Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mark Oxley, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin" (2010)

I have recently bought a new book on the Shroud by a Mark Oxley, entitled, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, 2010, 348 pages, paperback.

[Right: "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," by Mark Oxley:]

I have only dipped into it, but it is evidently pro- authenticity, although Oxley's approach is to present the evidence and leave it to the reader to choose whether to accept or reject it. Oxley concludes:

"Yes, I personally believe that the Shroud is genuine, as I said right at the beginning of this book, and my views may be apparent in the style and content of the book, but it is not up to me to force my beliefs on others. Matters of faith are matters of individual choice. The words of the American writer John Walsh, written in 1963, remain as relevant today as they were then. He wrote that the Shroud is either `one of the most ingenious, most unbelievable products of the human mind and hand on record' or it is `the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence'. Which is it?" (Oxley, M., "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, 2010, p.282).

Here is my scan of the book's Contents pages:

Chapter 1 - The Shroud of Turin 3
Chapter 2 - Jerusalem, Antioch and Edessa 13
Chapter 3 - From Edessa to Constantinople 28
Chapter 4 - Geoffrey de Charny and the Shroud of Lirey 44
Chapter 5 -The Later Years in Lirey 54
Chapter 6 - From the de Charny Family to the House of Savoy 64
Chapter 7 - To the Present Day 73
Chapter 8 - The Missing Years: Cathars or Templars? 86
Chapter 9 - The Missing Years: From Athens to France 100
Chapter 10 - Death on the Cross 119
Chapter 11 - The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ 157
Chapter 12 - The Evidence of the Man on the Shroud 169
Chapter 13 - The Sudarium of Oviedo 182
Chapter 14 - The First Investigations 195
Chapter 15 - The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) 207
Chapter 16 - Dating the Shroud 221
Chapter 17 - Image Formation: Radiation Hypotheses 237
Chapter 18 - Image Formation: Contact and Chemical Hypotheses 252
Chapter 19 - Preservation, Restoration and the Future for Research 261
Chapter 20 - Heroes, Sceptics and Challenges 277

And here is what says about the book (from its back cover):

Product Description
The book addresses the many challenges posed by the Shroud. If, for example, it really was the work of a 14th century forger, how did such a person, with the limited scientific knowledge of his time, produce an artifact that can still not be replicated or even explained by 21st century science? If the Shroud is evidence of an event that could be called supernatural - the resurrection of a dead man - what does this imply for scientists studying it? If the Shroud is evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, what are the implications of this for those who do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God or that he was anything but a rural Jewish teacher? What are the challenges facing researchers and theologians today both in preserving the Shroud and in carrying out further scientific research? The book is in three main parts - a complete review of the history of the Shroud - both known and speculated; a study of crucifixion as a method of execution and its relationship to the image and markings on the Shroud; and a review of the scientific studies carried out on the Shroud over the past century, together with the various hypotheses that have been advanced as to how the image was formed. The book concludes with some suggestions as to how conflicting demands for preservation of the Shroud and for further scientific studies can be reconciled and carried forward. Is the Shroud the genuine burial cloth of Jesus Christ? This question is left to the reader to answer.

and its author:

About the Author
Mark Oxley is a Zimbabwean businessman who has spent over three years carrying out detailed research on the history of the Shroud of Turin and on the scientific studies that have been carried out on it. A scientist by training with an avid interest in both classical and mediaeval history, he has used both disciplines to carry out an in-depth review of the current state of knowledge about the Shroud. He has been interested in the Shroud since he was a schoolboy, when he saw a film about the Shroud in which the late Lord Cheshire explained the Shroud, its history and what was known at the time about the image on it. Over the years he has followed the scientific debate on the Shroud and particularly the controversy over its radio-carbon dating. It was this controversy in particular and some of the hypotheses that arose from it that eventually led to his decision to carry out further research and write his own book on the subject of the Shroud.

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


M.R. Minkler said...

I would like to send you a private message with my question but I can't see on the blog where to do that.

Would you recommend this book?

Thanks again,
reply to:

Stephen E. Jones said...

M.R. Minkler

>I would like to send you a private message with my question but I can't see on the blog where to do that.

I prefer questions via a comment under a relevant post (as you have done) rather than private messages.

>Would you recommend this book?

I am still part-way through reading this book, but from what I have seen, I would recommend it.

However, if you are new to the Shroud, an easier book to start with might be "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," (1998) by John C. Iannone.

Or Ian Wilson's "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" (2010) which is is both scholarly, up-to-date and popularly written.

Stephen E. Jones