Thursday, October 8, 2009

Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin

Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin, Reuters, Mon Oct 5, 2009 ... ROME (Reuters) - An Italian scientist says he has

[Above: The face of the Shroud (L) compared with Garlaschelli's shroud's image (R): Reuters]

reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ's burial cloth is a medieval fake. It is now over 20 years since a report in Nature, the world's most prestigious scientific journal, declared that radiocarbon dating had provided "conclusive evidence" that the Shroud was "mediaeval":

"The results of radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range .. for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260 - 1390 ... These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, 337, p.614. My emphasis).

But that there is still a need to "prove... definitively" that the Shroud is a medieval fake, is tacit acknowledgment by Shroud sceptics (i.e. true believers in the Shroud's inauthenticity) that none of their previous `proofs' of the Shroud being a fake, including the above radiocarbon-dating (see below), hold water. And as we shall see, neither does this latest claim that the Shroud is a medieval fake hold water either.

The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches bears the image, eerily reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man some believers say is Christ. This is one of the tests that those who claim they have reproduced the Shroud must meet: it must be "reversed like a photographic negative." It is not enough to produce an image that is only superficially like the Shroud. It must be exactly like the Shroud in its uniquely important details - down to the microscopic level. I here predict that if this claimed reproduction of the Shroud is submitted for microscopic analysis, it will be shown to be unlike the Shroud, and therefore itself just a fake copy of the Shroud original.

But there is no need to even do that. There is a major difference between Garlaschelli's description of how he made his shroud's image (see below) and the image on the Shroud of Turin, that totally disqualifies Garlaschelli's shroud from being a faithful and credible reproduction of the Shroud of Turin.

"We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud," Luigi Garlaschelli,

[Left: Luigi Garlaschelli, Researcher in Organic Chemistry, University of Pavia, Italy: Fifth World Skeptics Congress, 2004, Italy]

who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday. Note that Garlaschelli only claims vaguely that his alleged reproduction "has the same characteristics as the Shroud." Why doesn't he say, "has the exact same characteristics as the Shroud"? Because he knows it doesn't!

A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs. Superficially Garlaschelli's photographs look very convincing. It may even be that he has produced the best reproduction of the Shroud yet. If it is, and it fails to withstand microscopic analysis (as I predict it will-if it is ever submitted for such testing, which I predict it won't), that will be more evidence that the Shroud cannot be reproduced and therefore is the very burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His crucified and resurrected body!

The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side. These marks don't just appear to be blood; they are blood!:

"Adler was asked how he could answer McCrone's claim that there was no blood, but merely a mixture of red ocher and vermilion. Adler flashed on the screen the following table from our paper. Table 5 Tests confirming the presence of whole blood on the Shroud 1. High iron in blood areas by X-ray fluorescence 2. Indicative reflection spectra 3. Indicative microspectrophotometric transmission spectra 4. Chemical generation of characteristic porphyrin fluorescence 5. Positive hemochromogen tests 6. Positive cyanomethemoglobin tests 7. Positive detection of bile pigments 8. Positive demonstration of protein 9. Positive indication of albumin 10. Protease tests, leaving no residue 11. Positive immunological test for human albumin 12. Microscopic appearance as compared with appropriate controls 13. Forensic judgment of the appearance of the various wound and blood marks Then, after explaining each item briefly, Al said, `That means that the red stuff on the Shroud is emphatically, and without any reservation, nothing else but B-L-O-O-D!'" (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," pp.215-216. Italics original).

Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. That dating is wrong. For one thing (among many)

[Above: The Hungarian Pray Manuscript and the Poker Holes]

the Hungarian Pray manuscript (or codex) is dated 1192-95, or 65-68 years before 1260 the earliest possible radiocarbon date of the Shroud (and 130-133 years before the claimed middle date of 1325). Yet the Pray manuscript is obviously depicting the Shroud with its: 1. naked Jesus (otherwise unknown in the middle ages); 2. having his arms crossed in front; 3. hands with no thumbs; 4. about to be covered by a shroud with the same rare herringbone weave pattern; and 5. (the clincher) the Pray manuscript's

[Above: The Shroud of Turin's "L"-shaped pattern of burn holes depicted on the Pray codex of 1192-95]

shroud depicts the same pattern of burn holes that are on the Shroud of Turin!

Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business. If the "sceptics" were truly sceptical (and not just true believers in the Shroud's inauthenticity) they would realise that it would take far less than the Shroud to make money in the gullible middle ages:

"Also is it not rather incredible that this unknown individual should have gone to so much trouble and effort to deceive in an age in which, as twentieth-century journalists have reminded us, a large proportion of the populace would have been very easily duped by a feather of the Archangel Gabriel or a phial of the last breath of St Joseph?" (Wilson, 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," pp.58-60).

But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth. Yes! But given that:

"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available." (Heller, 1983, Ibid., p.219. My emphasis).

how can it be that "scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth"? How could an unknown medieval forger create only one work such that the advanced science of the 20-21st century has been "at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth"? That alone is proof (if one thinks about it) that no medieval (or any time) forger created the image on the Shroud.

Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages. That materials were available in the middle ages does not mean that someone then could have reproduced the Shroud. For starters it was not known the Shroud was a photographic negative until the end of the 19th century:

"The modern history of the Shroud might be said to have begun on May 8, 1898, when Secondo Pia was permitted to photograph the Shroud for the first time while it was being exhibited at the Cathedral in Turin. Pia was flabbergasted to find that his glass-plate photographic negative was turning out in the developing bath to show, in fact, a photographic positive image. The Shroud itself had somehow been stained in such a way that the body imprint on the cloth was a negative. This feature alone would seem to rule out the claim that the Shroud is an ancient or medieval forgery. What artist, centuries before, would have fabricated details that could only be discerned with the help of a nineteenth-century invention? And the photographic process, subsequently confirmed by the photographs taken by G. Enrie in 1931, brought out a wealth of hitherto concealed details." (Sullivan, B.M., 2005, "Reading the Shroud of Turin: How in fact was Jesus Christ laid in his tomb?," National Review, July 20, 1973, Reprinted March 24, 2005).

They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. Note the "rubbed it." That means the pigment and acid marks on Garlaschelli's shroud's image would have, like all known works of human art, directionality. But the Shroud of Turin has no directionality:

"Still further, the shroud image is nondirectional. Now if one is going to put paint on a cloth, one moves the hand from side to side. When one gets tired, one often starts moving the hand up and down. But even if one only moves from side to side all of the time, that is directionality. One cannot generally apply paint without directionality. If one uses a spray gun it still involves directionality. But there is no directionality on the shroud image." (Habermas, 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?," p.119).

A mask was used for the face. ... The pigment was then artificially

[Above: The front body of the Shroud (L) compared with Garlaschelli's image (R): Reuters]

aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries. Note again "similar to" not "identical to"! And Garlaschelli's "the pigment on the original Shroud faded" is a tacit admission by him that there is no pigment on the Shroud of Turin:

"We do not have to know how somebody could have painted it, but science is adept at finding paint when it is present. But first, if the scientists have come up with one major conclusion, it is that the shroud is not a known fake. There is no paint, dye, powder, or other foreign substance on the image fibrils that could account for the image. Microchemical analyses revealed no paints or pigments ... A 1982 report from a team of scientists, released at a New London, Connecticut, meeting, states that, `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found in the fibrils.' [Press Release, The Shroud of Turin Research Project, 8 October 1981] So again, we could falsify the shroud if there was paint. But they have not found any ... The shroud image does not appear to be painted at all." (Habermas, 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?," p.119).

but there is pigment on his shroud. After all, what is Garlaschelli's "fuzzy, half-tone image" if it is not a residue of the "pigment containing traces of acid" that he applied and then mostly washed off his shroud?

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect. Here is a major difference between Garlaschelli's shroud and the Shroud of Turin. Garlaschelli "added blood stains" to his shroud after the image was created, but the blood on the Shroud of Turin is before its image, i.e. there is no image under its bloodstains (which fits the Shroud being Jesus' and its image being imprinted by His resurrection):

"Our hypothetical artist obviously must have used blood - both pre-mortem and post-mortem. And he had to paint with serum albumin alongside the edges of the scourge marks. Since serum albumin is visible only under ultraviolet, not white light, he had to paint with an invisible medium. If an artist had painted the Shroud, the blood must have been put on after the images. We decided to check that point. We took some blood- and serum-covered fibrils from a body image area. If the images were there before the blood, and if we removed the blood, we could expect to see straw-yellow image fibers. We prepared a mixture of enzymes that digest blood and its proteins. When all the blood and protein were gone, the underlying fibrils were not straw-yellow; they were ordinary background fibrils. This was strong evidence that the blood had gone on before the images. It suggested that blood had protected the linen from the image-making process. Surely this was a weird way to paint a picture." (Heller, 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," pp.202-203).

Shroud experts Dr John Jackson and Dr. Keith Propp also made this criticism of Garlaschelli's method, that on the Shroud of Turin, "the blood was on it first, then the body image came second" and "the blood contacted the shroud before the body":

"CNA spoke with Dr. John Jackson who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado and is a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Jackson led a team of 30 researchers in 1978 who determined that the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained. He explained to CNA that based off the Reuters report as well as photos of Garlaschelli's shroud on the internet, it appeared that it doesn't exactly match the Shroud of Turin. Dr. Jackson first questioned the technique used by Garlaschelli's team, taking issue with the method of adding blood after aging the cloth. Jackson explained that he has conducted `two independent observations that argue that the blood features on the shroud' show `that the blood was on it first, then the body image came second.' Dr. Keith Propp, a physicist who is also a colleague of Jackson's, told CNA that while Garlaschelli's shroud `does create an image that could've been done in medieval times,' there are a many things that `are not consistent with what the actual shroud shows us.' For example, he continued, we know that the blood contacted the shroud before the body `because there's no image beneath the shroud.' He added that this image pattern would be difficult to duplicate `because it would ruin the blood stains.' " ("Experts question scientist's claim of reproducing Shroud of Turin," Catholic News Agency, October 6, 2009).

Shroud photographer Barrie Schwortz also noticed this major discrepancy (amongst others):

"It has been demonstrated scientifically that the bloodstains on the Shroud came from direct contact with a body and are all forensically accurate. It has also been shown that the bloodstains were on the Shroud BEFORE the image was formed since the blood and serum acted to inhibit the image formation mechanism. There is NO image under the blood and serum stains on the Shroud. However, to make this new `reproduction,' the `blood' was added (using a different pigment) AFTER the image was created. Obviously, it is much easier to add the blood to the image than to first create the blood stains and then create the forensically accurate image around them, which is exactly what a medieval forger would have had to do to duplicate the actual physical properties of the Shroud! Many of the bloodstains on the Shroud show a surrounding halo of serum stains that are ONLY visible with UV fluorescence photography. Also, the blood has been chemically analyzed and determined to include components of actual blood, NOT pigment." ("Science by Press Release? An Editorial Response by Barrie Schwortz," Shroud.com, 7 October 2009. Emphasis original).

As did Shroud lecturer and researcher Russ Breault:

"We can make an artificial diamond that looks real, but it is still not an authentic diamond. Making something that looks like the Shroud does not prove it is a medieval fraud. The qualifying criteria are very specific. The image must be so superficial that it penetrates only the top two microfibers, about the depth of a single bacterium. There can be no coloration beyond the crowns of the fibers and no image on the side of the fibers or under the fibers. For this we need a microscope to validate. The image must demonstrate to be an accurate negative image and also possess accurate distance information where parts of the body still reveal an image even though not in direct contact with the cloth of distances up to 4 cm. However this is only half the problem. There are two sets of images: body image and blood image. Interestingly, there is no image under the blood meaning that the order of events is blood first followed by image. This is the correct sequence if authentic but nearly impossible for an artist. As such, according to the article, they added blood after the image was already created. That fact alone invalidates their claim." (Russ Breault, "Is the Shroud of Turin a Fake?," EzineArticles.com, 11 October 2009).

The Catholic Church does not claim the Shroud is authentic nor that it is a matter of faith, but says it should be a powerful reminder of Christ's passion. This is an important point for Protestants (like me) who may be opposed to the Shroud because it is a `Catholic relic' (as I originally was), that the Roman Catholic Church has only owned the Shroud since 1983 when it was bequeathed to it by its owner ex-king of Italy, Umberto II of Savoy (see also below), and has always hedged its bets on the Shroud's authenticity.

One of Christianity's most disputed relics, it is locked away at Turin Cathedral in Italy and rarely exhibited. It was last on display in 2000 and is due to be shown again next year. Garlaschelli expects people to contest his findings. Garlaschelli does not sound supremely confident that he would be if he knew he had duplicated the Shroud! "If they don't want to believe carbon dating done by some of the world's best laboratories they certainly won't believe me," he said. Its not a question of belief but what explanation best fits all the evidence of the Shroud. And neither the 1988 radiocarbon age of 1260-1390 nor Garlaschelli's shroud does. The accuracy of the 1988 tests was challenged by some hard-core believers who said restorations of the Shroud in past centuries had contaminated the results. There is in fact strong evidence that the part of the Shroud that was radiocarbon-dated in 1988 was a medieval patch and not part of the original Shroud.

The history of the Shroud is long and controversial. After surfacing in the Middle East and France, it was brought by Italy's former royal family, the Savoys, to their seat in Turin in 1578. In 1983 ex-King Umberto II bequeathed it to the late Pope John Paul. See my above point that only since 1983 has the Shroud actually been owned by the Roman Catholic church. The Shroud narrowly escaped destruction in 1997 when a fire ravaged the Guarini Chapel of the Turin cathedral where it is held. The cloth was saved by a fireman who risked his life. It is further evidence of the Divine origin of the Shroud and therefore its providential protection, that there have been many attempts and events that could have destroyed the Shroud, but it has outlasted them all:

"It is ironic that every edifice in which the Shroud was supposedly housed before the fifteenth century has long since vanished through the hazards of time, yet this frail piece of linen has come through almost unscathed ... one cannot help feeling that it has its role to play, and that its hour is imminent." (Wilson, 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," p.251).

Garlaschelli received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics but said it had no effect on his results. So Garlaschelli's is just the latest in a long line of anti-Christian (and I assume ultimately Satanic) attempts to destroy the Shroud! "Money has no odor," he said. "This was done scientifically. It wasn't. If Garlaschelli's work was truly scientific he would submit it to a peer-reviewed journal (as all Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) papers were):

"Jackson noted that he or his colleagues would be open to testing the Garlaschelli shroud or any other `idea about the shroud relative to the scientific characteristics that have been documented in respect to the shroud,' however to do so they would need `more detailed information about what was specifically done.' ... Jackson also pointed out that Garlaschelli's findings have yet to be peer reviewed. What scientists need `to do is present their work for publication before their peers.' He explained that any person can conduct his or her own research, but it doesn't matter whether or not the author believes his or her hypothesis was proven. In the end, what the scientific community decides `upon seeing and reviewing the work' is what counts, he said." ("Experts question scientist's claim of reproducing Shroud of Turin," Catholic News Agency, October 6, 2009).

If the Church wants to fund me in the future, here I am." Here and above Garlaschelli admits he was paid by atheists (and presumably he is one) to debunk the Shroud!

For other (mostly uncritical) news articles on this see also: AP, BBC, CNN, Daily Mail and The Australian. For news articles pointing out the flaws in Garlaschelli's `reproduction' see: "Study debunks Shroud of Turin's authenticity; Springs believers not swayed," Colorado Springs Gazette, October 6, 2009; "Mexican expert on Shroud points out flaws of supposed 'duplicate'," Catholic News Agency, 12 October 2009; and "Experts question scientist's claim of reproducing Shroud of Turin," Catholic News Agency, 6 October 2009.

There has been huge interest in this. Barrie Schwortz in the above "Editorial Response" reports that his Shroud.com website had 20,000 hits the day the story broke. This my own blog's Sitemeter jumped from last week's average visits per day of 44 and total for the week of 306, to average visits per day of 278 and a total this week of 1,946! So if nothing else, Garlaschelli has re-kindled widespread public interest in the Shroud.

Posted: 8 October 2009. Updated: 21 October 2017.


"The results of radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range with at least 95% confidence for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260 - 1390 (rounded down/up to nearest 10 yr). These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, P.E., et al., "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, pp.611-615, p.614).

"We do not have to know how somebody could have painted it, but science is adept at finding paint when it is present. But first, if the scientists have come up with one major conclusion, it is that the shroud is not a known fake. There is no paint, dye, powder, or other foreign substance on the image fibrils that could account for the image. Microchemical analyses revealed no paints or pigments. Also, fraud is refuted by the shroud's 3-D characteristics. Paintings do not produce a 3-D effect, but the shroud image is 3-D. This has been checked out in a laboratory. In addition, the shroud image is superficial, which means that it is only on the top few fibrils of the affected threads. Each thread has about 200 fibrils, and the image is on the top few fibrils only. It does not even soak to the back threads, let alone to the back of the cloth. Paint is not superficial, and reproducing the shroud has not been possible in the laboratory. Further, there are no plateaus or saturation points on the shroud image. But if you apply any pigment or dye there will naturally be saturation points. Still further, the shroud image is nondirectional. Now if one is going to put paint on a cloth, one moves the hand from side to side. When one gets tired, one often starts moving the hand up and down. But even if one only moves from side to side all of the time, that is directionality. One cannot generally apply paint without directionality. If one uses a spray gun it still involves directionality. But there is no directionality on the shroud image. Also, there is no capillary flow on the shroud, which rules out any liquid movement. In addition, the 1532 fire that the shroud was involved in would have caused chemical changes in organic pigments, but there are no changes in the shroud. Further, the water applied to the shroud to put out the 1532 fire would usually cause chemical changes, but there are no such changes observed on the shroud. Finally, the shroud image is nontraditional. For instance, the nail wounds are in the wrists and the crown of thorns appears to be a skullcap. Someone painting the shroud in the Middle Ages would presumably not have known that the nails were placed in the wrists. A 1982 report from a team of scientists, released at a New London, Connecticut, meeting, states that, `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found in the fibrils.' [Press Release, The Shroud of Turin Research Project, 8 October 1981] So again, we could falsify the shroud if there was paint. But they have not found any. Now maybe they will find some in the future. I am open to that, but right now that is a weak hypothesis. I cannot speak for anybody on the team of scientists, but just judging from their publications, the fraud thesis is the one theory that, according to a recent survey, nobody on the team of scientists holds. I think I would even say that this would be the easiest theory to refute. The shroud image does not appear to be painted at all." (Habermas, G.R., 1987, "Discussion: Antony G. N. Flew, Gary R. Habermas, Terry L. Miethe, and W. David Beck," in Habermas, G.R., Flew A.G.N. & Miethe, T.L., ed., "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?: The Resurrection Debate," Harper & Row: San Francisco CA, p.119).

"We began our presentation. One by one, we gave our short talks with slides, graphs, spectra, and tried to make them intelligible to the nonscientist. Everything that had been done was included, from mathematical models, VP-8 and physical experiments, to pathology. ... We explained that we hoped to obtain permission to do a carbon 14 dating test some time in the future, but we had not yet received permission. We all wanted to be very careful that we did not overstate anything. We were extremely cautious to make no statement of any kind that could not be supported by the data. Bit by bit, the complex story involving optics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine unfolded. Most of the questions were excellent. Adler was asked how he could answer McCrone's claim that there was no blood, but merely a mixture of red ocher and vermilion. Adler flashed on the screen the following table from our paper. Table 5 Tests confirming the presence of whole blood on the Shroud 1. High iron in blood areas by X-ray fluorescence 2. Indicative reflection spectra 3. Indicative microspectrophotometric transmission spectra 4. Chemical generation of characteristic porphyrin fluorescence 5. Positive hemochromogen tests 6. Positive cyanomethemoglobin tests 7. Positive detection of bile pigments 8. Positive demonstration of protein 9. Positive indication of albumin 10. Protease tests, leaving no residue 11. Positive immunological test for human albumin 12. Microscopic appearance as compared with appropriate controls 13. Forensic judgment of the appearance of the various wound and blood marks Then, after explaining each item briefly, Al said, `That means that the red stuff on the Shroud is emphatically, and without any reservation, nothing else but B-L-O-O-D!'" (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, pp.215-216. Emphasis original).

"Epilogue So where does all this huge amount of science leave us? The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available. The physical and chemical data fit hand in glove. It is certainly true that if a similar number of data had been found in the funerary linen attributed to Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, or Socrates, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that it was, indeed, the shroud of that historical person. But because of the unique position that Jesus holds, such evidence is not enough. I have discussed with most of the team, during the interviews preceding my writing of this book, how they felt about the Shroud. Three of them, John Jackson, Robert Bucklin, and Barrie Schwortz, believe that it is probably the authentic, burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. The rest of us have to say that we do not know. There is no such thing as a scientific test for Jesus, and there probably never will be." (Heller, 1983, Ibid., p.219. Emphasis original).

"Even from the limited available information, a hypothetical glimpse of the power operating at the moment of creation of the Shroud's image may be ventured. In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered in blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there is a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant the blood dematerializes, dissolved perhaps by the flash, while its image and that of the body becomes indelibly fused onto the cloth, preserving for posterity a literal `snapshot' of the Resurrection. However the image was formed, we may well be entranced by the fourteen-foot length of linen in Turin. For if the author's reconstruction is correct, the Shroud has survived first-century persecution of Christians, repeated Edessan floods, an Edessan earthquake, Byzantine iconoclasm, Moslem invasion, crusader looting, the destruction of the Knights Templars, not to mention the burning incident that caused the triple holes, the 1532 fire, and a serious arson attempt made in 1972. It is ironic that every edifice in which the Shroud was supposedly housed before the fifteenth century has long since vanished through the hazards of time, yet this frail piece of linen has come through almost unscathed. Frustratingly, the Shroud has not yet fully proven itself to us-not uncharacteristic of the gospel Jesus, who at certain times seems almost deliberately to have made his presence obscure, as in his post-Resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalen when she mistook him for a gardener, and in his walking, shortly after, as an unrecognized stranger with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. But one cannot help feeling that it has its role to play, and that its hour is imminent." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.250-251).

"Yet none of this, of course, means that the Shroud cannot be the work of a `cunning' mediaeval forger. Perhaps, whoever he was, this individual enjoyed such power that he could arrange for a six-foot man, possibly some prisoner, to be crucified in the exact manner of Jesus Christ? Perhaps he was able to obtain authentic ancient weaponry for the carrying out of details such as the scourging? Perhaps, given that Jews were well established throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, he knew the special burial requirements that pertained to those of this religion who had died a bloody death and arranged for an all-enveloping cloth accordingly? Of course, even if he had managed all this, how he managed to get the image onto the cloth still remains unexplained. Also is it not rather incredible that this unknown individual should have gone to so much trouble and effort to deceive in an age in which, as twentieth-century journalists have reminded us, a large proportion of the populace would have been very easily duped by a feather of the Archangel Gabriel or a phial of the last breath of St Joseph?" (Wilson, I. , 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.58-60).

No comments: