Proposed Minimally-Invasive, Scientific Testing of the Shroud of Turin Endorsed by Shroud Expert, The Edwardsville Intelligencer, October 29, 2013 ... My comments are in bold. Longtime Shroud of Turin expert, author Joseph G. Marino, has endorsed a recent Petition to Pope Francis and a proposal by one of the world's leading
[Above: Joe Marino (centre) on May 27, 1997 at the Shroud Center of Southern California. Others from left to right are: the late Don Lynn, John Jackson, Dr. August Accetta, Barrie Schwortz and Isabel Piczek: Shroud.com]
[Right: Mark Antonacci: Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation]
St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) October 29, 2013 Joseph G. Marino, theologian and Shroud of Turin expert, has had over 35 years of researching the famous cloth purported to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ. He has appeared in numerous media and documentaries, and authored and co-authored (with his late wife, M. Sue Benford, R.N., M.A), several articles including Discrepancies in the Radiocarbon Dating Area of the Turin Shroud, Chemistry Today, 26.4, (July-August). Marino contends that the Shroud samples removed for carbon dating purposes in 1988 contained threads from a 16th century repair that was invisibly rewoven into the same vicinity as the original fibers. Benford & Marino's theory in the above "Discrepancies..." paper was that a 60%/40% mix of 16th/1st century material would have produced a 13-14th century radiocarbon date:
"It has been previously hypothesized [by Benford & Marino] that if an undetected 16th Century repair impacted the C-14 sampling area the ratio of medieval to 1st Century material would have been approximately 60% to 40% based on expert observations (2); however, the area would have been a mixture of both age groups. In this scenario, it is important to note that there is a requisite overlap and intermixing between the newer patch material and the existing textile via the integration and splicing of frayed edges into the damaged textile and vice versa. The unavoidable interweaving required of this invisible mending technique would, most assuredly, have created heterogeneity in the C-14 sample area."Marino has recently endorsed Mark Antonacci's proposal and petition to Pope Francis ] to allow further examining of the Shroud of Turin, its blood marks and other samples from the cloth, at the molecular and atomic levels. The petition requests that:
We Request That Pope Francis Allow Sophisticated and Minimally Scientific Testing to be Performed on the Shroud of Turin. Since 1978, thousands of scientific tests and experiments have been performed on this famous burial cloth and its samples. Significantly, only one of these results - its medieval radiocarbon dating - is inconsistent with the Shroud’s authenticity as Jesus’ burial garment. Examining the Shroud, its blood marks and other samples from the cloth at the molecular and atomic levels could prove that the radiocarbon dating attributed to the Shroud is inherently incorrect and that an unprecedented event happened to the dead man wrapped inside of this burial cloth. We respectfully request that Pope Francis allow new tests on the Shroud of Turin. These tests would include the new technology summarized above and described in more detail in articles throughout the www.testtheshroud.com web site. These new tests would yield the most detailed information ever acquired from the cloth, while testing every explanation for the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating and image forming hypotheses that have been proposed.While I am not against it, personally I think that further scientific testing of the Shroud is unnecessary. The evidence already is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is the very burial sheet of Jesus. Also, if the Vatican did allow a minimally invasive test of the Shroud that challenged the 1988 "medieval ... AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date, the laboratories would probably not accept that unless they could take a statistically representative sample from all areas of the Shroud and radiocarbon date that. But the Vatican would almost certainly veto that, as they did in 1988. So further testing is likely to embroil the Vatican in controversy which they don't need. Moreover, to test Antonacci's neutron flux radiation particles theory would not be minimally invasive (see below).
In contrast, Antonacci contends that particle radiation emanating from the body wrapped in the Shroud not only explains the cloth's medieval radiocarbon dating, but many other unparalleled features on the cloth including its unique body images. Antonacci first presented this test proposal and his image-forming hypothesis in his first book The Resurrection of the Shroud, (New York: M. Evans and Co., 2000). He presented an updated test proposal during the keynote address of the international conference held in conjunction with the Shroud's last exhibition in 2010, Can Contamination Be Detected on the Turin Shroud to Explain its 1988 Dating? , (International Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Archeiropoietos Images, Frascati Italy, May 4-6: 239-247). His image-forming hypothesis, Particle Radiation from the Body Could Explain the Shroud's Images and its Carbon Dating , can be found at Antonacci, M. (2012), Scientific Research and Essays, Vol. 7(29).
[Above: The radioactive isotopes chlorine-36 (Cl-36) and calcium-41 (Ca-41), and stable isotope chromium-53 (Cr-53), that according to Antonacci's theory should be still detectable on the Shroud: "Test the Shroud": Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation.]
Antonacci's neutron flux theory predicts that the radioactive isotopes calcium-41 (Ca-41) and chlorine-36 (Cl-36), which do not occur naturally, should be present in the Shroud's linen:
"Moreover, if the Shroud was irradiated with a flux of neutrons, this would have other measurable consequences: radioactive or unstable isotopes would have been formed. [Phillips, T.J., "Shroud irradiated with neutrons?," Nature Vol. 337, 16 February 1989, p.594] More than two decades ago, STURP scientists discovered that calcium (along with strontium and iron) was distributed uniformly throughout the Shroud, probably as a result of the retting process when the cloth was originally manufactured. Almost 97 percent of all calcium consists of calcium-40 (Ca-40); the other 3.1 percent consists of Ca-42, 43, 44, 46, and 48. Conspicuously absent is Ca-41, which does not occur naturally. However, if a neutron flux had irradiated the Shroud, it would convert the Ca-40 in the cloth to Ca-41. If Ca-41 were found on the Shroud, it would confirm that the cloth had been irradiated with neutrons. Since calcium has been found distributed uniformly over the Shroud, any portion of the original doth could be examined for the presence of Ca-41." (Antonacci, M., "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, 2000, p.186).Antonacci's theory also predicts that the blood on the Shroud should contain the non-radioactive isotope chromium-53 (Cr-53), which is not normally found in blood:
"In addition, when STURP scientists made X-ray fluorescence measurements on thirteen threads that had been removed from the Raes sample, they detected small traces of chlorine. [Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N. "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin," Analytica Chimica Acta 135 (1982): 3-49,47.] If a neutron flux irradiated the Shroud, it would convert chlorine-35 (Cl-35), found naturally, to chlorine-36 (Cl-36). Like Ca-41, Cl-36 does not occur naturally. As stated by Thomas Phillips in the scientific journal Nature, `The presence of either [Ca-41 or Cl-36] would confirm that the Shroud had been irradiated with neutrons'" [Phillips, 1989, p.594]." (Antonacci, 2000, p.188).
"Furthermore, as we saw earlier, scientists concluded that the blood marks were on the Shroud first, and shielded the underlying cloth from the body image encoding event. If this event involved a neutron flux, it would also have affected the blood chemically. Iron, abundant in blood, will undergo nuclear reactions with neutrons. A likely product is chromium-53 (Cr-53), which is not normally found in blood. Cr-53 found in blood samples from the Shroud would also confirm that the cloth was irradiated with neutrons." (Antonacci, 2000, p.188).
The Shroud's radiocarbon dating is the only scientific test result among thousands that is inconsistent with the cloth's authenticity as Jesus' burial garment. Not only would the presence of these three isotopes confirm that the Shroud had been irradiated by a neutron flux, but it would also refute the 1988 "medieval ... AD 1206-1390" radiocarbon dating of the Shroud:
"Moreover, if the Shroud was irradiated with neutrons, it could have affected the blood in another significant way. The solid part of dried blood contain mostly proteins, which typically contains about 12 percent nitrogen by weight. This is a much larger amount of nitrogen than is found in cloth. If a neutron flux irradiated the blood on the cloth, it could convert the nitrogen-14 (N-14) into C-14 on a much larger scale than it would convert in cloth. As such, the blood would carbon date to a much younger date than the cloth. In fact, it could easily date well into the future. Such a date alone would refute the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. (Any date appreciably younger than 1350 would seriously discredit the 1988 dating since the Shroud with its body and blood images has been known in Europe since then.) The blood from the Shroud of Turin should be examined for Cr-53 and should also be carbon dated. Performed in that order, these tests could determine if the Shroud was irradiated with neutrons and if that affected the 1988 carbon dating of the cloth. These tests could not only explain the effect, they could completely refute the earlier radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. Both tests could be performed on the same sample with a mass spectrometer ... " (Antonacci, 2000, pp.188-189).This aberrant result has recently been challenged by scientists at the University of Padua in Italy who obtained an average date of 33 B.C. +/- 250 years using three different methods to date fibers from the Shroud. See my "New tests by Prof. Giulio Fanti show the Shroud of Turin could date from the time of Christ". The provenance of these samples has also been questioned. If molecular and atomic technology were applied to the Shroud, it could determine, once and for all, the source of all dated samples. It could further test all proposed explanations for the Shroud's radiocarbon dating and its unique images from naturalistic to artistic to miraculous. This technology could independently reveal the Shroud's actual age, the identity of the man buried within it, if it is a forgery and whether a miraculous event occurred to the dead body wrapped within it. I am not sure about revealing "the identity of the man buried within it" but Antonacci claims that tests on the ratios of the three isotopes plus the amount of carbon 14 in the blood on the Shroud could accurately determine the age of the Shroud's image and of its blood:
"These tests could have much greater significance for the world. From only the tests to measure the ratios of Ca-40 to Ca-41, Cl-35 to Cl-36, and Fe-56 to Cr-53, we could calculate the original age of the Shroud! From these ratios we can determine the average amount of neutron flux required to produce three different, independent amounts in both the Shroud linen and blood, which were removed from various parts of the cloth. (If the Ca-40 to Ca-41 ratio can also be determined from the limestone particles, it could provide an additional independent measure of the amount of neutron flux that occurred after the body was placed in the burial cloth inside the tomb.) From the amount of neutron flux, scientists can determine the amounts of newly created C-14 from the known `cross-sections' or conversion rates of N-14 and C-13. This amount of newly created C-14 can then be subtracted from the C-14 found in the C-14 to C-12 ratio in the above samples to arrive at their true original C-14 to C-12 ratio. The equipment that would most likely be used to measure the Ca-40 to Ca-41, Cl-35 to Cl-36, and Fe-56 to Cr-53 ratios in the cloth, blood, and limestone particles would be an accelerator mass spectrometer or a thermal mass spectrometer." (Antonacci, 2000, p.189).
The Shroud of Turin has only been scientifically examined in a comprehensive manner once, 35 years ago. While this examination revealed extensive, startling information, a new generation of promising research is being developed that could resolve the remaining mysteries regarding this famous cloth. However, as mentioned above, Antonacci's proposed new dating of the Shroud's linen and blood would not be minimally invasive. The test for the two isotopes Ca-41 and Cl-35 would require the further destruction of a small part of the Shroud (albeit only charred areas):
"Determining whether Ca-41 and/or Cl-36 are present on the Shroud would involve the destruction of samples from the cloth. Fortunately, there is an abundance of samples on the Shroud that could be removed for this purpose without disfiguring or damaging the cloth in any way. At eight different places over the entire length of the Shroud, there are basically two sets of patches covering various burn holes from the fire of 1532. Shroud cloth can be found behind each of these sixteen locations. Excluding charred material, from behind just some of these patches can easily be found more than enough material for these analyses. So much cloth lies behind these patches that the Shroud could even be carbon dated by the conventional method with this material. [Gove, H.E., "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," 1996, p.154] ]." (Antonacci, 2000, p.188).But even if the Vatican approves those tests of the Shroud's linen, it is most unlikely to approve testing for Cr-53 in the blood on the Shroud, which would involve its destruction. Indeed Antonacci acknowledges that "the Shroud's owners should be reluctant to destroy any blood on it, especially in light of the possibility that it was shed by Jesus Christ":
"Fortunately, an adequate amount of blood for both purposes is also easily available and, unlike the other blood on the Shroud, (a) is off of the body image, and (b) provides no other useful information. This blood can be found off the man's anatomical right foot on the dorsal side of the Shroud. (The right foot on the photographic negative image—the left foot on the image as seen with the naked eye. Normally, blood is not the best candidate for carbon dating, because it does not contain a great deal of C-14. However, if the C-14 is enhanced by the large amount of N-14 found in blood, there would easily be enough C-14 present. The approval to carbon date blood from this location could even be given after the above Ca-41 and/or Cl-36 tests are completed to confirm whether the Shroud was irradiated with neutrons.) Naturally, the Shroud's owners should be reluctant to destroy any blood on it, especially in light of the possibility that it was shed by Jesus Christ. Yet, there is an enormous amount of blood on the cloth, literally from head to feet on both the front and back of the man." (Antonacci, 2000, p.189).As a Christian first and a Shroud pro-authenticist second, I believe that the blood on the Shroud is "the precious blood of Christ":
1Pet 1:18-19 "18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."and indeed in that sense it is "the blood of God":
Acts 20:28: Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood."Therefore I believe that the blood on the Shroud, being Christ's blood, is more precious (perhaps even infinitely so) than His image which is on the linen. Therefore I believe that there should be no testing which involves the destruction of the blood on the Shroud.
Antonacci and Marino contend that the world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by testing the Shroud of Turin and its samples at the molecular, atomic and other non-invasive, scientific levels. ... What the world has to gain if the Shroud is finally proved scientifically to have been irradiated by neutrons, is that it would prove beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus was resurrected and that therefore Christianity is true. But since the first century most of the world has not regarded that as a gain but has tried to suppress it, because, as the Apostle John noted:
John 3:19-20. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.It will be interesting to see what the Vatican's response (if any) to this petition will be. If the Pope (the owner of the Shroud) does agree to further testing of the Shroud, I doubt that it will be in response to effectively one individual's (Antonacci's), request. My guess is that to minimise any further controversy the Vatican would probably want to see a broad consensus among Shroud pro-authenticists (and maybe even including Shroud anti-authenticists), of what the tests would be, how they would be carried out and by whom, before it agrees to any further testing of the Turin Shroud.
Posted: 1 November 2013. Updated: 27 May 2016.