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Forbes Editors Need to Polish Up Their Headline Writing

October 31, 2015 5 comments

imageThe latest Forbes/Science article by Kristina Killgrove is headlined: Mysteries Of The Black Death, Shroud Of Turin, And Origins of Early Americans Solved With DNA

Solved?  She had written:

Of course, since the shroud has been recognized since the Middle Ages as a possible religious relic, it has been handled and moved about for centuries.  There is unfortunately nothing in the new research to suggest a Medieval origin for the shroud and subsequent handling by people over the centuries is unreasonable.  The question of whether the shroud is indeed a 1st century AD artifact or a Medieval artifact is not solved by the new analysis.

The question of the origin of the Shroud of Turin may yet be solved in our lifetimes, particularly as DNA analysis is getting more reliable, faster, less expensive, and less destructive. But I suspect that there will always be believers on both sides of the authentication argument, no matter what the results show.

She didn’t say solved.

Categories: Article, Press Coverage

The Amazing Parts

October 19, 2015 3 comments

People can see the most updated scientific evidence regarding the Shroud, and then they can make their own reasoned judgment regarding its authenticity.


imageNews from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas (bold emphasis is mine):

“The most amazing part of the Shroud is the majesty of the face.”

That statement from Jim Bertrand, a Shroud expert affiliated with the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, rang true for Benedictine College students, faculty, staff and members of the surrounding communities who saw his presentation, along with a life-sized replica of the Shroud, on the Atchison campus on October 8.

[…]

Bertrand has been studying the Shroud for more than 30 years and has been affiliated with the Shroud Center of Colorado since 2014. He talked about the history of the Shroud and the scientific evidence surrounding its authenticity, including new peer-reviewed scientific information regarding the dating of the Holy Shroud, which has been the subject of much debate.

“As a presenter of the Shroud, my mission is to unite Truth with the human heart,” he said. “People can see the most updated scientific evidence regarding the Shroud, and then they can make their own reasoned judgment regarding its authenticity. Whether a relic or an icon, the Shroud is a sacramental, leading us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.”

Bertrand presented a wealth of scientific evidence that supported the Shroud’s existence in 1st century Jerusalem. He noted botanical evidence of pollen from plants native to the area. He talked about geological evidence of soil found around the image’s feet, knees and nose that is of a particular type of rock only found in Jerusalem. He noted the biological studies of the blood stains, including the fact that they are still bright red due to the body’s release of bilirubin caused by a massive loss of blood, which supports Biblical accounts of Christ’s Passion.

He also talked about the 1978 carbon dating that placed the Shroud’s origin around 1250. The section tested turns out to have been from a corner of the Shroud repaired in Medieval times and containing cotton, satin and other fibers not found in the rest of the linen Shroud. There is also resin present that was used to join cotton threads to linen threads.

“It turned out to be the worst possible place to sample,” Bertrand said. He went on to show three other recent datings of the Shroud using chemical and mechanical tests. All three had wide ranges of dates for their results, but they all crossed the 1st century.

Reasoned judgment is fine. It’s the way it should be. But there is a real problem with the most updated scientific evidence.  Much of it is controversial. It is often not updated. And frequently not really so scientific as we make it out to be.  How good is that botanical evidence?  Is bilirubin really why the blood is still red? Was that corner repaired? Are those three other dating methods even valid?

The most amazing parts of the Shroud is how much we don’t know. I can’t make a reasoned judgment on the scientific evidence.

Categories: Article, Science

Maybe the devil made them post this

October 15, 2015 58 comments

imageI thought it sounded familiar.* Here was a short paragraph of indisputable wishful thinking. Here it was being quoted in an article without any attribution that I could see, its author being used solely as a straw man to be wishfully disputed:

[…] some of the inexplicable anomalies that the shroud seems to posses: the 3-dimensional quality of the image; the laser-like transmission of the image that is beyond our present technology, etc? Frankly, I can’t explain them. Neither do I care to. Satan has been very good at getting our attention off of God and getting us to waste our time on trivialities. If Satan, as the father of lies, can disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), then he’s probably clever enough to provide some trickery in this world. […]

That part of a paragraph is from a short book, The Shroud of Turin: Holy or Hoax, by a fundamentalist preacher named Jon J. Cardwell of Anniston, Alabama. You can get a PDF of the book for free at Academia.edu. There are many little the-shroud-cannot-be-real gems in it like this:

The Hebrew word למרטים (L’Maratiym), which is translated “plucked off the hair,” literally means “to make bald.” Jesus Christ didn’t just have a tuft of His beard pulled out; His entire beard was plucked from His face!

And this:

according to Isaiah 52:14: “As many were astonied at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.”  In other words, the Christ’s appearance would be disfigured until He was unrecognizable as a human being.

No, I did not forget (sic). Astonished is spelled astonied in the King James version of the Bible.

And this:

A cursory study of the coinage and the sculptures of that day do so inform and testify. By all three cultures, long hair for men “would have been regarded as a token of effeminacy.”

You get the idea! So one wonders, did Cardwell even need to be disputed. Julie LaBrecque and Walid Shoebat think so. In a blog posting, Amazing Discoveries Reveal That The Shroud Of Turin Included The Gospels, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection And The Trinity, they start off with this:

The evidence for the Shroud of Turin being divinely made is overwhelming; not only is it beyond doubt that it is the very burial cloth used to bury Christ, but the Shroud survived throughout the ages from fires and the scrutiny of science and the slander of men it put an end to several hotly debated issues (as we shall see here). The Shroud was no manmade relic, for it possesses attributes that defy science proving it conforms to no known law of physics (more on that later). It even etched the Gospel message putting an end to theological disputes by debunking the iconoclast and the opposition to the veneration of images. It ended the debate whether Christ was crucified on a stake or a cross and it even confirmed Christian theology regarding the Holy Trinity leaving the ardent skeptic with no answer but to slander it by saying that it was made by the devil himself:

Beyond doubt? Really? And … leaving the ardent skeptic with no answer but to slander the shroud by saying that it was made by the devil himself? Tell that to Colin Berry or Joe Nickell.

Okay, let’s see what we have from LaBrecque and Shoebat. There is this over-stretched counterargument :

Is all this denial because God chose that the Shroud be entrusted to Catholics given in succession, and by this the Shroud also proves that God designed an apostolic succession?

Nice try.  What about the Coptics, Greek, Ethiopian, Syriac and Russian Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Moravians, the Mar Thoma Orthodox when it comes to apostolic succession?

And, arguably, it was never really entrusted to the Catholics until Umberto II died in 1983.

There is this from LaBrecque and Shoebat (fasten your seatbelts and try to read it all):

It is here that we begin to see what baffles science. In 2004, Dame Piczek, a physicist, became fascinated by the total absence of distortion of the Shroud image, a physical impossibility if the body had been lying on solid rock. Piczek’s work strongly suggests that the image of Jesus was projected as a quantum hologram onto the cloth as His body underwent the process of Resurrection.

Piczek perhaps best known for her study of the Shroud of Turin was baffled “The entire Resurrection process is akin to the Big Bang creation of the universe when something was created from nothing,” explains Piczek. “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.”

She further explains:

“The Body is hovering between the upper and the lower sheet and there is NO TRACE OF GRAVITY. The lack of gravity is also further proven by the Shroud linen. The linen does not fall on top of the Body, but remains in its unnaturally stretched condition at some distance from the body.”

To fathom or even scientifically explain “no time” “no space” “no gravity” is an impossibility:

“According to the nature of event horizons the dead body must have left its image on the two surfaces of the event horizons. At the time of the explosion (when time stopped) of the event horizons these images were ejected onto both sides of the Shroud, with the body hovering parallel to the event horizons. This explains why the image shows a dead man, not the risen body, and also explains why the image is negative (went from a positive body image to the negative image like a camera film negative). This indicates how the image got onto the cloth.”

The complicated physics behind the image on the Shroud explained: “As quantum time collapses to absolute zero (time stopped moving) in the tomb of Christ, the two event horizons (one stopping events from above and the other stopping the events from below at the moment of the zero time collapse) going through the body get infinitely close to each other and eliminate each other.

And why would the devil, who loves death, want known that the transference of the Image to the cloth even speaks of a future resurrection event? …

Me: I’m about as far as you can get from being a fundamentalist or a biblical literalist. Even so, I would put my money on Genesis I with God hovering over the face of the waters and proclaiming, “Let there be light” and then taking a nap on the seventh day before I’d bet on any of Piczek’s ludicrous made-up physics.

imageMaybe the devil made LaBrecque and Shoebat post this piece. How would we know?  I mean, how can you  explain that a certain quoted fundamentalist preacher named Jon J. Cardwell of Anniston, Alabama was never even mentioned by name?  Maybe the devil didn’t want that?

* The devil made me tell a lie. I never thought that paragraph by Cardwell sounded familiar. I had never heard of him or his book. I went a-Googling for the source of that paragraph. 

Categories: Article, Other Blogs

What Type of Person Are You?

October 13, 2015 6 comments

Tom Hoopes writes in the English edition of Aleteia, That Moment When You Start Taking Jesus Seriously:

There are two kinds of people attracted by the truth. First, there are people with highly attuned B.S.-detectors who want to find rock-bottom truth. They come to Christ through philosophy or scientific discovery or apologetics.

But then there are people who are not necessarily intellectuals but who delight in the “Amazing Faith Facts” side of Catholicism. The Shroud of Turin, the Our Lady of Guadalupe tilma or the blood of St. Januarius bring them in. These, too, thrill to the truth.  (emphasis mine)

And then there are those of us who …

Categories: Article, News & Views

More Carbon Dating and Other Studies of Christian Relics

October 13, 2015 3 comments

The unit concluded that shroud was made between 1260 and 1390.

clip_image001Ruth Gledhill reports in Christian Today, in an article titled, Results on investigations into fragments of the True Cross coming soon:

Oxford University has launched a centre to study ancient Christian relics such as bones claimed to be those of St John the Evangelist, John the Baptist and fragments purported to be from the true Cross.

The new centre will be based at Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre.

Researchers will use radiocarbon dating, genetics and theology to draw together research and findings from around the world to try and establish the authenticity or otherwise of some of the world’s most famous relics.

Some archaeologists already believe they have found pieces of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified

The centre follows advances in science which now allow higher precision radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis that establishes common ancestries and likely geographic origin of individuals.

Oxford has led the field in this area. Researchers used the Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit to date the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Christ. The unit concluded that shroud was made between 1260 and 1390.

Professor Thomas Higham of Oxford also led a team dating six small bone fragments found on an island in Bulgaria named Sveti Ivan, translated as St John, which turned out to be the bones were of a man who lived in the Middle East at the same time as Jesus.

In 2014, the team also analysed remains of a small finger bone attributed to John the Baptist that was associated with the famous Guelph Treasure. The sample from the finger bone was dated to 660-770 AD, which meant it was too young for St John the Baptist.

More recent work has included analysis of remains thought to be of St Luke, St David, and the True Cross, on which Jesus was crucified. The results of these investigations have yet to be published.

And there is more to the article.

The Shroud of Canterbury

September 28, 2015 47 comments

imageLouis, in a comment, links to Raiders of the Lost Codex: Scholars Piece Together Ancient Bible by Matthias Schulz appearing in Spiegel Online International.

He then writes:

A bit off-track but worth reading.

What happens if the Turin Shroud is dated to the 1st century? Who will be its owner? Pope Francis, the Di Savoia royal family of Italy, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Istanbul (Constantinople), the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Syrian Orthodox, Chaldean, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian patriarchs of Jerusalem…. or the Saint James Vicariate in Jerusalem (Hebrew Speaking Catholics, under the Jewish-born South African Jesuit David Neuhaus) successors of Saint James, first bishop of Jerusalem, and a cousin of Jesus?

The monks at the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai Egypt, are now saying that Constantin von Tischendorf stole the pages from the Codex Sinaiticus, and many of these pages are scattered in different places. HRH Prince Charles is the President of the Saint Catherine’s Foundation.

Tischendorff has been called an “adventurer” and “thief”, he had a doctorate in philosophy and was a very good New Testament scholar.

Actually, based on the The Treaty of Brétigny, signed on 8 May 1360, the Shroud of Turin belongs to Queen Elizabeth II of England.  How do you not see that?

Categories: Article, History

Emanuela Marinelli Review of Andrea Nicolotti’s “Legends”

September 18, 2015 Comments off

imageEmanuela Marinelli reviews Andrea Nicolotti’s  Sindone. Storia e leggende di una reliquia controversa, over at the Collegamento pro Sindone website titled Against the Shroud. But with mixed cards.

Historian Andrea Nicolotti expects to make a clean sweep of all the «Iegends» that came out around the Sacred Linen of Turin: a thorough lie that is to be unmasked once and for all using the weapons of historic research. It is a pity that among those weapons there should not be some things that, on the contrary, Nicolotti uses very much: sarcasm and contempt towards [anyone] who does not think in the same way he does (the reviled «Shroud scholars»), ignored sources and opposite sign research, rash incursions in distant fields, at the science ones. In short, the classical «thesis book», obviously flattered by the major newspapers, that a well- known Shroud scholar read for «Storia in Rete»

imageimage

Categories: Article, Books
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