Posts Tagged ‘Colin Berry’

When is a Sindon Not a Sindon?

August 5, 2015 74 comments

For anyone wanting more information, I highly recommend 
Diana Fulbright’s 20+ page  paper on the subject,
A Clean Cloth: What Greek Word Usage Tells Us about the Burial Wrappings of Jesus.

imageOn reading the following on Colin Berry’s blog, it occurred to me that a bit of clarification wouldn’t hurt any of us. Colin writes:

Why does this blogger [=Colin] now refer to the Turin “Shroud”? Why not just Turin Shroud? Answer: because the single sheet of linen in Turin was intended by a medieval entrepreneur, into the business of providing “relics”, to represent that used by Joseph of Arimathea to retrieve the body from the cross and transport it to the nearby tomb. That single sheet “sindon” must not be confused with the linen clothes (plural) aka winding cloths or bandages, Greek “othonion” that were used for final interment as described in the book of John. In other words, Joseph’s linen, imagined by our medieval entrepreneur to have captured a sweat/blood imprint, was replaced by those “bandages”, and indeed there is an illustration in the Humgarian Pray manuscript of that changeover in progress.

Is that what the Pray Manuscript shows?  Hmmm? And there is this:

Conclusion: referring to the imprinted linen as the Turin SHROUD was probably the biggest semantic goof in history, and it’s had enormous consequences as regards the speculation that has grown up around the mechanism that produced the double image.

clip_image001Kim Dreisbach, once upon a time over at, clarified:

Students new to the study to the Shroud are sometimes confused by apparent inconsistencies in the description of Jesus’ burial cloth or cloths. In truth, the Bible – when read in Greek – uses a variety of terms to describe them.

The Synoptic Gospels use the word sindon in the singular to designate the Shroud (Matt. 27:59; Mk. 15:46 (twice); Lk. 23:53). Sindon appears only six times in all of the New Testament. In an anecdote unique to Mark, it is used twice in 14: 51-52 to describe the linen cloth left by an unnamed young man when he fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane.

In Jn. 19:40, the Fourth Gospeller uses the word othonia [Gk.] (plural) to describe the linen cloths used in the Burial. Othonia, a word of uncertain meaning, but probably best translated as a generic plural for grave clothes. The same word is used by Luke or his scribe in Lk.24:12 what had previously been described as the sindon in Lk. 23:53. Note: vs. l2 (But Peter rose and ran to the tomb, stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths (plural) by themselves; and he went home wondering what happened.) does not appear in the most ancient manuscripts, but is added by later ancient authorities.

Next we discover (keirias) [Gk.] translated by the RSV as bandages in Jn. 11:44’s description of the raising of Lazarus. In actuality, linen strips used to bind the wrists and ankles and probably also used on the outside at the neck, waist and ankles to secure the Shroud to the body.

Finally we come to the word sudarion [Gk.] which is found in the canonical texts solely in John (11:44. 20:7) and Luke (l9:20; Acts l9:12). It is translated by the RSV as "the napkin which had been on his head" (Jn. 20:7) and earlier in 11:44 as the cloth with which Lazarus’ face was wrapped. Scholars like the late Dr. John A.T Robinson ( "The Shroud of Turin and the Grave Cloths of the Gospels") and J.N. Sanders regard it as a chin band going around the face/head for the purpose of keeping the corpse’s jaws closed. Certainly this appears to be the intent of the artist who drew the manuscript illustration for the Hungarian Pray mss, Fol. 27v, Budapest of 1192-95 which clearly illustrates that the Shroud’s full length image(s) were known in the 12th century. (See Ian Wilson, 1986, The Mysterious Shroud, Garden City, NY; Doubleday & Company, p.115. See also Bercovits, I. 1969, Dublin: Irish University Press. Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, pl. III.) .

imageFor anyone wanting more information, I highly recommend  Diana Fulbright’s 20+ page paper on the subject, A Clean Cloth: What Greek Word Usage Tells Us about the Burial Wrappings of Jesus.

Diana  has researched  the Shroud since 1980.  She formerly taught the History of Christianity and related languages at the University of Iowa and Biblical Studies and Hebrew at the Benedictine Abbey in Richmond.

Comment Promoted: Colin Berry on Robert Bucklin

July 28, 2015 95 comments

What you are going to want to do after you read this posting is …

  1. Click on Colin’s posting on his site: Here’s an updated version of my ‘iconoplastic’ modelling of that Turin so-called “Shroud” (probably a misnomer).
  2. Then scroll down until you see a paragraph that starts with, “Another hero-worshipped figure is “STURP member” Robert V. Bucklin.”

Colin’s posting on his blog is so long and cumbersome it is slowing down my browser and making my mouse jerky. So first, read the comment, below, the that Colin wrote in this blog and I mined from my own site. (BTW: When I gather information from Colin’s site he complains that I am mining his site for content. When I don’t, he mines it for us.) I had said it was a slow news day. He said:

Slow news day? Not on my site… Were you aware that STURP’s Robert Bucklin MD, consultant pathologist, was in fact doing his virtual biopsy a year before STURP’s trip to Turin (which Bucklin may or may not have joined, depending on whose account one believes), so was NOT done on the “Shroud” itself but on PHOTOGRAPHS. What’s more, the photographs used were long-in-the-tooth 1931 Enrie negatives, as this video still from David Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” shows, made in 1977 (released in 78) a year before STURP.

How many people reading Bucklin’s autopsy would realize it was NOT based on the “Shroud” itself, seen in natural colour with his own eyes, but a B/W negative on which he claims to see “wounds” etc and much else besides? One suspects that Bucklin’s “autopsy report for STURP was written well before the STURP descent on Turin, so could not have benefited from the new photography done by Barrie Schwortz, Mark Evans and other documenting photographers, far less the far superior imagery we now have from Durante (2002) on Shroud Scope.

Given the autopsy relied entirely on ancient photographs, why was ‘true-believer’ Bucklin(his own admission) selected as officlal STURP pathologist? Why weren’t the same photographs sent to other pathologists for their opinion? The more I learn about STURP and its largely self-selected personnel, the less I like.

Is Colin’s criticism justified? 

Categories: Science Tags: , ,

The Morphing of Rogers and Berry?

July 23, 2015 34 comments

The most superficial part of the linen fibre is the PCW, and that comprises hemicellulose as a major constituent. Hemicellulose has a lot of pentose sugars, which are chemically reactive,  more so than the hexose sugars of starch and cellulose, and known to enter freely into Maillard reactions. Maybe the linen provided the sugar for the Maillard reaction.

image… on the shroud (or misnoma-shroud). Colin Berry teases it out a bit for us:

This blogger has already been accused of plagiarizing Rogers’ ideas (in seeing a role for Maillard reaction products, albeit between reducing sugars and proteins of white flour, and needing an exceedingly hot iron to get the colour). Well, I’m about to make things even worse for myself – by narrowing the gap between my medieval model and the pro-authenticity 1st century tomb scenario of Rogers. It involves volatile amines, those fishy smelling things with the general formula R-NH2 (primary amine)  where R is an alkyl group, e.g. CH3, C2H5, or, if a secondary amine, R-NH-R’, or a tertiary amine,  R-N(R’)-R”. What you may ask!  We know where the amines are implicated in the Rogers’ model (putrefaction of a corpse).  How can amines be implicated in a white-flour model?

Well, it’s a long shot, but here we go.  The yellow-brown image has been described here as a Maillard reaction product, formed between reducing sugars and proteins. But there’s a problem. The “Shroud” image was tested by Adler et al for protein – none were found.  But my image appears to have two components – an outer one that looks and feels thick, and can be reduced by washing, brushing etc, and a more resistant one that survives those treatments, and seems more like an intrinsic part of the linen fibres. What might have happened to produce the latter.  Well, there’s a little protein in linen fibres, and one might propose that had reacted with reducing sugar, and that the Maillard product formed had failed to react as protein. But one instinctively dislikes qualiofying assumptions. Might there be an alternative explanation? Yes, there is. The most superficial part of the linen fibre is the PCW, and that comprises hemicellulose as a major constituent. Hemicellulose has a lot of pentose sugars, which are chemically reactive,  more so than the hexose sugars of starch and cellulose, and known to enter freely into Maillard reactions. Maybe the linen provided the sugar for the Maillard reaction. But where did the amine come from? It might have been the protein of the flour or linen, especially the epsilon amino group of lysine (not involved in peptide bond formation). But there’s an intriguing alternative. Enter volatile amines. When one adds cold  limewater to white flour there’s an immediate strong fishly odour. So there’s an amine precursor there that is easily released by alkali. Maybe it’s released by heat also, even at lower pH closer to neutrality. Maybe it’s that amine that reacts with the pentose sugars of the linen PCW to produce the ‘resistant’ image that survives washing etc, and that does NOT test positive for protein.

What might be the source of the free amine? Am not sure. It might be glutamine, with terminal -CONH2. It might be polar secondary or tertiary amine groups of phospholipids (lecithin, phosphatidylethanolamine etc).  Much food for thought (maybe a few experiments can help reduce the search options).

In the Weeds: Vanillin and the Age of the Shroud

July 20, 2015 8 comments

Is there any validity believing that a lack of vanillin says anything about the shroud’s age?

imageTopic drift is a fact of life in this blog and almost every blog I’ve encountered. It is not a problem; it’s a useful feature. We were talking about radiation models for the images on the shroud and the subject of vanillin came up; it’s not important why. This caused Colin Berry to respond in the weeds – that is over in his blog – with an unrelated update to a posting on a different subject. Anyway that is how we got to this yesterday:

Vanillin is not a separate component from lignin. In fact it’s not even a component of  flax or linen. It’s a degradation product of lignin, derived from oxidation, side-chain shortening (loss of 2 carbons)  and detachment starting with one particular  monomer in the complex resinous polyphenol that is lignin, ie. coniferaldehye. See my earlier posting on the subject, this site.

Ray Rogers no less described and discussed vanillin as though it were a preformed component of lignin that gradually reduced with age. Nope: as the lignin oxidizes, the vanillin is newly formed, and being a relatively small molecule, gradually evaporates away, being responsible for the distinctive aroma of old lignin (the ability to detect it by smell being a sure sign that molecules are escaping into the air).

Anyway, if you haven’t read [Colin’s] earlier posting on the subject, you should. Do we really understand if the vanillin claim is valid?

And if you want to know what in the weeds means, it is this: In golf, when a shot lands on the fairway, it’s in plain sight in easy-to-play short grass. When a shot lands to the side, it’s in unkempt grass, and the golfer wastes time trying to find the lost ball. He’s literally "in the weeds".  And Colin wants to know why Google and people don’t find what he writes about on his blog.  There is a practical limit to topic drift.  What does comments about vanillin have to do with Here’s an updated version of my ‘iconoplastic’ modelling of that Turin so-called “Shroud” (probably a misnomer)?

Anyway, NOW, the topic is vanillin and the question is this: Is there any validity believing that a lack of vanillin says anything about the shroud’s age?

“Tell me this,” Colin writes:

What is the use of a clock that is either running, or has stopped completely? That is the situation with the Shroud linen. We are asked to believe that it’s the absence of Wiesner-reactive lignin that is the reason, ie that it is incredibly aged.

Sorry, I don’t buy that. The “vanillin clock” is so poorly documented that I decline to believe that the absence of a positive test is necessarily to do with age. It could be due to any number of factors….

And Colin gives us an alternate possibility, the sort of thing lawyers like to do to make us have reasonable doubts about a defendant in a criminal trial:

… someone decided to fumigate the reliquary (see my earlier comment). They removed the TS, then inserted a lit sulphur candle. Later the candle was removed, and the TS replaced, with its long sides folded in towards the middle before folding or rolling. Residual SO2 made better contact with the central regions of the TS than with the edges. So the reactive aldehyde groups of lignin in the initially peripheral Raes threads were better protected from the SO2 than the more central threads.

I’m not suggesting this was the actual process that gave the difference between Raes v the rest, but it’s an indication of the uncertainties that attach to using a chemical as distinct from radioactive clock, where one is at the mercy of environmental conditions that one can only guess at, as I am guessing right now.

Categories: Science Tags: ,

Those Gee Whizz Radiation Models

July 18, 2015 17 comments

Intense sources, e.g from a laser, may simply target a trace component that wouldn’t normally  be sufficiently energized to produce  coloration.

imageHopscotching over to his other specialized blog, recently renamed “The Shroud of Turin: medieval two-stage imprint? The blog that separates the science from the pseudo-science” Colin Berry presents us with …an updated version of [his] ‘iconoplastic’ modelling of that Turin so-called “Shroud”.

It is "probably a misnomer," he adds.

BUT THE BEST PART is what he has to say "about those gee whizz ‘radiation’ models”:

The First Law of Photochemistry states that light must be absorbed for photochemistry to occur. This is a simple concept, but it is the basis for performing photochemical and photobiological experiments correctly. If light of a particular wavelength is not absorbed by a system, no photochemistry will occur, and no photobiological effects will be observed, no matter how long one irradiates with that wavelength of light.

Anyone proposing a radiation-based theory MUST  (a) state the wavelength of the radiation and (b) the chemical species (chromophore) that is capable of absorbing that particular wavelength.

Be wary of those who try to sidestep the First Law by telling you that their radiation source is hugely intense and monochromatic, or a type of radiation unknown to physics. There is no escaping the First Law. No absorption means no photochemical reaction, no localized heating, no coloration. That applies to ALL electromagnetic radiation, from long wavelength radio waves  though microwaves, infrared, visible, uv, x rays to  the highest frequency/energy short wavelength gamma radiation.

Intense sources, e.g from a laser, may simply target a trace component that wouldn’t normally  be sufficiently energized to produce  coloration. Trace components of linen that come to mind as normally overlooked  chromophores, but more readily energized molecule for molecule than cellulose, would be lignin and other phenolicss with aromatic ring structures, absorbing moderately in the blue end of the visible spectrum and the near uv.

Categories: Image Theory Tags:

Barrie Schwortz, Colin Berry and Some Good Reporting in Fort Wayne

July 12, 2015 34 comments

"Now I can see this will be my legacy," Barrie Schwortz said. "And that’s a gift. I’ve been given a great blessing in doing this work."

And Colin Berry commenting on the newspaper’s website, said “It’s refreshing to see one of STURP’s old hands, so to speak, still expressing a degree of caution
re the authenticity of the Shroud.”

imageYesterday, Fort Wayne’s Pulitzer Prize-winning broadsheet daily, The News-Sentinel, carried an excellent article by Kevin Kilbane (pictured with a tie). One gets the sense, however, that there is more than just excellent reporting and writing going on here; Barrie Schwortz, the subject of the story (pictured with the hat) is a marvelous spokesman for the shroud. He is so for the most convinced among us and the most skeptical, as well.

When Pope Francis visited and prayed before the Shroud of Turin on June 21, many people who believe the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ thought the pope would declare it to be authentic.

Barrie M. Schwortz, whose official photos documented the first modern scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978, thought Pope Francis would be more restrained in his comments, and he was right.

clip_image001What if later research determines the shroud doesn’t contain the image of a crucified Christ, Schwortz explained during a stop Thursday night in Fort Wayne.


Schwortz, who is Jewish, has believed since the mid-1990s that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus. Through his website and speaking appearances, he sees it as his role to share the Shroud’s story with all those who couldn’t be there with the 1978 research team.

"Now I can see this will be my legacy," he said. "And that’s a gift. I’ve been given a great blessing in doing this work."

imageIt was also good to see our friend and new hand shroud researcher Colin Berry (pictured with neither tie or hat) commenting on the newspaper’s website. Because comments on newspaper websites often drift away quickly, I am repeating it in its entirety, here:

It’s refreshing to see one of STURP’s old hands, so to speak, still expressing a degree of caution re the authenticity of the Shroud. Yes, there is still much to be learned. STURP barely scratched the surface as to what the image is (sticky tape samples being the less damaging alternative to ‘scratching’ the surface!) as distinct from telling us what is not (definitely NOT a painting, despite attempts by some, notably historian Charles Freeman, to resurrect that notion with arguments that simply fail to address or do justice to decades of scientific investigation).

However, this Shroud researcher (3.5 years of testing different models) must take issue with a term employed here and pretty well every where else in the media, namely the description of the linen as a BURIAL shroud. I invite writer Kevin Kilbane and readers to go back to the Gospels and read what is said about Joseph of Arimathea and his arrival at the CROSS, not tomb, with fine linen. There is no indication that the linen was intended for use as a burial shroud (Nicodemus providing the wherewithal). It was merely for discreet and dignified transport from cross to nearby tomb. Once that is appreciated, then it greatly reduces the number of models that need to be tested, especially those that see the Shroud as having captured by some mysterious ‘photographic’ process the instant of Resurrection. Instead, one can view the image as a contact imprint, left in blood and PERSPIRATION. One then asks whether the Shroud bears a 2000 year old contact imprint, the body image being highly aged yellowed sweat, or a medieval attempt to reproduce what a then 1300 year old sweat imprint (plus blood) might have looked like.

My own preference is for the second of those. The current preferred model is one where a human volunteer is ‘painted’ from head to toe in a paste of flour and water and then overlaid with linen, gently pressed around contours, to leave a contact imprint. The imprint is then developed chemically, maybe with nitric acid to turn the imprint from white to yellow, or even by simple pressing with a hot iron!

Being an imprint explains the negative image, and even those ‘mysterious’ 3D properties revealed by modern computer software.

Do read the whole article, Shroud of Turin study photographer believes new technology possibly could answer some questions

Is Colin Berry Onto Something?

July 2, 2015 24 comments

a chemo-graphic (à la photo-graphic) explanation for the shroud image

imageA reader from Palo Alto writes:

You and your blog mates are being unfair to Dr. Colin Berry. As I see it he is the real successor to Raymond Rogers. With imagination and exploratory experimentation Berry is developing new hypotheses for how the image on the Shroud might have formed. That is what Rogers did. Berry thinks out loud and shows us his trials along the way. That is also what Rogers did.

At this stage of development Berry is suggesting the image may have formed from a wet or moist organic coating on a body or statue. When a cloth is applied and removed some coating comes away on the cloth forming a latent image. That latent image is then developed into a visible image by a browning reaction, possibly a Maillard reaction.

Berry may be onto something, a chemo-graphic (à la photo-graphic) explanation for the shroud image. His latest method may help to explain an intentional fake image or an accidental natural one. An accidental image may have been from the tomb of Christ or a later reenactment. Mankind is forever reenacting important events.

There are many questions that need to be answered. Will a suitable chemical and physical process be found by Berry or a successor? I’m thinking about soaps, oils and spices. Can Berry’s process produce an image with many of the Shroud’s image characteristics? Can unmet characteristics be explained by age or circumstance?  I’m thinking about a damp cloth which might blur or soften away an outline and produce more plausible 3D like characteristics? A damp cloth may also produce a more superficial image.

Berry is certainly right to suggest that the image evolved over time because of handling, temperature, humidity and exposure to light.

I part company with Dr. Berry on the radiocarbon dating. There is too much historical evidence to believe it is correct. If the Shroud’s image was faked it was faked many centuries earlier.

Yes, but, Rogers was always respectful to others. That is a big difference. And, no, we have not been unfair to Colin.  I’d like to hear more.  I’d like to see his work continue. Maybe he is onto something. But there is some bad chemistry in this blog and his blog that is making this difficult.

Click on the image to see a larger version of this ImageJ 3D rendering by Colin. CLICK HERE to read Colin’s latest posting about his work.

Categories: Image Theory Tags: ,
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