A New Comment Promoted on Tetherd Cow Ahead Discussion on the Shroud of Turin

S. J. Miller writes:

Whether the shroud is the work of a human hand (forgery, hoax, as pseudo-sceptics would say), or whether it was accidental/incidental involving a corpse under unobserved circumstances is beside the point. Also, the carbon dating problem pales into significance as far as believers or pseudo-sceptics are concerned, because the real matter at hand is the image itself.

Look at the number of ‘sceptic’ websites and papers trying to explain away the phenomenon (e.g. http://skepdic.com/shroud.html, http://www.freeinquiry.com/skeptic/shroud/, etc.). Aside from their disagreements over carbond dating analysis, pollen analysis and the apparent discoveries of paint pigments, they still fail miserably in one vital area that they arrogantly claim to have the monopoly over: objective reality.

The objective reality of the shroud is the image contained therein or thereupon. The idea that the image created on the shroud is the work of a painter seems, quite frankly, ridiculous, and as it stands, it is also impossible. As the shroud dates from at least the early renaissance period, perhaps earlier (and if the pseudo-skeptics want to have it both ways, earlier still), you are faced with the fact that the greatest painters of that period: Giotto, Fra Angelico, Uccello, Pisanello were not of a sufficient technical skill to present anything near photo-realistic depictions on panel. Even if you attribute the shrouds earliest historical mention to a later period you would still have to concede that artists such as Leonardo, Raphael and Giorgione (and that really is pushing the limits historically) still didn’t have sufficient technical capabilities to create thoroughly realistic work. But most importantly, the shroud, if a work of hand, would not just be a remarkable piece of photo realistic work, the actual application of the paint is the most telling factor. For the image to have been painted on the shroud would have taken a painter an effort so great that he would have to be able to apply correct weights of paint or pigment, from a loaded brush or other hand-held device, with a technique employing pointilism, so accurate as to be executed under conditions that would require a microscope, without error, and with such perfection as to enable a 3D image to appear using a VP-8 Image Analyzer, and of course, imagining the entire image while executing the painting, back, front and inside out to all match perfectly while taking into account perspective distortion and blood flow into relevant parts, and one last thing – the whole image would be done in negative! All of this would have to have been done by a painter WITHOUT A SINGLE MISTAKE. The microscope has shown that quite clearly.

What pseudo-sceptics don’t seem to understand is that they can’t simply sweep something under the carpet like this and hope that it goes away. No matter what the argument is regarding the age of the cloth, or even of whether it corresponds to Christ, nobody has been able to explain how the image could have been made. No painter from hundreds of years ago had the time, resources or skill to paint that image. No painter now has the time, resources or skill to paint that image. If they do, they simply have to replicate it and prove to us that it’s a forgery, but they can’t. No painter can. Some crude attempts to recreate it have been attempted, but they are certainly not as accurate, and are light years away from similar when viewed under a microscope. And so the pseudo-sceptics in their desperate attempt to debunk it remain unable to explain how a supra-genius master painter/forger had the time, skill and resources available in the 14th century to create this wonder, while nothing else exists in the world of anything near the same level of technical accomplishment. I find it both disappointing and depressing that human beings can be so dishonest and ignorant of this obvious fact.

It’s the duty of science to understand how the image came to be on the cloth. If we ever understand how it did happen by a means other than painting, we still have no means of proving that this is the shroud of Christ.

More here: More Tetherd Cow Ahead on the Shroud of Turin « Shroud of Turin Blog and at the blog entry that got this thread started here at Tetherd Cow Ahead

Nicholas Allen’s Photograph Theory Just Won’t Die

Nicholas Allen continues to push his theory (it has been demonstrated in many ways that the image cannot be a photograph).

AN international television documentary on the controversial Shroud of Turin, which has just been completed, features the work of a Nelson Mandela Bay academic who has been researching the ancient relic for more than a decade.

The Shroud is purported to be the cloth in which the body of Jesus Christ was buried.

Professor Nicholas Allen‘s research resulted in a book in which he explained how the shroud, which appears to carry the imprinted form of Christ, was actually “the first photograph”.

Pioneer Studios from Hammersmith in London filmed the documentary on the mystery behind one of the Catholic Church‘s most important relics, and it will be aired by the Discovery Channel.

The Shroud of Turin was proved to be a 13th or 14th century forgery by carbon dating techniques in 1988 – but that scientific conclusion hasn‘t altogether dispelled the firm belief among many Christians that it is a holy relic.

Allen, formerly dean of the faculty of arts and design at the then Port Elizabeth Technikon, is a sculptor and art historian.

“The documentary is intended to offer a more balanced appraisal of the Shroud‘s import. Apparently another recent documentary was aired in the USA and gave the impression that the shroud was a miracle, so the Discovery Channel decided to commission Pioneer Studios to make a more objective documentary to counter this,” said Allen.

A number of researchers and historians were interviewed for the documentary, mostly Americans.

“I was asked to reconstruct my own experiments from the early 1990s and was also interviewed. My interview took place in the UK at a venue just outside Oxford. For this, I reconstructed a camera obscura, a screen for suspending the shroud and a gibbet for suspending a fibre-glass corpse.”

Allen started his research on the Shroud of Turin out of a passion for history and out of curiosity.

He said he chose his avenue of research because “nobody was looking at how a forgery was made. I started to find out how they did it.

“I started to look at it as a phenomenon and the obvious conclusion it was a photograph.

“Most of my research was based on published work by other researchers. I saw the Shroud of Turin for the first time at the new Millennium exhibition in 2000 in Italy.”

Allen‘s research was published as a thesis, and later in 1998, he published a book The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens: Testament to a Lost Technology.

Allen believes the Shroud of Turin is physical evidence that people understood at least the rudiments of primitive photography about five centuries before its accepted discovery in 1799 by Thomas Wedgewood.

In 1988, carbon dating was done by three institutions which came up with exactly the same conclusion that the linen of the shroud was grown between 1260 and 1390.

Weekend Post: News


Yes, it is amazing. But the detail in the shroud images goes well beyond pareidolia. I am afraid, however, that there is a problem with pareidolia when people see things on the shroud that probably aren’t there; for instance coins and lettering, etc.

Isn’t it wonderful how the human mind works? Apparently we have a knack of recognizing faces in every day objects. That phenomenon is called pareidolia . Most famous of course are the shroud of Turin, or when people see Jesus or the Virgin Mary in a peace of toast or some dirt on a window. That’s called acheiropoieta (yeah I looked that up). One of the most stunning examples I came across lately is this vintage photo of a child sitting on a man’s lap. You actually have to look hard to see beyond the face to see the actual picture.


Thanks to Fingermaze: He’s all around us.


Yes, it is amazing. But the detail in the shroud images goes well beyond pareidolia. I am afraid, however, that there is a problem with pareidolia when people see things on the shroud that probably aren’t there; for instance coins and lettering, etc.

Isn’t it wonderful how the human mind works? Apparently we have a knack of recognizing faces in every day objects. That phenomenon is called pareidolia . Most famous of course are the shroud of Turin, or when people see Jesus or the Virgin Mary in a peace of toast or some dirt on a window. That’s called acheiropoieta (yeah I looked that up). One of the most stunning examples I came across lately is this vintage photo of a child sitting on a man’s lap. You actually have to look hard to see beyond the face to see the actual picture.


Thanks to Fingermaze: He’s all around us.

..my 23 cents… !!!: The Shroud of Turin !!!

Close. Just a few more cents:

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have been physically traumatized in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, from which it derives its most common name. Some believe the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus and that his image was recorded on its fibers at his resurrection. Others contend it is a medieval hoax or forgery.

Actually. a whole lot of people believe it MAY BE real and that the image MAY BE a natural phenomenon unrelated to a resurrection event. Among scientists in the Shroud Science Group, it is unreasonable to jump to conclusions, either way, without enough evidence.

The Ridiculous Picknett and Prince Photograph Theory

lynnpicknett_cliveprince When Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince get into the news, as they have recently with their new book, The Masks of Christ: Behind the Lies and Cover-ups about the Life of Jesus, invariably new discussion arises about their proposal that Leonardo da Vinci created the image on the shroud using a medieval proto-camera.

Historian Dan Scavone comments on the Picknett and Prince argument that the image was made using a magic lantern, a simple projector, and light-sensitive chromium salts in an egg white medium.

The argument that history’s proto-photo was a life- sized photo(!) on a fourteen-foot cloth(!) that was a composite(!): double corpse with daubed-on blood and, in separate processes, Leonardo’s own head front and back, is a priori far-fetched. The premise is more demanding of faith than is the authenticity of the Shroud. I am led to ask why Leonardo has left us his self-portrait in red chalk and not his photo, and why he would use another body when Vasari notes that his own physique was near-perfect, and everybody knows his exorbitant vanity.

Scavone also writes:

This question leads the authors to another assertion: Leonardo was a member of a secret society called the Priory of Sion, which esteemed John the Baptist over Jesus. Therefore, the apparent disembodied head visible on the Shroud man was Leonardo’s cipher for the decapitated Baptist. Leonardo’s use of his own photo, they argue, was owing to his inordinate vanity, the same that prompted him to encode his own face in his famous portrait of Mona Lisa, wife of Francesco de Giocondo. This theory was confirmed by Lillian Schwartz of Bell Laboratories and Dr. Digby Quested of London, who discovered that it matched up perfectly with the major lines of Leonardo’s face in the above-mentioned self-portrait at age sixty. Picknett writes “Leonardo was capable of subtly building his own image into that of his masterpieces; if he had done so with the Mona Lisa, why not with the Shroud?”

There is also plenty of evidence from science that demonstrates that this is not a photograph. Were it, it would not produce a 3D image. A photograph contains only reflective light data. It does not contain spatial data.

On Science vs. God

Over at Sara’s Ramblings you will find a well thought out posting on the proposition that God and science are not compatible. Sara disagree.

Science and human discovering, as far as I’m concerned, further affirms God’s character as shown in Scripture. God gave us brains for a reason. If He wanted a bunch of mindless drones worshipping Him, He wouldn’t have given us the capacity to seek, question, push, discover and then choose to believe something, to believe in Him, and love Him by our own free will.

There is a brief mention of the Shroud of Turin. She speaks of one hypothesis for the resurrection based on observations of the shroud. There are many, however. And while I think the shroud is real I don’t think the nature of resurrection can be determined from the evidence so far gathered from the shroud.

The Weedless Garden: More on Passive Systems

Ray Schneider writes:

This is the time of year (mid-October) when my mind tends to turn to system design. What should I do next year. I’ve had two pretty tame Summers since I’ve taken a vacation last Summer and this Summer I worked on a study of image-processing and the Shroud of Turin which I hope will be up on the Ohio Conference Shroud site by the end of December.

There should be many papers to read this winter. We are looking forward to it.

Inexplicable 3D Optical Illusion Phenomenon

From Shroud of Turin for Journalists: The Peculiar 3D Phenomenon of the Shroud of Turin Image

3d_htm18 For simplicity, let’s confine our discussion to black and white pictures. The Shroud, after all, is monochromatic: brown and white actually.

Like any painting or photograph of a face or an entire human body (or for that matter a vase, apple or any three dimensional object) brightness represents light. Look at a full frontal picture of a man. The tip of his nose approaches white and the depth of the recesses of his eyes are darker. The roundness of his face from his cheeks towards his ears is progressively darker.  At first glance, the face on the Shroud of Turin appears to be such a picture. It isn’t.

How do we know this? All regular pictures, be they paintings or photographs, represent light coming from some direction and being reflected towards our eyes. The eye of the painter or the camera lens is a proxy for our own eyes. The reason the recesses of a man’s eyes are darker than the tip of his nose is because less light gets to into the recess. Image analysis shows us that this is not so with the facial image on the Shroud. There is no direction to what seems like light. Something else is causing the lighter and darker shades. That is looks like light to us is an optical illusion.

Look at the black and white picture that looks like a smoke ring. We might think that this is light reflected off of the smoke. It is not. This is an analog data file of elevation, sometimes called a bump map in the world of computer graphics. With special computer software we can plot the data, the brighter and darker tones, as an elevation. That is exactly what we can do with the image on the Shroud of Turin: plot it as an elevation.

Let’s be clear: You can not plot a regular photograph this way. Nor can you do so for a painting, even a brown and white painting. You can do so with a precise copy of the Shroud, however.

Not only does this show that the image on the Shroud is not a photograph or painting, it shows that something extraordinary occurred to form the image.

Continue reading “Inexplicable 3D Optical Illusion Phenomenon”

Plant life traces on Shroud of Turin draws local interest

 stlouis2008St. Louis Review Online:

For decades, scientists have debated the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Two researchers were in St. Louis last week to present their findings on the shroud. The event was held at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Some 400 people attended.

Avinoam Danin, emeritus professor of botany at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has spent years examining images of plant life discovered on the shroud.

He also has discovered additional pieces of plant life on the cloth, which has provided additional evidence to support his theory that the shroud was used somewhere in the area of Jerusalem.

Dr. Petrus Soons, a native of the Netherlands and retired doctor, has used digital photos of the shroud to create three-dimensional holograms, which have provided new and unique views of the cloth.

While neither Soons nor Danin attempted to prove that the image of the man found on the shroud indeed was that of Christ, both agreed that their research provides additional insight into the history of the cloth.

Full story  St. Louis Review Online

Best New Shroud of Turin Website

Image1 Be sure to check out this website, Shroud University. It is loaded with helpful resources including audio (and soon video) of the Ohio State University Shroud of Turin Conference  presentations and open discussion forums.

Shroud University is a division of The Shroud of Turin Education Project, inc. and builds upon its original mission of providing the research tools necessary for students to explore this profound mystery. Is the Shroud of Turin a 2000-year-old relic of Jesus Christ or is it merely a medieval fake? It is a question that rivals “The Great Debate.”

ZENIT – What to Look for From the Shroud

It is a little bit of a muddled report, but it is nonetheless interesting: Paolo Centofanti writes:

ROME, SEPT. 2, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The exposition of the Holy Shroud of Turin in 2010 is a “providential opportunity” to understand its spiritual meaning, says one of its researchers.

Father Gianfranco Berbenni, titular professor of the course titled “Science and Theology in Face of the Holy Shroud,” in the Science and Faith master’s program of the Regina Apostolorum university, says he is in favor of scientific research that avoids the spectacular when dealing with the shroud.

In this interview with ZENIT, he suggests what can be gleaned from the 2010 exposition.

Q: What is your reaction to the announcement of the public exposition of the holy shroud?

Father Berbenni: It is a providential opportunity to be able to carry out a pastoral program that is centered on the passion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and it is a providential opportunity for the holy shroud to be a privileged witness, together with the service of the Gospels and of the sacraments, which might be the occasion for far more intense socio-political commitments, especially in the area of emergencies and charity.

Q: In recent months, there seems to be a new interest in the holy shroud. What do you see as positive or potentially negative about this?

Father Berbenni: I see as positive an aspect that is normal for science: never to abandon the analysis of an object. In this case, the holy shroud is an archeological vestige for science, a fabric with bloody impressions of a dead person in certain circumstances. I would say that it is a normal and welcome practice for science to continue its study.
Perhaps there is a search for the scientifically spectacular, and this is an element of weakness in the current research. I believe what is necessary is to go back to the cards in play, by returning to plan the “match” according to its norms, in a simple way, without the hope of spectacular findings.

Beyond the media, what is at stake here is the spectacular manner of the scientific procedure.
What is more, there is a danger, at least for us priests. Even if a level of viability is reached on radiation that allows for the superficial diffusion of the shroud’s bodily impression, the great danger would be if the scientists themselves began to “engage in theology” saying, “We have discovered the energy that has caused the Resurrection” — something that for theologians not only is very debatable but that goes against the current of the strategy that the Gospels have chosen as the determinant cause of faith in the Resurrection, namely, the testimony of the Scriptures and of the Apostles.

The real danger that lies behind this excess is to seek the cause of the superficial impression on the holy shroud; it is the invasion of laboratory science in theological science.

One would have to go back to 1984, when the “Shroud of Turin Research Project” (STURP) team of the United States reported on the research initiated in 1978 and presented a spectacular “Formal Scientific Research Program on the Holy Shroud of Turin,” which, sadly, has remained almost totally absent from debates on the Shroud.

One would have to return to that time, to discuss in detail the so-called superficiality of the bodily image of the holy shroud. It would be even more important and desirable if the medical world would make a new, high-level effort to analyze the holy shroud, especially with teams of experts in legal pathology. The medical-scientific sector is very much a minority in research on the holy shroud. I think it should intervene very forcefully.

Q: What are your thoughts on the experiment carried out by Italy’s Entity for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment, headed by Dr. Giuseppe Baldacchini, which has led to images structurally comparable with the image of the man of the holy shroud.
Father Berbenni: It is an interesting scientific experiment from the point of view of results. From the point of view of the study of the shroud, I believe it should be placed in a broader context of discussion.

Q: Do you think that in some way it can contribute elements for a possible explanation on how the image was formed?

Father Berbenni: I believe those who proceed to verify the thesis of the superficiality of the bodily image are those who have difficulty in considering the formation of the bodily impression as a simple natural phenomenon of a physical-chemical nature.
I believe they will follow the path to seek an energy that can be documented, as in the case of this ultraviolet radiation.
However, I think it is necessary to keep in mind the theory of the natural formation, according to which, there are no superficial impressions as, in fact, STURP’s scientists themselves were planning to verify — this which to them seemed an incontrovertible fact stemming from the first elements, postulates and collection of data.

Journal of a Missionary: Evidence for the Resurrection or pigment of someone’s imagination?

Excellent Posting by John Fraser. I highly recommend it. 

To date, nobody has been able to produce an image that has all of the properties of the image on the Shroud. This is even with the assistance of modern technology. The image was not painted, as peer-reviewed studies have shown that there are no dyes or pigments on the Shroud. The image itself is only on the surface of the Shroud and doesn’t penetrate the cloth. In fact, the image itself has been measured to between 200 and 800 nanometers in thickness. That’s about 1/100th of the thickness of a human hair and thinner than most bacteria.

Read the entire posting: Journal of a Missionary: Evidence for the Resurrection or pigment of someone’s imagination?