When have you ever read about the carbon dating of the shroud in which no mention was made about the results?
The University of Oxford is to become a world leading centre into the study of religious relics following the launch of a new department. This ground-breaking centre, based in Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre, is to be composed of computer and medical scientists as well as historians, classicists and theologians. Such an interdisciplinary approach builds upon work that has been undertaken by the university’s archaeological school since the 1980s.
Past achievements within the university have included the dating of the shroud of Turin, which involved study in three laboratories and the radiocarbon accelerator unit. This new unit is the first time that such a wide-ranging field of experts has been brought together in this way.
Not that there is anything wrong with that; this article is not about the shroud but … As a new centre to study relics opens in Oxford, Fr Matthew Pittam takes a look at some more unusual examples in the Catholic Herald:
- The head of St Catherine of Siena – San Domenico Basilica Siena, Italy
- The Holy Prepuce (Christ’s foreskin) – stolen in the 1980s
- St Antonius’s body – Church of San Marco, Florence, Italy
- Blessed John Henry Newman – The Oratory of St Philip Neri, Birmingham, UK
- The hand of St Francis Xavier – Gesu, Rome
Well, I hope Oxford is not planning to test the foreskin. It has gone missing, since 1983.
Fr. Pittam concludes his article:
I remember a friend telling me how he had retrieved relics from a presbytery bin when the parish priest had disposed of them in the early 1980s. This just shows how relics have been regarded by many more recently.
Hopefully, the new Oxford Centre for the Study of Relics will help further advance and promote the use of relics in the Church and encourage us to think afresh about their importance. Whilst studies will undoubtedly identify some relics as counterfeit or misidentified, others may be confirmed as originating from the time and place where the holy person lived. It will certainly give the veneration of relics more credibility.
Hey Dan, I spotted this the day before yesterday:
November 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm Reply
Oxford will stand by the 1988 results, as we have learnt from Professor Christopher Ramsey. It has now opened a centre to study relics and the priest who wrote the report mentioned the Shroud in passing.
Of the five relics to be studied, one is certainly a fake. I can vouch for one because my paternal uncle, who was the dean of a medical college, examined it and delivered his report to both Church and State and had it published in the journal of an European academy of sciences:
Here two links.
>The Relics Cluster is a multi-disciplinary
group of researchers interested in
applying studies of text, art and science
to improve our understanding of relics:
objects of cultural, historical and
religious significance. …
>… a new research group based at Keble College’s
Advanced Studies Centre that brings together
experts in different fields with an interest in relics.
>We have historians, archaeologists, classicists
and theologians, as well as computer and
>This project shows that even the two
traditionally separate worlds of ‘science’
and ‘faith’ have the potential to work together.
Are these gentlemen new possible candidates
to also examine the Holy Shroud?
Putting aside the strange problem of the foreskin,
I have previously sent the message,
because (IMO) there was not a very clear
statement about the dating of the Holy Shroud…
See also the words about the ORAU
(= University of Oxford’s Radiocarbon
Accelerator Unit) in the School of Archaeology …
into the article:
>…ORAU took part in the research project
that helped date the Turin Shroud, said to be
the burial cloth of Christ, to between 1260 and 1390. …
Now I here I write something that
has to do quite poorly with the topic
to be considered.
It is the fact that I typed on Google:
“David Hoffmeister Dan Porter shroud”
and then I did not find anything …
See also: David Hoffmeister and the book…
“Quantum Forgiveness: Physics, Meet Jesus”
eBook Launch August 30th, 2015
Print Launch October 1st, 2015
I just wanted to ask your opinion
on this new text, but…
I did not know where
I could put my request!
>Quantum Forgiveness combines
the science of the material universe
as understood by Quantum Physics,
forgiveness as taught by Jesus 2,000 years
ago, and movie-watching as a spiritual
tool interpreted in a useful way through
the eyes and clarity of a modern day mystic.
>David Hoffmeister, a world-renowned
teacher of A Course in Miracles and
expert on Mysticism & Spirituality,
uses seven mind-expanding movies as
modern-day parables to guide you into
an experience of Quantum Forgiveness,
an insightful and original book for
Awakening to permanent Peace.
In any case, the fact of being “down-to-earth”
and to study the relics (before maybe
fly away with your imagination), I think
is a good thing …
Here a past work by Mark Van Strydonck
(and other researchers).
Then, see also under:
>Professor Mark Van Strydonck specialises
in radiocarbon dating and stable isotope research
(13C/12C and 15N/14N).
>Since 1978, he has been responsible for
the radiocarbon dating laboratory at the
Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA
for its initials in Dutch and French, respectively),
an institute committed to the inventory, the
scientific study, the conservation and the
promotion of the country’s artistic and
cultural property. …
>…Prof. van Strydonck explained that
Christian relics result from people’s need
of something material to prove a certain
person existed and/or was even a hero,
saint or martyr; while a local saint is
renowned in a very small geographic
area (a few parishes) and have a
significant impact in the local area. …
>… Prof. van Strydonck has published
the book “Relieken, echt of vals?”
under the address:
we can read the following words:
>… Scientific or not-so-scientific debates,
popularized by the media, of artifacts such
as the Turin Shroud hardly helped to change
that perception. Therefore, it is often thought
that relic shrines contain bones that are much
younger than the saint they are ascribed to,
or that they hide a mixed assemblage of
skeletal elements of very different origin
and date, not excluding the presence of animal materia…
“artifacts such as the Turin Shroud”
…hmmm… …hmmm, mumble mumble…,
this word “artifacts” seems to me that is
impossibile to read it without to show
a perplexed expression…
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