The Hacking of the Carbon Dating, Wikipedia and the Media

If you are not a regular reader of Stephen’s blog, Timothy Linick (pictured) of Arizona was one of the signatories of the Nature report on the dating of the Shroud of Turin. Stephen Jones blames Linick along with the KGB for hacking computers connected to AMS equipment in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona and thus faking a medieval date for the shroud.


imageThe problem is that it may only be a matter of time before we read in the media that people who think the shroud is authentic believe that the carbon dating of the shroud was hacked by computer hackers.

All too many people think that the members of the press pay attention to academic credentials, read peer reviewed journals and even check out citations in technical papers. They do not. They take the quickest approach when faced with constant deadlines.  They go to the web. They go to Wikipedia. They go to top listed websites and blogs.

Thankfully, Wikipedia has a strict policy against publishing original thinking; all material must be attributable to reliable, published sources. Wikipedia does not want original research (a matter of no small consternation to shroud researcher Colin Berry in his [m]essage to wikipedia: do stop taking yourself so seriously). They don’t want his theories in their encyclopedia. But, I digress.

Today, according to the Alexa’s web rating service, Stephen Jone’s Shroud of Turin blog is the most popular blog dedicated to the shroud (but Google ranks it second to this blog). If you ignore the distinction that it is only a blog, it is the third most popular website dedicated to information about the shroud. The top four in order, so says Alexa, are 1) sindone.org, 2) shroud.com, 3) Stephen’s blog, 4) this blog.  Google has different ideas. It includes John Jackson’s site and Charles Freeman’s it-is-a-painting article in History Today in the ranks of the top ten go-to sites about the shroud. And of course Stephen’s blog, with his really wild and wooly conspiracy theory about the carbon dating being hacked, is also being listed as a go-to site.  (Your mileage may vary; Google is like that).

It was an email, yesterday, from Stephen Jones that prompted me to write this posting. Apparently, when Stephen previously posted a Wikipedia definition of conspiracy theory he omitted the part of the definition that said that “belief in conspiracy theories can be rational and that the skepticism of conspiracy theorising (the generation of conspiracy theories) is akin to a modern day superstition.” He wanted me to know that.

Oh, well! So much for Wikipedia definitions. But then again this is not original thinking for I see that it is attributable to some really good sounding Oxford-ish and Cambridge-ish sources (I didn’t read the citations). The big deal is that maybe Stephen Jones is finally realizing that his speculation is really conspiracy theory.  Now if he would only issue a warning to that effect.

Here are some highlights of his latest well-read posting (the bold emphasis is not mine).

If you are not a regular reader of Stephen’s blog, Timothy Linick of Arizona was one of the signatories of the Nature report on the dating of the Shroud of Turin. Stephen Jones blames Linick along with the KGB for hacking computers connected to AMS equipment in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona and thus faking a medieval date for the shroud. Karl Koch as a computer hacker in the 1980s who may have been involved in espionage.

10. THE SOVIET UNION HAD A MOTIVE TO DISCREDIT THE SHROUD AND THROUGH THE KGB KILL KOCH AND LINICK

• The Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse in the 1980s.

• A first century radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have been a threat to the atheist USSR. The Soviet Union was an atheist State[11]. Yet, despite its attempts to eradicate religion since the 1917 revolution, the USSR continued to have a large Christian population[12]. In the 1980s, three Christian denominations alone, had a total of about 56.5 million adherents…. So a first-century radiocarbon date of the Shroud of Turin would have been perceived as a huge threat by the embattled Soviet leadership.

• If Timothy W. Linick had offered the Soviets a 14th century carbon-date of the Shroud they would have accepted it. So if Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory physicist, Timothy W. Linick (see #10(7)) had approached the Soviet Union (through for example the Soviet consulate in San Francisco….

• Linick was found dead of suspected suicide on 4 June 1989 … in Tucson, Arizona….

• Koch had been murdered by the KGB (or East Germany’s Stasi on the KGB’s behalf) between 23 and 30 May 1989, ….

• Koch and Linick were allegedly killed by the KGB to prevent them confessing the Soviets Union’s hacking of the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating.

[…] With the publication of the Nature paper of 16 February 1989, which claimed that the Shroud was "mediaeval … 1260-1390"[16], Koch would (according to my theory) have realised what his hacking into the Oxford and Zurich university computers and running a program on them had done, as he had since "embrace[d] … conventional religion" [17].

That Koch had started to talk about his hacking for the USSR of the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating is supported by his fellow hacker Pengo (Hans Hübner), complaining that Koch was "talking of nothing but conspiracies and [was] having religious hallucinations"[18].

[…]

Oh, yes. Lot’s of citations.  Citations, whatever they are, look good at the bottom of webpages. Maybe Stephen’s conspiracy theory will get into Wikipedia. Maybe it will get into the press if there are any column inches left over after the journalists tell us that Charles Freeman’s thinks that the shroud was a painting.

But remember, the press won’t say the computer dating was hacked, only that that is what those whacky shroudies think.

I Tried to Ignore the Carbon Dating Computer Hacking Conspiracy Theory

imageA reader from Hampton, Virginia writes:

I was reading Stephen Jones’s latest blogging on the carbon dating and have come up with a wacky theory.  Jones has it wrong. Computer hacker Karl Koch, thought by Jones to be a KGB stooge, didn’t die at all.  After all as Jones tells it, “German police were alerted of an abandoned car in a forest near Celle. When they went to investigate, they found an abandoned car, that looked like it had been there for years, as it was covered in dust. Near to the car they found a burned corpse (Koch). His shoes were missing and have never been found.”

His shoes have never been found. So how do we know it was Koch?  If you add a few years, a beard and a stocking cap you can plainly see that Koch is probably Chris Roberts who was arrested yesterday for hacking the inflight entertainment system of a flight he was on and supposedly issuing a command to one of the planes’ engines.

Have you read Jones’s latest posting?  It is more off the wall.

Yes.  I always read what Stephen writes.  Sometimes he posts some very useful or interesting information. When I think it warrants attention by others, I mention it.  I’ve pretty much given up discussing his conspiracy theory that the computers used during the carbon dating of the shroud were hacked.  Who knows; maybe someday his hypothesis will be shown to be right. But for now, I see it as wild conjecture without a shred of evidence. And now, for you have sucked me in to it, dear reader, I must quote a couple of paragraphs and a loose sentence to make my point:

If it turned out that Koch could not possibly have been involved, either directly or indirectly, in installing Linick’s program on Zurich and Oxford laboratories’ AMS control console computers, then my theory would not be falsified. In that case I would have to maintain that Linick’s program was installed on those laboratories’ computers by some other way. For example, Linick himself could have flown over to Zurich and Oxford, installed his program clandestinely on their computers, and returned to Arizona, in a few days. This is why my theory always has been "that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker" (singular).

[…]

I have included Karl Koch in my theory, despite there being as yet no confirmed link between Koch and Linick, because of: 1) the striking coincidence that both Koch and Linick died of suspected suicide within days of each other … 2) Koch’s death was almost certainly the work of the KGB, or the East German Secret Police (Stasi) at the behest of the KGB; 3) the KGB had no reason to kill Koch unless he had been involved in an entirely different type of hacking for them which they did not want to become public knowledge; 4) Koch’s expertise would have been useful in hacking into Zurich and Oxford’s AMS computers; and 5) Koch’s living in Germany would have made it comparatively easy for him to travel to Zurich and Oxford to install Linick’s program on their computers (although that too is not necessary to my theory as Koch may have only provided expert advice on how to hack into those computers and a KGB operative may have entered the laboratories clandestinely and installed Linick’s program on their AMS computers, or Linick himself may have installed it).

So those who continue to dismiss my theory as merely a "conspiracy theory," in the full knowledge of my above disclaimers, do so dishonestly.

What else would you call it?  This is the epitome of conspiracy theory.

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

History Explained?

imageStephen Jones, having abandoned for a while his unfinished conspiracy theory that the carbon dating was wrong in 1988 because of computer hackers, is now sermonizing shroud history. He writes:

. . . Geoffroy then mounted a surprise night raid upon the castle of his betrayer, Aimery of Pavia, and took him back to his base at St Omer[36] where Geoffroy had all the military powers of the king[37]. There Geoffroy tortured and then decapitated his betrayer, cut his body into quarters, and hung them on the town gates[38]. Medieval military justice no doubt, but flagrant disobedience of the New Testament command for a Christian to love his enemies (Mt 5:43-44; Lk 6:27, 35) and not to take revenge but leaving that to God (Rom 12:19). For that disobedience, did Geoffroy later pay a heavy price? . . .

Then later on the page he answers his own question with just enough of a question mark ending to maintain a fragile shred of objectivity:

. . . Just as Moses was not allowed by God to live to enter the Promised land, because of his disobedience (Dt 32:48-52; Num 20:11-13; 27:14), did God not allow Geoffroy I to live to see the Shroud exhibited beyond 1356, because of his disobedience in taking brutal personal revenge on Aimery of Pavia (see above)? . . .

It’s too bad because Stephen does excellent research.

St. John of the Shroud: Priest, Servant of the Priest, Cousin to Jesus

imageIn his serialized attempt to convince us that Jesus took his burial shroud with him following his resurrection and gave it to John the Apostle who was the servant of the priest mentioned in a fragment of text from St. Jerome that quotes the Gospel of the Hebrews, Stephen Jones explains that Jesus and John were first cousins and that the Apostle John was also a priest.

I know that, didn’t I? Did I?  If so, I didn’t know why. Very ingenious analysis by Stephen:

Mark and Mathew evidently record the three prominent women disciples standing by the Cross after Mary, the mother of Jesus, had been taken by the Apostle John (Jn 19:26-27), her nephew (see below), to his home[11]. That the remaining three women mentioned are the same group in each account is shown by Mark listing "Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome" as the women who went to the tomb in the early morning after the sabbath to anoint Jesus’ body (Mk 16:1).

That means that Jesus and Apostle John were first cousins:

[ . . . ]

Mary was also a "kinswoman" of Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (Lk 1:36 YLT)[13]. The Greek word for "kinswoman," sungenis, is simply the female of sungenes "a kinsman" (Mk 6:4; Lk 1:58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; Jn 18:26; Ac 10:24) including "of tribal kinship" (Rom 9:3; 16:7,11,21)[14]. Elizabeth was one of the "daughters of Aaron" (Lk 1:5), that is, she was of priestly descent and the daughter of a priest[15]. Therefore Mary, and Salome her sister, were descended from David (Lk 1:32) and so were of the tribe of Judah (Mt 1:1-6; Lk 3:30-31) and also they were descended from Aaron, and so were of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:16-20). There is no contradiction in this, as while a priest had to be a descendent of Aaron, he was not required to take a wife from the descendants of Aaron but the only requirement was that she was an Israelite virgin (Lev 21:1,7,14)[16]. The conditions of Jesus’ descent from David (Mt 1:1; Rom 1:3; 2Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16) are satisfied if at least one of Mary’s parents were of Davidic decent[17].

Therefore, for the Apostle John, the son of Salome, to be a priest, it was only necessary that his father, Zebedee (Mt 4:21; 10:2; Mk 1:19; 3:17; 10:35; Lk 5:10), was of Aaronic descent and therefore was a priest[18]. And that would have been so if Mary (and Salome’s) father, Heli (Lk 3:23)[19], i.e. "Eli" – a priestly name (1Sam 1:9; 2:11; 14:3), was a descendant of Aaron and therefore a priest[20]. And that would have been the case, if the father of Elisabeth, who was Mary’s and Salome’s kinswoman, was a brother of Zebedee, John’s father. Further Biblical confirmation that John was a priest is found in Jn 20:4-8, where John reached the empty tomb first but did not enter it until after Peter went in and confirmed that Jesus’ body was not there. It was forbidden for a priest to enter a tomb[21] where he might make contact with a dead body and so become "unclean" (Lev 21:1-3)[22].

John of . . . , John the . . . , Servant of the Priest? That Also?

In conclusion, the identity of the Beloved Disciple remains a debatable
(and perhaps irresolvable) issue.

imageStephen Jones is up with an interesting introduction to the second installment of his Servant of the Priest entry into the Shroud of Turin encyclopedia he is writing:

Several early Christian writings record that the resurrected Jesus gave His shroud to different individuals. . . . A third possibility, which seems not to have been previously considered, is that "the servant of the priest" was the Apostle John, of whom there is historical and Biblical evidence that he was a priest and that he may have even been a servant in the High Priest’s household. This latter possibility, that Jesus took His Shroud with Him out of the empty tomb and later gave it to the Apostle John, seems the most likely.

St. John the Evangelist? John of Patmos? John the Beloved Disciple?

Fascinating. But John the who? All of the above? And more?

Last month,  Cornelis Bennema uploaded a paper to Academia.edu on The Historical Reliability of the Gospel of John. Around page 14 we encounter a discussion of the authorship:

If we can accept that the Beloved Disciple is the author of this Gospel, the next issue is to decide on his identity. The variety of candidates that scholars have proposed for his identity (e.g., John of Zebedee, John the Elder, Lazarus, Thomas, Nathanael) should warn us to tread carefully and modestly. It seems that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is deliberately kept anonymous in the Gospel, which implies that he cannot be one of the named disciples in the Gospel and hence we can rule out the identification with Lazarus, Thomas or Nathanael. Nonetheless, Bauckham argues that while the Gospel uses the literary device of anonymity, it does not want to conceal the identity of the Beloved Disciple and it is highly likely that the original readers knew who the Beloved Disciple was. Besides, the title “according to John” was probably included in the Gospel from the outset, thus strengthening the argument that some of the first audience knew this John. We must therefore probe further by looking at the internal and external evidence.

[ . . . ]

In conclusion, the identity of the Beloved Disciple remains a debatable (and perhaps irresolvable) issue. Yet, even if we cannot ascertain beyond doubt the identity of the Beloved Disciple, what is relevant is that he was an eyewitness from the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry to the end and present at key moments. John’s Gospel emphasises the function of the Beloved Disciple within the Johannine narrative (as the reliable eyewitness to Jesus) rather than his identity. The most important contribution of the Beloved Disciple has been the writing of this Gospel where his testimony has been carefully preserved.  Although the Beloved Disciple was not necessarily one of the Twelve, if we consider his privileged and intimate relationship with Jesus (13:23) and his “rivalry” with Peter, it seems likely that he was. . . . All things considered, I propose that John of Zebedee is the most likely candidate, but John the Elder is a serious contender. Yet, we should not exaggerate the issue of authorship with regard to the historical reliability of the Gospel of John because an account from John of Zebedee is not necessarily more reliable than one from John the Elder. Nor is an account written by an eyewitness (e.g., John’s Gospel) necessarily more reliable than one written by someone else but based on an eyewitness account (e.g., Luke’s Gospel).

St. John, Servant of the Priest?  Let’s see where Stephen takes us as he continues his posting.

Weaving Fan a.k.a. Colin Berry?

While reading what follows, please be aware that Colin Berry denies
that he is Weaving Fan. I believe him. I trust him. We all should.

I knew this sounded really familiar. This month two years ago we were talking about the 3 over 1 herringbone cloth in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (see previous posting).

First we go to Stephen Jones’ blog where Stephen has written:

Weave. The cloth’s weave is known as "3 to 1 twill" because each transversal weft thread passes alternatively over three and under one of the longitudinal warp threads[16]. This gives the weave the appearance of diagonal lines which reverse direction at regular intervals to create a herringbone pattern[17]. Such complex herringbone three to one twill weaves are known from antiquity, for example, from Egypt and Syria, but they are not known from the Middle Ages.[18]

The footnote (18) points to Ian Wilson, ("The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, 2010, pp.74-75).

Someone calling himself Weaving Fan disputed Stephen in his blog:

S’uch complex three to one twill weaves are known from ‘antiquity, for example, from Egypt and Syria, but they are not known from the Middle Ages.’

This is surely not true- your source was certainly not someone who knew about textiles- 3/1 was used extensively especially in ecclesiastical vestments . As one commentator says `’Tablet-woven 3/1 was used to create some of the most elaborately patterned bands of the Middle Ages. Collingwood’s Techniques of Tablet Weaving (TTW) illustrates some amazing examples, including the maniple from Arlon, which is my favorite piece of tablet weaving."

The choice of twills is not difficult to make – 3/1 is fairly standard. Gilbert Raes said that the weave in itself could not be used to date the Shroud as examples go back to 800 Bc and certainly throughout the Roman period ( it was common for damask) and Middle Ages.

Stephen shot back. First he quotes Ian Wilson:

A further highly unusual feature of the Shroud’s linen is the weave itself. … an altogether more complex three-to-one herringbone twill … To make it, the weaver would have had to pass each weft (or transverse) thread alternately under three warp (or vertical) threads, then over on; creating diagonal lines. At regular intervals he or she would then have had to reverse direction to create the distinctive zigzags. …Even among textile experts, therefore, the search for parallels to the Shroud, whether from the Middle Ages or from further back in antiquity, has not been easy. This difficulty was made very evident when the British Museum’s Dr Michael Tite, the official invigilator for the 1988 carbon dating work, was looking for some historical samples of linen resembling the Shroud’s weave to use for controls. His plan was that the carbon dating laboratories should not know which of the samples had come from the actual Shroud. He even sought my help on this. But the plan failed. In order to provide controls that were at least all of linen he had to abandon the requirement that their weave should be herringbone. French specialist Gabriel Vial found much the same difficulty following his hands-on examination of the Shroud in 1988. There was literally no parallel that he could cite from the Middle Ages. … Vial found the era of antiquity itself – that is, around the time of Christ – significantly more productive …

But Stephen has more to say:

The fact is that Tite of the British Museum could NOT FIND a medieval piece of linen AT ALL which was 3:1 herringbone twill and therefore visually identical to the Shroud, so that the C14 dating labs could not tell which was the Shroud. But if medieval European 3:1 herringbone twill linen was so common as you claim it was, it would have been NO PROBLEM for Tite to obtain a POSTAGE STAMP sized sample of at least ONE of them.

Weaving Fan had said:

Wilson seems to imply that there were no similar herringbone cloths around in the Middle Ages. This is not true- it is simply that most are in museums (e.g the Victorian and Albert Museum in London) and can not be cut up to provide a control sample.

Stephen now has his hackles up:

This is FALSE. See above.

As I pointed out above, several aspects of your comment I found to be substandard and even offensive, and so according to my policies it should not have appeared (see below). I only allowed it to appear so that I could further refute your argument.

[ . . . ]

I suspected this "Weaving fan" above may have been Colin Berry, who has been permanently banned from commenting on this blog because of his continual substandard and offensive comments.

Now according to this post on Dan Porter’s blog it seems it was. Evidently Colin is not troubled by the ethics of posting comments to a blog where he has been banned, by the subterfuge of adopting a new pseudonym for the sole purpose of deceiving its Moderator.

But just as the leopard cannot change his spots, so it seems that Colin Berry cannot change his style, by not posting offensive and substandard comments! So whatever pseudonym Colin uses he won’t last long on my blog.

And now, of course, if we are not going bonkers by all this, we go to my blog. The link is two paragraphs up, but by now it is boring.

Something Colin Berry wrote this morning reminded me of this

I remember someone arguing with me that the shroud was a replacement
shroud created in the 14th century after the original burial cloth was
destroyed in a fire. The original shroud’s image, caused by Jesus’ sweat,
was miraculously transferred from the ashes of the old shroud to the new cloth.
That would explain everything, wouldn’t it.
 

imageMoving on . . .

Stephen Jones, in his posting that attempts to show that Jesus took his shroud with him rather than leaving it behind in the tomb, brings Tom Wright, my favorite resurrection theology theologian, into play in a somewhat beyond-the-point rambling way:

And this is supported by no less than leading theologian N.T. Wright, in his magisterial ~850 page "The Resurrection of the Son of God" (2003), that John "came to his new belief … not simply on the basis of the emptiness of the tomb … but on the basis of what he deduced both from the fact that the grave-clothes had been left behind and from the position in which they were lying … they had not been unwrapped, but that the body had somehow passed through them":

"An apparent and striking counter-example to this proposal is found in John 20.8. The beloved disciple goes into the empty tomb, sees what Peter had seen a moment before (the grave-clothes lying, separate from the head-cloth), and believes. Could it be that in his case, or at least in the mind of the evangelist writing this, the empty tomb by itself was sufficient for the rise of his faith? The answer suggested by the text is ‘No’. The grave-clothes seem to be understood as a sign of what had happened to Jesus, a sign which would be the functional equivalent of the actual appearances of Jesus (John 20.19-23). The beloved disciple came to his new belief, the text wants us to understand, not simply on the basis of the emptiness of the tomb (which had been explained by Mary in verse 2 in terms of the removal of the body to an unknown location), but on the basis of what he deduced both from the fact that the grave-clothes had been left behind and from the position in which they were lying. He, like Thomas at the end of the chapter, saw something which elicited faith. The fact that the grave-clothes were left behind showed that the body had not been carried off, whether by foes, friends or indeed a gardener (verse 15). Their positioning, carefully described in verse 7, suggests that they had not been unwrapped, but that the body had somehow passed through them, much as, later on, it would appear and disappear through locked doors (verse 19). The conclusion holds, then: an empty tomb, by itself, could not have functioned as a sufficient condition of early Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection"[94]

That the body has passed through them? My current thinking du jour is that the body transcended material reality, perhaps time and space as we understand it. That doesn’t mean passing through anything or moving about in real space. I tentatively extend this thinking to the post resurrection appearances or apparitions. As for the image, I think it is somehow related to the resurrection but not the result of it.

THINGS YOU WISH YOU COULD FORGET:  I remember someone arguing with me that the shroud was a replacement shroud created in the 14th century after the original burial cloth was destroyed in a fire. The original shroud’s image, caused by Jesus’ sweat, was miraculously transferred from the ashes of the old shroud to the new cloth.  That would explain everything, wouldn’t it. 

Stephen Jones: The Shroud was not left behind

. . . Jesus took His Shroud with Him out of the empty tomb
and later gave it to the Apostle John, seems the most likely [possibility].

imageHe writes today in part 1 of what will be multiple installments of an article on the servant of the priest:

Introduction. The Gospels don’t record that Jesus’ burial shroud [sindon] was in the empty tomb. Indeed, despite the desire by most Shroud pro-authenticist to place the Shroud in the empty tomb, included among the othonia, or even as the soudarion, both mentioned in (Jn 20:5-7), the evidence is that it wasn’t there. What Peter and John saw in the empty tomb, as recorded in Luke 24:12 and John 20:5-7, was the linen strips [othonia] which had bound [edesan] Jesus’ hands and feet and the spices (Jn 19:40), as well as the sweat-cloth [soudarion] (the Sudarium of Oviedo) which had been on [epi] Jesus head, but no Shroud [sindon]. From seeing this arrangement of the othonia andsoudarion but no sindon, John believed that Jesus had risen from the dead (Jn 20:6-9). Several early Christian writings record that the resurrected Jesus took His shroud with him out of the tomb and gave it to different individuals. The earliest and most highly regarded of these writings, the late first/early second century The Gospel of the Hebrews records that after His resurrection Jesus gave his shroud [sindon] to "the servant of the priest." Since it seems incredible . . . .

FYI:  The following quotation is taken from Wikipedia which sources it from the critical 3rd German edition of Schneemelcher’s New Testament Apocrypha, translated by George Ogg:

And when the Lord had given the linen cloth to the servant of the priest, he went to James and appeared to him. For James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he had drunk the cup of the Lord until he should see him risen from among them that sleep. And shortly thereafter the Lord said: Bring a table and bread! And immediately it is added: He took the bread, blessed it and brake it and gave it to James the Just and said to him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of man is risen from among them that sleep.

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.  

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.

Searching Stephen Jones’ Quotation Archives

imageRecently, as with the comments about dirt being in the knee and nose area of the shroud, people were looking for quotations in books and papers.  Google books is one place to look. There are many other places to search as well. One of those places is Stephen Jones’ quotation archives.

I have found that it helps to search Stephen’s archives, with Google, using three elements:

  1. site:members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/
  2. "Shroud of Turin" (including quotation marks)
  3. Search argument (fewest possible words, generally avoid quotation marks)

Note: Putting the words “Shroud of Turin” into a Google search of Stephen’s archives is important because Stephen also collects quotations that promote creationism, etc. in the same place.

Instructions:

  1. Copy and paste:  site:members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/ "Shroud of Turin"
  2. Add a single space and your search words (e.g. nose knees dirt – don’t use quotes)

Recent versions of browsers will let you enter this in the URL entry field if you have established Google as your default search engine.

BTW:  Stephen welcomes use of these archives but asks that you give him credit. Do so, please.

image

Let’s Agree to Agree?

imageA reader writes:

It is important that the shroud community stick together and speak with one voice. Let’s agree to agree for a change. Please stop attacking people like Mark Antonacci and Stephen Jones who are working so hard to convince non-believers that the Shroud is authentic. Did you see what Stephen said about you?  He is right, you know.

I’ll paraphrase much of the quotation the reader sent along and quote a small, salient part of what Stephen, himself, said. You can read the entire comment series HERE:

A commenter, Bippy123, expressed his hope that Giulio Fanti will offer up more information about his dating tests and let us know about the peer-reviewed journal to which he has submitted his work. Stephen replied that he knows nothing about this because in not reading “Dan Porter’s blog” he misses out on a lot of shroud news. But . . .

. . . the upside of saving time and not being character-assassinated by anti-authenticists on Porter’s blog (while Porter does nothing to restrain the assassins-presumably because he enjoys it!), outweighs the pro-authenticist news I temporarily am missing out on.

Assassins? I enjoy it?

“You should block negative comments,” the reader suggested. As for Mark Antonacci, he wondered, “What will you say when he is proven right? Will you have the [courage] to admit you were stupid?”

Dear reader, who are you? This is a joke, right?

Coming Out of the Closet on Pollen and Plant Images

imageStephen Jones has put together an interesting posting on the pollen found on the shroud and apparent images of plants some claim to see on the cloth. He does so from the perspective some material in a 2005 book, A Grain of Truth: How Pollen Brought a Murderer to Justice by Lynne Milne.

Stephen writes:

Milne has `come out of the closet’ and is clearly a Shroud pro-authenticist (whether she realises it or not), differentiating herself from Shroud sceptics, pointing out that the Shroud must have had an undocumented history outside of Europe before 1352, in the Middle East, the carbon-14 date for the age of the Shroud cannot be correct and indeed has been "discounted"!

Out of the closet? A pro-authenticist (whether she realizes it or not?

But when Milne writes in her book that . . .

The carbon-14 dating has since been discounted. The linen threads that were dated are chemically different from most of the’ Shroud linen. Was this younger thread used for mending the Shroud when it first arrived in France, or before it was taken from Constantinople?

Stephen disagrees. She is wrong, he tells us because the only satisfactory explanation for errors in the carbon 14 dating is Stephen’s own so far unsubstantiated theory that a computer hacker fudged the dates.

Into a World Not Cut Off from Reality?

image

Colin Berry, in his Science Buzz blog, tells us that It’s time to change the record, all you authenticity-promoting Shroudologists. Thermal imprints can be superficial at the level of linen threads AND their component fibres:

A few photographs should suffice to justify the title of this post. Whether they will silence those who continue to disseminate mis- and disinformation about the thermal imprint, aka contact scorch hypothesis is another matter. Planet Shroudology is a world in itself, cut off it seems from earthly reality, content to parachute-drop its mock-authoritative missives or pdfs etc from on high before high-tailing it back to base.

And he calls for withdrawal of scientific claims:

I say it’s time shroudology stopped making duff claims it cannot back up with experimental evidence. In the two instances where experimental ‘evidence’ has been proferred, the authors of those inappropriately-designed and/or misinterpreted experiments, made in both instances on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com should do the decent thing and withdraw their claims.

Wanting to win friends and influence people he tells us:

Shroudology reeks of agenda-driven control-freakery. I expect to be banned (or issued a yellow card) for saying that. So I’ll say it again. Shroudology reeks.

Relax, Colin. We love you!

imageMetaphorically speaking, down under and on the other side of the world, where reality is seen in different terms. Stephen Jones tells us:

I haven’t read Porter’s blog since the 8th of May . . .

Sounding much like Colin, he quotes from Wikipedia:

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

In other words, “agenda-driven control-freakery.”

After several pages, all written as comments in his blog, Stephen tells us:

. . . a new carbon dating would be unlikely to produce a first century date of the Shroud because of irremovable contamination and even if it did find the Shroud was first century, extreme Shroud sceptics would still not accept that the Shroud was authentic.

There already is ABUNDANT evidence that the Shroud is authentic, but Shroud sceptics don’t accept that. Why then would they accept the evidence of a new radiocarbon dating if it supported the Shroud being authentic?

imageIt does reek.

Now go look at Colin’s pictures. And read what he has to say. It merits your time and consideration.

Oh, I was going to move those papers. Now I can’t. 

Stephen Jones Wants BSTS to Remove Hugh Farey as Editor of the Newsletter

that is, the British Society for the Turin Shroud

imageClearly angry, Stephen Jones responds to comments by Hugh Farey, who is pictured here as the editor of BSTS Newsletter.

1) First read what Hugh wrote in Around the Internet in the newsletter.

2) Then read Stephen Jones’ blog posting, My reply to the anti-authenticist editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, Hugh Farey 

Hugh’s comments are correct.  If you want to understand more about what Stephen is thinking, read all of his blog entries for April of this year although the above mentioned posting should be enough. If you want even more and want to see what I and others have been saying, read A String of “Jones” Postings in this blog.

As for the Vignon Markings discussion mentioned by Hugh. You might want to start with Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #2 (Vignon markings) in Stephen’s blog. Then read the following postings in this blog:

Stephen wraps up with a call to have Hugh Farey removed:

In my opinion the British Society for the Turin Shroud should remove the anti-authenticist Hugh Farey from being Editor of its Newsletter, or else he will use it as a vehicle to promote his anti-authenticism, as he is doing in this attack on me. The BSTS has always been open to having non-Christians in its membership, and even its leadership, like the late Rodney Hoare, a BSTS past Chairman, who believed the Shroud was authentic but that it shows that Jesus was taken down alive from the cross. But the BSTS has in the past rejected anti-authenticists like David Sox from having a leadership role. It is a contradiction, which I predict will prove fatal if it continues, having an ANTI-authenticist Editor of the British Society FOR the Turin Shroud!

Stephen unfortunately sees the world in pro-authenticity and anti-authenticity terms; you are a good guy or a bad guy. you wear a white hat or a black hat. Whatever happened to being pro-truth whatever it may turn out to be?  If the BSTS should be so foolish as to listen to Stephen it would have no credibility at all.

From where does Stephen’s pro-authenticity thinking stem? Try this out from January 2 of this year:

So I for one do not believe that the Risen Lord Jesus, who sits at the Father’s right hand and controls everything (Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; Lk 22:69; Acts 2:33, 5:31;7:55-56; Rom 8:34; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pet 3:22) would allow such a convincing fake as the Shroud would then be, to exist. . . . I look forward to what the Lord has in store for us Shroud pro-authenticists in 2014?

Checking in on Stephen Jones’ Blog

imageInterspersed with his seemingly ever-evolving conspiracy theory (eight parts so far and counting) that the radiocarbon laboratories had been hacked by agents of the KGB – or something like that – it seems, too, to be an inside job, at least in Arizona – Stephen Jones is writing a Shroud of Turin encyclopedia in his blog.

Unwilling, it seems, to broach any controversy or dispute whatsoever he tells us that the image contains x-rays of bones and teeth, flower and plant images, images of coins over the eyes and many, many other things. These are observations that many people dispute, including me.

He tells us, also, that the d’Arcis’ memorandum, the 1988 radiocarbon dating and claims that the image contains artistic errors have been discredited. I’m less skeptical, here, but there are still a lot of unresolved issues:

Treating all this as undisputed facts allows him to write in the first and so far only article in his new encyclopedia:

Conclusion Since there is overwhelming evidence that the Shroud is authentic, and no remaining evidence that it is not, then the Shroud of Turin is the very burial sheet of Jesus Christ!

What more is there to discuss?

Another Segment of Stephen Jones’ Conspiracy Theory

imageIt is part 8. If you are interested CLICK HERE.

Stephen, in bold, banners text that reads:

EVIDENCE THAT KARL KOCH INSTALLED LINICK’S PROGRAM ON ZURICH AND OXFORD LABORATORIES’ AMS COMPUTERS

He then presents no evidence that I can see; none whatsoever. By-the-way, what Linick program? So far, Stephen has only hinted at this.

Well anyway, you can learn something about Karl Koch. And you can wonder why Stephen makes a splashing point that Koch is not essential to his theory.  He’s got that right.