Thursday, May 8, 2014

"The Letter from Alexius Comnenus": My response to Dan Porter

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones

This is my response to Dan Porter's latest post about me. I repeat that I have NEVER posted anything against Porter, except as my response to a post on Porter's blog [since closed] about my blog or me. If Porter ceases posting about my blog and me, I will never again post anything on my blog about Porter' blog or him. However, I reserve my right to respond to comments by a reader under one of my posts about Porter and/or his blog. Porter's words and his quoted words of mine are in bold.

The Letter from Alexius Comnenus

May 7, 2014

In, Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #3, Stephen Jones lists this item

[Right: Portrait of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I (r. 1081-1118), from a Greek manuscript: Wikipedia.]

as part of his evolving historical proof which is part of his proof that computer hackers altered the carbon dating results back in 1988. Again Porter has scavenged my work, rather than do original work of his own. As I have said before, I agree with Colin Berry on this at least, that Porter is a pirate who steals the hard work and intellectual property of others, so that (in my and Berry's cases) he can expose them to "ridicule":

"My response to a typical ‘Ron-putdown’ arising from Dan Porter’s latest pirating of my content Posted on September 8, 2012 by colinsberry. Once again, Dan Porter has pirated my copy, graphic included (one showing MY research, MY own photograph) ... to ridicule."

But Porter is evidently untroubled by the ethics of parasiting off the work of others, despite it being against their expressed wishes, to feed his `gossip column' blog.

I remind Porter of WordPress's Terms of Service:

Responsibility of Contributors. If you operate a blog, comment on a blog ... You are entirely responsible for ... that Content. That is the case regardless of whether the Content in question constitutes text, graphics ... By making Content available, you represent and warrant that
the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the ... the copyright ... rights, of any third party

Therefore, as the copyright holder of my blog's contents (which I have now expressly protected, and will in future protect, by a "Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones" notice), I hereby formally request that Dan Porter comply with WordPress's Terms of Service that he has agreed to, and seek and receive my written permission to do so, before he copies and pastes any more content (including my comments under my posts) from my blog to his. Except that I do grant Porter (and anyone else) permission without having to ask me, to copy the title and one paragraph only of any of my posts and comments, provided he includes a link to each post or comment. Failure by Porter to heed this formal request to stop stealing my intellectual property, I will leave in the hands of the Lord (Rom 12:19; 1Cor 6:10).

The above includes any reply by Porter to this my response to him. He can copy and paste only the title of this post and one only paragraph from it, providing he includes a link to it. Then Porter and his readers can comment on to his (their) hearts' content. I will then try to ignore Porter's continual sniping.

1092 A letter dated 1092 purporting to be from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1056-1118) to Robert II of Flanders(c.1065-1111)[9], appealed for help to prevent Constantinople falling into the hands of the pagans[10]. The letter listed the relics in Constantinople including, "the linen cloths [linteamina] found in the sepulchre after his Resurrection"[11]. Although the letter is probably a forgery, concocted at the time for propaganda purposes, this need not invalidate its description of the relics then in the imperial collection[12].

Forgery need not invalidate its description of the relics? As Porter would know if he had bothered to check my footnoted reference, "12. Wilson, [I], 1979, ["The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition] p.314n31," that the words are substantially Wilson's:
"The document is actually a forgery, purporting to be a letter from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus to Robert of Flanders, and concocted at the time for propaganda purposes. This need not invalidate its description of relics in the imperial collection." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," p.314).

That's true but . . . Porter here concedes the main point. It is indeed "true" that although the purported letter from Emperor Alexius Comnenus to Robert of Flanders was probably a forgery, it is a valid statement of what was in the relic collection of Constantinople at that time. And as Porter himself listed, among those relics was:

"the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection"!

This is further historical evidence (to add to the mountain of such evidence) that the cloth we know today as the Shroud of Turin, was in Constantinople's relic collection in the late 11th century. Taking the date of 1089 as the latest year assumed by scholars that the letter was forged:

"Chalandon argues that Alexius met Robert in 1087 on his return from a visit to the Holy Sepulcher, and it seems the emperor may also have sent him a letter looking for troops. He shows, however, that while the information in the letter does match the circumstances of 1087-89, the form of the letter does not resemble any other from Alexius. Instead he divided the text we have into three parts - 1: the rhetorical listing of the sufferings of Christians in Asia, 2: the information on the state of the Empire, 3: The appeal for help to Robert and the listing of relics. He considered the first part -- aimed at exciting potential crusaders -- to be too vulgar to have been written in Byzantium, and the third part -- in which Alexius offers his wealth and relics -- to have been similarly impossible. But the second part may indeed have been based on a letter sent by Alexius. Chalandon concludes that "the letter was probably fabricated around 1098-99 in order to serve as a excitorium, with the help of a real letter from Alexius to the Count of Flanders, complaints from Syrian Christians, and a catalog of relics. The author wanted to make it appear that the letter dated to 1091." (Halsall, P., 2001, "Did Alexius ask for Crusaders help? - A Letter," Anistoriton, Issue S011 of 24 March).
that is 171 years before the earliest date, 1260, of the 1988 radiocarbon date of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390", and therefore is further evidence that that date was wrong, and being not just any date, but the `too good to be true' 1325 +/- 65, was the result of fraud, including that the radiocarbon dating laboratories had been duped by a computer hacker (or hackers).

well anyway, we should look at this list. Does incredulity matter? What is in the list?

For it is better that you should have Constantinople than the pagans because in that [city] precious relics of the Lord, to wit:
  1. the pillar to which he was bound
  2. the lash with which he was scourged
  3. the scarlet robe in which he was arrayed
  4. the crown of thorns with which he was crowned
  5. the reed he held in his hands, in place of a scepter
  6. the garments of which he was despoiled before the cross
  7. the larger part of the wood of the cross on which he was crucified
  8. the nails with which he was affixed
  9. the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection
Yes. Among the worthless dross, this nugget of precious gold:
"the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection"
  1. the twelve baskets of remnants from the five loaves and the two fishes
  2. the entire head of St. John the Baptist with the hair and the beard
  3. the relics or bodies of many of the Innocents, of certain prophets and apostles, of martyrs and, especially, of the protomartyr St. Stephen, and of confessors and virgins, these latter being of such great number that we have omitted writing about each of them individually.
How do I convince a skeptic? The "skeptic" being Porter, or his alter ego. His:
"Is the Shroud real? Probably. The Shroud of Turin may be the real burial cloth of Jesus."
reveals Porter as, at least as far as the Shroud is concerned, and probably in his Christianity, "a double-minded man":
James 1:6-8. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
who won't receive anything from the Lord (including the inner assurance that the Shroud is authentic), while he persists in his doubting mindset, which in Porter's case has become "invincible ignorance":
"There does remain, nonetheless, a cast of mind which seems peculiarly closed to evidence. When confronted with such a mind, one feels helpless, for no amount of evidence seems to be clinching. Frequently the facts are simply ignored or brushed aside as somehow deceptive, and the principles are reaffirmed in unshakable conviction. One seems confronted with what has been called `invincible ignorance.'" (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., 1959, "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," p.113. My emphasis).
That is, if Porter, after all these years, is not convinced that the Shroud is authentic, then it seems that "no amount of evidence" would suffice for him.

I pity Porter and his Shroud "skeptic" ilk. They lack the joy "which surpasses all understanding" (= Php 4:7) that Christian unequivocal Shroud pro-authenticists like I have, which we have received direct to our hearts from the One whose image is on the Shroud! I have a photo

[Above: "Shroud of Turin Face Detail,"]

of the Man on the Shroud on the wall facing me as I type and it never ceases to blow my mind that Jesus truly is "him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think":

Eph 3:20. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,"
in not only being God, indeed Yahweh Himself come in the flesh (Jn 8:24,28,58; 13:19; 18:5-6; Mt 14:23-27; Mk 6:47-50; Jn 6:16-20), who submitted to the horrific death by scourging and crucifixion by nails, that I might be saved to live in eternity with Him, but also to have graciously imprinted His image on His burial shroud, and preserved it down through the ages, that those who see Him lifted up:
Jn 12:32. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
might believe on Him and be saved:
Jn 3:16-17. 16 `For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.'
I already had been a committed Christian for nearly 40 years when I, an evangelical Protestant discovered the Shroud was authentic in 2005. So I myself don't need the Shroud to be authentic for me to be saved. So to me it is `the cream on the cake'. Pure grace, getting from Jesus what I don't deserve:
"Justice is getting what I deserve,
mercy is not getting what I deserve, and
grace is getting what I don't deserve."

Let's see: I have a document that tells us that twelve baskets of remnants from the five loaves and two fishes were in Constantinople's imperial collection sometime in the last half of the 11th century.

Porter here commits the atheist's fallacy: That because `all religions contradict each other, therefore all are false.' But one (Christianity) could be true, and all the others be false. Which in fact is what Christianity claims (Acts 4:12, 10:43; Lk 24:47, Jn 20:31; 1Tim 2:5). That all the other relics in Constantinople were fakes, has no bearing at all, on whether only one among them, the Shroud, was authentic.

Porter might ask his "skeptic" (i.e. himself), which of those other relics did a Byzantine emperor send "a whole army" to get, paid an enormous ransom including "twelve thousand silver pieces" for, and gave it its "own special feast day" which is "still celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church" today:

"After having been Byzantine in the sixth century, Edessa and its Christ-imprinted cloth fell into Moslem hands in the seventh century, as a result of which it was only in 943 that the Moslems became sufficiently weak, and the Byzantines proportionately strong, for the latter to make a determined attempt to win the cloth rightfully back for Christendom. Accordingly, Constantinople's Emperor Romanus sent a whole army eastwards for it, headed by his best general, John Curcuas who, on camping before Edessa's gates, astonished the Moslem emir by promising the town immunity from attack, the release of two hundred Moslem prisoners and the payment of twelve thousand silver pieces, all for just one thing - the cloth with Jesus's imprint. Despite such an offer seeming too good to refuse (particularly for a Moslem), the perplexed emir actually sent to his superiors in Baghdad for advice, with Curcuas and his army cooling their heels in the meantime. But then at last word came back that the Byzantine terms should be accepted, as a result of which the high-ranking Orthodox clergy whom Curcuas had brought with him, after making checks that they had been handed over the true cloth ... duly transported this the breadth of Antolia, the troops of Curcuas escorting them all the way. On 15 August 944 ... the cloth was carried by boat across the Bosphorus to St Mary at Blachernae, where it was viewed and venerated by Byzantine's royals. The next day, which would become the cloth's own special feast day (still celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church) it was carried around Constantinople's walls, thereby specifically establishing; it as the city's new Palladian ... Then both at Hagia Sophia and in the throne-room of the Sacred Palace it was accorded a special coronation and enthroning, symbolically establishing (or reaffirming) it as Constantinople's very special `King of Kings'. Finally after all this and other ceremonial it was laid to rest in its own special place in the Sacred Palace's Chapel of the Pharos, there joining the emperor's matchless [sic] collection of relics of the Passion. What, then, was this cloth, that it held such enormous importance to the Byzantine people? " (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," pp.148-149. Emphasis original).

The document is probably a forgery, developed for propaganda purposes, but that doesn't matter. Porter might remind his "skeptic" (i.e. himself), that he had previously said that it is "true" that "Forgery need not invalidate its [the letter's] description of the relics?"

And the head of John the Baptist, that was there too. See above. Clearly even to the Byzantines (as to Roman Catholics today), there were relics and there was (and is) THE RELIC! Even the credulous Byzantines, and those in medieval times, were able to distinguish between relics and their degrees of authenticity. As with Roman Catholics today, the Byzantines might have claimed they had "the head of John the Baptist" but their actions show they didn't really believe that.

I once debated an atheist who claimed that God was imaginary like the Tooth Fairy. I asked him, "how many Internet discussion groups are you on devoted to the existence or non-existence of the Tooth Fairy?" Porter could ask his "skeptic" (i.e. himself) what blogs is he on (indeed owns) that are devoted to "the head of John the Baptist"?

And the shroud. Yes indeed. And the Shroud! See above.

Posted: 8 May 2014. Updated: 30 December 2020.


Bippy123 said...

Brilliant article Stephen, and it shows that the shroud was documented to be here 171 years before the earliest 1260 ad date of the c14 tests.

The majority of evidence points to the shroud's authenticity and it being much older then the 1988 tests and even Mitch older then the 11th century documentation you have shown in this article.

Any honest seeker or researcher has to concede this when going through the maintains software evidences for the shroud's authenticity .

What I find remarkable is that there are a few Christians on Dan's blog (not gonna name names ) that believe in the shroud's authenticity yet somehow believe that the image was created by some naturalistic method, even though every naturalistic effort used to try to replicate the shroud has failed.

I was wondering what you thought of doctor August Accetta's work with the gamma rays in trying to replicate some of the unique features of the shroud ?
I believe he converted from agnosticism to Christianity after his research on the shroud .

Stephen E. Jones said...


>Brilliant article Stephen, and it shows that the shroud was documented to be here 171 years before the earliest 1260 ad date of the c14 tests.

Thanks and yes.

>The majority of evidence points to the shroud's authenticity and it being much older then the 1988 tests and even Mitch older then the 11th century documentation you have shown in this article.

In fact there is NO evidence for the Shroud being 13th/14th century, except the 1988 C14 dating, after Bishop D'Arcis' 1389 claim that the Shroud was painted in 1355, was shown to be false by STURP in 1978, because the Shroud's image is NOT painted.

And, as I shall show, there is good evidence that the C14 dating of 1325 +/- 65 was the result of the 3 labs having been hacked by Arizona's physicist Timothy W. Linick and the German hacker Karl Koch, who confessed to working for the KGB.

The latter's death on 1 June 1989 was contrived to look like suicide and it could only have been the KGB. And since Koch had already confessed all his selling of military and computer secrets to the KGB he must have been killed by them to prevent him confessing some different hacking for the KGB, which the KGB was much more concerned about.

The KGB's involvement in the hacking of the Shroud's C14 dating fits that bill, and nothing else does. In 1988 the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, and it did collapse in 1989.

The USSR and its Eastern Bloc satellites had HUGE Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox populations. A 1st or early century C14 dating of the Shroud would have been a nightmare scenario to that Atheist regime.

If Linick has contacted the KGB offering to ensure the Shroud C14 dated to just before 1350, the KGB would have jumped at the chance.

And Linick was found dead on 4 June 1989, in "mysterious circumstances," and his death was suspected to have been suicide.

But that was when Linick was FOUND dead. Allowing for the time zone differences between Germany and Arizona, it is possible that both Koch and Linick `committed suicide' on the SAME DAY, or at most only a few days apart.

Also, after the first C14 dating of the Shroud to the `bull's eye' date of 1350, leaks to the media started which said the date was 1350. Ian Wilson later worked out that the Rev. David Sox, who was a former Secretary of the British Society of the Turin Shroud, but who had turned anti-authenticist, was the leaker to the media. But Sox was not in Arizona when the Shroud was dated, so the primary leaker to Sox had to be a member of Arizona lab's staff.

And Sox actually published a book, "The Shroud Unmasked: Uncovering the Greatest Forgery of All Time," in August 1988. Oxford did its dating on August 8, 1988, and there is no mention of Oxford's result in Sox's book. In that book, Sox quotes Linick, as being anti-authentist:

"The night before the test Damon told Gove he would not be surprised to see the analysis yield a date around the fifth-century, because after that time the crucifixion was banned and a forger would not have known of the details depicted so accurately on the Shroud. TIMOTHY LINICK, a University of Arizona research scientist, said: `IF WE SHOW THE MATERIAL TO BE MEDIEVAL THAT WOULD DEFINITELY MEAN THAT IT IS NOT AUTHENTIC. If we date it back 2000 years, of course, that still leaves room for argument. It would be the right age - but is it the real thing?'" (Sox, H.D., 1988, "The Shroud Unmasked: Uncovering the Greatest Forgery of All Time, p.147. My emphasis).

Remember that Sox was not there in Arizona in May 1988 at their dating. And why would he quote Linick who was not one of the leaders of the Arizona labs?

The simplest explanation is that Sox got his Arizona leaks from Linick. And if Linick was the hacker it would have been part of his plan to create a climate of expectation that the Shroud was dated about 1350.


Stephen E. Jones said...


There is no problem explaining how Linick could hack into Arizona's AMS control console computer. But there is a problem explaining how he could hack into Zurich and Oxford's computers. Given that Profs. Jull and Ramsey stated that those computers were never online.

I have thought of several ways that Linick could have done it manually, and one of those ways involves Koch.

I will document the above from sources. Although I don't yet have a `smoking gun' clue that PROVES: 1) that the 3 labs were hacked; 2) that Linick was a hackers; and 3) that Koch was the other hacker involved in the C14 dating.

I am in the position that a police detective would be in the early stage of a crime investigation. I have a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to a crime having been committed and I have two suspects. But unlike a detective I have no authority or ability to further investigate the crime by visiting the crime scenes and asking questions of those who would be in a position to know more information that would either confirm or refute my suspicions.

>Any honest seeker or researcher has to concede this when going through the maintains software evidences for the shroud's authenticity .

Agreed. But as the agnostic pro-authenticist anatomy Professor Yves Delage pointed out in 1902, "If, instead of Christ, there were a question of some person ... no one would have thought of making any objection":

"I willingly recognize that none of these given arguments offer the features of an irrefutable demonstration; but it must be recognized that their whole constitutes a bundle of imposing probabilities, some of which are very near being proven ... a religious question has been needlessly injected into a problem which in itself is purely scientific, with the result that feelings have run high, and reason has been led astray. IF, INSTEAD OF CHRIST, THERE WERE A QUESTION OF SOME PERSON LIKE A SARGON, AN ACHILLES OR ONE OF THE PHARAOHS, NO ONE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF MAKING ANY OBJECTION ... I have been faithful to the true spirit of science in treating this question, intent only on the truth, not concerned in the least whether it would affect the interests of any religious party ... I recognize Christ as a historical personage and I " (Walsh, J.E., 1963, "The Shroud," p.107).when it comes to

>What I find remarkable is that there are a few Christians on Dan's blog (not gonna name names ) that believe in the shroud's authenticity yet somehow believe that the image was created by some naturalistic method, even though every naturalistic effort used to try to replicate the shroud has failed.

I encountered the same types when I was debating creation/evolution on the Internet from 1994-2005. They took the side of the atheists against their fellow Christians in arguing for FULLY NATURALISTIC evolution.

It is of course POSSIBLE that God used a fully naturalistic process to originate and develop life, and also to create the image on the Shroud. But the EVIDENCE IS AGAINST both. But that does not matter to such Christian Naturalists. They argue for the Atheist side (or at least won't argue against it) and don't see any problem with providing God's enemies with ammunition to use against their fellow Christians.

At best they are genuine Christians whose minds have been captured by the philosophy of Naturalism, as the Apostle Paul warned was possible:

Col. 2:8. " See to it that no one takes you captive by PHILOSOPHY and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world [Gk. ELEMENTS OF THE WORLD], and not according to Christ."


Stephen E. Jones said...


And at worst they are not Christians at all, but are what the Apostle Paul called, "FALSE [Gk. pseudo] BROTHERS":

2Cor 11:26. "on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from FALSE BROTHERS;"

Gal 2:4. Yet because of FALSE BROTHERS secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—

>I was wondering what you thought of doctor August Accetta's work with the gamma rays in trying to replicate some of the unique features of the shroud ?

From memory it supported that the Shroud image was formed by some kind of radiation. But I am not committed to any particular type.

Except it seems more likely that it was non-harmful light, based on the Transfiguration:

Mt 17:2 And he [Jesus] was transfigured [Gk. metemorphothe] before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

Mk 9:2-3. 2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured [Gk. metemorphothe] before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them

which I take to be a vision of Jesus' resurrection body.

>I believe he converted from agnosticism to Christianity after his research on the shroud .

I didn't realise that.

Thanks for your comment, which gave me the opportunity to get some more of my hacker thinking off my chest.

I feel that Jesus is asking me to be patient as I will receive more information in the near future. Which is why I have been taking a detour posting all that historical evidence for the Shroud's existence from the 13th to the 1st century.

But I am also interested in that historical evidence. It is an area of the Shroud I did not know much about. And when I resume my "The Shroud of Turin" series, I am shortly going to get to, "4. History of the Shroud".

Stephen E. Jones
Reader, if you like this my The Shroud of Turin blog, and you have a website, could you please consider adding a hyperlink to my blog on it? This would help increase its Google PageRank number and so enable those who are Google searching on "the Shroud of Turin" to more readily discover my blog. Thanks.