New Review of Old Turin Shroud by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince

The title of the book changed in 2007. The Turin Shroud: How Da Vinci Fooled History. Who said a review had to be timely. Read this one. It begins:

If one would like to know about facts and reasoning on the subject, this is not quite the book one should begin with.

One generally picks up a book of this sort for information about what is going on, what is known, and so forth. Opinions and biases of writers are bound to come in, but good writers and thinkers manage to sift through what is known and go with some reasonable logic to their conclusions and manage to present them in their work with some credibility. That last part is somewhat missing or at least garbled in this work.

Less than halfway through one manages to see the pattern that continues consistently – the duo has arrived at some conclusions and are presenting them as fait accompli from almost page one, without going through the process of reason or logic for benefit of the reader. It begins to look like a session of bashing up some other writers and thinkers and more, on the whole, and it is not clear why since the thinking process of this duo is obscure.

Often they object to the thinking or logic or conclusions of others with huge gaps in their own logic for doing so, and it is repeatedly this sort of confusing material that brings one to suspect that the whole idea is to bash up the reader with a great deal of emotionally charged diatribe without much logic until one gives up and agrees with the writers – a typical tool of gossip sessions of afternoon coffee sessions.

Reviews – Books I Read – DRJG: Turin Shroud: by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince.

Reader of this blog; “Shroud of Turin is not the image of Jesus Christ.”

One reader points out that the Shroud of Turin is a fake because of the information on a particular website of rambling interpretations from scripture by Petri Paavola from Finland.

    • The word of God teaches that nakedness is shameful, because exposing of nakedness is shameful. According to radiation theory God would "scanned, photograped" the naked body of Jesus from the front and backside. God couldn’t break His word and bring forth nakedness of Jesus that the whole world would see it.
    • We must remember that Jesus was behind this teaching about short hairs of men and that long hairs are shame. The Lord Jesus was the Jewish man, and He surely had short hairs.

      Defenders of the shroud of Turin say that Biblical short hairs mean hairs that reach to shoulders. This is not true. Bible time Jews had very short hairs.

If you need proof, here are three pictures of Biblical characters by a modern artist. They have short hair. This site goes on and on with rambling stuff.

Here is the site:  The Shroud of Turin is not the image of Jesus Christ

Who Makes Up This Stuff About the Shroud of Turin?

The Blog is called the Religion Blog: The Religion Resource Site. Believe it or not the author wrote:

The fifteenth century Duomo di San Giovanni Cathedral St. John’s is located in Turin. The Shroud of Turin can be famous seen in the chapel of the Shroud Cappella della Sacra or the Shroud. The Shroud was supposed to be worn by a royal family of Savoy in the sixteenth century in Turin.

Lost in translation? Made up?

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?

Interesting Quote by Keith A. Lehman

Myth Blaster Verdict: Overall, undetermined, but so far undisputedly authentic as the following will explain. Personal research shows that there is more accurate information that proves the Shroud’s authenticity than those who have been trying to disapprove it; and because of this, I believe it is up to the skeptics to disapprove the authenticity because those who have investigated the Shroud through the scientific process should not have to prove anything further. The fact that the Shroud is an natural image of a crucifixion victim is without question – the only question that may remain by skeptics is if it is truly the Jesus of Nazareth that changed the western world, inspired a new religion that developed into the most powerful Church organization in world history.

— Keith A. Lehman, Myth Blaster Blog. Light House Patriot Journal

Link to full article

A Good Review

Yellow Dog Patrol tells us in a posting, “History Channel and The Shroud of Turin: The Face of Jesus:"

image The History Channel had an unbelievably fascinating special on the Shroud of Turin last night. 

I’ve always marveled at the Shroud and what it could potentially mean, however with the Carbon-14 dating done some years back, I’ve been less enamored. This special changed all that for me.

The biggest findings for me were that:

  • For multiple reasons, the Carbon-14 test was very likely flawed
  • All of the best scientist still have no idea on how the image got there. It definitely was not printed or painted, and our current technology can’t replicate anything like it.
  • The wounds of Jesus on the Shroud are remarkably detailed, and remarkably consistent with the crucifixion stories.

The show airs again on Saturday night. For believers and skeptics alike, I strongly encourage you to watch.

krissthesexyatheist trying to debunk the Shroud of Turin by faith

Kriss, I have no issue with your atheism or agnosticism when it comes to the historical existence of Jesus. On these matters I respectfully disagree. What I do have a problem with is your use of facts.

You wrote:

According Gary Vikan carbon 14 dating shows, “it could not possibly have come into contact with the historical Jesus (if there ever was a historical Jesus-I’m agnostic on that).”

You might want to review the science on this matter. It is now widely recognized that the carbon dating must be considered invalid. Ray Rogers, who had accepted the carbon dating, decided to disprove a crazy explanation from what he called the lunatic fringe. The crazy idea was that the Shroud had been mended and the samples were from that mending job. What Rogers discovered was that the crazy idea seemed to be right. He concluded that the sample used for carbon dating was not representative of the cloth. It was chemically different. Moreover, one of the chemical differences, the amount of vanillin, provided a new clue about the cloth’s age. Samples from the main part of the cloth, unlike the carbon 14 sample area, did not contain any vanillin. If the shroud was only as old as the radiocarbon date, it would have plentiful vanillin.  The Shroud was at least twice as old. It might be 2000 years old. After a lengthy peer review process, his findings that the carbon dating was wholly invalid were published in the scientific journal Thermochimica Acta.

Rogers’ published work showing that the carbon dating is invalid has been confirmed by John L Brown, a forensic materials specialist at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia and by Robert Villarreal and a team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The Shroud first appeared in 1357 and was in possession of French nobleman Geofrey de Charnay. Bishop of Troyes, Henri of Poitiers, believed it to be a fake, why, because the artist that claimed to make it told him so.

There is not a single shred of historical evidence other than the claim by Pierre d’Arcis that Henri of Poitiers ever thought so. No 30 years passed. You can’t write history this way and you should know better.

30 years pass, and in 1389 Henri’s successor, Pierre d’Archis states, “The Shroud is a product of human handiwork.” Although the Pope at the time allowed the Shroud to be displayed, he did so with caution and only if a priest were present to acknowledge that the Shroud is Not the true burial cloth of Jesus.

The consensus of many historians is that Pierre d’Archis was referring to a painted copy then on display. Many other papers at the time (historians need to consider all sources) dispute the Bishop’s claim. You are resorting to cafeteria style pick and choose history. Actually the claim was a forger had painted the shroud, not merely that it was handiwork, which brings us to the next point. You wrote:

Walter C McCrowe, in biblical Archaeology Review (Nov/Dec 98), “I concluded in two papers…that the Shroud was painted in 1355.” Other papers confirmed the results with X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray determination and carbon dating. The Shroud was produced around 1355.

You have all this wrong. The “X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray determination” you mention as well as visible and ultraviolet spectrometry, infrared spectrometry and pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry, laser-­microprobe Raman analyses, and microchemical testing show no evidence of pigments or media. Even McCrone’s own employees proved McCrone wrong. See Didn’t Ray Rogers provide a definitive answer about paint?  BTW: Carbon dating can’t tell us if McCrone’s claims of inorganic compounds (paint) exist.

You wrote:

Rev. Lino Otero, “Our search for the truth is guided by faith.” And that is the problem. Faith is has already come to it’s conclusion. Conformation bias will skew the results because of preconceived beliefs. Where is the scientific method and the search for the truth? It is nowhere if faith is the guide.

Good grief. Faith is not incompatible with scientific method or the search for truth. Faith, of course, does not provide observations, facts or measurements in the pursuit of science, but it can be a guiding principle. Don’t confuse faith with blind faith.

He went on to write:

One million tickets have been sold for the April 10-May 23 viewing of the original Shroud in Italy.

No. Wrong again. The tickets are free. The showing of the shroud will be very costly for the archdiocese of Turin.

The Vatican has not taken an official stance on whether the Shroud is authentic or not; but I’m sure that they do know that pilgrimages will bring in big money-for the original Shroud and its replicas. Why do believers still flock to see an unauthentic icon that has been debunked several times over, from a church that has lied and hurt society several times over-cognitive dissonance.

Because the debunkers have been debunked and so far have not been able to produce scientifically or historically sustainable arguments. Your arguments seem to be guided mostly by your faith.

See krissthesexyatheist: Debunking the Shroud of Turin, Again.

Why was the Shroud of Turin saved?

I keep encountering this thought.

But logic dictates, His followers did not just leave the
cloth there on the ground, to be thrown away. This was the
cloth which held the Body of Jesus.

The main reason the cloth would not have been discarded or left behind may have to do with Jewish customs pertaining to blood that was shed in death. Such spilled blood, scholars believe, should be buried with the body. But what if the tomb was open and there was no body, just an empty burial shroud stained with blood?

Modern sensibilities might suggest that the most logical course of action would be to reseal the tomb was a burial shroud inside. But is that what religious Jews in the first century might have done? We just don’t know the answer to that. If the shroud is authentic, then of course that is not what happened. For more information see Shroud of Turin Story

Mpelembe :: The Shroud of Turin – Shrouded in mystery?.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Shroud of Turin

Good grief, this keeps coming up.

The Man Behind the Shroud?
There is a very credible theory that Leonardo created the Shroud of Turin by a photographic technique. Could it be his face?

First of all, there are no silver or chromium-based substances on the Shroud. Chemically, it is not a photograph. Second, a photograph does create a height-field image (3D data). The image on the Shroud is a height-field. Third, Leonardo was born in 1452. The Shroud that is now in Turin was displayed in Lirey, France in 1356. Fourth, there is compelling evidence that the Shroud that is now in Turin was in Constantinople in A.D. 944 and Edessa as early as 544. (See: What is the history of the Shroud in the Greek-Byzantine Period?

Radio carbon dating of the fabric of the shroud places it a while before Leonardo’s birth so clearly in is a medieval fake as were many relicks. Leonardo wasn’t stupid; if he were to try to fake it he would have used old cloth so the dating is consistent.

I suppose that this was because he knew carbon dating was to invented 500 years later.

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa and the Shroud of Turin | World in Christ Christian Gathering Place

Good Shroud of Turin Quote

Hat tip to  The BlaBla Blog

Shortly before his death, Ray Rogers said:

The worst possible sample for carbon dating was taken. It consisted of different materials than were used in the shroud itself, so the age we produced was inaccurate. I am coming to the conclusion that it has a very good chance of being the piece of cloth that was used to bury the historic Jesus.

For more information on the dating of the Shroud of Turin see Shroud of Turin Story

A Mere Mention of the Shroud of Turin

There is an excellent and interesting posting at the St. Athanasius Bible Institute blog. It is not about the Shroud of Turin but the mere mention of the Shroud brought me over and I am glad of it. Read the posting at St. Athanasius Bible Institute. Here is the mention of the Shroud:

If the burial Shroud of Turin is to be regarded as authentic, we have on that Shroud an image of the incarnate God left to human posterity by Jesus Christ himself on rising from the dead. . . .

Let us never take for granted Jesus Christ. He is the Second Divine Person of the most holy Trinity. He is the only-begotten Son of the Father. He became man for us and our salvation, truly and fully man — and much more so, in a sense, than are we. That is to say, his humanity was full and complete. It was perfect, whereas ours is marred, wounded, crippled and wounded by sin. In this sense he was not only fully God, but fully and perfectly man. Let us be like Thomas before the risen Jesus, and bow down before him with the words, “My Lord and my God!”

A side benefit of interest in the Shroud of Turin is discovering good article and a good blog that have a mere mention of it.

The Gibson Study Really Says Nothing About the Shroud of Turin

Heather Pringle, writing in Beyond Stone and Bone, the weekly blog of Archaeology Magazine, asks by way of her posting title, "Who Made the Shroud of Turin?" It is a fair question, one that invites us to do some thinking. The question is prompted by a claim that new archeological evidence argues against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. It doesn’t, as we will see. Let’s look first at what Pringle wrote in the blog:

In December [2009],  Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist and senior research fellow at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jersualem (sic), announced tantalizing results from a new study that he and Boaz Zissu,  an archaeologist at Bar Ilan University, just completed on a 1st century B.C.  shrouded burial they excavated in a tomb in Jerusalem.  Gibson and several colleagues published the first part of the study in a paper in PLoS One on December 16th.Gibson and his colleagues radiocarbon-dated the tattered vestiges of the excavated shroud to 95 B.C.E .  And their careful examination revealed that the mourners in question employed two very different pieces of cloth to wrap the unknown dead male. They wrapped the individual’s head in linen cloth,  and his body in wool cloth–a practice that Gibson says was part of traditional Jewish burial practices at the time.   Moreover,  this practice fits with the biblical description of the two pieces of cloth that Jesus cast off after he rose from the dead.  The Shroud of Turin,  by comparison, consists of just one large piece of cloth said to have covered both the head and body of Jesus.

And Gibson and his team found another critical difference.  The tattered cloths they excavated were woven very simply,  with a two-way weave.   The  Shroud of Turin, however,  exhibits a more sophisticated weaving pattern,  known as a twill weave.

Two arguments are tendered. Both hinge on a single supposition: what has been found defines what is customary or typical relative to geography, time, culture and religion. Gibson tells us that the use of two pieces of cloth "was part of traditional Jewish burial practices" at the time and that it is consistent with scripture. That is one part of his argument. The other is that the weave was a simple "two-way" weave and not the twill pattern of the Shroud. Is it reasonable to think that two cloths used in the manner Gibson proposes is typical. And is a simple weave typical?

Moreover, we need to ask if Gibson is right in his understanding of traditional Jewish burial practices and his interpretation of scripture? He might be, serendipitously. The fact of the matter is that we really know far too little about the burial practices in the late-Second Temple era in and about Jerusalem to make such assumptions. Pringle goes on to say:

No one will be able to draw any definitive conclusions about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin based on this new study.  The comparative sample size is miniscule, and archaeologists need to see much more in the way of Jewish burial shrouds from the period in order to establish what the customs really were. . . .

I remember, somewhat vaguely, sitting in a high school history class as the teacher explained how archaeologists determined new levels of an excavation by noting the changes in pottery style. Most of us were quite happy with the explanation and made notes in our notebooks, knowing full well that we had an answer for a question that would inevitably be on a mid-term exam. But one student wasn’t happy with the simplicity of the explanation.

How did the archaeologists know that at any one level they had not come across the home of a rich family and at another level the home of a poor family, he had wanted to know. That might have been the reason why the style of pottery was different. How did they know that there weren’t other reasons? Maybe one of the clay pots was from a trade caravan bringing goods from distant cities. Might there be other reasons, as well, including religious practices or personal preferences? So how did an archaeologist know that any given pottery fragment was typical?

I don’t recall if he used the word, "typical." But that was the gist of his questions. My history teacher was well prepared to answer. It required, he told us, many samples from several places in a dig before they could say a style of pottery was typical for a given level. Exceptions, indeed, were often found; and yes, possibly for the very reason the student had suggested. Archaeologists should never draw sweeping conclusions based on a single sample.

For the very same reason, we must be leery of claims that a single fragment, dated to approximately a century before the burial of Jesus, is typical. Palestine, including Jerusalem, at the time of Jesus, had a complex multifaceted society. We know of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They had very different ideas about such things as an afterlife and we might suppose, therefore, there might have been some differences in burial practices. In fact, there is evidence that that was so. There were different family groups, as well; major families such as Hasmoneans and the Herodians and other family groupings as well. The tombs carved in the limestone outcroppings around Jerusalem is a testament to this. They were family tombs. There were also claims of ancient tribal and monarchial patrilineal descent; the Levites for example and in the case of Jesus, at least according to scripture, the House of David. There were in Jerusalem Hellenized Jews who lived a different lifestyle that was criticized by many religious Jews. There were detested Jews who were Roman citizens. Paul was one. There were political factions, such as the Zealots who wished to see Rome expelled from Judea. We must not overlook the fact that Jerusalem, because it was a significant city, was populated with Jews from other parts of the Judea. Typically, if we dare to use that word, families and lineages, people from different geographies and people of different economic and social status, develop different traditions. We don’t have direct evidence from ancient sources such as the Mishna, Talmud or Semahot to suggest that a shroud or manner of shrouding was typical. But the content of these texts does suggest that there were differences in burial practices and even debate.

Tombs varied greatly. There were large complex tombs and very simple tombs, some with burial niches and some without. Ossuaries (bone boxes) used for ossilegium (second burial) varied greatly. Some were ornately decorated and some were simple. Inscriptions varied. In fact they were sometimes in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and in one case Latin. Ossilegium, though common, was not apparently universal. There also seems to be archaeological evidence that the burial practices evolved during the brief period that Jerusalem’s carved out tombs were used.

Given all this, it is hard to believe that a single type of burial shroud or a single method of shrouding existed that could be called typical. Indeed we might suspect that simple weave cloth as well as very fine linen cloth was used if such a variety of cloth was available.

One consequence of the Roman conquest of Judea, incidentally between the time period determined for what we might call the Gibson shroud and the burial of Jesus, was the expansion of trade. The Romans built new roads and improved existing roads. Jerusalem was along the overland trade route between Egypt in the south and Syria to the north. Nearby Caesarea, formerly the Hasmonean Jewish city of Straton’s Tower, became a major Roman port city. Alexandria in Egypt and Damascus in Syria were major textile centers producing linen for clothing, temple vestments, curtains, sailcloth and burial shrouds. Fine and expensive as well as simple linen cloth would certainly have been available in Jerusalem’s marketplace.

Would this have included twill weave linen, specifically herringbone twill? Although we have no geographic specific examples from the time of Christ, it is reasonable to presume that the answer is yes. Fragments of herringbone twill have been found in the ancient Hallstatt salt mines near present-day Vienna among the mummified remains of a Celtic people dating back about four centuries before Christ. Herringbone twill cloth, made from horsehair, has been found in Ireland dating from possibly as early as the arrival of Celtic people on the island around 600 B.C. Other complicated twill patterns going back to at least 200 B.C. and probably earlier have been found with mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China. Probably, the oldest examples are from Northern Italy where a six foot long piece of twill linen cloth was found with lozenge patterns that may date to the third millennium B.C.

It should be understood that twill weaving is not a technological innovation over simple weaving. In simple weaving the weft yarn is passed over one warp thread then under one warp thread, over one, under one, and so forth. In twill weaving the weft is passed over two, three or four warps and under one, and so forth. (The Shroud of Turin is a three hop twill). This gives the cloth a diagonal wale. A good example of twill is the fabric of an ordinary pair of blue jeans. A herringbone pattern is sometimes introduced into a twill weave by, every now and then, reversing the hop so that the diagonal wale is reversed.  The resulting appearance resembles the backbone pattern of a herring, hence the name herringbone. It is an artistic technique and other artistic patterns can be created by a talented weaver.

The other argument by Gibson, as Pringle explains it, is that two cloths were used, a linen cloth over the head and a woolen shroud for the rest of the body. Pringle goes on to say:

Moreover, this practice fits with the biblical description of the two pieces of cloth that Jesus cast off after he rose from the dead. The Shroud of Turin, by comparison, consists of just one large piece of cloth said to have covered both the head and body of Jesus.

But is that what scripture really says? John’s Gospel is our source for considering this:

[The beloved disciple] bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. (John 20:5-7, NRSV)

Scholars do not agree on what this means. The late, great Anglican biblical scholar, John A. T. Robinson, thought the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head might have been a chin band used to tie his mouth closed. Other scholars think it might have been a sudarium, a dishcloth sized cloth that had been used to cover the face of the deceased prior to burial and then removed before the body was enshrouded. If the Sudarium of Oviedo (in Spain) is authentic, as many believe because blood patterns appear to match bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin, then that would explain the second cloth. Frankly, we don’t have a definitive answer on how to interpret this passage of scripture. Nothing, however, in scripture rules out a single shroud. It is simply a matter of interpretation and there is no good foundation for it. Pringle is right when she writes:

No one will be able to draw any definitive conclusions about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin based on this new study [by Gibson].  The comparative sample size is miniscule, and archaeologists  need to see much more in the way of Jewish burial shrouds from the period in order to establish what the customs really were. 

Indeed. In fact, if we are going to argue non-authenticity from a fragment of a burial shroud we must consider other evidence and other experts as well. This quotation from a PBS interview with Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, a textile expert who has been studying the Shroud since 1980 is very telling:

She first noticed that the entire cloth was crafted with a weave known as a three-to-one herringbone pattern. "This kind of weave was special in antiquity because it denoted an extraordinary quality," she says. . . . Flury-Lemberg also discovered a peculiar stitching pattern in the seam of one long side of the Shroud, where a three-inch wide strip of the same original fabric was sewn onto a larger segment. The stitching pattern, which she says was the work of a professional, is surprisingly similar to the hem of a cloth found in the tombs of the Jewish fortress of Masada. The Masada cloth dates to between 40 B.C. and 73 A.D. The evidence, says Flury-Lemberg, is clear: "The linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin does not display any weaving or sewing techniques which would speak against its origin as a high quality product of the textile workers of the first century."

So might Jesus’ burial shroud have been a high quality, perhaps not-so-typical, linen fabric? Jesus’ burial, itself, was not typical. Crucifixion victims were not buried in the sort of tombs found in the Jerusalem outcroppings, though a single exception has been found. Nor were peasants. And Jesus was both. Crucifixion victims were usually left on their crosses until their bodies rotted or were eaten by wild dogs and vultures. The remains were thrown in charnel pits. We are told in the biblical narrative that a member of the Sanhedrin, clearly someone of means and status, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and offered a tomb for the burial. Mark’s Gospel tells us that Joseph of Arimathea bought a linen cloth and wrapped Jesus’ body in it. Might this man of means have purchased an expensive three hop herringbone linen shroud. It is perfectly plausible.

One sentence Pringle wrote warrants repeating: "No one will be able to draw any definitive conclusions about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin based on this new study." 

While Gibson’s study is intriguing and informative, it offers no evidence one way or the other about the Shroud of Turin. In fact, it is silly to even suggest any archaeological connection.

Best Comment on the so-called Death Certificate on the Shroud of Turin

image Sometimes a comment is so much better than the original posting it needs to brought to the top. The following comment from Andrea Nicolotti, who has an Italian language website, Christianismus – studi sul cristianesimo e le sue origini, is such a comment.

Andrea concludes with, “PS Forgive my English!” No need for that. It is quite good. Two points struck me as particularly important. I quote them first:

In reality the continuous use of “possibilist” sentences is the style of the entire [Frale] book, where the repeated use the “if” and the “perhaps” in insistent way, is aimed at creating the impression of strong possibility in the reader. . . . If we try to eliminate all the sentences with a “perhaps”, we will cancel the 90% of the Frale’s books.


I have analyzed some of the modern high quality pictures, looking for the handwritings. The most greater part of the presumed signs are clearly fold marks of the shroud or some protuberant threads that, illuminated by the light used by Enrie, appear clearer and therefore dark on the negative image.

There is more. So here is the entire comment in response to other comments:

Before I answer to the two objections:
1) Ad hominem. I have not spoken about Marion to create an argumentum ad hominem, but because Frale introduces Marion as person totally neutral, impartial and disinterested. Before introducing his work, she reconsidered the credibility of Marastoni and Orecchia because they are Catholic; then she created a situation of expectation in the reader, introducing Marion as a super partes scholar. But Marion was a person very interested to the defence of the shroud. The fact that has written some books on the relics, certainly cannot mark him out as an “independent” scientist. Was he agnostic? Strange. He wrote a book on the shroud not limiting himself to speaking of his studies on the handwritings, but making the history of the shroud and concluding with the hypothesis of the resurrection of Christ. If Frale suggests an argumentum pro homine, I use an argumentum ad hominem.

2) “It’s clear it’s just a possibility, not a certitude for Barbara Frale”, you say. In reality the continuous use of “possibilist” sentences is the style of the entire book, where the repeated use the “if” and the “perhaps” in insistent way, is aimed at creating the impression of strong possibility in the reader. The large majority of the possibilities, in the following pages will be turned into reality. If we try to eliminate all the sentences with a “perhaps”, we will cancel the 90% of the Frale’s books. Just against this system (creating an historical reconstruction using undemonstrated hypotheses) prof. Vallerani has written a very incisive review.
The main point is that Frale holds possible that handwriting of the I century can be legible in XIII and then disappear forever. Nobody has ever spoken of them, nobody has ever described them, nobody has ever seen them. The consequences of the fire in Chambery? Someone should explain us *how* the writings did form, and as *why* they disappear. Marion and Frale say that the handwriting possesses the same nature of the body’s image. If the fire has modified the handwritings, has modified also the image of the body. But why? How?

About Capasso: Frale “showed him the handwritings “discovered” by Marion and Courage in a single-blind experiment”? The palaeography is not similar to the medicine. The original is important. Frale has not presented to Capasso the shroud or photos of the shroud, but photographic manipulations of the shroud. The handwritings that are reproduced in the Frale’s book, was prepared by Marion, going over the lines again; if one looks only at the “original” photos, he doesn’t read anything.

Moreover: some of the researchers quoted in the book that I have contacted, are completely against the Frale’s thesis, and in some case spoke with me in terms of “dishonesty”.

The other objections remain: the handwritings do not exist, it is not explained how they formed, the handwritings are integrated in a completely arbitrary way, they are full of errors, the Frale doesn’t know the Hebrew language, the external side of the shroud is completely white, nobody sees the handwritings on the high quality pictures, it is known that the images of Enrie are defective, etc. etc.

I have analyzed some of the modern high quality pictures, looking for the handwritings. The most greater part of the presumed signs are clearly fold marks of the shroud or some protuberant threads that, illuminated by the light used by Enrie, appear clearer and therefore dark on the negative image. It is not necessary to ask a palaeographer to see it.

PS Forgive my English!

Here is the original posting: More: Death Certificate on the Shroud of Turin? « Shroud of Turin Blog

MIracles, Mystery and Science at The Lewis Crusade

The Lewis Crusade is one great blog. I’m glad I just this week discovered it. From what I have seen so far it is intelligently and thoughtfully written. It is thus informative and thought provoking. This is a blog that I must follow regularly. For example:

Perusing [my] blog led me to this site, “The Definative Shroud of Turin FAQ,” and a tangential thought . . .

He then goes on to write (now I have something to think about all morning):

This got me to thinking.  We often make a big deal about proving “science can’t explain it” when we talk of miracles.

Yet C. S. Lewis argues in Miracles that most miracles are really a “speeding up” of nature, not a violation of it.  God made the laws of Nature, and He doesn’t arbitrarily break His own rules.

For example, says Lewis: Jesus turns water into wine.  Water turns into wine all the time.  It just usually has to go through a process where it is ingested by grape vines, fills up the grapes on those vines, and then gets mashed out of the grapes.

An example from Lewis’s own life, long after he wrote that book: Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis had bone cancer.  In addition to her cancer going into remission, an issue in her health was the strength of her bones themselves.  After an Anglican priest known for the gift of healing prayed over her, not only did her cancer go into remission, but her bones began to miraculously rebuild themselves. . . . . And around the same time, her husband developed osteoporosis.  “Jack” Lewis always felt that God was taking the calcium out of his bones and giving it to Joy.  In other words, it was a “Miracle’ bcause God was doing it beyond the explanation of medical science.  But God was essentially giving a supernatural transplant.

After Mother Angelica was healed of her need for braces, Franciscan University Presents did a panel discussion of healings and miracles, and the technical distinction.  Fr. Scanlon said that he had been to Lourdes and worked on the claims of miracles there.   There are thousands and thousands of authenticated cases of “Healings” from Lourdes–cases that do not quite reach the Church’s formal definition of “miracle” but do meet the average person’s.

I’ve said it before: the question is not whether the image on the Shroud (or on Juan Diego’s tilma, for that matter) can be explained by modern science . The question is whether the explanation would have been available to someone of the time period.  There are people who would rather think the Shroud is a medieval photography experiment than accept the idea of its authenticity.

Read the entire posting at MIracles, Mystery and Science « The Lewis Crusade

Really? More evidence that verifies Shroud of Turin is Real

John C. Hathaway over at The Lewis Crusade discusses Barbara Frale’s claim that there is lettering on Shroud of Turin. Frale, a Vatican researcher, discusses this in her new book The Shroud of Jesus Nazarene. While I do think the Shroud of Turin is genuine: the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. I respectfully disagree with these findings (but it is a great blog).

Hathaway writes:

And, again, it falls in the category of, “How would an alleged Medieval forger have known this??”

1.  In 1978, letters were found around the face area of the Shroud of Turin

2.  Shroud researcher Barbara Frale has made a career of figuring them out.

3.  The letters say “Jesus the Nazorean” in Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

4.  Frale wanted to know *why* the letters were there.  She did a great deal of research and found out . . .  [Read the full post for more of Hathaway’s posting].


Most scientifically-minded Shroud researchers have problems with the claim. Frale’s conclusions are based on the studies done by French researchers Marion and Courage that was published in the late 1990’s.  This study used the 1931 Giuseppe Enrie photographs taken with orthochromatic film and very angular, almost raking, lighting. They look great, visually, but they are not adequate for detail identification of fine detail.

Orthochromatic film only records black and white and interpolates for a limited range of gray with silver grain patterns. In a sense it is like halftone dots of varying shapes of silver clumps.  It would be impossible to capture the high definition required for these claimed inscriptions. I believe we are looking at classic pareidolia. See What is pareidolia and why is it important? and Crazy Stuff of the Shroud of Turin.

A Different Point of View

I enjoy reading a blog posting that is objective and well written even if I disagree with it. This is such a posting. It is the second paragraph, that I have quoted below, with which I disagree.

It is clear that so far no one has been able to deduce how the image found on the shroud was actually made.  There appears to be no form of paint or other substance that has been added to the shroud, but I have not heard of people actually wrapping corpses in replica shrouds to see if any image can be produced.  If they did so, what would they find?  Would it be a ‘normal’ occurence, or are we beginning to believe in a ‘miraculous’ origin for the image?  If an image could be produced, how long would it take to form?  We have to remember that Jesus was in the tomb for something less than 48 hours (Friday afternoon/evening until early Sunday morning) and so any image that was formed only after a longer period of time would have to cast doubt on the veracity of this shroud belonging to Jesus (unless one wanted to argue that it was that of Jesus, but that He couldn’t, therefore, have risen as claimed and believed).

But I must return to the point that I began to make above.  It is surely not right for Christians to focus on such external things.

I think Christians should fully explore the question on matters of the faith through history, science and archaeology. That includes the shroud of Turin. Full posting: The Turin Shroud – Windows Live

Kenneth Hynek is right, of course

at least on this point. It’s an interesting point:

image The logic you’re using here is the same logic as that of the recent “debunkers” of the Shroud of Turin, whose basic argument seems to be that because they were able to produce a forgery of the Shroud, the Shroud itself must be a forgery as well. I will grant that our senses can be fooled, a fact which different people exploit to different purposes. But equally, the fact that our senses can be fooled does not mean that every single instance of witnessing something profound and apparently supernatural is necessarily an illusion wrought by a human actor only.

KHdN – Kenneth Hynek (dot Net) » Blog Archive » In lieu of posting new content…

Another Novel? Another Jesus DNA Story?

We have what looks like the beginning of a new novel over at The Original Nappy-Headed Ho: Story Beginning

image It’d been another long night. Yes, my passion was in this. Yes, I’d do it for free if I had other means of support. But after a string of nights seeing the dawn peaking through the lab window, I was getting hinky. I was irritated and short tempered.

Charlie, my partner in business and science, my friend for over 15 years, slid his chair back from his microscope and exhaled sharply. “I’ve isolated complete DNA strands from the Shroud of Turin.”

A pet project, Charlie had been intrigued by mysticism, religion and science over the centuries, and their effects on popular culture. Recently he’d gotten permission from the Vatican to sample a bit of the fabric of the Shroud of Turin. Not new material, but leftover material from the 80s when an attempt had been made to determine the age of the cloth. The results of the original test where that the shroud was no more than twelve to fifteen hundred years old, much too young to have been Jesus’s own burial cloth. The technology had been primitive to today’s digital microscopic standards, and Charlie insisted modern carbon dating put the date of the cloth at between 400 BC and 200 AD. Quite a difference.

"Say again?"

. . .

I’m not sure how long we stared at each other, but for two insecure scientists to look each other in the eye for anything more than a second was unusual.

"Charlie, are you telling me you think we have the DNA of Jesus?"

Read the whole post at The Original Nappy-Headed Ho: Story Beginning

Italian Scientist Reproduces Humans & Shroud of Turin

Italian Scientist Reproduces Humans Using Materials Available in the Middle Ages Thus Proving that the First Humans Were Manmade

garlaschelli ROME (Reuters) – An Italian scientist says he has reproduced a human being, a feat that he says proves definitively that humans, which Christians say are made in the image of God, are medieval fakes produced using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

A scientifically-made mannequin, measuring 6 feet, 2 inches tall, looks eerily like Luigi Garlaschelli, the scientist himself.

"We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as a human being," Luigi Garlaschelli, who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday.

A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs.

The mannequin resembles the back and front of a bearded man with long hair with his arms crossed on his chest. He has two hands, two feet and a single head with two eyes and two ears.

Since Darwin, evolutionary biologists have believed that humans evolved along with other animals and plants from a common ancestor. But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain why some people smoke cherry flavored pipe tobacco since it offers no evolutionary advantage.

Garlaschelli, who received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics, expects people to contest his findings. “They didn’t believe me when I reproduced the Shroud of Turin, Quantum physics and the Egyptian pyramids, thus proving that they, too, were medieval creations. “

“It works for me,” said PZ Myers, pastor of the Morris, Minnesota Pharyngula Church of Fundamentalist Atheists. “I was getting tired of evolution, anyway. I believe everything I read in the newspapers so long as it doesn’t conflict with my beliefs. If humans are manmade, that’s fine. I still don’t need to believe in God.”

Garlaschelli said the funding for his work by his own organization of like-minded atheists had no effect on his results. "I always start with results," he said. “That way, I always arrive at the desired conclusion.”


Interesting. Worth reading.

We move in a world bursting with conflicts. Between rich & poor…black & white…West & Islam. However, perhaps the most persistent conflict is the ancient one between belief & doubt!

We of today’s technological age of wonders, wonder how the medieval peasant could wonder about perfectly explainable phenomenon, then call them "miracles." After all, once the magician’s trick has been duplicated by the audience, the audience should now know better.

And so, once again, the so-called miraculous Shroud of Turin has come center stage in this belief vs doubt debate. Italian chemist Luigi Garlaschelli reports he has been able to "duplicate the trick by simply using the materials available at the time the Shroud was discovered in 1360." For him, and other scientists, this finally nails it. Anything man can make is no miracle!

But of course this nails nothing. . .

Read the entire post. Taking a Second Look…: MIRACLES ARE SO MEDIEVAL. OR ARE THEY…?