‘A problem of resolution posed by the existence of a three-dimensional image on the Shroud.” This problem, in fact, persists to this day as can be seen from the Image Characteristics versus Image Formation Hypothesis Table of the Critical Summary; compare rows B2.0 (High Resolution) and B3.0 (3-Dimensional) for which no hypothesis, except the Radiation Fall-Through hypothesis, is indicated as simultaneously satisfying both image criteria. Moreover, a careful reading of the 1990 paper will show that the logic of the Radiation Fall-Through hypothesis does not, in any way, depend upon or require an assumption arising from Christian theology; rather, the logic arises strictly from what is observed on the Shroud of Turin image.”

      Jackson’s hypothesis proves nothing. It is one image formation hypothesis among many. It is fair to attack it with good solid arguments. We don’t think there are any yet. You be the judge.

  6. Unfortunately the Jackson/Fanti fall-through hypothesis is no longer viable after Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro published his paper. He refers to what he discovered with the help of Turin in the response to question 8:
    Professor Fanti continues with his research and we can expect to have something new shortly.
    People belonging to mainline Christian denominations have been led to believe in the literal resurrection of the dead due to the Creed, however things have changed now and I discovered it when visiting London’s Golders Green Crematorium while researching some topics in England years ago. The staff told me that Catholics were also cremated there because the Church had give the green signal. The Church, I found out later, allows people to opt for cremation as long as they do not deny that there is life after death.
    I personally believe that Jesus’ Resurrection was an unique event, as stated in the introduction to the interview given in the link above. So there is no need for anyone to be buried wrapped like an Egyptian mummy.
    What is stated in the Bibe on the whole has left even renowned authors confused:

    1. It is a very good recommendation to read this interview. TSC is very familiar with this fine discussion. Thank you Louis for pointing out this resource. Dr. Di Lazzaro is deeply respected for his fine work by John Jackson and the TSC organization. In many respects he represents the best of the emerging next generation of outstanding scientists who are contributing to the scientific examination of the Shroud.

      We think Paolo would not say his research on double superficiality makes Jackson’s hypothesis “no longer viable.” At most, if Paolo is right in his interpretation, he would be able to say that the double superficiality prediction of Jackson’s hypothesis must be rethought. If he is right then the rating of the double-superficiality “image characteristic” (Item C3.0 as listed in the Critical Summary) must be changed. That is to be determined. Even doing this however leaves Jackson’s hypothesis being very viable indeed, relative to other hypotheses. You will note in the Critical Summary references that we have included Paolo and Ghiberti’s objections to double superficiality. There is honest debate. TSC’s judgment is that Fanti and Maggiolo are correct about double-superficiality. Regardless Jackson’s hypothesis remains viable.

  7. Hello Robert
    Thank you for the comments.
    It was actually me, not Dr. Paolo, who said that the Jackson/Fanti fall-through hypothesis was no longer viable. So the blame for the misunderstanding has to be laid on my shoulders. The Italian physicist, guided by Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti it seems, was able to see that there was no double superficiality on the Shroud. That is clear in the interview. Years before this interview a prominent “Shroudie” did give me the same information, however I kept quiet, thinking about a line Ian Wilson wrote in his book “The 2000-year-old mystery solved” saying that when Professor Giovanni Riggi separated the relic from the backing cloth he saw some stains that looked like an image in the face area.
    Now the question that arises is: what exactly do we see there? Are they bloodstains or a bit of the face image? Turin says they are bloodstains.
    You may remember that I wrote an article entitled “Science and religion meet in Shroud research”, which was an interview with Professor Giulio Fanti on the double superficiality and other points in his research. It is no longer online but I am willing to post it again if that is what you wish.
    I think TSC, which has done some very good work, should be more active in the debate and update its site whenever needed. They are also free to contact me if there is anything they would like me to write on new research.
    I have always made it a point to be as correct as possible in writing articles and reviews, although unfortunately it seems that some things I have written have deliberately been ignored. To give you an example, I wrote against the “Kashmir tomb” years ago and received an email from an important scientist appointed by the Vatican saying that it had laid this “Jesus in Kashmir” hypothesisdcx tomb to rest:
    The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing in some places where there is Shroud research. I think it is one of the reasons why Turin has not thrown the doors open to Shroud scientists. Top Shroud scientists have to pay the price for the mistakes committed by prominent “Shroudies”.

      1. Thank you, Robert. I will do the needful in the shortest possible time, following your advice. The debate must continue and I, at least, do believe that reporting should be fair. We cannot forget about ethics.

        1. Directed to Robert W. Siefker:

          Hello Robert:
          You will now find the old interview with Professor Giulio Fanti entitled “Science and religion meet in Shroud research” online. There is also a document prepared by the Italian scientist, in Italian and English, which is beautifully illustrated, at the end of the interview.

          I believe in fair play, not in Shroud politics where only chummies are allowed to publish what they want, even if it does not correspond to the truth. No sides are being taken here, as I respect both Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro and Professor Giulio Fanti.
          I think Turin could make the microphotographs in its possession available to us as it would put an end to the controversy.

  8. did not Jesus ask for a piece of fish when he appeared to the disciples by the sea….body…not spirit…sometimes I laugh when the great minds on this thread try to explain what God is capable of…..

    1. Rick, this is precisely the problem I see with the concept of a “spiritual body”. The ref you mention is found in Luke 24:36-43:

      “… 39* Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40 And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish; 43 he took it and ate it in front of them.”

      Whatever a resurrected body might be, I don’t know that it can be called a spiritual body.

      Your comment: “… try to explain what God is capable of…..”
      The equation I sometimes use is “Nothing is impossible to God” If anything is a contradiction, then it is a “Nothing” and this is impossible for God. Q: Is a spiritual body a contradiction?

    2. Also see John 21:9-13:
      “9 When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three* large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him,* “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.”

      Whether this fish breakfast incident was an actual occurrence or not , for there may be some kind of eucharistic intent in the story, clearly the evangelist is stressing that the resurrection of Jesus was not merely ghostly, mythic, a phantasm, nor angelic, it was a truly bodily resurrection. This is all part of the resurrection tradition that is being developed, as with the other evangelists, and the early apostolic church.

      Likewise, the earlier appearances, first to a group of the apostles I mentioned above, second with Thomas present. Thus John is stressing the bodily aspects of the resurrection in three separate ways, and three means emphatic!

  9. Out of the many hypothesises, I can see, there are only two possibilities to form an image on the burial cloth. Either from the Painting hypothesis suggested by Mr. Freeman or Dematerialization and related Radiation from the body hypothesis suggested by some. Otherwise there are no other possibilities to form a Negative Image on the shroud from the other various hypothesises.

  10. It must be remembered that in early Christianity the kerygma proclaimed the death, burial, raising, and the appearances of Jesus. This kerygma had its origin in a Palestinian Jewish-Christian setting. In this setting the after-life was not the Greek philosophical dichotomy of body/soul or even the immortality of the soul.
    The milieu in which it arose (Daniel 12:2, for example) left no doubt in interpretation: It could only mean bodily resurrection. What was being said is that Jesus had been raised to a state of glory in the presence of the Father and that would have had to mean bodily resurrection.

  11. Last monday I have observed a textile
    test performed with an interesting
    instrument : the “TruBurst” (by John Heal),
    a burst strength tester…
    I wonder about true effects coming
    from a sudden change (= the well
    known “burst of energy”) on linen cloth.

    Then I ask:
    What is your exact opinion about the
    speed of that presumed phenomenon?

    1. I Cor 15:51-2 states a twinkling of an eye. 0.01 sec or less. A bump of energy and a quick dissipation. Like a lightning strike.
      Jesus warned the 3 disciples not to mention the transfiguration until after resurrection, linking the 2 events. (Synoptic gospels)

  12. I’m not sure where dematerialization notion came from but it is a bad inference. Jackson does not believe a vacuum was created (I believe a small vacuum) which means a Biblical, bodily resurrection. The same matter changed. At that point we are groping as we do with the other side of the big bang. This conundrum is humbling.

  13. “Jackson does not believe a vacuum was created.”

    But he does believe that a body became ‘mechanically transparent’. To be fair, he admits that this is little more than an abstract fancy, and asks his reader’s indulgence to accept it as a premise and move on. But if one were to give the rest of his hypothesis any credence at all, one must inevitably inquire how a body can become mechanically transparent, and what happened next. Did the mechanically transparent Jesus become solid again, get up, push the stone away and walk out? Or did he mechanically transparently walk through the stone and resolidify outside? And where did he get his new clothes from? Those who accept the Resurrection as a straight miracle, and those who think the Resurrection, whatever it was, did not violate the known laws of nature, do not get bogged down by this sort of thing, but attempting to describe a miracle as if it were scientifically comprehensible is a passport to more and more convoluted, and less and less credible, imaginary physics.

  14. The Resurrection will never be scientifically comprehensible. It “points beyond history but also left footprints in history,” as Benedict XVI wrote in his book. That explains the rise of Christianity.
    Some years ago I reviewed a book that was sent to me by the publisher, entitled “The departed among the living”, by Professor Erlendur Haraldsson. Having done two courses in Parapsychology and conducted some on-site research in the field, the topic continued to interest me. The book reported surveys where materialisation and dematerilisation are supposed to have taken place, but no investigation was conducted. Later, in other books, when I noticed that the Indian magician Sathya Sai Baba was being considered as a divine figure I began to think about Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection”.

Comments are closed.