The Sudarium: A Better Provenance and History?

imageThe Paranormal Report blog, just yesterday, posted a short report, The Sudarium of Oviedo – Better than the Shroud of Turin?

on the Sudarium of Oviedo:

Lying in the Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain in relative obscurity compared to its more famous cousin, the Sudarium presents a better provenance and history than the Shroud and may be the sole surviving relic of the crucifixion that has made it to modern times. Measuring 34″ by 21″, the Sudarium is a bloodstained cloth purported to have covered the head of Jesus of Nazareth after his burial. The cloth is mentioned to have been in the tomb in John 20:6-7 described as a cloth seperate from the shroud. It isn’t mentioned again until 570 A.D. when it was being kept by monks in a cave near Jerusalem. In 614, just before the Sasanian King of Persia Khusru II conquered Jerusalem, the cloth was taken to Alexandria, and within just a few years made its way to Spain through North Africa. Its been there ever since.

AND: here is a 1997 paper with pictures, The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin by Mark Guscin

Here are some postings on the Sudarium in this blog in just the past year:

Fr. Matthew Pittam on Relics

imageWhen 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.

JFK and the Shroud of Turin

imageJohn Klotz has an interesting posting in his blog, Living Free.  It’s called Yet again, JFK [and the Shroud]. Read it and follow the links.

THE BOOKENDS — beginning:

I am working to update and mold the material in Quantum Christ into a new book tentatively entitled "The Pope and the Apocalypse [and the Shroud?] Distractions abound including four matters that are still in litigation at one stage or another. Also, current events of an apocalyptic nature including the refugee crisis are a necessary distraction but a component of what I will be writing about.

— ending:

This morning there was published on Salon an excerpt from a new book by David Talbot. David is not only the founder and first editor of Salon; he has spent a lifetime digging deep in the JFK assassination. I thoroughly recommend the Salon posting. And the next time some scientific expert or skeptic derides the authenticity of the Shroud as being disproved by the "evidence," think JFK and the Warren Report.

http://goo.gl/gh6LCh

(link shortened by me using Google URL Shortener)

Is it the evidence or the legitimizing and reporting of the evidence?

Ye Denizens of Shroudsponge

“You can prove anything with the Bible.”

— My Grandmother*

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Just About Everyone Who Ever Lived

* I looked long and hard for the original author of the phrase about proving anything with the Bible. Not finding anything in cyberspace, I concluded that my grandmother thought this up all by herself.


And if you need an example, Colin Berry, just a couple of days ago, offered this afterthought in a long multi-topic  blog post titled, Might flour-power have been used create the enigmatic “Shroud” of Turin body image? A retired FMBRA flour scientist says … (the ellipsis are his and the following reference to the “denizens of the shroudsponge” is certainly a reference to the readers of this blog):

Hard though it is to believe, the denizens of the shroudsponge site are STILL returning again and again to what are seen as allegedly conflicting NT accounts re burial garments. (oh no they’re not).

As stated here before, MANY, MANY TIMES, there is no conflict whatsoever between the “sindon” (single large linen sheet) supplied to the cross by Joseph of Arimathea (as per 3 synoptic gospels), intended for discreet transport of a naked or near-naked body to the nearby tomb, and the “othonia”, assumed to be a narrow winding strip (or strips) supplied by Nicodemus and taken direct to the tomb, along with that 100lbs of myrrh and aloes.

Even those 12th century Hungarian monks charged with providing simple pen-drawn illustrations for the Pray Codex had no difficulty whatsoever in reconciling those two separate sources of linen, providing us with a ‘snapshot’ of one replacing the other!

You may click on the image to see it on Colin’s website. The caption for the image reads:

Hungarian Pray Codex (1192). Note the presence of TWO separate linens – Joseph of Arimathea’s beneath the corpse, having served its transport function, and the narrow winding strip in readiness as the permanent burial shroud. (Whether the medieval mind was correct in assuming ‘othonia’ to represent a narrow bandage-like winding is an entirely separate issue from that of TWO separate linens (sensible interpretation) v the self-serving notion prevailing in sindonology that J of A’s linen was somehow intended to be dual-purpose, thereby air-brushing out John’s testimony re Nicodemus having supplied additional linen replacing J of A’s transport linen, to serve as final burial shroud).

That Sindonology Band is Back in Town

clip_image001Over on one of his blogs, Colin Berry has let us know his “next posting has a provisional title: ‘76 mistruths about the Turin Shroud’.”

That should be fun.

Colin goes on to suggest, parenthetically, that “One could almost set that to music, featuring massed trombones.”

“Don’t expect anything soon,” he tells us, however, “… end November is a possibility.”

The title for this post are his words from his blog. Even that picture of a marching band comes from his blog; well, not originally. That picture is of the Davis High School Marching Band of Kaysville, Utah. Here is another picture.

image

And now you have something to do this weekend

I must admit I feel a little sceptical, not based on the evidence, but from
an innate doubt that God would work in this way…


image image Joe Marino uncovered a weekend’s worth of reading and reflection, specifically a blog posting and two papers:

Posting:  The Turin Shroud: fake or genuine? by Eric Hatfield (pictured in white shirt)

Main Paper:  The Shroud of Turin – A Critical Assessment by Atle Ottesen Søvik (pictured in striped shirt)

Supporting Paper:  Excursuses to the Article "The Shroud of Turin – A Critical Assessment" by Atle Ottesen Søvik

Joe’s email to me reads:

Hi Dan,

I came across this interesting article at the "Is there a God" blog (from June 2015): 

http://www.is-there-a-god.info/blog/belief/the-turin-shroud-fake-or-genuine/

It references 2 substantial Shroud articles on academia.edu, one of which Barrie mentioned on his site back in 2014:

The Shroud of Turin – A Critical Assessment by Atle Ottesen Søvik – (This article is a translation of the article “Likkledet i Torino – en kritisk vurdering," published in Teologisk Tidsskrift (Journal of Theology), no 3, 2013: 266-294). The author holds a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion and teaches at MF Norwegian School of Theology. You can follow Atle and read some of his other papers (many in English) on Academia.edu. We have also added a permanent link to the article on the Scientific Papers & Articles and Website Library pages of the site. Here is the abstract:

This article discusses the question of whether the Shroud of Turin is the real burial cloth of Jesus, and it consists of four parts. First I present facts about the Shroud. Then I discuss whether the image comes from a corpse or is artificially produced another way, and conclude that it comes from a corpse. This means that if it is a forgery, a corpse was used to create the image. After that, I briefly discuss whether it may be the burial cloth of an unknown crucified man, and argue that it must be the burial cloth of Jesus or a forgery meant to resemble Jesus. Finally, I discuss the crucial question of when the image was formed: is it a forgery from the fourteenth century or is it the real burial cloth of Jesus from AD 30?

The author of the blog article states:

I was fortunate to come across a 2013 review of both sides of the argument by Atle Søvik, a Norwegian Philosopher of Religion and Professor of Theology. His review is based mainly on published peer-reviewed papers, and is found in a main paper and a supporting paper.

It may be thought that a Professor of Theology isn’t an impartial observer, but I believe this is the most balanced assessment I have come across, because he is an academic, he seems impartial and reliable, it is in a peer-reviewed journal, he is not Catholic and he is likely a liberal Christian who isn’t as strongly biased towards supernatural explanations as a naturalist would be biased against them. I am strengthened in this conclusion after brief correspondence with a sceptical member of his review team.

The link for the "main paper" is what Barrie posted.  However, Barrie apparently didn’t post the "supporting paper," which is actually 2 pages longer than the main paper.  Funny, I don’t even remember seeing the main paper from when Barrie posted it–I must have somehow missed it.  I’m getting more senior moments than I used to.  I did a search on your blog for article name and author and didn’t see anything.  Both articles are impressive.

I GO TO CONCLUSLIONS:  It is a bad habit of mine.  But then I do go back and read. Here is Eric Hatfield’s conclusion from his blog site:

It seems to be a case of the carbon dating vs the rest of the evidence. Søvik cautiously concludes that the evidence for a first century date is slightly stronger, but I think neither side has proved their case or shown the other side to be wrong. The sceptical case relies on a few old papers and a lot of bluster, but the case for authenticity stumbles on the radiocarbon dating. I don’t think we can be confident either way. (I’m sorry to have to sit on the fence.)

I must admit I feel a little sceptical, not based on the evidence, but from an innate doubt that God would work in this way – after all, Jesus refused to use spectacular signs to authenticate himself. I cannot remove from my mind the many other relics, some of which are quite impossible, and some of which (e.g. non-decaying saints) seem quite superstitious.

If only the radiocarbon and vanillin testing could be re-done by agreed best methods, we might get a better answer. In the meantime, both believers and sceptics would do well to avoid making over-strong claims.

Bravo!  I have always had a bit of that gut-over-brain skepticism. 

And thanks, Joe.

Proof that art experts are not always right

imageDramatic Irony Award In Blogging:

It should go without saying that scientists aren’t always right. Neither are art experts. In 1978, chemist Walter C. McCrone, a leading expert on art forgeries McCrone performed radiocarbon tests on the shroud and concluded that the burial cloth wasn’t old enough to be the real thing. But other scientists disagreed. Raymond Rogers, Science Fellow of the University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, dated the shroud to the 1st century, saying that the material that McCrone carbon dated was not the original fabric, but rather a part of the shroud that had been rewoven after a fire in the Middle Ages.

Of course, Walter McCrone never “performed radiocarbon tests on the shroud.” Nor did Rogers date the shroud to the 1st century. So it turns out, neither are art experts always write while righting blogs posts about writing wrongs.

Pictured, Walter McCrone looking right.

Emanuela Marinelli to receive the International Prize for Catholic Culture

… Emanuela Marinelli fell in love with the Shroud. Tough love: nearly forty years of study. And 17 books, hundreds of articles, thousands of conferences, from Indonesia to Kazakhstan to Burkina Faso: long journeys, sometimes dangerous, always with a copy of the Shroud folded into the suitcase, to go on to explain, the ends of the world.


imageWe learn from the Amici della Sindone (Friends of the Shroud) Facebook page (as automatically translated from Italian to English in Google Chrome):

The International Prize for Catholic Culture will be delivered to sindonologa Emanuela Marinelli (pictured) on October 23 at 20.30, in a solemn ceremony at the Theatre Remondinis of Bassano del Grappa. Professor Marinelli, Roman, takes care of the Shroud for 38 years and has written 17 books on the subject and held hundreds of conferences in various countries around the world; He was also the coordinator of the organizing committee of the World Congress "Sindone 2000" in Orvieto. Recognition Bassano, run by the local Catholic school culture and come to the XXXIII edition, went among others to personalities like Joseph Ratzinger, Krysztof Zanussi, Angelo Scola, Riccardo Muti, Camillo Ruini, Ugo Amaldi, Michael Novak, Divo Barsotti, Cornelius Fabro, Augusto Del Noce …

In 1977, the Swiss botanist Max Frei made public the results of a search on the pollen of which had found no trace on the Shroud: over 58 types, 38 belonged to plants of Palestine that does not exist in Europe. The most frequent pollen were identical to those found in the sediments of the Sea of ​​Galilee. In Emanuela Marinelli, then a young graduate in Natural Sciences and Geology at the "Sapienza" of Rome, the discovery sparked a deep interest. Pollen from Palestine, as a signature on the relic that since 1933 was not exposed to the public. The Marinelli knocked Centre Roman Sindonology Monsignor Giulio Ricci, began to study. He learned that at the heel of the stranger wrapped in the cloth was no sign of a kind of aragonite, the same as that found in the caves of Jerusalem. And Emanuela Marinelli fell in love with the Shroud.Tough love: nearly forty years of study. And 17 books, hundreds of articles, thousands of conferences, from Indonesia to Kazakhstan to Burkina Faso: long journeys, sometimes dangerous, always with a copy of the Shroud folded into the suitcase, to go on to explain, the ends of the world. For this passionate outreach activities Professor receives 23 October in Bassano del Grappa the prestigious International Award for Culture Cattolica.La we meet in a cafe in Rome. Youthful, lively, the way he talks it is clear that falling in love for the Holy Shroud continues, since that distant day when, say, a copy before she found herself without words: "It seemed to me – he says – a Gospel written in blood." But it was 1988, the year of the famous test using carbon 14 on a piece of cloth: the Shroud, or so it was said, to the test of science. From the laboratories of Oxford, Tucson and Zurich came the verdict: the sheet went back to the Middle Ages. A trenchant outcome, which seemed to sweep away centuries of hopes to have, still, a material trace of the passage of Christ on earth. Almost everyone at that point, as he wrote Vittorio Messori, bowed, devout, in "St. C14." Not everyone, however. Emanuela Marinelli: "The angle of the sheet material to be analyzed turned out to have been manipulated, patched, polluted by fungi and bacteria. If the sample was contaminated, the date could refer to the tracks left by dust and manipulation. " They supported him then, moreover, distinguished scholars like Gove. The shadow that science seemed to have dissipated, actually remained.Although, says Marinelli, "he is felt a desire to deny the historicity of the Shroud, regardless of any element emerged from the research. An ideologically motivated denial: perhaps because, as Cardinal Biffi said, if the Shroud is false for a Christian does not change anything, but if the shroud is real, for atheists change many things … ".The ‘truth’ absolute sentenced by Carbon 14 was for Marinelli, who had a degree in Natural Sciences with a thesis on the radioactivity of uranium, a challenge to study again. That was when he published the first of his 17 books, exploring every search, every word spoken on the Shroud. Because much yet, according to her, it was not clear. "The fabric – he says – shows a selvedge and seam details, and is comparable to the tissues found years ago at Masada, and dating back to the first century after Christ. The analyzes show that there is blood in your wound; other analyzes show that a body lay in the towel for 36/40 hours. But there is no trace of the drag that should appear, if the body had been removed. " "He knows what scholars, although atheists and ‘deniers’, admit that the Shroud was wrapped a man? Doctors and artists: the first because they recognize that this is blood, the latter because they understand that this is not painting. The experiment more significant, however, was conducted in Italy, Enea. An excimer laser was focused on a tissue, and the effect is the closest thing we have to the image of the Shroud. The fabric is yellowed, as had been crossed by a fortissimaluce. " The faith does not affect his studies? We ask. Her calm: "No. Pollens, aragonite, the selvage of the fabric, are all facts. Today we can say that the test of carbon 14 is not enough to deny the authenticity of the Shroud. " You can, in your opinion, conduct new tests reliable? "I’m afraid not, because the fire which escaped the cloth closed in a box, in 1532 in Chambéry, it can still contaminated, and this will alter the results of the carbon." The Shroud, then, is it for you? "An image still unexplained, leaving us on the threshold of an enigma. How Arpino wrote: ‘In a world that is bulging of monuments, pyramids, coliseums, triumphal arches, equestrian statues, temples untouched or corroded by mold and neglect, on this planet only a linen cloth, with quell’Orma preserves its mystery ‘. But this, in his poverty, continues to call men. The Shroud is an icon of human suffering. People, when I go to talk, I listen to is everywhere: in the most distant regions of the world, in schools, in prisons. " But one evening an elderly woman, after the conference, got up from the floor. It was modest Southern Italy, with his hands spoiled from family work. "Professor – he said – I did not understand much of the carbon 14, however, one thing I realized. I understand that we must become like the Shroud, we stamparci into the image of that suffering face, to take him to those we meet. " And that time was the teacher, moved, to remain silent.

Maybe the devil made them post this

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. 

Was Jesus’ Body Washed?

imageStephen Jones has just completed a lengthy, ten-installment posting (appearing in chunks over a one month period) that is part of a response to a reader named Daryl, who asks, "Wasn’t Jesus’ body washed before putting it in the grave?"

It is certainly worth taking the time to read since it illustrates how complicated that question can be.  Stephen lists three possible answers that may be held by those who are what he calls “pro-authenticists.”

1) A full washing of Jesus’ body and a later oozing of blood This was the position of the lateFrederick Zugibe (1928-2013), the Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York:

"The body unquestionably would have been covered with blood because the heart pumps about 4,500 gallons of blood through the more than 60,000 miles of large and small blood vessels throughout the whole body each day. Instead of the very exact imprints of the wounds, the Shroud would bear large indistinct masses of blood over the entire image, including the face, arms, hands, feet, and trunk."[2]

But then Zugibe has a problem. If Jesus’ body was fully washed, how does he account for the fact that there is still blood on the Shroud? Zugibe’s unconvincing and inconsistent answer is that after Jesus’ body was washed, blood that was still in the wounds then oozed out onto the Shroud…

[…]

2) An incomplete washing due to shortness of time, leaving some blood on the Shroud This is a possible pro-authenticist position on the washing of Jesus’ body, although I don’t know of anyone who has held it. But as we saw above, since there was insufficient time for the full Jewish burial rites (see below), Joseph and Nicodemus would have postponed the washing of Jesus’ body (if there was to be one – see future) until after the Sabbath. And, as we saw, the bloodstains and dirt on Jesus’ face were not washed, which surely they would have been, even in an incomplete washing. So this second possible pro- authenticist position on the washing of Jesus’ body is also refuted by the evidence.

3) No washing due to shortness of time and Jewish law This is, as I understand it, the majority position held by Shroud pro-authenticists.

I guess I am in the minority or maybe even the group of none ( make that now one). I just don’t buy arguments like “surely they [=the wounds on Jesus’ face] would have been,”  given that we know so little about what really happened, and why so, some 2000 years ago. Moreover, I do find Zugibe quiet convincing for the most part.

New Posting by Joe Nickell at CFI

clip_image001Joe is up with a new posting at the Center for Inquiry. There is no news in Turin “Shroud” Still a Fake. It is pretty much what we discussed in four postings with a total of 193 on-topic comments:

Now, chemists Marco Bella, Luigi Garlaschelli, and Roberto Samperi have published a paper that concludes (with its title), “There is no mass spectrometry evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a ‘medieval invisible mending.’”

[…]

So once again, attacks on the accuracy of the radiocarbon testing have been discredited. Some shroud believers invoked the supernatural, suggesting that an imagined burst of radiant energy from Christ’s resurrection had altered the carbon ratio. One scientist claimed a microbial coating on the cloth had caused an erroneous date; however, not only had the samples been thoroughly cleansed before testing, but for the date to have been altered by thirteen centuries, there would have had to be twice as much contamination, by weight, as the cloth itself!

CFI, mainly a blog, is a program of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).

The Sponge: The Great Black Hole of the Shroudie Blogosphere

 imageColin has posted the following on his blog:

I have just had a quick skim of the 4 instalment pdf from OK in Poland, flagged up on shroudstory.com. Despite its apparent erudition, there are some serious errors and oversights there,  ones this investigative blogger is now fully accustomed to where the pro-authenticity-brook-no-opposition mindset is concerned.  Should I respond? Nope, certainly not on shroudstory.com, that great black hole of the Shroudie blogosphere, where ideas and insights go in,  never to re-appear elsewhere. Yes,that site functions as a sponge, and I doubt that is accidental. That’s its raison d’etre one suspects – to soak up all Shroud-related comment, to put a positive spin on pro-authenticity contributions, to put a negative spin on anything that is off-message.

No thanks. Some of us have better things to do with our time than place comments (hundreds, possibly thousands in my case) on that site, simply to see them disappear without trace.

The whole idea of the blogosphere is to inter-link with other sites, AND with the big wide world outside the blogosphere, which for we investigators should translate into a gradually improving search-engine ranking and/or wikipedia visibility  That simply does not happen on Dan Porter’s site. Let’s not mince out words: it’s a sponge, precisely as intended, and thus a total, albeit clever and contrived abuse of internet.

What is he talking about?  “Should I respond?”, he asks. “There are some serious errors and oversights,” he tells us. But he doesn’t elaborate. I wonder if Colin really knows what to say.

One thing is for certain. Colin wants to complain about this blog. Why bother, he tells us, to write “comments (hundreds, possibly thousands in my case) on that site, simply to see them disappear without trace.”

Disappear? 

Colin has commented 2,292 times in this blog. Every one of those comments are there. None have ever disappeared. Only two comments from Colin were ever removed for being particularly insulting. A couple more, if I recall correctly, were edited slightly for the same reason.

As for links, every comment Colin made includes a link back to his site. Every time he is mentioned in this blog, a link to his site is provided.  As the Google query, site:shroudstory.com "Colin Berry" attests, “Colin Berry” is mentioned on at least 2,250 pages on this blog. The blog search, https://shroudstory.com/?s=colin+berry, also displays hundreds of in blog entries including significant coverage of his views on 3D. 

I’ve tried to help him, telling him to avoid long, rambling, diary-styled postings. I’ve given him other advice as well. The reason Colin doesn’t have a good search engine ranking has nothing to do with anything I do or don’t do. It has everything to do with what he does or doesn’t do

Just what does he expect me to do, take the blame for being an abusive, clever, contriving sponge?

You may reassure Mr. Berry

imageIf you are relatively new to this blog, you need to know this:  When Dr. Colin Berry first entered the fray of shroud research he rather wildly characterized other researchers in offensive ways; remember, three years ago, Of Infrared Herrings and Mickey Mouse Science: Berry Criticizing Di Lazzaro?

Colin has since then cooled his rhetoric, but not completely; witness the recent back and forth of comments with Barrie Schwortz in Oy vey! We’ve got a problem? 

Knowing this explains the quoted characterizations in Paolo Di Lazzaro’s response to a question by Colin. I raised it in this blog and pointed to Colin’s blog in Have we all been looking in the wrong place?

Paolo’s response:

Dear Dan and All,

thank you for pointing out this piece, which describes amateurish attempts.

You may reassure Mr (sic) Berry that this "bunch of jokers" at Enea which is doing "MIckey Mouse science" has looked at the right place, recognizing the main photo-chemical reactions and chromophores possibly involved in the laser-coloration mechanisms, as detailed in several peer reviewed papers, notably in [Superficial and Shroud-like coloration of linen by short laser pulses in the vacuum ultraviolet*]

https://www.academia.edu/3478909/Superficial_and_Shroud-like_coloration_of_linen_by_short_laser_pulses_in_the_vacuum_ultraviolet

And… no, sorry, none of the "deductions" of Mr Berry reported in your blog are justified by his out-of-focus images shown in your blog. It is evident Mr. Berry is not trained in microscope imaging. Our students can do a better work.

Best
Paolo

Why did I insert sic in the above response?  It is Dr., not Mr. Dr. Colin Berry describes himself in one of his blogs thus:

Colin Berry, aka sciencebod, is a retired PhD researcher/teacher/academic who has worked in industry, medical schools, schools, food and biomedical research (mainly in the UK, but also in W.Africa and the United States). He’s best known for his work on RESISTANT STARCH, recently described as "the trendiest form of dietary fibre". See also his specialist Shroud of Turin blog on

www.shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com

Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro, a senior researcher at the ENEA Research Centre of Frascati, has posted an English language Curriculum Vitae at Academia.edu

* I inserted the title into Paolo’s email and left the URL as he had it.

The End if Near

imageJohn Klotz has an interesting piece over on his blog, Living Free. He calls it simply Apocalypse Now:

For most of my life, from time to time, I have seen cartoons in magazines satirizing street corner prophets of an apocalypse. The usual caricature is of a scruffy man, in a shabby robe with a long scraggly beard carrying a sign which reads “The End is Near” or some such.

Well, it’s early morning and I am not carrying a placard as I start this piece. I am in a robe (bath) but I don’t have a long beard although I am as of yet unshaven. I don’t have a placard but I do have a blog and a computer. However, I have just read a piece on the web from the morning New York Times by Thomas Friedman, and so here’s my message: “The End is Near.”

Four years ago I began work on my book The Coming of the Quantum Christ. At the very end of my introduction, I described Science as being both Christ and Anti-Christ and raised the question of whether the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin could be the “Coming of a Quantum Christ.” It was a rhetorical question. By the time …

Now you are hooked. You must read it.

3D of the Day: Imprinted in a Contact-Only Mechanism?

image

 

.


Suggesting that the image may be a contact image?

According to Colin Berry who rendered this in ImageJ:

(Techie stuff: the height setting on the z scale was kept at 0.1, i.e. its default setting, one that cannot be reduced, as my embedded B/W reference shows, given it has no 3D history ,having been constructed in MS  Paint. Minimal values were used for smoothing and lighting (10.0 and 0.2 respectively).

The Tease:

So what makes this image different from most others – like having those EYES!  Look carefully and you may see the ‘trick’ that was used – which some might regard as perfectly legitimate, exploiting another fixed feature of ImageJ, albeit one that you can work around (CLUE!)  and indeed was worked around.  Answer – will be given in 24 hours.

imprinted in a contact-only mechanism

From out of the strong came forth the sweet?

imageColin Berry tells us in his posting with the unwieldy title Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, Week 33):

This posting rep0rts what this blogger/retired science bod considers to be significant progress in modelling the “Shroud” image, so as to reproduce more of its allegedly  ‘iconic’ and/or “unique” properties (negative image, superficiality,  3D properties, fuzzy border, possibly even some of those so-called microscopic properties.

[…]

Topic 3: Here’s Dr.Positive (science bod) calling a certain Dr.Persistently Negative, he who dishes out his “science” as if medicine to treat disease. This is an important posting, probably the most important from my years of “Shroud” research, and it’s dedicated to the man with the  prescribing tendency.  Why? Because his negative nitpicking, from countless sniping  and indeed hostile comments and, especially his snipingg- from-cover pdfs, were what spurred me to switch from imprinting with flour paste/slurry to imprinting with dry flour. Check out these results for (a) that “Shroud” like fuzzy image by which he sets so much store (rarely if ever considering the effect of age-related degradation) and to (b) 3D properties (which he flatly claimed lacked 3D properties, unsupported by data, and which I demonstrated yesterday to be false).

First, the new improved fuzzy-look image, obtained using flour dust as imprinting medium, colour development with a hot flat iron*  or in  a hot oven, and a new 3rd stage (image attenuation by washing with soap and water).

(*Late addition: it’s probably the hot iron – its pressing action being responsible for the coloration being confined mainly to the crowns of the weave. Microscopy is in progress, but needs careful evaluation).

image

Tone -reversed negative of dry-flour imprint, 3D-rendered in ImageJ. Note the relative lack of distortion, compared with the wet-flour imprint in Topic 2.  Dr.Negative please note.

Not bad eh?  One is put in mind of that biblical quotation based on the bees around the deceased lion (“from out of the strong came forth the sweet” or words to that effect, even if the biology is suspect) …  from out of the negative came forth the positive…

Eh! But what say you all?

Footnote:

In the Judges 14 we find Samson travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle at a wedding: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness".

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 “But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,  “Out of the eater came something to eat,  And out of the strong came something sweet.”  But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not toldit to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,  “What is sweeter than honey?  And what is stronger than a lion?”  And he said to them,  “If you had not plowed with my heifer,  You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

Does Pope Francis Believe the Shroud is Real?

imageYesterday, Stephen Jones touched on the question:

As I pointed out … :

An `icon,’ in Roman Catholic theology is merely a humanly created representation of the real thing:

"ICON … from the Greek eikon meaning image, is a word now generally applied to paintings of sacred subjects or scenes from sacred histories" ("Icon," New Catholic Encyclopedia 2003. My emphasis)

as opposed to `relic’ which is the real thing:

"RELICS The material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, as well as objects sanctified by contact with his body." ("Relics," New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2003)"

So by continuing to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic, and in fact calling the Shroud an `icon,’ Pope Francis, and the Vatican, is sending a mixed message that the Shroud could be a fake. Pope Francis himself might well believe that the Shroud is a fake, but the Vatican, by its actions: 1) spending the equivalent of many millions of dollars protecting the Shroud; and 2) displaying it to many millions of people, clearly believes the Shroud is authentic.

"The shroud draws [people] to the tormented face and body of Jesus and, at the same time, directs [people] toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person." This is damming the Shroud with faint praise and reinforces that Pope Francis really does think (wrongly) that the Shroud is just another fake icon. But the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, and therefore the image on the Shroud IS "the tormented face and body of Jesus"! Again, I am not being anti-Catholic in this but pro-truth and pro-Shroud (which is the same thing)! ..

Then, in responding to a comment by a reader, we added:

But I assume that the Vatican is trapped inside its policy not to confirm or deny that any of its relics are authentic, because then it would be under pressure to confirm or deny which of its many other relics are authentic, and the vast majority of them would be fakes.

The quotation that begins, “The shroud draws,” is from an article, Pope Francis Pope Francis praises Turin shroud as an ‘icon of love’ that appeared in The Guardian June 22, this year.

Tantalizingly Close Enough?

In The Imaginative Conservative, Fr. Dwight Longenecker summarizes the scientific work of Paolo Di Lazzaro (pictured) and his colleagues. The article is entitled The Shroud of Turin: Evidence for Everything? :

So what formed the image? The best description is that it is an extremely delicate singe marking. Italian physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro concedes in an article for National Geographic that every scientific attempt to replicate it in a lab has failed. “Its precise hue is highly unusual, and the color’s penetration into the fabric is extremely thin, less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual fiber in a single 200-fiber linen thread.”

[…]

They came tantalizingly close to replicating the image’s distinctive color on a few square centimeters of fabric. However, they were unable to match all the physical and chemical characteristics of the shroud image, and reproducing a whole human figure was far beyond them. De Lazzaro explained that the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image of the crucified man “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

As good a summary of De Lazzaro’s work as I have seen. But is tantalizingly close close enough?

imageWe’ve featured Fr. Dwight Longenecker many times in this blog. He is a graduate of Oxford University. He was an Evangelical Christian, later an Anglican priest and is now a Catholic priest.  He is the author of sixteen books and contributes to many magazines, papers and journals including Crisis, Integrated Catholic Life, National Catholic Register and Intercollegiate Review.

And We Are All Mathematician Even if We Don’t Know It

imageJohn Klotz has a new posting on his Quantum Christ blog. The title sort of says it all but you need to read The God of Probability: The Shroud and Divine Providence to know why.

To the extent that I depend on intuition – and I do, probably more than I want to admit – I have a gut sense that the shroud is probably (probability-wise) authentic. So right after reading John’s posting I went awandering through the internet for something on intuition. (By-the-way, I intuitively know that awandering is a word even though Google doesn’t support the idea.  In retribution, I have created a new word: agoogling.)

I found this wonderful, a-thousandfold quotation by Einstein:

The rational mind is a faithful servant and the intuitive mind is a sacred gift. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Intuition kicked in; I just knew in my gut that Einstein never said that. You can spend a whole day lost in Wikiquotes but it just takes minutes to discover that Einstein never said any such thing. That is okay. I like the message. Henceforth you should attribute the quotation to me.

If you want to have some early morning fun before the coffee is ready go to the Wikiquotes entry for intuition. Two-step (or go awandering) on down to Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man. I like this:

Knowledge is necessary, too. An intuitive child couldn’t accomplish anything without some knowledge. There will come a point in everyone’s life, however, where only intuition can make the leap ahead, without ever knowing precisely how. One can never know why, but one must accept intuition as fact.

Here is what John Klotz said:

Intuition is a process which is pure thought and there is no need to access the conscious brain. Information is considered and utilized at blinding speed and appears to be instantaneous. Two recent works that discuss this phenomenon are Blink. The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell and Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious   by Gerd Gigerenzer

There is one item that all of us factor into our intuition: the law of probability. That doesn’t mean we are always right because our sense of the probabilities may be askew. Yet, it is possible to analyze the probabilities of a particular situation and arrive at a mathematical solution. Our subconscious does that intuitively.

You need to read The God of Probability: The Shroud and Divine Providence

John, I agree. Nice posting.

So Long As There Are Questions

imageYesterday from Fr. Paul’s Blog, The Shroud of Turin and Why Physicality Matters:

Recently a member of our congregation went to visit the Shroud of Turin at its ‘ten year showing’. Everyone knows now that it is a production of mediaeval times, but still, lots of people have gone to see it. There are of course many views about the shroud. Those who want to support its religious significance will talk about the questions that are still unanswered, like ‘How was it done?’ and ‘How old is it really? Can we trust the carbon dating?’ So long as there are questions to be raised, the mystery of the shroud can be kept alive. Then of course others of a more pragmatic mindset say ‘Well, it’s just a piece of cloth, so what? Even if it is Jesus’ shroud. So what?’

Pope Francis says that the image on the shroud ‘speaks to the heart’. And of course this is one legitimate way to approach the image. It is like the Grünewald Isenheim Altarpiece, where a very disfigured Jesus on the Cross reflects the suffering of those looking at the image.’ It says to them ‘God shares in what is most shameful and painful for you, and can transform it.’  Both images say something to our condition.

[…]

The age of the shroud of Turin and the image on it does not prove the resurrection, neither does an empty tomb. What proves the resurrection is the continual physical presence of Christ in the Church. This happens, as St. Paul tells us ‘according to the Spirit’, but it happens in our bodies. It happens as the sovereignly free God promises to localise himself ‘for-us’ and to be present ‘for-us’ that we might have union with God. That’s why I can rejoice in icons, rejoice in the shroud rejoice in relics and rejoice in the sacraments. Let Charles Wesley have the last word.

Unsearchable the love
That hath the Saviour brought;
The grace is far above
Or man or angels thought;
Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God, is manifest below.

Maybe a Not So Startling Coincidence of Something that is Approximate and Presumably Averaged

So even the dimensions of the Shroud are evidence beyond
reasonable doubt of it’s authenticity!

— Stephen Jones


imageStephen is revisiting evidence that he believes affirms the shroud’s authenticity. His latest completed posting revisits the subject of cubits.

But despite this being claimed by non-/anti-authenticists as evidence against my statement in my post, "Dimensions of the Shroud: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia," that, "The Shroud measures 8 by 2 Assyrian cubits," Dietz & Zaccone’s 2002 measurement does not materially (pun unintended) change the fact that, when right and left, top and bottom, sides of the Shroud are averaged, which is presumably what Flury-Lemberg did, to the nearest centimetre, the Shroud still measures the equivalent of 8 x 2 Assyrian cubits!

clip_image001

[Above: As can be seen in the table above, when Dietz and Zaccone’s separate right and left, top and bottom, dimensions of the Shroud are averaged, to the nearest centimetre, the Shroud’s dimensions are still the equivalent of 8 x 2 (8.06 x 2.07) Assyrian cubits!]

We’ve been there:

Authoritatively? I would have liked to have seen some discussion about other measurements. See , for instance, Length Measurements on the Shroud of Turin by Mario Latendresse. There are some significant differences:

Measurements taken by Bruno Barberis and Gian Maria Zaccone give (frontal image at the bottom left, dorsal image at the top) 441.5 cm for the right height, and 442.5 cm for the left height. The bottom width is 113.0 cm and the top width is 113.7 cm.

If Stephen doesn’t address these differences he is likely to be challenged. He needs to address the differences in the  length for the left and right sides (see the top edge in the partial image above) if he is going to quote Ian Wilson speaking of “conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits” in his 1991 book, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus’ True Likeness.”

Exact?

For an encyclopedia entry there is too much topic drift and too much opining in the following:

Medieval forger? It is highly unlikely that a medieval forger would even know about the Assyrian standard cubit , and even if he did, it is even more unlikely that he would botherobtaining a first century fine linen shroud, especially given that fine linen then ranked with gold in value. And that is assuming that he could obtain one, especially one with the Shroud’s three-to-one herringbone twill linen, of which the Shroud is the only one remaining in existence!

[ . . . ]

Proof the Shroud is authentic. So even the dimensions of the Shroud of Turin are among the many proofs beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud of Turin is authentic . . . .

It may be that or maybe, just maybe, a not so startling coincidence of something that is approximately so!

The Meaning of Solid

imageDavid Mo starts out by quoting me:  “I have always wanted to see good solid skeptical thinking about the shroud.”

Then he writes in a comment to my posting, Ignorance with Wings

imageThere is not a wide sceptical bibliography about the shroud, but there is some “solid sceptical thinking”. Joe Nickell’s book is a little “vintage” but I think it is “solid”. And the Italian “sceptics” as Andrea Nicolotti, Gian Marco Rinaldi, Antonio Lombatti and others are very “solid thinkers”.

In Spanish there are some “solid sceptic” blogs. Jose Luis Calvo’s “Escrito desde el páramo” especially.

The problem is what is “solid” for you. In many cases “solid” means “this is what I think”. But you, the shroudies, scarcely never go to a sceptical forum to test the “solidness” of your thinking. You live in a closed loop. So your thinking seems very solid… within the circle.

Fair enough. But at least we try on this blog. Try this out in Google’s search box:

site:shroudstory.com Andrea Nicolotti

Google reports 432 results.  Now try other names. 

I guess it is all about what solid means, isn’t it?  That thought sent me over to David Mo’s website (the one he links to from his nickname in this blog). Then I employed Google translation. I commend the result to your reading.

If you type in an Internet search engine the word shroud, you are going out ten articles on the Shroud of Turin with one that addresses the issue in general. Of those ten, at least nine will be written by sindonistas or will have the sindonismo news as a source. If you type shroud of Christ, things will be even more spectacular. The monopoly in the Network of non-believers of this relic (The Catholic Church has never officially accepted as such) contrasts with the indifference of historians, including Catholics, when not shipped in two words (John D. Crossan) . They do not consider it a serious matter.

I am not naive enough to trust the scientific assumptions of this detachment that can be found among theologians and exegetes. I guess the theme of the relics should cause some discomfort among scholars believers. We would say that is a hindrance when hobnobbing with no religious historians at conferences or journals pedigree. It can also happen that they are convinced of the strict separation between science and beliefs and are uncomfortable with the trappings of pseudo sindonistas.

Good reading!