Bradley Bowen: Craig knows better than to put the Shroud of Turin forward as historical evidence

in the Atheist Channel of Patheos . . . 

imageToday in his blog, The Secular Outpost, Bradley Bowen dissects a book by William Lane Craig, a leading Evangelical apologist and theologian (pictured) on the historical evidence for the Resurrection:

Although Christian apologists bear the burden of proof to show that ‘Jesus actually died on the cross’, William Craig usually ignores this issue in his books, articles, and debates defending the resurrection of Jesus. In my previous post, I pointed out that there is at least one book in which Craig does make a case for the claim that ‘Jesus actually died on the cross.’ Craig makes a very brief attempt at this in The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (hereafter: TSR).

His case is made in just five paragraphs, in a little more than two pages of text. The first paragraph is the longest. We saw previously that Craig makes about 30 different historical claims in the first paragraph, but provides zero historical evidence in support of those claims.

The second paragraph is much shorter than the first, just two sentences:

The Shroud of Turin, whether it is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus or not, illustrates graphically the extent of Jesus’ physical suffering. The image of the man on the cloth is covered front and back with wounds from head to foot, where the flagrum, a multi-thonged Roman whip with metal or bone, had torn apart his flesh, furnishing us a grisly picture of what Jesus must have looked like when He was laid on the cross. (TSR, p.37-38)

Craig knows better than to put the Shroud of Turin forward as historical evidence for the death of Jesus, so he does not do so. Instead, he states that it “illustrates graphically” the wounds that Jesus had “when He was laid on the cross.” So, once again, Craig puts forward some historical claims, with no historical evidence to support those claims. By my count he makes five historical claims (about Jesus) in [that paragraph].

What are the five claims:

1. The front of Jesus’ body was covered with wounds from head to foot, just before he was crucified.
2. The back of Jesus’ body was covered with wounds from head to foot, just before he was crucified.
3. A flagrum is a multi-thonged Roman whip with metal or bone.
4. Some of the wounds on Jesus’ body that resulted from being whipped were deep and serious wounds (“had torn apart his flesh”).
5. The wounds on the front and back of Jesus’ body just prior to his crucifixion, were caused by being whipped with a flagrum.

Talk about overlap and redundancy! Bowen is nit-picking.

Anyways. You might want to read the entire article in three posts:

Why does Craig know better than to put the Shroud of Turin forward as historical evidence for the death of Jesus?

And More Still on the Roman Flagellum and Flagrum

imageYannick Clément writes:

. . . I have found an interesting document that has been posted online years ago by William Meacham concerning the Roman flagellum and flagrum.

It is interesting. It is an entry from the 1874 Dictionary of Roman and Greek Antiquities by Anthony Rich.

Roman Variety

clip_image001Yannick Clément writes by email:

Just like it is a historical fact that the Romans used various positions for crucifixion, it is also a historical fact that they used various types of things at the end of their flagrum. In the case of the Shroud man, the most important thing to note concerning his scourge marks is the fact that, beside a Roman flagrum, there is no other ancient type of whip (coming from Antiquity or Medieval time) that could have leave those types of dumbbell shape marks on almost every parts of his body… If someone can show me a whip that was used during Antiquity or Medieval time in Europe or outside the Roman empire during Antiquity that also had something round at the end of the leather tongues (like a metal ball or an animal bone), I would consider the scourge marks evidence differently. But so far, I have not come across anything of that nature to change my mind…

Goodness me, look what I’ve found

clip_image001. . .  writes Hugh Farey in a comment.


Description in French:

  • Fin Ier siècle après J-C.
    Provenance: Vayson-la-Romaine, France.
    Ancienne collection des années 1950.
    Plusieurs éléments de ce type étaient accrochés à l’extrémité de lanières en cuir, elles-mêmes attachées au bout d’un court manche en bois. Cet instrumen (FLAGRUM ou FLAGELLUM), servait a punir les légionnaires romains.
    TRES RARE et en très bon état de conservation !!! Belle patine "vert-bouteille".

Google Translation to English:

  • Late first century AD.
    Provenance:. Vayson-la-Romaine, France
    . Former collection 1950
    Several elements of this type were hung at the end of leather straps, attached themselves after a short handle wood. This instrumentation (flagrum or flagellum), used to punish the Roman legionaries.
    VERY RARE and in very good condition! Patina "green bottle".

This has followed a discussion in Dissent of the day: I’ll say one thing for Jones


The Dictionary Entry

Stephen Jones on the Stuttgart Psalter

imageStephen Jones has put together a thoughtful posting on the Stuttgart Psalter image of Jesus being flogged:  A 9th century depiction of Christ being scourged naked from behind with the scourgers’ fingers in the shape of the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud!

Do read it. It is nicely done. I should mention, though, I don’t find the configuration of the fingers on a hand of each man doing the scourging very compelling. The whip mark distribution and the fact that Jesus is naked in the picture in a pose that seems shroud inspired is, to my way of thinking, more important.

Berry: Shroud was Scourged, Not the Man. A Critical Look at Faccini and Fanti

imageThis is interesting but I am a long way from thinking Colin Berry is onto something with his posting Shroud Scope 8: 372 impossible scourge marks (surely?) on the Shroud of Turin:

So areas of image intensity which are identified on the F&F [=Barbara Faccini and Giulio Fanti] map as being scourge marks – if not the Type 1 flagrum type – but the Type 2 rod type – can be located on the Shroud Scope image, if somewhat indistinct (F&F used a range of image-enhancement techniques). But they are not confined to the forearm as indicated on the map. They extend onto the fabric. Why should they do that, if the scourge mark is a type of wound that while imaging at least partly on account of seepage of blood, does not bleed so profusely as to create blood trails onto the fabric beyond the immediate image. If the latter occured generally, then many more “scourge marks” would have shown the same propensity to leak beyond the site of the lesion.

However, if scourge marks – or at any rate, some of the 372 of them on the Man in the Shroud – were not on the figure at the time of imaging, but applied directly to the latter, then it is perhaps not surprising that some were misapplied so as to leave imprints beyond the intended area. The risk of the latter occurring would be greatest, needless to say, with a slender limb than with a more extensive part of the anatomy like the chest, back and shoulders.

My next post will look critically at the entire range of alleged scourge and blood markings on the Shroud, and ask the question: “Is the range and presentation of these markings too good to be true – are we seeing clear evidence of a hoax or forgery?”

Be sure to read Faccini and Fanti: New image processing of the Turin Shroud scourge marks

The Passion and the Scourging

imageDavid Winkle writes a thoughtful meditation for a reading from Mark for September 1, 2011* in his blog Sunday Education:

In 2004 my wife and I were among the millions of Christians who packed into theaters to see the movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” It is a very powerful film, and it burns indelible images into your mind. Many of the critics of the movie attacked the explicit violence depicted during those last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. (Indeed, in 2005 there was a rerelease of the movie with about five minutes of the most graphic violence removed.) The violence was indeed graphic, but it was also accurate. It was the accuracy and historic truth of it that made it difficult to watch (at least for me). It is one thing to read a sentence that tells us Pilate had Jesus flogged. It is quite another thing to watch it. The same is true for the abuse of Jesus as the soldiers made sport of him.

. . .

imageWhether we want to look or not, the truth is that Jesus was taken and shackled to a post . The soldiers then beat him with a type of whip which is called a flagrum, which had shall lead balls and mutton bones at the ends of the leather straps. These objects were designed to tear the flesh and to cause contusions. The idea was to weaken the victim, in order to shorten the times needed for crucifixion. Although Jewish law limits the number of lashes a person may receive to forty. Roman law had no such limitations. If indeed the Shroud of Turin holds the image of Jesus, he received somewhere between one hundred and one hundred twenty lashes. The soldiers then placed a crown of thorns on his head, dressed him in a purple robe, mocked him, and made sport of him. We may not want to see this or read about it, but it happened.

Or was it about 40 lashes with a flagrum with three thongs? This seems to be the consensus among many shroud researchers. See Not True: The Shroud of Turin and Flagrum Proportions and Measurements Are Identical and More on Flagrum Proportions and Measurements and Now the Side Strip.

* Mark 15:12-21 for Thursday, September 1, 2011 from the Book of Common Prayer Daily Office as commonly used by many Protestant churches. Not to be confused with the Revised Common Lectionary used by the Roman Catholic Church and almost all liturgical Protestant and Anglican churches worldwide.

Passionate Passion – Mark 15:12-21 [Daily Devotional] | Sunday Education

Razor Swift: The Shroud Of Turin Is Real!

imageInteresting article yesterday from the blog of the Razor Swift Research Group:

Below is the link to a very interesting radio interview about the Shroud of Turin, said to be Jesus. The guest (Barrie M. Schwortz) who is an Orthodox Jew, believes that the image on the shroud really is Jesus! His team’s analysis of it have been written about in various journals.


The list is excellent and so I’m repeating it below. I do have some minor issues on matters of fact. I won’t go into those now except for one, which I offer up as an example.

If we are to challenge skeptical claims on minor points then we need to be careful on minor points, too. I have put my disagreement in bold and italics in the list below:

BTW: What is the Razor Swift Research Group? According to its ‘About’ page, it

Razor Swift Research Group is a nondenominational think tank founded by former atheist and skeptic A. M. Hempe. The objective of R. S. R. G. is to open hearts and minds through the platform of apologetics. It’s our desire to approach Biblical, faith, and other issues from a different perspective rather than rehashing some of the same “Christianese” preaching to the choir arguments. We maintain that faith and logic mustn’t necessarily be at odds with each other, but can be complementary. May no stone lay unturned.

Now for the list from Razor Swift:

  • The Shroud of Turin is first century linen manufactured in the ancient method, not woven in the medieval or modern method.
  • It bears the image of a man front and back that was scourged. It has about 120 blood stained markings, wounds that are dumbbell shaped which are consistent with the flagrum of a Roman whip with 3 throngs and dumbbell shape weights at the end of it.
  • The individual had been speared in the side. With ultra violet florescent photography it can be seen that there’s a large serum stain surrounding the blood which is invisible to the naked eye (this can’t be faked with medieval technology).
  • The man was clearly crucified, the exit wound (from the nail) was at the palm, and at an angle, which happens to be forensically (as attested by 3 forensics experts, how long have forensics existed?) accurate to that of a crucified victim.
  • There are blood stains on the head, front and back, consistent from a crown of thorns. There’s only one place in recorded history where Romans placed a crown of thorns on a crucified victim, and that was the account of Jesus.
  • The image on the shroud contains encoded spacial (3D) depth information, in which, paintings never contain such information. Only a computer can render this (this can’t be faked with medieval technology).
  • The image on the shroud is a positive with lights and darks reversed, like a photographic negative does (this can’t be faked with medieval technology). Schwortz said that you can’t make a photographic image without silver -in a certain form- but when the shroud was fully examined and tested, no trace of silver was found.

    But, oh yet you can make a photographic image without silver. Most, but not all photographic processes use silver “in a certain form.” There are several other non-silver processes. Certain iron compounds are light sensitive and are still used for blueprints. In the last century, platinum chloride was used for Platinotype photographs. Gum bichromate was popular up until the eve of World War II. It is still used, but rarely, by some specialty photographers.  Don’t forget that Picknett and Prince proposed that Leonardo da Vinci might have used a chromium salt. (See: Thoughts for a Sunday Morning: Tinfoil Hats)

  • Schwortz explained how the Luigi Garlaschelli made shroud (which was said to “debunk” the shroud of Turin) is not even a close replica. “LG” claims that the image was made by red iron oxide pigment, but it was found in minute insignificant quantities on the various parts on the cloth (on the image, and other areas). The scientific tests (via Pyrolysis Mass Spectrometry) concluded that there was no manganese, cobalt properties and other data to confirm LG’s claim. No image to date, has been close to having the same physical and chemical properties as the shroud, no one has came even close. Note: Here’s the peer reviewed paper on the study…mburgerWeb.pdf
  • Schwortz mentioned a face cloth (The Sudarium of Oviedo Spain) -which dates back to the 6th century without a break in its historical record- and it has blood stains that are congruent (matching up exactly) to the head of the shroud. This is the matching burial face cloth to the shroud. This can be witnessed on the History Channel Documentary I cited earlier.
  • He brought up the old Hungarian manuscript called the “Hungarian Pray Codex” that depicts the picture of the shroud including the “L shape” burn marks on it, herring bone weave of the cloth, and certain blood stains that parallel those on the shroud. The date of this codex is from 1191, when the carbon date test (more on this later) said that it can’t be from any earlier than 1260-1390.
  • In the year 2000, some researchers brought some information to the table, questioning where the sample was taken from on the shroud; the sample that was used for the carbon dating test. It was found that that area of the cloth was chemically different, it had been repaired, cotton was rewoven into it, and dye was added to the surface after it was rewoven to match the rest of the color of the cloth. This information was published in 2005 in a peer reviewed scientific journal called the Thermochimica Acta Volume 425, Issues 1-2, Pages 189-194., by the man (and corroborated by associate Raymond N. Rogers) who was the head chemist (of Schwortz’s team, Robert Villarreal of Los Alamos National Laboratory) showing that the sample dated, was not an original piece. The paper concludes: “Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometryresults from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.” There have been multiple peer reviewed papers since this one, that have confirmed this analysis.
  • Another reason why the carbon test wouldn’t likely work anyways, is because the accuracy is compromised by 100′s of years of people handling the shroud (leaving their DNA), the fires it went through (adding carbon) etc. In effect, it’s “tainted”.
  • Schwortz explained that through analysis, the blood stains were already on the shroud before the image was formed. That would mean that the “forger” would have to put the blood stains on forensically correct before he/she put the image on the cloth. We still couldn’t do that today.
  • Schwortz explained that when putting the shroud under 10x magnification it was shown that there were no brush strokes, particulates, no paint, no medium etc. Another proof showing the image was not made by ink.
  • From the 3D rendered holographic of the shroud image, it was shown that the individual was in rigamortis. This was confirmed by forensic experts as well.

The Shroud Of Turin Is Real! « Razor Swift Research Group

More on Flagrum Proportions and Measurements and Now the Side Strip

imageThere have been sixteen interesting comments on the posting, Not True: The Shroud of Turin and Flagrum Proportions and Measurements Are Identical . Numbers 15 and 16 caught my attention in particular.

If you are interested in the flagrum and/or the side strip, I recommend reading the entire entry using the link shown above:

Ron (Comment 15):  I guess if we go by Dr Jackson’s hypothesis of the body being securred using the re-sewn strip along the side of the Shroud, then it would be possible that contact was made on all areas where scourge marks are shown, but there are problems, although minor, with his hypothesis.One being there should be blood on the side strip, or atleast traces of blood you would think (Which to this day no one can confirm, and I’ve asked).I contemplated the negative images and how the blood shows white also, and also how the scourge marks show the same, BUT as we do not understand the image mechanism, we can not simply assume that they had to have contact to give out a white appearance.The ‘backlight image’ is very telling in many ways and even if the scourge marks were very thin or sharp details, imho, just the multitude of all marks along with the dumbell marks bunched together should have shown up (as in blocking the light), it’s pretty clear.But it’s fruitless discussing these things, as we do not have access to high quality images or the expertise.It would be nice to have access to the recently taken High Definition photos though wouldn’t it?

Yannick Clément (Comment 16):  Hello Ron ! Your last comment is very interesting.I think your totally right about the Jackson hypothesis of the side strip ! I’ve made the same reflexion that you : If the side strip would have been used to tied up the Shroud around the body, it is almost sure that we would see blood marks on this side strip. Excellent remark. But don’t forget one important thing : It is not because the hypothesis from Jackson is wrong that there were not some others linen strips used to tied up the Shroud around the body (at least for some time) and so, to permit the transfer of all those scourge marks we see almost everywhere on the Shroud. I think the probability for this kind of use during the burial is high.

Concerning your point about the image formation mechanism versus the scourge marks, I would say this : If we assume those are made of blood materials coming from clotted blood (I think I’ve supply enough pieces of evidences from the STURP papers to support this idea), then we must assume that those marks were made from direct contacts between the body and the cloth. Every honest scientist who had studied the Shroud has come to the conclusion that the blood stains were made from direct contact.

Of course, there’s still your point about the backlight photo of the Shroud that seem to support at first Baima Bollone hypothesis that the scourge marks are of the same nature than the body image, but I think this fact alone is not enough to really support this idea when you compare it to all the scientific data that exist and who point toward a blood nature for the scourge marks.

It’s funny because right now, I’m reading a book that can help to explain this phenomenon while still thinking the scourges are made of blood. The book I am reading was written by Baima Bollone in 2000 and the title is “101 questions about the Shroud of Turin”. In it, the author indicate that, during the examination of the cloth in 1978, he noticed that some blood stains had penetrated all the thickness of the cloth and reach the other side while some others blood stains did not penetrate the cloth at all and therefore, were very superficial (he didn’t mention any particular area where it happen).

But, with this information in mind, I think there’s a fair possibility that the scourge marks could fit this last description. Regarding their very sharp aspect and the fact that they are not big stains, it think those marks could well be pretty superficial, that is to say that the blood material who probably compose them didn’t penetrate the cloth that much. I think it is logic to think that. In my mind, this could be the best explanation why we don’t see them on the backlight photos. At least, because of the fact that some blood stains are very superficial on the cloth, the observation that the scourge marks are not visible on backlight photos cannot rule out the possibility (very high in my mind) that they are made of blood materials.

One thing’s for sure, to make up our mind on this particular topic, we must look at the whole picture and not just one particular detail. Regarding all the facts and observations reported by STURP or Baima Bollone himself, I think the best explanation for the scourge marks is that they are pretty superficial and made of blood material coming from clotted blood. In the present state of our knowledge about the Shroud, I honestly think it’s the best answer. Of course, the analysis of those high definition photos could be a very good thing to support or discredit my conclusion, but I think another series of direct testing (with chemical analysis of fibres taken directly from those scourge marks) would be the best way to know the truth once and for all and finally end this debate !

Not True: The Shroud of Turin and Flagrum Proportions and Measurements Are Identical « Shroud of Turin Blog

Not True: The Shroud of Turin and Flagrum Proportions and Measurements Are Identical

imageOver the years, a bit of incorrect information about the scourge marks we see on the shroud has been promulgated, which has led to misunderstandings. Watch this clip from the 1977 documentary, “The Silent Witness.” During a discussion of the scourge marks, beginning at about the two minute mark, while showing a Roman flagrum, you will hear Monsignor Giulio Ricci say, "the proportions and measurements are identical."


Is this because the flagrum in question was, in fact, created to the shroud’s measurements? Or, if not, is it a perfect fit for what is undoubtedly a non-standard, handmade whip from antiquity?

Across the vastness of the Roman Empire, among its own soldiers and the many mercenaries employed by the Romans, there were countless varieties of scourging whips. Some undoubtedly had three leather thongs like the one in the film. Some had more. Some probably used hemp rope instead of leather. Some were perhaps tipped with handmade metal dumbbells made of copper, iron or lead. Perhaps the dumbbells were sand cast or pounded into shape at a forge or hammered out from metal rods. Perhaps some scourges were tipped with washer-like disks, metal beads or bits of bone. There certainly was no standard size or type. It would be extraordinary to find one whip in which, "the proportions and measurements are identical."

It is probably worse than that. Some believe, after reviewing the evidence, that the scourging whip in the film was created to the shroud’s measurements? I doubt there was any intent to deceive. Fr. Ricci himself says the flagrum is a reconstruction.

That said, it is still reasonable to infer that the many pairs of marks, seemingly contusions, that appear where they do at the angles that they do on the back, front and legs of the man on the shroud, are whip marks made with a flagrum probably tipped with dumbbells or something similar. Everything else that Fr. Ricci says seems plausible.

Presentation on the Shroud of Turin April 18 in Collingswood, NJ

imageFrom the Diocese of Camden Catholic Star Herald:

One of the few Catholic Church-sanctioned full-body replicas of the Shroud of Turin will be exhibited on Monday, April 18, at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, St. John Church in Collingswood.

The replica that will be displayed in Collingswood is a copy of the original shroud, a 14-foot long linen cloth marked by a shadowy image of a man. The Vatican has never said it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, although many Christians believe it is.

The shroud has been the object of several multidisciplinary scientific analyses, but its exact nature and age remain mysteries. Carbon-14 dating performed on a tiny piece of cloth in 1998 showed that the cloth probably came from medieval times, but some scientists have called that evaluation into question.

Donald H. Nohs, one of the world’s leading authorities on the Shroud of Turin and associate general director of the Confraternity of the Passion International, a worldwide lay organization affiliated with the Passionist Order, will be presenter in Collingswood. He will answer questions on the shroud, the Gospels, and the liturgy. In addition, Nohs will give a glimpse at replicas of items used in the passion and crucifixion of Jesus: the crown of thorns, the nails, the Roman flagrum (whip), the spear, and the coin over the eyes.

The presentation will start at 7 p.m. April 18, at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Collingswood. For directions, call 856-858-4737.

Catholic Star Herald – Presentation on the Shroud of Turin April 18

Reverend Know-it-all: Do you really think Jesus rose from the dead?

We missed this back when it was posted, Easter, April 4, 2010. It is worth reading; very worth reading . . . and funny.

Dear Rev. Know it all,

The Christian religion is so primitive. This myth of the dying and rising god permeates ancient religions and is only symbolic. Science has proven that dead bodies cannot be brought back to life. I celebrate Easter because it is a beautiful celebration of the power of nature, a celebration of the Goddess in all her power and splendor. Perhaps there is some kind of survival of death, or cosmic consciousness, but resurrection? Really! To believe in an impossibility without a shred of evidence is the height of gullibility. You traditional Catholics make this beautiful spring festival of life and fertility more like something from a Frankenstein movie.
Yours faithlessly,

Dr. Agnes Tick
Professor of Feminist Studies
Bathsheba Bible College

Dear Dr. Tick,

image I would venture that there are shreds of evidence, like a group of men and women, many of whom died violent deaths refusing to deny that they had seen Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead. Their testimony transformed the world. There are still events that don’t conform to the laws of science, such as Fatima and Lourdes and Zeitoun. There is also the nearness of the Lord available to believers, but I don’t expect you to accept any of these. To do so, you must rely on the witness of others. Still, there is something that one can actually touch and see and examine under a microscope: the Shroud of Turin. I can here you laughing all the way from your tenured teaching chair. After all, wasn’t the Shroud proven a fake by carbon dating in 1988? Herein lies the problem with tenure in institutions of higher learning. Once a person is in for life, he, or she, need never have a new idea — intellectual curiosity becomes optional. The pope should be so infallible!

Let me tell you the latest. Dr. Ray Rogers of Los Alamos National Laboratory was the head of chemistry experiments for the Shroud of Turin Research Project that performed scientific tests of the shroud in 1978. When carbon dating put the origin of the Shroud at around 1300 AD, he gave up on the Shroud. The case was closed. Science had spoken. When some tried to explain why the carbon dating was wrong, Dr. Rogers became angry at these nut-cases who couldn’t accept the verdict of hard science. He was particularly angry at Joseph Marino and his wife Sue Benford. In the year 2000 they claimed that there had been a repair attempt in the area of the Shroud from which the testing samples had been taken. They concluded that the Carbon 14 tests were done on a medieval patch, not on the actual Shroud. Dr. Rogers knew he could prove them wrong. He actually had small pieces of the Shroud from the test area. He examined his samples and was thunderstruck by what he saw. A couple of non-academics had been right.

The cloth examined by some of the world’s most prestigious laboratories was made of cotton. The Shroud is made of linen. Dr. Rogers could actually see where the linen and cotton threads had been spliced together and dyed to match the rest of the Shroud. He submitted his work to review by fellow chemists. His article in the scientific journal Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 20,2005) is the one of the few peer reviewed articles on the subject. In 2008, at Dr. Rogers’ request, a team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory headed by Dr. Robert Villarreal proved the carbon dating invalid. Villarrea. wrote, “The age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area… must…be representative of the whole."

"The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.” This means the Shroud of Turin has never been carbon dated. However, there is another way to date ancient cloths. Vanillin is produced by the decomposition of lignin, a component of flax, from which linen is made. It’s found in medieval linens but not in older cloths. It vanishes with time. First century linen cloths don’t contain vanillin because they are too old. Medieval linens contain some vanillin and modern linen has a lot of vanillin. Dr. Rogers’ paper concludes that , based on vanillin loss, that the Shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old, old enough to have wrapped the crucified Christ. Well fine, you may say. So the cloth is old. What proves that it’s the burial cloth of Jesus? Where’s your evidence?

First, let me review what the Shroud of Turin is, in case you have been hiding under an ivy covered rock at Bathsheba Bible College.

The Shroud of Turin is a fourteen foot long cloth that has the faint image of a man imprinted on it. The image is not painted, but formed by a sort of scorch, perhaps a radiation burn, of only top threads of the top fibers of the cloth. There are human blood stains on the cloth, but the image is so limited to the threads that where there is a bloodstain, there is no image on the underlying cloth. This means that the image was formed after the bloodstains had been made. There is a faint, pale brown image of a man, five-foot eleven inches tall, who appears to have Jewish style payes (side locks). He has wounds in his hands, side and feet, and small puncture wounds around the scalp, small double wounds all over his body and a side wound the size of a typical roman lance. The small wounds all over the body are the exact size of the tips of an ancient Roma whip, a flagrum. The wounds are consistent with a Jewish man whipped by Romans, crowned with thorns, crucified and pierced with a lance.

It is clearly an image of Jesus, the only man we know of who was whipped and crucified, but also crowned with thorns and pierced by a lance. These last two were not part of a typical Roman crucifixion.

You may say, “So it’s Jesus. Big deal. It doesn’t prove a thing. There is nothing supernatural or even unusual about any of this. There are untold thousands of such images in churches everywhere.” Well, what convinces me is what is not seen. For centuries the Shroud attracted no scientific interest until 1898. Secondo Pia, an Italian photographer was allowed to photograph the cloth. When he developed the photographic negatives he was shaken. On the cloth was a faint image. Impossibly, the negative was a perfect photograph. That started the scientific investigation of the cloth that has never stopped. In the 1960’s Peter Schumacher developed the VP8 image analyzer for creating relief maps of distant objects such as the Moon and Mars. In 1976, Schumacher had has just finished installing a VP8 Image analyzer for Dr. John Jackson of the Sandia Scientific Laboratories. Jackson placed an image of the Shroud of Turin in the analyzer When it was activated, a three-dimensional image appeared. Schumacher says “I had no idea what I was looking at. (He had never heard of the Shroud.) However, the results were unlike anything I have processed through the VP-8 Analyzer, before or since. Only the Shroud of Turin has produced these results from a VP-8 Image Analyzer.”

Wait, there’s more! Dr. Joseph Kohlbeck, of the Hercules Aerospace Center in Salt Lake, Utah, and Dr. Richard Levi-Setti of the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, have examined particles taken from the Shroud’s surface. They found travertine aragonite, from near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The chemical signatures of the Shroud samples and the dust found near Golgotha are identical. This particular kind of limestone dust has been found only near Jerusalem.
Wait, there’s more! The bloodstains, which are human blood, have the hidden characteristics of blood. On the Shroud, there are components such as bile, bilirubin, heme, and serum, unknown to medieval medicine. These marks were made after death, and are invisible to the naked eye. They can be seen only under ultra-violet light. The blood has a high bilirubin content which means it was shed under conditions of severe stress. Quite a clever medieval forger to put all these invisible things on the Shroud in a foolish attempt to dupe us modern sophisticates.

Wait, there’s more. Mechthild Fleury-Lemberg, one of the worlds leading textile experts did conservation on the Shroud and was able to thoroughly examine the cloth front and back. She discovered a unique nearly invisible seam that she has found on only one other cloth. That cloth is is from the time of Christ and from Masada, only a few miles from Jerusalem.

Wait, there’s more! Dr. Peter Soons of Holland noticed another detail of the Shroud. There is no directionality to the image on the Shroud. The image is the same from any angle, above or below, from right, left, or front. The image emerges from the cloth evenly. The Shroud looks like a picture to our eyes but image analysis shows no directionality to the lights and shadows of the picture. In every picture, painting or photo, there is a light source that reflects off the image to the beholder, whether artist or camera. This is not true of the Shroud. The light is everywhere at once. The Shroud is a holograph! In Jerusalem there is an amazing exhibit on the Shroud. When you see the 3-D holograph, you realize that the image is not on the cloth at all. It floats in space some distance from the cloth. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

Wait, there’s more! Dame Isabel Piczek, a particle physicist, noticed that there is no distortion in the image on the cloth from the pressure of the body on the tomb slab, nor are there folds and wrinkles from the cloth. Rather, to quote her, “There is a strange dividing element, an interface from which the image is projected up and the image is projected down. The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. …..The body is hovering between the two sides of the Shroud….. there is absolutely no gravity. The image is absolutely undistorted…… A heretofore unknown interface….” This interface she says, “would have been the result of a, collapsed event horizon, in the center of which, “there is something which science knows as a singularity. This is exactly what started the universe in the Big Bang.” Golly!

Wait, there’s more. I haven’t room here for the coins minted by Pontius Pilate on the eyes, (Barry Schwortz, a brilliant photographer disputes this, though he has no doubt that the Shroud is for real) or for pollen unique to Jerusalem on and on and on. So the Shroud has hidden photographic and hidden three dimensionality in it. It is a hidden holograph and demonstrates the mysteries of quantum physics, as well as rock dust and pollen that come only from the area of the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. It may have coins from the holy Land minted only at the time of Christ.

I can hear you say, “Well all this must be just coincidence. After all, the carbon dating proves….”
Can’t you get it through your thick tenured head that there was no carbon dating of the Shroud? JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD. The sooner you get used to the fact, the sooner you’ll come to know Him and accept Him as the Lord of the universe and the Lord of your life.

Happy Easter,
Rev. Know-it-all

Reverend Know-it-all: Do you really think Jesus rose from the dead?

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