I received a wonderful email from O.K. with some comments on my Slouching Towards Emmaus essay. Those of you who were on this blog years ago, will certainly remember him.
I thought the email should be shared with everyone. With his kind permission, I am doing so below.
I am glad you are still interested in the Shroud. I have read your 2022 Easter essay. An interesting perspective. Thought I would like to make a few comments.
First, regarding 3D. It seems something you feel most disappointed about (the claim that the 3D properties are unique to the Shroud and so on) I recommend you re-reading my 4-art presentation about 3D properties of the Shroud: https://shroudstory.com/2015/10/02/the-definitive-word-on-3d-from-ok/
Actually, for those people who understand that, the 3D properties of the Shroud are no mystery, at least from the descriptive point of view. The 3D properties of the Shroud are not magic, but physics, and they are well understood from phenomenological point, from the optics’ perspective. An oversimplified definition is that it is simply a correlation between density of the image and the distance between the cloth and the purported body that the Shroud had been once enveloping. But of course, this is an oversimplified definition, and when we start discussing details, things start to go uphill. The 3D properties of the Shroud are extraordinary and important feature, but they are not unique. This single feature can be of course mimicked to some point (usually with worse, but sometimes better results), but it does not define why the Shroud is virtually impossible to reproduce. But for the effort of Craig & Bresee, Accetta, Berry and others, their attempts with dust transfer, woodblock printing heating, acid transfer etc. they definitely have nothing in common with the Shroud. There is one really great paper: G. Fanti, J. Botella, P. Di Lazzaro, T. Heimburger, R. Schneider, N. Svensson, “Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality” in Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, 2010, pp 40201-1 – 40201-8, https://doi.org/10.2352/J.ImagingSci.Technol.2010.54.4.0402 showing what is the nature of basic blocks of the Shroud image -a circa 200nm discoloration on the outer side of the Shroud fibers. Millions of such discolored fibers create the image, which has all the properties : being negative, 3D, directionless, without contours etc. When one realises this, it is immediately clear why all the Nickell or Garlascelli (or Craig & Bresee, Accetta,Berry etc.) attempts to “reproduce” Shroud image by simple techniques are just bogus. A propaganda for simple-minded (just like 3D properties being sort of magic is a propaganda from the other side).
Second, regarding the science. I would recommend reading the classical ‘Structure of scientific revolutions’ by Thomas S. Kuhn to get a view, how science does actually work. Because if you don’t have personal experience of working in science, you don’t know that. For many simple minds think of science in superstitious way, that this is a kind of magic and oracle, to say absolute truth (whether the Shroud is real or not, whether it proves Resurrection etc.). But the truth is, science does not operate this way. One can even claim, that science is incapable of giving any definite answer to any questions we ponder. There are always interpretations of scientific data and results, not only regarding the Shroud but everything else. There are so called paradigms, certain ways of thinking and solving puzzles, templates to solve the problems (which often do not work with problems they were not designed for). And a lot of unspoken assumptions.
And unfortunately, the reality is that science, or at least scientific, academic community, is incredibly corrupt, especially nowadays. Unfortunately I know this from my own first-hand experiences. There are actually endemic mobbing, conspiracies and abuse of the rules to gain better academic position. I know this, because I was a victim of such mobbing myself. There is permanent censorship and self-censorship, political correctness, and questions that cannot be asked. From my experience I know, that even tasks for a school contest (which I was writing as a part of my duty and they had nothing in common with the Shroud) were being censored! You wrote in your essay (pg. 44): ‘Mark Guscin, in his doctoral thesis at the University of London, suggests a cautionary note is warranted. Guscin’s thesis is not about the Shroud of Turin.’ I am quite convinced that Guscin believes that the Image of Edessa was the Shroud. But he was forced to avoid this politically incorrect connection in his PhD dissertation (or he could forget a dream of obtaining a PhD). You want to know the reality of academic world? There is an excellent cartoon site by Jorge Cham https://phdcomics.com/ presenting academic world from the perspective of PhD student. You may think this is a satire. But I can assure you it is a 100 % honest true reality. Please read also this https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/academic-mobbing-become-campus-tormentors/ and this: https://cheekyscientist.com/leave-academia/ I know this first hand. I can give you more examples. But the point is, the Shroud is too politically incorrect to be accepted as part of a mainstream science. No matter the facts and the interpretation of scientific data.
Third, regarding the Resurrection. Was it physical? Did it leave any byproduct such as the image on the Shroud? I don’t know. Did anyone see the moment Christ resurrected? Maybe tomb guards?
I can recommend you reading the apocryphal Gospel of Peter. While it is not the Bible of course, and not 100 % orthodox, it is the earliest non-biblical description of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus and worthy of comparison with canonical Gospels. I did it myself here https://www.apologetyka.info/inne-tematy/harmonie-biblijne/ewangelia-piotra-a-ewangelie-kanoniczne,1474.htm , the English text can be found here http://textexcavation.com/gospelpeter.html In my opinion (but this is just my opinion based on my own analysis of the text and comparison with canonical gospels) the Gospel of Peter was written about 100 CE, about the same time as Gospel of John. The author was a Christian, mostly orthodox, but slightly inclined a bit towards some views of Cerinthus, a heretic and a rival of John the Apostle. The author of Gospel of Peter (pretending to be Peter himself, but this is impossible as he does not know the political reality of Judea in the 30s of the 1st century) knew Gospels of Matthew and Mark, but not those of Luke and John, only some oral traditions common with those latter two (and some other that were not written down in the Bible). While not authoritative (some details may indeed be true, but other may be fantasies) it offers an interesting different perspective on the story of the Passion and Resurrection.
Now regarding the Shroud. After years of studying the Shroud, other relics, the Bible, the Christian apologetics, science and other stuff, what is my position? I am more than ever convinced that it is indeed a real Shroud of Christ left in the empty tomb after His resurrection. But does it matter? I am also more than ever convinced that science is incapable of proving this in absolute sense. There will always be those, who will never accept this, nitpicking all the details. I am more then ever convinced that 90 % of the claims of Shroud sceptics are just propaganda. I am 100 % convinced that English Wikipedia article on the Shroud https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shroud_of_Turin is just a propaganda garbage, written by Internet trolls who by abusing the rules, censor any attempts to show that the Shroud may very likely be authentic relic. I am convinced that the results of 1988 C-14 dating of the Shroud are worthless, as much convinced, as I trust Rogers and others expertise. I am also more than ever convinced that 90 % of proponent of the Shroud authenticity do not actually understand the scientific arguments in favor of this view. And I am fully convinced that the Shroud needs no more hotheaded attempt to either prove or debunk it, but rather careful, methodical, cold studies from the scientific side and quiet meditation about its meaning from the religious and/or philosophical side.
That there, is good stuff. Will keep me busy reading for a bit.
Ah yes, I remember always enjoying a message from O.K.
Very well said. I agree with most it and particularly with his criticism of the Wikipedia article. It is clearly one-sided and biased against any balanced accounting of the authenticity dispute. In fact, it is obviously a typical anti-religion screed filled with its own abundance of false and “pseudo-scientific” analysis and conclusions. “Garbage” is a good word for it.
These days I have had my fill of anything that comes from the mouth of a known liar. It is never trustworthy and often harmful, sometimes deadly so. Thus, I am not interested in the perspective of the fraud who wrote the Gospel of Peter.
Thanks for sharing this, Dan. My compliments to O.K. for his well-expressed comment on your blog.
Thanks. While I don’t always agree with OK on specifics, I always carefully read and consider what he says. He is a valuable contributor to the discussion.
OK’s last 3 sentences are a GIGANTIC OMG for me. It is not just the hotheads however or the wikipedia article. It is the pitches in churches by the top performing speakers, the books abd magazine articles that people actually read like National Catholic Reviews. Also shroud.com, shroud university and especially your site with old (now you admit incorrect) statements of facts. You all need warning labels. I agree with OK that is is 100% real. I agree with OK that we need to be methodical and we must admit that there is a lot of confusion and a lot we don’t know.
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