Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Shroud is consistent with the man being Jesus #35: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #35, "The Shroud is consistent with the man being Jesus," in my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!" For more information about this series, see the "Main index #1" and "Other marks and images #26." See also "The Shroud of Turin: 3. The Bible and the Shroud." Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Main index #1] [Previous: The Shroud is consistent with the Bible #34] [Next: The Shroud man and Jesus were beaten #36]

  1. The Bible and the Shroud #33
    1. The Shroud is consistent with the man being Jesus #35

The man on the Shroud is consistent with him being Jesus[2].

[Above (enlarge): "`Crucifixion,' sculpture in wood according to research carried out on the Holy Shroud" by Italian artist Giulio Ricci (1913-95)[3].]

Some of the parallels between the Gospel evidence and the Shroud evidence are summarised below in table form[4] (see a different table in part #34):

Gospel evidenceVersesShroud evidence
Jesus was repeatedly struck in the face.Mt 26:67-68; 27:30; Mk 12:4; 14:65; 15:19; Lk 22:63-64; Jn 18:22; 19:3The man has bruises and swellings around both eyes, both cheeks, the nose, and the chin.
Roman soldiers scourged Jesus.Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Jn 19:1The man's body, except for the face, arms and feet, bears the marks of a severe scourging by a Roman flagrum.
Soldiers plaited a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus' head.Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2There are numerous puncture wounds in the man's scalp.
Jesus initially was forced to carry his own cross.Jn 19:17Smudging of the scourge wounds on the right shoulder and back indicate that the man had carried a heavy object.
Jesus' cross had to be carried for him, indicating He stumbled and fell under its weight.Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26There are cuts and bruises on both knees, indicating falls on a hard surface.
Jesus was nailed to the cross through His hands and feet.Lk 24:39; Jn 20:20, 25-27.The Shroud shows a man pierced through the wrists and feet.
Jesus was already dead on the cross so His legs were not broken.Jn 19:31-33The man in the Shroud died on the cross and his legs were not broken.
A soldier pierced Jesus' side with a spear, to ensure that He was dead, and out came blood and water.Jn 19:34There is a large wound in the side of the man's right chest and a mixture of blood and fluid had flowed from it.
Jesus was buried in a linen shroud.Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53The Shroud is linen and bears the imprint of a man which matches the Gospels' description of Jesus' suffering, death, burial and resurrection!

Leading Shroud sceptics admit that the Shroudman is either Jesus or an artistic depiction of Him - see Fr. Herbert Thurston (1856–1939) and Steven Schafersman (quoted approvingly by Joe Nickell) in "#34."

But an agnostic, Yves Delage (1854–1920) [see "1900a"], Professor of Zoology at the Sorbonne, Paris, considered and rejected that the Shroud was a painting (see next) and concluded that the Shroudman actually was Christ:

"Should I speak of the identity of the person who left his image on the shroud? ... On the one hand we have the shroud, probably impregnated with aloes-which brings us to the East outside Egypt-and a crucified man who had been scourged, pierced on the right side and crowned with thorns. On the other hand we have an account - pertaining to history, legend and tradition - showing us Christ as having undergone in Judea the same treatment as we decipher on the body whose image is on the shroud. Is it not natural to bring together these two parallel series and to refer them to the same object? Let us add that, in order that the image should be produced and not later destroyed, it is necessary that the body should remain in presence of the shroud at least twenty- four hours, the time necessary for the formation of the image, and at most a few days, after which there supervenes putrefaction which destroys the image and finally the shroud. Now this is precisely what tradition - more or less apocryphal, I admit - asserts to have happened to Christ who died on Friday and disappeared on Sunday ... I consider Christ as a historical person, and I see no reason why anyone should be scandalised if there exists a material traces of his existence"[5].
However, having shown that the Shroud image was not a painting (see next), and refusing to accept that it was a result of the supernatural resurrection of Jesus, the agnostic Delage, was left with "some physico-chemical phenomenon" as the explanation:
"For these and many other reasons which need not be specified, there results the conviction that the image on the shroud is not a painting made by the hand of man, but that it has been obtained through some physico-chemical phenomenon"[6].
Problem for the forgery theory. (See previous three: #31, #32 and #34). The agnostic Yves Delage (see above), Professor of Zoology at the Sorbonne, Paris, then and now one of the world's leading universities, gave his reasons why the Shroud image is not a painting:

• The unknown 14th century artist would have been greater than the Renaissance (14th-17th century) painters:

"At first sight it would seem that the image on the shroud is ... a painting made for the purpose of a pious fraud. But when this hypothesis is examined with care, we see that it must be rejected for the following reasons: (1) As the shroud is authenticated since the fourteenth century, if the image is a faked painting, there must at this epoch have existed an artist-who has remained unknown-capable of executing a work hardly within the power of the greatest Renaissance painters"[7].
• It would have been impossible for a 14th century forger to paint the Shroud image in negative:
"While this is already very difficult to admit for an image painted as a positive, it becomes quite incredible in the case of a negative image, which lacks all aesthetic character in this form and assumes its value only when lights and shades are reversed, while strictly respecting their contours and values. Such an operation would be almost impossible except by photography, an art unknown in the i4th century. The forger, while painting a negative, must have known how to distribute light and shade so that after reversal they would give the figure which he attributed to Christ, and that with a perfect precision: for we know how little is required to change a beautiful head into a caricature, especially when its beauty is due to the expression"[8].
• Why would a 14th century forger have depicted the Shroud image in negative, when it could not have been appreciated by his contemporaries?
"I add this argument whose force will be felt on reflection: Why should this forger have taken the trouble to realise a beauty not visible in his work and discernible only after a reversal which only later was made possible? He was working for his contemporaries and not for the twentieth century and the Academy of Sciences" (emphasis Delage's)[9].
• The Shroud's negative image could not have been the result of a colour reversal because (amongst other things) it is in monochrome:
"The idea that the image could have been painted in positive and changed to negative, as has happened to certain paintings on cloth and certain frescos, is contradicted inter alia by the fact that the image is in monochrome and consequently could not have undergone two inverse modifications from clear to shadow and from shadow to clear"[10].
• The Shroud's image has no outline [see #14], which is alien to the art of the 14th century:
"(2) The image results from the juxtaposition of graded tints, without definite delineation or sketching, like a badly focussed photograph: a procedure quite alien to the artistic conceptions of the fourteenth century"[11].
• The image is realistic, perfect and has no artisic style [see "#16"]:
"(3) The image is strongly realist, impeccable, without defect or omission: only imperfectly does it take account of tradition. it is neither schematic nor conventional: characteristics not to be found in any of the artistic productions of this epoch nor to such an extent in those of any epoch"[12].
• The dumbbell shaped scourge marks were made by a Roman flagrum

[Right (enlarge): Reconstruction by Delage's colleague Paul Vignon (1865-1943)[13], of a Roman flagrum from the scourge marks on the Shroud[14]. One similar to this was recovered in the 19th century from the Roman city of Herculaneum[15] which, with its neighbour Pompeii, was buried in the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79[16].]

with thongs ending in heavy weights [see 15Jul13], unknown in the 14th century:

"(b) The marks of the flagellation in the form of a dumb-bell, such as might be made by a flagrum with thongs ending in hard heavy masses of the same form, analogous to those in certain archaeological museums. It would be interesting to know if people of the 14th century knew this construction of the flagrum: if they did not. this is a further proof. And the convergence of these marks, downward on the back, crosswise on the thighs, upward on the calves, towards a point where the executioner's hand could be! A forger does not think of all that. To be convinced, one need only examine the pictures of the epoch: and yet these artists had an equal desire to represent the truth"[17].
• The Shroudman's image is non-traditional:
"(3) The image ... only imperfectly does it take account of tradition ... (a) The loins, perhaps the genital region, naked: which would have been considered most irreverent. The bishop or the prior who might have ordered the shroud from a monastic or lay artist would not have failed to require the addition of a loin-cloth. For we must place ourselves in the epoch in which the fraud might have been carried out; the shroud destined to enflame the zeal of the faithful should not at the same time shock their feelings or scandalise them. This is so true that the loin-cloth has been added to certain copies. (d) The hands pierced through the wrist and not through the palm, in conformity with the anatomical requirements and against tradition"[18].
It is remarkable that the first arguments against the Shroud being a painting, and for the Shroudman being Jesus, were made by by Delage, an agnostic! Clearly Delage had no pro-Christian bias, rather the opposite. There could be no stronger proof that the Man on the Shroud is Jesus, and not a forger/artist's depiction of him, than that the first to argue this, on purely scientific grounds, was the agnostic, Yves Delage (1854–1920), Professor of Zoology at the Sorbonne, Paris!

I will expand on the items of evidence in, "The Bible and the Shroud #33," in future posts in this series.

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.46-53; Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, pp.122-124. [return]
3. Ricci, G., 1978, "The Way of the Cross in the Light of the Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, Second edition, Reprinted, 1982, p.61. [return]
4. Robinson, J.A.T., " The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, pp.22-30, 22-23; Robinson, J.A.T., "The Shroud and the New Testament," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.69-81; Wilson, 1979, pp.46-53; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.43-54,121-128; Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.44-45; 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.40-46; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.119; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, pp.31-40. [return]
5. Delage, Y., 1902, "Letter to M. Charles Richet," Review scientifique, 31 May, in O'Rahilly, A. & Gaughan, J.A., ed., 1985, "The Crucified," Kingdom Books: Dublin, pp.76-77, 79. [return]
6. Delage, 1902, p.74. [return]
7. Delage, 1902, p.72. [return]
8. Ibid. [return]
9. Delage, 1902, pp.72-73. [return]
10. Delage, 1902, p.73. [return]
11. Ibid. [return]
12. Ibid. [return]
13. Vignon, P., 1939, "Le Suaire de Turin devant la Science, l'Archeologie, l'Histoire, l'Iconographie, la Logique," Masson: Paris, p.56. [return]
14. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.56. [return]
15. de Wesselow, 2012, p.144O. [return]
16. "Herculaneum," Wikipedia, 14 July 2021. [return]
17. Delage, 1902, p.73. [return]
18. Ibid. [return]

Posted 28 July 2021. Updated 1 January 2024.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Shroud of Turin News, May-June 2021

© Stephen E. Jones[1]

[Previous: April 2021] [Next: July - December 2021]

This is the May-June 2021 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated. The articles' words are bold to distinguish them from mine. A Google search of "Shroud Turin" (without the quotes) for the months of May and June, found only two articles worth commenting on in May and none in June! And both of them are about the book, "A Catholic Scientist Champions the Shroud of Turin" (2021) by Gerard Verschuuren [Right[2]]! I had ordered Verschuuren's book on 13 July and it arrived on 26 July.

"Re-examining the Shroud of Turin," MercatorNet, 4 May 2021, Francis Phillips. People who read the title of this book will probably divide into two camps: those who already believe the piece of cloth known as the Holy Shroud and preserved in Turin cathedral to be the actual winding sheet of the crucified Christ; and those who think the author has allowed his objective scientific judgement to be overborne by his subjective faith. So why did Verschuuren include "Catholic" in its title? Why not, "A Scientist Champions the Shroud of Turin"?

However, in this study Verschuuren remains faithful to his twin vocations, both as a Catholic and as a scientist, achieving an admirable balance in a highly controversial area. The chief value of what he has written, particularly for our modern age, is to demonstrate that there need be no conflict between the two. If by "science" is meant fully naturalistic science, which claims that `nature is all there is - there is no supernatural,' then there would be a conflict if Verschuuren invokes the supernatural, i.e. the resurrection of Jesus (i.e. "God raised Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion"), to explain the man's image on the Shroud, because to Naturalistic Science there is no God, and so the image on the Shroud must be either a forgery or an unusual natural occurrence. But if by "science" is meant "following the evidence wherever it leads," then the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is the burial sheet of Jesus and the image on the Shroud is a `snapshot' of Jesus' resurrection:

"Even from the limited available information, a hypothetical glimpse of the power operating at the moment of creation of the Shroud's image may be ventured. In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered in blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there is a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant ... its image ... becomes indelibly fused onto the cloth, preserving for posterity a literal `snapshot' of the Resurrection"[3]!

He has dedicated the book "To all scientists who have defended the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin." This includes the many agnostic scientists and technicians who have become involved in trying to unravel the mystery posed by the Shroud over recent decades, and who have concluded on purely scientific grounds that it is not a fake. To come to this conclusion does not, of course, imply they have taken the spiritual step of identifying the Man of the Shroud with Christ of the Gospels. Agreed, but they will be like Thomas de Wesselow, stuck halfway believing the Shroud to be Jesus' burial cloth but with no plausible explanation of how Jesus' image became imprinted on the Shroud.

However, to speak of "the Man of the Shroud" is to accept that the image on the cloth is of a real man and is not a painted icon. What is the scientific evidence for this? Verschuuren's study goes into some detail on the different investigations that have played their part in the ongoing Shroud research and their findings. Lay people not versed in the dense technical complexities described here (such as this reviewer) must take it on trust that science, though often inconclusive, debatable and provisional, can still reach certain demonstrable conclusions. It is the `trade secret of anti-authenticism' (with apologies to the late Stephen Jay Gould), that leading anti-authenticists admit that the Shroudman's image is not painted:

Professor Edward Hall (1924–2001), Director of Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory which was one of the three laboratories which carbon-dated the Shroud to 1260-1390:

"Prof. Hall acknowledged that he had found the Shroud very impressive on viewing it in Turin. Having spent several hours viewing it, including with a hand lens, he felt quite confident that it was not painted. He found no sign of paint responsible for the image. Instead he subscribed to the `hot statue' theory"[4].
Professor Michael Tite, the British Museum's coordinator of the Shroud's radiocarbon dating and Hall's successor at Oxford laboratory:
"Dr. Tite won general respect by his open-minded approach to the Shroud, and acknowledged himself sufficiently impressed by the evidence that although he adhered to the 14th. century date, he did not believe the Shroud to be a painting"[5].
• Arch-sceptic Joe Nickell:
"While we should never underestimate what an unknown, skillful artist might be capable of - and so cannot conclusively rule out freehand painting - we must add that convincing evidence for any painting medium (that is, oil, egg tempera, etc.) on shroud image fibers is lacking ... Even at 40X magnification there are no obvious encrustations and no apparent cementing between threads nor any consistent and confirmed coating of fibers to indicate the presence of a painting medium ... The superficiality of the stain - extending `only 2 or 3 fibers deep into the thread structure' - is another strong argument against painting. A fluid medium (for example, paint, dye, ink) would be expected, by capillary action, to penetrate much farther - to the depth of a full thread, or even to the reverse of the cloth. Finally, tests at several laboratories failed to detect the presence of any foreign organic substance in `body' image areas"[6].
See also next on the absence of brushstrokes on the Shroud image.

But then as an erlier arch-sceptic, the late Walter McCrone (1916-2002) correctly pointed out (paraphrased):`Why would a medieval forger go to all the work of preparing a statue, etc, when painting the image on cloth would have been the simplest method?':

"I realize that there are still, perhaps, a majority of people convinced by the carbon-dating that the `Shroud' is medieval, who are still looking for an answer as to how the `Shroud' was produced. Many mechanisms have already been proposed. Some say it was draped wet over a bas-relief to which it was shaped then dabbed with powder or a paint. Some say a painting was prepared and transferred to a cloth in contact with it by pressure. However, I see no reason to doubt that an artist like Simone Martini simply took up his brush and a dilute red ochre watercolor paint based on scraps of parchment as the vehicle and proceeded to paint the `Shroud.' Why go to all the work of preparing a statue or bas-relief or making a transfer of the image from a primary artist's rendering? A direct approach to painting a dilute watercolor image on a canvas of the proper size is a common sense assumption; Occam's Razor applies here ..."[7].
Thus, ever since the dramatic discovery - from the first photograph of the Shroud taken in 1898 by photographer Secundo [sic Secondo] Pia - that the image is a photographic negative, its secrets have slowly yielded to further investigation. See my immediately previous post.

In 1973 two US physicists, John Jackson and Eric Jumper, who went on to found the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), made computer scans of the photos of the Shroud It was not Jackson and Jumper but STURP's Don Lynn (1932-2000) and Jean Lorre (-2005) (a man), working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who used a microdensitometer, which measures variation in image density[8], to scan photos of the Shroud negative[9], four million points for each one[10]. The scanned data in 256 discrete levels of intensity[11] was then processed through a computer[12]. These density studies revealed that the Shroud body image is non-

[Left (enlarge)[13]: The computer TV screen showing that the Shroud image's microdensit-ometer data was random and therefore not directional[14]. The white cross in the centre of the screen represents the warp and weft of the weave[15].]

directional[16] and in particular there was no sign of brush strokes)[17]. The only directional feature found in the Shroud image (apart from the scourge mark bloodstains which are not part of the image) was the weave of the cloth underneath[18]. This absence of directionality in the Shroud image is significant because the microdensitometer would have revealed the presence of brush strokes if the image had been painted[19]. Thus the microdensitometer testing further proved that the Shroud image was not painted[20]. [see 29Oct16 & 15Aug20].

and thereby "transformed the photograph into a three-dimensional map of the body." Indeed! STURP's Jackson, Jumper and William R. Ercoline found that Lynn and Lorre's micro-densitometer data could be expressed mathematically as, "a single global mapping function" [see 11Aug15, 06Dec19 & 15Aug20]. But no

[Above enlarge: "Correlation of image intensity on the Turin Shroud with the 3-D structure of a human body shape"[21].

"... the frontal image on the Shroud of Turin is shown to be consistent with a naturally draping cloth in the sense that image shading can be derived from a single global mapping function of distance between these two surfaces..."[22].
medieval forger would know about a "global mapping function" as the concept of function in mathematics didn't exist until the invention of "the infinitesimal calculus at the end of the 17th century"[23]. And even if he did, no medieval artist/forger could depict a whole human body, front and back, consistent with a single global mapping function (let alone in negative)!

This was sufficient to show that the image was not a painting - for "how could a two-dimensional painting ever include three-dimensional information of a real body?" I am not sure that this is a valid argument. A photo of the Shroud face (e.g. below)

[Above (this article): A photograph of the Shroud face (left), when developed, the negative of it (right) is a photographic positive, which means that the Shroud face is a photographic negative!]

is physically two-dimensional, yet it contains three-dimensional information encoded within it (see above). So it is possible, at least with a computer, to encode three-dimensional information in a physically two-dimensional work of art. But a medieval forger couldn't have done it, as the concept of photographic negativity didn't exist until the 19th century [see 05Jun21].

In 1978, twenty STURP specialists from different scientific disciplines studied the Shroud for five days, concluding from their data that the image was that of a "scourged, crucified man.":

"We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin"[24].
This is fatal to one of the two central pillars of anti-authenticism (the other is the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to 1260-1390-see future below), the claim by a Bishop of Troyes, Pierre d'Arcis (r. 1377-1395) that the Shroud had been "cunningly painted," as discovered by one of his predecessors, Henri de Poitiers (r. 1354–1370), who had allegedly extracted the confession of the "the artist who had painted it"[25]. There are many reasons to dismiss d'Arcis' claim [see 03Jul18] as at best mistaken, or at worst a deliberate lie, but that the Shroudman's image is not painted [see also 11Jul16] means that it cannot be true!

Information not observable to the naked eye showed a mass of injuries, wounds in the wrists and feet and innumerable bloodstains. Included in these innumerable bloodstains, are at least a hundred tiny dumbbell-shaped scourge marks on the Shroudman's body and legs[26], which match wounds caused by a Roman flagrum with two lead balls on the end of each of its three thongs[27] [Right [see 08Oct16] & 15Jul13]], evidently designed to cause internal bleeding so a crucifixion victim didn't die too soon of blood loss[28]. Each of those scourge wounds has tiny blood clots which each have a serum retraction `halo', clearly visible in ultraviolet light [Below [29]] but

barely visible, and some are invisible, to the naked eye[30]. Therefore a medieval forger would not only require a modern knowledge of the physiology of clot retraction, but would have to produce images of serum rings that are clearly evident only under ultraviolet light (which was only discovered in 1801!)[31].

Anatomical analysis further revealed the image to be the figure of a man just under six foot, with a gash in his side, his face beaten and his legs unbroken. This quote puts it well:

"Now it seems to me otiose, if not ridiculous, to spend time arguing ... about the identity of the man represented on the Turin Shroud ... If ... the figure is authentic, it can only be Jesus for three good reasons: first, because it is most unlikely that the shrouds of any other crucified men - mainly slaves, peasants and crooks - would either have been of this quality or have been considered worth preserving; secondly, because of the thousands of victims of crucifixion which history records, only one is known to have suffered both wounds to the head (consonant with a spiky cap being pressed down upon the cranium [Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17 & Jn 19:2,5]) and the side (compatible with a deep jab from a Roman lance[Jn 19:34]) as we see represented on the Shroud; and thirdly, because this man - although demonstrably crucified - has not suffered the crurifragium, or breaking of the leg-bones with a heavy mallet[Jn 19:31-32], which was an almost invariable concomitant of crucifixion. The Shroud-Man is Jesus Christ or nobody"[32].

I have briefly summarised the essential information provided by Verschuuren, who describes the proven medical and other facts. At this stage readers will naturally ask, "but what about the carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988 done in laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona which dated the cloth to `AD1260-1390 with at least 95% confidence'"?

[Above (enlarge): From left to right, Prof. E. Hall (Oxford), Dr M. Tite (British Museum) and Dr R. Hedges (Oxford) on 13 October 1988 in the British Museum, London, announcing with an exlamation mark, that the Shroud had been radiocarbon dated to "1260-1390!"[33].]

The triumphal headline news at the time seemed to vindicate those critics who were certain the Shroud was a medieval forgery, cleverly concocted at a time when fake relics were common (in The Canterbury Tales Chaucer takes a cynical view of the gullibility of the laity in this respect). The author faces this supposedly conclusive evidence head-on, explaining why carbon dating is not as `infallible' as is sometimes thought, that the protocols laid down for conducting the 1988 tests were ignored and that the single sample of the cloth tested was taken from a repaired strip on the side, which would have been contaminated in various ways over the centuries and which was thus inappropriate for a forensic study. Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory's Director, Prof. Christopher Ramsey, admitted in 2008 that, "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow":

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that ... experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information"[34].
In October 2018 I wrote an "Open letter to Professor Christopher Ramsey," which I both emailed and paper mailed to him, pointing out some of this "lot of other evidence." These included two in particular: three drawings in the 1192-95 Pray Codex [Above: See 04Oct18a] and the 12th century "Surrender of the Mandylion to the Byzantines" [Above: See 04Oct18b] in the Madrid Manuscript of John Skylitzes (c.1040s–1101). But Ramsey didn't even acknowledge my open letter, which he must have received (the email didn't bounce), which tells me that Ramsey knows that these two 12th century artworks depicting the Shroud, alone (and they are not alone!), prove that the "1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud must be false!


Yet how to respond to the objection that the first documented mention of the Shroud is from the French village of Lirey in 1357 - which suggests a medieval origin? For starters, as I have previously pointed out [see 24May20 with references, 21Jun20 & 03Mar21], that the first undisputed appearance of the Shroud was at Lirey, France in c.1355, meaning that anti-authenticists don't dispute it, is not the same as being "the first documented mention of the Shroud." Because in 1207 [see "1207"] there is a historical record of what can only be the Shroud in Constantinople in 1201:

"In 1207, after the sack of Constantinople in 1204, Nicholas Mesarites, keeper of the Emperor's relics in the Pharos Chapel, Constantinople, recalled that in 1201, in that chapel, was `the sindon [which] wrapped the mysterious, naked dead body [of Christ] after the Passion' (my emphasis). The Greek word variously translated `mysterious', `indefinable' and `uncircumscribed', is aperilepton, which literally means `un-outlined' or `outlineless'. The Shroud-image uniquely has no outline [see 11Jun16], so there could be no stronger proof that the Shroud in Constantinople is that of Lirey, Chambéry and Turin!"
This is objective, historical evidence that the Shroud existed in Constantinople in 1201, over a century and a half (154 years) before it was exhibited at Lirey in c. 1355! And 59 years before the earliest possible radiocarbon date of 1260! Irrespective of whether anti-authenticists accept it!

I won't go into the details of the likely provenance of the cloth that Verschuuren includes, except to chart a journey that takes in Edessa in Turkey, where the Image of Edessa was venerated for many centuries; Constantinople, Athens, France, and finally Turin, the capital of the royal house of Savoy. Agreed. See "1204."

It is worth noting that the historical Image of Edessa, documented in 593, ... See "c.593":

"Historian Evagrius Scholasticus (c.536-594) recorded in his Ecclesiastical History that the 544 Persian siege of Edessa [see "544"] was repulsed by a "divinely wrought likeness," that is, acheiropoietos, or "not made by hands"[35]

... bears a remarkable resemblance to the face of the man on the Shroud, leading to the suggestion by Shroud investigator Ian Wilson, who made the television film Silent Witness, that it was the actual Shroud, folded in four to show only the face and known as a "tetradiplon". Tetradiplon is a compound Greek

[Above (enlarge): Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin illustrated: The full-length Shroud of Turin (1), is doubled four times (2 through 5), resulting in Jesus' face within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (5), exactly as depicted in the earliest copies of the Image of Edessa, the 11th century Sakli church, Turkey (6) and the 10th century icon of King Abgar V of Edessa holding the Image of Edessa, St. Catherine's monastery, Sinai (7). From 15Sep12]

word comprised of tetra "four" and diplon "doubled," hence "four doubled" or "doubled in four"[36]. In all of early Greek literature it is only found twice and both times it refers to the Image of Edessa aka Mandylion[37]. In 1966 Shroud historian Ian Wilson experimentally proved, by taking a full-length photograph of the Shroud and doubling it four times, so that the face one-eighth was uppermost in landscape aspect, that the Image of Edessa/Mandylion was the Shroud "four doubled"[38] (see above). Here in Wilson's own words is his account of his `Secondo Pia' discovery':

"Yes it was a very real and indeed a very moving moment, though the exact date was one that I never recorded, not least because at the time I had absolutely no idea of all that might subsequently flow from it. To the best of my recollection it would have been around the summer of 1966, probably early evening, and at my parents' home in south London. I was staying there after having recently left a job that had been based in Oxford (with Oxfam), and whilst doing a three month stint of `Shroud history' researches at the then Reading Room of the British Museum. I know that I had earlier (when still living in Oxford), purchased volume VIII of Roberts and Donaldson's Ante-Nicene Fathers, which has translations of the New Testament Apocrypha. And it was whilst reading the `Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus' in this that a footnote at the bottom of page 558 `Lit., doubled in four' struck my attention. It was so early in my researches that I did not even have to hand any readily usable full length photo suitable for performing the folding experiment. But I had a very strong feeling that it was going to work, so at the time hastily improvised by cutting out a photo from a newspaper article. Then the moment that I saw the result there was what I can only describe a quite extraordinary feeling of `thrill' – an all-encompassing tingling of the spine and incredibly humbling realisation that this was something that had to be significant"[39].
Certainly, icons, frescos and paintings of the face of Christ, such as the tenth-century mosaic of Christ in Hagia Sophia,

[Above (enlarge)[40]: Christ Pantocrator ("Ruler of All"), part of a larger 10th century mosaic in the Narthex of Hagia Sophia Cathedral, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople).]

Istanbul, bear a remarkable similarity to the features of the face on the Shroud as revealed by modern science. See above the "remarkable similarity" between this tenth century mosaic, "to the features of the face on the Shroud"! But, as Wilson has pointed out:

"... if the radiocarbon dating is to be believed, there should be no evidence of our Shroud [before 1260]. The year 1260 was the earliest possible date for the Shroud's existence by radiocarbon dating's calculations")[41].
Atheists tend to place too much reliance on science to answer all questions. Verschuuren, who sees no conflict between his scientific training and his religious beliefs, rejects such scientism, reminding us that they "both have their own authority and expertise. In the world of science, we can find only atoms, molecules, nucleotides, genes, cells, brains and the like, but no souls, no sins, no angels, no miracles, no redemption"! This is simplistic. Naturalistic science, which holds that `nature is all there is - there is no supernatural,' claims that there are "no souls, no sins, no angels, no miracles, no redemption."

On the other hand, religion has its own limitations too: This is also simplistic. What exactly is "religion"? Presumably Verschuuren, a Roman Catholic means the Christian religion in general and the Roman Catholic version of it in particular? But there are a great many religions some of which claim there are "no souls, no sins, no angels, no miracles, no redemption" And there are no doubt some Roman Catholics in good standing, including Roman Catholic clergy, who deny or limit the existence of "angels" and "miracles".

it cannot find out whether radiocarbon dating is reliable or whether there is real human blood in the stains of the Shroud. Why can't "religion" use the scientific method to investigate whether "radiocarbon dating is reliable or whether there is real human blood" on the Shroud? Indeed it was STURP, which was comprised mostly of religious believers, that discovered "there is real human blood in the stains of the Shroud"!

Science and religion each have their own `territory' and their own authority." Verschuuren is a refutation of his own argument, in that he is a religious person who is using science to examine scientific claims that the Shroud is a fake. Indeed, the Shroud itself is both a religious relic and an object of scientific investigation!

Christians, familiar with the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion and knowing something of what 20th century scientific studies have revealed about the mysterious, haunting image, have no doubts; they continue to find the ineffable nobility of this majestic figure as it emerges into the light of secular scrutiny, bearing all the agonising and tragic reminders of the exquisitely prolonged torment that preceded death, a compelling and sufficient witness to its true identity. Agreed. But that refutes Verschuuren "science" and "religion" false dichotomy!

"Vindicating the Holy Shroud," Catholic Culture, 4 May 2021, Jeff Mirus ... I have previously called attention to Gerard Verschuuren’s latest book on the Shroud of Turin (see Out of the past, three surprise books, all occasions of grace). But having finished a careful reading of Verschuuren’s argument, I decided it would be useful to summarize the main points. The following is a summary of the conclusions of the noted geneticist, in accordance with the nine areas of study he undertook in the main chapters of his book: I don't have the time to comment on Mirus' article. So I will end here this May-June 2021 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. To buy more time, I may post a combined July-August 2021 issue in September.

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. "A Catholic Scientist Champions the Shroud of Turin Paperback – March 23, 2021," by Dr Gerard Verschuuren (Author), Sophia Institute Press, [return]
3. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.251; Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.234. [return]
4. Wilson, I., 1995, "From a Forgotten Memorandum: A Visit to the Oxford Research Laboratory 7 July 1988," BSTS Newsletter, pp.15-18, 16. [return]
5. Wilson, I., 1989, "Paris - The Symposium Scientifique," BSTS Newsletter, No. 23, September, pp.2-7, 3. [return]
6. Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY, Revised, Reprinted, 2000, pp.99-100. [return]
7. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, p.122. [return]
8. Culliton, B.J., 1978, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin Challenges 20th-Century Science," Science, Vol. 201, 21 July, pp.235-239, 237; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.37; Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.204. [return]
9. Antonacci, 2000, p.37. [return]
10. Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.137. [return]
11. Culliton, 1978, p.237. [return]
12. Antonacci, 2000, p.37. [return]
13. Antonacci, M., 2016, "Test The Shroud: At the Atomic and Molecular Levels," Forefront Publishing Company: Brentwood TN, p.7. [return]
14. Antonacci, 2016, p.7. [return]
15. Ibid. [return]
16. Heller, 1983, p.137; Meacham, 1983, p.287; Antonacci, 2000, p.37; de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.136. [return]
17. de Wesselow, 2012, p.136. [return]
18. Antonacci, 2000, p.38. [return]
19. Ibid. [return]
20. Antonacci, 2000, p.38; de Wesselow, 2012, p.136. [return]
21. Jackson, et. al, 1984, "Correlation of image intensity on the Turin Shroud with the 3-D structure of a human body shape," Applied Optics, Vol. 23, No. 14, pp. 2244-2270. [return]
22. Wilson, I., 1985, "Some Recent Publications," BSTS Newsletter, No. 9, January. [return]
23. "Function (mathematics)," Wikipedia, 17 July 2021. [return]
24. "A Summary of STURP's Conclusions," October 1981, [return]
25. Wilson, 1979, p.267. [return]
26. Bucklin, R., 1970, "The Legal and Medical Aspects of the Trial and Death of Christ," Medicine, Science and the Law, January; McNair, P., "The Shroud and History: fantasy, fake or fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, p.23; Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ, p.70; Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.84; Case, T.W., 1996, "The Shroud of Turin and the C-14 Dating Fiasco," White Horse Press: Cincinnati OH, p.20; 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, p.42; Antonacci, 2000, p.27; Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.56; Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.45; de Wesselow, 2012, p.133. [return]
27. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London, p.34; McNair, 1978, p.23; Heller, 1983, p.3; Cruz, J.C., 1984, "Relics: The Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, the Blood of Januarius...: History, Mysticism, and the Catholic Church," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.51; Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.31; Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, p.84; Borkan, M., 1995, "Ecce Homo?: Science and the Authenticity of the Turin Shroud," Vertices, Duke University, Vol. X, No. 2, Winter, pp.18-51, 25; Wilson, 1998, p.42; Ruffin, 1999, p.25; Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, pp.56-57; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.81; Zugibe, F.T., 2005, "The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry," M. Evans & Co.: New York NY, p.19; Oxley, 2010, p.172; Wilson, 2010, p.45; de Wesselow, 2012, p.133. [return]
28. Barnes, 1934, p.34; de Wesselow, 2012, p.133. [return]
29. "Figure 4. Evaluation of clotted blood using direct and uv light," Kearse, K.P., 2019, "Science, Theology and the Turin Shroud," International Shroud Conference, Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, August 14-17, 2019. [return]
30. Heller, 1983, p.185; Case, 1996, p.40; Antonacci, 2000, pp.26-27; Adler, A.D., 2000b, "Chemical and Physical Characteristics of the Bloodstains," in Adler, A.D. & Crispino, D., ed., 2002, "The Orphaned Manuscript: A Gathering of Publications on the Shroud of Turin," EffatĂ  Editrice: Cantalupa, Italy, pp.129-138, 132; Adler, A.D., 2000c, "Chemical and Physical Aspects of the Sindonic Images," in Adler & Crispino, 2002, pp.10-27, 14; Guerrera, 2001, p.37; de Wesselow, 2012, p.104. [return]
31. Antonacci, 2000, p.27; Adler, 2000b, p.132; Adler, 2000c, p.14. [return]
32. McNair, 1978, pp.23-24. [return]
33. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, plate 3b. [return]
34. Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "The Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, March. [return]
35. Ruffin, 1999, p,55; Wilson, 1998, p.268. [return]
36. Wilson, 1979, p.120; Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, p.36; Wilson, 1986, p.112; Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.141; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.105; Wilson, 1998, p.152; Antonacci, 2000, pp.132-133; Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, pp.110-111; Guerrera, 2001, pp.2-3. [return]
37. Drews, 1984, p.36; Wilson, 1986, p.112; Wilson, 1991, p.141; Iannone, 1998, p.1055; Wilson, 1998, p.152; Antonacci, 2000, pp.132-133; Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, p.110; Guerrera, 2001, pp.2-3; Oxley, 2010, pp.23-24. [return]
38. Wilson, 1979, p.120; Wilson, 1986, pp.112-113; Wilson, 1991, p.141; Wilson, 1998, p.152; Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, p.111; Antonacci, 2000, p.1325; de Wesselow, 2012, p.288I. [return]
39. Ian Wilson, "Re: What was the date of your `Secondo Pia' discovery?," Email 12 December 2016 8:08 AM, to S.E. Jones (emphasis Wilson's) [return]
40. "File:Byzantinischer Mosaizist des 9. Jahrhunderts 001.jpg," Wikimedia Commons, 21 March 2021. [return]
41. Wilson, 1998, p.141. [return]

Posted 13 July 2021. Updated 10 Mar 2023.