Saturday, March 29, 2014

Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #1

Based on the information contained in Dr. Jull's and Prof. Christopher Ramsey's emails, this is part #1 of my revised proposal that the three radiocarbon dating laboratories, Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, which in 1988 dated the Shroud of Turin as "mediaeval ... AD 1206-1390," may have been duped by a computer hacker. See my previous posts in this series: part 1, part 2, part 3, "Summary" and "My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey."

The Shroud was radiocarbon dated to 1260-1390 = 1325 ±65 In 1988 three university radiocarbon dating laboratories, Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, radiocarbon dated "[v]ery small samples from the Shroud of Turin"[1]. In 1989 the laboratories published their

[Right (2].]

results in the science journal Nature, claiming that they had carbon dated the linen of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390"[3]. The midpoint of 1206-1390 is 1325 ±65 years[4], which is only ~25 years before the Shroud was

[Left (click to enlarge): Pilgrim's badge from the Shroud's historical debut at Lirey, France in c.1355[5].]

displayed at Lirey, France in c. 1355[6].

Against the preponderance of the evidence This was against the preponderance of the evidence[7], including historical evidence that the Shroud existed in the thirteenth century all the way back to the first century:

1225 Around 1225 the frescoes in the 12th century[8] chapel of the Holy Sepulchre in Winchester Cathedral, England, were repainted[9]. In the Deposition scene of Jesus being taken down

[Right (enlarge): Deposition fresco in Holy Sepulchre Chapel, Winchester Cathedral[10]. Note the double body length shroud about to be placed over Jesus, 35 years before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud!]

from the cross by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the unknown artist painted behind St John and Nicodemus a third man carrying a double-length shroud, intended to go over Jesus's head, body[11] and down to his feet, exactly as the Turin Shroud does[12].

1212 Gervase of Tilbury (c.1150–c.1228), a widely travelled thirteenth century canon lawyer, statesman and writer[13], referring in his Otia Imperialia to the story of the cloth upon which Jesus had impressed an image of His face and sent it to King Abgar V of Edessa, added that:

"... it is handed down from archives of ancient authority that the Lord prostrated himself full length on most white linen, and so by divine power the most beautiful likeness not only of the face, but also of the whole body of the Lord was impressed upon the cloth" (my emphasis)[14].
This can only be the Shroud, nearly a half-century before the earliest radiocarbon date of 1260, and mentioned in archives which were "ancient" even then.

1203: Crusader Robert de Clari, in 1204, described what he saw in Constantinople in late 1203:

"... there was another church which was called My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, where was kept the sheet [sydoines] in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday rose up straight, so that one could clearly see the figure [figure] of Our Lord on it; and no one, neither Greek nor French, knew what became of this sheet after the city was taken" (emphasis original)[15].
The word sydoines is Old French for the Greek word sindon, a linen sheet, used in the Gospels for Jesus' burial shroud (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53), and the word figure is Old French for "bodily form"[16]. So in 1203 there existed in Constantinople a linen shroud with an imprint of Christ's body on it, over a half-century before the earliest radiocarbon date, 1260[17].

1201-1204: The Holy Face of Laon is a glazed panel painted at Constantinople between 1201 and 1204[18]. In 1249, Jacques Pantaleon, later to become Pope Urban IV (c.1195–1264), gave the

[Left (click to enlarge): Icon of the Holy Face (Mandylion) of Laon. Purchased in 1249 in Bari (Italy) by Jacques Pantaleon, later to become Pope Urban: Wikipedia, translated from French by Google.]

icon, also known as the Sainte Face de Laon, to his sister, the abbess of a nunnery at Montreuil-en-Thierache, near Laon, France[19]. The icon is actually a copy of the Edessa cloth, or Mandylion, being covered with a trellis pattern[20]. It shows a brown monochrome, rigidly front facing, disembodied head of Jesus on cloth, strongly reminiscent of the Shroud[21]. This icon corresponds more closely to the face on the Shroud than any other icon[22], having 13 of the 15 Vignon markings (see part #2)[23]. It bears an inscription in ancient slavonic: OBRAZ GOSPODIN NA UBRUSJE "the portrait of the Lord on the cloth"[24], which must mean that the artist was working directly from the Shroud[25]. But since the Sainte Face dates from the beginning of the thirteenth century, and it is a copy of the Shroud image, then the Shroud must be dated well before 1200[26]. This cannot be reconciled with the radiocarbon 1260-1390 dating[27].

1201: Nicholas Mesarites, custodian of Constantinople's Pharos Chapel relic collection, in 1201 wrote:

"In this chapel Christ rises again, and the sindon with the burial linens is the clear proof ... The burial sindon of Christ: this is of linen, of cheap and easily obtainable material, still smelling fragrant of myrrh, defying decay, because it wrapped the mysterious [aperilepton], naked dead body after the Passion"[28].
The Greek word aperilepton means "un-outlined," which is a unique descriptor of the image on the Shroud, which has no outline[29]. Moreover, Mesarites stated that Christ's body was naked, but not until the fourteenth century, and then only rarely, was Christ's body depicted as naked[30]. Again, these two unique descriptors of the image on the Shroud, are further evidence that the Shroud existed in Constantinople in the beginning of the thirteenth century[31].

1192-95 The Hungarian Pray Manuscript, or Codex, is dated 1192-95[32]. Hungary was then ruled by King Bela III (c.1148–1196), and during his reigncultural links between Constantinople and Hungary were strong[33]. The codex

[Right (click to enlarge): The Pray Codex, 1192-95: Wikipedia]

contains an ink drawing with two scenes, one above the other, of the deposition of Jesus' body from the cross and His entombment[34]. Together they share the following eight features in common with Shroud: 1. Jesus' wrists are crossed, right over left, at the groin; 2. He is naked; 3. there is a red mark over Christ's right eyebrow where the reversed `3' bloodstain is on the Shroud; 4. Christ's hands lack thumbs; 5. His burial sheet is long and bi-fold; 6. He has a sarcophagus with crosses and zigzags imitating the herringbone weave of the Shroud; 7. the sarcophagus has angular blood flows matching those on the arms of the man on the Shroud; and 8. there are two sets of tiny circles which match the sets of L-shaped `poker holes' on the Shroud[35, 36]. These eight correspondences between those drawings in the Pray Codex and the Shroud are together conclusive proof that the 12th century artist of the Pray Codex knew the Shroud[37]. The `poker holes' are the final nail in the coffin of the carbon-dating result[38]. The Pray Codex alone proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud of Turin is the Shroud of Constantinople and therefore existed from at least 944 (see part #3), more than three centuries before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date[39].

1181 An enamel panel which forms part of the altar in the Klosterneuberg monastery, near Vienna, completed in 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun (1130–1205)[40].

[Left (enlarge): Entombment of Jesus, 1181, by Nicholas of Verdun, Klosterneuburg Abbey, Vienna[41].]

As can be seen, Christ's hands are crossed over His loins, right over the left, crossing awkwardly at the wrists, exactly as on the Shroud[42]. Yet this was 79 years before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud.

1171: Chronicler William of Tyre (c.1130–1186), accompanying a state visit to the Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1118–1180) in Constantinople, records his party being shown "the most precious evidences of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ" including "the shroud" [sindon][43].

c. 1150 The Christ Pantocrator (Ruler of all) mosaic in the apse of Cefalu Cathedral, Sicily is among the most recent of many such works in the Byzantine tradition,

[Right (click to enlarge): Christ Pantocrator, Cefalu Cathedral, Sicily: Wikipedia]

which depict a Shroud- like, long-haired, fork- bearded, front-facing likeness of Christ[44]. But at c.1150 it is still over a century before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud[45]. It has 14 out of 15 Vignon markings (see part #2)[46], including a triangle between the nose and the eyebrows, concave cheeks, asymmetrical and pronounced cheekbones, each found on the Shroud, and a double tuft of hair where the reversed `3' bloodstain is on the Shroud[47]. This means the artist was working from the face on the Shroud, copying each feature carefully, even though he did not understand what some of them were, for example the open, staring eyes are actually closed in photographic negative on the Shroud[48].

c. 1150 A Christ Pantocrator fresco, dating back to the twelfth century, in the rupestrian (cave) church of St Nicholas (Nicola), in Casalrotto, Italy[49]. The face is Shroud-like, rigidly

[Left (enlarge): Christ Pantocrator in the twelfth century cave church in Casalrotto, Italy[50].]

forward-facing with Vignon markings including a forked beard, open staring eyes, a wisp of hair where the reversed `3' bloodstain is in the Shroud, and a triangle between the nose and the eyebrows[51].

1140 "The Song of the Voyage of Charlemagne to Jerusalem" (known by various names in French, including "Chanson du Voyage de Charlemagne à Jerusalem"[52], or "Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne"[53]), is an Old

[Right: The front cover of a 1965 reprint of the poem[54].]

French epic poem about a fictional expedition by Emperor Charlemagne the Great (c.742-814) and his knights, composed around 1140[55]. But although imaginary it bears historical testimony to the existence of the Shroud, in that it reflects accurately the account that was given by pilgrims at the time[56]. In it the Emperor asks the Patriarch of Jerusalem if he has any relics to show him, and the Patriarch replies:

"I shall show you such relics that there are not better under the sky: of the Shroud of Jesus which He had on His head, when He was laid and stretched in the tomb ..."[57].
The word "Shroud" is the Old French equivalent of "sindon"[58], the Greek word for a burial shroud[59]. This is evidence that in 1140, well over a century before the earliest, 1260, radiocarbon date of the Shroud, it was common knowledge that the burial shroud of Jesus existed, upon which He had been laid stretched out in the tomb, and which had then covered His head!

1130 An English-born Norman monk Ordericus Vitalis (1075–c.1142), in his History of the Church, written by 1130, recorded that, "Abgar the ruler reigned at Edessa; the Lord Jesus sent him a sacred letter and a beautiful linen cloth he had wiped the sweat from his face with. The image of the Saviour was miraculously imprinted on to it and shines out, displaying the form and size of the Lord's body to all who look on it" (my emphasis)[60].

Pre-1130 Vatican Library codex (Vati. Lib. Codex 5696, fol. 35)[61] has an update of a sermon of Pope Stephen III (c.720-772), originally delivered in 769[62]. The original 8th century sermon mentioned only the Edessa towel with a miraculous image of Jesus' face imprinted on it[63]. But sometime before 1130[64] an unknown copyist had interpolated into Pope Stephen's sermon, additional sayings of Jesus to King Abgar V of Edessa, "I send you a cloth on which know that the image not only of my face, but of my whole body divinely transformed (my emphasis)[65]. The early twelfth century copyist had new information that in Constantinople the image of Edessa was now known to be a sheet which had Jesus' entire body imprinted on it[66]!

Continued in Revised #2.

1. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
2. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.7 & pl.3b. [return]
3. Damon, 1989, p.611. [return]
4. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, p.1. [return]
5. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.221-222. [return]
6. Ibid. [return]
7. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.67. [return]
8. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.152. [return]
9. Wilson, 1998, p.139. [return]
10. "Reflecting back on this week of poems of the Passion," The Pocket Scroll blog, 19 April 2014. [return]
11. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.160 [return]
12. Wilson, 1998, p.139. [return]
13. "Gervase of Tilbury, " Wikipedia, 22 January 2014. [return]
14. Wilson, 1998, p.144, 254n20. [return]
15. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.175. [return]
16. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.175-176. [return]
17. Wilson, 1991, pp.156-157. [return]
18. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, pp.58-59. [return]
19. Currer-Briggs, N., 1987, "The Shroud and the Grail: A Modern Quest for the True Grail," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, p.45. [return]
20. Wilson, 1991, p.136. [return]
21. Wilson, 1998, pp.150-151. [return]
22. Currer-Briggs, N., 1995, "Shroud Mafia: The Creation of a Relic?," Book Guild: Sussex UK, p.56. [return]
23. Ibid. [return]
24. Currer-Briggs, 1995, p.205. [return]
25. Currer-Briggs, 1987, p.158. [return]
26. Currer-Briggs, 1995, p.56. [return]
27. Currer-Briggs, 1995, pp.56-57]. [return]
28. Wilson, 2010, p.185. [return]
29. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.176-177. [return]
30. de Wesselow, 2012, p.176, 380n11. [return]
31. de Wesselow, 2012, p.177. [return]
32. Wilson, 1979, p.160. [return]
33. de Wesselow, 2012, p.178. [return]
34. Berkovits, I., 1969, "Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, XI-XVI Centuries," Horn, Z., transl., West, A., rev., Irish University Press: Shannon, Ireland, p.19. [return]
35. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.178-181. [return]
36. Maloney, P.C., 1998, "Researching the Shroud of Turin: 1898 to the Present: A Brief Survey of Findings and Views," in Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC, p.33. [return]
37. de Wesselow, 2012, p.181. [return]
38. de Wesselow, 2012, p.183. [return]
39. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.178, 183. [return]
40. Wilson, 2010, p.182. [return]
41. Wilson, I., 2008, "II: Nicholas of Verdun: Scene of the Entombment, from the Verdun altar in the monastery of Klosterneuburg, near Vienna," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 67, June. [return]
42. Wilson, 2010, pp.182-183. [return]
43. Wilson, 1998, p.271. [return]
44. Wilson, 1998, p.141. [return]
45. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.104. [return]
46. Wilson, 1979, p.105. [return]
47. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.193. [return]
48. Wilson, 1979, p.105. [return]
49. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.193. [return]
50. Martino Miali, 2014, "Terra delle Gravine nature reserve: Puglia’s Arizona," Bridge Puglia & USA. [return]
51. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.193. [return]
52. Beecher, P.A., 1928, "The Holy Shroud: Reply to the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.," M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin, p.147. [return]
53. "Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne," Wikipedia, 27 February 2013. [return]
54. Aebischer, P., 1965., "Le voyage de Charlemagne à Jérusalem et à Constantinople," Librairie Droz: [return]
55. Wikipedia, 2013. [return]
56. Beecher, 1928, p.147. [return]
57. Ibid. [return]
58. Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ, p.17. [return]
59. Adams, 1982, p.1. [return]
60. Wilson, 2010, p.176. [return]
61. Wilson, 1979, p.257. [return]
62. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.88. [return]
63. Ibid. [return]
64. Wilson, 1991, p.152. [return]
65. Wilson, 1979, p.158, 257. [return]
66. Scavone, 1989, p.89. [return]

Posted 29 March 2014. Updated 11 March 2022.

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