Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Re: Middle Eastern Features on Shroud Image

AN

Thanks for your message and your prior permission to quote it

[Above (click to enlarge): "The Vignon markings-how Byzantine artists created a living likeness from the Shroud image. (1) Transverse streak across forehead, (2) three-sided `square' between brows, (3) V shape at bridge of nose, (4) second V within marking 2, (5) raised right eyebrow, (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, (12) forked beard, (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair." (Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, 1978, p.82ff.)]

anonymously in my response to my TheShroudofTurin blog. For clarity, your words are in bold.

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 6:49 AM
Subject: Middle Eastern Features on Shroud Image

>Hi Stephen,
>[...]
>I'm a Maronite Catholic- as you probably know, Maronites are ultimately from Lebanon. In my case, I'm an American of half Lebanese ancestry and half Irish ancestry. The Lebanese side spoke Syriac until only recently (perhaps in the last 100 years). My grandfather, for instance, spoke fluently what he thought was Arabic..and then around 1980 he and someone from Beirut couldn't understand one another's accent. It ends up that in the northern Lebanese mountains, where my ancestors were isolated since time immemorial, they retained many Syriac words and expressions (Syriac is a dialect of Jesus' language of Aramaic, of course).

Thanks for the information. I had occasionally heard about the Maronite Christians on the news, but I did not know who they were. But I read more about them at the following websites: Maronite Church (Wikipedia) and "The Maronites and Lebanon, A Brief History."

>To the point: One of my brothers and I used to joke once in a while that he and I had the same beard as Jesus- again I know this sounds silly! We based that on our beards (we both had them at the time) and some drawings based on the Shroud showed Jesus with?exactly- our beard shape, down to the gap between the small tuft under the lower lip and the chin. I've never seen those drawings again?but they were amazingly similar to our beards- the Jesus of the Shroud had a much longer beard, but it was the same!

Interesting. It may well be that that Maronite beard style was based on the Shroud. The "forked beard" is one of the "distinctive characteristics of the Nazarenes" and is found on "the Syro-Byzantine Christs":

"... with the emergence of Christianity under Constantine... pictures of Christ began to appear quite differently. Now He consistently resembled the face we see on the Shroud of Turin. .... In all of them, there are many significantly similar features: the mustache and forked beard, hair parted in the middle and falling to the shoulders. These were distinctive characteristics of the Nazarenes." (Adams, 1982, pp.18-19).

"Art historians associate this long-haired Christ with the forked beard and staring eyes with Syria rather than with Greece or Rome. None have been able to explain its origin nor its immediate acceptance as the true type as against the Greco-Roman Christ. Only Paul Vignon and his followers have noticed certain peculiarities of the Syro-Byzantine Christs" (Green, 1969, pp.319-345).

"Around the sixth century, a common representation of the face of Christ ... began to emerge and has been a standard depiction ever since. ... researchers noticed a number of similarities between the face on the Shroud and early paintings and icons of Christ, particularly in the Byzantine tradition. They identified about twenty unusual details. ... a forked beard." (Guerrera, 2000, pp.100-101).

"... Paul Vignon in the 1930's..... pointed out that, among the family of post-sixth century portraits of Christ, there was a recurrence of certain unusual markings seemingly derived from the Shroud. ... fifteen such oddities or anomalies which have come to be known as the Vignon-Markings .... The fork in the beard ...]" (Iannone, 1998, pp.151-152).

Among the earliest representations of the Shroud is on a 6th century silver vase, from Homs (ancient Emessa) in Syria:

[Right (click to enlarge): Sixth century liturgical vase from Homs (Emessa), Syria, Louvre]

"A 6th c. vase from Homs, Syria is quite similar to the Shroud in many of the `Vignon' .... respects. ... the narrowness of the face; the distortions carved into the right side of the face, where the Shroud face has two sizable bruises, the swollen cheek and the half-moon bruise below; and the `light-bulb' shape of the head on its outer edge." (Scavone, 1991, p.189).

"In the sixth century, the Christ portrait appears on a silver vase found at Homs, in present-day Syria and on the beautiful icon of Christ Pantocrator from the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai desert. ... each has a strong resemblance to the face visible on the Shroud. ...." (Iannone, 1998, p.154).

"One can find the same likeness even as far back as the sixth century in several examples, but notably a mosaic Christ Enthroned at Ravenna's Sant'Apollinare Nuovo church, and a medallion portrait of Christ in the Byzantine manner on a silver vase discovered at Homs, the ancient Emesa, in Syria." (Wilson, 1978, pp.82-83).

>I know that it's unlikely- I never heard of anything like a study of "beard shapes" (!) based on nationality?but every time I see that face on the Shroud, I'm convinced that the features are those of a Middle Easterner rather than a European. ... I'm convinced ... that the man in the Shroud is one of Middle Eastern features. I base this belief on knowing people with Middle Eastern features all my life. A subjective belief- yes. But not necessarily an incorrect one. Has there ever been a study done at that level- what nationality or racial group or what features the Man in the Shroud belongs to?

Leading anthropologist, the late Carleton S. Coon, (1904?1981), whose speciality was human racial groups, confirmed that the image on the Shroud was that of "he is of a physical type found in modern times among Sephardic Jews which as far as I am aware, has never been disputed:

"Stewart suggested that I put the question to Carlton S. Coon, one of the world's most distinguished ethnologists. ... Coon had written books on the racial classifications of people all over the world. ... Coon wrote back .... `Whoever the individual represented may have been, he is of a physical type found in modern times among Sephardic Jews and noble Arabs." (Wilcox, 1977, p.136).

"ethnologist Carleton S. Coon has associated the man with the very pure Semitic type found today among noble Arabs and Sephardic Jews, and certainly there are at least broad hints of Jewishness in the ... unbound rope of hair at the back of the head ... one of the commonest fashions for Jewish men in antiquity." (Wilson, 1986, pp.15-16).

>If there is DNA in the Blood of the Shroud?perhaps there's enough to help figure out the ancestory of the figure.

There is DNA in the blood on the Shroud. Which is itself very important because it shows that it really is blood and that virtually eliminates painting, because no forger would paint with real blood. This was proved by the isolation of a human betaglobin gene segment in the bloodstains:

"DNA studies conducted on the white blood cell remnants present in the blood globules from the occipital region. ... a technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ... used for establishing the DNA make-up of samples. ... A blood globule from the five tiny collections on the Scotch tape was used, and the betaglobin gene segment from chromosome 11 was cloned. This proved conclusively that there was ancient blood on the Shroud" (Garza-Valdes, 1998, pp.40-41).

Moreover, the "amelogenin-Y gene from chromosome Y" was isolated, which "proved that the blood on the Shroud had belonged to a human male":

"Another way to determine the sex is to clone the genes amelogenin-X and amelogenin-Y ... the PCR technique enabled us to isolate the amelogenin-X gene from chromosome X and the amelogenin-Y gene from chromosome Y. ... we had proved that the blood on the Shroud had belonged to a human male" (Garza-Valdes, 1998, p.42).

"But arguably of the greatest importance ... are studies ... which ... have identified DNA in the Shroud `blood'. ... Dr Victor Tryon, and his technician wife, Nancy Mitchell Tryon ... determined that it had both X and Y chromosomes, indicating that the individual from whom it came was male. Three ... gene segments were identified, beta globin from chromosome 11, amelogenin X from chromosome X and amelogenin Y from chromosome Y ...." (Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, pp.77-78).

But being ancient, fragmentary and degraded, the DNA on the Shroud would probably never be sufficient to show that the victim was Jewish:

"We could not, of course, tell from whom it had come, nor whether that person had Semitic blood. ... For this type of investigation you need to clone the short DNA segments generally known as minisatellites" (Garza-Valdes, 1998, p.41).

>Oh ? you can post this email in your blog if you so wish of course- but please make it anonymous.
>
>Thank you,
>AN

See quotes below (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine), hyperlinked from the above inline references.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).

My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


"It is a fact known to historians of art that the physical appearance of Christ in paintings, sculptures and carvings is rather sharply divided into two periods, with the line of demarcation running through the Fourth Century. In the first period, from the evidence of the catacomb pictures and some early Christian sarcophagi, Christ is depicted as an Apollo-like beardless youth with an oval, innocent face. In none of the art that has been preserved from the first three hundred years after His death is He seen any other way. Then, with the emergence of Christianity under Constantine, this obviously symbolic portrayal was discarded and pictures of Christ began to appear quite differently. Now He consistently resembled the face we see on the Shroud of Turin. Many pictures and icons of this period exist today, coming from Russia, Greece, Egypt, the Balkans and Italy. In all of them, there are many significantly similar features: the mustache and forked beard, hair parted in the middle and falling to the shoulders. These were distinctive characteristics of the Nazarenes. In addition, there were the three-sided square between the brows, the second V above this, the transverse streak across the forehead, the accentuated cheeks and enlarged left nostril. The heavily drawn owlish eyes which were also evident in most of the reproductions could today be explained by the fact that the Shroud image is a negative, and what is seen is the outline of the eye socket." (Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Patrick Walsh Press: Tempe AZ, pp.18-19).

"This led to a fruitful research programme in microbiology and DNA studies conducted on the white blood cell remnants present in the blood globules from the occipital region. I explained my problems with the blood to Dr Victor Tryon, Director of the Center for Advanced DNA Technology at UTHSC at San Antonio, where a technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is regularly used for establishing the DNA make-up of samples. Dr Tryon knew that the sample we were using came from the Shroud of Turin. One cannot hide the purpose of research when depending on the advice of an expert in the field. But Nancy, Dr Tryon's wife, who actually ran the samples through the PCR equipment, was not aware of the origin of the sample. ... Tryon advised that we try cloning the easiest of the genes that could be obtained from ancient blood, the betaglobin gene. What we were not sure of was whether the blood ... would be too degraded for cloning. Fortunately, our fears were unfounded, and Nancy was able to clone the blood sample and amplify it. A blood globule from the five tiny collections on the Scotch tape was used, and the betaglobin gene segment from chromosome 11 was cloned. This proved conclusively that there was ancient blood on the Shroud. We could not, of course, tell from whom it had come, nor whether that person had Semitic blood. (For this type of investigation you need to clone the short DNA segments generally known as minisatellites.) Nor could we ascertain how old the blood was. Obviously there was the possibility of contamination and the possibility that blood from someone other than the crucified victim happened to fall on the part of the Shroud from which the sample was taken. But it is certainly more likely that the blood came from the Man on the Shroud, rather than a bystander, in view of the fact that the sample was taken from the back of the head, from the area where the crown of thorns would have damaged the head of the victim." (Garza-Valdes, L.A., "The DNA of God?," Hodder & Stoughton: London, 1998, pp.40-41).

"G. Riggi was happy with the news I imparted by telephone, as was everyone in Dr Tryon's laboratory. But at this stage, all we could say about the blood was that it was ancient, because of the degree of degradation of the small amount of blood we found on our sample, and that it had come from a human being or high primate. Nothing more. The next stage of the research was to uncover evidence that could have been regarded as controversial, and that was to be followed by another stage with even more potential for sensationalism. ... In order to establish the sex of the individual, one can look for the testes-descending gene, which is positive only in the male. If you don't find it, however, you cannot conclude that your sample is from a female: it may be that something went wrong during the testing procedure. Another way to determine the sex is to clone the genes amelogenin-X and amelogenin-Y, and that is what Dr Tryon advised. Again he was right; the PCR technique enabled us to isolate the amelogenin-X gene from chromosome X and the amelogenin-Y gene from chromosome Y. I telephoned Riggi ... that we had proved that the blood on the Shroud had belonged to a human male." (Garza-Valdes, 1998, pp.41-42).

"Paul Vignon has made a detailed study of the Image, comparing every feature with the details of the mask of the Turin Shroud. Since the chief characteristic of the Mandylions is their lack of neck and shoulders, it is probable that they derived this peculiarity from the Image of Edessa. Otherwise, they belong to the same family as the typical Christs of the normal Byzantine icons. Their faces are of the same type, as can be seen from a comparison between them ... and the Early Portraits ... As we have seen, this type of Christ appeared in the sixth century with the Edessan Image as the most famous, and perhaps the earliest, of the miraculous Mandylions. Art historians associate this long-haired Christ with the forked beard and staring eyes with Syria rather than with Greece or Rome. None have been able to explain its origin nor its immediate acceptance as the true type as against the Greco-Roman Christ. Only Paul Vignon and his followers have noticed certain peculiarities of the Syro-Byzantine Christs which, when taken in conjunction with their generally accepted characteristics, seem to pin-point their origin. ... The forehead marks of these Christs, for instance, are real disfigurements, as if their artists had deliberately accentuated one Byzantine method of emphasising eyebrows till their portraits seem to be branded for identification purposes. Were they driven by some remote model that they could not escape?" (Green, M., 1969, "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, Autumn, pp.319-345. References omitted).

"Sacred Scripture does not provide us with any physical description of Jesus. People of the first century were more concerned with His message than with what He looked like. Representations of Christ prior to the sixth century varied. Most often He was portrayed as a young beardless man with short hair. Around the sixth century, a common representation of the face of Christ with long hair, mustache and beard began to emerge and has been a standard depiction ever since. Perhaps the first person to notice this gradual change was Paul Vignon in the 1930s. He was later followed by Fr. Wuenschel. These researchers noticed a number of similarities between the face on the Shroud and early paintings and icons of Christ, particularly in the Byzantine tradition. They identified about twenty unusual details. Some of the most notable are the two strands of hair at the top of the forehead. Particularly noteworthy is the directionality of the wisps of hair, which is to the right, just like the bloodstain on the Shroud in the form of the Greek letter epsilon when viewed with the naked eye. The bloodstain only appears as the number `3' on a negative photo of the Shroud. Other parallels include a three-sided `square' between the brows (believed by some to be caused by a phylactery, a small leather box containing Scripture parchments worn around the forehead by Jewish men-cf. Deut. 6:8); an enlarged left nostril; a `V' shape at the bridge of the nose; one eyebrow higher than the other; a transverse line across the throat (perhaps a crease from the way the Shroud was folded); and a forked beard. [Wilson, I., "The Shroud of Turin," Image Books: New York, 1979, pp.104-105] These facial characteristics found on the Shroud appear in most images of the face of Christ as early as the sixth century. Another interesting point is that artists who painted copies of the image usually depicted the face in a frame surrounded by an ornamental trellis. This may very well have been the way in which the face on the Shroud was displayed for veneration. Ian Wilson surmises that there must have been an official `portrait' which was used by artists as a model for their paintings." (Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, pp.100-101).

"The Vignon-Markings Wilson's theory linking the Image of Edessa with the Shroud receives strong support from the work done previously by the famous sindonologist Paul Vignon in the 1930's. Vignon pointed out that, among the family of post-sixth century portraits of Christ, there was a recurrence of certain unusual markings seemingly derived from the Shroud. Tribbe notes that `in each of these cases, the artist, wishing to be totally faithful to the original, incorporated these oddities even though they are irrelevant to or detract from the naturalness of the face.' He goes on to say that `all these artists must have copied from the same original, and all of them misunderstood the nature of these imperfections.' However, because of the sacred status of the acheiropoietas it was very important that every detail, even if odd or unusual, be faithfully duplicated by the Byzantine artists. [Tribbe, F.C., "Portrait of Jesus?," Stein & Day: New York NY, 1983, p.239] Wilson, following Vignon, cites fifteen such oddities or anomalies which have come to be known as the Vignon-Markings: Starkly geometric topless square (3-sided) visible between the eyebrows on the Shroud image. 1. Starkly geometric topless square (3-sided) visible between the eyebrows on the Shroud image. 2. V-shape visible at the bridge of the nose. 3. A transverse streak across the forehead. 4. A second V-shape inside the topless square. 5. A raised right eyebrow. 6. An accentuated left cheek. 7. An accentuated right cheek. 8. An enlarged left nostril. 9. An accentuated line between the nose and upper lip. 10. A heavy line under the lower lip. 11. A hairless area between the lip and beard. 12. The fork in the beard. 13. A transverse line across the throat. 14. The heavily accentuated `owlish eyes.' 15. Two loose strands of hair falling from the apex of the forehead.' [Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin," Doubleday & Co: New York NY, pp.104-105]" (Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.151-152. List numbers mine).

"In the sixth century, the Christ portrait appears on a silver vase found at Homs, in present-day Syria and on the beautiful icon of Christ Pantocrator from the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai desert. As Wilson states: "Despite stylistic variations, each of these works seems inspired by the same tradition of Jesus' earthly appearance. And each has a strong resemblance to the face visible on the Shroud." [Wilson, 1986, p.105] We can add to this list the seventh-century coins, the tremisses and solidus coins, minted by Justinian II with shroud-like images; the Spas Nereditsa fresco (Savior of Neredica) in 1199 and the icon in the Church of St. Bartholomew of Armenia in Genoa, Italy." (Iannone, 1998, p.154).

"The well-known eleventh-century mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the dome of the monastery church in Daphni near Athens, Greece, includes thirteen of the fifteen Vignon markings. ... Two early (sixth-century) examples are the mosaic of Christ enthroned, in the Sant'Apollinare Nuovo Church in Ravenna, Italy (which includes eight Vignon markings ...), and a medallion portrait on a silver vase from Syria. There is an eighth-century example in a painting in the catacomb of Saint Pontianus in Rome that has eight Vignon markings. In the South Gallery of the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, there is a thirteenth-century mosaic of Christ enthroned with eleven Vignon markings. ... There is also another mosaic of Christ with Vignon markings in the South Gallery of the Hagia Sophia." (Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY, pp.76-77).

"A 6th c. vase from Homs, Syria is quite similar to the Shroud in many of the `Vignon' -- and other -- respects. Additionally, one is struck by the narrowness of the face; the distortions carved into the right side of the face, where the Shroud face has two sizable bruises, the swollen cheek and the half-moon bruise below; and the `light-bulb' shape of the head on its outer edge." (Scavone, D.C., "The History of the Turin Shroud to the 14th C.," in Berard, A., ed., "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, 1991, pp.171-204, p.189).

"The best method of approach seems to be to track back rather than forward, and to use as a base the fifteenth century, i.e., within the period that the Shroud was known to have been preserved. In fact there was from this period an ideal work of art with which to compare the Shroud likeness, the `Rex Regum' of Jan van Eyck, which, although the original has not survived, is known to us from no less than four excellent copies made at the time. It is ideal because it has the same rigidly front-facing aspect as the Shroud face. One can therefore see how in each of the distinctive features-long hair parted in the middle and falling to the shoulders, a moderately long, forked beard, a long prominent nose, a thin mustache drooping to join the beard, a distinctive hairless gap beneath the lower lip-it matches the Shroud likeness virtually exactly. It might have been copied from the Shroud face, except that it is known from the work of art experts such as Pachts that, in fact, Van Eyck derived it from Christ portraits of the East, from the world of Byzantium, in which artist after artist had copied from another the same likeness in a tradition going back many centuries. It is this tradition that is the path to the source of the likeness." (Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, p.82).

"Looking back to the thirteenth century, the likeness can be found in a large and magnificent mosaic of Christ Enthroned in the gallery of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople. From the twelfth century there is an excellent example of the likeness in the huge, brooding Christ Pantocrator mosaic that dominates the apse of the Norman-Byzantine church of Cefalù, Sicily, a work described by British art critic John Beckwith as `one of the most sublime attempts to represent the Logos Incarnate.' [Beckwith, J., "Early Christian and Byzantine Art," in "Pelican History of Art," Penguin: London, 1970, p.123] The likeness is awe-inspiringly evident in the Christ Pantocrator from the eleventh-century dome of the church of Daphni, near Athens, a likeness called by writer Sacheverell Sitwell `a terrifying countenance that makes it credible that a man has lived beyond the grave.' There are two splendid tenth-century examples of the likeness, the Christ Enthroned fresco in the church of Sant'Angelo in Formis near Capua, Italy, and the majestic `Christ as Holy Wisdom' mosaic uncovered in this century high above the royal door in the narthex of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople. Looking back to the eighth century, an epoch in which most eastern portraits of Christ were destroyed during the wave of image-smashing, or iconoclasm, the same likeness can be found, heavily influenced by Byzantium in a Pantocrator painting from the catacomb of St. Pontianus, Rome. One can find the same likeness even as far back as the sixth century in several examples, but notably a mosaic Christ Enthroned at Ravenna's Sant'Apollinare Nuovo church, and a medallion portrait of Christ in the Byzantine manner on a silver vase discovered at Homs, the ancient Emesa, in Syria." (Wilson, 1978, pp.82-83).

"As generally agreed by most observers, the visible body on the Shroud appears to be that of a thirty-to-forty-five-year-old male, quite naked, with beard and mustache and hair falling to the shoulders. At the back of the head seems to be visible a long, loose rope of hair extending down the spine to the level of the shoulder blades. Although anthropological deductions are inevitably subjective, ethnologist Carleton S. Coon has associated the man with the very pure Semitic type found today among noble Arabs and Sephardic Jews, and certainly there are at least broad hints of Jewishness in the hair styling. The seemingly unbound rope of hair at the back of the head accords with what German biblical scholar H. Gressman has referred to as one of the commonest fashions for Jewish men in antiquity, to which French scriptural authority Daniel-Rops has supportively added the information that the Jews normally wore this `plaited and rolled up under their headgear' except on public holidays." (Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.15-16).

"A study of this kind is, to say the least, illuminating. A consistent Shroud-like, long-haired, fork-bearded, front-facing likeness of Christ can be traced back through numerous works in the Byzantine tradition dating many centuries before the time of Geoffrey de Charny. Beginning with the twelfth century, there is an imposing Christ Pantocrator from Cefalu, Sicily. From about a century earlier, a similar, almost terrifying Pantocrator glowers from the dome of the church of Daphni, near Athens. From back to the tenth century, a still familiar-looking Christ Enthroned stares out from the church of St. Angelo in Formis, near Capua ... . Datable back to the eighth century, a similar-looking Christ portrait is to be found in the depths of the Pontianus catacomb, near Rome. As early as the sixth century, still with the same facial resemblance, are a Christ portrait on a silver vase found at Homs, in present-day Syria, and a beautiful icon of Christ Pantocrator from the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Desert. Despite stylistic variations, each of these works seems inspired by the same tradition of Jesus' earthly appearance. And each has a strong resemblance to the face visible on the Shroud." (Wilson, 1986, p.105).

"But arguably of the greatest importance, even though they are as yet far from fully secure, are studies, both in Italy and the United States, which, completely independently of each other, have identified DNA in the Shroud `blood'. On the afternoon of 21 April 1988, just a few hours after having cut off the snippets of the Shroud used for radiocarbon dating, the Italian microscopist Dr Giovanni Riggi took a 1.5 mm `blood' sample from the back-of-the-head region. In June 1993 he provided some of this sample to a visiting American microbiology professor, Dr Leoncio Garza-Valdès, who took it back for analysis at the University of Texas' Center for Advanced DNA Technologies at San Antonio, Texas. There the laboratory director, Dr Victor Tryon, and his technician wife, Nancy Mitchell Tryon, quickly established that the sample was human blood of the AB group, just as Baima-Bollone had before them. They also determined that it had both X and Y chromosomes, indicating that the individual from whom it came was male. Three unmistakable gene segments were identified, beta globin from chromosome 11, amelogenin X from chromosome X and amelogenin Y from chromosome Y, a finding quite impossible if the Shroud `blood' were merely iron oxide as contended by Walter McCrone.." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.77-78).

"Among other points of similarity, Vignon listed the following: no ears; no neck; no shoulders; a `forked' beard; a `truncated' mustache; straight nose; enlarged nostrils; one raised eyebrow; a line across the throat (which is really a wrinkle on the shroud); bruised forehead; abnormally shaded or swollen cheeks. No icon had all these similarities, but all had at least a few. The earliest icons that Vignon found with shroudlike similarities were copies of the `Image of Edessa,' a portrait of Jesus on cloth which was discovered in 544 bricked up in a wall in Edessa, the center of Syrian Christianity. After its discovery, the `true likeness' of Christ, as it came to be known, was the object of great veneration in Byzantium." (Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, p.85).

"Stewart suggested that I put the question to Carlton S. Coon, one of the world's most distinguished ethnologists. A former Harvard professor and ethnology curator at the University of Pennsylvania, Coon had written books on the racial classifications of people all over the world. `He'd be the man who might be able to give you some answers.' `Here are the pictures that you asked me to return,' Coon wrote back in a week's time. `Whoever the individual represented may have been, he is of a physical type found in modern times among Sephardic Jews and noble Arabs. The soft parts of the nose have shrunken a bit, which is simply a sign of death. I have seen the same thing in the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs. `For what it is worth, that is my opinion.' Coon's opinion was worth a great deal, especially in view of the fact that he had traveled widely throughout the Middle East, Asia, South America, and Africa. He was also the author of fifteen books in the area of anthropology, including The Origin of Races, published in 1962; and The Living Races of Man, published in 1965." (Wilcox, 1977, pp.131,136).

Updated: 11 July 2015.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Re: Are you still trying to talk the Pope into "pollen dating"?

AN

Thank you for your message. However, as stated under "Policies" on my TheShroudofTurin blog's front page regarding private

[Above: Pope Benedict XVI is shown a copy of the Shroud of Turin, June 2, 2008: 30 Days in the Church and in the world]

messages I receive on Shroud of Turin related topics, I am responding publicly to this blog, minus your personal identifying information. Your words are bold to distinguish them from mine.

----- Original Message -----
From: AN

To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2008 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: Carbon Dating the Pollen

>Hi Stephen

>Are you still trying to talk the Pope into "pollen dating"?

I am not trying to talk the Pope, or anyone, into dating the pollen of the Shroud of Turin. Since I am in my 60s and live in Australia, realistically I have only ever saw my role as publishing my paper, "A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin" in the British Society for the Turin Shroud's newsletter and then advocating it on this blog.

>I like your arguments, but I still think we should push for real Shroud cloth carbon dating---3 samples rather than 1 and from areas that we are confident are not re-weaves, etc.

Thanks. However, the "but" suggests that you think it is either dating the Shroud's "cloth" or dating its pollen. But as I wrote in my paper, "they are not mutually exclusive."

While I support another dating of the Shroud's linen, taken from different parts of the cloth, it still might not be conclusive. That is because even if the Shroud is first century burial sheet of Jesus, it could still have an apparently younger radiocarbon age due to:

1) neutron irradiation either: a) natural, if it has been kept for hundreds of years in monasteries and castles (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.20-21; Wilson, 1979 pp.177-178) made of granite (Wikipedia, 2008); and/or b) supernatural, due to neutron irradiation due to Jesus' resurrection (Danin, et al., 1999, p.6; Wilson, 1998, p.233; Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.128).

or 2) contamination and isotope fractionation, having been enriched with carbon-14 in the 1532 fire (Draper, 2008; Ramsey, 2008; Walsh, 2000, p.338).

Carbon-dating the Shroud's pollen would avoid most of those problems because: 1) pollen is impervious to contamination by external carbon-14 and 2) if the Shroud is genuine then some of the pollen would not have been on the linen until after Jesus' resurrection.

>If Pope says no to that but maybe he looks at our proposal and sees our Plan B is pollen, who knows---maybe he says yes to that. What do you think?

See above. If it is a choice between radiocarbon-dating the Shroud's pollen and its linen, then I think the former, carbon-dating its pollen, should be Plan A. But there is no reason why both could not be done as part of a comprehensive retesting of the Shroud's 1988 radiocarbon dating.

However, I should here point out there is a problem with radiocarbon-dating of single pollen grains, that I was not aware of when I wrote my paper, but which I will acknowledge in the too long delayed continuation of my "Response #1 to Bill Meacham's criticisms of my proposal to radiocarbon-date the Shroud's pollen" series.

Sincerely, AN

See quotes below (my emphasis bold) hyperlinked from inline references above.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


"The exact mechanisms by which the images on the Shroud were formed are not known, but they are speculated to be some type or types of radiation. The process may even have possibly included a neutron flux, which could have produced additional carbon 14 in the molecular structure of the flax fibers themselves, thus yielding an erroneously young age (Trenn, 1996)." (Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, p.6).

"COLORADO SPRINGS A physics professor here has resurrected the mystery of the Shroud of Turin, the fabled burial cloth of Christ that 20 years ago scientists declared a fake. Millions of faithful believe the shroud's blood-stained image of a battered, crucified man is the miraculous image of Jesus, formed as he rose from the dead. Scientists at three laboratories using radiocarbon dating in 1988-89 determined the shroud was a medieval forgery, though they could not explain how the image was created. Now, John Jackson, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs physics lecturer has done something his colleagues consider nearly miraculous. Jackson, who is a leading researcher on the 14-foot-long linen sheet, has persuaded the Oxford laboratory that dated the shroud to the 13th or 14th Century to revisit the question of its age. Professor Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, has agreed to test Jackson's hypothesis that contamination by carbon monoxide could throw off radiocarbon dating by more than a millennium. It is possible, Jackson said, that even minimal contamination of the shroud by environmental carbon monoxide could have skewed the dating by 1,300 years - making it not medieval but contemporaneous with Jesus's life. Jackson, who must prove a viable pathway for that contamination, is working with Oxford to test samples of linen under the various conditions the shroud has endured, such as outdoor exhibitions and exposure to extreme heat during a 1532 fire. ... Ramsey also acknowledged the need to reconcile radiocarbon-dating results with other forensic and historical evidence, which indicate the shroud is much older than 600 to 700 years old. Scientists must arrive at a coherent story about the enigmatic shroud, Ramsey said." (Draper, E., "Lab agrees to test Shroud of Turin for new theory," Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2008).

"The Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit has been working with a team from Performance Films Ltd making a documentary about the Shroud of Turin for the BBC. .... Another contributor to the film, John Jackson (Turin Shroud Center of Colorado) ... has developed a new hypothesis, which he believes may explain why the mediaeval date for the Shroud is incorrect. The hypothesis put forward in the film is that the linen of the Shroud might have been contaminated by carbon monoxide. Unlike most contaminants, carbon monoxide is naturally enriched in radiocarbon when found in the environment and would therefore in principle be able to alter the radiocarbon age significantly. A relatively small amount of carbon monoxide (roughly 2% of the carbon in the linen) could alter the age of the sample by a thousand years. This is the only contamination hypothesis which could affect the radiocarbon age of the Shroud enough to allow it to be 2000 years old ... The research continues because the effect of the specific storage conditions of the Turin Shroud have yet to be reproduced by John Jackson's team. It remains possible, though not at all likely, that in these specific conditions there are reactions which provide significant contamination. There are also other possible types of contaminant, and it could be that one, or some combination of these, might mean that the Shroud is somewhat older than the radiocarbon date suggests. It is important to realise, however, that only if some enriched contaminant can be identified does it become credible that the date is wrong by 2000 years." (Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March).

"Ian Wilson proposes an intriguing theory to link the Mandylion with the Shroud. He suggests that from 1204 to the early 1300s, the Shroud-Mandylion was in the possession of one of the most exotic and mysterious groups in the medieval church-the Knights Templars. [Wilson, I., "The Shroud of Turin," Doubleday: New York, 1979, pp. 172-191] The Knights Templars were a religious order of knights founded about eighty years before the sack of Constantinople for the purpose of defending the crusader territories in the Holy Land. The Templars attracted powerful friends and noble members because they combined the two great passions of the Middle Ages-religious fervor and martial prowess. The members of the order took vows of poverty, chastity, and absolute obedience, and their courage in battle was legendary. They vowed never to retreat under attack, and they defended crusader territories in the Holy Land with resourcefulness and great bravery. By the time of the sack of Constantinople, the Templars had grown very powerful. They built impregnable fortresses in the Holy Land and in Europe, and princes and nobles in those unsettled times often entrusted their valuables to the Templars for safekeeping. Among these valuables were many relics. The Templars surely had the strength and the motive to safeguard a relic as fabulous as the Mandylion-Shroud. As one of the principal traders of relics from the Fourth Crusade, the Templars would have been in a position to acquire it, and their wealth would have protected them from the common temptation to sell relics for much needed cash. They would have been able to keep its location secret in their network of fortresses and castles." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, pp.20-21).

"In the case of the Shroud of Turin, the linen fibrils exposed to higher temperatures would be expected to have a lower level of reaction-related isotopic fractionation than the areas of the cloth more insulated from the elevated temperatures of the 1532 fire. This would appear to imply the existence of a carbon isotopic gradient on the Shroud cloth in areas exposed to large differential temperatures. In addition, isotopic fractionation theory states that bonds involving heavier isotopes will be stronger and thus be more difficult to break for a given level of temperature than lighter isotopic bonds. Moreover, at equilibrium, the heavier isotopes will tend to occupy the site with the stronger bonds. As a result, because bonds involving lighter isotopes are weaker and more easily broken, lighter isotopes participate more readily in a given chemical reaction. The combined result of these effects is to diffuse light-isotope reaction products further from the source of a reaction. If these light isotope elements vacate a stronger bond location, then the heavier isotopes are more likely to be able to attach themselves to that site. This would leave a relatively enriched heavier isotope concentration wherever the lighter products had taken part in an exogenous chemical reaction. The fire to which the Shroud was exposed in 1532 appears to be a reasonable candidate for inducing both kinetic isotopic reactions and, also, potentially incomplete equilibrium reactions that may have resulted from the rapid temperature drop and water vapor environment associated with the quenching of the heated Shroud reliquary with water. This isotopic fractionation process could lead to areas of relative enrichment and depletion of various carbon isotopes if the reactions occurred in a confined environment. If the lighter isotopic reaction products were free to move away from the fibers, then the isotopic effects noted above could cause the Shroud to be left relatively enriched in heavier isotopic products as the result of the isotopic exchanges noted above. It would then radiocarbon date younger than its actual age at sites affected by this process." (Walsh, B.J., 2000, "The 1988 Shroud of Turin Radiocarbon Tests Reconsidered," in Walsh, B.J., ed., "Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Research Conference, Richmond, Virginia," Magisterium Press: Glen Allen VA, p.338).

"Granite is a normal, geological source of radiation in the natural environment. Granite contains around 10 to 20 parts per million of uranium. By contrast, more mafic rocks such as tonalite, gabbro or diorite have 1 to 5 ppm uranium, and limestones and sedimentary rocks usually have equally low amounts. Many large granite plutons are the sources for palaeochannel-hosted or roll front uranium ore deposits, where the uranium washes into the sediments from the granite uplands and associated, often highly radioactive, pegmatites. Granite could be considered a potential natural radiological hazard as, for instance, villages located over granite may be susceptible to higher doses of radiation than other communities. Cellars and basements sunk into soils formed over or from particularly uraniferous granites can become a trap for radon gas, which is heavier than air. However, in the majority of cases, although granite is a significant source of natural radiation as compared to other rocks it is not thought an acute health threat or significant risk factor. Various resources from national geological survey organisations are accessible online to assist in assessing the risk factors in granite country and design rules relating, in particular, to preventing accumulation of radon gas in enclosed basements and dwellings." ("Granite: Natural Radiation," Wikipedia, 2 July, 2008).

"Finally, and not least, they must, if the Shroud/Mandylion identification is valid, have had some historical link with Geoffrey de Charny, the French knight who was the Shroud's first authenticated owner. None of this might appear to provide any real substance with which to identify the Shroud's possible guardians between 1204 and the 1350s, but as it happens there is one historical group of suspects who fit these requirements with uncanny precision. Some eighty years before the capture of Constantinople two French knights, Hugh of Payens and Geoffrey of Saint-Omer, with seven companions had founded the Crusader Order of Knights Templars or `Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon,' so called because they were given land close to the site of the ruined Temple in Jerusalem. By 1204 they had become both wealthy and powerful, attracting to their ranks men of the noblest blood, distinguishing themselves as fearless crusaders, and building across Europe and the Near East a series of virtually impregnable fortresses. In a precarious age these fortresses were of no small importance, and became recognized as useful storehouses for national treasures and valuables of all kinds. Kings and popes alike came to bank with the Templars, giving the `poor knights' the reputation, if not the reality, of possessing enormous wealth. Because of this role the Templars were one of the principal sources of finance for the Fourth Crusade, although they themselves took little part in it. They were also in a position to act as guardians, traders, and pawnbrokers for the flourishing trade in relics, genuine and false alike, that ensued from the Fourth Crusade. Thus the means of acquiring the Mandylion/Shroud were there. Also, the Templars' heavily guarded monastery-fortresses provided the means of keeping the cloth's whereabouts secret for a considerable period." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.177-178).

"A similar view has been expressed by the pioneering British nuclear physicist Dr Kitty Little, now retired from her career at the UK's Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, Oxfordshire. She has recalled an experiment that she conducted back in the 1950s in which she irradiated a range of fibres, including several different cellulose ones, in a research reactor called BEPO: `At the time BEPO was being run at only three MW, so that the temperatures were in the range 70° to 90° centigrade. This meant that I was obtaining radiation effects without the complication of heat effects.' Little observed the fibres to change with only relatively low-grade heat to the very same colour reported of the Shroud image, something of which at that time she had no knowledge. In her own words: `[The] cellulose fibres turned to the straw-yellow colour that has been described for the image of the Shroud...' Even more interesting, however, was that the very same radiation particles which produced this effect were necessarily also accompanied by neutron emission. And as she has explained, this would inevitably have resulted `in the formation of extra carbon 14 on the sheet, the whole of it', this extra carbon tending quite categorically and specifically `... to make the apparent age of the fabric appear more recent than it really is ...'" [ Little, K., "The Holy Shroud of Turin and the Mystery of the Resurrection," Christian Order, April 1994, p. 226]" (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.233)

"So, given that one interpretation of Jesus' resurrection is a dematerialization of the atoms of his physical body, what about the Shroud's imprint having been caused by some kind of atomic radiation from this event? In the Second World War bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the intense light from the atomic bombs' fireballs imprinted eerie images of people and objects on walls. Yet, however compelling this might sound, it cannot be a valid parallel to the Shroud image, since in the bombing instances it was the people's bodies blocking the light which created permanent shadows on the walls behind them, whereas in the case of the Shroud the light would appear to have come from the body itself, which was responsible for its unique, non-directional, self-lighting characteristics. Based on this kind of thinking, the Harvard physicist Dr Thomas J. Phillips [Phillips, T.J., "Shroud irradiated with neutrons?," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February 1989, p.594], in the wake of the 1988 radiocarbon dating, made the intriguing suggestion that, had Jesus' claimed resurrection involved a radiation of neutrons, it could explain at a stroke both the Shroud's `scorch' image and the skewing of its carbon 14 content." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.128).

Updated: 11 July 2015.