Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shroud of Turin News - June 2015

Shroud of Turin News - June 2015
© Stephen E. Jones

[Previous: May 2015] [Next: July 2015]

This is the June 2015 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. I will add excerpts from Shroud-related news articles to this post, latest uppermost, with my comments in [bold]. There will usually be overlap, e.g. excerpts from May and even April Shroud articles in this June issue. See the April 2015 issue for more information about this re-started series.

"How did the Turin Shroud get its image?," BBC, Philip Ball, 19 June 2015.
"Join the Turin crowd: Head for northern Italy this summer as an industrial duckling of a city reveals itself in its very finest colours," Daily Mail, Jenny Coad, 19 May 2015.
"Hazlett: Seeing Shroud of Turin a life-changing experience," Susan Hazlett, Pantagraph.com, May 16, 2015.
"Why Shroud of Turin's Secrets Continue to Elude Science," Frank Viviano, National Geographic, April 17, 2015.

"How did the Turin Shroud get its image?," BBC, Philip Ball, 19 June 2015. On Sunday, Pope Francis will "venerate" the famous Shroud of

[Right (enlarge): The Shroud as viewed by the public at the 2015 exposition.]

Turin, which is thought by some to be the burial wrapping of Jesus Christ - and by others to be a medieval fake. Whatever it is, it's a mystery how the cloth came to bear the image of a man. [This is a significant admission because Philip Ball is a former editor of Nature, the same science journal which in 1989 claimed that radiocarbon had provided "conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval. ... AD 1260-1390. But such an admission is not new for Ball. In 2005 he wrote:

"And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status. It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made. It does not seem to have been painted, at least with any known historical pigments." (Ball, P., 2005, "To know a veil," Nature news, 28 January. My emphasis)
And in 2008, Ball admitted:
"It's fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling." (Ball, P., 2008, "Material witness: Shrouded in mystery," Nature Materials, Vol. 7, No. 5, May, p.349. My emphasis).]
... In a carefully worded announcement, the Archbishop of Turin says that the Pope "confirms the devotion to the shroud that millions of pilgrims recognise as a sign of the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord". You'll notice that this says nothing about its authenticity. The Catholic Church takes no official position on that, stating only that it is a matter for scientific investigation. [As I have stated previously:
"... it is duplicitous, i.e. two-faced, of the Vatican to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic. By its actions of spending the equivalent of tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars preserving the Shroud and exhibiting it to millions of people as though it is authentic, the Vatican clearly does believe that the Shroud is authentic, so it should say so. Shroud anti-authenticists cite the Vatican's refusal to state that the Shroud is authentic as evidence that it is not. I am not being anti-Catholic in this, I am being pro-truth!"]
Ever since radiocarbon dating in 1989 proclaimed the 14ft by 4ft piece of linen to be roughly 700 years old, the Church has avoided claiming that it is anything more than an "icon" of Christian devotion. [An "icon," in Roman Catholic theology is merely a humanly created representation of the real thing:
"ICON ... from the Greek eikon meaning image, is a word now generally applied to paintings of sacred subjects or scenes from sacred histories" ("Icon," New Catholic Encyclopedia 2003. My emphasis)
as opposed to "relic" which is the real thing:
"RELICS The material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, as well as objects sanctified by contact with his body." ("Relics," New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2003)
So by continuing to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic, and in fact calling the Shroud a mere "icon," the Vatican is effectively claiming that the Shroud is a fake!] But regardless of the continuing arguments about its age ... the Shroud of Turin is a deeply puzzling object. [If the Shroud were a fake, it would not be "a deeply puzzling object" after 117 years of intensive study by modern science (see below). Therefore the Shroud is not a fake, but authentic!]Studies in 1978 by an international team of experts - the Shroud of Turin Research Project (Sturp) - delivered no clear explanation of how the cloth came to bear the faint imprint of a bearded man apparently bearing the wounds of crucifixion. [See below that STURP was inhibited by the dominant scientific philosophy of Naturalism (`nature is all there is, there is no supernatural') from stating the obvious, that the Shroud is Jesus' burial Shroud and the simplest explanation of its image is that it was formed by Jesus' resurrection.]There's no shortage of hypotheses. Some suggest that the image came about through natural processes; some impute considerable ingenuity to medieval forgers of relics; others invoke wondrous physical processes associated with the Resurrection. But do any have any merit? 1. It's a painting If this were true, it should be possible to identify the pigments used by chemical analysis, just as conservators can do for the paintings of Old Masters. But the Sturp team found no evidence of any pigments or dyes on the cloth in sufficient amounts to explain the image. Nor are there any signs of it being rendered in brush strokes. [So the Shroud image is not a painting. This already is a major blow to any forgery theory, because the most likely way that a medieval or earlier forger would have created the Shroud image is by painting it. Why would he go to all the trouble of a hot or cold statue/bas relief, or hanging a dead body in the sun in a camera obscura room, etc, etc, when the simplest and easiest way to forge a front and back image of Jesus' dead body would have been to paint it? It also means that the major argument by Shroud sceptics is false, that Bishop Pierre d'Arcis' claim in his 1389 memorandum, that the Shroud "had been cunningly painted" and that his predecessor, Bishop Henri de Poitiers, had discovered "the artist who had painted it."]In fact the image on the linen is barely visible to the naked eye, and wasn't identified at all until 1898, when it became apparent in the negative image of a photograph taken by Secondo Pia, an amateur Italian photographer. [This is not strictly true. The image had always been identifiable, as it is today (e.g. in the above photograph), but not with the realistic clarity that Secondo Pia 1898 negative photograph revealed.]The faint coloration of the flax fibres isn't caused by any darker substance being laid on top or infused into them - it's the very material of the fibres themselves that has darkened. And in contrast to most dyeing or painting methods, the colouring cannot be dissolved, bleached or altered by most standard chemical agents. [This fact drastically reduces the claimed medieval forgery methods to a physical (not chemical) process that selectively darkened individual flax fibres, to a uniform depth of "less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual fiber" (see below).] The Sturp group asserted that the image is the real form of a "scourged, crucified man… not the product of an artist". There are genuine bloodstains on the cloth, and we even know the blood group (AB, if you're interested). There are traces of human DNA too, although it is badly degraded. [Ball is right about the Shroud blood being "genuine" with the "blood group ... AB" but the "traces of human DNA" could have come from anyone who had handled the Shroud down through the centuries. That the Shroud man's blood is genuine, is another major constraint on medieval or earlier forgery theories.]That didn't prevent the American independent chemical and microscopy consultant, Walter McCrone, who collaborated with the Sturp team, from asserting that the red stains attributed to blood were in fact very tiny particles of the red pigment iron oxide, or red ochre. Like just about every other aspect of the shroud, McCrone's evidence is disputed; few now credit it. [McCrone found some paint particles on STURP sticky tapes that been pressed on the Shroud. He then, unscientifically, extrapolated from those paint particles to the whole image. But STURP later showed that the particles McCrone found do not comprise the image but were probably from later artists pressing their copies of the Shroud into the Shroud to `sanctify' them. This was explained to McCrone but he unscientifically and self-deludedly simply refused to accept it.]Another idea is that the image is a kind of rubbing made from a bas-relief statue, or perhaps imprinted by singeing the fabric while it lay on top of such a bas-relief - but the physical and chemical features of the image don't support this. [There is nothing rubbed onto the Shroud that comprises it image. And, apart from the fact that singes and scorches fluoresce and the Shroud image doesn't, it is impossible, absent a computer-controlled laser, to singe or scorch a whole body image on linen to the uniform depth of "less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches)".] 2. It was made by a natural chemical process If the coloured imprint comes from the darkening of the cellulose fibres of the cloth, what might have caused it? One of the doyens of scientific testing of the shroud, Raymond Rogers of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, argued in 2002 that a simple chemical transformation could do the job. He suggested that even very moderate heat - perhaps 40C (104F) or so, a temperature that post-mortem physicians told him a dead body could briefly attain if the person died from hyperthermia or dehydration - could be enough to discolour the sugary carbohydrate compounds that might be found on the surface of cotton fibres. It doesn't take a miracle, Rogers insisted. This is a reassuringly mundane idea, but there is little evidence for it in this particular circumstance - it's not as if it happens all the time on funeral shrouds. [So much for Ray Rogers' Maillard reaction theory.] Another idea is that the discoloration of the fibres was caused by a chemical reaction with some substance that emanated from the body. The French biologist, Paul Vignon, proposed in the early 1900s that this substance might have been ammonia, produced by the breakdown of urea in sweat. That won't work, though: the image would be too blurry. [And so much for Vignon's vaporographic theory, which he himself gave up because the Shroud blood clots are intact and he couldn't think of a naturalistic explanation of how the Shroud could separate from the man's body without tearing the clots.] In 1982, biophysicist John DeSalvo suggested instead that the substance could be lactic acid from sweat. This compound is one of those responsible for so-called Volckringer images of plant leaves, left for years between the pages of a book: substances are exuded from the leaf and react with paper fibres to produce a dark, negative image. [Ball doesn't say why this is wrong, but the key is in the words "left for years." The "Volckringer effect takes time, perhaps decades. Jesus, however, was in the tomb for perhaps twenty-four to thirty-six hours." Also Ball's "it's not as if it happens all the time on funeral shrouds" applies also to deSalvo's Volckringer effect theory.] 3. It's a photograph Secondo Pia's photograph showed that the image on the cloth is a negative: dark where it should be bright. This deepens the mystery, and Pia himself casually suggested that the shroud could have been made by some primitive kind of photography. That idea has been inventively pursued by South African art historian Nicholas Allen, who argues that it could in principle have been achieved using materials and knowledge available to medieval scholars many centuries before genuine photography was invented. ... Allen's idea is a triumph of ingenuity over plausibility. [Other major problems of Allen's primitive photograph theory are: a) a body hung in the sun for days would obviously decompose but the Shroud image shows no sign of decomposition (which also is a problem for Rogers' Maillard reaction theory); b) Allen's image shows sunlight on his man's upper surfaces, but the Shroud image doesn't have them; c) being an albedo image it has no three-dimensional properties (as the Shroud image has); and d) Allen's method requires the blood to be applied after the image, but the blood on the Shroud was there before the image. This is also a refutation of hot statue/bas relief theories.] 4. It was made by some kind of energy release According to an international team of scientists and other interested folk called the Yahoo Shroud Science Group, hypotheses about the genesis of the shroud "involving the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth cannot be rejected". Among them, the group members write, "are hypotheses correlated to an energy source coming from the enveloped or wrapped Man, [and] others correlated to surface electrostatic discharges caused by an electric field". Since these hypotheses appear to invoke processes unknown to science, which presumably occur during a return from the dead, it's technically true that science can't disprove them - nor really say anything about them at all. [So "science," defined as fully naturalistic, would prefer the least worst but false naturalistic explanation for the Shroud's image than the true supernaturalistic explanation!] Some, however, are not deterred by that. Italian chemist Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua has proposed that the image might have been burnt into the upper layers of the cloth by a burst of "radiant energy" - bright light, ultraviolet light, X-rays or streams of fundamental particles - emanating from the body itself. Fanti cites the account of Christ's Transfiguration, witnessed by Peter, John and James and recounted in Luke 9:29: "As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning." [See below. I didn't realise (or remember) that Fanti had himself cited the Transfiguration as evidence that the Shroud image was caused by light from Jesus' resurrection, as I do.] This is, to put it mildly, rather circumstantial evidence. [Ball should be honest and admit that as a Philosophical Naturalist, he personally cannot accept light from Jesus' resurrection as an explanation for the Shroud image, even if it were true!] But Fanti suggests we might at least test whether artificial sources of such radiation can produce a similar result on linen. According to Raymond Rogers, all kinds of pseudoscientific theories have been put forward that invoke some mysterious radiation, which not only made the image itself but distorted the radiocarbon dating. In general they start from the notion that the shroud must be genuine and work backwards from that goal, he said. [The boot is on the other foot. It is the Philosophical Naturalists like Rogers (or if he was a Christian, Methodological Naturalists) who start with Naturalism's premise that `nature is all there is - there is no supernatural' (or Methodological Naturalism's premise that God only, ever works through natural processes), and work backward from that.] Little has changed in the decade and more since Rogers made this complaint. But still it has to be said that the piece of cloth Pope Francis will venerate is genuinely and stubbornly perplexing. How old is the Shroud of Turin? In 1989 it looked for a moment as though the link between the Turin Shroud and the burial of Christ was finally broken. Three independent teams of scientists had been given scraps of the linen, which they analysed using radiocarbon dating - a technique that uses the decay of a natural, radioactive form of carbon to figure out how long ago a once-living sample ceased to be alive (and thus in this case when the cloth was made from plant fibres). The verdict: the shroud dates from between about 1260 and 1390. It was a medieval item. But almost at once, objections were raised. Some argued that the samples tested had come from later additions to the original cloth. Others said that the radiocarbon "clock" had been reset by a fire in the 16th Century that damaged parts of the shroud, or that the findings were distorted by the more recent growth of bacterial or fungal "biofilms" on the threads. The authors of the 1989 paper have discounted those possibilities, but the controversy won't die down. [They rightly "have discounted those possibilities" but that leaves my theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, allegedly Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick (see below) as the only viable theory to explain how the first century Shroud of Turin, had a radiocarbon date of "between about 1260 and 1390."] In 2013 Giulio Fanti described dating studies on the shroud using a non-standard method involving spectroscopy (absorption of light of different colours), which he says place the age instead between 300 BC and 400 AD: perfect for true believers. [Ball is not self-aware that he, and his ilk, are the real "true believers" in Naturalism and therefore in the Shroud's in-authenticity!] Unpacking the Shroud of Turin The first historical reference to the shroud was in 1357 in Lirey, France It was sold to the Duke of Savoy in the 15th Century. His descendant donated it to the Catholic Church in 1983 The 14ft-long cloth has survived a number of fires, the first in 1532 and the last in 1997 It has religious meaning to many Christians who see it as a reminder of Jesus' suffering Does it matter if the Shroud of Turin is fake? [It certainly matters if the Shroud is not a fake, and the image on it is Jesus, formed by His resurrection (which it is). Because that would mean Christianity is true (which it is) and Acts 17:30-31 would apply to "all people everywhere " (including Philip Ball):
"God ... now ... commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."] [top]

"Join the Turin crowd: Head for northern Italy this summer as an industrial duckling of a city reveals itself in its very finest colours," Daily Mail, Jenny Coad, 19 May 2015 ... Often seen as an industrial outpost, Turin is one of Italy's less loved cities ... This summer. the city's most famous relic, the Turin Shroud, is on show. Millions are making the pilgrimage to

[Left (enlarge): "... seeing it today, guarded by soldiers in plumed hats, is mind-boggling."]

Turin this summer to see the Holy Shroud, Pope Francis among them. The cloth, said to bear the imprint of Christ’s body after his Crucifixion, is on display in the city’s cathedral until June 24. ... Unsurprisingly, the queue to see the Shroud is long (at least two hours). ... In the Eighties, scientists dated it to between 1260 and 1390, suggesting it is a medieval forgery [They didn't only "suggest" it - they claimed it, and in Oxford's Prof. Hall's case, triumphantly:

"`There was a multi-million-pound business in making forgeries during the 14th century," he bluntly told a British Museum press conference. `Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it.' And again, `Some people may continue to fight for the authenticity of the shroud, like the Flat Earth Society, but this settles it all as far as we are concerned.'" ("Obituaries: Professor Edward Hall," The Independent, 16 August 2001)]
But just as "Pride goes before ... a fall" (Pr 16:18), so according to my theory, the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, allegedly Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick.] but Benedict XVI, Pope Francis’s predecessor, described it as an icon ‘written with the blood’ of a crucified man and said it represented ‘full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus’. [Of all the modern Popes, Benedict XVI (1927-) at the 2010 exposition, came the closest to confirming that the Shroud is authentic:
"Pope Benedict says Shroud of Turin authentic burial robe of Jesus," Christian Science Monitor, Nick Squires, May 3, 2010 ... Dismissing skeptics on Sunday when he visited the Shroud of Turin, Pope Benedict XVI said the burial cloth was none other than the same robe that once 'wrapped the remains' of Jesus Christ. Rome - In the centuries-old debate over the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday diverged from his predecessor and weighed in favor of those who believe that the burial robe once cloaked Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict described the shroud, which allegedly bears blood stains and the facial imprint of a long-haired, bearded man, as an icon that once `wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus.' ... Pope Benedict joins the ranks of those who believe the sepia-colored shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ ..." ]
It was first displayed in France in the 14th century and seeing it today, guarded by soldiers in plumed hats, is mind-boggling. Standing in the dark before the illuminated cloth, the crowd falls silent. [I have not yet seen the Shroud, but it is noteworthy the effect it has on modern people. Even nuclear physicist, Dr. then, Prof. now, Michael Tite, the British Museum coordinator of the 1988 radiocarbon dating, was clearly moved by the Shroud when he saw it, as he let slip in this interview:
"Chantal Dupont. What did you feel when you saw the Shroud? Dr. Tite. [long pause] - Ah! - [pause] I mean... it is a remarkable image. I never looked at it the way I look at paintings of Christ; that is just an aesthetic experience rather than religious. I was there to do a specific job. It is different when you are in an art gallery or in churches. I did not see it as an aesthetic experience. It's tied in with my work." ("An Interview with Dr. Michael Tite - by Chantal Dupont," BSTS Newsletter, No. 25 - April/May 1990.]
... Turin is often dismissed as an industrial city, but it is also very green, full of art and not as touristy as Italy’s other big hitters. And no other city claims to have in its midst such an important piece of cloth. [Not just "an important piece of cloth," but the most important cloth in the world. Indeed, the most important thing in the world. Because that cloth has on it, not only the image of Jesus, but His shed blood, which is the blood of God (Acts 20:28)!] ... [top]

"Hazlett: Seeing Shroud of Turin a life-changing experience," Susan Hazlett, Pantagraph.com, May 16, 2015. ... Five years ago I stood in line

[Above (enlarge): "Pilgrims stop by the Holy Shroud, the 14-foot-long linen revered by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, displayed at the Cathedral of Turin, in Turin, Italy, in April. The shroud will be on display until June 24: Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP" [i.e. Today!]]

in Turin, Italy, with thousands of other people waiting to get a five-minute glimpse of an ancient piece of cloth. That piece of cloth, blood-stained and mysterious, is known as the Shroud of Turin. It is believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, [The evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is "the burial cloth of Jesus Christ"!] and is on display again this month through June 24 in the northern city of Turin. [That is today!] The current event is only the sixth exhibition since the late 1800s. [According to Shroud.com's "Shroud History," there have been 7 previous Shroud expositions since 1898, including 2 which were televised only: 1898, 1931, 1933, 1973 (TV), 1978, 1998, 2000, 2013 (TV)] The debate about the cloth’s authenticity has not subsided over the years. Is it real or not? The fervor generated every time the cloth is displayed suggests many people believe it to be the genuine relic. [While this can be dismissed by sceptics, what other Roman Catholic relic generates such "fervor" among millions of 21st century people of all Christian persuasions (including evangelical Protestants like me) and even non-Christians?] In 2010, at the last special exhibition, I went with my daughter and parents to see it. What makes this oblong piece of linen so mysterious is an image of a crucified man. For hundreds of years, people who gazed at the cloth saw only the blood stains (still red, not darkened with age) and burn marks from a fire in 1532. With the naked eye, you can see the image of a long-haired, bearded man who has been severely beaten and crucified. You can see the marks on his hands and feet. It wasn’t until 1898, with the invention of photography, the reverse negative image was revealed. An Italian photographer, Secondo Pia, was given access to photograph the cloth. As he developed the negative plate, he was shocked to see the clear image of a man’s face staring back at him. He was so stunned, he almost dropped the negative. [See Secondo Pia's 1898 photo below] Critics say the image is a forgery, but no one has been able to explain how it was produced. [See below where the hypothetical forger would have to, in negative, "create a front and back image of a human body that is a uniform thickness of `less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual [flax] fiber'"!] Just 35 years ago, scientific tests revealed the image contains 3-D data, like a hologram, giving clues to the dimensions of the body [And encode "3-D data" when even true perspective was not used in art until the 15th century.]Many people believe the data was produced by some kind of radioactive experience. A resurrection maybe? [See John Jackson's "Cloth Collapse" theory, which comes closest to explaining all the major features of the Shroud image:

"We must assume that ... the Shroud initially covered a body shape, but, for some reason, that body did not impede the collapse of the Shroud during the time of image formation ... in the case of the Shroud image, the cloth did collapse into and through the underlying body structure. ... we must assume that the body became mechanically `transparent' to its physical surroundings and, second, that a stimulus was generated that recorded the passage of the cloth through the body region onto the cloth as an image. With regard to the latter assumption, it is unclear in an a priori sense what to assume for the physical nature of the stimulus. However, we at least know that it was able to interact physically with cloth; otherwise, image discolorations would not have been formed. I propose that, as the Shroud collapsed through the underlying body, radiation emitted from all points within that body discolored the cloth so as to produce the observed image. ... this assumption explains the superficiality of the Shroud image ..."
While Jackson does not use the word "resurrection," Jesus' "body became mechanically `transparent' to its physical surroundings" is what the effect of His bodily resurrection would have been to the Shroud over and around His body.] What startled me when I saw the cloth in person are the significant blood stains. Most crucifixes are modest portrayals of Christ’s death. But this cloth is covered in blood. This man, whoever he was, suffered greatly. Signs of flogging are evident as well as cuts on the crown of his head. [As one who has never seen the Shroud, I find this very interesting. Most accounts of seeing the Shroud, talk about the image. But to me the blood on the Shroud would be the most significant, since it actually is Jesus' blood! The very "precious blood of Christ" which "ransomed" me:
1Pet 1:18-19. 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.]
Since seeing the shroud, Easter has taken on new significance for me. We read about the cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body in all four Gospels. Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen wrapping (John 20:3-11). It’s kind of amazing to think that perhaps I may have laid eyes on that very fabric.[There is no "perhaps" about it. The writer Susan Hazlett, has "laid eyes on that very fabric"!] Several people from Central Illinois, including readers of this column, went to Turin in 2010. Many wrote to me about their experiences and one man, a criminal investigator, even painted a replica of the shroud’s “face” for me. Likewise, I’ve shared my own thoughts on our visit. It was dark inside the cathedral in Turin where the shroud was displayed; the only light came from the case holding the cloth. Standing nearby was a petite woman speaking into a microphone. In a soothing voice, she recited a prayer, over and over again. My Italian is not the greatest, so I asked a man standing next to me to interpret what she said. “Hope through suffering,” he said. “God’s love brings us through the darkest despair.” My family and I left the cathedral knowing we had seen something special. Real or not, the shroud tells the story of one man’s extreme agony. [Again, there is no "or not." The Shroud is "real" in the sense of genuine. So the Shroud "tells the story" not just "of one man’s extreme agony" but of Jesus' "extreme agony" (who was God come in human flesh (Mt 1:23; Jn 1:1,14; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; Php 2:5-6; Col 2:9; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2Pet 1:1; 1Jn 5:20) and for our sakes became "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross":
Php 2:8. "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."]
And yet, the woman’s prayer told us that love carries us through our pain. The combination of the blood-stained cloth and the message of love made it a moving experience. In the years since, I’ve come across various news articles, still debating the validity of the shroud. For me, the authenticity no longer matters. [I disagree totally with this. If the Shroud were not authentic, it would be a monstrous fraud that would have duped millions of Christians (including me) down through the ages. And, as I have stated before, Jesus, who is ruling over all (Acts 10:36; Rom 9:5; Eph 1:21-22; Php 2:9), would not have allowed that to happen.] The impact of the lesson -- of experiencing hope through suffering -- is enough. [It might be "enough" for Ms Hazlett, "experiencing hope through" faked "suffering" but it would not be enough for me, who cares about truth. But the issue doesn't arise: the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic and not a forgery!]... [top]

"Why Shroud of Turin's Secrets Continue to Elude Science," Frank Viviano, National Geographic, April 17, 2015. As the venerated

[Right (enlarge): "Photograph by Francois LeDiascorn, Gamma-Rapho, Getty Images." This is Secondo Pia's 1898 negative photograph of the Shroud face. The Shroud man's features being photographically positive, showed that the Shroud image is a photographic negative-but photographic negatives were an "unknown unknown" until the early 19th century!]

relic goes on public exhibition, its origin remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. ... The 53-square-foot rectangle [The Shroud's dimensions are "437 cm long by 111 cm wide" which equates to ~52.2 sq. ft.] of linen known as the Shroud of Turin is one of the most sacred religious icons on Earth, venerated by millions of Christians as the actual burial garment of Jesus Christ [Not only "Christians." So strong is the evidence for the Shroud being "the actual burial garment of Jesus Christ" that Barrie Schwortz, the owner of the world's largest Shroud website, Shroud.com, is a non-Christian Jew. And Thomas de Wesselow, an agnostic art historian, was forced by the evidence to accept that the Shroud is authentic.]. It is also among the most fiercely debated subjects in contemporary science, an extraordinary mystery that has defied every effort at solution. [If the Shroud were a fake, modern science would have discovered that it was, in hours or at most days, let alone in "117 years" (see below). That the Shroud has "defied every effort at solution" by science to prove it is not authentic is "positive proof" that the Shroud is authentic:

"The fallacy of ... argument from ignorance ... is committed whenever it is argued that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false, or that it is false because it has not been proved true. ... A qualification should be made at this point. In some circumstances it can safely be assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence for it would have been discovered by qualified investigators. In such a case it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence." (Copi, I.M., 1986, "Introduction to Logic," pp.94-95. My emphasis)]
Over the 117 years since a photographic negative of the linen unexpectedly revealed the image of a tortured body, ranks of physicists and chemists have weighed in on the fabric's age and the image's composition. Forensic pathologists, microbiologists, and botanists have analyzed its bloodstains, along with specks of dirt and pollen on its surface. .... The sum result is a standoff, with researchers unable to dismiss the shroud entirely as a forgery, or prove that it is authentic. [See above. The failure of modern science to "dismiss the shroud ... as a forgery" is itself proof "that it is authentic":
"Of course, the proof here is not based on ignorance but on our knowledge that if it had occurred it would be known. For example, if a serious security investigation fails to unearth any evidence that Mr. X is a foreign agent, it would be wrong to conclude that their research has left us ignorant. It has rather established that Mr. X is not one. Failure to draw such conclusions is the other side of the bad coin of innuendo, as when one says of a man that there is `no proof' that he is a scoundrel. In some cases not to draw a conclusion is as much a breach of correct reasoning as it would be to draw a mistaken conclusion." (Copi, 1986, p.95. My emphasis)]
... On April 19, the shroud goes on public display at Turin's cathedral for seven weeks, its longest exhibition in modern history. To readers of the New Testament gospels, the mysterious man of the shroud evokes the slain Christ, complete with signs of scourging, crucifixion, and puncture wounds caused by a crown of thorns. [See my previous post where I list 17 features which are common to both the Gospels/New Testament and the Shroud. In one of them, the Sudarium of Oviedo, there is an "exact fit of the stains" on it "with the beard on the face" of the man on the Shroud, which means that the Sudarium of Oviedo, which has been in Spain since the early 7th century, is the "the face cloth [Gk. soudarion], which had been on Jesus' head" (Jn 20:7) in the empty tomb. This is a `two factor authentication' which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that both the Shroud and Sudarium are authentic.]... Scientific inquiry into the shroud began in 1898, with the startling image captured by Italian amateur photographer Secondo Pia. Under normal conditions, only the vague sepia blur of a human body appears on the fabric. But when Pia examined the reverse negative of his photographic plate in the darkroom, he discovered the detailed likeness of a bearded man with visible wounds on his body. [See above. Since even the concept of a photographic negative was ~5 centuries in his future, a 14th century or earlier forger, could not have forged the Shroud. Watch Thomas de Wesselow's video at https://vimeo.com/117793165 on this and other evidence of the Shroud's authenticity.] ... the U.S.-led Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) ... was granted an unprecedented five days of continuous access to the shroud itself in 1978. The project's 33 members ran the gamut of scientific disciplines, and their credentials included high-level posts at 20 major research institutions. They arrived in Turin with seven tons of equipment and worked in shifts 24 hours a day. ... Their analyses found no sign of artificial pigments. "The Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist," the project's 1981 report declared. [But then, as Shroud arch-sceptics Steven Schafersman and Joe Nickell admitted: "Either the shroud is authentic ... or it is a product of human artifice... `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No ...." So since the Shroud "is not the product of an artist" it must be authentic.]"The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin." But the report also conceded that no combination of "physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances" could adequately account for the image. The Shroud of Turin, the STURP team concluded, "remains now, as it has in the past, a mystery." [STURP here, "captive" (Col 2:8) to the dominant scientific philosophy, Naturalism, `nature is all there is, there is no supernatural,' was unable to state the obvious, that the Shroud is Jesus' burial Shroud and the simplest, Ockham's Razor, explanation is that its image was formed by Jesus' resurrection:
"Ockham's Razor again: Jesus is the only person of whom it is credibly claimed that He was resurrected. The Shroud of Turin is credibly claimed to be Jesus' burial shroud and it only has an image of a body that has wounds and bloodstains consistent with the Gospels' description of Jesus' suffering and death. The simplest explanation is that the Shroud of Turin is Jesus' burial shroud and the body image on it is Jesus' caused by His resurrection." (Jones, S.E., 2015, "Comment: `Gn-Go': Turin Shroud Dictionary," 13 June).]
The Carbon-14 Bombshell. In 1988, the Vatican authorized carbon-14 dating of the shroud. Small samples from a corner of its fabric were sent to labs at the University of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (RAU), the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. All three found that the shroud material dated to the years between 1260 and 1390, more than a millennium after the life and death of the historical Jesus. [Since: 1) the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that the Shroud is authentic, i.e. 1st century; 2) the probability of the Shroud being 1st century, yet having a radiocarbon date of 13th/14th century is "about one in a thousand trillion'"; 3) the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date must be the result of some type of fraud; 4) a form of fraud that was rife in the 1980s was computer hacking; and 5) there is much evidence that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, allegedly Arizona physicist, Timothy W. Linick.] ... Looming above all other issues is what physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro calls "the question of questions": how the image was produced, regardless of its age. Every scientific attempt to replicate it in a lab has failed. Its precise hue is highly unusual, and the color's penetration into the fabric is extremely thin, less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual fiber in a single 200-fiber linen thread. [This is the extreme superficiality of the Shroud image. Clearly no 14th century or earlier artist/forger could create a front and back image of a human body that is a uniform thickness of "less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual [flax] fiber."] Di Lazzaro and his colleagues at Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) conducted five years of experiments, using state-of-the-art excimer lasers to train short bursts of ultraviolet light on raw linen, in an effort to simulate the image's coloration. The ENEA team, which published its findings in 2011, came tantalizingly close to approximating the image's distinctive hue on a few square centimeters of fabric. But they were unable to match all the physical and chemical characteristics of the shroud image. Nor could they reproduce a whole human figure. ... The ultraviolet light necessary to do so "exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today," says Di Lazzaro. It would require "pulses having durations shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and intensities on the order of several billion watts." If the most advanced technologies available in the 21st century could not produce a facsimile of the shroud image, he reasons, how could it have been executed by a medieval forger? [It couldn't! So the medieval forgery theory is false.] For believers, the radiation thesis suggests that a "divine light" in the tomb might have seared the crucified form of Jesus Christ onto the shroud. [I agree with this. There is no evidence that Jesus' resurrection was a nuclear event, that produced a neutron flux. There is, however evidence, in The Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-2; Mk 9:2-3; Lk 9:28-29), where Jesus' "face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light," "his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them," that Jesus' resurrection (implied by Lk 9:30-31 where during The Transfiguration "Moses and Elijah ... appeared in glory and spoke of his [Jesus'] departure [Gk. exodus] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem") produced intense light which imprinted His image on the Shroud.] "One could look at hypotheses outside the realm of science, a sort of miracle," says Di Lazzaro. "But a miracle cannot be investigated by the scientific method." [ENEA, using "the scientific method," effectively demonstrated that "a miracle" occurred in the imprinting of the image of a "whole human figure," front and back, on the linen of the Shroud! And since the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud man is Jesus, ENEA, effectively demonstrated, by "the scientific method," the miracle of the Resurrection of Christ!] [top]

1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]

Created: 23 June 2015. Updated: 2 May 2021.


Anonymous said...

Do you really think that you know more than the Vatican ?

Stephen E. Jones said...


>Do you really think that you know more than the Vatican ?

It is not a question of knowing. I have always said that the Vatican, by its actions, shows that it believes the Shroud to be authentic.

It is a question of simply telling the truth. Which the Vatican is not doing regarding the Shroud's authenticity.

The result is that non-Christians like Philip Ball take the Vatican's failure to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic as evidence that it is not.

Stephen E. Jones
MY POLICIES Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. Except that comments under my latest post can be on any Shroud-related topic without being off-topic. I normally allow only one comment per individual under each one of my posts.

Anonymous said...

You have not answered my question.

Stephen E. Jones said...


>You have not answered my question.

Your question was an example of the "Loaded question" fallacy:

"Loaded question ... A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt). Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda. The traditional example is the question `Have you stopped beating your wife?' Whether the respondent answers yes or no, they will admit to having a wife and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed." ("Loaded question," Wikipedia, 15 June 2015).

I DID answer your question by pointing out that: "It is not a question of knowing. I have always said that the Vatican, by its actions, shows that it believes the Shroud to be authentic."

But you wanted to entrap me by requiring of me a simple `yes' or `no' answer to your fallacious question. If I had answered "yes, I do know more than the Vatican," you would rightly accuse me of arrogance.

But if I had answered, "no, I don't know more than the Vatican," you would rightly accuse me of ignorance. So I could not win if I had accepted the `have you stopped beating your wife?' terms of your question.

So I did not accept the fallacious terms of your question but answered truthfully what the real issue is: the Vatican knows the Shroud is authentic, but refuses to confirm or deny it. Presumably because (as I have written before) if the Vatican had to start confirming or denying which of its many claimed relics were authentic, it would have to admit that almost all of them were fakes.

You have had more than your normal "only one comment per individual under each one of my posts" (see my policies above) so this was your last comment under this post.

Stephen E. Jones
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