Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My critique of Charles Freeman's "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 5: "The Image of Edessa" (1)

This is part 5, "The Image of Edessa" (1) of my critique of historian Charles Freeman's, "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," May 24, 2012 [page 5]. The paper's words are bold. See previous parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

[Above: Icon of King Abgar V (c. 25 BC - AD 50) of Edessa, holding the Mandylion or Image of Edessa, 10th century, Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai: Wikipedia and Digital Journal. Abgar's face is actually that of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus who reigned from 913 to 959, therefore the icon presumably dates from this time.]

I will first comment on Freeman's paragraph immediately preceding his section, "The Image of Edessa":

Ian Wilson has been tackling the problem of the Shroud for many decades. The latest of his many works is The Shroud, Fresh Light on the 200-year old Mystery (2011). Wilson accepts the authenticity of the Shroud as the burial shroud of Christ, collected by the disciples, preserved, its linen remaining intact over the centuries. He has to go against gospel tradition, of course, as the Turin Shroud is one long piece of cloth which would have covered Jesus in ways not recorded elsewhere, with the body lying on the cloth which was then brought over its head and presumably fixed at the feet. I have already noted other problems, that of the Shroud being collected as a relic in the first place and survival of cloth over centuries when damp and molesting insects are such a threat. Still Wilson has created a narrative and we need to follow it.

Freeman's "Wilson ... has to go against gospel tradition" is not only false, it does not follow from Freeman's "the Turin Shroud is one long piece of cloth which would have covered Jesus in ways not recorded elsewhere ..."

But as against Freeman's first point, three out of four gospels mention the seemingly irrelevant fact that Jesus was buried in a sindon a large linen sheet:

"And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud" (Mt 27:59);

"And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock." (Mk 15:46);

"Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid." (Lk 23:53);
with the fourth gospel, John, including the Shroud in the othonia "linen cloths":
"So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews."(Jn 19:40).

As for Freeman's "the Turin Shroud is one long piece of cloth which would have covered Jesus in ways not recorded elsewhere, with the body lying on the cloth which was then brought over its head and presumably fixed at the feet," this is misleading because there are no surviving intact Jewish first century burial shrouds to base a statistically valid comparison of them with the Shroud of Turin.

And either Freeman has not fully read Wilson's book that he refers to (which would be academic incompetence) or Freeman is again concealing relevant information from his readers (which would be academic dishonesty). Because as Wilson points out in his book, according to Jewish scholar Victor Tunkel, a first century Jew who died a bloody death (as Jesus had), would have been buried in a "sovev ... an all-enveloping ... single sheet ... used 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., "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," 2010, p.52).

Freeman commences his discussion of the Image of Edessa with yet another concealment of relevant information from his readers, in his statement that "Edessa may have been Christian as early as the beginning of the third century":

The Image of Edessa
Let us start with Edessa, the modern Sanliurfa in south-eastern Turkey, where a image of Christ was first reported by the historian Evragius Scholasticus in the 590s. Edessa may have been Christian as early as the beginning of the third century but its legends took Christianity back further. (This was quite common. In the fourth and fifth centuries many cities `discovered' a first century founding bishop, usually one who had been consecrated as such by one of the apostles.) The Edessa legend told the story of King Abgar who had received a letter from Christ that was preserved within the city. As late as the 540s this was recorded as giving protection to Edessa but by the end of the century a new relic, an image of Christ, took its place as the `top' protector relic of the city.

But as Wilson pointed out in his latest book, which Freeman implies he has read, there are several lines of historical evidence which indicate Christianity was flourishing in Edessa from at least the second century:

• What appears to have been the earliest church building existed in Edessa in AD 201:

"In its entry for the year 201, the Chronicle of Edessa included a very detailed description of a lethal flood in Edessa during which the floodwaters 'destroyed the great and beautiful palace of our lord king and removed everything that was found in their path - the charming and beautiful buildings of the city, everything that was near the river to the south and north. They caused damage, moreover, to the nave [Syr. haikla - which can also mean 'shrine'] of the church of the Christians ... This is one of those tiny nuggets of information indicating that Christianity genuinely must have arrived very early in Edessa, to the extent of its having an officially recognized Christian church building as early as AD 201. As such this is a world first for Edessa, yet historians all too often sit on their hands over acknowledging this." (Wilson, 2010, p.118. Emphasis original).

• A coin issued in Edessa's King Abgar VIII's reign (177-212) depicts a Christian cross on his head-dress:

"A second nugget is Abgar VIII's coinage. In a recent article describing the evidence for Abgar VIII's conversion to Christianity as 'extremely flimsy', distinguished Oxford Syriac scholar Professor Sebastian Brock remarked that 'important ... in this connection is the negative evidence of the coins of the kings of Edessa, none of which bear any hint of a Christian symbol'. [Brock, S., " Transformations of the Edessa Portrait of Christ," Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, Vol. 18, 2004, pp.227] When I pointed out to him that on several examples of Abgar VIII's coins, some of them housed in London's British Museum, there is an unmistakable Christian cross on the king's head-dress ... , Professor Brock very graciously acknowledged, 'It certainly looks as if I was too categorical.' [Email to the author, 12 March 2009] Abgar VIII, who issued his coins in close liaison with the Romans, seems to have dared to be open about his Christian affiliations only during the reign of Emperor Commodus, whose wife/mistress Marcia had Christian leanings. As the earliest-known instance of a monarch displaying the Christian cross symbol on his head-dress, this was another Edessan world first. It also sets Abgar VIII's adoption of Christianity back in time to no later than AD 192, because Commodus died in that year." (Wilson, 2010, pp.118-119).

[Above: Abgar VIII coin depicting a Christian cross on his head-dresss, probably issued during Emperor Commodus's reign (AD 177-192): Wilson, 2010, plate 15a.]

• A stone lion in Sanliurfa (Edessa) bearing a Christian cross, the lion (Syr. aryu), which was the symbol of the Abgar dydnasty which ended in AD 215:

"A third nugget is an archaic-looking sculpted stone lion ... that stands forlornly in the open-air, outdoor section of Sanliurfa's [Edessa's] present-day museum, typically with no accompanying explanatory information. Judging by the hole drilled in the animal's mouth it clearly once served as a city fountain; but our interest is in what stands on top of its head: an unmistakable sculpted Christian cross, an all-too-rare sight in present-day Sanliurfa. In Syriac, the word for `lion' is aryu - the name of Edessa's ruling dynasty. This fountain has to have stood in Edessa when the city was ruled by a Christian king of the Abgars' Aryu dynasty, a line that ended for ever when the Romans took over in AD 215." (Wilson, 2010, p.119).

[Above: A stone lion, the symbol of the Abgar dynasty, bearing a Christian cross, in Sanliurfa (Edessa), which must have been erected before AD 215: Wilson, 2010, plate 15b.]

• Edessa is only 180 miles (290 km) from Antioch, on a direct trade-route to it, and spoke the same Syriac language, making it highly likely that Edessa would have been evangelised by the mid-first century:

"That Addai's Image-bearing missionary journey ... happened in the first century rather than the second is further indicated by any glance at a map of the missionary journeys of St Paul. Every one of Paul's journeys started from Antioch, modern-day Antakya in south-eastern Turkey, from which he ventured five hundred miles westwards to Ephesus, a further five hundred miles westwards to Malta, and ultimately even further, to Rome. In contrast to these far-flung destinations, Syriac-speaking Edessa lies only 180 miles to Antioch's east, and on a direct trade route from both Antioch and Jerusalem. Is it really likely that throughout Christianity's first 150 years the first Christians should have ignored Edessa as a target for their missionary activities? That they did not is further indicated by the chronicle of one of Edessa's further-flung neighbours, the small border kingdom of Adiabene, whose capital was Arbela, today the large Iraqi city of Arbil. Arbela's ancient lineage of bishops began with one Pkhida, who can reliably be dated to the year 104. And according to Arbela's chronicle it was Addai who converted Pkhida to Christianity, thereby again indicating that Addai belonged to Abgar V's first century rather than Abgar VIII's second. As has been pointed out by the Estonian-born American scholar Arthur Voobus, if Christianity had reached as far as Adiabene by the year 100, there can be 'no doubt' that in Edessa 'the Christian faith had been established before the end of the first century'. [Voobus, A., "History of Asceticism in the Syrian Orient," Vol. 1, 1958, p.7]" (Wilson, 2010, pp.121-122).

[Above (click to enlarge): Map of Paul's missionary journeys showing Edessa's comparative closeness to Antioch: ChristianityOasis.com]

So Freeman's claim that, "Edessa may have been Christian as early as the beginning of the third century" is misleading because, as the above evidence from Wilson's latest book, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" (2010) shows, Edessa would have been Christian much earlier than that, beginning from the mid-first century.

And again, all the above is in Wilson's book, which Freeman implies that he has read. So either Freeman withheld this above important information from his readers (which would be a form of academic dishonesty); or Freeman did not read Wilson's book thoroughly (which would be a form of academic incompetence-considering this is all in Wilson's chapter on Edessa: Chapter 9, `Blessed City', pp.114-126).

Continued in part 6: "The Image of Edessa" (2)

Posted: 7 August 2012. Updated: 31 July 2016.

30 comments:

Flagrum3 said...

Hi Stephen,

It would appear that Freeman is quilty of withholding information as he did not get the book title wrong. I happen to have Wilson's book; The SHROUD- Fresh light on the 2000 year old Mystery. Publishing date is 2010. It would seem two different versions (atleast) have been published. For instance your referance to Pkhida to the year 104 is mentioned on page 169 of my book!

F3

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>...Freeman ... did not get the book title wrong. I happen to have Wilson's book; The SHROUD- Fresh light on the 2000 year old Mystery. Publishing date is 2010.

Thanks. It is amazing that neither Google nor Amazon.com had that title. In fact I just checked and neither does ABE or Bookfinder! But I will remove all references to Freeman having the title wrong.

>It would seem two different versions (atleast) have been published. For instance your referance to Pkhida to the year 104is mentioned on page 169 of my book!

It definitely is on p.122 in my hardback edition of Wilson's book. The different page numbers are probably due to yours being a different sized paperback edition.

Stephen E. Jones
-----------------------------------
Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. I reserve the right to respond to any comment as a separate blog post.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>It would appear that Freeman is quilty of withholding information as he did not get the book title wrong.

I overlooked your point above. In a sense it would be better for Freeman if he had not read Wilson's latest book, because then he would only be guilty of academic incompetence.

But since Freeman did have Wilson's latest book, albeit an edition with an alternative title, then Freeman is either guilty of:

1) academic incompetence, i.e. he had the book but did not read it thoroughly (even the chapter on Edessa: Chapter 9, `Blessed City', pp.114-126); or

2) academic dishonesty, i.e. Freeman did read that information in Wilson's book, which proved beyond reasonable doubt that Christianity had begun in Edessa in the first century, and that Edessa was sufficiently Christian for:

a) having a dedicated church building which was damaged in AD 201 (the first year of the third century and therefore built in the first or second centuries);

b) its King Abgar VIII having a Christian cross on his head-dress between AD 177-192 (second century AD);

c) Edessa (modern Sanliurfa) having to this day a lion sculpture in a public place with a Christian cross atop it, which must date from before the end of the Abgars' lion (Aryu) dynasty in AD 215.

For Freeman to deceive his readers by claiming that "Edessa may have been Christian as early as the beginning of the third century but its legends took Christianity back further," and concealing from them this firm historical evidence that Christianity was flourishing in Edessa well within the second century AD is simply dishonest.

Stephen E. Jones

Flagrum3 said...

Thanks Stephen, and sorry about spelling errors, which you were graceful enough not to mention ;-)

I tend to do my posting after a long 10 hour sunset shift, which obviously weakens my ability to catch my errors...again than-you.

Anyways, I agree with you that Freeman has shown "Incompetence" or "Dishonesty" at the least in his paper, as even being a laymen I noticed his omissions and could have refutted his writings. But I find this seems to be the 'NORM' when reading much of the literature out there written by skeptics of the Shroud. People like Joe Nickell for instance. Thier literature is mostly made up of lies, half-truths, followed by misrepresented so-called 'facts'from scrupulous scources. Never backing thier claims with proper historical or scientific references, especially scientific peer-reviewed documentation.

Thanks.

F3

Stephen E. Jones said...

>Wilson's book, which proved beyond reasonable doubt that Christianity had begun in Edessa in the first century, and ... was flourishing in Edessa well within the second century AD ...

However, the above does not confirm the first part of Wilson's theory, that the Shroud was taken from Jerusalem to Edessa in the first century but then, after Edessa's pro-Christian King Abgar V died in AD 50, and his anti-Christian son Ma'nu V became king in AD 57, the Shroud was hidden in a wall above the main gate until it was rediscovered after an Edessan flood in AD 525.

More plausible seems to me to me to be historian Jack Markwardt's theory - see his "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud" (2008) [PDF]; "The Fire and the Portrait" (1998); and "Antioch and the Shroud" (1999) [PDF]:

1. The Shroud was first in the custody of the Apostle Peter in Jerusalem from AD 30-33 and then following the persecution of the early Jewish Christians recorded in Acts 8, was taken by him to Antioch (cf. Gal 2:11) between then and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70.

2. From Antioch, the Shroud was taken to Edessa, amongst other places, by Thaddeus (Addai) who was one of the 72 disciples (Lk 10:1-12; 17-20), not to be confused with the Apostle Thaddaeus (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18), and was instrumental in the conversion of Abgar V and the establishment of Christianity in Edessa in the mid-first century. [Markwardt thinks it was Abgar VIII (r. 177-212) but then Addai could not have been one of the 72].

3. The Shroud was kept secret in Antioch, which became dominated by minority Christian groups, the Monophysites and Arians (Eusebius was an Arian which may explain Constantine's sister Constantia asking him for it and Eusebius' blustering reply), who kept the Shroud a closely guarded secret because of their particularly threatened status.

4. In 362, following Constantine's policy of taking all passion relics to Constantinople (see above on Constantia), the Shroud was hidden in Antioch's city wall above the Gate of the Cherubim (which explains Edessa's similar legend) until it was rediscovered following the destruction of Antioch's city wall in a major earthquake in 526.

5. Then, between 526 and the Persian total destruction of Antioch in 540, the Shroud was taken to Edessa, where it was regarded as a secondary relic to Edessa's letter of Jesus to Abgar V.

6. During the Persian siege of Edessa in 544, following the failure of Jesus' letter to protect the city, the Edessans took the Shroud into a tunnel under the Persian's siege tower where they thrust a hot poker four times into the Shroud (the poker holes), the Persian siege tower miraculously caught fire, and the Persians withdrew, sparing Edessa from Antioch's fate.

7. The Edessans then regarded the Shroud as their primary relic and to cover up the poker holes damage they doubled the Shroud in four and framed it, so that Jesus' face only appeared in landscape mode, becoming the Mandylion or Edessa Image.

Markwardt's relatively simple theory plausibly explains so many facts about the Shroud in its pre- and early-Eddessan period (AD 30-544) that I prefer it over that part of Wilson's theory.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>Thanks Stephen, and sorry about spelling errors, which you were graceful enough not to mention ;-)

No need for an apology. This is not a spelling competition.

[...]

>Anyways, I agree with you that Freeman has shown "Incompetence" or "Dishonesty" at the least in his paper, as even being a laymen I noticed his omissions and could have refutted his writings.

I don't claim that Freeman is generally dishonest or incompetent. But his prejudice against the Shroud's authenticity causes him to underrate the evidence for, and overrate the evidence against, the Shroud's authenticity.

>But I find this seems to be the 'NORM' when reading much of the literature out there written by skeptics of the Shroud. People like Joe Nickell for instance.

Agreed. They suffer from the same underlying problem, namely their minds have been taken captive (Col 2:8) by the philosophy of Naturalism (nature is all there is-there is no supernatural) which dominates the schools and universities (including even some that are, or were, Christian).

>Thier literature is mostly made up of lies, half-truths, followed by misrepresented so-called 'facts'from scrupulous scources.

Agreed. Some of them, like Nickell, are little better than charlatans, who make a good living out of professional skepticism.

>Never backing thier claims with proper historical or scientific references, especially scientific peer-reviewed documentation.

There is an older debate between Nickell and Barrie Schwortz on a skeptic radio show about the Shroud where Barrie raised this point and Nickell had the chutzpah to claim that not being peer-reviewed was an advantage!

You would think that would ring alarm bells among Nickell's fellow-skeptics but it didn't. The problem is that their minds have also been taken captive by naturalism and they apparently saw nothing wrong with Nickell's `reasoning'.

But when Naturalism has captured a mind, then a naturalistic falsehood is always to be preferred over a supernaturalistic truth!

Stephen E. Jones

Anonymous said...

I ordered and purchased Wilson's 2010 "The Shroud" early in 2012 from my local bookstore in Wellington NZ. I can't remember from whom they obtained the copy. The book is soft cover with cover subtitle "The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" but subtitle appears nowhere else. Publisher is Bantam Press. Page numbers quoted above match identical extracts in my copy. I note Flagrum 3 copy is 2010, but his subtitle "Fresh Light on the 2000 Year Old Mystery" is different from my copy. I also concur with your comments that Jack Markwardt's two papers on placing the Shroud in Antioch seems a muchmore credible scenario.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>I ordered and purchased Wilson's 2010 "The Shroud" early in 2012 from my local bookstore ... The book is soft cover with cover subtitle "The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" but subtitle appears nowhere else. Publisher is Bantam Press. Page numbers quoted above match identical extracts in my copy.

My hardcover edition of Wilson's book I bought online in 2010 as soon as it became available. Like yours it only has the subtitle "The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" on the cover, so perhaps the subtitle is not really part of the book's official title and can be varied in further reprintings.

>I note Flagrum 3 copy is 2010, but his subtitle "Fresh Light on the 2000 Year Old Mystery" is different from my copy.

And mine. I have a copies of other Shroud books by Wilson, e.g. his first "The Turin Shroud" (1978) and his "The Blood and the Shroud" (1998) which have different sizes and number of pages.

>I also concur with your comments that Jack Markwardt's two papers on placing the Shroud in Antioch seems a muchmore credible scenario.

Thanks. I thought I better make that clear that, although I agree with Wilson's theory that the Shroud was at Edessa in the 6th century, doubled in four as the Mandylion, I do not agree with that part of Wilson's theory which holds the Shroud was at Edessa from the first century hidden in Edessa's wall until the 6th century.

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

Stephen
RE: Point 5
Remember we have some evidence from the legend of St Alysius that he spent some years in Edessa around 400AD and his prayers were answered by an icon bearing Jesus's image.So although the legend is not necessarily bullet proof, it suggests an alternative history that has the Shroud in Edessa well before the 500s.
Matt

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>RE: Point 5
Remember we have some evidence from the legend of St Alysius that he spent some years in Edessa around 400AD and his prayers were answered by an icon bearing Jesus's image.

This is St. Alexis, who:

"... went off to the city of Edessa Because of an image he had heard tell of, Which the angels made at God's commandment... (BSTS Newsletter, No. 16, May 1987, p.14).

And who lived in Edessa between 412 and 435:

"Saint Alexius ... a "Man of God" of Edessa ... who during the episcopate of Bishop Rabbula (412-435) lived by begging and shared the alms he received with other poor people ..." ("Alexius of Rome," Wikipedia, 24 March 2012).

But the problem with this is: a) it is mere hearsay; b) it does not say that St. Alexius saw the Image; c) where are all the others who would have seen the image if it was in Edessa in 412-35?; and d) it refutes Wilson's own theory that the image of Edessa had been walled up above Edessa's city gate from AD 57-525 and been completely forgotten by the Edessans by the 4th century (see below).

More likely this relates to a memory of my point 2, that Thaddeus, one of the 72, had exhibited the Shroud in Edessa during the reign of Abgar V (AD 13–50) and St. Alexius had heard of that.

>So although the legend is not necessarily bullet proof, it suggests an alternative history that has the Shroud in Edessa well before the 500s.

One of the many problems with this, as already mentioned, is that Wilson's theory is that the Shroud must have been completely forgotten when Egeria visited Edessa in the 4th century:

"Being as sure as we can be that the Image arrived very early in Edessa is important, because the next difficulty we face is that almost as quickly and mysteriously it vanished, and in circumstances sufficiently dire that all living memory of its hiding place became lost ... Had the Christ-imprinted cloth Image of Edessa been around late in the fourth century the one person who would undoubtedly have let us know all about it was a highly observant lady pilgrim whom historians mostly label Egeria ... [who] arrived in Edessa some time between the years 384 and 394. If anything as interesting as the Image of Edessa had been in evidence in the city, there can be no doubt that this intrepid lady would have sought it out, and given us a full description. ... But Egeria made no mention of any Image being kept in the city ... And for well over a century after Egeria's time other prolific contemporary writers, among them the famous St Ephrem of Edessa, were also silent on the subject. It was as if it had never existed." (Wilson, "The Shroud," 2010, pp.122-124).

In his "Blood and the Shroud" (1998), Wilson has a chronology which states in bold print: [AD] "57 ... We now enter a long period of obvious ignorance concerning the cloth's whereabouts. (p.264) ... 525 ... and the cloth found" (p.266).

But effectively it makes no difference to Wilson's overall theory if the Shroud was:

1) walled above a gate in Edessa from AD 57-525 with no remembrance of it; or

2) Thaddeus (Addai) had with him the Shroud in Edessa in ~AD 50, as well as other places, and then took it back to Antioch. Where in 362 it was walled up over a gate in Antioch until 526, when it was discovered after an earthquake destroyed the city walls. Then the Shroud was taken to Edessa before the Persian destruction of Antioch in 540, where it re-appeared in Edessa during the Persian attempted conquest of Edessa in 544. And then the Antioch true history of the Shroud was applied by the Edessans retrospectively to Edessa.

Stephen E. Jones

Flagrum3 said...

To anonymous and Stephen, Just to verify the existence of different subtitles; Use the link in the blog to the Amazon page for the book "The Shroud" that Stephen posted. Then click the book image where it says "Look Inside", another book cover will come up,...Check-out the subtitle.

I also tend to lean towards Jack Markwardt's theory for the 'early years' of the Shroud's/Image of Edessa's whereabouts. I think it makes better sense of the "Hidden in the Wall" story. As in not being hidden for a lengthy 5 hundred years, which seems a very long time to be encased in a wall and susceptible to certain elements.

F3

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>... Just to verify the existence of different subtitles; Use the link in the blog to the Amazon page for the book "The Shroud" that Stephen posted. Then click the book image where it says "Look Inside", another book cover will come up,...Check-out the subtitle.

Thanks. The subtitle inside indeed says, "Fresh light on the 2000-year mystery" but the subtitle on the cover says, "The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved." It seems strange that this reprint has got two different subtitles: one on the cover and a different one inside. And my copy of that same book, by the same publisher (Bantam) has no subtitle, just "The Shroud".

>I also tend to lean towards Jack Markwardt's theory for the 'early years' of the Shroud's/Image of Edessa's whereabouts. I think it makes better sense of the "Hidden in the Wall" story.

Agreed. And Markwardt has strong evidence for this theory:

"In the fourth century, Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria (ca. 328-373), affirmed that a sacred Christ-icon, traceable to Jerusalem and the year 68, was then present in Syria:

`…but two years before Titus and Vespasian sacked the city, the faithful and disciples of Christ were warned by the Holy Spirit to depart from the city and go to the kingdom of King Agrippa, because at that time Agrippa was a Roman ally. Leaving the city, they went to his regions and carried everything relating to our faith. At that time even THE ICON with certain other ecclesiastical objects were moved and they today still remain in Syria. I possess this information as handed down to me from my migrating parents and by hereditary right. It is plain and certain why the icon of our holy Lord and Savior came from Judaea to Syria.'" (Markwardt, J., "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret," Ohio Shroud Conference, 2008. [PDF 2.2 Mb] My emphasis).

Markwardt has a footnote pointing out that at that time, Edessa was not in the Roman province of Syria.

>As in not being hidden for a lengthy 5 hundred years, which seems a very long time to be encased in a wall and susceptible to certain elements.

I don’t think the Shroud being sealed up in a wall for 468 years (from AD 57-525) is a problem. But I do think that Wilson's claim that there was no one who remembered what had happened to the Shroud, after it was hidden in Edessa's wall above the main gate, is a major problem. It is hard to believe that the person or persons who so hid the Shroud would not make sure it would be remembered where it was hidden. What would be the point of hiding it so well that it might never be found? And what if that part of the wall was about to be destroyed in a siege? How could the Shroud be saved if no one knew that it was there?

In fact Wilson's theory is that by the 4th century, no one remembered that the Shroud had ever been permanently located in Edessa. That is itself evidence that the Shroud had not been, before the 4th century, permanently located in Edessa!

Markwardt's theory does not have the same problems. His claim is not that no one knew, or remembered, that Shroud was in Antioch, but rather it was known but only by a tiny minority, who kept it a closely guarded secret. Also, the length of time the Shroud was hidden in Antioch's Gate of the Cherubim is much shorter, from AD 326-540, or 214 years.

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

Stephen
I found that quote of Athanasius's very interesting. Is there a source for the quote (presumably it was from a letter or some manuscript). BTW good win by the Eagles over the cats!

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>I found that quote of Athanasius's very interesting. Is there a source for the quote (presumably it was from a letter or some manuscript).

It is at footnote 14 of Markwardt's PDF article I cited above:

14 ... [Latin text omitted] Dobschutz, vol. 3, p. 282, n. 3. Dobschutz derives this passage from Mansi, XIII, 584a = Athan. opp. II 353c.

>BTW good win by the Eagles over the cats!

Even better win by the Crows over the Dockers!

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

Thanks Stephen. Are you aware of the credibility or otherwise of the Mansi source?
Reference to "the Icon" in Jerusalem AD 68 is compelling, in my opinion. Potentially reference to an "icon" could include a number of religious objects, but the fact that "THE icon" is singled out separate to "certain other ecclesiastical objects" suggests an importance, an awesomeness, that separates it.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>Are you aware of the credibility or otherwise of the Mansi source?

No. But but I presume it was this "Mansi" whose "output was chiefly of a mechanical order, and unoriginal" (i.e. he simply recorded what was in the original sources):

"Gian (Giovanni) Domenico Mansi (16 February 1692 – 27 September 1769) was an Italian theologian, scholar and historian, known for his massive works on the Church councils. ... His long career was filled chiefly with the re-editing of erudite ecclesiastical works with notes and complementary matter. His name appears on the title-pages of ninety folio volumes and numerous quartos. An indefatigable worker, widely read and thoroughly trained, his output was chiefly of a mechanical order, and unoriginal ... His task was most often limited to inserting notes and documents in the work to be reproduced and sending the whole result to the printer ... . ..." ("Giovanni Domenico Mansi," Wikipedia, 27 April 2012).

>Reference to "the Icon" in Jerusalem AD 68 is compelling, in my opinion. Potentially reference to an "icon" could include a number of religious objects, but the fact that "THE icon" is singled out separate to "certain other ecclesiastical objects" suggests an importance, an awesomeness, that separates it.

Agreed. There were probably THOUSANDS of icons in Athanasius' day (c. 296-373). So THE icon can ONLY be the Shroud: not the Mandylion because the Shroud was not yet doubled-in-four).

And it is VERY significant that it was ATHANASIUS who mentioned it, because he is a veritable bastion of orthodoxy.

There are other sources quoted by Markwardt (read them for yourself at the links I provided in one of my comments above), which I haven't had the time to comment on them.

Today I received Mark Guscin's "The Image of Edessa" (2009), which I hope to read in the coming days.

I also have recently scanning for eventual publication on Shroud.com, Lennox Manton's "Byzantine Frescoes and the Turin Shroud" (1994) and "Cappadocian Frescoes and the Turin Shroud" (1996) with photos that Manton personally took of the images of Christ in the rupestral (rock) churches of Cappadocia, Asia Minor.

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

And what's more "THE icon" (image) dating from this time just has to be the Shroud, as if we think depictions of Jesus in the Middle Ages were limited, lacking in anatomical accuracy, then this would be even more the case in these ancient times.No artistic representation of that time could convincingly portray Jesus's image

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>And what's more "THE icon" (image) dating from this time just has to be the Shroud,

Again agreed, on the basis that there would have been MANY icons of Jesus in Athanasius' day (4th century), so THE icon must have been a unique one.

>as if we think depictions of Jesus in the Middle Ages were limited, lacking in anatomical accuracy, then this would be even more the case in these ancient times.

Agreed, but Athanasius apparently did not say anything about the anatomical accuracy of the image.

>No artistic representation of that time could convincingly portray Jesus's image

Agreed, but again Athanasius did not say anything about how convincing was the image. It is important that we remain objctive and stick to the facts.

It is more than sufficient that Athanasius in the 4th century knows of the existence in Syria of THE icon of Jesus that was in Jerusalem up to AD 68 in the custody of Christ's disciples and take it to "the kingdom of King Agrippa."

This must be Agrippa II (c. AD 27-94), because his father Agrippa I had died in AD 44. Agrippa II's kingdom included part of Syria (see Wikipedia reference above), but apparently not Antioch. He is the King Agrippa before whom the Apostle Paul appeared in Caesarea (Acts 25:13-26:32).

It is far more plausible that the Shroud was in the custody of the Apostles in Jerusalem, and was then taken to Syria (not necessarily Antioch at first) before Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, rather than it leave the Apostles' custody and be taken to Edessa soon after Jesus' death in AD 30-33.

The Edessa story of the Image being in the custody of Edessa's Abgar V from ~AD 30-33 until his death in AD 57, and then hidden in Edessa's wall above a gate, being completely forgotten, and then being discovered after a flood in AD 525, seems clearly to be an implausible retrospective application to Edessa of the true history of the Shroud having been hidden in Antioch's city wall above the Gate of the Cherubim in c. 326, when Constantine began centralising all relics in Constantinople, and its hiding place being rendered untenable in 526 when an earthquake and fire destroyed Antioch, and after that it was moved to the by then largely Christian Edessa.

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

Stephen
Athanasius's comment is interesting in light of the letter from Eusebius to Constantia we have previously discussed. We concluded that the letter from Eusebius to Constantia, concerning the latter's request for Eusebius to send her an "image of Christ" that she had heard of, was probably dated from 320-330. And given Athanasius's time as bishop of Alexandria, it is likely that his statement concerning "the Icon" dates from some time around 330 - 370AD.
So we clearly have two credible pieces of evidence, involving two of the most credible churchmen / historians of the time, within a period of half a century maximum, that confirm the presence of an Icon, that must have been pretty special to have been requested by Constantia, and referred to as "The Icon"

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>Athanasius's comment is interesting in light of the letter from Eusebius to Constantia we have previously discussed.

Yes. As previously noted in one of my comments under part 2 of this series, the letter of the Emperor Constantine's sister Constantia (c.293-c.330) to Eusebius (c. 263-339), requesting he send her an "image of Christ", presumably must have been written between 320-330, given she died in 330 at the age of 37.

This is about the time (326) that Markwardt says the Shroud was hidden in Antioch's Gate of the Cherubim because of Constantine's policy of centralising all relics in Constantinople.

>We concluded that the letter from Eusebius to Constantia, concerning the latter's request for Eusebius to send her an "image of Christ" that she had heard of, was probably dated from 320-330.

Agreed. See above.

>And given Athanasius's time as bishop of Alexandria, it is likely that his statement concerning "the Icon" dates from some time around 330 - 370AD.

Agreed.

>So we clearly have two credible pieces of evidence, involving two of the most credible churchmen / historians of the time, within a period of half a century maximum, that confirm the presence of an Icon, that must have been pretty special to have been requested by Constantia, and referred to as "The Icon"

Yes. Unlike that part of Wilson's theory that the Shroud/Image was hidden in the wall above Edessa's main gate from AD 57-525, with no one by the 4th century remembering the Shroud/Image had even been in Edessa; Markwardt's theory that:

1. the Shroud was in Jerusalem from 30-68;

2. then it was in Antioch/Syria where in 326 it was hidden in Antioch's wall above the Gate of the Cherubim; and

3. following Antioch's great earthquake and fire of 526;

4. the Shroud was taken to Edessa, where it saved the city from the Persian siege in 544;

5. incurring the poker hole damage;

6. following which the Shroud was doubled in four and framed as a landscape mode face only portrait of Jesus to hide the poker hole damage, becoming the Mandylion;

ties in with a number of lines of historical evidence, and is inherently more plausible and therefore is to be preferred over that part of Wilson's theory.

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

`…but two years before Titus and Vespasian sacked the city, the faithful and disciples of Christ were warned by the Holy Spirit to depart from the city and go to the kingdom of King Agrippa, because at that time Agrippa was a Roman ally. Leaving the city, they went to his regions and carried everything relating to our faith. At that time even THE ICON with certain other ecclesiastical objects were moved and they today still remain in Syria.'

I've looked at a map in my old dusty King James version of the Bible and the Kingdom of Agrippa II was just to the west of Damascus, and about 200 miles south of Antioch. Therefore, does this not suggest that the Shroud did not go straight to Antioch - rather that it was in the Kingdom of Agrippa for an unknown period before being moved to Antioch at some later date?

Matt said...

"Yes. As previously noted in one of my comments under part 2 of this series, the letter of the Emperor Constantine's sister Constantia (c.293-c.330) to Eusebius (c. 263-339), requesting he send her an "image of Christ", presumably must have been written between 320-330, given she died in 330 at the age of 37.

This is about the time (326) that Markwardt says the Shroud was hidden in Antioch's Gate of the Cherubim because of Constantine's policy of centralising all relics in Constantinople."

So - perhaps Constantia's request for the image which we think might be the Shroud was in the context of the move to relocate all relics to Constantinople.

Eusebius's response was quite dismissive. We can only speculate why. Perhaps he knew of the image, and knew that it was in Antioch, but didn't want it known or moved to Constantinople. Or maybe he didn't know of the image (surely unlikely given Athanasius's comments about "The icon").

Matt said...

Interesting too that Eusebius had conflicts with the Bishop of Antioch, Eustathius, between 325 - 330. Who knows, maybe this conflict, and the fact that the shroud was in Antioch at this time, led to his downplaying / denial of the image to Constantia?
Eusebius also had conflict with St Athanasius, who attested to "the Icon".
Maybe just coincidence, maybe not.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>>`... but two years before Titus and Vespasian sacked the city, the ... disciples of Christ ... depart[ed] from the city and [went] to the kingdom of King Agrippa ... and carried everything relating to our faith. At that time even THE ICON with certain other ecclesiastical objects were moved and they today still remain in Syria.'

>... the Kingdom of Agrippa II was just to the west of Damascus, and about 200 miles south of Antioch. Therefore, does this not suggest that the Shroud did not go straight to Antioch - rather that it was in the Kingdom of Agrippa for an unknown period before being moved to Antioch at some later date?

Agreed. But it is not essential to Markwardt's theory that the Shroud went straight from Jerusalem to Antioch in AD 68 and stayed there until AD 540.

Markwardt's theory is that the Apostle Peter took possession of the Shroud when he and John went into the empty tomb on the morning of Jesus' resurrection as recorded in Jn 20:3-8.

And then in AD 68, before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Peter took the Shroud with him to Antioch. But that does not preclude Peter and the escaping Christian refugees from Jerusalem temporarily residing in Agrippa II's kingdom in Syria enroute to Antioch.

For my next post in y series, "My critique of Charles Freeman's `The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey'" I will briefly outline Markwardt's theory in response to Freeman's criticism of Wilson's reliance on the "The Abgar legends [which] ...claim that the image had come to Edessa in the first century where it had been hidden in the city wall before its `reappearance' in the sixth century."

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>>"Yes. As previously noted in one of my comments under part 2 of this series, the letter of the Emperor Constantine's sister Constantia (c.293-c.330) to Eusebius (c. 263-339), requesting he send her an "image of Christ", presumably must have been written between 320-330, given she died in 330 at the age of 37.
>
>>This is about the time (326) that Markwardt says the Shroud was hidden in Antioch's Gate of the Cherubim because of Constantine's policy of centralising all relics in Constantinople."

>So - perhaps Constantia's request for the image which we think might be the Shroud was in the context of the move to relocate all relics to Constantinople.

Agreed. And it is significant that Markwardt quotes Downey, A History of Antioch in Syria, p. 352, that "Bishop Eusebius of Caesaria, [was] nearly appointed Bishop of Antioch in 326." (Markwardt, J., "Antioch and the Shroud," 2008. PDF).

So this would explain why Constantia asked Eusebius to send her an "image of Christ" in about 326: she thought Eusebius was about to be made Bishop of Antioch. If so, it would also confirm that the Shroud was in Antioch.

>Eusebius's response was quite dismissive. We can only speculate why. Perhaps he knew of the image, and knew that it was in Antioch, but didn't want it known or moved to Constantinople.

As a Church historian who could read Syriac (as he states in his Ecclesiastic History), and presumably speak it, Eusebius would surely have known of the image and that it was in Antioch.

But as Markwardt points out, the "pagan-bred" Constantine's (and his family's) practice was to divide relics into pieces and use them as lucky charms:

"In 326, the pagan-bred Constantine, enthralled by his new religion's relics, sent his elderly mother, Helena, to Jerusalem to search for momentos of Christ's Passion. ... Dividing both the True Cross and the Title into three pieces, Helena left one part of each relic in Jerusalem and sent the remaining portions to the Emperor and to Rome. Similarly, of the three Holy Nails found in the tomb, Helena sent two to Constantine and the other to Rome. ... Once these sacred objects were in the hands of Constantine, he reportedly employed them as lucky charms ... the Emperor placed a portion of the True Cross in his statue set high above the Forum of Constantinople. He also attached one of the Holy Nails to his helmet and made a bridle for his horse from the other. Under such circumstances, no truly devout eastern clergyman would dare disclose the existence of any of Christ's Passion relics and thereby risk both their transmittal to the West and the possibility of their desecratory employment by the Emperor." (Markwardt, 2008).

so even though Eusebius may have been otherwise an Iconoclast, being a "truly devout eastern clergyman," Eusebius would not likely betray the location of the Shroud to the Emperor's sister.

>Or maybe he didn't know of the image (surely unlikely given Athanasius's comments about "The icon").

If the image existed (which it did), whether it was in Antioch or Edessa or anywhere else in between, if anyone knew of its existence and where it was located, the Syriac-speaking Eusebius, the "Father of Church History" would have.

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

Thanks Stephen, good stuff, look forward to part 6.
Crows were disappointing tonight, doubt very much they can win the flag despite their high position in the league, although even Collingwood lost

Matt said...

The other interesting point about Eusebius's response to Constantia was the seemingly cunning way it was framed. The way it reads it doesn't deny the Shroud, it merely questions the point / value / appropriateness of PAINTED likenesses, of which the Shroud is clearly not.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>Interesting too that Eusebius had conflicts with the Bishop of Antioch, Eustathius, between 325 - 330. Who knows, maybe this conflict, and the fact that the shroud was in Antioch at this time, led to his downplaying / denial of the image to Constantia?

The Arians (as Eusebius was) and the Orthodox (as Eustathius was) had their conflicts, but they were still Christians, and there was no way that Eusebius would betray the existence and location of the Shroud for the semi-pagan Constantine to cut it up and use it for lucky charms (see my previous comment).

>Eusebius also had conflict with St Athanasius, who attested to "the Icon".

See above.

>Maybe just coincidence, maybe not.

The "coincidence" is that they were all "truly devout eastern clergyman" who would not "dare disclose the existence of any of Christ's Passion relics and thereby risk both their transmittal to the West and the possibility of their desecratory employment by the Emperor" (see previous comment).

We may owe the survival of the Shroud to the heroism of one Arian Christian, Theodoretus, the treasurer of the Antioch cathedral, who when Emperor Julian the Apostate c.331-363) demanded that he "deliver some objects which he had hidden" refused and "suffered torture and final execution":

"When the Count of the East, Julian’s uncle, closed the Basilica and attempted to confiscate its sacred objects, the treasurer of the cathedral resisted: In the words of Professor Eisen: `Theodoretus, for this was his name, refused to deliver some objects which he had hidden and, it is said, suffered torture and final execution rather than reveal some important secret. What that secret was is not known, but we may conclude that it referred to the treasure which he had hidden and whose hiding place he refused to divulge. ... The author also suggests that the Arian Presbyter, Theodoretus, at the cost of his head, successfully concealed Antioch’s Passion relics in diverse places located throughout the Golden Basilica of Constantine.'" (Markwardt, 2008).

Stephen E. Jones
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Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>The other interesting point about Eusebius's response to Constantia was the seemingly cunning way it was framed.

Agreed. As I had previously pointed out, why didn't Eusebius simply reply to Constantia, words to the effect: "Sorry, but I don't have an `image of Christ' to give to you"?

>The way it reads it doesn't deny the Shroud, it merely questions the point / value / appropriateness of PAINTED likenesses, of which the Shroud is clearly not.

Good point. Clearly Eusebius did know what Constantia meant, the burial shroud of Jesus with His image imprinted on it, but he `played dumb'.

This is not to say that Constantia knew exactly what the "image of Christ" was, but she: 1) knew that it existed; and evidently thought that Eusebius: 2) knew what it was; 3) knew where it was located; and 4) could get it for her.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>Thanks Stephen, good stuff, look forward to part 6.

Hopefully I will post it by tomorrow (Sunday) night.

>Crows were disappointing tonight, doubt very much they can win the flag despite their high position in the league, although even Collingwood lost

Well Adelaide is equal top with the Swans and Pies, so they are more than a chance for the flag. Especially since they are playing Melbourne and Gold Coast their last two games. The Eagles are getting some of their injured players back and in the last two games they are playing the Pies here and Hawks over there, and if they win both they could be in the top four. Especially since the Swans are playing the Cats and Hawks in their last two games. The Dockers have probably left their run too late, but if any team can win the flag from the bottom of the eight it's them.

Stephen E. Jones