Slouching Towards Emmaus
And Some Nonsense Along the Way
An Essay on the Shroud of Turin by Dan Porter
– Easter 2022 –
–> Download PDF File or Read Online
- Slouching Towards Emmaus 2
- On Being Less Certain Now 13
- Saigon, 1965 – The Beginning of the Journey 19
- The Resurrection of the 8-Ball 30
- An Overgrown, Overblown Forest 35
- Of Poems and Liturgies and Icons and More 39
- The Pantocrator Icon at St. Catherine’s 46
- The Sudarium of Oviedo 48
- The Pray Codex 49
- Two Kodak Moments 53
- The Black Swan 58
- The Holy Grail and So Much More 68
- Is the Shroud Proof of a Resurrection? Really? 70
- An Overdose of Neutron Radiation 78
- Where You At on the Resurrection? 85
- Apparitions of the Risen Christ 92
- Honest to God, John A. T. Robinson Was a Shroudie 102
missed you Dan..the universe did not start from nothing….that would be unscientific
I wouldn’t exactly call it an essay. It’s a free book with 113 pages of new ideas. It took me 2 hrs to read it and I’m a fast reader. I couldn’t put it down. Thanks. I really liked it.
Let me first say thank you for Slouching Towards Emmaus. I have one question. I get the sense you are now a more certain believer in the resurrection of Christ but at the same time on your way to becoming a complete skeptic of the shroud. Am I right?
Good question. I’ll get back to you later today. Thanks.
Was it St. Louis?
I was happy to see this “resurrection” of your Shroud blog, Dan. And I have even read your entire essay. I have a few comments, as you will see below, but first I wish to express my sorrow for the loss of your daughter. As parents, we always feel that the proper order in nature is that our children attend our funerals, not the other way around. We’ll say a prayer for you both.
Your essay did a good job of slogging through the endless discussion about the Shroud of Turin. Here’s how I see this matter now.
All of the endlessly tedious analysis of how the Shroud might have been created seems both boring and misplaced. God is not bound by the laws of physics in our universe so trying to explain how the Shroud was created according to these theoretical scientific propositions seems ridiculous. All of Colin Berry’s “see what I can do” demonstrations of how some aspect or other of the Shroud’s image could be recreated are both irrelevant and immaterial, IMHO. Colin Berry seems like a very amiable fellow and would no doubt be someone I would enjoy sharing a pint with in some English pub. But he is a committed atheist and, therefore, unable to see any value in the Shroud at all other than as a scientific puzzle and challenge which he has not met.
There are three main issues involving the Shroud of Turin: when was it created, by whom, and why. Regarding the when, Ian Wilson’s book, “The Shroud: Fresh Light on the 2,000 Year Old Mystery” (2010) makes a convincing case that the Shroud is the same as the burial cloth known as the Image of Edessa. The history of that cloth can be traced back over 1,500 years. Together with the Hungarian Prayer Codex, known anomalies in textile carbon dating, and flaws in the 1988 Shroud carbon dating, I don’t think the Shroud can be seriously regarded as having originated in the Middle Ages. Further, it is beyond dispute that if it had been created in 1300 or thereabouts, it would be more of a mystery than if it were miraculously created by God at the time of Christ’s Resurrection since nothing was known to medieval artists of photography much less how to create such a striking negative image from a positive image that itself is an enduring mystery of formation. And, why would anyone do that if it could not be viewed for several hundred years?
You made much of the fact that the Shroud image was not uniquely able to project a 3-D image and that seemed to shake your faith in its miraculous creation. I don’t share your views on this at all. I never thought the VP-8 image was impressive. It always seemed a little distorted to me. Not the kind of thing that God accomplishes when He has this purpose in mind. Again, trying to determine whether the Shroud is a genuine product of divine action by employing scientific methods can do no more than establish the characteristics of the Shroud image as it exists for us. It says nothing about how the image was formed by divine action.
If the Shroud image was miraculously created as in your friend Alamo’s “8-ball” analogy, which I believe it was, then the “technology” for its creation is not going to be explained according to laws of chemistry and physics that do not apply. You referred to the image of “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” That, indeed, is another excellent example of an image created on an inappropriate medium (cactus fibers) that defies explanation as to how it was formed and how it endures after more than 500 years despite modern efforts to ensure its preservation. That image and reports of it led to the conversion of millions of Aztec Indians to Christianity from an existing religion that was closer to Satan worship. God’s purpose in creating it is, therefore, obvious.
Similarly, the Shroud of Turin gave us a photograph of Jesus in the tomb. As such, it is effective to challenge claims that Christ was not really crucified, or that the crucifixion was not as harmful as the Gospels claim, or that Christ’s early followers were either delusional or liars. As an aside, please note that nothing that any member of the Jesus Seminar, including John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, have to say about the Resurrection should be considered at all. “Heretic” would be too kind a word for as St. Paul said about as clearly as can be said, if Christ was not raised from the dead, our faith is absurd and worthless. 1 Cor 15:14, 17. That is pretty much where the Jesus Seminar came down.
We believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ not because of the existence of a miraculous artifact like the Shroud of Turin. It establishes that Christ was crucified and graphically illustrates the horrific cruelty of that manner of death. But we believe in his Resurrection because of the testimony of witnesses, people who bore witness to their credibility and sincerity by their actions afterward. It is clear that the Gospels were not written by a cabal who decided to create a religion from the failed mission of someone they hoped would do it for them. The history of Christianity is filled with miracle reports from time to time, including the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima. See, for example: “God-Sent: A History of the Accredited Apparitions of Mary” (2000) by Roy Abraham Varghese. For the general question of whether God even exists, there are millions of NDEs (Near Death Experience reports) that bear witness to the fact that our souls persist after death in addition to the overwhelming evidence presented in the Old and New Testaments and 2,000 years of Christian faith experiences by human beings with God and residents in His Kingdom.
A final note. Your conversation with your friends back in Saigon in 1965 included a reference to “fake miracles like weeping statues.” (Essay, p. 24). Weeping statues are not always fake miracles. I refer you to my book, “The Seton Miracles: Weeping Statues and Other Wonders” (1993, 1998, and later). You can read it in a pdf available for free on the book’s website: http://www.thesetonmiracles.org. I invite you specifically to consider the chapter titled: “A Reply to the Skeptics.”
It was good to hear from you, Dan. But I regret that your view of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin has progressed from “probable” to “possible.” It should be in the other direction.
At risk of overstaying my welcome here, I think it necessary to add another comment on a vitally important point. In your email response to the series of questions from one of your readers, you say about the post-resurrection accounts in the Gospels:
“Some of this may of course be literary devices. Personally, I think we have to recognize this possibility.”
No. Poetry is a literary device. The NT authors were writing history. (See Luke 1:1-4 where he says specifically that he is reporting the events of Jesus’ life so that Theophilus can see the reliability of what he had been told.) If it is not history, it has no value whatsoever. Might as well believe in the “Force” of Star Wars’ universe. Minor discrepancies within the various Gospels enhanced the sincerity and credibility of each author who was reporting what he witnessed or heard from his source witnesses. For example, Luke’s centurion says of Jesus after he had died, “Surely this was an innocent man.” But Mark’s centurion says, “Clearly this man was the Son of God!” Similarly, this comment from A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (1969): “The problem of the divergencies between the accounts of the resurrection appearances in the four evangelists is notorious.” p. 952.
I do not understand all the obsession with whether Jesus physically rose from the dead. Obviously, he did. His eating and drinking was intended to make this point. His encounter with Thomas further emphasized his physical presence. His multiple appearances in Jerusalem and Galilee to as many as 500 people (1 Cor 15:6, Mt 28:16-17) were all seen as appearances of a physical person, not a ghost or apparition. The two disciples on the way to Emmaus report walking with another person and sharing a meal with that person until he revealed himself to be Jesus when he broke the bread at the meal. Why is this so hard to understand? And why is it necessary to burden the simple, obvious fact of his physical resurrection–sometimes but not always with crucifixion wounds intact–with speculation about how it was accomplished and what his post-resurrection form is in heaven? This is “angels on the head of a pin” stuff.
In my opinion, it is almost certain that the Shroud of Turin is authentic. It is the only conclusion that makes sense of all that is known about this cloth. And it is precisely the kind of thing that God would want to do to give his wayward children (mankind) another piece of evidence to help our wavering faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. The fact that so many are not believing Christians (apparently a shrinking number) speaks volumes about the nature and patience of our loving God and the foolishness of mankind. As Jesus told Luke: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8)
Ok. Jesus didn’t tell Luke. He told the apostles. Luke just reported it.
I can only report what I have experienced during my life as a Christian. I can only believe what I believe. I trust God to accept me as I am. I would hope that others might too.
Wow! Have just learned the latest re the weird and wonderful T of S – it’s become re-Danified, April 2022, with a book-like pdf (Emmaus etc) as wake-up call.
Not so much as a hint – needless to say – on Google Search (under “shroud of turin”). That’s the current Google for you – fingers everywhere except pulse!
Will be back later, once fully up to date with the new Danified developments…
What’s needed to prove the Resurrection is fairly simple and straightforward some might think Dan, namely a Second Coming.
Hopefully, if – or when – it occurs, we could be given an explanation for the 2000 or so year waiting gap.
What purpose if any did the gap serve?
Speaking of which: how many points out of 10 did Mankind as a whole achieve behaviour-wise over those two unvisited millennia? More specifically, which countries and/or empires, past or present, achieved best scores, which worst?
(No need btw to be told which is performing worst right now: simply choose something other than VODKA with which to drown one’s sorrows whilst pontificating on the threat being posed by a certain Superpower to the whole of Mankind including his/her residential Planet)!
Is it something one or other of us said Dan? Or maybe both of us, conjointly, reinforcing each others suppositions, prejudices, whatever?
I refer, needless to say, to the deafening silence from outside that has descended (sad to say) on your resurrected website.( a welcome return I say, at least quietly to myself).
Come on all you hopefully waiting-in-the-wings commentators. Say what you think! And now – repeat NOW !!!! Not tomorrow, not next week, but NOW!!!!
Express yourselves all you internet hideaways.! Spell out things the way they are (at least in your perception of the real (or idealized) world…
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