Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Shroud of Turin News, March 2021

© Stephen E. Jones[1]

[Previous: February 2021] [Next: April 2021]

This is the March 2021 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated. The article's words are bold to distinguish them from mine.

"Shroud of Turin: Evidence of Jesus' Resurrection?," Simply Catholic, Father Robert Spitzer [Right[2]], 31 March 2021

The Shroud of Turin is a burial shroud (a linen cloth woven in a 3-over-1 [3:1] herringbone pattern) measuring 14 feet 3 inches in length by 3 feet 7 inches in width. These are "before 1998" measurements - over 20 years ago. The more exact 1998 dimensions of the Shroud are 437 x 111 cms, or 14 ft 4 in. x 3 ft 8 in. See 10Jul15. But see my post of 08Apr20 that "the Shroud's two long sides [are] 441.5 and 434.5 cms (average 438 cms = 14 ft 4 in.) and the two short sides [are] 113.0 and 113.7 cms (average 113.35 cms = 3 ft 9 in.)."

It apparently covered a man who suffered the wounds of

[Left (enlarge): "Anatomy of the Shroud"[3], showing wounds and bloodstains on the Shroud man's image which match the Gospels' accounts of the beatings (Mt 26:67-68; 27:30; Lk 22:64; Jn 18:22; 19:3), scourging (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Lk 23:16; Jn 19:1), crowned with thorns (Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2,5), crucifixion (Mt 27:35,38,44; Mk 15:24-27,32; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:16-18), death (Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37,39; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30), legs not broken (Jn 19:32-33), speared in the side (Jn 19:34) of Jesus. See 09Sep20]

crucifixion in a way very similar to that recorded for Jesus of Nazareth. Spitzer is a philosopher and this is `hedging his bets' philosopher-speak. The Shroudman's wounds of crucifixion are not merely "very similar" to that recorded for Jesus in the Gospels. They are identical to them (see above)! Otherwise the Shroudman couldn't have been Jesus.

The cloth has a certifiable history from 1349, when it surfaced in Lirey, France, in the hands of a French nobleman — Geoffrey de Charny. It is interesting that Spitzer says that Geoffroy I de Charny (c.1300-56) had the Shroud in 1349. Because that is the year that I worked out he had it [see "1349c"], and as far as I am aware, nowhere else in Shroud literature does it appear!

It also has a somewhat sketchy traceable history from Jerusalem to Lirey — through Edessa, Turkey and Constantinople. This history is confirmed by the pollen grains found by Max Frei, ... I haven't posted recently on

[Right (Enlarge): Max Frei taking sticky tape samples of dust and pollen from the Shroud in 1978, with STURP's Ray Rogers (1927–2005) looking on[4]]

Max Frei (1913-83) and his pollen evidence for the Shroud's journey from Jerusalem through Turkey to France. See 06Apr13, 22Aug14, 16May15, 08Oct16 & 05Jun18.

... the coincidences between the Shroud and the Sudarium (facecloth) of Oviedo, ... According to Wikipedia:

"The Sudarium of Oviedo ... is a bloodstained [and lung fluid stained] piece of [linen] cloth measuring c. 84 x 53 cm (33 x 21 inches) kept in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo, Spain. ... The Sudarium (Latin for sweat cloth) is thought to be the [face] cloth [soudarion] that was wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after he died as described in John 20:6-7 ... the cloth has a definite history extending back to approximately 570 AD"[5]
The Sudarium's ordinariness (it has no image), indeed its repulsivess, is itself evidence that the Sudarium was preserved by Jesus' disciples after His death because they knew it was the the "face cloth [soudarion] that had been on Jesus’ head" (Jn 20:7):

[Above (enlarge)[6]: The Sudarium of Oviedo. Why would anyone bother to preserve from Christianity's earliest centuries such an ordinary, grubby, blood and lung fluid stained, piece of linen, unless it was known to be "the face cloth [Gk. soudarion] that had been on Jesus' head" (Jn 20:7)?] [16Sep19].

There is a perfect match between the bloodstains on the Sudarium and the Shroud:

"... the Oviedo cloth ... Although it bears no photograph-like `body' image in the manner of the Shroud ... its `blood and body fluid' stains exhibit shapes so strikingly similar to those on the Shroud that there has to be the strongest likelihood that both were in contact with the same corpse. Two groups of stains particularly indicate this. The first are what I would call the nasal stains [see "Central Stains" below], which appear to derive from a nose and mouth soaked in bloody fluids ... Forensic analysis indicates that they consist of one part blood and six parts pulmonary oedema fluid. This finding is therefore strikingly consistent with the strong body of medical opinion that the man of the Shroud's lungs would have filled with fluid caused by the scourging. They are also very compatible with gospel writer John's observation that at the conclusion of Jesus' crucifixion `immediately there came out blood and water' (John 19:34), as from the same oedematous fluid, when a lance was plunged into Jesus' chest. In the case of the Oviedo cloth's back-of-the-head group of bloodstains, if these are photographed to the same scale as their equivalent on the Shroud, and then matched up to each other, there are again enough similarities to indicate ... `that these two cloths were in contact with the same wounded body'"[7].

[Above (enlarge)[8]: The major blood and lung fluid stains on the Sudarium are mirror images along the major folds. As Dr Pierre Barbet (1884–1961) asked of the missing thumbs on the Shroud: "Could a forger have imagined this?"[9].]

"The most striking thing about all the stains is that they coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud ... The length of the nose which produced this stain has been calculated at eight centimetres, just over three inches, which is exactly the same as the length of the nose on the Shroud ... This, however, is not the only point of coincidence between the nasal areas on the two cloths. Both of them, especially the Shroud, contain a high concentration of ground particles and dust in this area. When a man was being led to the place of crucifixion, he had to carry the horizontal bar of the cross, which was probably tied to his outstretched arms and placed across the back of his neck. This meant that whenever he fell, which would have been often after being whipped and with such a weight to carry, he could not protect his face from the impact of the fall. This also explains why this nose was swollen, slightly displaced and bleeding. Perhaps the most obvious fit when the stains on the sudarium are placed over the image of the face on the Shroud, is that of the beard; the match is perfect"[10].

[Above (enlarge)[11]: Perfect match of bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo (which has been in Spain since at least AD 840) and the Shroud, proving that they once covered the head of the same crucifixion victim - Jesus!]

See 08Aug07, 08Dec09, 28Jul12, 25May16, 08May18, 19May19a, 16Sep19 & 17Apr10

As I wrote in 2015, the Sudarium and the Shroud are a `two factor authentication' which proves that they are both authentic!:
"The large number of close similarities between the bloodstains on the Sudarium and the Shroud is a `two factor authentication' which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the Shroud and the Sudarium are authentic. The Sudarium is known to have entered Spain in the 7th century, so the already superhuman medieval forger would have had to forge both the Shroud and Sudarium no later than the 7th century!"[9May15]
See also 23Jun15 & 19May19b.

... and the coincidences between the Shroud's seven unique facial features and those attributed to the Mandylion — the Holy Image of Edessa. I am not familiar

[Above enlarge): "Mosaic face of Jesus, sixth century. Fragment from an unidentified location in Sanliurfa (ancient Christian Edessa)" Higher quality photo received from Ian Wilson[12]. Image of Edessa experts Ian Wilson and Mark Guscin (author of "The Image of Edessa"), dated this mosaic to the sixth century, making it "the earliest known ... depiction" of the Image of Edessa, and it was found in what was ancient Edessa[13]!]

with Spitzer's "seven unique facial features" shared by the Shroud and the Image of Edessa/Mandylion, i.e. the Shroud "four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon). So I will here present the shared features between the Shroud and the above earliest surviving copy of the Image of Edessa. These include:

[Above (enlarge). Comparison between the Sanliurfa mosaic (left)[extract from [12] above] and the Shroud face (right)[14]].

• Frontality. The artistic style in which the person or god portrayed looks directly full face toward the front[15]. • Shoulder length hair parted in the middle[16]. • Reversed 3, or epsilon (ε), bloodstain on the forehead (see below)[17]. • Wide

[Above (enlarge): The stepped pattern of dark and light tile gaps on the Sanliurfa mosaic, within a red circle, which correspond to the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud face (below)].

[Above (enlarge): The reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroudman's forehead[18].]

staring eyes[19].• Swollen cheeks[20]. • Displaced nose and enlarged left nostril (see below) (appears right because of mirror-reversal - see 06Ap13 & 17Dec19)[21].• Gap between nose and moustache[22].• Forked beard[23].

[Above (enlarge). Comparison between the nose and mouth area of the Sanliurfa mosaic (left) [extract from above] and the Shroud face (right)[24]. Note their shared displaced nose and enlarged left nostril! This alone, and it isn't alone, is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the face-only Image of Edessa, was the face of the Shroudman!].

In support of my claim that the Sanliurfa mosaic depicts the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud: • This is, as far as I am aware, new, and both Wilson[25] and Guscin[26] have replied that they cannot see the depiction. • The mosaic is small, only 6 x 8 inches (~150 x ~200 mm)[27]. By my calculations the height of the forehead area is only 1.25 inches (32 mm). There are 5 horizontal rows of tiles, so each tile is an average of 0.25 inches (6.4 mm) high. Again by my calculations the height of the corresponding forehead of the man on the Shroud is 7.8 inches (198 mm). So the mosaic artist was working at about 1.25/7.8 = 0.16 = 4/25 = ~1/6th scale. These limitations should be borne in mind when assessing the accuracy of the depiction. • The two

[Above (enlarge). Closeup comparison between my claimed reversed 3 on the Sanliurfa mosaic (left) [extract from [12] above] and the reversed 3 bloodstain on Shroud face (right) [extract from [18] above]. The longer horizontal distance near the top is due to the limitation of height available. I will number the 5 rows of forehead mosaic tiles from row 1 at the top, descending to row 5 at the bottom, above the eyebrow.].

largest and darkest vertical gaps are rows 5 and 4, above where the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud meets the left eyebrow (apparent right because of mirror reversal). • The next largest and darkest gap is at the top, row 1, where the reversed 3 bloodstain would have begun (now flaked off on the Shroud with only a faint trace remaining). • The artist added an irregular tile in row 2 to create the gap, when he didn't need to. • To the right of these two darker gaps, between rows 5 and 4, there is a darker horizontal gap, corresponding to a short rightward track of the reversed 3 bloodstain. • Then above and to the right of those two largest bottom gaps there is a stepped horizontal gap between rows 3 and 2 which is darker than those on either side of it. • These darker gaps around these two tiles on rows 4 and 3 form a reversed 3! • Then above and to the right of that darker gap between rows 3 and 2, up to the top large gap between rows 2 and 1, there is no gap, which corresponds to an area of flaked off blood on the Shroud. • By my count, on the forehead of the Sanliurfa mosaic there are 16 tiles in row 1, 15 tiles in row 2, 13 tiles in row 3, 7 tiles in row 4 and 11 tiles in row 5. Therefore the probability that by chance there just happens to be a configuration of tiles on the forehead of the Sanliurfa mosaic which resembles the reversed 3 in the same position on the Shroudman's forehead would seem to be: 1/16 x 1/15 x 1/13 x 1/7 x 1/11 = 1/240,240!

Shroud anti-authenticists and many, if not most, pro-authenticists, won't be convinced. But to me this is as good as it gets! And is further evidence that the Image of Edessa was the Shroud "four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon) - see my "Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin". The artist need not have been highly skilled. As Wilson pointed out, this mosaic is "the sole survivor of the no doubt many hundreds of similar mosaics ... that had once proudly embellished Edessa's dozens of Christian churches"[28]. I don't regard it as my responsibility to convince anyone. All I can do is present the evidence as I see it and leave it up to my readers to make up their own minds. To those who are not convinced but agree with me that the reversed 3 bloodstain was there, prominently on the Image of Edessa/Shroud face, my question is, "why should the 6th century sculptor of the Sanliurfa mosaic not have depicted it?"

Later Byzantine artists who painted the Image of Edessa/Mandylion did depict the reversed 3 bloodstain, but as a tuft of hair[29]. That was because the official 6th century Edessan explanation of how Jesus' face came to be imprinted on the Image of Edessa, was that Jesus in life had dried His face on a towel handed to him by Ananias, a servant of Edessa's King Abgar V (r. 4BC~AD50), and when Abgar saw Jesus' face on the the towel the king was healed of an incurable disease[30] [see "50"]. So the artist who created the Sanliurfa mosaic, along with other Edessan artists, would have been inhibited from depicting the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Image of Edessa/Shroud face too realistically.

I will end my comments on the article here.

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission 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 title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. "Robert Spitzer (priest)," Wikipedia, 23 January 2021. [return]
3. Weaver, K.F., 1980, "Science Seeks to Solve ... The Mystery of the Shroud," National Geographic, Vol. 157, June, pp.736-737. [return]
4. Schwortz, B.M., 2020, "The 1978 Scientific Examination," Shroud.com, 5 April. [return]
5. "Sudarium of Oviedo," Wikipedia, 31 March 2021. [return]
6. Schiffer, K., 2019, "The Sudarium of Oviedo: The `Other Shroud' of Jesus," National Catholic Register, 18 April. [return]
7. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.78. [return]
8. Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, pl. 18. [return]
9. Barbet, P., 1953, "A Doctor at Calvary," Image Books: Garden CityNY, Reprinted, 1963, p.119. [return]
10. Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, pp.26-29). [return]
11. Bennett, 2001, p.122. [return]
12. Wilson, I., 2021a, Email "RE: Reversed 3 bloodstain on forehead of Image of Edessa Sanliurfa mosaic?" 8 May 2:35 pm, to S.E. Jones. [return]
13. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.2. [return]
14. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Horizontal, rotated right 90 degrees," Sindonology.org. [return]
15. Whanger, A.D., 1987, "Whanger's 1986 summary," Shroud News, No. 40, April, p.12; Wilson, 2010, pp.132, 135. [return]
16. Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, p.33; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.124. [return]
17. Morgan, R.H., 1980, "Perpetual Miracle: Secrets of the Holy Shroud of Turin by an Eye Witness," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia, pp.107-108; Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.171; Wilson, 2010, p.35. [return]
18. Extract from Latendresse, 2010. [return]
19. Borkan, M., 1995, "Ecce Homo?: Science and the Authenticity of the Turin Shroud," Vertices, Duke University, Vol. X, No. 2, Winter, pp.18-51, 34; Antonacci, 2000, p.124. [return]
20. Wuenschel, E.A., 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, p.58; Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.116; Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, p.85; Morgan, 1980, p.115; Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY, p.77; Antonacci, 2000, p.124; Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.250; Wilson, 2010, p.143. [return]
21. Reference(s) to be provided. [return]
22. Reference(s) to be provided. [return]
23. Reference(s) to be provided. [return]
24. Extract from Latendresse, 2010, "Shroud Scope." [return]
25. Wilson, I., 2021b, Email "Re: Reversed 3 bloodstain on forehead of Image of Edessa Sanliurfa mosaic?" 8 May, 10:01 am, to S.E. Jones. [return]
26. Guscin, M., 2021, Email "Re: Reversed 3 bloodstain on forehead of Image of Edessa Sanliurfa mosaic?" 8 May, 4:04 pm, to S.E. Jones. [return]
27. Wilson, 2010, p.2. [return]
28. Ibid. [return]
29. Morgan, R., 1986, "The Holy Shroud and the Earliest Paintings of Christ," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia, p.121; Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.192; Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, p.29; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.101. [return]
30. Currer-Briggs, N., 1984, "The Holy Grail and the Shroud of Christ: The Quest Renewed," ARA Publications: Maulden UK, p.18; Drews, 1984, p.33; Currer-Briggs, N., 1988, "The Shroud and the Grail: A Modern Quest for the True Grail," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, p.70; Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.132; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.104-105; 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, pp.54-55; Guerrera, 2001, pp.1-2, [return]

Posted 27 April 2021. Updated 5 October 2023.


Anonymous said...

Concerning the epsilon mark: why wouldn't the mosaic's artist have used sections of red tile to depict this mark? Red tiles were used on the nose and mouth to represent the blood visible in those locations on the face.

Stephen E. Jones said...


>Concerning the epsilon mark: why wouldn't the mosaic's artist have used sections of red tile to depict this mark?

Byzantine artists were reluctant to depict the Shroudman's blood as red. They usually depicted the epsilon bloodflow as locks of hair, not coloured red.

>Red tiles were used on the nose and mouth to represent the blood visible in those locations on the face.

Those red areas around the nose and mouth on the mosaic are not bloodstains on the Shroud. See my Comparison between the Sanliurfa mosaic (left) ... and the Shroud face (right). Those red areas seem to be where the artist needed contrast.

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 current post can be on any one Shroud-related topic without being off-topic. To avoid time-wasting debate (2Tim 2:23; Titus 3:9), I normally allow only one comment per individual under each one of my posts. I reserve the right to respond to any comment as a separate blog post.