Friday, February 14, 2014

Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus?

"Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus?," Megan Gannon, LiveScience, February 11, 2014. ... My comments are in bold. This LiveScience article has the earliest date

Above: "Full-length negative photograph of the Shroud of Turin": LiveScience]

and so appears to be the original source. See also (in alphabetic order): Daily Mail, The Independent, The Telegraph, USA Today, etc.

The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin has been in question for centuries and scientific investigations over the last few decades have only seemed to muddle the debate. Is the revered cloth a miracle or an elaborate hoax? This makes an important point. After the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud which claimed it was "medieval ... AD 1260-1390" it seemed all over for the Shroud's authenticity. The then Director of the Oxford radiocarbon laboratory, the late Prof. Edward Hall, likened those who continued arguing for the authenticity of the Shroud to "the Flat Earth Society":

"Some people may continue to fight for the authenticity of the shroud, like the Flat Earth Society, but this settles it all as far as we are concerned." ("Obituary: Professor Edward Hall," Robert Hedges and Michael Tite, The Independent, 16 August 2001),
But ever since then (as this article indicates) that 13th/14th century radiocarbon date of the Shroud has steadily unravelled. Shroud pro-authenticists kept finding evidence which undermined (to put it mildly) that 1325 +/- 65 years date of the Shroud. To give only one example, the Hungarian Pray Codex

[Right (click to enlarge): "Pray Codex," Wikipedia, 13 January 2014]

(1192-95) is dated 65 years before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud, yet it shows a number of unique features on the Shroud (see my "The Pray Manuscript") which can only mean the 12th century artist who painted (or inked) the Pray Codex had the Shroud as his model.

So the boot is now well and truly on the other foot. These days the Flat Earth Society's counterparts are those who, in the face of an ever increasing mountain of evidence, continue to argue that the Shroud is not the burial sheet of Jesus Christ!

Now, a study claims neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake that rocked Jerusalem could have created the iconic image, as well as messed up the radiocarbon levels that later suggested the shroud was a medieval forgery. But other scientists say this newly proposed premise leaves some major questions unanswered. This is presumably based on a 2012 paper where yet another (see my previous post) group of of Philosophical Naturalist (`nature is all there is-there is no supernatural') scientists who think they are theologians (or rather anti-theologians), seek to debunk the Bible, in this instance, "the earthquake reported in the Gospel of Matthew" as "a type of allegory": "An early first-century earthquake in the Dead Sea," Jefferson B. Williams, Markus J. Schwab & A. Brauer, International Geology Review, Vol. 54, No. 10, 2012, pp.1219-1228:

Abstract: This article examines a report in the 27th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament that an earthquake was felt in Jerusalem on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. We have tabulated a varved chronology from a core from Ein Gedi on the western shore of the Dead Sea between deformed sediments due to a widespread earthquake in 31 BC and deformed sediments due to an early first-century earthquake. The early first-century seismic event has been tentatively assigned a date of 31 AD with an accuracy of ±5 years. Plausible candidates include the earthquake reported in the Gospel of Matthew, an earthquake that occurred sometime before or after the crucifixion and was in effect ‘borrowed’ by the author of the Gospel of Matthew, and a local earthquake between 26 and 36 AD that was sufficiently energetic to deform the sediments at Ein Gedi but not energetic enough to produce a still extant and extra-biblical historical record. If the last possibility is true, this would mean that the report of an earthquake in the Gospel of Matthew is a type of allegory.
Mt 27:50-54 mentions an "earthquake" which split rocks and opened some tombs around Jerusalem, immediately after Jesus died on the cross:
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
But that this was not a major earthquake is evident in that it is only called an "earthquake" [Greek seismon], compared to the angel rolling away the stone of Jesus' tomb which Mt 28:20 describes as a "great earthquake" [seismon megas]. And the parallel passages in Mk 15:38 and Lk 23:45 mention only the tearing of the temple curtain in two, not the earthquake. Also during this earthquake the people are still standing around watching (Mt 27:55; Mk 15:40; Lk 23:49) and, there is no mention of buildings being damaged.

The Shroud of Turin, which bears a faint image of a man's face and torso, is said to be the fabric that covered Jesus' body after his crucifixion in A.D. 33. Though the Catholic Church doesn't have an official position on the cloth, the relic is visited by tens of thousands of worshippers at the Turin Cathedral in Italy each year. I repeat my criticism that "the Catholic Church doesn't have an official position on the cloth" is duplicitous (i.e. two-faced), in that the Church, to its credit, clearly believes the Shroud is authentic, and has spent the equivalent of millions of dollars in safekeeping the Shroud and exhibiting it. I am not anti-Catholic in this - I am pro-truth.

Carbon and quakes. Radiocarbon dating tests conducted at three different labs in the 1980s indicated the cloth was less than 800 years old, produced in the Middle Ages, between approximately A.D. 1260 and 1390. The first records of the shroud begin to appear in medieval sources around the same time, which skeptics don't think is a coincidence. See above on the Pray Manuscript alone being proof beyond reasonable doubt that the "medieval ... AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date is wrong. And I too "don't think [it] is a coincidence." That the Shroud is first century (as the overwhelming weight of evidence points to) but the radiocarbon dates' midpoint, 1325 +/- 65, `just happens' to be 30 years before the Shroud first appeared in the undisputed historical record in Lirey, France in 1355, is simply too good to be true. Indeed, the co-inventor of the AMS method used to radiocarbon date the Shroud, Prof. Harry Grove, stated that the probability that the Shroud is actually first century but its radiocarbon date was 12th-13th century, would be "about one in a thousand trillion":

"The other question that has been asked is: if the statistical probability that the shroud dates between 1260 and 1390 is 95%, what is the probability that it could date to the first century? The answer is about one in a thousand trillion, i.e. vanishingly small." (Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," p.303).
So given that the Shroud is 1st century, the 13th/14th radiocarbon date of the Shroud is evidence of at least low-level scientific fraud, "making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit," by the radiocarbon dating laboratories:
"The term `scientific fraud' is often assumed to mean the wholesale invention of data. But this is almost certainly the rarest kind of fabrication. Those who falsify scientific data probably start and succeed with the much lesser crime of improving upon existing results. Minor and seemingly trivial instances of data manipulation-such as making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit the case-are probably far from unusual in science. But there is only a difference in degree between `cooking' the data and inventing a whole experiment out of thin air." (Broad, W.A. & Wade, N.J., 1982, "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," p.20)
For this reason, agnostic art historian Thomas de Wesselow, who accepts the Shroud is authentic, but doesn't accept that Jesus rose from the dead, considers that scientific fraud in the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to be a real possibility:
"The third possibility is that a fraud was perpetrated, that genuine Shroud samples were deliberately swapped with cloth of a later date. ... Most sindonologists regard these fraud theories as plainly incredible. Some, like Ian Wilson, refuse to contemplate such `unworthy' accusations. However, scientific fraud is by no means unknown, as the editors of science journals are well aware. ... One important consideration weighs in favour of the possibility of deception. If the carbon-dating error was accidental, then it is a remarkable coincidence that the result tallies so well with the date always claimed by sceptics as the Shroud's historical debut. But if fraud was involved, then it wouldn't be a coincidence at all. Had anyone wished to discredit the Shroud, '1325 ± 65 years' is precisely the sort of date they would have looked to achieve." (de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," p.170. My emphasis).
Those results were published in the journal Nature in 1989. But critics in favor of a much older date for the cloth have alleged that those researchers took a sample of fabric that was used to patch up the burial shroud in the medieval period, or that the fabric had been subjected to fires, contamination and other damaged that skewed the results. Again, I agree with de Wesselow that it is not the pro-authenticists', but the anti-authenticists' problem to determine what went wrong with the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud:
"Contamination, reweaving or fraud: three potential sources of error, any one of which could have caused the incorrect carbon dating of the Shroud. But can we legitimately reject the carbon-dating result without determining exactly what went wrong? Of course we can. Archaeologists routinely dismiss 'rogue' radiocarbon dates out of hand. The success of a carbon-dating result should never be declared unilaterally; it is always measured against other evidence. The 1988 test may therefore be declared null and void, even though, without further direct study of the Shroud, it is unlikely we will ever be able to say definitively what went wrong." (de Wesselow, 2012, p.171. My emphasis).
Except that my position is that since the Shroud is first century, and the 1325 +/- 65 radiocarbon date of the Shroud is too good to be true, even if there was contamination and/or the laboratories dated a re-woven patch, there will inevitably have been an element of scientific fraud in at the very least, "selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit".

The new theory hinges on neutrons released by a devastating earthquake that hit Old Jerusalem around the same time that Jesus is believed to have died. While a neutron flux, converting nitrogen 14 and carbon 13 into carbon 14, as a byproduct of Jesus' resurrection, is a possible (even probable) contributory cause to the Shroud's linen having a younger radiocarbon age than its first century chronological age, there was NO "devastating earthquake that hit Old Jerusalem around the same time that Jesus is believed to have died." (see above).

All living things have the same ratio of stable carbon to radioactive carbon-14, but after death, the radioactive carbon decays in a predictable pattern over time. That's why scientists can look at the carbon-14 concentration in organic archaeological materials like fabrics, bones and wood to estimate age. Carbon-14 is typically created when neutrons from cosmic rays collide with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere (though it can be unleashed by manmade nuclear reactions, too).

The group of scientists, led by Alberto Carpinteri of the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, suspect high-frequency pressure waves generated in the Earth's crust during this earthquake could have produced significant neutron emissions. (They simulated this by crushing very brittle rock specimens under a press machine.) It was only a minor earthquake in Mt 27:50-54 (see above). And Joseph of Arimathea's new cave tomb in which Jesus was laid (Mt 27:59-60; Jn 19:41-42) would have been made of limestone, like the other cave tombs around Jerusalem (see "The Tomb of Christ from Archaeological Sources" by archaeologist Eugenia Nitowski), not "very brittle rock".

[Above: "The Garden Tomb," Jerusalem: Wikipedia, 24 January 2014].

These neutron emissions could have interacted directly with nitrogen atoms in the linen fibers, inducing chemical reactions that created the distinctive face image on the shroud, the scientists say. The reactions also could have led to "a wrong radiocarbon dating," which would explain the results of the 1989 [sic] experiments, Carpinteri said in a statement. While these scientists no doubt mean well, in trying to find a reason for what went wrong with the 1988 (not "1989") radiocarbon dating tests (not experiments), they haven't done their Biblical homework.

Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical engineering at Padua University, published a book last year "Il Mistero della Sindone," translated as "The Mystery of the Shroud," (Rizzoli, 2013), arguing that his own analysis proves the shroud dates to Jesus' lifetime. In an email, Fanti said he is not sure if a neutron emission is the only possible source responsible for creating the body image. (His own theories include a corona discharge.) However, he wrote that he is "confident" the 1980s radiocarbon dating "furnished wrong results probably due to a neutron emission." This seems contradictory.

Shaky science? Even if it is theoretically possible for earthquake-generated neutrons to have caused this kind of reaction, the study doesn't address why this effect hasn't been seen elsewhere in the archaeological record, Gordon Cook, a professor of environmental geochemistry at the University of Glasgow, explained. "It would have to be a really local effect not to be measurable elsewhere," Cook told Live Science. "People have been measuring materials of that age for decades now and nobody has ever encountered this." I agree with Prof. Cook in this.

Christopher Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, had a similar issue with the findings. "One question that would need to be addressed is why the material here is affected, but other archaeological and geological material in the ground is not," Ramsey wrote in an email. "There are huge numbers of radiocarbon dates from the region for much older archaeological material, which certainly don't show this type of intense in-situ radiocarbon production (and they would be much more sensitive to any such effects)." Ramsey added that using radiocarbon dating to study objects from seismically active regions, such as regions like Japan, generally has not been problematic. And with Prof. Ramsey. It doesn't help the Shroud pro-authenticity cause to use such a weak explanation of the aberrant 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud that it has both the Bible and science against it.

It seems unlikely that the new study, published in the journal Meccanica, As with my previous post, who peer-reviews these Bible-science papers? Did they consult any Bible-believing theologians? will settle any of the long-standing disputes about how and when the cloth was made, which depend largely on faith. The boot is on the other foot. It is the Shroud anti-authenticist position which "which depend[s] largely on faith". The pro-authenticist position depends largely on evidence.

"If you want to believe in the Shroud of Turin, you believe in it," Cook said. Prof. Cook clearly knows nothing of the evidence for the Shroud's authenticity. Again, presumably under the influence of Naturalism (the belief that "nature is all there is-there is no supernatural"), which has so dominated science since the 19th century that scientists today are not even aware that they are believers in it: an unproven and unprovable philosophy. So Prof. Cook just assumes, wrongly, that the Shroud pro-authenticity position is mere belief!

Posted: 14 February 2014. Updated: 7 May 2016.

6 comments:

bippy123 said...

Hello again Stephen. Great article. Hope your wife is doing well :)

I really think that this earthquake theory is a last ditch effort for the naturalists to try to salvage a naturalistic explanation for the image on the shroud.

Not only is the first earthquake recorded in Mt 27:50-54 a small earthquake but it happened during the time that Jesus was on the cross so how can they even say in their alleged earthquake formation theory that this could have caused the image to form when Jesus wasnt even placed on the shroud yet.

I however would like to hear your view on Mt 28:20 in which the earthquake was a major one and Jesus was in the tomb. Im just playing devil's advocate to prepare for the skeptic response just in case they try to bring up Mt 28:20 and their weak earthquake theory here as the cause of the image.

I find the earth theory ridiculous for many reasons.
Some of them are as you said there were no reports of damage to building or any secular history reports for either earthquake to be in the 8.2 range which these supposed scientists say was needed to cause an image like this. Plus if the earthquake itself caused the stone to roll back to open the tomb it would have had the force to move Christ's body either smearing the blood clots or breaking them from the underlying fibers. We see none of that here.

This is not even to say that no cloth with an image like this has ever been seen before and there have been lots of major earthquakes and lots of tombs .

They are really reaching here.

Stephen E. Jones said...

bippy123

>Hello again Stephen. Great article. Hope your wife is doing well :)

Thanks. She is. How is your Mom? I am still praying for her full recovery.

>I really think that this earthquake theory is a last ditch effort for the naturalists to try to salvage a naturalistic explanation for the image on the shroud.

I gather these scientists are well-meaning Shroud pro-authenticists who are trying to find an explanation why the 1988 C-14 dating went wrong. But it is a WEAK explanation (to put it mildly), that has major problems both Biblically and scientifically.

>Not only is the first earthquake recorded in Mt 27:50-54 a small earthquake but it happened during the time that Jesus was on the cross so how can they even say in their alleged earthquake formation theory that this could have caused the image to form when Jesus wasnt even placed on the shroud yet.

They presumably claim that the earthquake caused radiation to leak from the split rocks in the tomb (although Mt 27 does not say that tomb rocks, which were limestone, were split) so when Jesus was laid on the Shroud a few hours later, and then both the Shroud and Jesus remained in the tomb for about 36 hours, the lingering radiation could have re-set the C-14 `clock' by enriching the Shroud's flax with C-14, converted by neutron bombardment from N-14 and C-13.

But apart from the earthquake that Mt 27:50-54 records was self-evidently NOT the major 8.2 magnitude quake in AD 31 that the 2012 paper in International Geology Review tried to link it to, as Profs Cook and Ramsey pointed out, that effect, if it existed, would have been more common.

>I however would like to hear your view on Mt 28:20 in which the earthquake was a major one and Jesus was in the tomb.

Presumably you mean Mt 28:2. If so it was not actually an earthquake. It just FELT like one. Mt 28:2 says:

"And behold, there was a great earthquake, FOR an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it" (my emphasis).

So the angel's descending and/or his rolling back the tomb's entrance stone was the cause of this "great earthquake", not geological activity.

And according to Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words, the Greek word "seismos means "a shaking" (from seio, "to move to and fro". In Mt 8:24:

"And behold, there arose a great storm [Gk. seismos megas] on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep"

as can be seen in square brackets above, the Greek for "a great storm" is seismos megas, the same (apart from a word in between) as in Mt 28:2's seismos egeneto megas, "earthquake occurred a great".

So Mt 28:2 is saying that the angel who descended and rolled away the stone caused a "great shaking", it was not a geologically caused earthquake.

And the "great" may mean it was only so to those who were very near. There is no mention of it this "great shaking" causing any effects beyond the area the tomb was in.

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>Im just playing devil's advocate to prepare for the skeptic response just in case they try to bring up Mt 28:20 and their weak earthquake theory here as the cause of the image.

Mt 28:5-6 says that the "great shaking" which was caused by the angel descending and rolling away the stone in Mt 28:2, was AFTER Jesus had risen:

"But the angel said to the women, `Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.'"

So Jesus would no longer have had the discarded Shroud (Jn 20:5-6) over Him when that "great shaking" occurred, so it could not have caused His image to have been imprinted on the Shroud.

>I find the earth theory ridiculous for many reasons.
>
>Some of them are as you said there were no reports of damage to building or any secular history reports for either earthquake to be in the 8.2 range which these supposed scientists say was needed to cause an image like this.

Agreed.

>Plus if the earthquake itself caused the stone to roll back to open the tomb it would have had the force to move Christ's body either smearing the blood clots or breaking them from the underlying fibers. We see none of that here.

Agreed. And again Mt 28:2 does not say the second earthquake caused "the stone to roll back to open the tomb". It says an ANGEL did it. But of course if someone doesn't believe in angels, and/or in the words of Scripture, then they can make up their own interpretation of what happened. But then it is just THEIR OWN interpretation, which carries no weight to anyone else.

>This is not even to say that no cloth with an image like this has ever been seen before and there have been lots of major earthquakes and lots of tombs .

Agreed. It's hard to believe that intelligent scientists could think up such a dodgy theory, let alone it be published in presumably a peer reviewed journal.

>They are really reaching here.

Agreed. On a positive note it will at least draw attention to the fact that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, which claimed it's linen was "medieval ... AD 1260-1390," COULD have been skewed by a neutron flux which created new carbon 14 from nitrogen 14 and also from carbon 13.(Phillips, T.J., "Shroud Irradiated With Neutrons?," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, p.594).

Stephen E. Jones
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Ton Majoor said...

Hello Stephen, you note that Matthew refers to the violent quake on resurrection day as a ‘great quake’ (seismos megas). The crucifixion quake would by definition be a foreshock then. If a mega earthquake was accompanied by a splitting of lime rock, then a natural event might explain the shroud as well as the empty tomb, leaving room for a supernatural resurrection and ascension. The earthquake could have buried the body of Jesus into a crevice in the rock, according to the spiritualist J.C. Edelmann, 1746: “… I admit that the body of Lord Jesus in his grave could have been buried in such a way, that it could not have been found anywhere.”

Stephen E. Jones said...

Ton

>Hello Stephen, you note that Matthew refers to the violent quake on resurrection day as a `great quake' (seismos megas).

No. I did NOT note that it was a "violent quake." As I pointed out in my comment above, in Mt 28:2 "it was not actually an earthquake", i.e. a geologically-caused one, "It just FELT like one".

That is because Mt 28:2 says: "... there was a great earthquake [Gk. seismos megas], FOR an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it" (my emphasis). So it was the ANGEL'S descending and/or his rolling back the stone at the tomb's entrance which was the cause of this "great earthquake", not geological activity.

I also pointed out that the Greek word "seismos means "a shaking" and in Mt 8:24 a "great storm" at sea is exactly the same Gk. words seismos megas translated "great earthquake" in Mt 28:2.

So the `earthquake' caused by the angel on resurrection day would have been better translated, "And behold, there was a great SHAKING, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it" (my emphasis).

>The crucifixion quake would by definition be a foreshock then.

No. The "crucifixion quake" was GEOLOGICALLY-caused but the resurrection day `earthquake' was ANGEL-caused. So there is no geological connection between the two, and so the former was NOT a " foreshock" of the latter.

>If a mega earthquake was accompanied by a splitting of lime rock, then a natural event might explain the shroud as well as the empty tomb,

No. As I pointed out in my comment above, in Mt 28:5-6, immediately after the "great shaking" caused by the angel's descending and rolling away the stone in Mt 28:2, it says:

"But the angel said to the women, `Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 HE IS NOT HERE, FOR HE HAS RISEN, as he said. Come, see THE PLACE WHERE HE LAY.'" (my emphasis).

So Jesus had already risen and cast off the Shroud, included among the "linens" (Gk. othonia) in Jn 20:5-6), when that angel-caused "great shaking" occurred. So the latter could NOT have caused Jesus' image to have been imprinted on the Shroud.

>leaving room for a supernatural resurrection and ascension.

No. See above. The "supernatural resurrection" of Jesus had already occurred BEFORE the angel descended and rolled back the stone, causing a great shaking" (not a geologically-caused earthquake).

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>The earthquake could have buried the body of Jesus into a crevice in the rock, according to the spiritualist J.C. Edelmann, 1746: "… I admit that the body of Lord Jesus in his grave could have been buried in such a way, that it could not have been found anywhere."

No. Because according to Mt 28:5-6 there was NO "body of Jesus" in the tomb when the angel-caused `earthquake' in Mt 28:2 occurred.

You can believe "the radical German rationalist and spiritualist Joh. Chr. Edelmann" and his version of the "Lost body hypothesis" (Wikipedia), or you can believe the Bible. But you cannot consistently believe both.

Edelmenn's is just one of a great many naturalistic explanations of Jesus' resurrection. But they all contradict each other and they suffer from the methodological fallacy popularly called `cafeteria theology', i.e. selecting those parts of the Bible which appear to support one's own preconceived theory and ignoring the rest.

The Bible calls it `twisting the Scriptures to one's own destruction' (2Pet 3:16).

What classics scholar and Shroud pro-authenticist Mark Guscin writes about the preconceived theories of the late Rodney Hoare and the conspiracy theorists Kersten & Gruber, that the Shroud allegedly proves that Jesus survived the crucifixion and therefore did not rise from the dead, applies to all those `cafeteria theology' preconceived theories, including Edelmann's:

"The problem lies in the methodology. On studying any aspect of history, especially ancient history, the first thing to do is read all the available sources of information, from whatever point of view they may be written. From these sources you reach a theory, a conclusion or an idea as to what happened, and why and where and when. Both these books [Hoare
s and Kersten & Gruber's], and others besides, start with a conclusion and work backwards, trying to make historical evidence fit in with these conclusions. This method does not generally work, as you run into all kinds of problems. For instance, we know that Julius Caesar invaded Britain because this is what we read in all the historical sources of the period. If I suddenly have the idea that Julius Caesar really invaded Iceland, not Britain, and try to prove it from the same historical sources that all indicate that the invasion was in Britain, I would not get very far with my work. Of course, I am perfectly entitled to think whatever I want, and to have whatever theory I like about Julius Caesar, but I will never be able to prove it from the historical sources. In the same way, if somebody wants to believe that Jesus survived the crucifixion, they are perfectly entitled to do so, although they have all the evidence against them. They will never be able to prove that he survived from texts written by people who knew and believed that he had died [on the cross]. It seems ridiculous even to try it." (Guscin, M., "The Oviedo Cloth," 1998, pp.90-91).

According to my stated policy not to debate with commenters, you have had your first and last comment under this post.

Stephen E. Jones