Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin #1

About a week ago I received the hardcopy of the December 2007 "Shroud Newsletter" of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSST)

[Left: Electron micrograph of a Gundelia tournefortii pollen grain from the Max Frei collection, Prof. Avinoam Danin.]

containing my paper, "A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin."

That last link is to a PDF of my paper which has now been webbed, along with that latest BSST newsletter, on Barrie Schwortz' Shroud.com. It is actually the full word-processed manuscript I submitted, converted to PDF, whereas the hardcopy version in the Newsletter has been slightly abbreviated. I will later blog in my January Shroud News about the new items on Barrie's site, including those in the BSST Newsletter.

However, now I will comment on my own paper (its words bold), expanding on my reasonings in a way that I could not in the paper itself, given the space constraints within the BSST Newsletter (my thanks to Mark Guscin its editor, for the generous allocation of space he did give my paper).


A major area of Shroud of Turin studies over the past half-century has been radiocarbon-dating the Shroud's linen ... A potentially major new line of research ... is radiocarbon-dating the pollen of the Shroud of Turin. On 23 May 2007, I emailed a leading sindonologist, "Early this morning, while still in bed half-asleep, the thought came to me, Why not radiocarbon date the [Shroud's] pollen?" By then I had read a lot of Shroud books and articles on carbon-dating the Shroud's linen, but it suddenly occurred to me that I had not read anything about carrying out the same dating test on the Shroud's pollen. After all, pollen is just another part of a plant as the flax that linen is made from, and therefore it contains the same carbon, including carbon-14. I found out from this and other Shroud experts that I later emailed that, while the idea had occurred to some in the Shroud pro-authenticity community, it apparently had never been publicly proposed.

One reason given was that it was thought that too many of the precious pollen grains would have to be destroyed in the process and it had not been realised that advances in AMS radiocarbon dating had made dating of single pollen grains possible (see below). Another reason may be that in science it is often that an outsider first thinks of a new approach, or first takes it seriously enough to publicly propose it, because it is `outside the box' of what researchers in that field are concentrating on.

I received confirmation that my proposal was sound when I later found that the idea of radiocarbon-dating the Shroud's pollen, as a check on the 1988 linen dating, had briefly been mentioned in the mainstream scientific literature:

"Microgram level 14C soot studies have already been successful in Greenland snow; and pollen studies hold great promise for ice core dating, and perhaps even for dating the pollen found by Max Frei on the Turin Shroud. ... An important measurement issue for ice core pollen relates to the amount needed for a given dating precision. To give a rough estimate: assuming 50 ng carbon per pollen grain, a pollen age of 2000 years, and 5% Poisson imprecision (s ~ 400 years); one would need to collect about 100 pollen grains. This might be accomplished in a few hours, using the `hand picking' microscope technique ... Molecular dating" of the pure cellulose fraction of the Shroud, or of the associated pollen, could furnish an interesting consistency test for the published radiocarbon date. It would be especially interesting to put a `time stamp' on pollen whose point of origin has already been ascribed to a location 10 km to 20 km east and west of Jerusalem ... . Such measurements are made feasible by the reduction of requisite sample sizes by a factor of ten or more, from what AMS 14C dating required sixteen years ago. The question of noncontemporaneous fiber from 16th Century repairs, for example, could be addressed by new 14C measurements on just 100 mg of fibers (~50, 1 cm linen fibers) from the main part of the Shroud. The expected standard uncertainty would be equivalent to approximately 120 radiocarbon years ..." (Currie, L.A., "The remarkable metrological history of radiocarbon dating [II] ," Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Vol. 109, No. 2, March 1, 2004. PDF).

Advantages of radiocarbon-dating the Shroud's pollen

Pollen is less subject to contamination than linen. ... pollen has a non-porous external shell or exine comprised of a tough organic polymer, sporopollenin, which ... is one of the most decay- and chemical-resistant substances known. ... This makes pollen extremely resistant to degradation by microorganisms ... This is a major advantage of carbon-dating pollen compared with linen. The fundamental assumption of carbon-dating is that what is being dated is the original carbon that was present when the plant or animal died, and not extraneous carbon that has subsequently entered the sample.

However, because linen is very porous, and comprised of multiple spiral microfibrils, like a rope, it is easily contaminated by microorganism and difficult to remove by pretreatment, without destroying the sample. By contrast, pollen's outer shell or exine (which is what is usually meant by "pollen" in this context-the soft pollen interior or intine, usually decomposes rapidly, leaving only the exine), is extremely non-porous, and therefore largely free from contamination. And because the exine is very hard and chemical-resistant, it can be subjected to far stronger pretreatments to remove what little contamination there is, without destroying the sample. The likelihood is therefore very high that the carbon that is dated is only what was there when the pollen grain's parent plant died (i.e. in the case of linen the flax was harvested).

Pollen is richer in carbon than linen. The carbon content of pollen's sporopollenin-rich exine is about 90% compared to about 50% ... of ... flax. This is a bonus because pollen grains are extremely tiny, as can be seen by the less than 5 µm (5 micrometres, or 5 thousandth of a millimetre) diameter of a Gundelia tournefortii pollen grain, which is one of the larger pollens!

The accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method ... can accurately date ... single pollen grains. This technological advance is what makes radiocarbon-dating the pollen of the Shroud feasible, at least in principle.

Pollen contains geographic information. Pollen grains vary in size, shape and surface features ... unique to the genus or species of its parent plant. Therefore, those ... which are native to a particular region can indicate where the Shroud has been. >This is the basis of forensic palynology. A cloth picks up pollen from its environment and if it travels through a series of different botanical regions, as is proposed of the Shroud by Ian Wilson's Eddessa Cloth-Shroud theory (see part #2), pollens from plants unique to those regions should document a historical record of that cloth's journey.

... Frei identified 57 different kinds of plants from pollen samples he had collected from the Shroud ... native to Palestine, Turkey, as well Europe. ... all Frei's identifications were accurate at the genus level. ... While species level identification would be better, genus-level identification should still be sufficient, especially considering overall assemblage of non-European pollen genera on the Shroud, to decisively test Wilson's theory.

It is here assumed that only Shroud pollen grains in the Max Frei collection will be radiocarbon-dated, at least initially ... permission of the Pope or the Archbishop of Turin is not required. It is simplest to first test the pollen in the Frei collection because it is private property and because pollen in that collection has been identified and confirmed to at least the genus level.

Less objection to destructive testing of the Shroud's pollen. This is a practical advantage of carbon-dating the Shroud's pollen compared with its linen. The Shroud itself is regarded by the Roman Catholic church as a holy relic, irrespective of whether it is authentic, so it seems unlikely that the Church would ever agree again to destructive testing of the Shroud's linen. But that the Shroud's pollen has little or no theological significance to the Church is evident that it allowed Max Frei, a private citizen and a Protestant, to collect pollen from the Shroud and keep it in his private collection.

... Moreover, there seems to be abundant pollen grains on the Shroud. There seems to be more than enough pollen, not only in the Frei collection, but also on the Shroud itself, for completely testing every different pollen type. It should therefore be possible, in the longer term, to fully test Wilson's theory, if necessary.

Pollen from different parts of the Shroud can be tested. Initially it is proposed that only one grain of pollen of one type be dated at a time (see part #2), so this is a longer-term advantage. But because the 1988 dating of the Shroud's linen was from only one location, and it seems unlikely that there will be any further destructive tests of the Shroud's linen (see above), future carbon-datings of pollen grains of the same type from different locations of the Shroud will be inherently more representative of the whole, and therefore more scientifically valid, than that single-location dating of the Shroud's linen. Therefore, if there is a significant difference between the carbon-dates of the Shroud's linen and its pollen, the latter should prevail over the former.

Continued in part #2.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

TSoT: Bibliography "R"

This is the Bibliography "R" page for authors' surnames beginning with "R" of books

[Right: Cover of, "The Holy Shroud" (1981), by the late Msgr. Giulio Ricci, founding president of the Rome Center for Sindonology. See PS and `tagline' quotes below (bold emphases mine, italics emphases original) which are all from this book.]

that I will probably refer to in my book outline, "The Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus?"

© Stephen E. Jones



Ricci, G., 1978, "The Way of the Cross in the Light of the Holy Shroud," [1975], Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, Second edition, Reprinted, 1982.
Ricci, G., 1981, "The Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI.
Ricci, G., 1982, "Guide to the Photographic Exhibit of the Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI.
Rinaldi, P.M., 1978, "The Man in the Shroud," [1972], Futura: London, Revised.
Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN.

PS: See Ricci's evidence below, which I cannot recall having heard of, that the length of the Shroud of Turin today, "4.36 ... metres ... or 14 feet 3.8 inches", less a piece at the foot of the Shroud of "about 40 cm. (15.76 inches) cut off by the Emperor Baldwin II in 1247" equals the "eight feet," in "the old Norman foot of 29.7 cm. (or 11.69 inches)", that an Irish pilgrim named Arculfus in AD670 measured "the sacred napkin which was placed upon the head [and the body]' of the Lord in the Sepulchre," which "corresponded to 2.376 metres (7 feet 9.6 inches), a measurement which can be doubled to 4.752 metres (15 feet 7.2 inches)." That is, the Shroud today is 4.36m, which when adding 0.40m cut off in AD1247, equals 4.76 metres, which in turn agrees with "4.752 metres", being Arculfus' AD670 measurement, in the then old Norman foot, of what seems to be the Shroud, folded in two.

Also, "by adding the frontal and dorsal imprints" of the image on the Shroud" "204+208"cm , then "dividing by two, and subtracting 25 cm ... for the soles of the feet" is 181cm. This agrees with the "180 cm." "which was the height of the life-size [i.e. "the height of Jesus"] cross," the now lost "crux mensuralis ... of Justinian (527-565)."

These are two additional lines of evidence that the Shroud of Turin is in fact the very burial sheet of Christ!

Shroud: Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

"Thus, once we have, for obvious reasons, excluded direct testimony to the presence of the Holy Shroud in the Middle East in the first centuries, our research is limited to indirect sources. They would be those found in the apocryphal books which, though they are not on the level of revealed faith, have unquestionable historical value as religious literature, often being written for teaching purposes. They are from the first three centuries and in them the Holy Shroud is spoken of as a sheet which covered the body of the Lord `like a gown', and was handed down by the Lord Himself to the servant of the priest [Apoc. Gospel of St Matthew] - an action which, according to Fr. Vaccari, is equivalent to an account of transmission. The `gown' had othonia, i.e. thin linen fibres [Acts of Philip]. There is a veiled reproach from Annas and Caiphas against Joseph of Arimathea for having used a new shroud (which was prohibited by Jewish custom) for this criminal. [Acts of Pilate]" (Ricci, 1981, p.xxv. Greek transliterated).

"During the first century the belief was growing that on the day of the final resurrection bodies would be dressed in their burial garments. Because of this, the abuse of covering dead bodies with expensive and splendid decorations was replacing the use of a plain shroud. ... The use of a plain shroud for burial was current among Jews before the Christian era. It is mentioned in the Book of Adam and Eve (Vita Adae et Evae), written by a Jew before the end of the first century B.C. The book relates that on the death of Eve the Archangel Michael instructed Seth to do what the angels had done for the bodies of Adam and Abel, i.e. wrap the body in a plain shroud. He then `commanded that from that time until the day of resurrection, all the dead should be prepared in this way'. At the end of the first and again of the second centuries, there were two returns to the original Jewish custom of the plain shroud as used at the time of the Lord. The first was under Rabbi Gamaliel II, the grandson of St. Paul's teacher, who stipulated that on his death he was to be buried in a plain shroud, and this example was followed by all the people. The same thing took place, for the same reasons, under Rabbi Judah I, the grandson of Gamaliel II, who succeeded in bringing back the early Jewish custom." (Ricci, 1981, pp.xxv-xxvi).

"The Christian or Judaeo-Christian apocryphal sources also frequently contain such references. They are more valuable since, in spite of their predominantly literary worth, they reveal a connection with the true Shroud which leads one to think of an intentional implied reference to the true relic which, in the seething Judaeo-Christian atmosphere of the times, would never have been approved of or tolerated if it had been discovered, since whoever owned it would have found himself seriously opposed by Mosaic law concerning legal purity and the cult of images. [Lv 11:25] The apocryphal sources of `The Death of Joseph the Carpenter' tell of the Lord Himself who, on the death of Joseph, washed the body and anointed it with spices, then ordered two angels to cover it with a `shroud of fine weaving'. When the chiefs of the city were ready to carry out the burial rites, according to Jewish custom, they found the body wrapped in a shroud which had no opening and was closed like a tunic with no seam. St. John also, according to one of the apocryphal accounts - that of `The Acts of the Apostles' - was buried in a simple manner, wrapped in a shroud. [Apoc. Acts of the Apostles] There is also the moving story of the death of St. Philip who, on the eve of his crucifixion, instructed one of his disciples: `Take my body and wrap it in papyrus, and not in linen material as the body of the Lord was wrapped in the shroud'". [Acta Philippi 143, Lipsius Bonnet, pt. II, vol. II, p. 83]" (Ricci, 1981, pp.xxvi-xxvii).

"`The Gospel of Nicodemus', originally written in Aramaic by a Jewish Christian almost immediately after the death of the Lord, is a most moving document. It tells of an apparition of the Lord to Joseph of Arimathea, when Jesus says: `I am Jesus, whose body you requested from Pilate and dressed in a clean shroud. On my head you placed a sudarium and laid me in the tomb ....' And Nicodemus says to Jesus: `Show me the place where you were buried'. Jesus, pointing to the place where they buried Him, `showed me the shroud in which I wrapped him and the sudarium which I placed on his head'." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxvii).

"The `shroud of fine weaving' used as a garment, and its material, linen, are features mentioned in these documents of the first three centuries, features which are not found in the Gospel narratives, but which match the Shroud preserved at Turin." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxvii).

"We are in Jerusalem around 348 A.D. The faithful throng the Rotunda, as the basilica built over the Holy Sepulchre was called. The Easter liturgy is taking place and St. Cyril [of Jerusalem c.315-386] is giving one of his splendid catechetical homilies. In order to understand this, it is necessary to explain the architecture of the basilica as it was then. Eusebius, an eye-witness, tells us that in order to carry out the plan of construction, it was necessary to destroy the first cave, in front of the sepulchre, thus leaving isolated the red rock with white veins which was shaped like a hillock; this enclosed the Holy Sepulchre, which was thus left open for all to see in its wonderful simplicity. In front of the humble square opening at which St. John bent to see the cloths lying on the ledge in the tomb, dug out of the rock and standing isolated lay the round stone moved aside by the Angel. This was the Holy Sepulchre that St. Cyril showed to his listeners as testimony of the resurrection of Christ. But he also added a list of burial clothes as evidence - shroud, bandages and sudarium - as objects well-known to his listeners, in no way different from the red rock flecked with white or the funerary niche or the round stone removed by the angel on the day of the resurrection, which was still in situ and indicated by the orator to his attentive listeners." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxix).

"It is in this period [AD 670] that we find an explicit testimony to the veneration and cult of the Holy Shroud. The text of Adamnanus, speaking of Arculfus, is clear on this point: `Among the multitude of the faithful who kissed it, he himself kissed it at the assembly of the Church'. (Chap. XI) `It was held with great devotion and venerated by all the people'. (Ibid.)" (Ricci, 1981, pp.xxxi-xxxii).

"The existence of a shroud `bearing a figure' in the community at Jerusalem, recorded in the sixth and seventh centuries, provides us with evidence of two unusual kinds of research, eye-witness accounts of which have survived to the present day. The first of these concerned the calculation and recording of the longitudinal measurement of the imprints in order to work out the height of Christ; this research was carried out at the request of the Emperor Justinian. The second investigation, however, limited itself to the measurement of the length of the shroud itself, and was carried out by Arculfus, a pilgrim to Jerusalem in 670. He specifically mentioned the `bigger' shroud, `which bore the figure of the Lord'." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxii).

"The testimony of Arculfus would be of greater value if one could ascertain the archaeological accuracy of the passage in which he says: `There exists (naturally in Jerusalem) a large church in honour of the Holy Sudarium of the Lord, which was put on his head and body in the tomb ....' (8) Now in this church, says Arculfus (chap. X of the book of Adamnanus, a Benedictine monk), `the Sudarium (that is `shroud', as the French referred to it) was kept in a casket (in scrinio), wrapped in another sheet. One day, our brother Arculfus (the author is still Adamnanus) saw it being exposed after it had been removed from the casket. He watched it being held up ('elevatum vidit'), and in the multitude of people kissing it, he also, in the midst of the assembly of the faithful, kissed it and measured its length [eight feet] ... (Ricci, 1981, pp.xxxi-xxxii. Ellipses original).

"Evidence to the fact that a shroud bearing a figure was kept in Constantinople ... dates from the year 1092, when the Emperor Alexis asked Robert, Count of Flanders, to take Constantinople, rather than let it fall into the hands of the pagans, since in that city were kept very precious relics of the Lord, including His burial clothes found in the sepulchre after His resurrection. A second piece of evidence dates from 1147, when the Shroud was exposed for the veneration of Louis VII, King of France." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxv).

"Again in 1157, the Abbot of Thingeyrar, Nicholas Samudarson, lists the Shroud among the relics then venerated at Constantinople: `there is the stone that was under the head of the Lord in the tomb, the bendages, the shroud and the blood of Christ'. In 1171, Amauri, King of Jerusalem, came to Constantinople to venerate the Shroud, and King Emmanuel Comnenus personally showed it to the distinguished guest." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxv).

"The description of Robert de Clary is also well-known. In 1203, he saw the Shroud exposed each Friday in the church of the monastery of Saint Mary of Blaquerne. It was exposed in such a way that both the front and back could be seen, leading us to believe that, since the Shroud was very long, it was shown folded in two so that it could be seen more easily." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxv).

"Today it appears quite easy to establish up to what time the Shroud remained in Constantinople. It was certainly still there in 1247, for in that year Baldwin II sent his cousin Louis IX of France a part of the Shroud (partem Sudaria). This generous off-cut, which was certainly done out of devotion by the cousin of the King of France, explains the considerable difference between the present length of the Shroud and that reported by Bishop Arculfus in Jerusalem (see below), whilst the measurements obtained in Jerusalem by Justinian's envoys, to calculate the height of the Lord, the accuracy of which measurements can today be checked and verified to the nearest centimetre on the Holy Shroud venerated in Turin, show how necessary it is to examine carefully the various pieces of evidence handed down over the centuries, in order to put into relief the salient points, supported by internal evidence, which are useful in establishing both the transmission of the object and its authenticity." (Ricci, 1981, pp.xxxv-xxxvi).

"The history of the handing down of the Holy Shroud should not be so much looked for in archives and in the silence of the early centuries - a silence which is frequently justified by the fact that Christological doctrine was still being developed, as well as by the persecutions and also by Jewish prejudices over legal impurity -, but rather in the Shroud itself: mainly in the extraordinary imprints, but also in the unfortunate mutilations (not only that of Baldwin II). As we see it today, it has clearly been cut across the whole width on the front side, immediately under the imprint of the feet, and a small piece (14 x 8 cm., or 5 1/2 x 3 inches) has been added on the left; on the back a strip (36 x 8 cm., or 14 x 3 inches) has been added on the lower left side." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxvi).

"Let us return for a moment to Constantinople in order to ascertain the final period in which the Holy Shroud was found there. The year 1261 marked the end of Latin rule in Constantinople and the year 1346 the fall of Smyrna, following a crusade in which Geoffrey I of Charney, Count of Lirey, took part as oriflamme-bearer. Geoffrey I would appear to have become the legitimate owner of the Shroud, having been presented with it by William de Toucy after the victory at Smyrna, as affirmed by his son Geoffrey II and grand-daughter Marguerite." (Ricci, 1981, pp.xxxvi-xxxvii. Typo "1436" corrected).

"In June 1353, Geoffrey I of Charny presented the Shroud to the chapter of canons which he himself had founded at Lirey near the city of Troyes. A few years later this same Geoffrey, after his liberation from English captivity, had fulfilled a vow to build the collegiate church of Lirey, and it was here that the Shroud was placed." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxvii).

"In 1453, the Shroud was handed over by Marguerite of Charny, by deed of notary (after obtaining the Brief of Assent from the Pope), to Anne of Lusignan, wife of Duke Louis of Savoy, in exchange for the use of and revenue from Castle of Mirabel and its estate. On the 22nd of March of that year the Shroud was transferred to Chambéry." (Ricci, 1981, p.xxxvii).

"A curious premise, but one which is not merely a curiosity, concerns the surplus length of this shroud. The present length is 4.36 x 1.12 metres (or 14 feet 3.8 inches x 3 feet 8.1 inches). Until 1247 it was said to be considerably longer: indeed, in that year the Emperor Baldwin II sent from Constantinople to his cousin Louis IX of France `a part of the Shroud which was wrapped round His body in the tomb' ... [De Breul, P., "Theatre des antiquites de Paris," Paris, 1639, p.135] Of this relic, a part was divided into small portions and sent to various churches and monasteries, and a part remained in Paris where it was placed in the Sainte Chapelle. Bergier speaks of this relic as `a large off-cut of winding-sheet' ... [Bergier, "Plan de la Theologie," Besançon, 1831]; this can also be inferred from the expression `part of the Shroud' ('partem Syndonis'), which is different from the normal expression `from the Shroud' ('ex Sindone') used for the tiny pieces which were the more usual relics." (Ricci, 1981, p.7).

"In connection with this we should remember the measurement of the Shroud carried out by Arculfus in Jerusalem in 670, when the `larger shroud' ('linteum maius') which bore the image of the Lord was `eight feet' in length. Today, with the information supplied by Arculfus, we can gain a fairly precise idea of this measurement. Arculfus also had the happy idea of measuring the ledge in the Holy Sepulchre, one of the few things still intact today. It measures 2.02 metres (or 6 feet 7.5 inches); Arculfus personally measured it as 7 feet, and thus his foot would be equivalent to 29 cm. (or 11.36 inches), corresponding to the ancient Roman foot. It is possible to conjecture on a second measurement of the Holy Sepulchre by excluding the marble covering which did not exist at the time of Arculfus, who said that he saw the rock out of which the cave was dug, still with the marks of the chisel. By taking as a unit of measurement the old Norman foot of 29.7 cm. (or 11.69 inches), we will have a ledge in the Sepulchre which is 2.079 metres (6 feet 9.9 inches) long, or about 8 cm. (3.15 inches) bigger. This, I think, is the measurement which gets closest to the actual length of the ledge as it was in the 7th century." (Ricci, 1981, pp.7-9).

"Thus, estimating a foot as 29.7 cm. (11.69 inches), if Arculfus were to measure the Holy Shroud today, he would say that one and a half feet were missing from the measurement he carried out in 670: this would be the about 40 cm. (15.76 inches) cut off by the Emperor Baldwin II in 1247. Eight feet, in fact, corresponded to 2.376 metres (7 feet 9.6 inches), a measurement which can be doubled to 4.752 metres (15 feet 7.2 inches), since because of its exceptional length the Shroud was obviously exposed for the veneration of the faithful folded in two, as was later done in Constantinople. The several centimetres' difference between the two calculations is unimportant considering the fact, obviously not foreseen by Arculfus, of the future cutting of the Shroud. The apparent difference between the present measurement and that of Arculfus, in fact, becomes a proof that the relic existing in Jerusalem in 670 was the same as the one kept at present in Turin, after it had been kept in Constantinople. The principal and most convincing proof of this is provided by the off-cut taken by Baldwin II." (Ricci, 1981, p.9).

"If we add to this the information given by Procopius about the life-size cross (crux mensuralis) of Justinian (527-565), a silver gilt cross made `to the shape of the body of Christ' ('ad formam corporis Christi') according to measurements taken by persons entrusted by him whom he sent to Jerusalem to measure the height of Jesus, we have a further proof. In fact, only from the figure impressed on the Holy Shroud, measured by adding the frontal and dorsal imprints, dividing by two, and subtracting 25 cm. (9.84 inches) for the soles of the feet, could they obtain the 180 cm. (5 feet 10.9 inches) which was the height of the life-size cross venerated in Constantinople, of which we have the size, scaled down, in the report of a pilgrim, made before its disappearance from the treasury of St. Sophia. [Pluteus, XXV, ms. 3, Laur., Florence] The same result can be obtained today by measuring in the same way the two imprints on the Holy Shroud: 204+208:2-25=181. These two proofs, which follow from a simple examination of the internal evidence, stir our curiosity, but also provide us with documentation of a span of fourteen centuries on the disputed problem of the handing down of the object in question." (Ricci, 1981, pp.9-10).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Shroud News - December 2007

I have only been able to find two separate items of Shroud News for December 2007. Previous Shroud News' were: Nov-07, Oct-2007, Sep-07, Aug-07 & Jul-07.

"Shroud of Turin Preservation Society Created," Christian Newswire, BOCA RATON, Fla., Dec. 12 [2007]... Christ's burial

[Above (click to enlarge): Reecy Aresty (left) holding a life-sized photograph of the Shroud, ChristOnTheShroud.com]

cloth to be preserved for future generations. Reecy Aresty, President and CEO of Christ on the Shroud, Inc., is proud to announce the creation of the Shroud of Turin Preservation Society. Aresty expects his new website, ChristOnTheShroud.com, to generate sufficient revenues to help preserve the Shroud for future generations. The Shroud, believed by millions to be the cloth that covered Jesus Christ's crucified body when he was laid in his tomb, remains the most controversial and emotional ambiguity in history. A noted collector of ancient Roman silver coins and medieval documents, Aresty is making unique and exceedingly rare photographs of this ancient relic available to all. ... Reecy is available for media interviews and welcomes the opportunity to share his intriguing photos and his role in the greatest story ever told. ...
"Many see the face of Jesus: Boca Raton man creates society to help preserve Shroud of Turin, Boca Raton News December 25th, 2007, Dale M. King ...The Shroud of Turin is a mystical, enigmatic and controversial piece of linen. Millions believe it to be the cloth that covered Jesus Christ's crucified body when he was laid in his tomb. Others feel it's a forgery created during the Middle Ages when organized religion was in turmoil. Still, few can argue that the image does not resemble the visage of a person physically traumatized in a manner consistent with crucifixion. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. ... Coincidentally, Aresty is Jewish. But he noted that virtually all religions perceive Jesus Christ as a major religious figure, if not a savior, then perhaps a prophet. He feels the cloth is of interest to all. ... [That Aresty, who like Barrie Schwortz, is Jewish, shows that one can believe in the authenticity of the Shroud, on the basis of the scientific and historical evidence, without being a Christian.]

"No plans for public display of Shroud of Turin," Catholic World

[Left: Cardinal Poletto opening the last (2000) exhibition of the Shroud, Shroud.com]

News, Turin, Dec. 20, 2007 ... Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin, Italy, does not plan to organize a public display of the Shroud of Turin in 2011, the KAI news agency reports. The Shroud, which is carefully conserved in Turin, is rarely available for public viewing; it was displayed only 5 times during the 20th century. In the latest regular public showing, more than 2.4 million pilgrims viewed the Shroud between April and August 1998. The Turin archdiocese organized a special showing for the Jubilee year, and another 1 million people attended that display between August and October 2000. Some observers had speculated that the archdiocese would put the Shroud on exhibit in 2011, the year that marks the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. But Cardinal Poletto has reportedly rebuffed those suggestions, citing his desire not to mix religion and politics. There are no current plans to put the Shroud of Turin on public display before the year 2025. [Further confirmation of the story, "Public expo of Holy Shroud a fabrication, says Archbishop of Turin," in November's Shroud News. This is disappointing for me personally, as I will be 79 in 2025! But if the Shroud's pollen is radiocarbon-dated and its non-European pollen, like Gundelia tournefortii, dates from the 1st-6th century AD, then any plans to exhibit the Shroud later might be brought forward?]

PS: I only have two Shroud `tagline' quotes that I scanned in December, and have not already posted.

[Right: "A Doctor at Calvary" (1953), by the late Dr. Pierre Barbet, Amazon.com]

They were from the last chapter, "The Corporal Passion of Jesus Christ: A Meditation," of a classic book on the Shroud, "A Doctor at Calvary" (1953), by the late Dr. Pierre Barbet, Chief Surgeon and Professor of Anatomy at St. Joseph's Hospital in Paris. Dr. Barbet was a pioneer in establishing the forensic accuracy of the image on the Shroud. I had sent those two quotes to a Christian friend, with my comments:

Thinking about the Shroud of Turin has drawn me closer to the Lord. If it is Jesus' burial cloth, then the suffering He endured (for my sake) is much worse than depicted in Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. Dr Pierre Barbet, who first investigated in depth the forensic pathology aspects of the Shroud victim's wounds, despite him being an army surgeon in France during World War II and thereafter a surgeon at a major Paris hospital, in the end had to stop thinking about the Shroud victim's sufferings because he found he was increasingly sharing in those sufferings.

On thinking about this again, the following verses occurred to me (my emphasis bold):

Luke 9:23: "Then he said to them all: `If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"

Philippians 2:5-8: "... Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!"

Acts 2:23: "This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross."

Revelation 13:8: "... [Jesus] the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."

Hebrews 2:3: "how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?"

Posted 2 January 2008. Updated 121 October 2021.

"Besides, when a surgeon has meditated on the sufferings of the Passion, when he has worked out its timing and its physiological circumstances, when he has methodically set himself to reconstruct all the stages of that martyrdom of a night and a day, he can, more than the most eloquent preacher, more than the most saintly ascetics (apart from those to whom was granted a direct vision, and who were overwhelmed by it), as it were share in the sufferings of Christ. I can assure you of a dreadful thing, I have reached a point when I no longer dare to think of them. No doubt this is cowardice, but I hold that one must either have heroic virtue or else fail to understand; that one must either be a saint or else irresponsible, in order to do the Way of the Cross. I no longer can." (Barbet, P., "A Doctor at Calvary," [1953], Image Books: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1963, p.187. Emphasis original).

"And now, reader, let us thank God Who has given me the strength to write this to the end, though not without tears! All these horrible pains that we have lived in Him, were foreseen by Him all through His life; He premeditated them and willed them, out of His love, so that He might redeem us from our sins. ... He directed the whole of His passion, without avoiding one torture, accepting the physiological consequences, without being dominated by them. He died when and how and because He willed it. ... O Jesus, You Who had no pity on Yourself, You Who are God, have pity on me who am a sinner." (Barbet, 1953, pp.206-207. Emphasis original)