Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Ulysse Chevalier, Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Turin Shroud Encyclopedia
Copyright © Stephen E. Jones

Ulysse Chevalier #20

This is "Ulysse Chevalier," part #20 of my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia. As mentioned in my previous Pierre d'Arcis #19, this series will help me write chapter "18. Sceptics and the Shroud" of my book, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Sheet of Jesus!" See 06Jul17, 03Jun18, 04Apr22, 13Jul22 & 8 Nov 22.

[Index #1] [Previous: Pierre d'Arcis #19] [Next: Prehistory (1001-1355) #21]

Ulysse Chevalier (1841-1923) was a French bibliographer and historian[MP78, 28; UCW].

[Right (enlarge)[CWC]: Portrait of Chevalier in 1909.]

Chevalier's principal work was the Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen âge, which arranged and annotated almost the entire source material for the history of the Middle Ages[WJ63, 50; UCW].

Though a Catholic priest and Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the Catholic Institute of Lyon[VC92, 19], the Abbé (afterwards Canon) Chevalier maintained an independent critical attitude even on religious questions[UCW]. In the controversy on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin (sudario), he worked by tracing back the history of the cloth, which was undoubtedly used as a shroud, but he argued was not produced before the 14th century and was probably no older (Le Saint Suaire de Lirey-Chambéry, Turin et les défenseurs de son authenticité)[PE06]. In 2006 French historian Emmanuel Poulle [1928–2011] wrote in a peer-reviewed journal[PE06] that Ulysse Chevalier showed in this case intellectual dishonesty[UCW]. According to Poulle, Chevalier deliberately did not correctly mention the Papal bulls of antipope Clement VII [1378-94] issued in 1390[UCW]. In fact Clement VII never opted for the forgery thesis[UCW].

Chevalier, was a leader of a progressive faction of the Roman Catholic Church which sought to do away with what was seen as "superstition"[OM10, 57]. His position was close to that of the Bollandists, learned Belgian Jesuits, who concerned themselves with the lives of saints and the authenticity of relics[PM96, 185]. Both Chevalier and the Bollandists wanted to free the Church from outdated customs and beliefs, in favour of a more modern foundation of the Faith[PM96, 185].

So when news of the discovery in 1898 of Turin photographer Secondo

[Left (enlarge): Secondo Pia's 1898 negative photograph of the Shroud face[HFW], which because it is a photographic positive, proved that the Turin Shroud image is a photographic negative[MP78, 26-27; AM00, 34-35; OG85, 46-47].]

Pia (1855–1941), that the Shroudman's image is a photographic negative, Chevalier set about discrediting the Shroud[DT12, 19].

Chevalier had already discovered documents which seemingly discredited the Shroud[KG94, 10]. So in 1900 he published his Etude Critique sur l'origine de Saint Suaire de Lirey-Chambéry-Turin [KG94, 10; WI79, 319] ("Critical Study on the Origins of the Holy Shroud of Lirey-Chambery-Turin") and it had the impact of a death-blow[WJ63, 50]. In 1901 Chevalier's article was reprinted as a monograph, with fifty documents in a sixty-four page appendix[KG94, 10; WJ63, 50; AF82, 54].

Included in the documents was the so-called D'Arcis Memorandum [see 1389d & 08Nov22], which is merely hearsay evidence[AF82, 54]. It purported to be the draft of a letter from Bishop Pierre d'Arcis (r. 1377-95) which claimed that the Shroud was only a painting, based on the supposed verbal statements of one of his predecessors, Henri de Poitiers (r. 1354-70)[AF82, 54]. Also included was the 1 January 1390 papal bull from Clement VII to Geoffroy II de Charny (1352-98), that the Shroud could continue to be exhibited but only as a "figure or representation" of Christ's burial cloth[WJ63, 56; DT12, 19]. Chevalier claimed on the basic of these documents that the Shroud it could not be a genuine relic and that it must have been "cunningly painted", as Bishop Henry de Poitiers had supposedly discovered[DT12, 19].

It was enough to close the discussion, and the president of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres, at a solemn sitting held on 15 November 1901, while awarding a gold medal of 1,000 francs to M. Chevalier, severely censured any future attempt to impose upon the credulity of the faithful with what could henceforth be described only as a fraudulent misrepresentation[AF82, 54-55; DT12, 19]!

However, Shroud scholar Luigi Fossati (1920-2007), in a detailed analysis of the documents in Chevalier's appendix, found that most were irrelevant to the question of the Shroud's authenticity and some were actually favourable to it[FL92, 3]! Fossati concluded:

"All things considered, the documents contrary to authenticity, those that support a manual origin of the imprints, are reduced to one only: the so-called Memorandum of Pierre d'Arcis"[FL92, 4]!
So Chevalier dishonestly `padded' his Appendix with fifty documents, when only one, the so-called d'Arcis Memorandum, was against the authenticity of the Shroud! Moreover, as referred to above, Chevalier was dishonest in only including Pope Clement's 6 January 1390 bull to Geoffroy II de Charny, when Clement sent three bulls on the same day, one of which was to Bishop d'Arcis, "reimposing perpetual silence, this time under pain of excommunication":
"Clement conducted no investigation ... On January 6, 1390, he put his signature to three documents that ended the acrimony, although not in the way that d'Arcis had wanted. To Geoffrey he sent a letter reinforcing his previous decision to let the expositions continue, provided that it was always stated that the cloth was a `figure or representation.' To Bishop d'Arcis he sent a letter reimposing perpetual silence, this time under pain of excommunication. To certain other ecclesiastics in the surrounding area he sent letters requiring them to oversee his decision in the matter"[WJ63, 56; OM10, 83].

However, Chevalier's worst act of dishonesty, indeed literary fraud, was in creating the d'Arcis Memorandum out of two rough drafts:

"There are two handwritten copies of the memorandum attributed to d'Arcis, `Folio 137' and `Folio 138' Folio 138 is a first draft with some parts crossed out, underlinings, and some very violent expressions expressions canceled; it is unsigned and undated and the addressee is not even shown. Chevalier made an orderly and careful transcription of this and published it in his very influential book. But Chevalier affixed the heading from Folio 137, `The Truth about the Cloth of Lirey, which was and now is being exhibited and about which I intend to write to our Lord the Pope in the following manner and as briefly as possible,' onto Folio 138. Thus, the document seen in Chevalier's book does not even exist, for it is actually a combination of two documents! Folio 137, the second draft, is neater than the first, and with its proper heading removed and affixed to the earlier messy draft, Chevalier gives the impression that Folio 137 was sent to Clement VII" (my emphasis)[AM00, 151-152; OM10, 57].
[Right (enlarge)[LSD]: Folio 137, the second of the two drafts, the first being folio 138[OM10, 56], of the so-called d'Arcis Memorandum]

At the foot of Folio 137, not part of the Latin document itself, a scribe had written in French "Fin 1389", i.e. "end of 1389"[BB91, 236; KG94, 11]. Chevalier forged the "Fin 1389" at the head of the d'Arcis Memorandum in his Appendix[BB91, 236, KG94, 11], without informing his readers that the date, though probably correct, is not on the document itself[BB91, 236, 238].

The central claim of the d'Arcis Memorandum is:

"Some time since in this diocese of Troyes the Dean of a certain collegiate church, to wit, that of Lirey ... procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which ... was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and front ... declaring ... that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb, and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which He bore ... The Lord Henry of Poitiers ... then Bishop of Troyes, becoming aware of this, and ... set himself earnestly to work to fathom the truth of this matter ... Eventually, after diligent inquiry and examination, he discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who had painted it, to wit, that it was a work of human skill and not miraculously wrought or bestowed"[WI79, 266-267].
The first component of the d'Arcis Memorandum, as previously mentioned, that "The Lord Henry of Poitiers ... then Bishop of Troyes, becoming aware of this..." is hearsay[AM00, 152-153; DT12, 182]. The first layer of hearsay is the claimed confession of the unnamed artist that he painted the image[AM00, 153]. The second layer is the source from which d'Arcis received this information[AM00, 153]. D'Arcis does not reveal either, so he may be relating mere gossip or rumor, or he may be making it up[AM00, 153]. Already in 1902 Paul Vignon (1865-1943) pointed this out:
"We know nothing of the enquiry made by the bishop, Henri de Poitiers, in 1355, but simply what his third successor [d'Arcis] was pleased to tell us about this enquiry. Many of Chevalier's readers have been misled by this ... "[BB91, 236].
D'Arcis was a former lawyer[CD92, 26; WI86, 11; WI98, 121; WI10, 231] so if there was any evidence to support his central claim above, he would have cited it[AM00, 152].

The second component of the d'Arcis Memorandum's central claim, as we saw in my previous post, is that, "Henry of Poitiers ... then Bishop of Troyes... after diligent inquiry and examination, he discovered the fraud," is false!: • Henri de Poitiers wasn't in Troyes in 1355[08Nov22a]; • On 28 May 1356 when de Poitiers was still in his previous diocese at Aix-en-Othe he wrote instituting the collegiate church of Lirey: "... we praise, ratify and approve ..." its "divine cult" which can only be veneration of the Shroud[08Nov22b]; • There is no evidence that de Poitiers made any "diligent inquiry and examination" and "discovered the fraud"[08Nov22c]; • In 1357 twelve bishops at the Papal Court in Avignon granted indulgences to all who visited the church of St Mary at Lirey and its relics[08Nov22d]; • de Poitiers didn't have a problem with Shroud, e.g. Geoffroy II de Charny married Henri de Poitiers' niece, Marguerite de Poitiers (c. 1362-1418)[08Nov22e].

The third component of the d'Arcis Memorandum, "... and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who had painted it", as we saw, is not only false but d'Arcis must have been lying, because the Shroudman's image is not painted, and there can't have been another shroud that de Poitiers investigated in c.1355[08Nov22f].

So, since the d'Arcis Memorandum was the only document in Chevalier's fifty-document Appendix that was against the authenticity of the Shroud (see above) and that is doubly a fraud (by both d'Arcis and Chevalier), Chevalier's entire literary argument against the Shroud fails!

Yet, it is the false d'Arcis Memorandum, forged by Chevalier, which, as we will see, is the basis of sceptic's argments against the Shroud down to this day[DR84, 24; DT12, 19]!

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]

AF82. Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ.
AM00. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY.
BB91. Bonnet-Eymard, B., "Study of original documents of the archives of the Diocese of Troyes in France with particular reference to the Memorandum of Pierre d'Arcis," in Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, 233-260, 236-237.
CD92. Crispino, D.C., 1992, "A New Look at Two Incompatible Views," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 41, December, 22-28.
CWC. File:Cyr Ulysse Chevalier.png, Wikimedia Commons, 20 November 2022.
DR84. Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD.
DT12. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London.
FL92. Fossati, L., 1992, "A Critical Study of the Lirey Documents," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 41, December, 2-11.
KG94. Kersten, H. & Gruber, E.R., 1994, "The Jesus Conspiracy: The Turin Shroud and the Truth About the Resurrection," Element Books: Shaftesbury UK, Reprinted, 1995.
HFW. "Holy Face of Jesus," Wikipedia, 29 October 2022.
LSD. "La Sindone di Torino: Il memoriale del vescovo Pierre d'Arcis del 1389," n.d.
MP78. McNair, P., 1978, "The Shroud and History: Fantasy, Fake or Fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK.
OG85. O'Rahilly, A. & Gaughan, J.A., ed., 1985, "The Crucified," Kingdom Books: Dublin.
OM10. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK.
PE06. Poulle, E., 2006, "Le linceul de Turin victime d'Ulysse Chevalier," Revue d'histoire de l'Eglise de France, Vol. 92, No. 229, 343-358.
PM96. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta.
UCW. Ulysse Chevalier, Wikipedia, 24 January 2022.
VC92. van Cauwenberghe, A., 1992, "The 1902 Concealment," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 41, December, 13-19.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
WI86. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London.
WI98. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY.
WI10. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London.
WJ63. Walsh, J.E., 1963, "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY.

Posted 11 January 2023. Updated 8 May 2023.

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