Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TSoT: 1.1. What is The Shroud of Turin?

Now that I have at last sent my paper, "A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin" to the

[Above (click to enlarge): "Miniature Shroud Replica" on Cotton (Image Approx. 40" x 10"), Shroud.com]

British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) for publication in its December newsletter, here belatedly, is the next instalment of my book outline, "The Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus?," namely the outline of section, 1.1 Introduction. What is the Shroud of Turin? From now on I will abbreviate the subject line, "The Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus?" to "TSoT" so as to better fit the Blog Archive panel on the right.

I hope to post a new subsection page every few days, which will be linked to the section page above it. To avoid getting bogged down in documenting each point, I will in the first instance write each subsection `off the top of my head' with no, or minimal, documentation, and I will then later in the background `flesh out' each page, complete with documentation. These online pages will then be the basis of a future book.

I am going to do the same over on my other blog, CreationEvolutionDesign, where I will write in parallel the outline of another future book, "Problems of Evolution."

I am setting no time-frame on the completion of these two books, except to say that I expect they will take several years. Basically I am channelling my blogging into a format where I will over time comprehensively cover most of the major points in each major subject (the evidence for and against the Shroud of Turin being the very burial sheet of Jesus, and the major problems of the theory of evolution) and at the end of each I will have something tangible to show for my blogging!

© Stephen E. Jones



1.1. What is The Shroud of Turin?
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth, held by St. John the Baptist Cathedral, in the Italian city of Turin, which bears the image of a man with wounds matching those of Jesus Christ as described in the Gospels.

1.1.1. Names of The Shroud of Turin

1.1.2. A linen cloth

1.1.3. Held in St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Turin

1.1.4. Bears the image of a man with wounds matching those of Jesus as described in the Gospels


Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blog: CreationEvolutionDesign

What Is the Turin Shroud? In the summer of 1978 three million tourists visited Torino (Turin), Italy. They had come from all over the world to wait in line and to look upon a linen cloth which had been in Turin for more than four hundred years. They knew that the cloth had not been shown to the general public for almost fifty years and that this would likely be its only display in their lifetime. As they entered the cathedral of St. John the Baptist they could see a large, narrow cloth measuring 14.3 feet long by 3.5 feet wide. It was flood-lit and was mounted in front of the main altar at the far end of the church. Gradually, as they neared the altar, they began to notice on the cloth an extremely faint, reddish-colored, life-sized image of a bearded man. The man looked strikingly like traditional images of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the cloth known as the Shroud of Turin is thought by many people to be the actual burial wrapping of Jesus. Both the front and the back of the body can be seen on the cloth. From either end the figure appears feet-head, head-feet. This tells us that he may have been placed on one half of the cloth. The other half would then have been pulled over the front of the body. There are stains on the body that resemble blood stains from an ancient Roman scourging and crucifixion with nails. On the front, there are trickles of blood on the man's forehead, a large stain on his right side, and stains from a wound in one wrist. (The other hand cannot be seen.) Both arms show blood runoffs from the hands to the elbows. On the back can be counted about 120 small stains which conform to the shape of a Roman whip. More blood trickles are seen on the back of the head. The feet are bloodied from apparent nail wounds. In short, the wounds on the image of the Shroud conform to the story of Jesus' crucifixion as told in the Gospels." (Scavone, D.C., "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, 1989, pp.6,8. Emphasis original).

"What is the Shroud of Turin? ... The Shroud, often called the `Holy Shroud,' is most commonly referred to as the Shroud of Turin because it has been physically located in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy for over 400 years. This precious cloth is considered by millions of Christians throughout the world to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ - a direct witness to His passion, death and resurrection 2,000 years ago. The Shroud is the holiest relic in Christianity. Physically, the Shroud is a remarkably well-preserved oblong piece of linen cloth 14'3" long (4.36 meters) and 3'7" wide (1.1 meters), weighing approximately 5 1/2 lbs. (2.45 kgs.) . The linen fibers are woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill with a Z-twist and consist of a fairly heavy yarn (34/100 of a millimeter thick) of Near Eastern or Mediterranean basin flax. [Tribbe, F.C., "Portrait of Jesus?," Stein & Day: New York, 1983, pp.30-31] Down the left side of the Shroud is a border approximately 3 1/2 inches wide (8 centimeters from the edge) running the full length of the linen cloth. Once thought to be a side-strip sewn onto the main cloth, it has now been determined to be a selvedge, that is, a piece of cloth woven into the main cloth so that it will not unravel. It is done in such a manner as to require no hem. The reason for adding the selvedge is not known for certain. However, historian and renowned English sindonologist Ian Wilson speculates that the selvedge may have been added at a later date perhaps to center the image on the cloth for viewing. He considers this the most logical explanation and points out that the selvedge was added at the same time as the fringe and gold covering, the overall purpose being to transform the cloth from a shroud to what seems to have been some sort of `portrait.'" (Iannone, J.C., "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, 1998, pp.1-2. Emphasis original).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shroud News - October 2007

Here is my Shroud of Turin news for October 2007 (see also issues Sep-07, Aug-07 & Jul-07). The most important Shroud

[Above: The Templecombe Head:

"The Shroud-like Templar panel painting discovered at Templecombe, England, during the Second World War. This represents the prime clue that the Knights Templar may secretly have owned the Shroud during the period immediately following the capture of Constantinople and up to their suppression in 1307." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.116).

The Templecombe Head is theorised by historian Ian Wilson (see also `tagline' quote below) to be a painting of the Mandylion on the lid of the chest in which the Templars had once held the Shroud.]

news as far as I am concerned, is that I recently completed my paper, "A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin," and submitted to the British Society for the Turin Shroud for publication in it's December 2007 newsletter!

Vatican paper set to clear Knights Templar, Daily Telegraph, Malcolm Moore, 5 October, 2007 ...

[Left: Replica of minutes of the Vatican's Templar trials, TIME Magazine.]

The mysteries of the Order of the Knights Templar could soon be laid bare after the Vatican announced the release of a crucial document which has not been seen for almost 700 years. ... A new book, Processus contra Templarios, will be published by the Vatican's Secret Archive on Oct 25, and promises to restore the reputation of the Templars, whose leaders were burned as heretics when the order was dissolved in 1314. The Knights Templar were a powerful and secretive group of warrior monks during the Middle Ages. Their secrecy has given birth to endless legends, including one that they guard the Holy Grail. .... The Order was founded by Hugues de Payns, a French knight, after the First Crusade of 1099 to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. Its headquarters was the captured Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, which lent the Templars their name. But when Jerusalem fell to Muslim rule in 1244, rumours surfaced that the knights were heretics who worshipped idols in a secret initiation ceremony. In 1307, King Philip IV "the Fair" of France, in desperate need of funds, ordered the arrest and torture of all Templars. After confessing various sins their leader, Jacques de Molay, was burnt at the stake. Pope Clement V then dissolved the order and issued arrest warrants for all remaining members. Ever since, the Templars have been thought of as heretics. The new book is based on a scrap of parchment discovered in the Vatican's secret archives in 2001 by Professor Barbara Frale. The long-lost document is a record of the trial of the Templars before Pope Clement, and ends with a papal absolution from all heresies. [That the Knights Tenplar was basically an orthodox Christian order (who would have a strong motive for keeping the Shroud for themselves rather than selling it to the highest bidder), is more evidence for Ian Wilson's theory that they were the guardians of the Shroud during the ~150 "missing years" after it disappeared at Constantinople in 1204 and reappeared in Lirey, France in the 1350s (see `tagline' quote below).]

Shroud of Turin exhibit coming to Saginaw, Midland Daily News, Angela E. Lackey, October 13, 2007 ...

[Right: Guidebook to this (assumed) photographic exhibit of the Holy Shroud]

The mysteries and facts surrounding the Shroud of Turin will be explored at a Saginaw exhibit. .... Exhibit times and dates are 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 ... through ... Saturday, Oct. 27 until the exhibit is dismantled. ... The exhibit has 32 panels of pictures and explains the findings about the Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial wrappings of Jesus Christ. There will be a backlit, transparent life-size replica of the original shroud. The shroud is 14 feet, 3 inches tall and 3 feet, 7 inches wide. The exhibit was prepared by the Eastman Kodak Corp. under the supervision of now-deceased Monsignor Giulio Ricci of the Holy Shroud Center in Rome. ... The shroud has been surrounded by controversy for years. It first was displayed around 1355; its whereabouts before that are uncertain. The shroud underwent radioactive dating in 1988. The original results showed the shroud dated from the Middle Ages. However, those results have been disputed by many scholars -- only a single specimen was tested, and that specimen was taken from the dirtiest area of the shroud. That area also had burn marks and a water stain from a 1532 fire. No new dating or testing procedures to determine the shroud's authenticity has been proposed. ... [I assume this is the "large photographic exhibit based on the work of Msgr. Ricci, which is available for churches and organizations to display" that is owned by "The Holy Shroud Center ... Illinois".]

H.B. doctor submits Shroud of Turin to scientific method, The Orange County Register, October 19, 2007, Scott Martindale. Dr. August

[Above (enlarge): Xrays of Dr. Accetta after injecting himself with a radioactive isotope to show its similarities to the Shroud's image.]

Accetta is the first to acknowledge his theory sounds preposterous. The notion that an authentic image of Jesus' crucified body is emblazoned on a church relic known as the Shroud of Turin defies logic and reason, even for a believer like Accetta. But after more than a decade of scientific study on the origins of the tattered burial cloth, which many have derided as an artist's creation, the Huntington Beach physician is convinced it's no hoax. "It's absurd to think that God gave us this image of his Son on the shroud," said the 48-year-old urogynecological surgeon, who opened a Fountain Valley museum dedicated to the shroud 11 years ago. "But I believe there's more evidence for the authenticity of the shroud than any other single artifact in history." .... Accetta's tests don't prove his radiance theory. The nuclear imaging simply shows how the image could have been created. But Accetta is convinced the evidence is all there. ... Scientists have shown that when a high-resolution photograph of the shroud is run through computer analysis software, the computer can generate a 3-D image of the crucified body. The finding startles shroud researchers because if the image had been created by a medieval artist, as skeptics allege, it shouldn't contain hidden 3-D information. Accetta says only a miraculous event fully explains the image's sophistication. He thinks that when Jesus' body turned to light, the shroud that had been covering the body began falling through the body by gravity. As the cloth dropped, Accetta theorizes it picked up corresponding energy - and corresponding 3-D information. Mainstream scientists, meanwhile, have never concluded how the image formed. Accetta's newest research, to be published next year, focuses on the roots of the teeth and a wound on the left cheek, areas of the body that appear in considerable detail on the shroud but that one would not expect to find on a two-dimensional artist's rendering because the features are below the skin's surface. .... "As crazy as it all sounds, what kind of artist could have foreseen that if you wrapped a body in a sheet, you could have created characteristics that we can only see now with 20th-century technology?" ... [See also September's Shroud news and my post on my other blog, "Bogus: Shroud of Turin? #4" for more about Dr Accetta and his nuclear radiance theory.]

"We have then the matter of the cloth's fate after 1204 when according to the Crusader, `neither Greek nor Frenchman knew what became of it.' [de Clari, R., "The Conquest of Constantinople," McNeal, E.H., transl., Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1936] This is the most mysterious period of all. But whoever came to possess it would seem to have possessed vast wealth, or otherwise they would have sold such a valuable relic; also they must have had some motive for keeping it secretly to themselves. To me the prime suspects seem to have been the Order of Knights Templar, who had a great veneration for the Holy Sepulchre, and built for themselves vast fortresses so heavily guarded that they became the banks of Europe, and so mysterious that rumours began to circulate of secret Templar ceremonies at which some great relic was venerated, a relic which had the appearance of the face of an unidentified bearded man upon a panel. In 1307 the rumours were all that were needed to give the King of France the excuse to lay his hands on Templar wealth by arresting every member of the Order, not without a struggle, a struggle in which the mysterious `idol' the Templars were accused of possessing certainly disappeared. Just one clue survives to the appearance of the last Templar `idol,' a clue found in the tiny village of Templecombe in England, once the home of a Templar preceptory. During the demolition of a cottage outhouse in the 1950's there came to light this oak panel painting ..., undoubtedly Templar, answering exactly the documentary descriptions of the `idol' and with the uncanny appearance of being a copy of the face on the Shroud. If the Shroud was indeed the idol possessed by the Templars, one further clue survives as to it's fate. In 1314 two of the last Templar dignitaries were brought out to be burnt at the stake, proclaiming to the last their innocence ....

[Right: The burning of Templar leaders Jacques de Molay (and Geoffrey de Charney)]

One was the Order's Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, the other the Order's Master of Normandy, Geoffrey de Charny. We do not know definitely if there was a family relationship between Geoffrey de Charny the Templar and Geoffrey I de Charny of Lirey, first known owner of the Shroud. But the likelihood is there." [It has since been discovered (see Wikipedia references) that "Geoffrey I de Charny of Lirey" was in fact a nephew of "Geoffrey de Charny the Templar"] (Wilson, I., "The Shroud's History Before the 14th Century," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, 1977, pp.47-48).

Posted 29 October 2007. Updated 20 April 2024.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Shroud News - September 2007

Here, belatedly is my Shroud news for September (see also issues Aug-07 & Jul-07). I should be more up-to-date

[Above: Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, Tesla Memorial Society of New York (see below).]

now that I have, at last, completed my paper, "A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin," and have sent it off for peer-review!

"Shining a light on the Shroud of Turin," OCRegister, Kari Wilkinson, September 6, 2007 ... Fifteen years ago when Sharon Subia of Westminster was referred to Dr. August Accetta as an obstetrical patient, she didn't know that she was about to witness a life-changing event. ...

[Left: Dr. August Accetta and a life-size negative photo (with its positive image) of the Shroud, OCRegister]

Accetta shared with her that for the past few years he'd been studying the Shroud of Turin. The shroud is a linen cloth with the image of a man who some believe is Jesus. Despite more than a century of scientific research, its origin remains a mystery and is a subject of debate. "At the time, he was a fallen-away Catholic," Subia said. "He began studying it from a scientific point of view to disprove it. The more he studied, the more he became enthusiastic in his faith." Every month she saw him, he had new information. Then after years of research and collecting information, images and articles, Accetta was brought back to the Catholic Church by the shroud. "I was overwhelmed by the amount of scientific support for the shroud," said Accetta, of Huntington Beach. ... Throughout the years following the birth of Subia's daughter, their paths kept crossing. In 1996, she returned to Accetta for her ninth child. By that time, he was a changed man. "It affected my life," he said. .... That same year, Accetta opened the Shroud Center of Southern California, a nonprofit scientific research and exhibition center. In 2004, Subia became a docent at the center. The Shroud Center, which originally opened in Huntington Beach in 1996 and relocated to Fountain Valley in 2002, is one of few of its kind in the nation. ... The purpose of the center is to conduct scientific research on the origin of the shroud and to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the image through its exhibits. Accetta, who also owns a medical practice and laser center in Huntington Beach, focuses on nuclear imaging research to better understand how the image was created. Exhibits at the center include a full-size 14-foot replica of the shroud and an image similar to a film negative that displays it in more detail. Also exhibited are photos, maps, enlarged views of pollen and radiographic studies, 3-D evidence, and historical and scriptural references. About 300 to 500 people pass through the center each year. ... [An example of how the Shroud, or rather the image on it, can bring sceptics into a vital personal relationship with Christ. See also my blog post on Dr Accetta, i.e. his "allowing himself to be injected with a radioactive dye and then xrayed" to show that they image on the Shroud has characteristics of an x-ray.]

The Michelangelo Frescoes of the Sistine Chapel Contain Divinely- Encoded Images of the Shroud of Turin, Christian NewsWire, September 13, 2007 ... RALEIGH, NC. ...

[Right: The Last Judgment fresco, Cistine Chapel, Michelangelo, Wikipedia]

A new discovery reveals a "mystery" never before seen. Investigative researcher Philip E. Dayvault, of Raleigh, NC, found in 2003 that the famed Sistine Chapel Ceiling fresco, painted by Michelangelo in 1512 and located at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, is also painted in allegory. Although the central panels of the Ceiling, or "historicals", are illustrated for literal interpretation, they also contain unique symbolic expression. Once decoded, Dayvault discovered that this expression graphically depicts the Shroud of Turin, in full and complete order. .... In addition, Dayvault, through a "divinely-inspired" discovery in 2003, found that the Last Judgment fresco, also painted by Michelangelo in 1541, and a portion of the Chapel Ceiling remarkably portray the encoded Face of the Man of the Shroud, including its distinctive features. ... [Since the Shroud was exhibited at Vercelli, Italy in 1494, and then located at Chambery, France from 1502-1537, which was not far from the Italian border, there is no reason in principle why Michelangelo could not have seen the Shroud, and based his Sistine Chapel frescoes (painted between 1508-1512) on it. But whether he did so, is another matter. I await with interest more details on this. However, I cannot see how it would make any difference to the question of the authenticity, or otherwise, of the Turin Shroud.]

Barrie Schwortz: The man who saw the Shroud, Manila Bulletin, September 22, 2007 ...

[Left: Barrie M. Schwortz with Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini (former Archbishop of Turin and Shroud custodian).]

In 1978 ... the Savoy family under King Umberto II - commissioned a team of international experts to conduct the first in-depth scientific examination of the artifact. Part of that group consisted of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc., (STURP), a team of American scientists and researchers who spent over two years preparing a series of tests aimed to gather a vast amount of Shroud data. The whole process was documented by a man named Barrie Schwortz. Schwortz, who graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in 1971, admitted that he was hesitant to accept the task. In the earliest stages of my involvement, I wondered whether someone raised as an Orthodox Jew should be a part of such a `Christian' project," Schwortz narrated. ... Schwortz has remained active in Shroud of Turin research. He is the editor and publisher of the internationally recognized website, http://www.shroud.com/, a leading resource on the topic. Schwortz's initial impression of the Shroud was that it was a painting. "Based on the modest amount of information available before 1978, I expected to get to Turin, take one look at the Shroud, see the brush strokes, and come home," Schwortz admitted. ... In 1978, the STURP team spent 120 hours with the Shroud of Turin, performing all possible scientific tests with the technology available at the ... "We came to Turin, to find out how the image on the Shroud was formed," Schwortz noted. "But here we are, 30 years later, and we can tell you that it's not a painting, a photograph, a scorching nor a dust formation. But the mechanism by which the image was formed has still not been determined." The accumulation of empirical data on the Shroud of Turin has led Schwortz to believe the cloth is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. "There is no singular evidence that can prove the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. But we have only one existing documentation of a man who was scourged, speared, crowned with thorns, and crucified, and that is the Passion of Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Bible," explained Schwortz. ... [Some Shroud anti- authenticity `sceptics (so-called) like to employ the ad hominem tactic of depicting those who regard the Shroud as authentic, as doing so because they are Christians. But as then Ph.D candidate, now writer, Danusha V. Goska pointed out (see `tagline' quote below), apart from the fact that most Christians are indifferent to the Shroud, a non-religious Jew like Barrie Schwortz, based on "The accumulation of empirical data... believe[s] the cloth is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus" (my emphasis)!]

"I wanted to see if self-identified sceptics who had debunked the Shroud had addressed questions like mine. A Google search lead me to Joe Nickell. He says that those who see anything worth studying in the Shroud are `Shroud partisans' and `good Catholics' or `the faithful.' Well, that's what we English teachers call `ad hominem.' In these instances, Nickell is trying to make his case not by adducing evidence to support his point of view, but by discrediting the person of those with whom he disagrees. And then there's the problem of Nickell's accuracy - `the faithful' don't, for the most part, accept the Shroud. Most Christians I have met have barely even heard of it. I was never told of it in Catholic school; I have never heard it mentioned in a Catholic church. I know about it because the research that scientists did on it gained attention in the secular media. Barrie Schwortz runs a website on the Shroud ... Is Barrie Schwortz, as Nickell alleges, a `partisan Catholic' who came into this research believing in the Shroud? Below is Mr. Schwortz's self-description.
In the earliest stages of my involvement, I wondered whether someone raised as an Orthodox Jew should be a part of such a `Christian' project I am still Jewish, yet I believe the Shroud of Turin is the cloth that wrapped the man Jesus after he was crucified. That is not meant as a religious statement, but one based on my privileged position of direct involvement with many of the serious Shroud researchers in the world, and a thorough knowledge of the scientific data, unclouded by media exaggeration and hype (Shroud.com)."

(Goska, D.V., "The Shroud of Turin???," 11 April 2007).

Posted 9 October 2007. Updated 25 June 2023.