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."


. . . 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:

  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.


  1. Copy and paste: "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.


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.