Sunday, May 29, 2022

Ashe, Geoffrey. Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Turin Shroud Encyclopedia
Copyright © Stephen E. Jones

Ashe, Geoffrey #15

This is "Ashe, Geoffrey," part #15 of my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia. See also 11Febr22. For more information about this series, see part #1 and part #2. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Index #1] [Previous: Barbet, Pierre #14] [Next: Prehistory (AD 29-700), #16]

Geoffrey Ashe (1923-2022) was a British cultural historian whose

[Right (enlarge)[2]: "Geoffrey Ashe, b. 1923 ... Ashe was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1963."]

specialty was the legendary King Arthur[3].

In 1961 Ashe tested his theory that the Shroud image was a scorch, by placing a white handkerchief over of a heated small medallion that bore a carving of a horse[4] (see below). However,

[Above (enlarge)[5]: Ashe's brass horse ornament, 3½ inches (about 9 cm.) across[6], which, when heated and a white handerchief placed over it for a few seconds, a "scorch-picture" formed[7] (see [positive and negative image below).]

it was not until 1966 that Ashe published his scorch theory and experiment in the Italian Shroud journal Sindon[8]. In favour of Ashe's scorch theory is that his scorch images do have some of the properties of the Shroud[9]. The colour of Ashe's scorch image was sepia, the same colour as the Shroud image[10]. In the positive of Ashe's scorch image below, small features such as the horse's fore-hoof are reprod-

[Above (enlarge)[11]: Positive image formed by a scorch on a white handerchief placed over the heated brass horse ornament above.]

uced, which in the ornament is only 1/8 inch (about 3 mm.) across[12]. The image is three-dimensional in that, the front of the horse's body, which is the highest part of the ornament, is the most heavily scorched and whitest in the negative (see below), with gradually decreasing

[Above (enlarge)[13]: Negative of the positive image above. As with the Shroud, the negative is more life-like than the positive[14].]

scorching toward the outer and lower parts[15].

Ashe's crtitics missed his point by assuming that he was claiming that the Shroud image was a heat scorch[16], and then they pointed out the problems of heat scorches, including that they fluoresce but the Shroud image doesn't fluoresce[17]. But Ashe wasn't a sceptic, like Joe Nickell, proposing that the Shroud image was a scorch from a heated bas relief[18]. Rather, Ashe was a Christiian[19] and a member of the International Centre of Sindonology[20].

In fact, Ashe argued against the Shroud image being a heat scorch[21]! He questioned "whether fabrication by scorching could have been executed at all"[22]. In particular, Ashe pointed out the immense difficulties of evenly scorching a linen cloth as large as the Shroud with the ordinary fire heat sources available in the Middle Ages:

"Ordinary heat would have been a medieval artist's only resource. There could be no question of any other sort of radiation. He would have had to make life-size metal reliefs of the front and back, heat these evenly to a high temperature in a horizontal position, and lower the enormous cloth neatly on to them, without pressure or sagging, and for just the right time to imprint the picture without actually burning holes. Or could he have heated the metal gradually with the Shroud already there, lifting it off when the marks were brown enough? In either case the task would have been immensely hazardous, calling for a great deal of previous experiment, and faultless team-work by the assistants holding the cloth and stoking the fire"[23].
And why would a forger go to all the trouble, expense and risk to make a metal or stone statue or bas relief just to heat it so that it could scorch its image on a rare and expensive large sheet of fine linen?:
"And why should any artist do it? ... Why take so much trouble, with a frightful risk of accidentally ruining" a precious cloth[24]?
Finally, the parts of the cloth that had been scorched by heat would be weakened and wouldn't have survived the handling that the Shroud has had down through the centuries:
"One further objection has been urged to such a fabrication, an objection which may well be fatal. Scorching by heat might not have made actual holes, but it would have weakened the fabric to a point here it would probably have fallen apart with handling through the centuries"[25].
Ashe was proposing that the Shroud image was the result of "the physical change of the body [of Jesus] at the Resurrection [which] may have released a brief and violent burst of some other radiation than heat" (my emphasis):
"Secondly then, on the assumption of authenticity, let us inquire whether a `scorch-picture' could have been formed by the veritable body of Christ. An ordinary corpse could not do so, since it would never generate heat or any other radiation at the required intensity. But the Christian Creed has always affirmed that Our Lord underwent an unparalleled transformation in the tomb: his case is exceptional, and here perhaps is the key. It is at least intelligible (and has indeed been suggested several times) that the physical change of the body at the Resurrection may have released a brief and violent burst of some other radiation than heat — perhaps scientifically identifiable, perhaps not — which scorched the cloth. In this case the Shroud is a quasi-photograph of Christ returning to life, produced by a kind of radiance or `incandescence, partially analogous to heat in its effects"[26].
Ashe's theory was confirmed true when in 2011 Shroud scientists, under the auspices of ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), using a vacuum ultraviolet excimer laser, succeeded in producing on linen the closest characteristics of the Shroud image yet (see 22Dec11 & 06Jan12), and ENEA laser's ultraviolet light scorch on linen did not fluoresce:
"Instead, the results of ENEA `show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence'" (my emphasis)[27]!

Ashe's conclusion in 1966, fifty-six years ago, is still true today (and will be true for all time):"The Shroud is explicable if it once enwrapped a human body [i.e. Jesus'] to which something extraordinary happened. It is not explicable otherwise"[28].

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to quote from any part of this post (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. "Geoffrey Ashe," The Royal Society of Literature, 24 August 2017. [return]
3. "Geoffrey Ashe," Wikipedia, 25 May 2022. [return]
4. Ashe, G., 1966, "What Sort of Picture?" Sindon, No. 10, April, pp.15-19, 16; 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, p.70; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.77. [return]
5. Ashe, 1966, p.16a & Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, p.125. [return]
6. Ashe, 1966, p.16. [return]
7. Ashe, 1966, p.17. [return]
8. Ashe, 1966, pp.15-19; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.74. [return]
9. Humber, T., 1978, "The Sacred Shroud," [1974], Pocket Books: New York NY, pp.197-198; Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., 1982, "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin: Summary of the 1978 Investigation," Reprinted from Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, No. 1, 1982, pp.3-49, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co: Amsterdam, p.25; Antonacci, 2000, p.77. [return]
10. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.204. [return]
11. Ashe, 1966, p.16c & Wilcox, 1977, p.124. [return]
12. Ashe, 1966, p.17; Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, p.18. [return]
13. Ashe, 1966, p.16b. [return]
14. Drews, 1984, p.18. [return]
15. Ashe, 1966, p.17. [return]
16. Schwalbe & Rogers, 1982, p.25; Antonacci, 2000, p.77. [return]
17. Guerrera., 2001, p.75. [return]
18. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.122; Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.216; 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.136; Antonacci, 2000, p.76; "Joe Nickell: The Shroud of Turin," Wikipedia, 28 April 2022. [return]
19. Humber, 1978, p.199. [return]
20. Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, p.100. [return]
21. Ashe, 1966, pp.17-18. [return]
22. Ashe, 1966, p.17. [return]
23. Ashe, 1966, pp.17-18. [return]
24. Ashe, 1966, p.18. [return]
25. Ibid. [return]
26. Ibid. [return]
27. Tosatti, M., 2011, "The Shroud is not a fake," The Vatican Insider, 12 December. [return]
28. Ashe, 1966, p.18. [return]

Posted 29 May 2022. Updated 19 February 2023.

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