Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My critique of Charles Freeman's "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 2: "First Century Relics in Medieval Europe"

Continuing from part 1, this is part 2, "First Century Relics in Medieval Europe," of my critique of historian Charles Freeman's, "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," May 24, 2012 [pages 1-3]. Freeman's words in his paper are bold.

[Above: John Calvin's 1543, "A Treatise on Relics": Amazon.com]

Freeman begins this part of his `misguided journey' to portray the Shroud of Turin as just one of many fake medieval relics by quoting from the 16th century Protestant reformer John Calvin's 1543 "A Treatise on Relics."

First Century Relics in Medieval Europe
`Let us begin with Jesus Christ, about whose blood there have been fierce disputations; for many maintained that he had no blood except of a miraculous kind; nevertheless the natural blood is exhibited in more than a hundred places ... Now let us consider how many relics of the true cross there are in the world ... In short, if we were to collect all these pieces of the true cross exhibited in various parts, they would form a whole ship's cargo ...' (John Calvin, 1543)

But as I pointed out in my "Re: John Calvin on the Shroud #1":

".... Calvin is here using the same logical fallacy that atheists use against Christianity: `1. All religions contradict each other in their core truth claims; 2. Therefore all religions are false.' The fallacy is that one of those religions can be true, and all the rest be false, which is Christianity's (and therefore Calvin's) claim (Jn 3:16-18; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 10:38-43). So also, the Shroud of Turin can be authentic (i.e. the very burial sheet of Jesus) and all the other relics listed by Calvin can be false."

Freeman continues:
Welcome to the world of medieval relics. The Protestant reformer John Calvin writing in 1543 reminds us just how many relics there were scattered throughout Europe, often in triplicate or more. Some of the grander churches had a sequence that took worshippers through from Abraham and Moses to the apostles and Paul and early martyrs but there was a special concentration on the Passion and Crucifixion. In a hierarchy of relics, the Cross and the Blood of Christ trumped the others which is why there are so many different churches claiming parts of the originals. The Crown of Thorns was also a special hit.

Freeman employs the "guilt by association" tactic beloved of atheist/agnostic Shroud anti-authenticists like Joe Nickel:
1. Most Christian relics are fake;
2. The Shroud of Turin is a Christian relic;
3. Therefore the Shroud of Turin is a fake

But this is a form of the "Association fallacy ... which asserts that qualities of one thing [a fake Christian relic] are inherently qualities of another [the Shroud of Turin], merely by an irrelevant association [they are both Christian relics]":

"An association fallacy is an inductive informal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion... " ("Association fallacy," Wikipedia, 24 June 2012).

Having tried to `poison the well':
"Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a rhetorical device where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well can be a special case of argumentum ad hominem ... The origin of the term lies in well poisoning, an ancient wartime practice of pouring poison into sources of fresh water before an invading army in order to diminish the invading army's strength." ("Poisoning the well," Wikipedia, 4 February 2012).

in his readers' minds that all Christian relics (including the Shroud of Turin) are false (although he can't actually say that without committing the "Begging the Question" fallacy - assuming in the premise of his argument what he is seeking to prove), Freeman now moves on to "images with the face of Christ ... said to be ... imprinted on a cloth while he was alive":

Next come images with the face of Christ said to be painted or imprinted on a cloth while he was alive. The Edessa Image, later known as the Mandylion (a word not known from any other source), was the most important before 1200 when it fades from view (but probably goes to Paris). This was just at the time when another image in Rome, the Veil of Veronica, an imprint of the face of Christ taken as he walked to Calvary, became the most celebrated relic in Rome. Vast crowds gathered to see it when it was exposed and often pilgrims died in the crush.

"The Edessa Image, later known as the Mandylion," is in fact the

[Above: "Icon of Abgar holding the mandylion ... 10th century, Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai" ("Abgar V," Wikipedia, 21 May 2012). "Image of Edessa ... According to Christian legend, the Image of Edessa was a holy relic consisting of a square or rectangle of cloth upon which a miraculous image of the face of Jesus was imprinted - the first icon ("image"). In Eastern Orthodoxy, the image is known as the Holy Mandylion, a Byzantine Greek word not applied in any other context. ... Ian Wilson has put forward a theory that the object venerated as the Mandylion from the 6th to the 13th centuries was in fact the Shroud of Turin, folded in four, and enclosed in an oblong frame so that only the face was visible. For support, he refers to documents in the Vatican Library and the University of Leiden, Netherlands, which seem to suggest the presence of another image at Edessa. A 10th century codex, Codex Vossianus Latinus Q 69 found by Gino Zaninotto in the Vatican Library contains an 8th-century account saying that an imprint of Christ's whole body was left on a canvas kept in a church in Edessa: it quotes a man called Smera in Constantinople: `King Abgar received a cloth on which one can see not only a face but the whole body' ... " ("Image of Edessa," Wikipedia, 11 June 2012).]

Shroud of Turin (as it was later called), first doubled between the two head images, and then doubled a further three times (a total of

[Above (click to enlarge): How the Shroud doubled-in-four produces the face of Jesus in landscape mode, exactly as it is in copies of the Image of Edessa!: "Tetradiplon: The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ," 15 January 2010]

four doublings), so the face of Jesus appears in landscape mode, exactly as the Image of Edessa/Mandylion is depicted (see above)!

Freeman next tries to equate the arrival of the Mandylion/Image of Edessa in Constantinople with that of other relics, to support his thesis that the Mandylion is not the Shroud, and both are merely another couple of fake relics:

As one can readily understand, tracing a specific relic over time is a nightmare for historians. Descriptions lack precision, there are endless duplicated examples, everyone is trying to outdo rival shrines through publicizing their own relic and the miracles it effects. On the whole, however, we know when a relic moves from one church to another because there were processions and a traditional ceremony of welcome, the translatio, the date of which is usually recorded because the relic was often exposed on each anniversary. When the Mandylion arrived in Constantinople from Edessa in 944, it was a major event, so too with the Crown of Thorns when it arrived in Paris, again from Constantinople, in 1239. These were, of course, first class relics ... Shrouds, burial cloths, cloths claiming to have covered the head of Jesus in the tomb (as described in John's gospel), were never as prestigious as pieces of the cross, nails or thorns from the Crown and bones or dust from the major figures of the New Testament but it has been calculated that there were about forty on show in the fourteenth century.

But what other relic did a Byzantine Emperor personally send an eighty-thousand-strong army for the sole purpose of obtaining it?:

"IT WAS SPRING IN THE YEAR 943 ... In Edessa, the city's Muslim emir looked out with dismay over his walls at a sight his messengers had warned him to expect, and which had now become hard reality: an eighty-thousand-strong Byzantine army led by John Curcuas, a hugely successful Armenian-born commander-in-chief ... But to the emir's utter astonishment, Curcuas made no attempt to attack. Instead he offered him an immediate deal. He said that he was prepared to spare the city and release two hundred high-ranking Muslim prisoners he was holding all for just one thing: the safe hand-over of the Image of Edessa. ... Curcuas's demand ... had come directly from Byzantium's septuagenarian and now ailing emperor Romanos Lecapenos. ... When the Edessa emir's emissary arrived in Baghdad with the news of Curcuas's extraordinary demand, the then caliph, al-Muttaqi, duly convened his qadis (his chief legal advisers) to consider the problem. Their debate was prolonged, with some strong stands taken. All sides exhibited quite remarkable respect for the Image of Edessa - hardly what might be expected among the highest echelons of image-abhorring Islamic society had the Image genuinely been just the 'some old icon' modern-day historians often suppose ... Edessa's emir was duly instructed that he should surrender the Image in return for the two hundred high-ranking prisoners held by Curcuas, but with the extra proviso that Byzantium should issue a special decree promising Edessa and its near neighbours perpetual immunity from any future Byzantine attack. Curcuas duly agreed to the deal ... " (Wilson, I., "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," 2010, pp.156-159. Emphasis original).

And of what other relic did the Eastern Orthodox Church declare "a permanent annual feast day" commemorating its arrival in Constantinople on 16 August 944, which it "continues to observe" to this day, even though the relic "has been lost to them for more than eight hundred years"?:
"So, within months of the Image of Edessa's arrival in Constantinople, Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos at last properly succeeded to the imperial throne that had been rightly his throughout the past thirty-three years ... Certainly Constantine, no less superstitious than his fellow countrymen, very quickly gave the Image of Edessa the appropriate recognition for the long-hoped-for turnabout in his fortunes, reinforcing this for all time in a variety of ways. First, he had the date of the Image's 'official' arrival in Constantinople, 16 August 944, instituted on the Eastern Orthodox Church calendar as a permanent annual feast day for the Image. (Remarkably, the Orthodox Church continues to observe this feast day, even though the Image itself has been lost to them for more than eight hundred years.)." (Wilson, 2010, p.167).

Freeman reaches his predetermined atheist/agnostic conclusion on first century relics (which includes the Image of Edessa/Shroud of Turin), that "almost certainly" none of them are genuine:

Were any of the thousands of `first century' relics genuine? Almost certainly not. The fact that there were so many duplicates makes the point at once but there are other reasons. Relic collecting is first attested only in the fourth century, especially after 380. Just as the Protestant tradition has little reverence for relics (Protestants burned thousands of the medieval ones during the Reformation) relics were not important for the early Christians. The words of Christ at John 20:29: "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" seems to have resonated (as we shall see). So there was no reason for early Christians to keep relics, belief in Christ was all the more honoured if it did not need a material object to sustain it, as the Protestant reformers preached later. It was all too easy for a relic became worshipped in itself, not for what it represented. (This certainly appears the case among some Shroud enthusiasts.) There may have been extra reasons, such as Jewish taboos associated with bloodstained burial shrouds, that would have inhibited preservation of specific items. (It goes without saying that Christ's burial was a Jewish not a Christian one.) There were taboos as late as 1000 against representing Christ dead and these certainly influenced early relic collection. These relics did, of course, exist at some point, Christ did die on the Cross and was buried in a linen cloth but wood and linen decay, especially in the damp around Jerusalem, so most relics, never collected in the first place by the early Christians, would have disappeared naturally.

Freeman's arguments above are both fallacious and irrelevant. First, they are fallacious in that are based on a "strawman" misrepresentation of the Shroud pro-authenticity position:

"A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To `attack a straw man' is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the `straw man'), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position." ("Straw man," Wikipedia, 29 June 2012).

The strawman in this case is Freeman's misrepresentation of the Shroud pro-authenticity position that it requires all, or most, "of the thousands of `first century' relics [to be] genuine." But the core Shroud pro-authenticity position is that only ONE"of the thousands of ... first century ... relics [is] genuine: the Shroud of Turin. The overwhelming majority of Shroud pro-authenticists believe that only TWO "of the thousands of ... first century ... relics [are] genuine: the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo.

Second, Freeman's argument that, "The fact that there were so many duplicates makes the point at once" is also fallacious. That there are "dozens of the surviving replicas" of the Mona Lisa "from the 16th and 17th centuries" does not thereby mean that the original is a fake:

"The earliest copy of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, Mona Lisa, has been found in the vaults of a Spanish museum, looking younger and more ravishing than the original. Art historians have hailed the discovery, made during conservation work at the Prado Museum, as one of the most remarkable in recent times. Museum officials said it was almost certainly painted by one of Leonardo da Vinci's apprentices alongside the master himself as he did the original. ... There are dozens of the surviving replicas of the masterpiece from the 16th and 17th centuries." ("The REAL face of Mona Lisa," Daily Mail, Nazia Parveen, 2 February 2012).

Third, there are no true "duplicates" of the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud's image is that of a full-sized man, front and back, head to head, filling most of the cloth's ~4.4 metres length; it is extremely faint and cannot be seen up close; it is a type of photographic negative; it is extremely superficial, being only 0.0002 mm thick; it has three-dimensional information encoded in it; the cloth has no artist's outline, it has no directionality; there is no paint, pigment or dye on it which forms its image; the bloodstains are real blood, and there is no image under the bloodstains, i.e. the blood was on the cloth before the image.

And all attempts to produce a duplicate of the Shroud with all these major features have failed. The latest such failed duplication, that of Luigi Garlaschelli, who only produced a face, not a full length image on

[Above: `Duplicate' of the `Shroud' by Prof. Luigi Garlaschelli: Sindonology.org, October 11, 2009. "More information about the tentative reproduction of the Shroud of Turin, made by an Italian researcher, came out in the last few days. Luigi Garlaschelli made public a few digital images of the result of his reproduction on the Web. The result is clearly not like the Shroud. Here are the major differences of this reproduction compared to the Shroud of Turin: *The anatomical details of the face and body do not have the precision of the Shroud. *The 3D effect does not have the precision found on the Shroud. On the tentative reproduction there are many locations where no image appears whereas one is perceivable on the Shroud of Turin. This is due to the technique used: an image made by contact. *The color of images of the reproduction has a red hue (images after washing red ocre) whereas on the Shroud of Turin it has a yellow-straw hue. *No microphotographies of the reproduction are provided. They should show that the images are superficial like the Shroud of Turin. Based on the technique used to create these images, we can infer that the images are not superficial. *In summary, the tentative reproduction of Luigi Garlaschelli is very far from being a reproduction of the Shroud of Turin."]

a ~4.4 x 1.1 metre sheet of linen. And as one commentator pointed out, "... the modern [Garlaschelli's] copy is garish, lacking any gradations of tone" and is "completely inferior":

"As recently as October 2009 came yet another claim to have `reproduced' how the Shroud was faked. Luigi Garlaschelli ... Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Pavia in Italy, has made something of a speciality of debunking claims of religious paranormal phenomena. ... In the case of the Shroud, Garlaschelli's method was to place a linen sheet flat over a volunteer model, then rub this with a pigment containing acid. The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven, then the cloth was washed. This process removed the pigment from the surface but left an image reputedly similar to that of the Shroud. Garlaschelli's claim, presented at a conference in northern Italy for atheists and agnostics, prompted a flurry of news headlines around the world. Yet even the most cursory comparison between his 'negative' ... and that on the Shroud reveals the former as hardly the 'definitive proof' of the Shroud's fraudulence that he has claimed for it. As remarked by one 'general public' commentator on the Reuters news story, `Why isn't anyone saying the obvious? Compare these two images ... the modern copy is garish, lacking any gradations of tone ... it's completely inferior, especially when one contrasts the faces and the chest areas.'"." (Wilson, 2010, p.29).

Moreover, Garlaschelli's `Shroud duplicate' is disqualified, because he applied the `blood' after he made the image, whereas on the Shroud of Turin, the blood was on the cloth before the image (which would be the case if the image was caused by Jesus' resurrection):

"Actually, the technique describes by Garlaschelli to reproduce the Shroud demonstrates that he did not reproduce it. For example, he added blood stains after he created the image. On the real Shroud of Turin, there is no image underneath the bloodstains. A basic fact known since 1978." Sindonology.org, October 9, 2009).

See also Thibault Heimburger, "Comments about the Recent Experiment of Professor Luigi Garlaschelli," November 2009.

The rest of Freeman's points above about relics in general are largely irrelevant as to the question whether the Image of Edessa was the Shroud of Turin, which in turn is the burial sheet of Jesus. There is no Shroud pro-authenticity claim, or requirement, that for the Shroud to be authentic, relic-collecting in general had to be popular in the early church.

Surprisingly, Freeman concedes that "These relics did, of course, exist at some point, Christ did die on the Cross and was buried in a linen cloth ..." However his, "but wood and linen decay, especially in the damp around Jerusalem, so most relics, never collected in the first place by the early Christians, would have disappeared naturally," commits another fallacy, that of "begging the question", i.e. assuming the conclusion of one's argument in its premise:

"Begging the question (Latin petitio principia, `assuming the initial point') is a type of logical fallacy in which a proposition relies on an implicit premise within itself to establish the truth of that same proposition. In other words, it is a statement that refers to its own assertion to prove the assertion. Such arguments are essentially of the form "a is true because a is true" though rarely is such an argument stated as such. "Begging the question," Wikipedia, 9 July 2012).

Because if, as the Gospels indicate (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:3-8), Jesus' linen burial clothes, including the Shroud, were in the empty tomb after His resurrection, and they were "collected ... by the early Christians," then they would not have "decay[ed] and so "disappeared naturally"!

Continued in part 3, "The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo (1)."

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: Jesus is Jehovah! and CreationEvolutionDesign (inactive)

14 comments:

Matt said...

Stephen
Came across an interesting letter from Eusebius, the Roman historian, to Constantia (Emperor Constantine's sister) from the early 300s.

Interesting extract:

"You also wrote me about some supposed image of Christ, which image you wished me to send to you. Now what kind of thing is that you refer to as the image of Christ? I do not know what compelled you to request that an image of Our Savior should be shown. What kind of image of Christ are you seeking? Is it the true and unadulterated one which bears His essential characteristics or the one which He assumed for our sake when He took up the form of a servant ? ... Granted, He has two forms, and even I do not think that your petition has to do with His divine form. ... Surely then, you are seeking His image as a servant, that of the flesh which He assumed for our sake. ... How can one paint an image so unattainable and wonderful ... unless, as so the unbelieving pagans, one is to represent things that have no possible resemblance to anything ... ? For they make such idols when they wish to form the likeness of what they think to be a god or, as they might say, one of the heroes or anything else of like nature, yet they are unable even to approach a likeness, and accurately represent some strange human forms. Surely, even you will agree with me that such practices are illegal for us. Have you ever heard of such a resemblance yourself in church or from another person? Are not such things excluded and banished from churches all over the world, and does not everyone know that such practices are not permitted to us alone?"

Flagrum3 said...

Awesome find Matt. Can you post a link to the full letter? If this letter is authentic the comment; "How can one paint an image so unattainable and wonderfull...unless, as so the unbelieving pagans, one is to represent things that have no possible resemblance to anything...?" ...is very telling.

F3

Matt said...

Flagrum3
I'll try and find a link. I found this extract in a book of ancient Roman and Byzantine letters at the University of Adelaide.
It's intriguing.
I have several questions about the extract:

1.
"You also wrote me about some supposed image of Christ, which image you wished me to send to you."

At the time Eusebius was in Caeserea in Palestine. Is the image requested by Constantia the Image of Edessa / Shroud, which may have been in Palestine at this time prior to its later move to Edessa?

I have not been able to find any reproduction of Constantia's letter to Eusebius, which might have provided elaboration as to what the image was.

2.
I find the next part of Eusebius's text difficult. He appears to be unsure of what image Constantia is requesting. My reading is that Constantia had heard of a specific image, but then Eusebius appears to be unaware of a specific image. Eusebius is clearly opposed to the veneration of images / icons on theological grounds, but I am not sure as to whether he really did not know of a specific image, or whether he did but is playing games as he didn't want to facilitate icon worship.

3.
When he says "How can one paint an image so unattainable and wonderful ..." my interpretation is not that he is specifically referring to the Shroud, but more generally in terms of the difficulty in creating painting that can do justice to Jesus

I guess this extract raises more questions than it answers, but at the very least it provides evidence that there was interest at the highest level of Roman society (ie. Constantia, sister of Emperor Constantine) in a known,speciifc image.

Is the image the one that would become known as the Image of Edessa? I don't know, but there must be a reasonable likelihood.

Anonymous said...

This letter is well known in discussions of the acceptance of images in the early Church although some , like the great Eusebius scholar Barnes, have doubted its authenticity. It is usually interpreted as an attack on icons ( follow up discussions of 'Eusebius Letter to Constantia' online which are easy to find) , on the principle that it was impossible to represent Christ in an image and that such images should be destroyed. It was actually quoted by the iconoclasts in support of their cause in the eighth century.

Barry said...

'But the core Shroud pro-authenticity position is that only ONE"of the thousands of ... first century ... relics [is] genuine: the Shroud of Turin. The overwhelming majority of Shroud pro-authenticists believe that only TWO "of the thousands of ... first century ... relics [are] genuine: the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo.'
I had not read this before (or at least I had not thought about it) and this assumes that the blood and images are the only authentic physical remains of Jesus. So who has rightful custody of them? I assume the prime owner must be the Vatican by inheritance in 1983 unless special arrangements were made for giving custody of samples removed to another party. Does anyone know? Should they be returned to the original source?

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>Came across an interesting letter from Eusebius, the Roman historian, to Constantia (Emperor Constantine's sister) from the early 300s.

Thanks for this. I had not heard of it before.

According to Wikipedia, Eusebius lived (c. AD 263-339) and Flavia Julia Constantia lived (c.293-c. 330). So presumably the letter was written between 320-330.

>Interesting extract:
>
>"You also wrote me about some supposed image of Christ, which image you wished me to send to you.

This is positive evidence that there was an image of Christ in existence in the early 4th century.

>Now what kind of thing is that you refer to as the image of Christ? I do not know what compelled you to request that an image of Our Savior should be shown. What kind of image of Christ are you seeking? Is it the true and unadulterated one which bears His essential characteristics or the one which He assumed for our sake when He took up the form of a servant ? ... Granted, He has two forms, and even I do not think that your petition has to do with His divine form. ... Surely then, you are seeking His image as a servant, that of the flesh which He assumed for our sake. ... How can one paint an image so unattainable and wonderful ... unless, as so the unbelieving pagans, one is to represent things that have no possible resemblance to anything ... ? For they make such idols when they wish to form the likeness of what they think to be a god or, as they might say, one of the heroes or anything else of like nature, yet they are unable even to approach a likeness, and accurately represent some strange human forms. Surely, even you will agree with me that such practices are illegal for us. Have you ever heard of such a resemblance yourself in church or from another person? Are not such things excluded and banished from churches all over the world, and does not everyone know that such practices are not permitted to us alone?"

This seems like a lot of bluster by Eusebius. Why not simply answer Constantia along the lines of, "Sorry, but I don't have an image of Christ to send to you."

So this could be read between the lines as Eusebius `protesting too much', i.e. knowing about the Shroud but trying to cover himself from being charged with idolatry.

As the above Wikipedia articles point out, both Eusebius and Constantia were Arians (i.e. like modern day Jehovah's Witnesses they claimed that Jesus was A god but not THE God).

And the Arians were on the losing side of the Council of Nicea in 325. So if the letter was written about then, Eusebius may have been then especially on the defensive against any further charge of unorthodoxy.

Stephen E. Jones

Christian Art Historian . said...

Images of Christ appear in the third century, especially in catacomb art, so they would have been commonplace by Eusebius' day or at least he would have known that Jewish inhibitions about portraying Christ had been overcome. Two essential books: Robin Jensen, Understanding Early Christian Art, and Jeffrey Spier (ed.) Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Barry

Apologies for the delay in responding to your comment.

>>"'But the core Shroud pro-authenticity position is that only ONE"of the thousands of ... first century ... relics [is] genuine: the Shroud of Turin. The overwhelming majority of Shroud pro-authenticists believe that only TWO "of the thousands of ... first century ... relics [are] genuine: the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo.'

>I had not read this before (or at least I had not thought about it) and this assumes that the blood and images are the only authentic physical remains of Jesus.

The blood is. But there is no image on the Sudarium of Oviedo. And the image on the Shroud is non-physical in the same sense that a photograph does not contain anything physical of the person it is an image of.

The Shroud's image is a `photograph' of Jesus, scorched into the top 1/5th of 1/1000th of a millimetre of the flax fibrils which comprise the Shroud's linen.

>So who has rightful custody of them? I assume the prime owner must be the Vatican by inheritance in 1983 unless special arrangements were made for giving custody of samples removed to another party. Does anyone know?

The Vatican has owned the Shroud only since 1983 when King Umberto II of Savoy bequeathed it to the Pope and his successors. The Vatican has owned, in an ultimate sense, the Sudarium of Oviedo since at least AD 614.

>Should they be returned to the original source?

The "original source" is Jesus. And He can take them back whenever He wants!

But if you mean returned to the Roman Catholic Church, they already are. There are pieces of the Shroud which the Vatican, or at least the Diocese of Turin, allowed to be taken. A sample of the Shroud was taken in 1973 by a textile expert Gilbert Raes. And during the 1988 C14 dating samples were given to the 3 labs, but apparently not all of it was used in the tests.

Moreover, the late microscopist Giovanni Riggi, who cut the 1988 C14 labs' sample, kept back parts of what he cut as a `reserve sample', presumably with the tacit approval of the Vatican or Turin Diocese.

Riggi in turn gave some of his `reserve' sample to a USA paediatrician, Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes, who wrote a book called "The DNA of God" (1998), which upset the Vatican and they demanded those samples back.

But as far as I am aware, he never gave them back because he claimed the then Pope authorised him to have them. Also, as far as I am aware, the Vatican never demanded Riggi's reserve sample be returned.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Christian Art Historian

>Images of Christ appear in the third century, especially in catacomb art, so they would have been commonplace by Eusebius' day or at least he would have known that Jewish inhibitions about portraying Christ had been overcome.

So clearly Constantia's request for Eusebius to send her an "image of Christ" was not just any image, but a special image, e.g. the Shroud.

And Eusebius blustering reply, indicates that he knows what she means, but tries to find a way to refuse Emperor Constantine the Great's half-sister, without actually saying "no".

>Two essential books: Robin Jensen, Understanding Early Christian Art, and Jeffrey Spier (ed.) Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art.

Thanks.

Stephen E. Jones

Christian art historian . said...

This is interesting because as Eusebius is early fourth century , this would mean that the Shroud was accessible to him. But where, Jerusalem, Caesarea? This would also destroy the Wilson thesis that the Shroud was hidden away at this time in Edessa - this was always unlikely as linen cloth needs someone to cherish it if it is not to be destroyed by damp as it would have been in the wall at Edessa. Some interesting leads to follow. Thanks.

Stephen E. Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen E. Jones said...

Christian art historian

>This is interesting because as Eusebius is early fourth century , this would mean that the Shroud was accessible to him.

Not necessarily. As a historian who could read Syriac and indeed at one time had access to Edessa's archives:

"Narrative respecting the prince of Edessa. THE divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, being famed abroad among all men, in consequence of his wonder-working power, attracted immense numbers, bath from abroad and from the remotest parts of Judea, with the hope of being cured of their diseases and various afflictions. Agbarus [i.e. Abgar V], therefore, who reigned over the nations beyond the Euphrates with great glory, and who had been wasted away with a disease, both dreadful and incurable by human means when he heard the name of Jesus frequently mentioned, and his miracles unanimously attested by all, sent a suppliant message to him, by a letter-carrier, entreating a deliverance from his disease. But, though he did not yield to his call at that time, he nevertheless condescended to write him a private letter, and to send one of his disciples to heal his disorder; at the same time, promising salvation to him and all his relatives. And it was not long, indeed, before the promise was fulfilled. After the resurrection, however, and his return to the heavens, Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, by a divine impulse, sent Thaddeus, who was also one of the seventy disciples to Edessa, as a herald and evangelist of the doctrines of Christ And by his agency all the promises of our Saviour were fulfilled. Of this, also, we have the evidence, in a written answer, taken from the public records of the city of Edessa, then under the government of the king. For in the public registers there, which embrace the ancient history and the transactions of Agbarus, these circumstances respecting him are found still preserved down to the present day. There is nothing, however, like hearing the epistles themselves, taken by us from the archives, and the style of it AS IT HAS BEEN LITERALLY TRANSLATED BY US, FROM THE SYRIAC LANGUAGE" (Eusebius, "The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus," 1955, pp.42-43. My emphasis)

Eusebius might have known where the Shroud or Mandylion was, i.e. walled up over a gate in Edessa, but he did not himself have access to it.

>But where, Jerusalem, Caesarea?

Edessa.

>This would also destroy the Wilson thesis that the Shroud was hidden away at this time in Edessa -

No. It would confirm Wilson's theory.

>this was always unlikely as linen cloth needs someone to cherish it if it is not to be destroyed by damp as it would have been in the wall at Edessa.

Not if it was sealed up. There are linen cloths as old, or older, than the Turin Shroud which have survived down to the present day in good condition:

"Linen lasts for centuries in very good condition. Moth grubs need materials containing keratin to feed on, like wool and feathers, and other insects find the flax fibres too hard. Linens woven about 6,000 years ago can be seen in Egyptian museums, and quite a number of museums in Britain have linen cloths that are thousands of years old." (Hoare, R., "The Turin Shroud Is Genuine," 1995, pp.17-18).

which have have not had "someone to cherish" them.

>Some interesting leads to follow. Thanks.

You're welcome.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Christian art historian

>This is interesting because as Eusebius is early fourth century , this would mean that the Shroud was accessible to him.

Not necessarily. As a historian who could read Syriac and indeed at one time had access to Edessa's archives:

"Narrative respecting the prince of Edessa. THE divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, being famed abroad among all men, in consequence of his wonder-working power, attracted immense numbers, bath from abroad and from the remotest parts of Judea, with the hope of being cured of their diseases and various afflictions. Agbarus [i.e. Abgar V], therefore, who reigned over the nations beyond the Euphrates with great glory, and who had been wasted away with a disease, both dreadful and incurable by human means when he heard the name of Jesus frequently mentioned, and his miracles unanimously attested by all, sent a suppliant message to him, by a letter-carrier, entreating a deliverance from his disease. But, though he did not yield to his call at that time, he nevertheless condescended to write him a private letter, and to send one of his disciples to heal his disorder; at the same time, promising salvation to him and all his relatives. And it was not long, indeed, before the promise was fulfilled. After the resurrection, however, and his return to the heavens, Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, by a divine impulse, sent Thaddeus, who was also one of the seventy disciples to Edessa, as a herald and evangelist of the doctrines of Christ And by his agency all the promises of our Saviour were fulfilled. Of this, also, we have the evidence, in a written answer, taken from the public records of the city of Edessa, then under the government of the king. For in the public registers there, which embrace the ancient history and the transactions of Agbarus, these circumstances respecting him are found still preserved down to the present day. There is nothing, however, like hearing the epistles themselves, taken by us from the archives, and the style of it AS IT HAS BEEN LITERALLY TRANSLATED BY US, FROM THE SYRIAC LANGUAGE" (Eusebius, "The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus," 1955, pp.42-43. My emphasis)

Eusebius might have known where the Shroud or Mandylion was, i.e. walled up over a gate in Edessa, but he did not himself have access to it.

>But where, Jerusalem, Caesarea?

Edessa.

>This would also destroy the Wilson thesis that the Shroud was hidden away at this time in Edessa -

No. It would confirm Wilson's theory.

>this was always unlikely as linen cloth needs someone to cherish it if it is not to be destroyed by damp as it would have been in the wall at Edessa.

Not if it was sealed up. There are linen cloths as old, or older, than the Turin Shroud which have survived down to the present day in good condition:

"Linen lasts for centuries in very good condition. Moth grubs need materials containing keratin to feed on, like wool and feathers, and other insects find the flax fibres too hard. Linens woven about 6,000 years ago can be seen in Egyptian museums, and quite a number of museums in Britain have linen cloths that are thousands of years old." (Hoare, R., "The Turin Shroud Is Genuine," 1995, pp.17-18).

which have have not had "someone to cherish" them.

>Some interesting leads to follow. Thanks.

You're welcome.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Christian Art Historian

>But Eusebius ,like others ,only mentions the LETTER- in the text you have provide. [...]

I detect the signs of someone who wants to argue his/her point ad infinitum (e.g. you started to diverge into "Egeria" and "St. Ephrem of Edessa"), so I have deleted your comment.

Although Matt introduced the topic of Constantia's letter to Eusebius, strictly speaking it was off-topic because my post above said nothing about them.

I just don't have the time for such long-winded debates which is a feature of other blogs. The more time I spend on them, the less time I have for actually posting blogs.

In one of Dan Porter's recent posts, he mentioned "a near-record number of 116 comments" under one post which was "a running dialogue (battle?) between" two individuals.

To protect myself from those individuals who seem to have the time and inclination for such endless "battles" I previously had a policy:

"Each individual will usually be allowed only one comment under each post. Since I no longer debate, any response by me will usually be only once to each individual under each post."

I relaxed that policy in the interests of allowing more discussion, but I will bring it back if I feel I have to.

You have made your point and I have made mine. There is no point in us going around in circles. So you have had your last comment on those topics (i.e. Constantia's letter to Eusebius and Wilson's Edessa image=Shroud doubled-in-four theory) under this post.

When I get to that part of my critique of Freeman's article whhich specifically mentions Wilson's theory then you may comment on that topic if you wish.

Stephen E. Jones
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