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Jack Markwardt’s Antioch Theory

August 15, 2014 12 comments

clip_image001Jack. pictured here, will be presenting two papers at
the St. Louis Conference

1)  Modern Scholarship And The History Of The Turin Shroud

2) The Full-Length History Of The Turin Shroud


Daveb brought up the Antioch theory in response to Charles Freeman’s call for looking beyond the Edessa-Constantinople route. Daveb wrote:

I have previously mentioned Markwardt’s theory that the Shroud was taken to Antioch and kept there. It makes a lot of sense to me, more than taking it to Alexandria as Charles would seem to have it. We know that Peter was first bishop of Antioch, and there is good indicative evidence that he held the burial cloths. Markwardt [pictured here] suggests that the hiding of the Shroud in a wall in Antioch for safe-keeping when other relics were being pillaged or destroyed there, may be the true basis of the similar story from Edessa, Antioch, although often prone to earthquakes, and on the Orontes, could more likely have had a more conducive climate for the cloth’s survival in a wall than Edessa. He suggests that it was taken to Edessa only when Antioch was under threat from the Persian Chosroes. Arriving in Edessa, it was of course not stored in a wall but in the Hagia Sophia cathedral there.

I posted something on this topic back in April of 2012. I think it warrants another look. And the linked-to PDF is definitely worth reading. As posted then:


Jack Markwardt explains:

imageI originated and presented this hypothesis to an international conference convened at Ohio State University in 2008 for the simple reason that the early history of the Turin Shroud cannot be credibly linked to the ancient city of Edessa through a literal application of the Abgar legend. The preeminent historian of Edessa, J.B. Segal, after years of arduous study and investigation, concluded that the Abgar legend constitutes “one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity”. It should not be surprising, therefore, that a number of highly-respected modern historians have summarily rejected this pious fraud as evidential of the Turin Shroud’s whereabouts during the first Christian millennium, particularly because real historical evidence provides not the slightest indication that pagan Edessa was even partially converted to Christianity prior to the late second-century reign of King Abgar the Great. The preeminent historian of Antioch, Glanville Downey, ascribed that development to a two-phase evangelization mission, one which initially resulted in the baptism of Abgar the Great and ultimately concluded with the consecration of Edessa’s first bishop, Palut, in 200 CE, by Serapion, the bishop of Antioch. Relatively recent attribution of an image of Christ to the city of Edessa during the first half-millennium of Christianity arises exclusively from a substantial permutation of the Abgar legend authored, in ca. 945, by a Byzantine Emperor who desired to bestow an apostolic provenance upon the Christ-icon which had recently been transferred to his capital from Edessa. In order to explain away, in one bold imperial stroke, the complete historical anonymity of this icon during the first five Christian centuries, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus sponsored the publication and circulation of a tale which featured not only the cloth’s first-century concealment within a niche located above an Edessa city gate, but also its miraculous rediscovery there by a fictional Edessan bishop, Eulalius, during the Persian siege of 544 CE. It has been suggested, in lieu of this incredible miracle-discovery tale, that the icon was actually found in the wake of the great flood of 525 CE which damaged Edessa’s city walls; however, it is rather significant that such a truly notable event merited no mention whatsoever in the Edessan Chronicle, a Syriac work composed in ca. 540-544 CE, which not only described the great flood but also detailed the most commonplace of Edessan ecclesiastical matters. In my opinion, modern scholarship will continue to reject the identification of the acheiropoietos image of Christ which was brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944 CE with the Turin Shroud unless and until the provenance of that icon, and the circumstances surrounding its arrival in Edessa, can be reasonably established on the basis of non-legendary evidence.

I was there at Ohio in 2008 and remember the presentation, Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret. It was excellent. Read it.

Comment Promoted: Looking Beyond an Edessa-Constantinople Route

August 15, 2014 25 comments

the key problem is survival

Charles Freeman writes in a comment:

As 99.9999 per cent or more of ancient textiles ( and these included all clothing) are lost, it is hard to say anything more than that the Shroud, if it is indeed first century, is a unique SURVIVAL. I am more interested in knowing about the looms ,ancient or medieval, that could have produced it and I am aware that this is a highly specialist area and I would defer to expert opinion.

Still there is much basic work to be done. Contrary to what Ian Wilson tells us ,the Shroud is not a particularly fine linen cloth. Examples of linen with 40 to 70 warp and weft threads per cm are known from Egypt, Palestine and Syria in this period, much greater quality than the Shroud. (See the good article on weaving in the ancient eastern Mediterranean in the Cambridge History of Western textiles ( p, 110 for the figures).

Again if one looks at examples such as the Ramesses Girdle, now in Liverpool, of c. 1200 BC, which, even with computer help, has proved almost impossible to reweave, the Shroud is not especially complicated.

So when one says that the Shroud is unique, it does not mean that one should say it is something special as a cloth so long as much finer and more complicated cloths from the ancient Mediterranean are known to exist.

For me, the key problem is survival. Although I believe that the Shroud is medieval, if a first century date does come up on a radiocarbon redating, I would assume that it was kept somewhere among the large and vibrant early Christian communities of Egypt where the damp would not have got at it. I am frustrated by the way so-called Shroud researchers are not prepared to look outside the Edessa/Constantinople route, when there are so many alternatives to it to explore. The Shroud would not have survived long cooped up in a brick wall in damp (even subject to flooding) Edessa!!

Navy Seals at the Battle of Gettysburg? A Picture of the Shroud in 1036?

June 12, 2014 150 comments

If it is the shroud perhaps it explains the poker holes

imageIs this what is now known as the Shroud of Turin being carried through the streets of Constantinople.?

(Click on the picture for a larger view)

Pam Moon writes:

. . .

Last year I spent a lot of time with the Madrid Skylitzes and I wondered if you would be interested in the image which doesn’t fit at all.

It is one of the finest images in the Madrid Skylitzes and the one every google search picks up.

But it is the equivalent of of putting a modern day company of Navy Seals into a picture of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

The army in the image is the Varangian Guard (pg 16/17) It doesn’t fit – it is 160 years out of date. 

Is the image actually of the Shroud in the 1036 exposition through the streets of Constantinople which has been redacted by a later copyist to make it fit a wrong part of history?

If it is perhaps it explains the poker holes on the Shroud?

Pam has put together a paper, The Shroud of Turin in Constantinople? Paper I: An analysis of the L Shaped markings on the Shroud of Turin and an examination of the Holy Mandylion and Holy Shroud in the Madrid Skylitzes .   Take the time to read it. It is quite fascinating.

Anticipating the Conference: Dan Scavone on Evidence of the Shroud in Edessa

June 11, 2014 36 comments

Daniel Scavone  | 12-Oct-2014  |  10:00-10:30 am

imageCONSTANTINOPLE DOCUMENTS AS EVIDENCE OF THE SHROUD IN EDESSA

In 944 Edessa’s cloth-image of Jesus arrived in Constantinople.  It remained there until the 13th century.  Of the Edessan sources, the most important was the 6th c. Acts of Thaddaeus, which attests to a faint image of Jesus’ face on a cloth imposed during His ministry.  Importantly, the cloth was referred to as a sindon tetradiplon, literallya “burial cloth folded in eight layers.”

In Constantinople, the Edessa cloth-image was named, described, and/or depicted in art in at least 17 documents.  Some writers saw only the face of Jesus visible on the folded cloth (Mandylion).  Other eyewitnesses describe blood and full body on the cloth.  My study of these texts provides strong evidence that the imaged cloth from Edessa to Constantinople was the cloth known today as the Shroud of Turin.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

Picture: (Click to Enlarge) Surrender of the Mandylion of Image of Edessa by the inhabitants of Edessa to the Byzantine parakoimomenos Theophanes, unknown 13th century author – Chronography of John Skylitzes, cod. Vitr. 26-2, folio 131a, Madrid National Library.

From Wikimedia:  The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain". This photographic reproduction is therefore also considered to be in the public domain.

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