The Real Meaning Is Not Authenticity

imageCarol Glatz has an interesting piece in the Catholic Herald, ‘Obsession’ with authenticity hides Turin Shroud’s real meaning, says expert. That expert is Gian Maria Zaccone, scientific director of the Museum of the Shroud of Turin. He said it at a preview of the shroud exposition for journalists. Take a couple of minutes to read the entire article:

“It is up to one’s own personal judgment, that is, neither I nor anyone else can tell you that the Shroud is authentic or not; each person examines and works out what research has offered” and then makes up his or her own mind.

Church doctrine has long held that any reverence or honour given to a religious object or relic must be given to what it represents and not to the object itself, he said.

As I am getting ready to post the above, in comes an email from Joe Marino with a Google translation of a Vatican Insider article that features answers to questions by Zaccone and Andrea Nicolotti. Nicolotti is a frequent participant in this blog who has commented nearly two-hundred times. In the Vatican Insider article Nicolotti tells us (Googlized):

"The Church in the official discourse uses some caution, however, in practice (books, television, catechesis, conferences) promotes propaganda authenticity and discourages the contrary. This creates a lot of ambiguity. "

What Nicolotti is saying is the same thing I am beginning to hear more often. Stephen Jones used the term duplicitous, which is a bit harsh.  See yesterday’s posting, Ye shall know them by their photographs.

And so the question was posed: What should the Church do with the Shroud?

Nicolotti: "No, this is not a question for a historian. It is not my job to say what the Church should do. As far as I’m concerned I feel so overwhelming evidence medieval origin, which I can not understand how anyone can argue otherwise if not placing myself from a point of view devotional or emotional, not rational. "

Zaccone: "I agree that we need a historical, but we must give priority to the study of the object to get the answers we seek regarding the origin of the Shroud. Consider the historical research is very important in many ways, but not fundamental to the question of authenticity. The Church, as I said before, does what it has always historically done and continues to do: teaching propose that image to go to the heart of what it represents, according to the teaching that, through the representation, honor and worship you make it to the principal. "

N: "From the historical point of view it is necessary to perform a cleaning of all the false rumors and legends about the Shroud touted as true. A serious scientific study would be equally desirable. Let’s start with some certain items. The first historical are medieval. At the time, even those who possessed it affirmed the authenticity of the Shroud: called "figure or representation."The fabric – according to my conclusions, which had already reached some historians of weaving, unheeded – is technologically medieval. Twelve radiocarbon datings, performed in 1988 in three different laboratories, have called medieval. Then there are strong indications, such as the fact that no one in history for thirteen centuries, from the tomb of Jesus to the Middle Ages, has never spoken of this shroud; and when the bishop of Troyes and the pope have spoken for the first time, they did say that it was a fraud. So I conclude that it is extremely unlikely that this object dates from the time of Jesus. In addition, the image on the Shroud could not have produced by contact with a dead body without the intervention of a craftsman, and stains of "blood" are not realistic. Efforts are made to doubt this evidence, but I think no effectiveness. If we want to give priority to the devotional aspect, then there was no talk of authenticity. But the question always resurfaces, I can not dodge the issue. That the problem is not secondary demonstrated by the fact that the Shroud is constantly engaged in an effort to delegitimize the results of studies to the detriment of the authenticity, concocting complicated alternative explanations or by resorting to the subject of the miracle. It rejects arguments against and always has a tendency to cite research favorable authenticity (pollens, written, coins) without ever giving into account when they are rejected by the scientific community. Meanwhile access to the Shroud is foreclosed to scholars for decades: it is even forbidden to work on the high-resolution photographs, a situation quite simply unacceptable. "

Z: "I do not think can be considered closed the question of the origin of the Shroud. I’m not saying that is certainly true, I just say that you can not wipe out so simply a series of elements at least doubts, such as the formation of the image, which even today, despite the numerous theoretical and experimental studies carried out, remains without explanation because no one has yet managed to produce an equal. Also because the problems of interpretation of radiocarbon dating were already present in the literature relative to other datings addition to that of the Shroud. Also I think I have repeatedly made clear how the documents, particularly those medieval, can be interpreted in a more complex and not necessarily for the worse. And I would also like you cease to believe that any researcher – even if the value of goal – that enters the order of ideas that the Shroud may be authentic, thereby become unreliable when no object of derision. There must be a science of the Shroud, but scientists who study according to their specializations. I do not find correct that a nuclear physicist deals with history and vice versa. "

Two Articles on the Shroud’s History

They appear in the Italian language daily L’Indro (the links include translation into English):

image1)  Shroud: before the Middle Ages did not exist: The Mandylion is not the Shroud of Turin, which appeared only in 1355 in Lirey by Andrea Nicolotti

Google Translate says:  A much exploited in past to attribute an ancient history in a relic that is lacking is to take the hypothetical events attributed to a relic different and apply them to that, or to argue that two relics are actually the same thing. There are some stories that concern ancient images acheropite, ie ‘not made ​​by human hands’, fabrics on which it would miraculously imprinted the image of Christ. One of them is the Veronica, another is called Mandylion , ie ‘handkerchief’ or ‘towel’ of Edessa . The clip_image001legend on this handkerchief took its first steps in the V century as an appendix of another apocryphal legend and free of historical verisimilitude, already known in the previous century, which told of a correspondence exchanged between Jesus and King Abgar V of Edessa . In the text known as the ‘ Doctrine of Addai ‘it is said that King Abgar had sent his messenger to Jesus, who not only gave him a letter, but he also painted a portrait. Towards the middle of the sixth century, the legend was further modified and instead of the painted colors there was talk of a miraculous image : seeing the inability of the messenger in painting the portrait, Jesus would have washed his face and he wiped with a towel ; and on the fabric would miraculously imprinted the image of his face

image2) From the Mandylion Shroud: Reconstruction of the history of the Mandylion of Edessa in Lirey by Filippo Burgarella

Google Translate says:  To which attributes the discovery of the icon hidden for centuries in a niche of the walls of Edessa and prodigiously duplicated. A ‘icon, then, on two different media: the original on a towel folded four times (‘ rhakos tetradiplon ‘) and the copy on tile (‘ Keramion ‘). It was believed that the copy was formed by contact with the original on Keramion place to protect that niche. An Icon that in both formats ‘achiropita’, ie not painted by the hand of man, even to distinguish it from the pagan idols, facts instead of human hands (‘deadly works facta’) as reaffirm the imperial laws. Since then it was kept in the cathedral rebuilt by Emperor Justinian made. In 639 Edessa falls under Islamic rule, which saves the icon from the havoc of the Byzantine iconoclasts. From then on it is called Mandylion….

Shroud: The Reasons for the ‘No’

imageMaria Chiara Strappaveccia, Culture Columnist, has an interesting article in L’Lindro entitled Sindone: le ragioni del ‘no’: Le obiezioni all’autenticità del Telo sintetizzate da Andrea Nicolotti, Luigi Garlaschelli, Antonio Lombatti

(or as Google Translation puts it, Shroud: the reasons for the ‘no’: The objections to the authenticity of the Cloth synthesized by Andrea Nicolotti, Luigi Garlaschelli, Antonio Lombatti)

Here is a rough Google translation of the article:

What are the reasons why many in the debate on the Shroud of Turin, lined up for the authenticity of the Shroud? 

  • There is not reason to believe that the Shroud is medieval?
  • [Is it] true that it is irreproducible?

During the creation of this special dedicated to the Holy Shroud, in view of ‘ exposition of April , we spoke with many scholars of the Cloth, between the so-called ‘non autenticisti’ we discussed, among others, with historians Andrea Nicolotti , scholar of the history of Christianity and researcher at the University of Turin, and Antonio Lombatti , Popular University of Parma, and the chemical Luigi Garlaschelli , Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Pavia. From conversations with Garlaschelli and Nicolotti (that for our Special realized some services that will be published in the coming weeks), we extracted a summary of the ‘reasons for not’ the authenticity of the Shroud.  

Archaeology and History

The linen threads of the Shroud have a twisting opposite to that in use in Israel at the time of Jesus; this twisting, however, is the same that was used in Europe in the Middle Ages. Then the shroud is not a fabric produced in Palestine at the time of Jesus .

The flax is woven with the technique twill from 3 Alloy 1, that is, each warp yarn passes over three weft yarns and under the fourth, and so on , alternately, so as to form a diagonal pattern. This trend is mirrored and gives rise to an effect to ‘zig zag’ said ‘herringbone’. It is not known in ancient times , before the Middle Ages, no linen fabric large and complex as the shroud that has been woven with this technique , with which the frames would have been at the disposal of the old extreme complexity to the point of making it almost impossible. No ‘ shroud ‘ and no linen fabric ancient comparable to the shroud is made ​​in this way . The oldest examples found so far, which are technically comparable to the Shroud are all back to the thirteenth century.

The Shroud of Turin is completely different from the various fragments of authentic Palestinian shrouds of the first century known to archaeologists, found in tombs at Masada, ‘En Gedi, Jericho, Akeldama.

It seems that the real shrouds were wrapped around the body and tied , and not placed above and below , and stir well stretched in the longitudinal direction, as seems to be the case for that of Turin. The Shroud is not even consistent with the description of the Gospel , which speaks of various linens and a shroud on the head, smaller and distinguished from other fabrics. Also the Gospels do not say that Jesus was put in a sheet , but that was wrapped and tied in cloth, which is incompatible with what you see in the Shroud of Turin , where there are no signs of ligatures and windings .

The Gospels do not mention no human footprint that would remain etched in the burial cloth of Jesus.

The Shroud of Turin is not known from the first century , in fact, for several centuries, no one ever said that the burial cloth of Jesus had been saved and preserved . It is likely that the Jews of Jesus’ followers have not even touched, because for the Jews of that time as to those of today that has touched a corpse is impure and transmits impurities.

The Shroud of Turin does not resemble any of the shrouds that, from the sixth century AD, began to be described by many pilgrims who visited the holy places and knew the various relics, today recognized almost all false, that they began to be produced at ‘era. It is highly unlikely that a genuine relic with an image of Christ as the Shroud was never mentioned by anyone until the Middle Ages .

The Shroud of Turin is by no means a relic of ancient and unique, because before it appeared there were other ‘shrouds’ elsewhere and most well-known and revered (Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Compiègne, Aachen, Cadouin, Mainz, etc.) , all considered authentic until the modern era.

The Shroud of Turin suddenly appeared in France , in Lirey , in the diocese of Troyes, towards 1355. Immediately Henri de Poitiers , the bishop of the local diocese of Troyes, which was opposed all’ostensione made, considering it an obvious fake. The exhibitions resumed after about thirty years, and yet the new bishop, Pierre d’Arcis , opposed. After a long standoff between him and the dean of the church where the exhibitions took place in 1389, the bishop appealed to Pope Clement VII with a long memorial, in which he tells how his predecessor had even found the artist that ‘ had ‘cleverly painted’.

The Pope allowed the exhibitions only as long as you say every time that it was a representation, and not the true Shroud of Christ. At the time of these fights anyone, neither the Pope , nor the bishops , nor the canons of Lirey neither the owners of the Shroud never claimed that it was true , indeed, everyone called ‘figure’ or ‘representation’ of the true shroud of Jesus .

The luck of the Shroud began only when it was illegally sold to the Duke of Savoy from a woman who died excommunicated for his action. Because of the power of the ducal family, slowly were forgotten and hidden the little noble origins and initial controversy, through a work of falsification of the history of the Shroud that lasted until the early twentieth century. Once in their hands , the Savoys increasingly promoted the cult , as a relic of the royal family, to obtain the endorsement of some popes declared , from Julius II .

Among the thousands of medieval relics (thorns of the crown, wood and nails of the cross, sandals and robes of Jesus, fragments of his umbilical cord of his foreskin, his hair and more), the shrouds, certainly not lacking. Generally were white sheets, as the Gospels do not mention any impression on them. But there were also small towels called ‘Veronica’ or ‘Mandili’, which, according to various legends, Jesus would have left imprinted on his face alive. Perhaps the union of the two concepts of miraculous imprint and shroud, especially from Veronica, who was born the idea of a shroud bearing the imprint of the entire body. 

The image and the wounds

Considering the Shroud image is known the total lack of geometric deformations that would be expected from an imprint left -with any means- by a human body covered by a towel . Several researchers have tried to cover a voluntary colorful painting , and appoggiargli over a sheet . Obviously the result is a horribly deformed, and no halftones and nuances of the real Shroud, but rather a ‘stamp effect’. The image of the Shroud, which seems so perfect, it is absolutely unrealistic: too good to be true .

Abused and inconsistent is the reference to the alleged special ‘ negativity ‘ of the Shroud image , ‘discovered’ in 1898 when the Shroud was photographed for the first time. The discussion on this point also coincides with the birth of the Shroud. In fact the shape of the body presents a reversal of light and shade than the reality ; parts of the body more in relief, those that should be more exposed to light (such as the nose), on the fabric are darker, while those less in relief, and then further away from the fabric and less illuminated by the light (as the orbits eyes) are less dark. This has nothing strange nor means that the author was so clever to know the effect of modern photographic negatives, as often claimed: it is simply the result of a normal decals , just what an architect would have wanted to make to give the ‘impression of a contact between a tissue and a body capable of leaving an image (bloody because, for example).

Many sindonologists ‘autenticisti’ (the terms are in fact become almost synonymous) were and are coroners. In their view, the precision pathologic of wounds and injuries on the Shroud are completely realistic and compatible only with a real corpse. In fact any investigation of a medical nature on a figure stamped and in the absence of the true body is extremely speculative and based on unprovable assumptions . It is evident, however, that are not at all the pretty plausible dripping blood on the hair (which if anything should essersene matted and soaked), nor the existence of an imprint hair themselves , that a person would fall backwards without lying trace on the front side. It has also been experimentally verified that the direction of true dripping blood on the forearms, on the backs of the hands and side follow trends quite different from those depicted on the Holy Cloth. But are the laboratory analyzes those mentioned by now discussed more frequently; for instance as to the presence or absence of blood. Obviously, on a false shroud could find blood, dyes, or both; but a shroud true-even if it had been doctored with colorimetric must necessarily possess traces of blood. A first commission of inquiry set up by Cardinal Michele Pellegrino gave in 1969-1973, however, disappointing results. The forensic analysis laboratory of Professor Giorgio Frache Modena (test chemical, chromatographic and immunological) had only negative results . Microscopic examinations conducted by Guido Filogamo and Alberto Zina showed no traces of red blood cells or other blood corpuscles typical. We saw, however, the granules of a coloring material whose nature there is pronounced. It should also be noted that the ‘ blood ‘ on the shroud is still very red , while it is well known that normally the degradation of hemoglobin makes it very dark in a short time .

In 1978 the then Archbishop of Turin Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero (assisted by Professor Luigi Gonella Turin Polytechnic as a scientific consultant) allowed 120 hours of analysis in a group self-offertosi of American scientists, the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project ), which underwent a series of test chemical, physical and spectroscopic on which even today is discussed.

In contrast with previous results, the chemical STURP John Heller and David Alan Adler said to have established the presence of blood because they had got the typical reactions. In 1980, however, the well-known American microscopist Walter McCrone on fibers that STURP had passed he found no blood, but traces of red ocher, vermilion (red pigment widely used in the Middle Ages) and Alizarin (plant pigment red-pink). McCrone reported, moreover, the presence of a binder for the pigment particles that saw, which could be collagen (gelatin), or egg white. In practice it would tempera paints. The intrinsic characteristics of the image, proven by scientists STURP, are very interesting. L ‘ image is superficial (does not pass on the other side of the sheet) and is not produced by pigments or dyes    -a difference of blood stains, knead that the entire thickness of the canvas with a substance that bonds the fibers, and they are visible red particles. The image is due to a yellowing of the cellulose fibers , in practice to a degradation due to dehydration and oxidation. Analyses STURP indicated that body image has properties very similar to those of the burns , still clearly visible, that the Shroud suffered in the fire in 1532. Both the hypothesis of a slight burn (or singeing) than that of a chemical attack were deemed plausible , although the STURP failed to explain the genesis of an image with these characteristics, which lead many to exclude the work of an artist.

Sindonologists insist that an image with these characteristics can not be achieved with the means available to a medieval craftsman. They therefore concentrate all their efforts to find supernatural mechanisms that explain the genesis. The assumption, however, is not acceptable. Various hypotheses have been put forward on how the Shroud was manufactured (eg using chemical or heat) that certainly would be more easily found on the original, if access is not prevented by its owners.

The radiocarbon

The STURP , among others, recommended the radiocarbon dating of the relic by the method of carbon-14 to settle the question of authenticity. Only ten years later, in 1988, Cardinal Ballestrero and Gonella, under the supervision of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, chose the three laboratories with more experience in this technique worldwide: Tucson, Oxford and Zurich. Coordinator was Professor Michael Tite of the British Museum, considered a prestigious institution above the parties. Small samples were taken from a corner of the cloth, and the overall results , published October 13, 1988, circumscribed the age of the cloth to the period between 1260 and 1390 .

This means that the radiocarbon dating has fully confirmed the historical data (the Shroud appears suddenly in the middle ages, not before) and technological (the kind of fabric is not attested before the Middle Ages).

Cardinal Ballestrero proved to accept and adapt to the results of the test honestly: " I think it is not appropriate to question the results. Nor is the case of reviewing the skins scientists if their response does not square with the reasons of the heart . " Who did not give the response of independent scientists were the advocates of authenticity to the bitter end, which imbastirono various lines of objections. Some delusional (conspiracy of laboratories with complicity Ballestrero), other laughable (collected fragments of a mending -obviously ever seen by any of the various textile experts who examined the Shroud wire instead of the pro-Shroud). The hypothesis most often repeated is that the levy was polluted by dirt consists of carbon more ‘modern’ that would have rejuvenated the cloth, but this is a topic that does not convince anyone of those who deal with radiodatazioni.

In 1993 a Russian chemist immediately became famous, Dimitri Kouznetsov , stated that during the fire suffered by the Shroud in Chambéry in 1532 the carbon dioxide of the air would be fixed to the cellulose of the linen, making carbon ‘recent’. A careful reading of the works of Kouznetsov showed, however, errors and forcing. Attempts to scientifically reproduce his experiments failed one after the other. But only after careful investigation it was discovered that it was a real quack, who had also invented names of collaborators, magazines, museums and laboratories.

It should be noted that none of the three laboratories of radiocarbon dating has never confirmed the objections of the Shroud. It should also be pointed out that radiocarbon dating is a tried and tested tool for archaeological dating, which each time has been applied to an alleged relic of Jesus provided a medieval dating (Shroud of Oviedo, title of the cross, the shroud of Carcassonne, tunic of Argenteuil, etc.) always rejected by the supporters of these relics.

Other statements ‘wonderful’ of ‘autenticisti’ -fungi grown on the fabric, traces of Roman coins from the time of Pilate, written in various languages ​​[in] visible on the cloth, pollen ancient Middle East, prior to the fourteenth century miniatures depicting the Shroud – are, similarly, not very plausible.

You might try a Bing translation. I could not get it to work.  Google did what seems to be a good job but with some loss of formatting.  I’ve tried to fix that in places.

The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend?

imageAndrea Nicolotti’s book, From the Mandylion of Edessa to the Shroud of Turin: The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend (Art and Material Culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe) has finally been published in English. It was available in Italian in 2011. Andrea, who has commented in this blog on occasion, considers this to be a “revised and augmented edition.”

The price for the Hardcover edition is $124.00 at Amazon. The list price is $142.00.  (Please note that Amazon is reporting that the book has not been released even though the publication date is September 15th. Nonetheless, Amazon is accepting orders at this time).

A limited preview of the first chapter and the conclusion from the last chapter is available at Academia.org. The Table of Contents and Index are also provided.

The whet your appetite here are three paragraphs from the conclusion:

There is not a shred of evidence that the Mandylion of Edessa was a long shroud or that it showed the entire body of the crucified and wounded figure of Christ. Those who argue for the shared identity of the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion of Edessa have based their arguments on evidence that cannot withstand close scrutiny. In order to argue for the authenticity of the Turinese relic, some have gone to great lengths. In so doing, they have approached the changing nature of the legends concerning this relic too simplistically. More-over, they have used evolving legends as if they were trustworthy historical sources, which is utterly unacceptable.

It is clear that the ultimate aim of the theory that identifies the Shroud with the Mandylion is to demonstrate that the Shroud of Turin has existed and can be documented since antiquity. But the first historical documents that mention the Shroud date to the fourteenth century, and the date obtained by radiocarbon dating places it between 1260 and 1390 CE. The history of the Shroud is the topic of my next book, but it is important to clarify that even if the Shroud was authentic and dated from the first century, it is a completely different object than the Edessean image.

We can therefore end this analysis by quoting the 1786 opinion of the Marquis Giovanni de Serpos, in regard to the reliability of that “sweet illusion” and the “birth of a devout imagination” in the legend of Abgar: “Everything so far narrated must be counted as mere fable.”

Order it today and Amazon will ship it the minute it becomes available. I look forward to reading this book and his next book on the history of the Shroud.