Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Re: John Calvin on the Shroud #2

Ed

Continued from part #1, with this final part #2 of working through the arguments of the Protestant Reformer John Calvin (1509-15) in his "A Treatise on Relics" (1543) and also his "The Gospel according to St. John" (1553), against the Shroud of Turin.

[Above: "The Holy Shroud," by Giovanni Battista della Rovere (c. 1575-c. 1640): Wikipedia. It accurately depicts from the information on the Shroud of Turin, how Jesus' body was laid on the bottom half of Shroud and then the top half was taken over His head and overlapped His feet. Note that "the napkin from about his head" (the Sudarium of Oviedo), had been first taken off before Jesus' head and body were covered by the Shroud.]

Although it was not then called the "Shroud of Turin" in Calvin's day because it would not be in Turin until 1578.

>Another point to be observed is, that the evangelists do not mention that either of the disciples or the faithful women who came to the sepulchre had removed the clothes in question, but, on the contrary, their account seems to imply that they were left there.

Again, as in part #1, Calvin commits the Argument from Silence fallacy. The fact is that the gospels do not say what the disciples did with Jesus' burial clothes, whether they recovered them from the tomb or left them there. The only two accounts which mentions Jesus' burial clothes found in the tomb:

Luke 24:12: "Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."

and

John 20:3-10. So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

do not say how long Peter and John were at the tomb, nor what they did while they were there.

But it far more likely than not that Peter and John, or other disciples, took Jesus' burial clothes away, as a tangible reminder of His earthly life among them, as well as evidence to the other disciples that Jesus' had been resurrected, rather than just leave them there in the now opened tomb.

Also, they would not just leave the valuable spices (Jn 19:38-40) for grave-robbers to plunder, yet nothing is mentioned about the disciples taking those.

So although there is no mention of any other disciples coming back to the tomb, it beggars belief that they would not have. And if Peter or John had not taken Jesus' graveclothes, any of those other disciples, including the "women" mentioned in conjunction with the tomb (Mt 27:61; Mk 15:47; Lk 23:55-56 & Mt 28:1-9; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-8,22-23; Jn 20:1-2) could have.

And there is positive evidence in second century Christian writings "that Jesus' shroud was removed from the tomb and saved," e.g. "After the Lord gave his shroud to ... Peter," etc, and although they "disagree about who saved it from the tomb, but they agree that it had been saved" and they also "show us that second century writers knew about the Shroud in their day":

"Even though the Bible is silent about what happened to the Shroud after Easter, there are other documents of an unofficial nature which do point to the Shroud's survival after Easter Sunday. In the second century (about 100-200 A.D.), several accounts were written about the life of Christ. These biographies are similar to the Gospel accounts in the Bible. For various reasons the early Church Fathers did not include them among the `official' texts of the Bible. Some of these writings contain incorrect religious teachings; some are just copies of the Gospels with a few additions. Hence we have called them `unofficial.' The usual word for these books is `apocryphal' or `hidden' books. But because they were excluded from the Bible does not mean that they are utterly false. They agree with the Gospels on many points. As books actually written in the second century, they are valuable source materials for that time. Most importantly, these texts say that Jesus' shroud was removed from the tomb and saved. Writers of the second century, therefore, knew of the existence of this sheet in their own day. The first of these apocryphal books is called the Gospel of the Hebrews. The author is anonymous (unknown) as is the case with all these apocryphal books. We have only fragments from it, for most of it has been lost over the centuries. One key surviving passage says, `After the Lord gave his shroud to the servant of the priest [or of Peter; the actual word is not clear], he appeared to James:' The Acts of Pilate is another apocryphal book of the second century. It states that Pilate and his wife preserved the shroud of Jesus. It suggests that they were sorry for their part in his death and were now Christians. These two books, along with the Gospel of Peter, The Acts of Nicodemus, and The Gospel of Gamaliel, show us that second century writers knew about the Shroud in their day. They disagree about who saved it from the tomb, but they agree that it had been saved. The silence of the `official' Biblical stories about the preservation of the shroud is countered by these books." (Scavone, D.C., "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, 1989, pp.73-74).

>Now, the sepulchre was guarded by soldiers, and consequently the clothes were in their power.

Calvin is simply wrong. The guards had been rendered unconscious (i.e. "became like dead men"):

Mt 28:2-4,11. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. ... While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.

and then after that, before the first of the disciples had arrived at the tomb, the guards had evidently fled, because "some of them went into the city and reported to the chief priests " (see above). Also, there is no mention of any members of the guard being still at the tomb by the time the disciples arrived, and why would they still be there if the body of Jesus had vanished?

>Is it possible that they would have permitted the disciples to take them away as relics, since these very men had been bribed by the Pharisees to perjure themselves by saying that the disciples had stolen the body of our Lord?

This is a thoughtless, argument by Calvin. If the tomb was still being guarded by some of the soldiers, then the disciples would not have been able to enter it in the first place.

Clearly there was no guard by the time the first of the disciples arrived and therefore either Peter and John (since nothing is said about how long they were at the tomb, or what else they did), would have been able to take Jesus' discarded burial clothes out of the tomb. Or the women later (e.g. Jesus' mother Mary who, being Jesus' next of kin, would presumably have been the rightful owner of Jesus' clothes), could have taken them.

>I shall conclude with a convincing proof of the audacity of the Papists.

Calvin is too prejudiced against "the Papists" to think clearly. His prejudice may be understandable, given the effective state of war that the Reformers and the Papacy were then in. But whatever the faults of the then 16th century Papacy, that has nothing to do with the authenticity of the Shroud. The fact is that Shroud did not belong to the Papacy in Calvin's day, but to the House of Savoy:

"The history from the 15th century to the present is well understood. In 1453 Margaret de Charny deeded the Shroud to the House of Savoy. In 1578 the shroud was transferred in Turin." ("Shroud of Turin: History," Wikipedia, 4 January 2011)

and it was only in 1983, following the death of ex-King Umberto II of Savoy, that the Shroud became the property of the Papacy:

"In 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See by the House of Savoy. However, as with all relics of this kind, the Roman Catholic Church made no pronouncements claiming whether it is Jesus' burial shroud, or if it is a forgery.".("Shroud of Turin: Vatican position," Wikipedia, 4 January 2011)

>Wherever the holy sudary is exhibited, they show a large sheet with the full-length likeness of a human body on it.

This "full-length likeness" Calvin is referring to sounds like the single-sided "frontal image of a crucified man, but no image of his back" copy of the Shroud which was "destroyed by the French revolutionaries in 1794" and was then held in the cathedral at Besançon - about 70 miles or 114 kilometres from Geneva:

"There was, in fact, a Shroud of Besançon. It was destroyed by the French revolutionaries in 1794, but paintings of this fabric survive. It was apparently very different from the Shroud of Turin. It evidently displayed a frontal image of a crucified man, but no image of his back. The nail wounds were in the center of the hands. There were no marks of scourging, and, according to one scholar, the body of Christ looked like a stick, straight up and down, with the neck, pelvic area, and knees all of one width. [Vignon, P., "The Shroud of Christ," University Books: New Hyde Park NY, 1970, pp.67-68]" (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.62).

The Shroud of Turin, bearing two images, front and back, is double full-length. As pointed out in part #1, the Shroud was at this time when Calvin was writing his Treatise on Relics which was published in 1543, located at Nice between 1537-1540 on the French Mediterranean, a long way from Calvin's Geneva. So Calvin probably had never seen the original Shroud, but only inferior copies of it (if that).

>Now, St John's Gospel, chapter nineteenth, says that Christ was buried according to the manner of the Jews; and what was their custom? This may be known by their present custom on such occasions, as well as from their books, which describe the ancient ceremony of interment, which was to wrap the body in a sheet, to the shoulders, and to cover the head with a separate cloth.

Again Calvin is wrong about the Jewish "ceremony of interment," in that he fails to distinguish between ordinary burials and burials of bodies that had been bleeding. According to Jewish law, if a body had "the blood of the soul ... absorbed in his clothes [in Jesus' case he had no clothes so the Shroud would have been placed over His naked, bloody body] he should not be cleansed." but "those preparing the dead person for burial had to wrap a `sheet which is called a sovev' straight over any clothes ... an all-enveloping cloth ... a `single sheet ... to go right round' the entire body" and "Such a sovev readily corresponds to the `over the head' characteristics of Turin's Shroud":

"Lazarus died a natural death. In accordance with normal Jewish practice he would have been washed, interred fully dressed in his Sabbath best, tied up with a few binding strips to keep his jaw and limbs suitably together, and provided with some kind of face cloth for screening purposes. Jesus, in contrast, died a very bloody death, and stark naked, his clothes having been removed from him at the time of his crucifixion. [Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:23] In his case Jewish law prescribed something very different. As has been carefully explained by Jewish-born Victor Tunkel [Tunkel, V., "A Jewish View of the Shroud," Lecture to the British Society for the Turin Shroud, London, 12 May 1983] of the Faculty of Laws, Queen Mary College, University of London, the belief among the Pharisees of Jesus's time, shared by Jesus's own followers, was that everyone's body would be physically resurrected at the end of time. This meant that as far as humanly possible everything that formed part of that body, including particularly the life-blood, should be buried with it. As expressed in the Jewish Code of Laws, `One who fell [e.g. in battle] and died instantly, if ... blood flowed from the wound, and there is apprehension that the blood of the soul was absorbed in his clothes, he should not be cleansed.' [Gansfried, 1927, Vol. IV, ch. CXCVII, Laws Relating to Purification (Tahara nos 9 and 10), pp.99-100] In these circumstances, therefore, those preparing the dead person for burial had to wrap a `sheet which is called a sovev' straight over any clothes, however bloodstained. This sovev had to be an all-enveloping cloth, that is a `single sheet ... used to go right round' the entire body. Such a sovev readily corresponds to the `over the head' characteristics of Turin's Shroud." (Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.52).

>This is precisely how the evangelist described it, saying, that St Peter saw on one side the clothes with which the body had been wrapped, and on the other the napkin from about his head.

The "napkin" was the sudarium or facecloth (i.e. the "Sudarium of Oviedo") a smaller cloth placed over a Jewish corpses' face and around its head (as we do in our Western culture). As in the Rovere painting above, in the tomb the facecloth was removed, Jesus' body was laid on the lower half of the Shroud, and then the top half of the Shroud was taken over His head and overlapped at His feet. See the video "Shroud Report Interview with Mark Guscin on the Sudarium of Oviedo."

> In short, either St John is a liar, or all those who boast of possessing the holy sudary are convicted of falsehood and deceit.

This is yet another fallacious argument by Calvin, this time the Fallacy of False Dilemma, claiming there are only two possible alternatives: Either 1) "St. John is a liar"; or 2) "All those" claiming to possess the Shroud are guilty of "falsehood and deceit."

But there is a third alternative, that Calvin is wrong (see above and previously) and one of the shrouds, the one that he listed at "Nice" in his Treatise on Relics, is the genuine original and all the others are inferior copies.

That ends our examination of Calvin's arguments against the Shroud in his Treatise on Relics. Now we will look at his (as far as I am aware) only other attack on the Shroud, in his, Commentary on John (1553):

"[John 20:5]. And seeth the linen cloths lying. The linen cloths were, so to say, the slough, which should produce faith in Christ's resurrection. For it was improbable that His body would be stripped to be taken elsewhere. This would have been done neither by a friend nor by a foe. That His head was wrapped in a napkin refutes the falsehood of the Papists, who pretend that the whole body was sewn up in one linen cloth, which they show to the unhappy masses to adore. I overlook their ignorance of Latin, which led them to make the word `napkin' (which was used to wipe sweat off the face) into a covering for the whole body. I overlook also their impudence in boasting-in five or six different localities-that they have this same napkin. But this gross falsehood is intolerable, for it openly contradicts the Gospel history. To this is added the fabulous miracle which they have invented, that the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen. I ask you, if such a miracle had been performed, would the Evangelist have suppressed it, when he is so careful to relate less important things? Let us be content with this simplicity, that by laying aside the tokens of death, Christ meant to testify that He had put on a blessed and immortal life." (Calvin, J., 1553, "The Gospel According to St. John, Part Two 11-21," Parker, T.H.L., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1959, Reprinted, 1979, pp.193-194. Emphasis original).

I will now comment on those of Calvin's words above (in bold) which are relevant to the Shroud.

>That His head was wrapped in a napkin refutes the falsehood of the Papists,

Again, Calvin's prejudice against "the Papists" is evident, which blinds him to the truth about the Shroud. Calvin on this is in `good' company with anti-Christians like you Ed, who uncritically enlist his false arguments against the Shroud in your "The Shroud of Turin: John Calvin versus the Catholic Church" as part of your attack on Christianity!

Calvin doesn't seem to understand that the "napkin" or headcloth (the Sudarium of Oviedo) was first taken off Jesus' head and then the Shroud was drawn over His body, "The sudarium ... was used during the descent from the cross and during the transport of the body to the tomb ... It was then removed and placed separately in the tomb":

"Garcia's studies show that the Sudarium of Oviedo had to have been used before wrapping the body in any other linen, particularly in the Shroud of Turin. The image of the face on the Shroud of Turin, as well as that of the lateral surface of the head, negates the possibility that this person had another linen placed around his head. The stains of blood on the Sudarium of Oviedo also point in the same direction. The sudarium therefore, was not part of the shrouding process. It was used during the descent from the cross and during the transport of the body to the tomb, in order to cover the disfigured face of Jesus, according to the orders of the Sanhedrin, and to prevent loss of blood. It was then removed and placed separately in the tomb. John 20:7 also indicates that Jesus, had the Sudarium placed on his head before the burial, but not after. It would have been necessary to remove the cloth in order to anoint the facial wounds, and would not have been used to cover the face once again due to the large amount of blood it contained. It was sufficient to wrap the body in a clean white linen shroud, and is unthinkable that a dirty, bloodstained linen would have left in place on the head of Jesus. While Jewish burial customs would have exempted Jesus from the washing ritual, a clean shroud was required by law." (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.151).

>who pretend that the whole body was sewn up in one linen cloth,

Not "sewn up" but enfolded "in one linen cloth.":

"Since the Jewish burial custom allowed the use of cloths to bind the hands and feet as well as the jaw, the total picture matches Jewish burial customs exactly and explains clearly why the synoptics only mention a sindon and John mentions othonia. Second, John's use of othonia has led to a widely held belief that Jesus was wrapped like an Egyptian mummy. But such a procedure doesn't conform to what is known of first-century normal Jewish burial ritual. Nor does it match what was previously mentioned in the Word, to wit, that Joseph of Arimathea had purchased a winding sheet and wrapped Jesus in it (Mark 15:46). Even John used the word edesan, which is translated wound in the KJV but literally means `enfolded.' Enfolded would also match the burial custom. Being wrapped with strips of cloth would not. In other words, othonia in John should be understood to mean that Jesus' dead body was enveloped from head to feet in one burial cloth, not wrapped like a mummy with numerous strips of cloth." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.150).

>which they show to the unhappy masses to adore.

Calvin here comes across as an arrogant intellectual, looking down on the mostly illiterate "unhappy masses." But what is wrong with the "masses" adoring Jesus' image on the Shroud? Or even on a copy of the Shroud? It is still the image of Jesus they are adoring! "Authentic or not, the message is the same":

"Oddly enough, the controversy around the Shroud keeps many Christians from looking at it for what it is-a visual representation of Jesus Christ. .... Why is this so? Blame it on the Reformation ... and I'm a Protestant. In ... 1517 ... the Catholic preoccupation with relics was in high swing. .... items ascribed to the saints were being sold in the marketplace to the gullible and the desperate. It's no wonder that the reformers reacted to such abuse. And since few if any of the true relics could be distinguished from the bogus, there was a wholesale rejection of all of them. ... But the Protestants, led by John Calvin, may have gone too far in their bias against images. ... There is an irrational fear that images of any kind will end up being worshipped ... Part of the Protestant fear of images stems from an incorrect interpretation of the Second Commandment to make no graven or carved images ... But all that changed with the coming of Jesus a thousand years after this commandment was given. Jesus was `the image of the invisible God' [Col 1:15]. Suddenly God himself became an image; the image was that of a man. ... The Reformer's over-reaction to the abuse of relics and icons has left us aesthetically impoverished and unnecessarily fearful of images. Now we come to the Shroud of Turin, that 14-foot long linen cloth bearing the front and back images of a bearded, crucified man, including blood from the wounds. ... Many experts believe that the preponderance of evidence supports authenticity. ... that the Shroud of Turin is in fact the Shroud that wrapped Jesus in the tomb. .... But what if it isn't? The irony is that the message is the same. ... if it is the work of an unknown medieval genius who figured out how to create this 3-D, negative image without artistic substances but used real blood to represent the wounds, then it was done to visually represent biblical truths. In other words, It either is the actual shroud of Christ or it represents His shroud. It either is an image resulting from the resurrection or it represents His resurrection. It either is the blood of Christ on the cloth or it represents His blood. Authentic or not, the message is the same: It is a visual representation of Jesus. IT'S THE MESSAGE THAT MATTERS. ... the good news that God loves us enough to redeem us with His own life and blood. That very blood, the heavenly currency that purchased the souls of men, might have stained a 14-foot linen cloth now kept in Turin, Italy. And the image that barely penetrates the surface of the cloth could have captured His victory over death through a glorious resurrection." (Breault, R.A., 1999, "It's the Message that Matters," Shroud of Turin Education Project. Emphasis original).

> I overlook their ignorance of Latin, which led them to make the word `napkin' (which was used to wipe sweat off the face) into a covering for the whole body.

Calvin is right at least on this. The "napkin" (Gk. soudarion) is a small piece of cloth, not "a covering for the whole body." It occurs in the Parable of Pounds (or Talents) being a piece of cloth that money was wrapped in:

Lk 19:20 KJV. "And another came, saying, `Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin [soudario]'."

and is translated "handerkerchiefs" for cloths placed against the Apostle Paul's body, which then were used to heal the sick:

Acts 19:12 KJV. So that from his [Paul's] body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs [soudaria] or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

The same word soudarion, translated "napkin" (KJV) is used for the cloth placed over the dead Lazarus' face:

Jn 11:44 KJV. And he [Lazarus] that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin [soudario]. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Which in turn is the same word used of "the napkin, that was about his [Jesus'] head":

Jn 20:7 KJV. And the napkin [soudarion], that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

The "napkin" or soudarion corresponds with the Sudarium of Oviedo, which "measures two feet nine inches by one foot nine inches [~ 84 x 53 cm]" and was "the face cloth or napkin that covered the face of Christ when He was taken down from the Cross" because "According to Jewish burial traditions, it was considered impertinent to show the disfigured face of a dead man":

"ONE cloth which can contribute a great deal to the study of the Shroud of Turin and its authenticity is the Sudarium of Oviedo. This cloth has been kept in Spain since the seventh century and housed in the cathedral of Oviedo, a town in the north of Spain, since the eleventh century. The sudarium is a piece of bloodstained cloth woven with the same type of thread as the Shroud. The cloth bears no image and measures two feet nine inches by one foot nine inches [~ 84 x 53 cm]. It is believed by many to be the face cloth or napkin that covered the face of Christ when He was taken down from the Cross. The sudarium is mentioned in the Gospel of St. John: `Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself' (John 20:6-7). According to Jewish burial traditions, it was considered impertinent to show the disfigured face of a dead man. Therefore, a sweat cloth or a napkin was placed over the face and was then discarded at the tomb." (Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.41. Emphasis original).

>I overlook also their impudence in boasting-in five or six different localities-that they have this same napkin.

By "napkin" I assume Calvin is using "the Papists" term for the Shroud, i.e. "a large sheet with the full-length likeness of a human body on it," "one linen cloth" in which "the whole body was."

Again (see part #1), Calvin uses the same fallacy that atheists use to dismiss Christianity: "all religions contradict each other, therefore they are all false." But one religion could be true (as Christianity claims - (Jn 3:16-18; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 10:38-43), and all other religions be false.

Similarly, one Shroud (Gk. sindon - a large linen sheet), the Shroud of Turin, and one "napkin" (Gk. soudarion - a smaller cloth), the Sudarium of Oviedo, could be true, and all other shrouds and cloths could be false.

>But this gross falsehood is intolerable, for it openly contradicts the Gospel history.

Calvin is here just blustering. He has not explained why the disciples' keeping Jesus' burial Shroud and its subsequent survival down to his day was a "gross falsehood," and how "it openly contradicts the Gospel history." Only if the Gospels stated that Jesus' burial garments were not recovered from Jesus' tomb but were later destroyed would the Shroud's claimed continued existence in Calvin's day "contradict... the Gospel history." But all Calvin has is an Argument from Silence.

As we saw in from part #1, Jesus' linen burial garments (including the Shroud and Sudarium) are mentioned in all four gospels (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54; Jn 19:38-42) before Jesus' resurrection, and in two gospels (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:5-7) after it. Nothing is said, one way or the other, what happened to them. But having mentioned them, one would expect that at least one gospel would have mentioned they were left in the tomb and later lost or destroyed. That there is no such explanation, more plausibly argues for the most distinctive among those garments, the sindon (Shroud) and the soudarion (face-cloth), being kept by the disciples and never destroyed in New Testament times or subsequent Church history.

>To this is added the fabulous miracle which they have invented, that the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen.

The "Papists" didn't "invent" the "fabulous miracle" that "the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen." Calvin would be unaware that the history of the Shroud and its image goes back well before the Papacy via the Image of Edessa to the first century.

In fact the Papacy itself had very little to do with the Shroud until 1940 and to this day the Vatican's position is to make "no pronouncements claiming whether it is Jesus' burial shroud, or if it is a forgery":

"The first official association between the image on the Shroud and the Catholic Church was made in 1940 based on the formal request by Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli to the curia in Milan to obtain authorization to produce a medal with the image. The authorization was granted ... In 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See by the House of Savoy. However, as with all relics of this kind, the Roman Catholic Church made no pronouncements claiming whether it is Jesus' burial shroud, or if it is a forgery." ("Shroud of Turin: Vatican position," Wikipedia, 4 January 2011).

>I ask you, if such a miracle had been performed, would the Evangelist have suppressed it, when he is so careful to relate less important things?

Again Calvin uses the same Argument from Silence fallacy (see part #1). Indeed, as we saw in part #1, Calvin himself, in this very commentary admitted that "John ... has only written some things out of many; not that the others were not worth recording:"

[Jn 20:30] Many other signs therefore. If this anticipation had not been added, readers might have thought that John had not left out any of the miracles that Christ performed and had given a full and complete history. John therefore declares that he has only written some things out of many; not that the others were not worth recording, but because these were sufficient to build up faith. And yet it does not follow that they were performed in vain, for they profited that age. Secondly, although today their kinds are unknown to us, we must not deduce that it is of little importance for us to know that the Gospel was sealed by a great wealth of miracles." (Calvin, 1553, p.213).

And as mentioned in part #1, the tiny, persecuted minority that the early Church was, would have very good reasons to keep secret from its then far more numerous and powerful enemies, the Romans and the Jews, that it had Jesus' bloodstained Shroud on which, "the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen." The Jews and/or Romans would have demanded they hand it over, or suffer torture and death until they did. Especially when it would support the chief priests' official explanation, that the disciples had stolen Jesus' body:

Mt 28:12-15. "When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, `You are to say, "His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep." If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.' So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day."

In fact the early Church (perhaps unknown to Calvin) had a doctrine called "the Discipline of the Secret," by which "knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non-Christians and even from those who were undergoing instruction in the faith":

"Disciplina Arcani or Discipline of the Secret or Discipline of the Arcane, is a theological term used to describe the custom which prevailed in Early Christianity, whereby knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non-Christians and even from those who were undergoing instruction in the faith." ("Disciplina arcani," Wikipedia, 22 December 2010).

"Discipline of the Secret ... A theological term used to express the custom which prevailed in the earliest ages of the Church, by which the knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from the heathen and even from those who were undergoing instruction in the Faith. The custom itself is beyond dispute, but the name for it is comparatively modern, and does not appear to have been used before the controversies of the seventeenth century, when special dissertations bearing the title `De disciplina arcani' were published both on the Protestant and the Catholic side. The origin of the custom must be looked for in the recorded words of Christ: `Give not that which holy to dogs; neither cast your pearls before swine; lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you' (Matthew 7:6), while the practice in Apostolic times is sufficiently vouched for by St. Paul's assurance that he fed the Corinthians `as . . . little ones in Christ', giving them `milk to drink, not meat', because they were not yet able to bear it (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).' ("Discipline of the Secret," Catholic Encyclopedia Online, 10 January 2011).

There is not space in this already too long post to go into it, but historian Jack Markwardt in his 2008 paper, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret [PDF ~2Mb]"

":In the course of an intense theological debate which followed on the heels of the Protestant Reformation, an ancient Church custom was identified and labeled the `Discipline of the Secret'. Pursuant to this practice., the clergy was required, when speaking of Christian tenets, doctrines, mysteries, and rites, to employ coded language, symbolic representations, metaphorical expressions, and allegorical narratives in a manner conducive to making the message understandable only to advanced believers. Initially, the practice was designed to prevent catechumens from acquiring detailed knowledge of the faith, somewhat in accordance with Paul's counsel that the uninitiated and dull of hearing' be fed with milk, and not with meat'; [1Cor 3:1-2; Heb 5:12-14] however, after Roman persecutions had intensified and expanded, the Discipline was employed to conceal all critical faith-related information, in strict obedience to Christ's commandment to `give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you'. [Mt 7:6] When employing the custom, the technique was to speak of the realities and the rituals of the Christian life in an allusive manner, by hinting rather than by stating explicitly. `It is natural and necessary that a Christian inscription (of) about A.D. 200, which was intended to be public, should be so expressed as not to offend the sense of the pagans; i.e. it must be capable of being read by the ordinary observer without its Christian origin being obvious .... it was the recognized duty of a Christian to use carefully veiled language.' [Ramsay, W.M., `The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia,' Clarendon Press: Oxford 1897, p.789.]" (Markwardt, J., 2008, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret," in Fanti, G., ed., "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," Proceedings of the 2008 Columbus Ohio International Conference, August 14-17, 2008, Progetto Libreria: Padua, Italy, 2009, pp.382 407, p.386).

shows that the Shroud did exist in at least the second century AD:

"By applying the precepts of the Discipline of the Secret to the Inscription of Abercius [c. AD 216]... the historical circumstances which underlie the evangelization of Edessa, including the Shroud's role in that historic event, are revealed. ...

By applying the precepts of the Discipline of the Secret to the ancient Abgar Legend, the historical circumstances which underlie the evangelization of Edessa, including the Shroud?s role in that historic event, are further revealed. The ancient legend consists of the Syriac tale, known as the Doctrine of Addai, and the Greek tale which was presented by Eusebius. Like the Inscription of Abercius, the Doctrine of Addai, which was composed originally in the late third century and acknowledges Edessa?s archives as the source of its narrative, specifically declares that it contains a concealed message understandable only by Christians and, thereby, proclaims itself to be a product of the Discipline. ...

By applying the precepts of the Discipline of the Secret to the Syriac poem known as the Hymn of the Pearl, the Shroud?s presence in Edessa during the late second century is revealed. Unlike the Inscription of Abercius and the Doctrine of Addai, the Hymn of the Pearl does not specifically declare itself to contain a concealed message understandable only by Christians and, thereby, proclaim itself to be a product of the Discipline; however, and as will be demonstrated, its anonymous author?s utilization of an allegorical narrative to conceal a Christian message, superbly crafted in accordance with the precepts of the Discipline, is patent. The Hymn is datable to the early part of the third century and was written no later than the year 224. ..." (Markwardt, 2008, p.387-391).

>Let us be content with this simplicity, that by laying aside the tokens of death, Christ meant to testify that He had put on a blessed and immortal life."

And in the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo, Christ testified just that!

No doubt Calvin meant well, but it is not for him to set limits on what God in Christ should do. If Jesus in His love and mercy (especially to the many millions of illiterate Christians who lived before the advent of printing and universal education) wanted to preserve His Shroud and Sudarium as additional evidence of His suffering, death, burial and resurrection, then who is Calvin, or anyone, to object (Job 9:12; 11:10; Rom 9:19; 11:33)?

Since we now know that the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin and Sudarium of Oviedo are Jesus very burial sheet and headcloth, in his fallacious and ignorant attack on the Shroud's authenticity, Calvin was sincerely but unwittingly "fighting against God" (Acts 5:34-39)!

However, since Calvin lived in the 16th century, well before the scientific, historical and artistic evidence that has overwhelming confirmed the Shroud of Turin's authenticity, he at least has the excuse, "I acted in ignorance and unbelief" (1Tim 1:13). But NO such excuse is available to those like you Ed, who in this 21st century are aware (or should be) of that evidence, but refuse to accept it!

In conclusion, I am astonished how weak Calvin's arguments against the Shroud were. As we have seen, they were mostly based on the Argument from Silence fallacy. Indeed, the Gospel writers' silence on what happened to Jesus' burial garments, having been unnecessarily mentioned as "linen" in all four Gospels (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54; Jn 19:38-42) at Jesus' burial, but then being obscurely mentioned in only two Gospels (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:5-7), points to their deliberate silence. That is, a silence that would: 1) explain to Christians where the Shroud and Sudarium came from; but 2) conceal from non-Christians that the disciples had recovered them!

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

3 comments:

Moa said...

Hello Mr. Stephen,
I found your site via the Jesus is Jehovah side, along with my wife, and have followed your threads with great interest. Thank you for the hard work that you put into the research and responses of your blog. I once was rather neutral on the Shroud, but have become increasingly convinced of its authenticity upon reading and reflecting upon your proofs. I hope that as time progresses these proofs shall become even more solid even as the hearts of the world become harder for the Spirit to penetrate. As a side note, I have also found your 2037 interpretation to be quite an interesting conclusion, and am continuing to reflect and read up on your line of reasoning. Whether before or after then, my wife and I look forward to meeting you and worshiping our Lord together with you. May our risen Lord and God bless you and keep you until the day of your calling or his return.

Your brother in Christ
Craig

Stephen E. Jones said...

Craig

>I found your site via the Jesus is Jehovah side, along with my wife, and have followed your threads with great interest. Thank you for the hard work that you put into the research and responses of your blog.

Thanks for your feedback. I hope the positive aspect of my Jesus is Jehovah! blog (i.e. not only negative against Jehovah's Witness teaching that Jesus is Michael the archangel) is of broader interest to my fellow Christians.

>I once was rather neutral on the Shroud, but have become increasingly convinced of its authenticity upon reading and reflecting upon your proofs. I hope that as time progresses these proofs shall become even more solid even as the hearts of the world become harder for the Spirit to penetrate.

With the discovery of the Pray Manuscript (1192-1195) with its unique features of the Shroud, predating the earliest possible 1988 radiocarbon dating of 1260-1390 by at least 65 years; and the perfect match of the Sudarium of Oviedo with the face of the Man on the Shroud; the proof that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus (and the Sudarium of Oviedo is the headcloth in Jn 20:5-7); already is solid enough.

But there are still more proofs accumulating for the Shroud's authenticity, e.g. as briefly mentioned in my post above, Markwardt's evidence in his paper, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret" that the Shroud was known in the second century AD, but was concealed by allegorical language.

>As a side note, I have also found your 2037 interpretation to be quite an interesting conclusion, and am continuing to reflect and read up on your line of reasoning.

Thanks. For the benefit of other readers you are presumably referring to:

"My interpretation of Lk. 21:24-28 ... that Jesus will return before the bulk of that generation that lived in 1967 passes away, i.e. before 2037. See also my posts `Re: about your prediction of Jesus' return by 2037' and `Re: what would happen if I lived to 2037 and Jesus has not come?'" ("What I believe about Creation, Evolution, Design and Christianity: Jesus Christ's return (second coming)").

>Whether before or after then, my wife and I look forward to meeting you and worshiping our Lord together with you. May our risen Lord and God bless you and keep you until the day of your calling or his return.
>
>Your brother in Christ
Craig

Amen! As for me it is a purify hope (1Jn 3:3) that I may be among the "we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord"(1Th 4:15)!

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

I have deleted your comment about "Archeologist Shimon Gibson" because it is off-topic under this post, which has nothing about Gibson.

I have also deleted your identical copy of that comment under "Shroud of Turin News - September 2008" because it is off-topic there too. And also because I regard it as "substandard" to make identical copies of the same comment under different posts.

If you wish, you can re-do your comment under "Burial shroud proves Turin Shroud not from 1st century C.E. Jerusalem?" which is about archaeologist Shimon Gibson.

Stephen E. Jones