A Folding Method Charles Freeman Might Accept

Click on the image to see how it is done in steps 1 through 5

clip_image001[4]Stephen Jones, back in September of 2012, wrote:

A commenter on Dan Porter’s Shroud of Turin blog pointed out what I had previously realised, but had forgotten, that Dan’s "Tetradiplon" graphic illustrating how the Shroud of Turin, when "four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon), with Jesus’ face uppermost, results in Jesus’ face only within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (exactly as in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa), has a flaw in that it only shows three doublings of the Shroud (see above).

Even Ian Wilson’s illustrations of this in his books (e.g. "The Evidence of the Shroud," 1986, p.113; "Holy Faces, Secret Places," 1991, p.142; "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.153; "The Turin Shroud," 2000, p.111; and "The Shroud," 2010, p.141), show the Shroud doubled only three times.

But some months ago I cut out a photo of the Shroud and proved to myself that the Shroud can be doubled four times in such a way that it results in Jesus’ face in a rectangular segment of the cloth, in landscape aspect,exactly as it is in early copies of the Image of Edessa. Here I will show how it can be done, in what is a reasonable way to fold a long cloth, minimising strain at its fold edges.

Stephen goes on to say:

This is consistent with major foldlines at one-eighth intervals, found on the Shroud by Dr John Jackson from raking light photographs of the Shroud taken in 1978 by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).

clip_image001

Charles Freeman on Tetradiplon and the Video on shroud.com

imageHe wrote in a comment a few hours ago:

… Someone please tell Ian Wilson so that he can revise his text for any new edition of the Shroud. This should go along with his correction of the illustration of tetradiplon as you cannot translate it as ’doubled in four’ alongside an illustration showing it doubled to make eight ( alas a mistake repeated in the video that Barrie has just posted).

Better leave out the tetradiplon issue altogether as it only refers to the cloth BEFORE Christ wiped his face with it and there is no indication in the text that it was refolded as such afterwards. Having ploughed my way through 150 examples of Greek words where tetra was added, the most likely translation is doubled four times- which is exactly the way they folded the Parthenon cloth as seen in the Parthenon frieze in The British Museum. But that would cut through the face of the Man on the Shroud and so would destroy Wilson’s argument. Better just to edit all this out to save Wilson further loss of credibility among the Byzantine experts.

Click on the image or follow this link:  http://www.shroud.com/videos/tetradiplon.mp4 to see the video. It’s pretty short.

Having Nightmares

clip_image001In an email, Russ Breault writes:

I had a dream last night.  For some reason I was dreaming of Charles Freeman and his painting theory.  I remembered conversations with Isabel Piczek at her studio.  She always develops her paintings, which are large scale murals, with a "cartoon" as she calls it.  I would call it a sketch that becomes the guide for where and how she would apply the paint.  I assume that almost all artists start with an outline, cartoon or sketch.  So in the case of Freeman’s theory, if all the paint has now flaked off, where is the outline?  Where is the underlying sketch? 

First of all, dreaming of Charles Freeman and his painting theory is not merely a dream, it’s a nightmare.

Anyway, when I first read about the shroud, I often read about how the image on the shroud had no outline. Isabel was often quoted and I found myself using the lack of an outline as an argument.  Then one day, I was on Fifth Avenue along the edge of Central Park in Manhattan. There is along this famous avenue, where the sidewalk is as wide as the road, an area where local artists sell their works hanging on a fence or spread out on the pavement. Occasionally, you will find an artist painting portraits of tourists. I watched one such artist at work.  He began with a smattering of seemingly random brush strokes with random colors from his palette. It was, for most of the time that he was painting, a work of pure chaos.  Then the portrait emerged, slowly at first. The was the moment of I think I see the face. Then, it was, of course that is a face. Finally, after maybe ten minutes, it was as hyper realistic as Albrecht Dürer’s self portrait, ca. 1500 AD (above). Watching this artist work was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters. No one shoots baskets like that. No one paints like that, without even a hint of an outline.

But they do. Ever watch Bob Ross on TV?  I’m thinking these days that some artists use outlines and some do not. That the shroud does not appear to have a surviving outline doesn’t impress me all that much any more. Link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlucWfTUo1A

Charles Freeman and the Huffington Post Caption Writer

Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been
produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.


imageCarol Kuruvilla writes HuffPo’s story about the exposition:

In a 2011 book, British scholar Charles Freeman suggested that the shroud was created for medieval Easter rituals. The earliest mention of the shroud he could find was in 1355, when the cloth was displayed at a chapel in Lirey, France.

“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” Freeman told The Guardian.

Italy’s former royal family, the House of Savoy, acquired the shroud in 1453. Freeman says the family “converted” the cloth “into a high-prestige relic” in order to bolster the kingdom’s reputation.

A caption writer for an accompanying gallery of pictures had a different story to tell:

This image cannot be a medieval fake: the image does not match the style, technique, or concepts of medieval imagery, and it cannot be a painting or a rubbing. Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.

And there is this caption for a photograph of the frontal full body image:

The Shroud was first photographed in 1898, revealing that it is an astonishingly realistic negative image. This unequivocally proves that the Shroud cannot be a medieval man-made forgery, for no one knew how to produce such an image in those days – or would have wanted to. And no, Leonardo couldn’t have either – apart from anything else, he was born a century after the Shroud is first documented in France.

And this caption for a picture of the Hungarian Pray Codex

Folio 28r of the Pray Codex, a Hungarian manuscript produced between 1192 and 1195, depicting two scenes from the Passion. Most people believe the Shroud is a fake due to the 1988 carbon-dating test, but the botched sampling of the cloth and the last-minute abandonment of agreed-upon procedures mean that the carbon-dating test had severe flaws. Carbon-dating is by no means 100% reliable, and the carbon-dating of ancient cloths appears to be particularly error-prone. Contamination or a medieval repair can account for the problematic Shroud test. This miniature painting, dating from the 1190s, depicts the Shroud, complete with a distinctive pattern of burn-marks, at least a century before the date suggested by the carbon-dating.

Colin Berry: Stop Calling the Faint Image a Faint Image

And, as I see it . . . the word distance and the word body are both at issue.
Can we go on saying that no one has figured out how the image was formed
and at the same time objectively refer to cloth-to-body distance?

clip_image001I applaud Colin Berry’s attempt at helping to define the image:

Getting the right words to describe the Shroud image into the media and public domain has acquired a new urgency of late, given the recent claims that attempt to undo decades of research.  I refer to historian Charles Freeman’s claim that the TS is merely an age-degraded painting.  I’ve said quite a lot on that score already elsewhere, as indeed have others, and have little more to add, except to say that Mr. Freeman needs to get up to speed with Shroud science, and disabuse himself of the idea that it’s all about art history. The TS is arguably NOT about art. It’s an artefact, intended for purposes other than mere artistic expression. Works of art do not generally result in the issue of Pilgrims’ Badges (Lirey, France, circa 1357).

However, thanks to the robotic and mindless Google algorithm, Charles’s misguided notions will no doubt survive for a while, at least on the internet.  It’s no longer sufficient in this blogger’s view to continue describing the TS as a "faint image". That is too non-specific and makes it too easy for CF to peddle his antediluvian views (if STURP can be thought of as supplying a flood of new information).  "Faint image" or even faint NEGATIVE image simply does not do the business (CF having closed his eyes completely to the  implications of the tone-reversal implied by the descriptor "negative"). No, we need new updated terminology that makes it clear that the TS is not just any old "faint image", but one with very special, indeed unique properties that sets it apart from other pictorial representations of the human form. While that terminology cannot and must not attempt to impose a new orthodoxy regarding mechanism, actual or conjectural, it is entitled in my view to guide thinking in the right direction, while leaving key details unspecified.

So what is that terminology to be?

One has to be neither  pro- nor anti-authenticity to regard the TS image as an IMPRINT.

Definition of "imprint" (noun): Free Dictionary:

im•print

n

1. a mark or indentation impressed on something.

2. any impression or impressed effect.

And it is life-sized front and back, negative and contains seemingly 3D properties, Colin goes on to remind us.

Colin goes on to examine the definition issue from the point of view of a quote from a paper by Barrie Schwortz, Is the Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?: A critical examination of the theory. That paragraph reads:

The STURP team concluded that there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. The researchers calculated that the image on the Shroud was formed at a cloth-to-body distance of up to approximately 4 centimeters, but beyond that, imaging did not occur. The closer the cloth was to the body, the darker the resulting image in that area, with the darkest parts of the image being formed where there was direct contact between the two. The image became proportionately lighter as the distance increased until it reached the maximum imaging distance. . . .

To which Colin responds:

Left to me I would have described the TS image as probably, indeed almost certainly a CONTACT imprint, such as can be modelled with hot templates. But the view exists, articulated above, and emanating in main from STURP physicist John Jackson PhD, that the TS image is not contact-only, but from modelling studies (at any rate)  appears to allow imaging across modest air gaps that do not exceed approx 4cm.  Personally, I think that latitude in allowing an air gap is a defect of the presumed imaging model, one that assumes a linen cloth spread loosely over a real corpse, and making only partial contact under gravity.  That’s a pro-authenticity scenario.

Forget that! The issue isn’t pro-authenticity. The issue is taking a leap too far making an observation into a theory. Consider what adding a short phrase does.

. . . there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the [what might have been] distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. . . .

Colin’s take is just as correct:

Let’s not prejudge who is right, who is wrong.  Let’s assume that all that’s required is close proximity between a body and/or inanimate template that tolerates air gaps up to 4cm.

So the word distance and the word body are both at issue.  Can we go on saying that no one has figured out how the image was formed and at the same time objectively refer to cloth-to-body distance?

Colin’s caveat is fair:

Caveat: I’ve tried to be inclusive here, allowing for the possibility that  the image to have been produced by a burst of radiation (unspecified, see critique by the estimable Bernard Power ), and able to operate across air gaps. Without attempting to read  the minds of ‘resurrection radiationists’, whether it’s electromagnetic radiation or even wackier subatomic particles – notably neutrons-  that are proposed, might they consider the term "imprint", even modified with "proximity" as a potential poisoned chalice? Well, I’ve given a little thought to that, and followed up with some googling. What do I find?  Those ‘radiationist’ ideas have already filtered through to the mainstream media under the heading "imprints".

Of course, I’ve ignored Colin’s main point. We should stop calling the faint image on the shroud a faint image.  We make it to easy for the likes of Charles Freeman.

We should call it a proximity imprint, he tells us. 

No! Four syllables followed by two is a leap to far.  Remember, we are talking about the problems of a “robotic and mindless Google algorithm.”  

BTW:  I Googled “Faint Image.”  Not one picture of the shroud!  Most images were of people who had fainted.

Do read Colin’s entire posting.

There is another reason Charles Freeman is wrong

imageA reader of this blog, Alan C., writes:

There is another reason Charles Freeman is wrong. The image on the Shroud of Turin is a negative. While I know you can’t prove a negative (that is a pun), I contend that no one has ever seen a painted negative other than maybe copies of the Shroud or of a photographic negative. In fact, it would be almost impossible if not completely impossible for anyone to paint a negative image. Just imagine someone could however. Why would he and how would he know it was correct?

If you are speaking of a grayscale negative, one that contains many shades of gray and possibly black and white, then I agree with you, Alan.

Last November, I wrote the following as a blog posting. I was convinced then that Charles did not understand the significance of fact that the image on the shroud is a negative image. Colin Berry had just then written, “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s), which Charles never did.  I contend that if he can’t do so his entire argument goes down the drain.

Here is the previous posting:


Dear Charles Freeman, re the Famous Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck

November 9, 2014

The picture of the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck is in Wikipedia’s image library.
It is in the public domain. The smaller picture shows details that are visible in a small
convex mirror on the wall.

Hi Charles,

Colin Berry had repeatedly pointed out that the image on the shroud is a negative image. He was suggesting that it implied a contact imprint.

Well, maybe. Or maybe a a chemical reaction from a diffusion of gases like Ray Rogers proposed or a photograph like Nicholas Allen theorized or maybe, if your worldview allows it, some radiation that was a byproduct of a miraculous event. But we don’t need to go into all that. The point was and is, as Colin pointed out to you,  the image on the shroud is a negative and “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s)

That is when you responded to Colin saying:

Colin – what is the problem in creating as negative image? The artisT of the Shroud as well as the Besancon shroud, was commissioned to imagine an image that a dead body might have left. The conventional iconography of tHe side wound is on the right side of the body, so he produced it on tHe left. Not difficult.

imageFor a more sophisticated negative image look at the mirror on the famous Arnolfini portrait by Van Eyck in the National Galley, London ( 1434). There are other cases of mirror images but this is the best.

Do you not know the difference between a negative image and a mirror image?

In your article, you mention the negative image three times. In the very first paragraph you write:

. . . Here we have negative images of Christ’s body as if they had been transferred from the body to the cloth. . . .

Okay, that’s fine. About a quarter of the way down you write:

. . . Note, too, the blood dripping from the lance that, in the negative image of the Shroud, appears to be reproduced outside the body image on its left side. . . .

Left side! Is this a clue? And then in an extraordinary paragraph at about three quarters of the way on, you tell us.

What can we say about the painting on the Shroud? The images are crude and limited in tone. They show none of the expertise of the great painters of the 14th century, who, even on linen, were capable of mixing a variety of pigments into rich colours. . . . Again, the hair of the body would have fallen back if the figure had been lying down but the blood is as if it is trickling down the hair of a standing figure. In short, it appears to be a painting made by an artist whose only concession to his subject is to imagine that this is a negative impression of the body (as shown by the wound on the chest being on the left of the image in contrast to the conventional right, as seen in the Holkham crucifixion scene) that had been transferred to the cloth. (red emphasis mine in all instances)

Do you not know about Secondo Pia’s famous photograph in 1898?  Do you not know what it means?

Charles, you write:

I am working within the mainstream, not Shroudies mainstream, but academic mainstream in setting out my hypotheses. No one who has read my articles thinks I am saying anything more than placing the Shroud within an acceptable medieval context.

imageAcceptable medieval context?  Show me one example of someone painting a negative image in the medieval or anytime in history. Find me an artist anywhere in the world who can do so. I’m sure it is possible. So, too, I imagine is patting your head, rubbing your stomach, jumping rope and singing the Halleluiah Chorus backwards all at the same time. Try it. No, I mean try painting a negative without a negative to copy. Try it.

There is something more going on in the picture on the right than a mere mirror image. It’s a negative of the picture on the left. And since the picture on the left is, itself, a negative and since two negatives make a positive, the negative on the right is a positive.

Charles, check out this negative thing with academic mainstream.  Without an example, you do not have any medieval context.

imageOne more question, in three parts, Charles:  If all the paint has flaked off, how do you know the images are limited in tone? How do you know it was not painted in rich colors? And, was this a color negative painting in which colors as well as gray scale values are reversed?

Without an example you do not have any medieval context.

 

 


An interesting paper on the subject is The Concept of Negativity Through the Ages vs The Negative Image on the Shroud by Isabel Piczek.

Social Encyclopedia-ing, the Shroud of Turin and Channel 5

After all, we do find in Wikipedia “that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud.”

imageA reader from Spaniards Bay, Newfoundland, writes:

I discovered this morning that the “Shroud of Turin” entry in Wikipedia no longer contains attempts by Freeman and Berry to include their -hypotheses in this, their latest attempts at social encyclopedia-ing. In fact, their names cannot be found at all on the page. It was like awakening from a strange dream.

It was real. It wasn’t a dream. Moderator comments do state:

  • Deelted (sic) Colin Berrys removed as self promotion unsubstantiated in theory or peer reviewed in notable articles)
  • Removal of Charles Freeman theory article overloading on theories

Colin fired back on a discussion page that Wikipedia created for him:

I concluded my account with:

"Links to Berry’s ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis"

Note the term "hypothesis", meaning idea. So where’s the conflict of interest in expressing an idea? Where’s the self-promotion in expressing an idea? Why bandy around these silly terms in a way that totally misrepresents this researcher’s interest in the Shroud? Are you aware that I have published over 250 postings on my science buzz and specialist Shroud sites, many with original research findings you will not find elsewhere. As for deleting the earlier reference to my scorch findings that someone else, not I, chose to publicize, that is just small-mindedness.

My IDEA is any original one, as you can check for yourself by googling, that can be expressed in a few words,and which does not need "peer review" to which incidentally I am no stranger:

The faint yellow Shroud body image was almost certainly an attempt to simulate a sweat imprint on linen, as if from a recently crucified man. In reality it was probably a thermal imprint ("scorch mark") from a heated 3D or bas relief template.

Do you not consider that folk who consult wiki have a right to be informed of the latest thinking? Do you not understand the difference between hypotheses that invite further experimentation and tendentious claims?

Colinsberry (talk) 23:07, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Colin Berry PhD

Does Colin have a point? He has done a lot of experimenting (not that I’m convinced by it). I don’t buy into the simulation of a sweat imprint idea but, then again, compare it to some other ideas that have been floated. After all we find this on the Wikipedia page:

Lynn Picknett has written a book proposing that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud. Picknett and Larissa Tracy appeared on a Channel 5 (UK) TV program that announced that the Shroud was the oldest known surviving photograph.

Colin, it seems that all you need to do is appear on Channel 5.

How to Become Famous

Shall this become the future of the Shroud of Turin entries in Wikipedia, where every
person with an idea posts his own theory out there? What about the guy in Australia
who has discovered that if he tilts his laptop screen at a certain angle he can make
Jesus’s eyes open, thus proving he is alive. Or Stephen Jones (is there something
about the equator or something) who concludes that the carbon dating was hacked
by the KGB. And  . . . oh, no, we don’t want to tip him off to the idea.

imageColin Barry tells us in his blog:

Yes, I’ve taken a leaf from Charles Freeman’s book, and submitted a brief synopsis of my ‘simulated sweat imprint’ idea to wikipedia. Charles sent his to the History of the Shroud page, but noting there was now a version of the same at the end of  the main Shroud of Turin entry under "Recent Developments" . . .

Colin tells us that it was erased but . . .

Tried re-submitting my screed, but this time logging into wiki, which had fortunately remembered me from a long time ago, attempting to edit something or other (non-TS related).

My piece  now appears like an old-fashioned ticker tape/ telegram at the end of the Recent Developments section, and I’m still none the wiser about how to format in wiki.

It remains on the page in a strange, so-called edit format. This is what it says after you clear it up a bit:

Shroud researcher Colin Berry (mentioned earlier) has recently made a significant modification to his belief that the body image was imprinted onto linen as a scorch from a heated template. He had originally speculated that the scorch technology had been chosen deliberately to represent either Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay or Geoffroi de Charney midway through being slowly-roasted to death at the stake in Paris, with a fanciful imprinting of hot tissue onto a burial shroud. In that view the de Molay image was later‘re-invented’ as that of the crucified Jesus by additions of blood at the appropriate wound locations described in the New Testament accounts.

The Templar link has now been abandoned. While Berry still considers the TS image to be a contact scorch, he proposes that it was intended to be seen by the very first cohorts of pilgrims at Lirey in 1357 as the genuine sweat (and blood) imprint left on linen by the recumbent crucified Jesus (228,229) . In other words, the scorch technology was designed to simulate the appearance of an ancient sweat imprint, yellowed with age. That interpretation may have found a resonance with mid-14th century pilgrims, given that the highly venerated Veil of Veronica had been attracting large numbers at the same time, notably in the ‘Holy Year’ 1350, just 7 years prior to the first known Lirey display. The ‘Veronica’ too, according to legend, was initially a body imprint, solely of the facial features of Jesus, captured onto a bystander’s veil as she stepped forward in a charitable gesture to wipe sweat and blood from the face of Jesus as the latter passed by, bearing his cross to the site of execution at Calvary. Might this idea of sweat/blood imprinting have served as the inspiration for a medieval ‘thought experiment’ combining art and technology, imagining how a similar whole body imprint, both frontal and dorsal sides, of the recently deceased and traumatized (bloodied/sweat-soaked) Jesus might look after 13 centuries of ageing and yellowing?

Links to Berry’s ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis

Ref 228 http://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/the-shroud-of-turin-probably-not-miraculous-just-a-simulated-sweat-imprint-a-triumph-of-medieval-joined-up-thinking/

Ref 229 http://colinb-sciencebuzz.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/checklist-of-reasons-for-thinking-turin.html

Edit contributed by Colin Berry, Nov 23, 2014

Charles Freeman’s theory now in Wikipedia

imageFour days ago, the Wikipedia entry, History of the Shroud of Turin (not to be confused with the main entry Shroud of Turin) was updated by user Charle Freeman (that is correct, no s) to add “fuller summary of my article written for History Today.”

This is it and it may be found under the section heading, Historical attributions:

History Today article

In an article published by History Today in November 2014, British scholar Charles Freeman analyses early depictions and descriptions of the Shroud and argues that the iconography of the bloodstains and all-over scourge marks are not known before 1300 and the Shroud was a painted linen at that date, now much decayed and faded. As it was unlikely that a forger would have deceived anyone with a single cloth with images on it, Freeman seeks an alternative function. He goes on to argue that the Shroud was a medieval prop used in Easter ritual plays depicting the resurrection of Christ. He believes it was used in a ceremony called the ‘Quem Quaeritis?‘ or ‘whom do you seek?’ which involved re-enacting gospel accounts of the resurrection, and is represented as such in the well-known Lirey pilgrim badge. As such it was deservedly an object of veneration from the fourteenth century as it is still is today.[50][51]

Hat tip to OperaLady

The 14th century 3 in 1 herring bone weave

imageCharles Freeman is commenting over at the History Today blog:

I am doing some work with a TV producer who is approaching weavers to recreate the Shroud weave- at the moment it looks as if only a medieval treadle loom could do it – but we shall see what the experts who specialise in treating early weaves ( it always amazes me that groups of such experts do exist!) come up with. One weaver apparently told me that she is furious she had got rid of her treadle loom as it would have been ideal.

and

P.S. This producer has already tracked down someone who has recreated a three in one herring bone weave as a commission for a church vestment. Whether they knew it or not ,the only other three in one herringbone linen, other than the Shroud, we know of is also from a church vestment dated to the fourteenth century-more circumstantial ,but only circumstantial, evidence that this weave was about at this time. I’d do think the evidence for authenticity is just not there and is being eroded by the day but there is nothing to stop anybody finding some evidence for an early date- it just has not been done yet so let the debate continue! (bolding emphasis mine)

Over at History Today’s blog space

Cover Blurb:  Origins of the Turin Shroud: Solving history’s greatest mystery

imageIf by now you are thoroughly bored by the continuing coverage of Charles Freeman’s article, then ignore this. I promise many other topics as well.

The conversation is far from over. So if you are still with me we should take a look at History Today’s blog space. Here we find Charles attempting to defend his ‘it’s a painting’ assertion:

I am not sure why there should be something special physically about the Shroud and why it cannot be a ‘mere painting’. After all ,as my article shows, there is a mass of evidence that suggests it was just this . . .

And Terry Conspiracy putting the kibosh on:

The real issue, is whether the Shroud is a Medieval work of art, or not.

Well published scientific research has confirmed for most of us long ago, that whatever the Shroud is, and regardless of when exactly it was created, the Shroud of Turin is "not" a painting.

There are several highly respected teams of scientists and artists that have both invested and risked large portions of their careers by attempting to explain and/or replicate the process that created the image, and to date, none have even come close to being successful.

That is why it is still such a great mystery to ponder and speculate over.

What you fail to mention (I suspect deliberately) Charles, is that with the exception of the remaining stains of "human blood" that are still on the cloth, the actual image of Christ is virtually invisible to the eye up close, and it only takes on a vague human form at a distance.

All of the amazingly accurate "head to toe" evidence of scourging, the crown of thorns, and all the other chillingly accurate anatomical details of facial features, Crucifixion, and torture, only become visible when viewed in photographic "negative" images of the Shroud.

As much as I appreciate the insight you have given me through your discussion of the changes in the depiction of this icon’s blood in art images over time, I really would like you to explain how you could possibly devote so much time to exploring these fine forensic details in the Shroud’s image, without informing your readers about the unique and precarious precondition of having to wait 500 years for photography to be invented, before anyone, including the artist, could actually see those details.

Did I say kibosh? Not so fast. Charles has a reply:

No, Terry. These details were clear for all to see in the fifteenth ,sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when there were frequent expositions. Perhaps as the images faded, perhaps for other reasons, expositions became fewer and fewer and as the images could no longer be seen by large crowds, restricted to the cathedral and probably relatively few visitors. So in 1898 it had been thirty years since the previous exposition and twenty- six since the one before that (1842) . . . . So it must have been a real shock when the Shroud came out of storage and by this time it had the total faded images recorded by Secondo Pia.

Deliberately?  Or out of a lack of comprehension?  I suspect that Charles doesn’t understand what a photographic negative is (see Dear Charles Freeman, re the Famous Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck and his comments therein).

Dear Charles Freeman, re the Famous Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck

The picture of the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck is in Wikipedia’s image library.
It is in the public domain. The smaller picture shows details that are visible in a small
convex mirror on the wall.

Hi Charles,

Colin Berry had repeatedly pointed out that the image on the shroud is a negative image. He was suggesting that it implied a contact imprint.

Well, maybe. Or maybe a a chemical reaction from a diffusion of gases like Ray Rogers proposed or a photograph like Nicholas Allen theorized or maybe, if your worldview allows it, some radiation that was a byproduct of a miraculous event. But we don’t need to go into all that. The point was and is, as Colin pointed out to you,  the image on the shroud is a negative and “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s)

That is when you responded to Colin saying:

Colin – what is the problem in creating as negative image? The artisT of the Shroud as well as the Besancon shroud, was commissioned to imagine an image that a dead body might have left. The conventional iconography of tHe side wound is on the right side of the body, so he produced it on tHe left. Not difficult.

imageFor a more sophisticated negative image look at the mirror on the famous Arnolfini portrait by Van Eyck in the National Galley, London ( 1434). There are other cases of mirror images but this is the best.

Do you not know the difference between a negative image and a mirror image?

In your article, you mention the negative image three times. In the very first paragraph you write:

. . . Here we have negative images of Christ’s body as if they had been transferred from the body to the cloth. . . .

Okay, that’s fine. About a quarter of the way down you write:

. . . Note, too, the blood dripping from the lance that, in the negative image of the Shroud, appears to be reproduced outside the body image on its left side. . . .

Left side! Is this a clue? And then in an extraordinary paragraph at about three quarters of the way on, you tell us.

What can we say about the painting on the Shroud? The images are crude and limited in tone. They show none of the expertise of the great painters of the 14th century, who, even on linen, were capable of mixing a variety of pigments into rich colours. . . . Again, the hair of the body would have fallen back if the figure had been lying down but the blood is as if it is trickling down the hair of a standing figure. In short, it appears to be a painting made by an artist whose only concession to his subject is to imagine that this is a negative impression of the body (as shown by the wound on the chest being on the left of the image in contrast to the conventional right, as seen in the Holkham crucifixion scene) that had been transferred to the cloth. (red emphasis mine in all instances)

Do you not know about Secondo Pia’s famous photograph in 1898?  Do you not know what it means?

Charles, you write:

I am working within the mainstream, not Shroudies mainstream, but academic mainstream in setting out my hypotheses. No one who has read my articles thinks I am saying anything more than placing the Shroud within an acceptable medieval context.

imageAcceptable medieval context?  Show me one example of someone painting a negative image in the medieval or anytime in history. Find me an artist anywhere in the world who can do so. I’m sure it is possible. So, too, I imagine is patting your head, rubbing your stomach, jumping rope and singing the Halleluiah Chorus backwards all at the same time. Try it. No, I mean try painting a negative without a negative to copy. Try it.

There is something more going on in the picture on the right than a mere mirror image. It’s a negative of the picture on the left. And since the picture on the left is, itself, a negative and since two negatives make a positive, the negative on the right is a positive.

Charles, check out this negative thing with academic mainstream.  Without an example, you do not have any medieval context.

imageOne more question, in three parts, Charles:  If all the paint has flaked off, how do you know the images are limited in tone? How do you know it was not painted in rich colors? And, was this a color negative painting in which colors as well as gray scale values are reversed?

Without an example you do not have any medieval context.

Charles Freeman’s Article Covered in Forbes

I hope Freeman has laid the foundation for a book-length treatment soon.
                                       
— John Farrell

clip_image001John Farrell, a prominent journalist in the fields of science and technology writes about Charles Freeman’s article in Forbes, a leading business-oriented subscription and newsstand magazine with circulation of 930,000.  In The Shroud Of Turin Takes A Liturgical Turn, we read:

Save this for your commute home or weekend reading. This month’s History Today features an in-depth essay by historian Charles Freeman who argues that the Shroud of Turin was a relic specifically designed for liturgical use in the Middle Ages.

Its subsequent ‘second life’ as the supposed actual burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth is comparatively recent, according to Freeman, author of Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe.

[. . . .]

imageAs far back as 1390, the Catholic Church accepted that the shroud was not a deliberate forgery and allowed it to be displayed publicly. Indeed the pope at the time (actually an anti-pope, Clement VII) insisted that it be publicly announced before each exposition that the venerated linen was not in reality the burial shroud of Christ.

But why was the shroud created in the first place? Freeman makes a convincing case that the artist responsible for designing the linen intended it to be used for very special Easter liturgies. Specifically, the Quem Queritis, ‘Whom do you seek?’–a ceremonial re-enactment of the visit of the women to the tomb of Jesus on Easter Day.

The ritual went as follows: When the clergy representing the Three Marys reach the ‘tomb’, they find a man (or ‘angel’) seated, wearing a white robe, by the opened sepulchre. He asks them ‘Quem Queritis?’ ‘Whom do you seek?’ When they reply that they are seeking Christ, he tells them not to be afraid: ‘Christ is not here, He is risen.’

And the ‘proof’ revealed is when the shroud was taken out and shown to the worshipers at the liturgy.

It’s a fascinating piece of detective work. Not everyone is going to be convinced, of course, but I hope Freeman has laid the foundation for a book-length treatment soon.

A Couple of Terrific Comments About Charles Freeman’s Article

Please note, first, that Charles Freeman has maintained a very civilized dialog with everyone in this blog. He has posted more than 80 comments in this blog since his article appeared in History Today. It continues to be a fruitful discussion.

If you are not familiar with the issues, these have the been the primary postings about Charles Freeman’s article:

Now, onto those terrific comments:

imageRuss Breault writes:

So someone depicts Christ with more scourge marks than the artistic norm at the time and that’s proof the Shroud is an Easter prop? All the paint just happened to flake off? I might add that none of these images show any anatomical realism–they just show the body scourged more than usual. How these images from the Holkham bible are used as a reference point seems a little obtuse.

Colin Berry writes:

Despite your historical analysis, the TS remains an unsolved scientific enigma – and that cannot be casually dismissed with scientifically-flaky explanations that depend on even flakier paint.

For full context, Colin’s expanded comment should be read:

Yes, I’ve been through your article several times now Charles, and find it thought provoking and (in places) provocative too. That’s why I was interested to hear your opinion re the chemical nature of the body image and bloodstains if, as you suggest, they were both applied freehand as artists’ pigments . (My own views on the nature of the body image and blood have been the subject of numerous postings, and are probably best kept to one side for now to avoid cluttering up the discourse).

Can be confine ourselves first to the body image (blood being hugely more problematical)?

The body image is bleached by a reducing agent (diimide), Susceptibility to one type of simple chemical invariably means it’s susceptible to others too, like oxygen in the air, maybe activated by light. (There are well known model chemical systems in which photooxidation results in bleaching of dyes and other organic chomophores occurs due to self-sensitized production of singlet oxygen).

So while the original image may have been a lot easy to see at a distance than today’s TS, one has to consider a whole range of physical and chemical options and scenarios, instead of assuming it was simply paint that had flaked off. The latter would not explain why the resistant faint ‘signature’ has the physical and chemical properties of chemically-dehydrated linen carbohydrates, i.e essentially “scorch-like” (even if that term was not used by STURP). Nor would it explain why a highly degraded image comes to have so spectacular a response to 3D-rendering software. Thousands of oil and water colour portraits must have flaked away over the centuries. How many have left a faint and intriguing quasi-photograph?

Once you take on board that the image we see today is the primary image, albeit now somewhat faded, and reject any paint-flaking hypothesis that is unsupported by chemical evidence of trace contamination, then one is back where we started. Despite your historical analysis, the TS remains an unsolved scientific enigma – and that cannot be casually dismissed with scientifically-flaky explanations that depend on even flakier paint.

More on Charles Freeman’s Article and Podcast from the OSC IB Blog

A podcast interview with historian Charles Freeman (25 minutes)

I previously noted in this blog in my posting How Knowledge is Created: The Shroud of Turin:

From the OSC IB Blogs for Students and Teachers (Oxford Study Courses International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) we get some opinion on examining the Shroud of Turin in TOK classes (Theory of Knowledge). Eileen Dombrowski has written a long, interesting blog posting, The Shroud of Turin: perspectives, faith, and evidence.

Eileen Dombrowski, now, seems to be getting really excited about Charles Freeman’s article:

This topic of the Shroud of Turin just keeps getting better and better for TOK. In my last post, I outlined TOK lessons based on it. But now – even better materials for launching a class! A podcast interview with historian Charles Freeman (25 minutes), linked from the website of History Today,  readily sets up a leaner lesson on the methods of research of an historian. The interviewer applauds Freeman’s research as “historical detective work” on an “unsolved mystery” and invites him to explain his methods of investigation.

In preparation for class discussions on methodology in history, I recommend giving this podcast to your students, along with guiding questions that help them focus their minds analytically as they listen. Below is a set of questions I worked out myself as I listened. You’re welcome to use them yourself if you find them helpful.  (You can download a pdf version of the questions here: Turin Shroud Freeman podcast questions)

Guiding questions?

  • “What does he say that the “shroudies” assume, and what are the consequences for their explanations?”
  • “Notice Freeman’s steps in reasoning: ‘So what clinches this further…’ ‘So we’re coming closer…’ ‘What actually clinched it…’”
  • “Why does Freeman rule out forgery and deliberate hoax?   Why does he think that his research and explanation will be favourably considered by the Catholic Church?”

An Exquisite Response as an Exquisite Response

The notion that the TS image was painted is frankly a non-starter,
on a whole number of grounds.

Please direct comments to History vs. Science: The Freeman Beat Goes On

Charles Freeman having written:

imageHaving read manuals such as the fifteenth century Cennino Cennini’s on preparing linen for painting and learning that you seal the cloth on the outer fibrils only with a knife, a highly skilled operation and then reading the STURP report that the images on the Shroud were on the outer fibrils only, I knew I had my evidence for painting. STURP did not have any expert on medieval painting on their team nor did they consult any so one can hardly take their report seriously. However, my main evidence for painting comes from the early descriptions an depictions of the Shroud- it may be that the endless handling and exposing of the Shroud ended up with all or almost all of the pigments falling off leaving only the faded images we have today.

The ignorance comes from those who have not studied how linen was painted on in the medieval period.

Colin Berry responds:

imageYou may recall, Charles, that some 2 years ago, nearer 3, I offered you my services as a co-writer, handling the scientific side, which you were probably wise to decline at the time.

Methinks in retrospect, with the wisdom of hindsight, you should maybe have taken up the offer.

The notion that the TS image was painted is frankly a non-starter, on a whole number of grounds.

Its exquisite response to 3D-enhancement is just one of them.

Please direct comments to History vs. Science: The Freeman Beat Goes On

History vs. Science: The Freeman Beat Goes On

Cris Campbell has up a posting, Shrouded History, in his Genealogy of Religion blog. Just a few selected sentences tell you everything you need to know. I’ve taken the liberty of bolding a few words:

. . . Those who wish to see in the shroud scientific evidence of “supernatural imprinting” have been indefatigable in their efforts, and spared no expense, to show it is miraculous . . .

. . . All this countering [of evidence] has led to buckets of ink being spilled, a process not dissimilar to the way in which pigments were applied to the shroud. The shroud, in other words, was painted: not just once, but several times. This is the conclusion reached by Charles Freeman in his 8,400 word essay over at History Today.

. . . What makes this essay particularly interesting, indeed remarkable, is that it appears to be the first in-depth historical inquiry into the shroud.

. . . science has such enormous cultural prestige that it sometimes causes us to ignore, or at least subordinate, companion disciplines like history. This may account for the rush to test the shroud before historicizing it. Had the order been reversed, the painting hypothesis — suggested by history — could have been specifically tested.

There is one comment, so far. It is by Charles Freeman:

. . .Take a woven linen cloth, gesso it on the outer fibrils as recommended in medieval manuals, add painted images, furl and unfurl over five hundred years and you will be there!

There is even a exclamation mark. There is even that Hallian finality-tonality: “Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it.”

I never thought of history as subordinate to science. But when I read this blog posting I wonder if I am right in my thinking; history up against science?

Barrie Schwortz Dismisses Freeman’s Claims: It was the Science

It took nearly 17 years after our direct examination of the cloth before the
scientific evidence actually convinced me of the shroud’s authenticity.
 

— Barrie Schwortz

imageAs David V. Barrett reports today in the Catholic Herald, an Expert dismisses historian’s claim that Turin Shroud was made for medieval ritual:

. . . Schwortz, an expert in imaging and the official documenting photographer of STURP, dismisses Mr Freeman’s claims.

He told the Catholic Herald: “I have seen copies of the shroud (commissioned by the Savoy and other royal families) made by artists allowed to view the actual cloth that look very little like the shroud. It is not an easy image to reproduce. I have examined, studied and lectured on the shroud for nearly 38 years yet would have great difficulty in describing the image on the cloth in writing. So variations in early written descriptions or artistic copies doesn’t seem like very convincing evidence against authenticity. And there are many early coins and artworks that appear to have directly and faithfully copied the image on the shroud. Perhaps that is more a testament to the quality of the artists involved and the difficulties one encounters when attempting to duplicate the shroud’s image.”

Mr Schwortz referred to the scientific evidence that is “the basis for my opinion that the shroud cannot be an artwork. STURP’s data provided empirical evidence to that effect, although the sceptics of the world continue to deny it”.

He continued: “Remember that I am Jewish (not Messianic), and it took nearly 17 years after our direct examination of the cloth before the scientific evidence actually convinced me of the shroud’s authenticity. It was the science that did it.”

Bigger Fish to Fry Than Freeman

Oh what a tangled website we weave,
When first we start with what we believe!*

* With apologies to Sir Walter Scott

imageWhen asked if he would be publishing more about Charles Freeman’s recent article, Stephen Jones in a comment replied, “Sorry, but I have bigger fish to fry than Freeman.”

He needs, he explained, to finish his series, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker" and complete:

. . . "The Servant of the Priest," which is unexpectedly very important) (e.g the Shroud (sindon) was not in the empty tomb but the risen Jesus took it with Him and gave it to "the servant of the priest," as recorded in the early 2nd century "Gospel of the Hebrews, who was either: a) Malchus (Jn 18:10); b) Peter (confused by a copyist error); or more likely c) John (who tradition records was a priest and is supported by the New Testament but too complex to give in this comment), and is supported by John knowing the name of the High Priest’s servant Malchus (see above), and being known to the High Priest, the High Priest’s servant girl and having easy and authoritative entry into the High Priest’s house (Jn 18:15-16); and therefore John may have even been a servant in the High Priest’s household, and his code name (in that early era of persecution was "the servant of the priest).

(emphasis mine)

Too complex?  I’ll wait.

Back to the subject of Charles’ article; I would like to see Jones rewrite and publish his criticism of Freeman’s article without the poisoning of the well and the defense of the hacker theory. Both of those things damage the posting’s credibility as an otherwise fairly good analysis.  

Dan Scavone Responds to an Earlier Charles Freeman’s Article

Yesterday, Dan wrote to me about an earlier Charles Freeman’s article. In something perhaps of a senior moment, I confused it with another criticism of the latest article, The Origins of the Shroud of Turin.  The mistake was completely mine.

He sent me a copy of the article with his thoughts ‘penned’ in here and there.  While an annotated article makes for easy study, I unfortunately should not reproduce so much of the article without permission from Charles. Besides, it would make for too long a posting. What I have done is limit myself to a number of fair use quotations. Where the gaps exist in the article, I used bracketed ellipses. Charles’ text is indented with a quotation mark.  Dan’s comments are not indented and prefixed with his first name. In a couple of instances I have edited the Dan’s comments, mostly for formatting purposes or to remove extra comments directed to me. 

I apologize for the mistake.


Charles writes in his earlier article:

When I was researching my book on medieval relics, Holy Bones, Holy Dust, How Relics Shaped the History of the Medieval World, Yale University Press, 2011, I decided to leave out the Shroud of Turin. Relic cults come and go and the Turin Shroud is very much a cult of the past fifty years, not a medieval one. The debates over its authenticity have been acrimonious and inconclusive. However, having been sent a copy of Thomas de Wesselow’s The Sign, the Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection, Viking, 2012, I had strong reservations about much of the historical evidence presented to provide an narrative history of the Shroud before 1350. Despite many years of research de Wesselow uncritically accepts much of the work of the veteran Shroud researcher Ian Wilson whose latest volume, The Shroud, Fresh Light on the 2000-year-old Mystery, Bantam Books, 2011, is used here. So much has been written about the Shroud that I am unlikely to provide much new material but I hope to clarify some issues by placing the Shroud within the wider context of medieval relics.

Now let us consider how many relics of the true cross there are in the world. An account of those merely with which I am acquainted would fill a whole volume, for there is not a church, from a cathedral to the most miserable abbey or parish church that does not contain a piece. Large splinters of it are preserved in various places, as for instance in the Holy Chapel at Paris, whilst at Rome they show a crucifix of considerable size made entirely, they say, from this wood. In short, if we were to collect all these pieces of the true cross exhibited in various parts, they would form a whole ship’s cargo.

A third part of the crown [of Thorns] is preserved at the Holy Chapel at Paris, three thorns at the Church of the Holy Cross, and a number of them at St Eustache in the same city; there are a good many of the thorns at Sienna, one at Yicenza, four at Bourges, three at Besangon, three at Port Royal, and I do not know how many at Salvatierra in Spain, two at St James of Compostella, three at Albi, and one at least in the following places: — Toulouse, Macon, Charroux in Poitiers; at Cleri, St Flour, St Maximira in Provence, in the abbey of La Salle at St Martin of Noyon, etc.’ (John Calvin, 1543)

Dan: This is precisely the WRONG approach to the Shroud. It is NOT a run-of-the-mill medieval relic. If Freeman wishes take this approach, he must first show us the numerous other shrouds claimed throughout ancient or medieval Christian history. He must then compare their realism to the Shroud. The Shroud is NOT one of a million claimed Jesus-shrouds. It stands alone and never was another made like it, whether in the middle ages or even today at the apex of technical science and artistic media.

[ . . . ]

Those trying to assess the authenticity of the Sudarium of Oviedo have to contend with a radiocarbon-14 dating apparently of c. 700 AD. The blood on it has been analysed and is of the rare AB group. This is the newest blood-group in evolutionary terms and results from the mingling of Caucasian blood-group A and Mongoloid blood-group B. At first such a mutation would have been very rare and is virtually unknown before AD 900.

Dan: Virtually??? . . . I hesitate to speak definitively or to claim perfect accuracy on matters of science, but I can recall something about AB blood-type given out by University Hematologist (and Jewish) Al Adler, He has stated EITHER that AB is most common among Jews OR that all or most denatured ancient blood alters to AB over time. Perhaps somebody can confirm Adler’s learned assertions about the blood on the Shroud.

[ . . . ]

Let us start with Edessa, the modern Sanliurfa in south-eastern Turkey, where a image of Christ was first reported by the historian Evragius Scholasticus in the 590s.

Dan: Try 2nd-4th c. Doctrine of Addai, attested by its author as derived from Edessa’s ancient, unfortunately lost, archives..

Edessa may have been Christian as early as the beginning of the third century but its legends took Christianity back further. (This was quite common. In the fourth and fifth centuries many cities ‘discovered’ a first century founding bishop, usually one who had been consecrated as such by one of the apostles.)

Dan: Many? Name 2 or 3. Can he document these last remarks? 

The Edessa legend told the story of King Abgar who had received a letter from Christ that was preserved within the city. As late as the 540s this was recorded as giving protection to Edessa but by the end of the century a new relic, an image of Christ, took its place as the ‘top’ protector relic of the city.

Dan: Try 2nd-4th c. Doctrine of Addai.

[ . . . ]

For reasons that completely escape me, Wilson claims that the Image of Edessa is none other than the Shroud of Turin.

Dan: He has simply ignored Ian’s great arguments.

[. . . ]

. . . There was a taboo in the Byzantine world about showing Christ, no less than God, of course, dead.

Dan: ???? I’ve never heard of this.

[ . . . ]

An even more bizarre explanation comes when Wilson tackles Byzantine art. Seventy years ago a Frenchman, Paul Vignon, noted that the bearded face on the Turin Shroud has some of the characteristics of Byzantine art. All kinds of measuring was done and some enthusiasts found as many as sixty resemblances. This is all interesting but Wilson goes on to make the absurd suggestion that this was because Byzantine art was born from the Image of Edessa, also known to Wilson as the Turin Shroud! Wilson makes some vague points about a new period in art at this time and finds a reference to two wandering Georgian monks with contacts with Edessa in the 530s who may have painted images. His key argument is the appearance in iconography of Christ with a beard happens just at this time. Yet, even if Wilson claims, against Belting who prefers a date fifty years later, that the Image of Edessa was known from the 540s, Byzantine art was well under way by then. So we have the earliest bearded Christ in the catacomb of Commodilla in Rome in about 390 and then a fine central image of a bearded Christ in the church of San Pudenziana of c. 405 (below). Even a brief glance at a standard history of early Christian art would have shown Wilson the emergence of these fully fronted bearded portraits in the fifth century.

Dan:  I have no comments about Freeman’s last paragraphs.  They are so "not applicable" to the information that we really have about the Shroud. 

A particularly impressive example comes from the Church of San Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna which is securely dated to 500 (illustrated below). So Byzantine images of a fully frontal bearded Christ are known from long before the date Wilson gives for his copying of the image of the Turin Shroud. So if the face on the Turin Shroud does have so many resemblances to Byzantine art then, it seems to me, that it may well be an excellent example of . . . Byzantine art!

Dan: He has confused which was the original (the Shroud) and which was the copy (Byzantine art)!!!  Also he has not paid attention to the "tetradiplon" reference to the image in the Acts of Thaddaeus. And [seems to be uninformed] of Ian’s "claims."

[ . . . ]

It is not known what happened to the Blachernae Shroud. The Chapel was very vulnerable as it was exposed on the shoreline. The Hodegetria was saved from the rapacious crusaders but the shroud seems to have disappeared. There is a hint in one source . . .

Dan: Much more than a hint.

. . . that it may have gone to Athens and some argue . . .

Dan: NO!!! I have proved with documents

. . . that it was the shroud found at Besancon which is first recorded in 1205, a year after the Crusade.

Dan: Yes!!! And it is firmly documented as coming from Constantinople to Besancon to Geoffroy de Charny. From there on the TS is documented through it possession by Geoffroy de Charny.

Most accounts suggest that this was then lost in a fire in 1350.

Dan: NOT True. In the first place, Freeman’s “most accounts” needs some names. And “suggest” (???) is so “escapist” as a wannabe “fact” that it may be discarded without further comment.

[ . . . ]

If Wilson’s thesis that this linen cloth was the Mandylion was not already in enough trouble, he still has a major issue to tackle, the history of the Shroud from AD 30 to the second half of the sixth century when the Edessa Image aka to Wilson the Turin Shroud is first recorded in Edessa. It is a long period, much more challenging than filling in a mere 150 years. 560 years from today would take us back to the Middle Ages! Of course, Wilson is up to the challenge. He has dug up a document called The Doctrine of Addai. This may date from the early fifth century

Dan: Freeman [seems to be] inventing dates hoping that uninformed readers will go along

[ . . . ]

When Hannan, the keeper of the archives, saw that Jesus spake thus to him, by virtue of being the king’s painter, he took and painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints, and brought with him to Abgar the king, his master. And when Abgar the king saw the likeness, he received it with great joy, and placed it with great honour in one of his palatial houses.’

Dan: And he was healed. Unless this is a lie, it was not a human “painting done with “choice paints” that healed him but the strange–looking, misunderstood, faint face on the Shroud of Jesus.

[ . . . ]

So where did the Mandylion end up? I would suggest that it lies, folded tetradiplon, in the casket below.

Dan: “Suggest” ??? He has not proved anything that might empower Freeman to“suggest” some opinion or other – of his own.

More on Charles Freeman’s Article

imageStephen Jones reacts to Charles Freeman’s article The Origins of the Shroud of Turin in History Today. He unfortunately begins with an inappropriate barrage of ad hominem.

He subtly questions Freeman’s credentials as a historian. “Freeman has never held a actual historian position in any university,” he writes. He elaborates (see Jones’ blog posting) and then states, “This should be borne in mind when assessing the headline ‘…historian says.’”

He implies motive:

Freeman is evidently an atheist/agnostic having published papers critical of Christianity in the New Humanist online magazine, the subtitle of which is "Ideas for godless people", and is "produced by the Rationalist Association … dedicated to reason, science, secularism and humanism."

And:

. . . so presumably Freeman was once a Catholic but is now a non- (or even anti-) Christian. If so, then according to Freeman’s presumed personal atheist/agnostic philosophy, there is no supernatural, so Christianity must be false, and the Shroud of Turin must be a fake.

“I hasten to add that I am a Protestant evangelical Christian . . . ,” Jones writes. Well, so am I. I’m a Christian anyway, Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, and I feel compelled by my belief to respect Freeman’s worldview and not try to use it as a weapon against him.  I don’t agree with much of anything he said in the article but it was not because of his worldview.

The intelligent reader can only see that this is what Jones is doing. I am so reminded of the words of another atheist/secular humanist, Christopher Hitchens, speaking out about such attacks . . .

whereby if your opponent thought he had identified your lowest possible motive, he was quite certain that he had isolated the only real one. This vulgar method . . . is designed to have the effect of making any noisy moron into a master analyst.”

Okay, it sounds like I’m doing the same thing. Maybe. But I’m not calling Jones a moron. No, I’m not. I’m thinking about his methods. Maybe he will think about them, as well.

Jones moves on. He spends time arguing against the 1988 carbon dating results with his amazing conspiracy theory (does anyone else on the planet buy into this?):

But [the carbon dating] is explicable if the Shroud sample dates were computer-generated. E.g. by a computer hacker, whom I have provided evidence in my soon to be completed series, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker," was Arizona Radiocarbon Laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-89), aided by self-confessed KGB hacker Karl Koch (1965–89), who both died of suspected `suicide’ within days of each other, presumably executed by the KGB to ensure their silence.]

Jones does spend time, appropriately as I see it, challenging other aspects of Freeman’s article. However, in a response to Freeman pointing out that the church officially regards the shroud with an open mind he falls into a trap of speculating to explain speculation (pretty much the way Freeman does in his article):

As I have stated before, the Vatican is dishonest in this. From its actions in spending the equivalent of millions of dollars preserving the Shroud and holding exhibitions for millions of people to see it, clearly the Vatican regards the Shroud as authentic. So presumably the reason it refuses to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic is that the Vatican would then have to say which of its other relics were authentic or fakes, and most of them would be the latter. It might be good church politics to suppress the truth in this matter but it is not Christian (Rom 1:18; . . . ).

The Vatican is dishonest, the church is suppressing the truth . . . is not Christian? And Jones, points to Romans 1:18, not as a citation but as a threat. It reads: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”


All quoting by me is in accordance with doctrines of Fair Use defined in Title 17 of the United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 106. This grants me the right to limited copying for commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.

The Guardian Notes the History Today Article by Charles Freeman

imageThe Headline:  Turin shroud was made for medieval Easter ritual, historian says

The Lede: Charles Freeman believes relic venerated as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth dates from 14th century and was used as a prop

Charlotte Higgins writes:

The original purpose of the shroud, argues Freeman, is likely to have been as a prop in a kind of medieval, theatrical ceremony that took place at Easter – the Quem quaeritis? or “whom do you seek?”

“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” he said.

This will probably get syndicated. Many Guardian articles about the shroud do.