Sunday, October 26, 2014

Turin shroud was made for medieval Easter ritual, historian Charles Freeman says

"Turin shroud was made for medieval Easter ritual, historian says," The Guardian, Charlotte Higgins, 24 October 2014.

I have decided to interrupt my preparing of entry #9 of my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia: "The Servant of the Priest," which is unexpectedly turning out to be both very complex (and also very important), to respond to this news item. The words of the article are in bold to distinguish them from my words.

[Above: "Displaying the Shroud in Turin, 1613. Engraving by Antonio Tempesta. AKG Images / De Agostini Picture Library": "The Origins of the Shroud of Turin," Charles Freeman, History Today, Vol. 64, Issue 11, 24 October 2014. See a larger copy at]

Charles Freeman believes relic venerated as Jesus Christ's burial cloth dates from 14th century and was used as a prop As I pointed out in part #10 of my series, "My critique of Charles Freeman's `The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey,'" according to his entry in Wikipedia (which presumably he wrote), Freeman is a "freelance historian specializing in the history of ancient Greece and Rome" (not medieval art, nor the Shroud). According to that entry, Freeman has never held a actual historian position in any university, his highest listed history position being head of history at "St. Clare's, Oxford, an international school" (for "Ages 16–18+"):

"Charles P. Freeman is a scholar and freelance historian specializing in the history of ancient Greece and Rome ... He has taught courses on ancient history in Cambridge's Adult Education program and is Historical Consultant to the Blue Guides. He also leads cultural study tours to Italy, Greece, and Turkey ... In 1978 he was appointed head of history at St. Clare's, Oxford, an international school" ("Charles Freeman (historian)," Wikipedia, 3 August 2014).

This should be borne in mind when assessing the headline "... historian says."

Moreover, as I documented in part #1 of the above series, Freeman is evidently an atheist/agnostic having published papers critical of Christianity in the New Humanist online magazine, the subtitle

[Above (click to enlarge): Charles Freeman's page at New Humanist: Ideas for godless people listing his online papers, critical of Christianity, relics and the miraculous]

of which is "Ideas for godless people", and is "produced by the Rationalist Association ... dedicated to reason, science, secularism and humanism."

Freeman in his review of philosopher James Hannam's book, "God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science" (2009), describes Hannam as "a Catholic convert," in contrast to himself, "(I have passed the other way)":

"Hannam is a Catholic convert (I have passed the other way) and he presents himself as an apologist (in the old sense of the word as "defender") for the positive role of Christianity in Western society."
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.

Indeed, so prejudiced is Freeman against the Shroud, that on his own admission, in his book on medieval relics, Freeman left out the Shroud of Turin, on the preposterously false basis that it was "a cult of modern times, not a medieval one":

"When I was researching my book on medieval relics, Holy Bones, Holy Dust, I decided to leave out the Shroud of Turin. It is essentially a cult of modern times, not a medieval one." (Charles Freeman, "The pseudo-history of the Shroud of Turin," Yale Books Blog: Yale University Press London, May 25, 2012).
This also should be borne in mind when assessing Freeman's claims about the Shroud.

I hasten to add that I am a Protestant evangelical Christian and, unlike Freeman who needs the Shroud to be a fake to preserve his atheistic/agnostic worldview, I do not need the Shroud to be authentic to preserve my Christian worldview. As I have previously pointed out, I had been a Christian for nearly 40 years when in 2005 I was persuaded by the evidence that the Shroud of Turin was authentic. So if the Shroud was proven to be not authentic, I would still be the same Christian I have been all along.

As Shroud scholar Joe Marino pointed out, if the Shroud was proven to be authentic it would not affect a Christian's faith, but it would affect an atheist's faith!:

"It is usually stated, and with good reason, that the Shroud is not necessary in Christian faith. ... Skeptics who deny the authenticity of the Shroud are often atheists, and many of these atheists are in the forefront of Shroud opposition. They are not willing to acknowledge the possibility of the supernatural and find it safer to dismiss the Shroud as a forgery, even when it flies in the face of all the evidence. Quite simply, the reality of the Shroud and its possible ramifications scares them. They know that an authentic Shroud of Turin puts their atheism on shaky ground. A comment by a bishop to one such skeptic really puts the whole significance of the Shroud in perspective. The bishop told him, `If the Shroud turned out to be 2,000 years old, it wouldn't really affect my faith, but it might affect yours'. Thus in a real sense, the Shroud is more important for skeptics than it is for Christians. It penetrates to their deepest philosophical levels." (Marino, J.G , 2011, "Wrapped up in the Shroud," p.272).

When it is exhibited next year in Turin, for the first time in five years, 2 million people are expected to pour into the city to venerate a four-metre length of woven cloth as the shroud in which Jesus Christ was wrapped after his crucifixion, and on to which was transferred his ghostly image. Instead of the Shroud being "essentially a cult of modern times, not a medieval one," what Freeman should have written is that the Shroud is the only `medieval' relic which still attracts millions of modern people, including not only Roman Catholics and Orthodox, but also Protestants (like me) who have no other reason to be attracted to the Shroud except that the evidence for its authenticity is overwhelming.

Despite the fact that the cloth was radiocarbon-dated to the 14th century in 1988, an array of theories continue to be presented to support its authenticity – including, this year, the idea from scientists at the Politecnico di Torino that an earthquake in AD 33 may have caused a release of neutrons responsible for the formation of the image. See my post, "Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus?" for the flaws in this "earthquake in AD 33" explanation.

The neutron flux argument has the major flaw that for it to convert a first-century shroud to not just any date, but 1260-1390, or 1325 ±65, which `just happens' to be 25-30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in Lirey, France, in the 1350s, would be a miracle (and a deceptive one by God at that)! Such a miracle would even extend to the very part of the Shroud the radiocarbon dating sample was taken from:

"The same issue of Nature [as the carbon-dating of the Shroud-16 February 1989] carried the letter from T J Phillips, High Energy Laboratory, Harvard University, and a letter in reply (solicited by Nature) from Robert Hedges of Oxford. The two letters were headlined 'Shroud irradiated with neutrons?' Phillips' letter opened with, `If the shroud of Turin is in fact the burial cloth of Christ, contrary to its recent carbon-dated age of about 670 years, then according to the Bible it was present at a unique physical event: the resurrection of a dead body. ...' ... The neutrons could have been captured by carbon-13 (a stable isotope present with all the carbon in the shroud) to form carbon-14. This extra production of carbon-14 (radiocarbon) could give the shroud a much later radiocarbon age. He pointed out that this extra radiocarbon would vary in amount from place to place on the shroud. Presumably it would be greater closer to the image where this postulated production of neutrons occurred. ... But the most devastating argument against Phillips' idea was the fact that the samples were taken at just the right spot on the shroud to produce its historic date. A sample taken closer to the image would have produced an even more modern date-even a date into the future!" (Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," pp.301-302).

But as I have shown in my post, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #5," the 1989 Nature article, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," which claimed:

"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich ... The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390 ..."
is contradicted by Table 2 of the same Nature paper, which is accompanied by the fatal admission that:
"An initial inspection of Table 2 shows that the agreement among the three laboratories for samples 2, 3 and 4 [non-Shroud controls] is exceptionally good. The spread of the measurements for sample 1 [the Shroud] is somewhat greater than would be expected from the errors quoted" (my emphasis).

[Above (click to enlarge): Table 2 in the 1989 Nature paper showing that Sample 1 (the Shroud)'s average radiocarbon age for each laboratory was widely different, unlike the non-Shroud samples (2, 3 and 4). This is inexplicable if the Shroud samples' dates were real, because each dating run consisted of the Shroud and control samples all being on the same ~29 mm carousel wheel and rotated through a caesium beam in turn for 10 seconds each, the entire run taking a minute. But it is explicable if the Shroud sample dates were computer-generated. E.g. by a

[Right: Photograph of Linick and report that "He died at the age of forty-two on 4 June 1989, in very unclear circumstances, shortly after the campaign of the Italian press reporting our [Fr. Bruno Bonnet-Eymard's] accusations" (my emphasis).]

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.]

But, according to research by British scholar and author Charles Freeman, to be published in the journal History Today, the truth is that the shroud is not only medieval, just as the radiocarbon dating suggests, but that it is likely to have been created for medieval Easter rituals – an explanation that flies in the face of what he called "intense and sometimes absurd speculation" that coalesces around it. Freeman simply ignores (and relies on most of his readers not knowing about) the large amount of historical, archaeological and artistic evidence for the Shroud having existed (much of the time as the Edessa Cloth folded in eight-see my "Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin") many centuries before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date (and indeed all the way back to the first century). Even Prof. Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Director of the Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory, and who as "C.R. Bronk" was a signatory to the 1989 Nature paper, has admitted, "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests ... that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow":

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information." (Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Version 77, Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March).

Freeman is a good (or bad) example of "the blind leading the blind" (Mt 15:14; Lk 6:39). He presents his ignorance of Shroud studies as a problem for the Shroud! For example, in his History Today article Freeman falsely states:

"No one appears to have investigated the kinds of loom, ancient or medieval, on which a cloth of this size may have been woven. Nor has anyone closely examined the many early depictions and descriptions of the Shroud that illustrate features now lost."

But in his 2010 book, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," pp.71-73, Ian Wilson discusses ancient textiles specialist Dr Flury-Lemberg's research on the type of loom which produced the Shroud (presented 14 years ago at the 2000 Shroud conference in Turin and reported in the online BSTS Newsletter, No. 51, June 2000, "News from Around the World"), including a drawing of its extra-wide woven linen sheet output (see below).

[Above: "Reconstruction of the likely size of the bolt of cloth of which the two lengths of the Shroud (shaded) formed part. This wider cloth was very expertly cut lengthwise, then the raw (i.e. non-selvedge) edges of the shaded segments joined together by a very professional seam to form the Shroud we know today." (Wilson, 2010, p.73).]

And as for Freeman's assertion that, "Nor has anyone closely examined the many early depictions and descriptions of the Shroud ...", in issues #12 and #13, September and December 1984, of Shroud Spectrum International, which are online, the late Shroud scholar Don Luigi Fossati (1920-2007), who was regarded "the greatest expert" on "the existing full-size copies" of the Shroud, wrote a two-part paper entitled: "Copies of the Holy Shroud: Part I" and "Copies of the Holy Shroud: Parts II & III." At the start of part I, Fossati wrote:

"Many aspects of Shroud history can be better understood by a study of the copies made in past centuries. Such a study can reveal precious information little known or insufficiently considered by modern researchers, justly concerned with the Object itself. The list of copies presented here is by no means complete, because of the difficulty at present to locate some of the examples. Even less complete is the gallery of illustrations, due to the difficulties of reproduction. Limiting our research to copies in natural size or of particular historical/artistic interest, we do not include the almost incalculable numbers of small-format copies, executed in every conceivable technic. This review is in three parts: Part I lists in chronological order the copies which carry a date upon them. Those which are not dated are listed in Part II in alphabetical order of the localities in which they are conserved. The information acquired in studying the copies can help to clarify particular aspects of the history of the Holy Shroud, and Part III gives a brief synthesis of that new knowledge."

Since these examples are online, readily found by a Google search, there is especially no excuse for such ignorance by Freeman if he purports to be a Shroud scholar. But like most (if not all) Internet Shroud sceptics, Freeman relies on his readers being as ignorant of the Shroud as he is ("the blind leading the blind").

Freeman, the author of Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe, studied early descriptions and illustrations of the shroud. None predates 1355, the year of its first documented appearance in a chapel in Lirey near Troyes in France, before it was acquired by the House of Savoy in 1453 and "converted into a high-prestige relic" to shore up the power base of the insecure Alpine dukedom. See above that by his own admission, Freeman "... decided to leave out the Shroud of Turin" in his book Holy Bones, Holy Dust! By his "None predates 1355..." Freeman ignores the Hungarian Pray Codex (or Manuscript) which is dated 1192-95 and yet clearly is a depiction of the Shroud, at least 160 years before 1355.

[Above: "The Entombment" (top) and "The Visit to the Sepulchre" (bottom), "The Pray Manuscript," Berkovits, I., 1969, "Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, XI-XVI Centuries," plate III).]

The agnostic but pro-authenticist art historian, Thomas de Wesselow, after reviewing the similarities between the Pray Codex and the Shroud, concluded:

"We have now identified eight telling correspondences between the Shroud and the drawings on a single page of the Pray Codex. The first five, found in the scene of the Anointing, are sufficient on their own to indicate that the artist of the Pray Codex knew the Shroud. Conclusive proof is provided by the three correspondences in the lower scene: the stepped-pyramid pattern in the upper rectangle, evoking the distinctive herringbone weave of the Shroud; the folding of the object in two halves; and the small circle formations, which match the pattern of the poker-holes. It is inconceivable that all these detailed links with the Shroud, several of which are found nowhere else, could have occurred on a single manuscript page by chance. The only reasonable conclusion is that the artist of the Pray Codex was aware of the Shroud. The Shroud existed and was already damaged, then, by 1192-5, when the illustrations in the Pray Codex were drawn. Given the close links at the time between Hungary and Byzantium, it can hardly be doubted that the artist saw the relic in Constantinople. ... The Shroud of Turin, then, was once the Sindon of Constantinople."(de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," pp.180-181. My emphasis).

Leaving aside whether Freeman's pejorative claim that "the House of Savoy ... `converted [the Shroud] into a high-prestige relic' to shore up the power base of the insecure Alpine dukedom" is even true, it is irrelevant to the question of the Shroud's authenticity. But from what I have read the Savoy dukedom in the 15th century was anything but "shaky" and they were a genuinely devout and pious Catholic family. Besides, would they (not to mention the millions of modern-day people who queue to see the Shroud) be fooled by what Freeman claims is a "crude and limited" painting of the 14th century (see below)?

In particular, he turned up a little-known engraving by Antonio Tempesta, an artist attached to the Savoyard court, who made a meticulously detailed image of one of the ceremonial displays of the cloth to pilgrims in 1613. First, this is just an "engraving," not a full-size copy of the Shroud, of which there are at least 52 (see below). And it measures only 25 x 18 inches (see below), or about 64 x 46 cms, compared to the Shroud's 437 x 111 cms. So it seems that Freeman has `cherry-picked' the copy of the Shroud that best supports his argument and ignored all the rest which don't. If so, it is the very antithesis of scholarship.

It is also false that the engraving by Antonio Tempesta of the 1613 exhibition of the Shroud is "little known" in the sense that Shroud scholars are unaware of it. I have the following four mentions of Tempesta's 1613 exhibition engraving on my system which shows that they are well aware of it (my emphasis below):

"However one speaker totally new to me whose talk I did happen to hear and found particularly fascinating was Professor John Beldon Scott, head of the department of Art History at the University of Iowa. The title of his talk `Ostension of the Shroud. Architecture and ritual in Piazza Castello' might not sound world-beating stuff. However, by homing-in close-up on details from old prints depicting historic showings of the Shroud, Professor Scott explained aspects of the 16th and 17th century Shroud expositions that were certainly completely new to me. In particular, studying the Antonio Tempesta engraving of 1613 depicting the Shroud being exhibited in Turin's Piazza Castello, he explained how rosary-like strings of beads called `corona di Cristo' were thrown up to the bishops holding up the Shroud, in order that they should press these against the cloth, then throw them back down to their owners, the corona now being sanctified by direct contact with the Shroud." (Wilson, I., 1998, "The 3rd International Shroud Studies Congress, Turin, 5-7 June, 1998: Report by the Editor," BSTS Newsletter, No. 48, December).

La Sindone Nei Secoli nella Collezione di Umberto II, Palazzo Barolo, 18 aprile-14 giugno, Gribaudo, Turin, 1998, 224 A4 size pages, profusely illustrated throughout, several in full colour, softback. Published to accompany an exhibition of old prints and similar depicting historic showings of the Shroud and ancillary materials, as shown at Turin's Palazzo Barolo from 18 April to 14 June of this year, this superbly produced book includes excellent depictions of each print, and is an invaluable resource for the Shroud's history from its arrival in Turin in 1578, through to the age of photography. Only in the case of certain prints, such as the Tempesta engraving of 1613, is the original print so large and detailed that the small scale reproduction fails to do it justice." (Wilson, I., 1998, "Recent Publications," BSTS Newsletter, No. 48, December).

"In 1613, the engraver Antonio Tempesta produced an ambitious twenty-five-inch-by-eighteen-inch souvenir engraving that was the first properly to depict the sheer spectacle of these occasions (fig. 36). In the engraving, a sea of people can be seen filling every possible vantage point. Servants perch precariously on rooftops. Every balcony is filled to capacity, the one on the Castello, at the top centre of the picture, brimming with the leading ladies of the Savoy court. At the sides of the square, temporary 'corporate boxes' provide a high vantage point for those willing to pay for this privilege, while at ground level thousands of the humbler folk fill the square, surrounded by the ducal cavalry. In the foreground, in what seems to be the first of two separate moments that the artist has conflated into one, we see musketeers and halberdiers struggling to open a path for the procession of torchbearers who accompany the high square canopy beneath which the Shroud is being carried by mitred Church dignitaries. This procession leads our eye to the second moment the print encapsulates: the showing of the Shroud from a high platform that has been erected in the middle of the square. At a height that is comfortably beyond the crowd's reach, eight mitred bishops and archbishops hold out the Shroud to the populace. Below them, members of the crowd throw up corone di Cristo, rosary-like strings of beads, for the bishops to press against the Shroud then return duly sanctified to their owners. Behind the bishops can just be glimpsed the faces of Savoy's duke and duchess. In the sky above, a banner reads 'Happy House of Savoy, which, endowed by so great a pledge [i.e. to keep and protect the Shroud] is glorified by this sacred gift'." (Wilson, 2010, p.265).

"When in 1684 Charles Emmanuel II's son Victor Amadeus II married his first wife, Anna d'Orleans, a particularly lavish public showing of the Shroud was staged in the Piazza Castello. To supplement the usual souvenir prints, Dutch artist Pieter Bolckmann was commissioned to create a huge commemorative oil painting, which today hangs in Turin's Castello di Racconigi (pl. 31a). In the distance, beneath a large red canopy, the usual line of bishops and archbishops can be seen unfurling the Shroud's red silk cover to display the cloth to the crowds, which are even more extensive than in the Tempesta engraving of seven decades earlier, with every rooftop filled. And just behind the Royal Palace in the background can be seen the spire of Guarino Guarini's chapel showing that externally it was complete." (Wilson, 2010, p.270).

Indeed, Wilson has a two-pages `centrefold" photograph of Tempesta's engraving on pages 266-267 of his 2010 book!

"Astonishingly," he writes, "few researchers appear to have grasped that the shroud looked very different in the 16th and 17th centuries from the object we see today." What is truly astonishing, is that Freeman does not consider that the Shroud was the same all along, but artistic styles and abilities of the artists who copied the Shroud have varied!

By an amazing coincidence, this morning (25 October) I scanned and word-processed the following in my daily work of helping to put Shroud Spectrum International progressively online. As can be seen, in it Fossatti mentions that there are 52 full-sized copies of the Shroud, but "not one copy comes anywhere near a resemblance" of the Original:

"Based on the 52 copies [of the Shroud] located and catalogued, a few points should be emphasized: 1. Twenty-seven have the date written on the cloth. 2. All 52 show the frontal and dorsal imprints and are approximately the same dimensions as the Original. 3. The principal motive was to have a relic like the Original and for this reason the copy was laid in contact with the Shroud. 4. Some accompanying documents declare that the copy is "exactly equal" to the Original. 5. The copies do not show the characteristics of a true negative, proof that the artists did not understand negativity, even though it is often claimed that Byzantine iconographers were able to interpret the negative image. The copies confirm that the Shroud is an unicum inimitabile, a proof, even though indirect, of its authenticity. 6. A comparison of these copies with the Original eloquently refutes a manual production of the Shroud; not one copy comes anywhere near a resemblance."(Fossati, L., 1990, "The Shroud: from Object of Devotion to Object of Discussion," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 37, December, pp.9-19, p.16. My emphasis)

The Tempesta engraving, as well as a number of 15th- and 16th-century first-hand descriptions, emphasise a feature that is much less obvious now – that the figure was covered in blood and scourge marks, relating to Christ's flagellation.

This is fallacious. Working with only a 25 x 18 inch engraving, the thinnest flagellation mark would necessarily be much thicker relative to the whole body of the Man on the Shroud.

[Left: Extracted and vertically rotated copy of the Shroud in Tempesta's engraving found on Compare this with a positive photo of the Shroud on Shroud Scope and it can be seen there are a lot more, but thinner, flagellation marks on the 437 x 111 cm Shroud itself than on Tempesta's 64 x 46 cms engraving, where the flagellation marks are necessarily thicker but fewer.]

Looking at the close-up of Tempesta's engraving on the left, and making allowances for the differences in scale, it does not appear to be particularly more "bloody" than the Shroud itself. Indeed, it does not even show the major bloodstain of the spear-wound in the Man's side, which if Freeman's thesis that this engraving represents "a focus on blood in depictions of the crucifixion that emerged in the 14th century" (see below) it would surely depict it!

These extensive markings can be explicitly related, argues Freeman, to a focus on blood in depictions of the crucifixion that emerged in the 14th century – a "dramatic" change in iconography that sharply differentiates depictions of the crucified Christ from those of earlier centuries, and which reflects revelations of a bloody, wounded Christ reported by mystics such as Julian of Norwich in the 14th century. Apart from the Pray Manuscript (and a few other similar artworks) there were no Shroud-based depictions of the crucified Christ from earlier than the 14th century, after the Shroud was first publicly displayed in European history at Lirey, France in about 1355. Clearly it is no problem for the Shroud's authenticity, indeed the opposite, if there was "a focus on blood in depictions of the crucifixion that emerged in the 14th century"!

The original purpose of the shroud, argues Freeman, is likely to have been as a prop in a kind of medieval, theatrical ceremony that took place at Easter – the Quem quaeritis? or "whom do you seek?" "On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with `disciples' acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen," he said. This is mere idle speculation by Freeman, which is not even worth responding to. As I have previously written, with words to the effect:

`What Shroud anti-authenticists (like Freeman) need to do is propose a comprehensive and internally coherent Shroud anti-authenticist theory that plausibly: 1) Positively accounts for all the major features of the entire full-length, front and back, Shroud image (including photographic negativity, three-dimensionality, extreme superficiality, etc), with technology that was indisputably in use before the 1350s. Such an account should include a reproduction of the Shroud and its image that has all the major features of the entire Shroud, with that same pre-1350s technology. And 2) Negatively explains away all the historical, archaeological and artistic evidence for the Shroud having been in existence from the 14th century, all the way back to the first century. No such comprehensive and coherent Shroud anti-authenticity theory exists, which suggests that if anti-authenticists have attempted to propose one, they quietly gave up, because they realised the difficulties of such a theory!'

Freeman's idea was shored up by his study of the earliest illustration of the shroud – on a pilgrim badge of the 1350s found in the Seine in 1855. On it, two clerics hold up the shroud, and beneath is an empty tomb. Freeman's idea certainly needs all the shoring up it can get! But the Cluny Museum pilgrim's

[Above: A pilgrim's medallion made of lead, found in the mud of Paris' Seine River in 1855, and today held in Paris' Cluny Museum. The 4.5 cms high by 6.2 cms wide medallion has front and back images, head to head, of the Shroud, being held by two clergymen, as well as the coats of arms of the first recorded owners of the Shroud, the 14th century French Knight Geoffrey I de Charny (left) and his wife Jeanne de Vergy (right). It had probably been worn by a pilgrim to an exhibition of the Shroud at Geoffrey's church in Lirey, France in 1355, since he was killed in battle in 1356 and according to a memorandum by Bishop d'Arcis of nearby Troyes, Geoffrey was exhibiting the Shroud at Lirey, "thirty-four years or thereabouts" before 1389, in the time of his predecessor, Bishop Henri of Poitiers, who only arrived at Troyes in 1354: "A Souvenir from Lirey." See also my "The case for fraud in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud #1: Introduction" for references.]

badge, is an item of evidence for the existence of the Shroud in the 1350s that all Shroud theories, pro- and anti-authenticity, must conform to. And again Freeman is seeking support for his position, not from the over 50 full-size copies of the Shroud, but from another miniature copy of the Shroud, this one even smaller at only 4.5 x 6.2 cms!

The church officially regards the shroud with an open mind: as a object to be venerated as a reminder of Christ's passion, rather than, necessarily, the physical imprint of his body. 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; 2Cor 4:2; 13:8; Eph 4:15, 25; 6:14).

Next year, millions of pilgrims will beg to disagree – as they will with Freeman's argument that places the shroud at the birth of northern European drama rather than at the dawn of Christianity, and that identifies the images on it as traces of a "crude and limited" painting of the 14th century. Well put! Freeman had actually claimed in his History Today article that the Shroud is a "painting" that is "crude and limited":

"What can we say about the painting on the Shroud? The images are crude and limited in tone. They show none of the expertise of the great painters of the 14th century, who, even on linen, were capable of mixing a variety of pigments into rich colours. The join of the head and the shoulders on the frontal image is particularly inept. Although the artist did try to reproduce images that might have touched a crucified body and left a mark, the two images are not even simultaneous representations of the same body. This can be seen from the arms as they are shown in the early depictions. If you lie on the ground and place your elbows in the same position as those on the back image of the Shroud, you can quickly see that it is impossible to hold the position of the crossed arms in the front. There is a difference of seven centimetres between the lengths of the two bodies. Then again the heads do not meet, suggesting that this was not a cloth that was ever folded over an actual head. A cloth laid on a body would pick up its contours, but there is no sign of this. Again, the hair of the body would have fallen back if the figure had been lying down but the blood is as if it is trickling down the hair of a standing figure. In short, it appears to be a painting made by an artist whose only concession to his subject is to imagine that this is a negative impression of the body (as shown by the wound on the chest being on the left of the image in contrast to the conventional right, as seen in the Holkham crucifixion scene) that had been transferred to the cloth."

But in this Freeman displays further ignorance of Shroud literature. One thing that STURP did show in 1978 and its aftermath is that the Shroud's image is NOT a painting, because "No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils" that make up the image (there are random spots of paint, pigment and dye on the Shroud from artists pressing their copies against the Shroud to `bless' them):
"After years of exhaustive study and evaluation of the data, STURP issued its Final Report in 1981. The following official summary of their conclusions was distributed at the press conference held after their final meeting in October 1981: `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils [i.e. that make up the image]. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death. It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.'" ("A Summary of STURP's Conclusions," October 1981,

And all the above objections have been fully answered in Shroud literature, of which (again) Freeman seems to be (presumably because he wants to be) ignorant. "There are none so blind as those who will not see!"

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Shroud: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Turin Shroud Encyclopedia
© Stephen E. Jones


Here is entry #8, of my "Turin Shroud Encyclopedia," about the term "shroud" itself. For more information about this series, see the Main Index "A-Z", and sub-indexes "S", "C," and "D."

[Above: "Christ Taken Prisoner," 1597, by Giuseppe Cesari (c. 1568-c. 1640)[2]. The depiction is of Mark 14:43-52, where Jesus, having been betrayed by Judas, has been taken prisoner, and Peter (Jn 18:10) (right) had cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest (v.47) while (left) (vv.51-52):

"a young man [presumably Mark[3]] followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth [Gk. sindon - the same word for "shroud"] about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked."]

[Main index] [Previous #7] [Next #9]

Introduction. The word "shroud" in the English New Testament is the Greek word sindon, which occurs seven times in five verses: 1) as the linen bed sheet that covered the otherwise naked young man (Mark-see above) who had surreptitiously followed Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14:51-52 - twice); and 2) the linen shroud that Jesus' body was enfolded (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46 - twice); and Lk 23:53[4]. Sindon also occurs in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, in Judges 14:12-13 and Proverbs 31:24[5], where it denotes "linen garments." So sindon had a general meaning as a linen garment or large cloth rather than being specifically funerary[6].

Other words for Jesus' burial clothes. Othonia. Plural[7] of othonion "linen cloth"[8], hence "linen cloths" (Lk 24:12; Jn 19:40; 20:5,6,7). In the Septuagint othonia denotes "linen garments" in Judges 14:13 and "flax" in Hosea 2:5,9[9]. John does not use the word sindon, but describes the body of Jesus as wrapped in othonia - "linen cloths" (Jn 19:40)[10]. And then in his account of the discovery of the burial linens in the empty tomb (Jn 20:5-7) again John uses the word othonia "linen cloths"[11] as a generic plural for grave-clothes[12]. But see on future part #9. Luke 24:12 uses othonia to include what he had previously in Lk 23:53 described as the sindon[13]. Again see on future part #9. Although it is not mentioned among the linen cloths used in the burial of Jesus, it is probable that Jesus had his hands, feet and possibly his jaw bound by keiriais, narrow strips of linen[14] with which Lazarus was bound (Jn 11:44)[15].

Soudarion is translated "handkerchief(s)" (Lk 19:20; Acts 19:12) and "face cloth" (Jn 11:44; 20:7). It is a transcription into Greek of the Latin word sudarium, from the Latin sudor, to sweat, hence a cloth for wiping sweat from the face[16]. The Sudarium of Oviedo, a linen cloth measuring about 85 x 53 cms (34 x 21 ins)[17], has been in Spain since the seventh century[18]. It has traditionally been claimed to be the "the face cloth [soudarion], which had been on Jesus' head" (John 20:7)[19]. This has been confirmed by scientific findings of the Centro Español de Sindonología (CES) that, "the stains [on the Sudarium of Oviedo] ... coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud" and especially "when the stains on the Sudarium are placed over the image of the ... beard; the match is perfect":

"The most striking thing about all the stains [on the Sudarium of Oviedo] is that they coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud. The first fact that confirms the relationship between the two cloths is that the blood on each belongs to the same group, AB ... The length of the nose which produced this stain has been calculated at eight centimetres, just over three inches, which is exactly the same as the length of the nose on the Shroud ... This, however, is not the only point of coincidence between the nasal areas on the two cloths. Both of them, especially the Shroud, contain a high concentration of ground particles and dust in this area. When a man was being led to the place of crucifixion, he had to carry the horizontal bar of the cross, which was probably tied to his outstretched arms and placed across the back of his neck. This meant that whenever he fell, which would have been often after being whipped and with such a weight to carry, he could not protect his face from the impact of the fall. This also explains why this nose was swollen, slightly displaced and bleeding ... Perhaps the most obvious fit when the stains on the Sudarium are placed over the image of the face on the Shroud, is that of the beard; the match is perfect. This shows that the Sudarium, possibly by being gently pressed onto the face, was also used to clean the blood and other fluids that had collected in the beard"[20].

[Above: Perfect fit of Sudarium of Oviedo (right) to the face on the Shroud of Turin (left)[21]. This is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo once covered the head of the same man[22].]

Jesus' sindon through history. Reference to Jesus' sindon throughout history include:

• 1204 - Robert de Clari. French crusader-knight Robert de Clari (c. 1170-c.1216), in his book "History of Those Who Conquered Constantinople," gave an eyewitness account of the events leading up to and including the sack of Constantinople in 1203-4[23] by fellow members of the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204), who were in the city enroute to retaking Muslim-controlled Jerusalem[24]. Included in the wonders that de Clari saw in Constantinople in 1204 was a sindon upon which was the figure of the body of Jesus:

"... there was another church which was called My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, where was kept the sheet [sydoines] in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday rose up straight, so that one could clearly see the figure [figure] of Our Lord on it; and no one, neither Greek nor French, knew what became of this sheet after the city was taken"[25].

[Above: Part of Robert de Clari's Old French account of what he saw in Constantinople in 1204: a sydoine (i.e. sindon) bearing the figure of Jesus[26]!]

In the above quote, sydoines is the Old French rendering of the Greek word sindon, the same word used in the Gospels for the shroud in which Jesus' body was wrapped[27]. And the Old French word figure, which in modern French means "face," before c.1650 meant what it signified in Latin, i.e. `figure', `outline', `form'[28], just as it does in English today[29]. That is, what de Clari saw, in Constantinople in 1204, was a sindon which had Jesus' whole body imprinted on it[30]! This alone is evidence (if not proof) that what we call today the Shroud of Turin was in Constantinople up to at least 1204, over fifty years before the earliest 1260 date of the 1988 radiocarbon dating[31]!

• 1201 - Nicholas Mesarites. Nicholas Mesarites (c. 1163/4–aft. 1216)[32] was the Skeuophylax or Keeper[33] of the relic collection in Constantinople's Pharos Chapel[34]. In 1201 he defended the chapel against supporters of the usurper, John Comnenus the Fat (?-1201), leader of a failed[35] palace revolution[36]. In his 1207 account, "The Palace Revolution of John Comnenus"[37] Mesarites wrote that he had warned the mob against forcing entry to the chapel and looting its contents[38]:

"In this chapel Christ rises again, and the sindon with the burial linens is the clear proof"[39].

As the Keeper of Constantinople's relic collection, Mesarites would have had an intimate knowledge of each relic in it[40] and he regarded this sindon as "the clear proof" of Jesus' resurrection.

Mesarites' "Christ rises again" via "the sindon" is undoubtedly referring to the same sindon as de Clari's "which every Friday rose up straight" (see above)[41]. And by the same Byzantine mechanism which made

[Above: Proposed mechanism, based on the foldmarks on the Shroud discovered by Dr. John Jackson[42], that was used in Constantinople to make the sindon bearing "the figure of Our Lord on it" to rise "up straight" (de Clari) and make it appear as though "Christ rises again" (Mesarites):

"How the Shroud may have been made to 'stand upright' from its casket, for very privileged showings during the last years of its possession in Constantinople. The 'doubled-in-four' crease lines identified by Dr John Jackson (Lettered A-G on diagram 1) and the particularly pronounced set of lines at point F indicate a folding arrangement around an apparatus as indicated in diagrams 2 and 3. The cloth could then have been made to rise upright, as in 4 and 5. The Byzantines delighted in the kind of gadgetry that the crease lines seem to indicate"[43].]

Christ appear to rise again from the Tomb (see above)[44].

In his 1207 account Mesarites also listed the relics which were in the Pharos Chapel in 1201, including:

"The burial sindon of Christ: this is of linen, of cheap and easily obtainable material, still smelling fragrant of myrrh, defying decay, because it wrapped the mysterious [aperilepton], naked dead body after the Passion."[45].

The Greek word aperilepton is variously translated "mysterious" (above), "uncircumscribed"[46], "outlineless"[47] and "un-outlined"[48]. The last two are literally the meaning of aperilepton: [a = "no" + peri = "around" + lepton = "thin"][49], which Mesarites used for this sindon[50]. And the lack of an outline is a major characteristic of the Shroud image[51]!

As also is the "naked dead body" a major, and indeed in the 13th century unique, characteristic of the image on the Shroud[52]. That Jesus' dead body was "naked" is something that Mesarites could not have authoritatively stated unless he had personally seen the imprint of it on this sindon[53]. And Mesarites could not have stated it unless the image of Jesus' naked dead body was clearly evident on this sindon[54].

Taken together, these two reports by Robert de Clari and Nicholas Mesarites, within a few years of each other, show that at the beginning of the 13th century, a linen sindon was among the Imperial relics in Constantinople, which bore the un-outlined image of the naked, dead body of Jesus, which is not merely a description of a burial cloth similar to the Shroud, but a description of the Shroud itself[56]!

• 1190 - Constantinople inventory An anonymous inventory of Constantinople's relics in 1190[57], includes:

"a part of the linens [linteaminum][58] in which the crucified body of Christ was wrapped, a syndon, and the towel [manutergium] sent to King Abgar of Edessa by the Lord, on which the Lord himself transferred his image"[59]

From this time on, both the Edessa cloth and the burial linens, appear in the same Constantinople relic inventory lists[60]. This listing of both the Shroud (sindon) and the "towel" upon which Jesus supposedly "transferred his image" and then sent it to "King Abgar of Edessa" (the Image of Edessa), poses an apparent problem for Ian Wilson's theory that the Image of Edessa was the Shroud "doubled in four" (tetradiplon)[61]. But as Wilson rightly points out:

"While such duplication is disquieting ... it is easy enough to account for ... If the Byzantines wanted to acknowledge that they had Jesus's burial cloth, as they seem to have done, they could not simply tear up as so much waste paper the Image of Edessa's tradition that Jesus had created it in life, as an image just of his face. ... this would not have been in the Byzantine mindset. Their solution would have been to use a copy of the Image as the 'face only' relic and gradually suggest that there existed an imprint on the burial linens likewise"[62]

• 1171 - William of Tyre. In the late 12th century, to find allies against the growing power of the Moslems, the Byzantium emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1118-1180) actively courted visits from Western leaders[63]. One such visit was by King Amaury (or Amalric I)[64] of Jerusalem (1136-1174) in 1171, accompanied by his entourage including William II, Archbishop of Tyre (c. 1130–1186)[65]. William was also a historian[66], and in his "Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum"[67]

[Right: "William of Tyre writing his History"[68].]

("History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea")[65], he recorded as an eyewitness[69] that the emperor:

"...ordered to be exposed the relics of the saints, the most precious evidence of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the Cross, nails, lance, sponge, reed, crown of thorns, sindon, and sandals ..."[70].

In the accompanying French text the sindon was further described as:

"...the cloth which is called the sisne [Old French variant of sindon[71]] in which he was wrapped ..." [72].

This can only be the Shroud, 89 years before the earliest 1260 date of the 1988 radiocarbon dating[73]!

• 958 - Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. In 958, Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennitus (905-959)[74] sent a letter of encouragement[75] to his troops campaigning around Tarsus,

[Left: Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos depicted being crowned by Christ (see full image)[74].]

telling them that he was sending them holy water consecrated by:

"... the precious wood [of the Cross], the unstained lance ... the reed which caused miracles ... the sindon which God wore [theophoron sindonos][76], and other symbols of the immaculate Passion ..."[77].

This is the first known documentary reference to Jesus' sindon being in Constantinople[78]. Constantine, who had personally viewed up close the Image of Edessa on its arrival in Constantinople in 944, made no mention of the latter in his 958 letter, which is inexplicable

[Right: Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in 945 depicted as King Abgar V of Edessa in this 10th century icon at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai[79], receiving the Image of Edessa from Jesus' disciple Thaddeus[80].

unless in the interim it had been discovered that behind the face of the Edessa Cloth was folded Jesus' full burial sindon[81]. Constantine's description of this sindon as theophoron "God-worn"[82] is a significant advance on the Edessa Image legend where the living Jesus' face image was supposedly imprinted on a towel[83], and is:

"... a clear sign that the Sindon seen by Robert de Clari was in the imperial relic collection by the mid tenth century - a full 300 years before the earliest date indicated by the carbon dating of the Shroud"[84].

Because of this and other evidence, agnostic art historian Thomas de Wesselow concluded:

"The Shroud of Turin, then, was once the Sindon of Constantinople. Seen in public by Robert de Clari and his fellow Crusaders in 1203-4, it was kept before then in a state of religious purdah, witnessed only by members of the Byzantine court and esteemed visitors, who, once initiated, could be trusted to keep the secret of its astonishing image. Historical records show that the Sindon was kept in the Pharos Chapel as part of the imperial relic collection, being first documented there in 958, 400 years before it was put on show in the small French village of Lirey[85]" (my emphasis)!

• 8th century - St. John of Damascus. St. John of Damascus, or John Damascene, (c.675/676–749)[86], in his De Imaginibus ("On Images"[87], includes in the relics associated with Jesus, "the shrouds [tas sindonas] and the cloths of the tomb"[88].

[Left: "Saint John Damascene (Arabic icon)"[86].]

Although John here referred to sindons plural, evidently including the other burial cloths[89], in a sermon he used the singular, sindoni to refer to the Shroud[90]. That John of Damascus knew that Jesus' sindon was a Shroud of Turin-sized linen cloth is evident in that he wrote in about 730 that Jesus had impressed His image on a himation, which was an oblong cloth almost two yards wide and three yards long (~1.8 x ~2.7 m), and was the outer garment of an ancient Greek[91].

• 2nd century - Gospel of the Hebrews. The earliest mention of Jesus' sindon having been preserved is in a quotation by St. Jerome, from the lost second-century "Gospel of the Hebrews"[92]. According to this apocryphal `gospel'[93], after his resurrection Jesus had given his burial shroud (sindon) to the "servant of the priest":

"The Gospel that is called `according to the Hebrews,' which I have recently translated into both Greek and Latin, a Gospel that Origen frequently used, records the following after the Savior's resurrection: `But when the Lord had given the linen cloth [sindon][94] to the servant of the priest, he went and appeared to James.' (Jerome, Illustrious Men, 2)"[95].

This is one of a number of second century apocryphal books including, The Acts of Pilate, Gospel of Peter, The Acts of Nicodemus, and The Gospel of Gamaliel, which mention that Jesus' burial shroud was saved from the tomb[96]. They disagree with each other who saved it, but they all agree that Jesus' burial shroud had been saved[97].

I will present the evidence in my next post in this series, entry #9, that Jesus did in fact give His sindon to "the servant of the priest," as preserved in this very early account in The Gospel of the Hebrews.

Conclusion. The above is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the cloth known today as the Shroud of Turin was the "linen shroud" (Gk sindoni, sindona) that wrapped the dead body of Jesus (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53)!

1. This post is copyright. No one may copy from it or any of my posts on this my The Shroud of Turin blog without them first asking and receiving my written permission. Except that I grant permission, without having to ask me, for anyone to copy the title and one paragraph only (including one graphic) of any of my posts, provided that they include a reference to the title of, and a hyperlink to, that post from which it came. [return]
2. Staatliche Museen [State Museum], Kassel, Germany: Friends of Art, 2010. [return]
3. Hendriksen, W., 1975, "The Gospel of Mark," New Testament Commentary, Banner of Truth: Edinburgh UK, British edition, 1976, pp.599-602. [return]
4. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994, pp.1290-1291. [return]
5. Ibid. [return]
6. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.44. [return]
7. Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.46. [return]
8. othonion, in Vine, W.E., 1940, "An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: With Their Precise Meanings for English Readers," Oliphants: London, Nineteenth impression, 1969, Vol. II., p.346. [return]
9. Ibid. [return]
10. Wilson, I. 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.57. [return]
11. Ibid. [return]
12. Robinson, J.A.T., " The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, p.24. [return]
13. Ibid. [return]
14. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.31. [return]
15. Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.85. [return]
16. Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.145. [return]
17. Bennett, 2001, p.13. [return]
18. Guscin, M., 1997, "The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin," [return]
19. Whanger, A.D. & M.W., "A Quantitative Optical Technique for Analyzing and Authenticating the Images on the Shroud of Turin," in Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, pp.303-324, p.312. [return]
20. Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, pp.28-292. [return]
21. Bennett, 2001, plate 20. [return]
22. See also my post, "My critique of Charles Freeman's `The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey,' part 4: `The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo' (2)," July 28, 2012. [return]
23. Dembowski, P.F., 1982, "Sindon in the Old French Chronicle of Robert de Clari," Shroud Spectrum International, Issue #2, March, pp.13-17, p.13. [return]
24. "Fourth Crusade," Wikipedia, 4 September 2014. [return]
25. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.175 (words in square brackets de Wesselow's). [return]
26. Copenhagen Royal Library, MS 487, fol. 123b.. See Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.125 [return]
27. de Wesselow, 2012, p.175. [return]
28. Wilson, 1998, p.253. [return]
29. Wilson, 1998, p.243. [return]
30. Wilson, 1998, p.124. [return]
31. Wilson, 1998, p.125. [return]
32. "Nicholas Mesarites," Wikipedia, 15 February 2014. [return]
33. Scavone, D.C., 1989a, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.89. [return]
34. Wilson, 1979, p.167. [return]
35. "John Comnenus the Fat ," Wikipedia, 31 July 2014. [return]
36. Currer-Briggs, N., 1987, "The Shroud and the Grail: A Modern Quest for the True Grail," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, pp.62-63. [return]
37. "Excerpts from 'The Palace Revolution of John Comnenus by Nicholas Mesarites," Shroud Spectrum International, Issue #17, December 1985, pp.23-27, p.23. [return]
38. Scavone, 1989a, p.89. [return]
39. Wilson, 1979, p.167. [return]
40. Scavone, 1989a, p.89. [return]
41. de Wesselow, 2012, p.176. [return]
42. Jackson, J.P., 1984, "Foldmarks as a Historical Record of the Turin Shroud," Shroud Spectrum International, Issue #11, June. [return]
43. Wilson. & Schwortz, 2000, p.112. [return]
44. Wilson, 1998, pp.154-157 [return]
45. Wilson, 1979, pp.167-168. [return]
46. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.155. [return]
47. Wilson, 1998, p.145. [return]
48. de Wesselow, 2012, p.176. [return]
49. Zodhiates, 1992, pp.57, 1140, 917. [return]
50. Wilson, 1998, p.145. [return]
51. Ibid.. [return]
52. de Wesselow, 2012, p.176. [return]
53. Wilson, 1998, p.145. [return]
54. Wilson, 1991, p.155. [return]
56. de Wesselow, 2012, p.177. [return]
57. Wilson, 1998, p.271. [return]
58. Ibid. [return]
59. Wilson, 1991, p.154. [return]
60. Scavone, D., 1989b, "The Shroud of Turin in Constantinople: The Documentary Evidence," in Sutton, R.F., Jr., "Daidalikon: Studies in Memory of Raymond V Schoder," Bolchazy Carducci Publishers: Wauconda IL, pp.320-321. [return]
61. Wilson, 1979, pp.118-124. [return]
62. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.184-185. [return]
63. Wilson, 1979, p.165. [return]
64. "Amalric I of Jerusalem," Wikipedia, 19 July 2014. [return]
65. "William of Tyre," Wikipedia, 2 September 2014. [return]
66. Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.25. [return]
67. Wilson, 1979, p.314n29. [return]
68. "From a 13th-century Old French translation, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS 2631, f.1r: "William of Tyre," Wikipedia, 2 September 2014. [return]
69. Scavone, 1989b, p.320. [return]
70. Wilson, 1979, p.166. [return]
71. Dembowski, 1982, p.18. [return]
72. Wilson, 1979, p.166. [return]
73. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
74. "Constantine VII," Wikipedia, 26 September 2014. [return]
75. Wilson, 1998, p.268. [return]
76. de Wesselow, 2012, p.177. [return]
77. Wilson, 1991, p.153. [return]
78. Wilson, 1998, p.269. [return]
79. "Abgar V," Wikipedia, 3 July 2014. [return]
80. Wilson, 1979, pp.154-155. [return]
81. Wilson, 1991, pp.153-154. [return]
82. de Wesselow, 2012, p.177. [return]
83. Wilson, 1979, p.120. [return]
84. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.177-178. [return]
85. de Wesselow, 2012, p.181. [return]
86. "John of Damascus," Wikipedia, 18 September 2014. [return]
87. O'Donovan, O., 1999, "The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology," Cambridge University Press, p.292. [return]
88. De Imaginibus, Oratio III., p. 778. Beecher, P.A., 1928, "The Holy Shroud: Reply to the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.," M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin, p.146. [return]
89. Green, M., 1969, "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, Autumn, pp.319-345. [return]
90. Beecher, 1928, p.146. [return]
91. Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, p.39. [return]
92. Wilson, 1979, p.92. [return]
93. Scavone, 1989a, p.74. [return]
94. Wilson, 1979, p.92. [return]
95. Ehrman B.D., 2003, "Lost Scriptures: Books that Did not Make It into the New Testament," Oxford University Press: New York NY, p.16. [return]
96. Scavone, 1989a, p.74. [return]
97. Ibid. [return]

Updated: 15 October, 2014.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dimensions of the Shroud: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Turin Shroud Encyclopedia
© Stephen E. Jones

Dimensions of the Shroud

This is entry #7, of my "Turin Shroud Encyclopedia," about the dimensions (i.e. measurements) of the Shroud cloth. See the Main Index "A-Z" for information about this series. As mentioned in my comment under my post, "Shroud of Turin: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia":

"I intend to grow my Encyclopedia organically, i.e. I will next add entries about key words in my latest post, e.g. "shroud," "Turin," "Lirey," "de Charny, Geoffroi," and " de Vergy, Jeanne" etc."
So this post is an expansion on that entry #3's, "The Shroud of Turin a 437 x 111 cms (~14.3 x 3.6 ft) rectangular linen sheet."

[Main index] [Previous #6] [Next #8]

Dimensions determined. Prior to 1998, the most commonly cited dimensions of the Shroud were 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide[2] (434.3 x 109.2 cms)[3]. In that year ancient textiles specialist Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg determined that the true dimensions of

[Above: From left to right: Swiss textiles expert Mechthild Flury Lemberg, Sister Maria Clara Antonini of the Poor Clare nuns[4] and Don Giuseppe Ghiberti, Turin diocesan official in charge of the 1998 exhibition[5], finish preparing the Turin Shroud April 16 for display to the public on Sunday April 19, 1998[6].]

the Shroud are 437 centimetres long by 111 centimetres wide (about 14 feet 4 inches by 3 feet 8 inches)[7]:

"Dr. Flury-Lemberg and New Textile Findings The first speaker was Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, a former curator of the Abegg Foundation textile museum, Switzerland, whose theme was 'The Shroud fabric, its technical and archaeological characteristics'. It was Dr. Flury-Lemberg who, immediately prior to the 1998 exposition, had the task of preparing the Shroud for its display and housing in the new three ton Italgas container constructed for it, working side by side with Sister Maria Clara Antonini of the Poor Clares. Because the plate for the new container had been made slightly too small, Dr. Flury-Lemberg gained permission to remove the blue surround that had been sewed on in the 19th century. The intention behind this surround had been to save the Shroud from the repeated handling at the edges to which they had been subjected throughout the long centuries when it was the custom to hold it up before the populace. However, the surround had ever since prevented examination of the same edges, thereby hindering totally accurate calculation of its dimensions. Now the dimensions have been authoritatively determined by Dr. Flury-Lemberg as 437 cm long by 111 cm wide." [8]

after she, to prepare the Shroud for the 1998 exposition[9], removed the Shroud's blue satin protective hem[10] which had been sewn onto the cloth by Princess Clotilde of Savoy in 1868[11].

The thickness of the cloth is about one third of a millimetre[12] (0.345 mm [13]), slightly thicker than shirt cloth[14], and its weight is approx- imately 2.45 kgs (about 5½ lbs)[15].

[Right (click to enlarge): Shroud showing missing pieces at each end of the sidestrip[16].]

Missing pieces. There are two pieces missing at each end of the 8 cms (3½ inch) sidestrip[17] (see right). The first is 14 x 8 cms (5½ by 3½ inches) at the front left feet end and the second is 36 x 8 cm (14 by 3½ inches) at the back left feet end[18]. However, as can be seen (right) the missing pieces do not change the length or width of the Shroud.

Cubits. In August 1989, an expert in early Syriac, Ian Dickinson, from Canterbury, England[19], reflected on the Shroud's then commonly accepted measurements of 14 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 7 inches[20]. They seemed odd to him by modern standards but he wondered what they would be if the Shroud was measured in 1st century AD Jerusalem, by the cubit[21].

There were various cubits in use in Jesus' time, including one for use in the Jerusalem Temple[22]. There was also a cubit of the market place, known as the Assyrian cubit, which was the one most widely one used, being the international standard of that time for merchants of the Near East[23]. This common cubit of commerce was carried along with the Assyrian language, Aramaic, which was the common language of trade and diplomacy from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea, and had become the language of the Jew (Jn 5:2; 19:13,17,20; 20:16), which Jesus spoke[24]

[Above: Page 67 of "Inductive Metrology: Or, The Recovery of Ancient Measures from the Monuments," by William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1877), showing the Assyrian cubit was 21.6 inches (~54.9 cms)[25] (see below).]

Petrie & Oppert. During the 19th century the archaeological pioneer, Sir Flinders Petrie (1853–1942) and Assyriologist Julius Oppert (1825–1905), took many measurements of ancient buildings in Babylon (which Assyria had annexed in the 9th century BC)[26]. Petrie and Oppert found the length of the Assyrian cubit to be almost 21.5 inches, since refined by other archaeologists to be 21.6 ±0.2 inches[27] (54.9 ±0.5 cms). In fact according to page 67 of Petrie's book above, he himself accepted 21.60 inches as the mean length of the Assyrian cubit. And this is what the Shroud conforms to, taking the lower limit of 21.4 inches[28] (54.4 cms):

 21.4 inches x 8=171.2 inches
 Shroud recorded length=171.0 inches
 21.4 inches x 2=42.8 inches
 Shroud recorded width=43.0 inches

Now 171.2 inches is 434.8 cms, and 43.0 inches is 109.2 cms, which are very close to the Shroud's 437 cms by 111 cms. Indeed, those latest, most accurate dimensions of the Shroud are even closer to the Assyrian cubit's middle value of 21.6 inches or 54.9 cms. Dividing 437 and 111 cms by 54.9 cms equals 8 (7.96) cubits and 2 (2.02) cubits, respectively!

Guralnick. Archaeologist Eleanor Guralnick claimed that from measuring slabs and figures from ancient Assyrian capitals Khorsabad and Nineveh in Iraq, from the reigns of Sargon II (r. 721–705 BC), Sennacherib (r. 705 – 681 BC), and Ashurbanipal (r. 668–627 BC), she derived new standard lengths of three different cubits from the Late Assyrian period[29]. They were, the Standard Cubit (51.5 cms), a Big Cubit (56.6 cms), and a "Cubit of the King" (55 cms)[30]. Despite Guralnick's standard cubits having been derived from a smaller sample set than Oppert/Petries', what Guralnick called the "Cubit of the King" (55 cms) appears to be Oppert/Petrie's "Assyrian Cubit" (54.9 cms), as highlighted in the table below.

[Above: Comparison of Oppert/Petrie's and Guralnick's three Assyrian cubits in relation to the dimensions of the Shroud of Turin. As can be seen, Guralnick's "Cubit of the King" (55 cms) is very close to Oppert/Petrie's "Assyrian Cubit" (54.9 cms), and the 437 cms long by 111 cms wide dimensions of the Shroud equal 8 by 2 of those cubits of Guralnick and Oppert/Petrie.]

Medieval forger? The Bible mentions cubits (Gn 6:16; Ex 25:10,17,23; 26:13,16; 30:2; 36:21; 37:1, 6,10,25; Dt 3:11; Jdg 3:16; 1Ki 6:16; 7:24,31,35; 2Chr 4:3; Eze 40:5,12,42; 42:4; 43:13,14,17; Mt 6:27; Lk 12:25) but does not say how long they were. So it is highly unlikely that a medieval forger would even know about the Assyrian standard cubit[31], and even if he did, it is even more unlikely that he would bother obtaining a first century fine linen shroud of those dimensions, especially given that fine linen then ranked with gold in value[32]. And that is assuming that he could obtain one, let alone one with the Shroud's three-to-one herringbone twill linen, of which the Shroud is the only one remaining in existence[33].

Doubled in four And finally, as Ian Wilson has pointed out:

"Such conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits ... correlates perfectly with the `doubled in four' arrangement by which we hypothesized the shroud to have been once folded and mounted as the `holy face' of Edessa[see below], for the exposed facial area of this latter would have been an exact 1 by 2 Jewish cubits[34].

[Above: Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin illustrated: The full-length Shroud of Turin (1), is doubled four times (2 through 5), resulting in Jesus' face within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (5), exactly as depicted in the earliest copies of the Image of Edessa, the 11th century Sakli church, Turkey (6) and the 10th century icon of King Abgar V of Edessa holding the Image of Edessa, St. Catherine's monastery, Sinai (7).]

Proof the Shroud is authentic. So even the dimensions of the Shroud of Turin are among the many proofs beyond reasonable doubt that it is authentic. That is, the very burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His beaten (Mt 26:67-68; 27:30; Lk 22:64; Jn 18:22; 19:3), scourged (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Lk 23:16; Jn 19:1), crowned with thorns (Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2,5), crucified (Mt 27:35,38,44; Mk 15:24-27,32; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:16-18), died (Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37,39; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30), legs not broken (Jn 19:32-33), speared in the side (Jn 19:34), wrapped in a linen shroud (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53; Jn 19:40), buried in a rock tomb (Mt 27:59-60; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53; Jn 19:38-42) and resurrected (Mt 28:1-6; Mk 16:1-6; Lk 24:1-6; Jn 20:1-9) body!

1. This post is copyright. No one may copy from it or any of my posts on this my The Shroud of Turin blog without them first asking and receiving my written permission. Except that I grant permission, without having to ask me, for anyone to copy the title and one paragraph only (including one graphic) of any of my posts, provided that they include a reference to the title of, and a hyperlink to, that post from which it came. [return]
2. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.21. [return]
3. "4.34m x 1.09m." Currer-Briggs, N., 1995, "Shroud Mafia: The Creation of a Relic?," Book Guild: Sussex UK, p.11. [return]
4. Wilson, I., 2000a, "`The Turin Shroud – past, present and future', Turin, 2-5 March, 2000 – probably the best-ever Shroud Symposium," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 51, June. [return]
5. Wilson, I., 2000b, "Recent Publications," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 51, June. [return]
6. Brkic, B., 2010, "Hitler had designs on the Shroud of Turin; Indiana Jones fans are not surprised," Daily Maverick, 8 April. [return]
7. By my calculation assuming 1 inch = 2.54 cms. [return]
8. Wilson, 2000a. [return]
9. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.18. [return]
10. Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, p.177. [return]
11. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.64. [return]
12. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.161. [return]
13. "345 ± 22 µm." Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., 1982, "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin: Summary of the 1978 Investigation," Reprinted from Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, No. 1, 1982, pp.3-49, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co: Amsterdam, 1982, p.43. [return]
14. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.68. [return]
15. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.1. [return]
16. Shroud Scope, "Durante 2002, Horizontal" (rotated vertical). [return]
17. Iannone, 1998, pp.1-2. [return]
18. Wilson, 1998, p.67. [return]
19. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.181. [return]
20. Dickinson, I., 1990, "The Shroud and the Cubit Measure," BSTS Newsletter, Issue 24, January, pp.8-11, p.8. [return]
21. Ibid. [return]
22. Dickinson, 1990, p.9. [return]
23. Ibid. [return]
24. Dickinson, 1990, pp.9-10. [return]
25. Petrie, W.M.F., 1877, "Inductive Metrology: Or, The Recovery of Ancient Measures from the Monuments," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Reprinted, 2013. Google books. [return]
26. Dickinson, 1990, p.10. [return]
27. Ibid. [return]
28. Ibid. [return]
29. Guralnick, E., 1996, "Sargonid Sculpture and the Late Assyrian Cubit," Iraq, Vol. 58, pp.89-103, p.89. [return]
30. Ibid. [return]
31. Wilson, 1991, p.181. [return]
32. Dickinson, 1990, p.11. [return]
33. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.74-75. [return]
34. Wilson, 1991, p.181. [return]

Updated: 21 September, 2014.