Monday, January 22, 2024

Prehistory of the Shroud (2) #45: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is #45, "Prehistory of the Shroud (2)," of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!" For more information about this "overwhelming" series, see the "Main index #1" and "Other marks and images #26." For more information about this "Prehistory" series, see "Prehistory" (1).

See updates for the years 373, 507 and 521.

[Main index #1] [Previous: Prehistory of the Shroud (1) #44] [Next: Prehistory of the Shroud (3) #46]

Prehistory of the Shroud (AD 30-1354).

c. 150 Several second century Christian writings record that the Shroud had been saved from Jesus' tomb: the Gospel of the Hebrews (late 1st/early 2nd century - see "c. 100"), the Acts of Pilate = Gospel of Nicodemus, the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Gamaliel[SD89, 74]. This shows that these second century writers knew the Shroud existed in their day[SD89, 74].

177 Accession of king Abgar VIII, the Great (r. 177-212)[AFW]. Abgar was the ruler of Osroene, a Syriac-speaking kingdom in Upper Mesopotamia, whose capital city was Edessa[OSW]. Abgar VIII was Edessa's (and the world's) first Christian king[GV01, 2; GM09, 142], as is evident from some of his coins which were the first to feature a Christian symbol: a prominent Christian cross on his crown[WI98, 167; WI10, 118-119] (see below).

[Above (enlarge)[JRC]: Second century Edessan coin, one side with Abgar VIII wearing a crown bearing a Christian cross (right), and on the other side the head of the Roman emperor Commodus (r. 180-192) (left).]

c. 183 During the tolerant reign of Roman EmperorCommodus (r. 180-192) Abgar VIII asked Pope Eleutherus (c. 174-189) to send Christian missionaries to Edessa[WI98, 172; SD10, 1]. In Abgar VIII's reign Edessa became the world's first Christian city, as evidenced by this stone Christian cross over a lion's head in a former fountain in modern Sanliurfa (ancient Edessa) [Right (enlarge)[WI10, 146G]. This had survived the almost complete eradication of Edessa's Christian history since the Muslim conquest of Edessa in 1144[WI10, 1]. The lion was the symbol of the Abgar dynasty[WI10, 119] which ceased ruling over Edessa after Abgar VIII's death in 212[WI10, 119]

194 Abgar VIII supported Parthia in its war against Rome[SD97, 35-36] causing Emperor Septimius Severus (r. 193-211) to take Edessa's rule from him and give it to a procurator[SD97, 36].

197-8 Abgar VIII changed sides and assisted Rome in its defeat of Parthia[SD97, 36]. To show his loyalty to the Emperor, whose full name was Lucius Septimius Severus, Abgar took on the Latin names Lucius Aelius Aurelius Septimus[SJ01, 14].

201 A major flood of its river the Daisan (`Leaper') devastates Edessa[WI98, 162; WI10, 132], thousands die, and the "church of the Christians" is damaged[WI98, 162]. This is the first mention anywhere of a Christian church building[WI98, 162] and is further evidence that Edessa had become a Christian city

202 As a reward for assisting Rome in its war with Parthia, Abgar VIII was invited to Rome in 202, which he visited after 204, to a lavish reception[SD02, 10; SJ01, 14].

205 Following the flood of 201, Abgar VIII built on higher ground within the walls of the old Edessa, a new walled Citadel, called "Birtha" in Syriac[SD97, 36; WI98, 172].

[Above (enlarge)[EFE]: The ruins of Edessa's citadel, within the modern city of Sanliurfa, Turkey.]

212 Death of Abgar VIII the Great[WI98, 264]. He was succeeded as king of Osroene by his son Abgar IX[WI98, 264].

213 Abgar IX and his son were summoned to Rome and murdered on the orders of Roman Emperor Caracalla (188–217)[AFW]. In 214 Caracalla ended the independence of Osroene and incorporated it as a province of the Roman Empire[AFW].

c. 315 Roman Empress Constantia (c.293-330), the half-sister of Emperor Constantine I the Great (c.272–337), wrote to the church historian, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339), asking him to send her an "image of Christ"[PR21]. Constantia's letter is lost but from Eusebius' reply, she seemed to be asking for a specific image of Christ, presumably the Image of Edessa/Shroud. This is supported by Eusebius' reply in which, instead of simply answering Constantia along the lines of, "Sorry, but I don't have an image of Christ to send to you," he gave a long-winded refusal which indicated that Eusebius knew which image Constantia meant, but he needed to find a way to refuse Constantine's half-sister's request without actually saying "no". This is further evidence that the Image of Edessa/Shroud existed in the fourth century, known in Christian circles, but hidden from those who would seize it

315 Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor[BW57, 44], abolished crucifixion throughout the Roman Empire[BW57, 44; MP78, 36; AM00, 102], out of veneration for Jesus, crucifixion's most famous victim[CRW]. Crucifixion continued to be banned in the remnants of the Roman Empire which included Europe[IJ98, 69]. Neither the Bible, nor writers in the Roman era, described crucifixion in detail[AF82, 70; OM10, 120] presumably because everyone then knew those details, and crucifixion was so abhorrent[OM10, 120]. Therefore a medieval European forger, ~1000 years later, would not know enough about Roman crucifixion to depict it accurately as it is on the Shroud[MP78, 36; AF82, 70; HJ83, 204; CT99, 292].

325a The First Council of Nicaea, convened by Emperor Constantine I, and attended by over 300 bishops from all parts of the Roman Empire, overwhelmingly rejected Arianism (see below) and affirmed Trinitarian Orthodoxy, that the "Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God" was "begotten not made, of one substance with the Father"[FCW].

325b At the First_Council of Nicaea, Macarius, the Bishop of Jerusalem (r. 312-335), petitioned Constantine to demolish Hadrian's temple to Venus and uncover the tomb of Christ[CH14]. Which happened (see 01Jan20).

c. 325 Eusebius, in his Church History[EEH, 43-47. [See Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers], includes an account of "Agbarus, Prince of Edessa" (Abgar V) who suffered from an incurable disease. When he heard of Jesus' miraculous healings, Abgar sent Jesus a letter by a courier, Ananias, requesting that Jesus visit Edessa and heal him. Jesus replied by letter that he could not come now, but after his Ascension he would send one of his disciples who would heal Abgar's affliction and give life to Abgar and to those who are with him. Included in Eusebius' history are the two letters in the Syriac language which Eusebius had found in Edessa's public records. With the letters in Edessa's records it is stated that after Jesus' Ascension, the Apostle Thomas sent Thaddeus (Addai), one of the seventy (or seventy two - Lk 10:1-17), to Edessa. Thaddeus healed Abgar, and many Edessans and preached the Gospel in and around Edessa. However, there is nothing in the account of a cloth (the Shroud) having been taken to Edessa. There is no reason why this account, including the letters to, and from, Jesus are not genuine. In their favour is an exchange of letters between Abgar V and the Roman Emperor Tiberius (r. 14-37), which are regarded as genuine[ATW].

c. 330 Athanasius (c. 296–373), who was bishop of Alexandria from 328 to 373[AAW], affirmed in the times of Constantine the Great, who was Roman Emperor from 306-337[CTW], that a sacred Christ-icon, traceable to Jerusalem in the year 68, was then present in Syria, when Syria did not include Edessa[MJ08] [See "68"].

337 Death of Constantine I (c. 272-337)[MJ99, 98]. The Roman Empire was divided among his three surviving sons[MJ99, 98]. The eldest, Constantine II (r. 337–340) would rule the West, and the youngest, Constans (r. 337-350) would rule the South[MJ99, 98]. The middle son, Constantius (337–361) would rule the Eastern Empire[MJ99, 98]. Constantine II and Constans were closely aligned with the orthodox Church[MJ99, 98]. But Constantius became an avowed Arian[MJ99, 98]. Arianism holds that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but He did not always exist having been made before time by God the Father, and therefore the Son, was not coeternal with God the Father, as Trinitarian Orthodoxy maintained[ARW]. However, Constantine II and Constans were killed in 340 and 350 respectively[MJ99, 98], leaving the Arian Constantius in absolute control of the entire Roman Empire[MJ99, 98].

c. 338 St. Nino (c. 296–340), belonged to a Greek-speaking Roman family from Cappadocia[SNW]. She brought Christianity to Georgia during the reign of Constantine the Great (r. 306-337)[HT78,75; PM96, 172]. Nino's father was a Roman army officer by the name of Zabulon, and her mother, Sosana, was the sister of a bishop of Jerusalem, Houbnal I.[SNN]. When Nino reached the age of twelve, her parents sold all their possessions and moved to Jerusalem[SNN]. Nino's father became a monk and left his family to labor in the wilderness of the Jordan[SNN]. Sosana was ordained a deaconess, so she left Nino in the care of an old woman, Sara Niaphor, who raised her in the Christian Faith and related to her the stories of Christ's life and His suffering on earth[SNN]. In 338 Nino wrote in her memoirs that she had been told that the linen strips (othonia[GM04, 20] Lk 24:12; Jn 11:44) had been taken by Pilate's wife, to Pontus, but later they were brought back by St Luke to Jerusalem[BA34, 50; RC99, 53]. The face cloth (sudari[GM04, 20] Jn 20:7), Nino had heard, had been taken by Peter, but it was not by then known where it was[BA34, 50; RC99, 53]. Nino did not mention the Shroud (sindon), but the linen strips (othonia). It is not impossible that Pilate's wife, who Mt 27:17-19 records was a believer in Jesus, did obtain the linen strips temporarily. If the Sudarium was in Jerusalem in Nino's time, she did not know that. Her father being a former Roman army officer may have made Nino a security risk and she may not have been told if the Sudarium was still in Jerusalem. The importance of Nino's memoirs is that she confirmed that it was common knowledge in the fourth century that Jesus' facecloth (the Sudarium of Oviedo) had been recovered from his tomb!As for the Sudarium having been kept by the Apostle Peter, that agrees with Christian tradition. In c. 850 the Syrian bishop Ishodad of Merv, wrote of the Sudarium (Syriac sudara):

"Simon [Peter] took and it remained with him. And whenever he made an ordination, he arranged it on his head ... just as even now leaders and bishops of the Church arrange their turbans that are on their heads ..."[BJ01, 23-24; GM69, 11; GM98, 80; OM10, 184].
An earlier mention of the Sudarium was in the 570 chronicle of an anonymous pilgrim from Piacenza, Italy, who wrote that "the sudarium of Christ" was in a cave close to the Monastery of St. Mark, Jerusalem[BJ01, 22-23; GM99, 129]. According to his c. 1109, Book of Testaments, Bishop Pelayo of Oviedo (-1153) recorded that the Sudarium was in Jerusalem up to 614 when it was taken to Alexandria and eventually Spain[GM98, 14-15; GM99, 129; GV01, 41-42]; ahead of the Persian king Khosrow II (r. 590-628)'s conquest of Jerusalem[SCW].

357 In Antioch, the orthodox faction split, Eudoxius (r. 357-360) an Arian, was elected bishop, and Antioch became "a stronghold of Arianism"[DG63, 157; MJ99, 98]. The Arians took control of Antioch Cathedral[MJ99, 98; OM10, 20]. With Arians now in control of both the imperial government (see 337) and the official Church of Antioch, it would have been propitious to exhibit the relics of the Passion, including the Shroud and exhibit them to Arian believers within the confines of the cathedrall[MJ99, 98;OM10, 20].

361 Constantius II died childless and was succeeded by his cousin, Julian the Apostate (r. 361-363)[DG63, 160; JAW], so called because he rejected Christianity and sought to restore pagan worship[MJ99, 99; OM10, 22]. Julian originally intended to be tolerant of all religions[MJ99, 99] but when he was visiting Antioch in 362, the Temple of Apollo in nearby Daphne caught fire and both its roof and an idol of Apollo were damaged[DG63, 169; MJ99, 99]. Julian wrongly blamed the Christians and ordered that Antioch Cathedral be closed and its liturgical vessels and other treasures be confiscated[DG63, 169-170; MJ99, 99]. Julian had made his uncle, also named Julian, the Count of the East, and when he attempted to enforce his nephew's order to confiscate the Cathedral's sacred objects, the Arian treasurer of the cathedral, Theodoretus (-362), refused to deliver them even under torture and death[MJ99, 100; OM10, 21]. If the Shroud was in Antioch Cathedral (which is likely - see c. 330), then it was one of those "treasures" and would explain both Julian's strange attempted confiscation of them and Theodoret's chosing death by torture rather than hand Christianity's holiest relic over to the pagans.

373 Death of Ephrem the Syrian (c. 306-73)[ETW]. Also known as St. Ephraim, the "harp of the Syrian church," he lived in Edessa in the late fourth century, but in all the prodigious amount of ecclesiastical verse he wrote, not a mention is made of the Image of Edessa/Shroud[WI79, 131; DR84, 62; AM00, 135; SD91, 184; WI10, 124],

c. 375 Composition of the Doctrine of Addai (Syriac for "Thaddeus")[DR84, 63; SD03; WI98, 264], based on earlier versions of the Abgar story[see "50"] [DAW]. After quoting verbatim the texts of Abgar's letter to Jesus, and Jesus' reply letter to Abgar[DR84, 63], the Doctrine of Addai interpolates a story of Abgar's keeper of the archives, and king's artist, Hannan (Syriac of Ananias[DR84, 63]), painting Jesus' portrait with "choice paints"[DR84, 63]:

"When Hanan the archivist saw that Jesus had spoken thus to him, he took and painted the portrait of Jesus with choice pigments, since he was the king's artist, and brought it with him to his lord King Abgar. When King Abgar saw the portrait he received it with great joy and placed it with great honor in one of the buildings of his palaces"[DR84, 63].
This is the earliest mention of a connection between Edessa and an image of Jesus[SD89, 80; OM10, 21]. In fourth century Edessa Jesus' image on the cloth was regarded as not supernatural, but as the product of merely human skill[DR84, 63]. It provides no support for the 945 Official History's claim that Abgar V set up this likeness of Jesus "not made by hand," fastened it to a board, embellished with gold, over Edessa's main gate[WI79, 280][see "945c"]. And yet the description of the Image as having been "painted with choice pigments" indicates a memory of the Image of Edessa/Shroud having been brought to Edessa and exhibited in the time of the Abgars[WI98, 173, 265]. That Addai was a real, historical person who evangelised Edessa is evidenced by the Outlines of early Christian philosopher Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-216), which recorded that the tomb of Addai (and the Apostle Thomas) was in "Britio Edessenorum," the Citadel built in 205 by Abgar VIII[WI98, 172, 264] (see above).

380 Emperor Theodosius I (347–95), the last emperor to rule the entire Roman Empire before it permanently split between West and East[TOW], established Nicaean orthodoxy as the official religion of the Roman Empire, so the Arians were expelled from Antioch and custody of its cathedral was returned to the Orthodox[MJ99, 98; OM10, 20]. Emperor Theodosius also fought to expel the Arian Goths who had settled inside the Roman Empire between 376–382. It is my Ravenna Theory that the Antioch Arians did obtain possession of the Image of Edessa/Shroud in 357 and took it with them when they fled Antioch in 380. And that they sought refuge from their common enemy, Theodosius I, with their fellow Arians, the Ostrogoths. And so the Shroud came to be in the Ostrogoth Kingdom centred on Ravenna, as evidenced by the "Christ enthroned" mosaic below completed in situ by 526, with its 8 of the 15 Vignon markings. Then in, or before, 540 [see "540b"], when the Ostrogoth kingdom was about to end and Ravenna was about to become part of the Byzantine Empire, the Image of Edessa/Shroud was taken from Ravenna to Arian-friendly Edessa[ETW]. This is more plausible than Ian Wilson's theory that the Image of Edessa/Shroud had been hidden, and then completely forgotten, in Edessa's wall from c.60-525 [see 525 below]; and that part of Jack Markwardt's theory that when the Arians were expelled from Antioch in 380 they left the Image of Edessa/Shroud for the Orthodox to find[MJ99, 100-101].

c. 384 Visit to Edessa by the pilgrim nun Egeria[WI98, 265; GM09, 146]. She had travelled from Spain[DR84, 62] in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and important Christian sites in Palestine and Syria[DR84, 62; WI98, 298]. Egeria kept a record of her visits and experiences, the beginning and its end of which is lost, leaving only the middle, although the account of her visit to Edessa has survived[GM09, 146; WI10, 123-124]. Lacking an introduction to her travel diary, Egeria's real name is uncertain[WI10, 123-124]. Egeria described how Edessa's bishop Eulogius (-387), took her to the gate of the Bastions through which Hannan, Abgar's messenger, had entered carrying Jesus' letter[WI79, 136-137; PM96, 173]. He also told her that an attack on Edessa by the Persians [361 by Shapur II (r. 309–379)?] had been repulsed by the reading of Jesus' letter from this gate[WI79, 136-137; GM09, 147]. But, significantly, Egeria makes no mention of being told that an image of Christ was then, or had been, in Edessa [DR84, 62; AM00, 135]. This is consistent with my Ravenna Theory (see 07Dec16 & 01Jan20) that the Image of Edessa/Shroud only arrived in Edessa from Ravenna, Italy, shortly before 544 (see "540a" and "544").

c. 400 The German Shroud scholar, Prof. Werner Bulst (1913-95),

[Left (enlarge)[FCP]: Extract from "Christ Between St. Peter and St. Paul" fresco (see original) in the catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Via Labicana, Rome, Italy, end of third centuryPM96, 189]. Although Jesus' face does not have the rigid frontality[WI98, 173] and Vignon markings of later Byzantine icons, it "shows a very striking similarity to" the image on the Shroud, and is such a radical departure from the beardless Apollo[AF82, 18; DR84, 29; IJ98, 151, etc] depictions of Jesus then current, that the simplest explanation is that the artist had seen the Image of Edessa/Shroud and painted this part of the fresco from memory.]

dated the fresco in the catacomb of Peter (not the apostle) and Marcellinus (above) to "about 400" and noted that "... the image on the Cloth of Turin ... shows a very striking similarity to ... [this] picture in the catacomb of Peter and Marcellinus ..."[BW57, 41]. This is more evidence against the 945 Official History's highly implausible story that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was bricked up above Edessa's public gate in c.60, was completely forgotten, and not rediscovered until 525 [see "c. 60" and "525"].

402 Emperor Honorius (r. 393-423) transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Mediolanum (today's Milan) to Ravenna[RVW]. Ravenna subsequently served as the capital of the empire for most of the 5th century and the last de facto western emperor Romulus Augustulus (r. 475-476) was deposed there in 476[RVW]. The transfer was made partly for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes, and was perceived to be easily defensible[RVW]. It is also likely that the move to Ravenna was due to the city's port and good sea-borne connections to the Eastern Roman Empire[RVW].

c. 450 The Gospel of Nicodemus or Acts of Pilate, in its current form, is thought to date from around the 4th or 5th century[GNW]. According to that Gospel, on the first Easter Saturday, Joseph of Arimathea. is seized by Jewish leaders and locked up, because he had asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in a tomb (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:43-46; Lk 23:50-53; Jn 19:38-42)[SD02]. But on the next day, he had mysteriously disappeared from his cell. Joseph later related how angels had lifted up the prison at its four corners and how Jesus had released him and had proved his identity by showing him the linen shroud and face napkin still in the tomb[SD02]. This was evidently based on Jn 20:6-7 where Peter and John enter the empty tomb and see the "linen cloths" [othonia] and the "face cloth" [soudarion]. But in this fourth or fifth century writing, the Shroud and face cloth (Sudarium of Oviedo) are known to still exist. Otherwise what would be the point of writing about them if they had ceased to exist four centuries earlier?

507 Completion of the Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite, which was written in Edessa[WI79, 131]. It covers the death of Emperor Julian the Apostate (r. 361-63) in 363, the reigns of the Persian kings Peroz I (457-84) and Balash (484-88), and the history of the relations between Persian and Roman Empires from the beginning of the reign of Kavadh I (489–531), which culminated in the Anastasian War of 502–6[JTW]. Yet Joshua makes with no mention of the Image of Edessa/Shroud[WI79, 131; AM00, 134-135; WI98, 266].

521 Death of Jacob of Serug (c. 451-521), a most prolific Edessan writer[AM00, 135], but like other Edessan writers Ephrem the Syrian (c. 306-73) (above) and Joshua the Stylite (above), he did not mention the Image of Edessa/Shroud[WI79, 131; DR84, 62; SD91, 184; AM00, 134-135; WI98, 162, 266]. This is further evidence for my Ravenna Theory (see above), that except for perhaps a brief, passing display of the Image of Edessa/Shroud in the first century, it was never in Edessa until it arrived from Ravenna, Italy, shortly before 544.

525 Edessa suffered another major flood (see 201) of its river, the Daisan ("the Leaper")[WI98, 162; WI10, 118-119]. According to a contemporary historian, Procopius of Caesarea (c. 500-65):

".. .the river rose to an extraordinary height ... It levelled to the ground a large part of the outworks and of the circuit-wall and covered practically the whole city, doing irreparable damage. For in a moment it wiped out completely the finest of the buildings and caused the death of one third of the population"[WI79, 138; WI98, 266; GV01, 2].
The city, its wall, and a new Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom") cathedral, were then rebuilt by the Byzantine Emperor Justin I (r. 518-27), although the actual work was carried out by his nephew and future Emperor, Justinian I (r. 527-65)[DR84, 60; GV01, 2; WI10, 298]. Justinian also constructed a diversion channel for the river, to prevent future flooding of the city[WB06, 224]. According to the 945 `Official History of the Image of Edessa' [see "945c"] the Image of Edessa/Shroud, had been hidden in the city wall above Edessa's public gate, early in the reign of Abgar V's pagan younger son, Ma'nu VI (r. 57–71), then been completely forgotten, and was not rediscovered until just before the 544 siege of Edessa by the Persian King Khosrow I (r. 531-79) (see "544"). However this story of the Image of Edessa/Shroud having been hidden in Edessa's wall, completely forgotten, for almost 500 years, contains multiple implausibilities [see "c. 60"].

Likewise Ian Wilson's theory, based on that `Official History' story, that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was discovered in, or soon after 525, during the rebuilding of Edessa's flood damaged wall[WI79, 139, 254; WI98, 266], suffers from the same multiple implausibilities and it does not even have the support of the `Official History' that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was discovered during the 544 Persian siege of Edessa. Wilson only theorised that the Image of Edessa/Shroud was discovered during the repairs to the wall after the 525 flood because the historian Evagrius (c. 536-94), who lived through the 544 Seige of Edessa, in his Ecclesiastical History ascribed Edessa's deliverance to a "divinely wrought image"[RC99, 55; WI91, 134; WI98, 266] (the Image of Edessa/Shroud), but does not mention its discovery during the siege, which he surely would have if its was[WI79, 139; DR84, 60]. But according to my Ravenna Theory (see above), the Image of Edessa/Shroud only arrived in Edessa from Ravenna just before the Persian seige of 544!

526a Completion of mosaic, "Christ enthroned with four angels," in

[Above (enlarge): Face of the "Christ Enthroned" mosaic in the Sant'Apollinare Nuovo church, Ravenna, Italy[RMW] (see full mosaic at "526a") compared to the Vignon markings[WI78, 82E] (see 11Feb12).]

the Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. According to Maher, this "early (sixth-century) ... mosaic of Christ enthroned" has "eight [of the 15] Vignon markings"[MR86, 77], which is proof beyond reasonable doubt that it was based on the Shroud, over 700 years before its earliest 1260 radiocarbon dating[DP89]! And since this is a mosaic, created in situ, not a portable painting, it is evidence that the Shroud ("four-doubled" = tetradiplon, as the Image of Edessa), was in Ravenna in the early sixth century! See above that Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402-476. After which it was the capital city of the Ostrogoth Kingdom until, very significantly, 540. [See "540a" ].

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]

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JP78. Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK.
JRC. "Jewish Origins of the Cross: Kingdom of Edessa, Commodus & Abgar VIII (179-214)" (no longer online), VCoins, 2016.
JTW. "Joshua the Stylite," Wikipedia, 23 July 2023.
MJ08. Markwardt, J., 2008, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret," in FG08, 382-407, 382.
MP78. McNair, P., 1978, "The Shroud and History: Fantasy, Fake or Fact?," in JP78, 21-40.
MJ99. Markwardt, J., 1999, "Antioch and the Shroud," in WB00, 94-108.
MR86. Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY.
OM10. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK.
OSW. "Osroene," Wikipedia, 17 December 2023.
PM96, Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta.
PR21. Pearse, R., 2021, "Eusebius, Letter to Constantia – an English translation by Cyril Mango," June 14.
RC99. 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.
RMW. Extract from "File:Christus Ravenna Mosaic.jpg," Wikimedia Commons, 31 October 2016.
RVW. "Ravenna," Wikipedia, 26 January 2024.
SD02. Scavone, D.C., 2002, "Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Edessa Icon," Collegamento pro Sindone, October, 1-25, 10.
SD03. Scavone, D.C., 2003, "Chronological Listing of Supporting Texts (from an article that appeared in Issue #56)," BSTS Newsletter, No. 57, June..
SD10. Scavone, D.C., 2010, "Edessan sources for the legend of the Holy Grail," Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Frascati, Italy, 4-6 May 2010, 1-6..
SD89. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA.
SD91. Scavone, D.C., 1991, "The History of the Turin Shroud to the 14th C.," in BA91, 171-204.
SD97. Scavone, D., 1997, "British King Lucius and the Shroud," Shroud News, No. 100, February, 30-39, 35.
SJ01. Segal, J.B., 2001, "Edessa: The Blessed City," [1970], Gorgias Press: Piscataway NJ, Second edition, Reprinted, 2005.
SNN. "Saint Nino (Nina), Equal of the Apostles, Enlightener of Georgia," The Orthodox Church in America, 14 January 2008.
SCW. "Sasanian conquest of Jerusalem," Wikipedia, 19 January 2024.
SNW. "Saint Nino," Wikipedia, 4 December 2023.
TOW. "Theodosius I," Wikipedia, 5 February 2024.
WB00. Walsh, B.J., ed., 2000, "Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Research Conference, Richmond, Virginia," Magisterium Press: Glen Allen VA.
WB06. Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia.
WI78. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
WI91. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: 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.

Posted 22 January 2024. Updated 26 February 2024.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

My reply to Prof. Nicholas Allen (assumed) #2

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

Prof. Allen (assumed)

This is my reply to your comment of 2 January under my 15 November 2020 post, "My reply to Prof. Nicholas Allen (assumed)." Your words are bold.

Anonymous said

Your objection to Dr Allen’s use of a quartz lens is meaningless. I did not object to your use of a quartz lens. I objected to your use of a modern synthetic quartz lens. You titled your book, "The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens" [Right (enlarge)] when hidden deep within it, not mentioned in the index, you admitted that you had used a piece of synthetic quartz to make your 180 mm lens, not a natural quartz crystal:

"Through the kindness of my institution I was made a loan with which I purchased a blank piece of high grade quartz. After many months of waiting, a blank sent from Switzerland, finally arrived in South Africa, where through the sterling efforts of both Derek Griffith and Dan van Staaden, it was ground and polished into a bi-convex lens"[AN98, 99].
Yet, you yourself wrote that your medieval photograph theory is based on "technology available to certain medieval societies c 1200--1350 AD" and "quartz (rock-crystal)":
"Since 1990 the author has formally conducted a number of experiments which have employed the kind of technology available to certain medieval societies c 1200--1350 AD, and has shown that it is quite possible to produce a chemically stable (fixed) negative photographic image of a human corpse on a piece of linen employing only three substances, all of which were available to people living well before the thirteenth century. These substances are quartz (rock-crystal), the silver salts (specifically silver nitrate (eau prime and silver) and/or silver sulphate (oil of vitriol and silver) and ammonia (urine)..."[AN95, 21]
You need to go back to square 1. Find a large, optical quality quartz rock crystal, that would have been available to your medieval photographer. Then you need to have that quartz rock crystal ground, using only medieval technology, into an optical quality 180 mm = 7 inch diameter, circular quartz lens. Your failure to do that shows that you can't do it and therefore your medieval photograph theory failed from its very outset!

Da Vinci would have used a camera obscura to create the shroud. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was born in 1452, ~98 years after the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in 1355.

Allen’s use of the lens only speeds the process by allowing a much wider aperture. You yourself have written that medieval glass would have "screened out the vital ultraviolet wavelengths in sunlight that had an effect on silver nitrate" and "the only suitable material for a medieval forger ... would have also been optical quality rock-crystal":

"I also discovered, very early on in my investigation, that despite the rapidity that certain silver salts reacted to direct sunlight, that silver nitrate samples when placed under crown glass remained unaffected in the short term. Glass screened out the vital ultraviolet wavelengths in sunlight that had an effect on silver nitrate. Now, the only substance which does allow the transmission of UV light, is optical quality rock-crystal (quartz), and as it turns out the only suitable material for a medieval forger (who was employing silver nitrate) would have also been optical quality rock-crystal. Medieval glass would have been totally unsuitable as a medium for this kind of lens, as it was invariably tinted and its formula certainly not much different to modern window and bottle glass. I now know that silver sulphate can be exposed successfully with a modern glass lens as well. However, it is far more likely that the forgers used quartz since it was an easily obtainable, clear material, whereas optically clear glass would have been very difficult to produce at this time[AN98, 86]

The only critical question is whether his technique replicates physical details of the shroud, because da Vinci's ability to project focused images onto paper (or linen) are well known. He described them in his writings. See above that Da Vinci was born nearly a century after the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in 1355!

You wrote that the "connection between da Vinci and the Shroud" was "highly dubious" and the unknown "genius" who invented photography, and created the Shroud by photography, "must be found in the years shortly before 1357":

"In this regard, despite the recent spate of interest in a highly dubious connection between da Vinci and the Shroud of Lirey, our sought after genius must be found in the years shortly before 1357"[AN98, 76].
So your "Medieval Photography" theory requires that there was 1) "in the years shortly before 1357" almost a century before Da Vinci was born; 2) an unknown "genius"; 3) who invented photography; 4) created the Shroud by photography; 5) didn't photograph anything else; 6) left no writings or drawings describing his invention; 7) didn't tell anyone about it; 8) didn't sell or give the Shroud away (otherwise the the buyer/receiver would know who the "genius" was); or 9) died without the Shroud being found in his possessions, otherwise it would be known who the "genius" was. For once I agree with Joe Nickell, that your theory is "astonishingly absurd":
"Knowledgeable skeptics were avoided. Instead, viewers were subjected to the astonishingly absurd notion of an art historian named Nicholas Allen that the image was "the world's first photograph." (The technique was supposedly invented to make a fake shroud and then conveniently lost for subsequent centuries!)"[NJ04].
The Pray Codex alone (and it isn't alone!) proves that the Shroud

[Above (enlarge): "The Entombment" (upper) and "Visit to the Sepulchre" (lower) in fol. 28 of the Hungarian Pray Codex (1192-95)[BI69].]

existed at least 160 years before 1355. For references below see 04Oct18.

The upper scene contains the following seven correspondences with the Shroud: 1. Jesus is lying in a shroud-like pose, which was uncommon in the art of that period. 2. He is completely naked (unique in the 12th century; 3. He is about to be wrapped in a double body length shroud (see 27May12). 4. Jesus' hands are crossed, right over left, awkwardly at the wrists, covering his genitals. 5. His fingers are unnaturally long; 6. Jesus' hands have four fingers each but no thumbs. 7. Red marks in Jesus' scalp and forehead, match the crown of thorns puncture marks and the `reversed 3' bloodstain on the Shroud.

The lower scene of fol. 28 (above) contains the following further three correspondences with the Shroud: 8. The sarcophagus lid (which together with the sarcophagus represents the empty tomb (Mk 16:1-6), has a representation of the Shroud's herringbone weave pattern. 9. Red zig-zag lines in the sarcophagus lid represent the blood trickles down on the Shroudman's arms. 10. Two patterns of four and five tiny circles in the sarcophagus lid and sarcophagus, represent the two basic patterns of four and five `poker holes' on the Shroud.

Another of the four drawings has a further four correspondences with the Shroud: 11. The nail wound in Jesus' right hand (left facing on the Shroud) is in his wrist, while its counterpart in the other hand (hidden on the Shroud) is in Jesus' palm (as per Christian tradition). 12. A red elliptical mark on Jesus' right chest is about the same size, shape and location (except it is on the left-facing side) as the spear in the side wound on the Shroud). 13. Jesus is clothed in a long shroud, the ends of which match those in the entombment scene above. 14. An angel is holding a cross in which are three nails, corresponding to the three nail wounds on the Shroud (one in each wrist and one through both feet.

[Above (enlarge): "Christ enthroned with the Angel Holding the Instruments of Torture": fol. 28v of the Pray Codex.]

As can be seen above, there are at least fourteen correspondences between the drawings on two folios of the Pray Codex and the Shroud! Clearly this many `coincidences' cannot be the results of chance. The only explanation is that the 11th-12th century artist had before him the Shroud as his `model'! So your "genius ... in the years shortly before 1357" medieval photography theory is again wrong! As are theories based on Bishop d'Arcis 1389 memorandum that the Shroud was "cunningly painted" in c. 1355[WI79, 267], wrong. As is the 1260-1390 radiocarbpn dating of the Shroud[DP89, 611], wrong!

The following will help me write your section in Chapter "16. Sceptics and the Shroud" and Chapter 17. "How was the Image Formed?" of my book in progress, "Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus!" See 06Jul17, 03Jun18, 04Apr22, 13Jul22 & 8 Nov 22.

Photograph Allen's is the only claimed replication of the Shroud which replicates its full-length, front and back. Even though Allens's replication fails to include major features of the Shroud (see below), as Ian Wilson pointed out, the value of Allen's contribution to sindonology is that he demonstrated that the Shroud image really is a photograph, and not a painting as claimed by most Shroud sceptics, led by Walter McCrone (1916-2002):

"Now it can also be said unreservedly of Professor Allen that more than anyone else before him he has demonstrated that the Shroud's image really is photographic in character. This is in fact something that those in favour of the Shroud's authenticity have been saying for years and is certainly bad news for Walter McCrone and others"[WI98, 216].
Wilson himself in 1978 described the formation of the Shroud image as a "`snapshot' of the Resurrection" of Jesus:
"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"[WI78, 211]!
Circular firing squad Is defined as, "A group, usually a political party, that is allied against a common enemy or opponent but whose internal disagreements and attacks end up doing more damage to each other than to their target"[CFS]. In advancing his Medieval Photography Theory, Allen attacks the image formation theories of his fellow sceptics. And leading sceptic Joe Nickell (1944-), returned fire, dismissing Allen's theory that the image on the Shroud was the world's first photograph, but the technique was then lost for subsequent centuries, as "astonishingly absurd"[NJ04]

Image characteristics Allen agreed with STURP that the man's image was:
Superficial: The image is essentially a straw-yellow discolouration of the uppermost fibres of the linen threads of the Shroud's fabric. This discolouration has not 'penetrated' the individual threads which make up the Shroud nor is the image visible on the underside of the Shroud[AN98, 28].

Three-dimensional: The intensity of the image varies according to the distance of the body from the cloth. In other words features such as the nose, forehead and cheeks are more intense than areas such as the neck, ankles, and elbows[AN98, 28-29].

Negative: The image acts like a photographic negative which is as visually coherent as a positive photograph when its polarity is reversed[AN98, 29].

Directionless: Unlike hand-painted images (e.g., paintings) the image on the Shroud contains no 'directionality'. In other words the image could not have been produced by any technique which involved the use of brushwork[AN98, 29]. Here Allen smuggles in his own definition of non-directional to only exclude brushwork, because his `shroud' is strongly directional by the passage of the sun (see below). But by "non-

[Above (enlarge): Allen's image of a plaster bodycast painted white (left) and a negative photograph of the Shroud's frontal image (right)[EL10] (flipped horizontally for comparison). Note the directional sunlight from above on the head, shoulder, arm, wrist, knee and feet of Allen's image and the total lack of light directionality on the Shroud (the white patches on the Shroudman's side, wrist, arms and feet are dark blood which is white in a photographic negative. See 16Jun19 & 15Nov20.]

directional" STURP meant by any means. STURP member Barrie Schwortz pointed out that Allen's `shroud' photographs contain a strong directionality of light:

"Allen's photographs contain a strong directionality of light. This is obvious from the deep shadows cast on his subject by the strong overhead sunlight he used to create his images (Figure 1). These are clearly seen in the eye sockets, under the nose and chin and below the hands and is unlike the image on the Shroud (Figure 2), which demonstrates no such directionality of light at all. It is further confirmed by the "washing out" of detail in certain parts of the image, most notably the tops of the feet, which received far more light and cumulative exposure than the rest of the body (Figure 3)"[SB00].

So again Allen's medieval photograph theory fails. As Schwortz pointed out:

"In the end, any attempt at duplicating the image on the Shroud of Turin must match all of its physical and chemical properties, not just a select few. It must also withstand the scrutiny of careful, side-by-side comparison to the original"[SB00].
AN95. Allen, N.P.L., 1995, "Verification of the Nature and Causes of the Photonegative Images on the Shroud of Lirey-Chambery-Turin," De Arte 51, Pretoria, UNISA, 21-35, 21.
AN98. Allen, N.P.L., 1998, "The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens: Testament to a Lost Technology," Empowerment Technologies: Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
BI69. Berkovits, I., 1969, "Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, XI-XVI Centuries," Horn, Z., transl., West, A., rev., Irish University Press: Shannon, Ireland, pl. III.
CFS. "Circular firing squad," The Free Dictionary by Farlex, 2022.
DP89. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, 611-615.
EL10. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Enrie Negative Horizontal," (rotated left 90 degrees), [return]
NJ04. Nickell, J., 2004, "PBS `Secrets of the Dead' Buries the Truth About Turin Shroud," Skeptical Inquirer, April 9.
SB00. Schwortz, B.M., 2000, "Is The Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?: A Critical Examination of the Theory,"
WI78. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Victor Gollancz: London.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
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.

Posted 20 January 2024. Updated 4 May 2024.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Prehistory of the Shroud (1) #44: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is #44, "Prehistory of the Shroud (1)," of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet!" For more information about this "overwhelming" series, see the "Main index #1" and "Other marks and images #26." Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated. I had previously started a "Prehistory of the Shroud" series #16, #17, but abandoned that series in #21 because it duplicated my "Chronology of the Turin Shroud" series. But this new series will help me write Chapter "9. Prehistory of the Shroud" of my book in progress, "Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus!" See

[Right (enlarge): The planned cover of my book.]

06Jul17, 03Jun18, 04Apr22, 13Jul22 & 8 Nov 22. In my book the references in square brackets will be endnotes. I won't duplicate my Chronology but will only include evidence that the Turin Shroud is Jesus' burial sheet! Even so, ~1234 years of prehistory will mean that I will have to split this post into many posts.

See important update.

[Main index #1] [Previous: The Shroudman and Jesus were resurrected! #43] [Next: Prehistory of the Shroud (2) #45]

Prehistory of the Shroud (AD 30-1354).
"For instance, the latest possible date is 544. In this year the Syrian-born historian Evagrius (527-600) described the cloth's having been used as a protective talisman or palladium to ward off a determined attack on Edessa by the Persian king Chosroes ... This account ... could be regarded as the entry of the Mandylion [Shroud] into history ..." (Wilson, 1979)[WI79, 137]
"Looking back in time from 1204, we are in a period in which, if the radiocarbon dating is to be believed, there should be no evidence of our Shroud. The year 1260 was the earliest possible date for the Shroud's existence by radiocarbon dating's calculations" (Wilson, 1998)[WI98, 141].

Prehistory By "prehistory" I mean the history of the Shroud from Jesus' having been "wrapped ... in a linen shroud"[Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53] in AD 30, to just before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France, in c. 1355[GV01, 14; OM10, 52; WI98, 126-127; WI10, 222].

AD 30 7-9 April[FJ64, 296,300; DK15]. Jesus was beaten on his head and face[Jn 18:22; Mt 26:67-68; Mk 14:65; Lk 22:63-64; Mt 27:30; Mk 15:19; Jn 19:3], scourged[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] and nailed to a cross[Jn 20:25, 27; Lk 24:39-40; Col 2:14], on which he died[Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30]. Jesus’ legs were not broken but instead he was speared in the side[Jn 19:33-34]. Jesus was taken down from his cross, wrapped in a linen shroud[Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53], buried in a rock tomb[Mt 27:59-60; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53; Jn 19:41-42] and resurrected![Mt 28:1-6; Mk 16:1-6; Lk 24:1-6; Jn 20:1-9].

As we saw in "The Bible and the Shroud" (09Jun13 & 08Sep20) the man on the Shroud has

[Left (enlarge): "Anatomy of the Shroud"[WK80, 736-7], showing that the wounds and bloodstains on the Shroud match those in the Gospels' accounts of Jesus' sufferings and death.]

wounds and bloodstains which match those of Jesus above.

30 c. 10-16 April In one of his post-resurrection appearances to the Apostles[Jn 20:19-23, 26-29; 21:4-14; 1Cor 15:3-7], Jesus gave his Shroud, which was not in the empty tomb[Jn 20:3-8 NIV][BW57, 16; BP28, 83] to his cousin the Apostle John[TR82, 601; WJ84, 34-35] (see "c. 100").

c. 30-543 `Missing years'. From when Jesus gave the Shroud to the Apostle John (see above) who took Jesus' mother Mary, his mother Salome's sister[TR82, 601; WJ84, 34-35], into his home[Jn 19:25-27], presumably in Jerusalem. And presumably John then gave the Shroud to his aunt Mary, Jesus' mother, its rightful owner as Jesus' next of kin[OM10, 17-18]. Joseph, Mary's husband[Mt 1:16-24] is last mentioned in the Gospels when Jesus was 12[Lk 2:41-51], so evidently he had since died[NR82, 620]. After Mary died in Jerusalem[TVW] before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70[MJ08], until the Shroud re-appeared in Edessa in 544 (see "544"), are ~474 missing years. It is likely that after Mary's death the Shroud was passed down to her remaining eldest son, Jesus' brother James[Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3; Gal 1:19], who became the leader of the earliest Jerusalem church[Acts 15:13-21][OM10, 18; BJW]. But James was martyred before the destruction of Jerusalem[JBW]. So the Shroud may then have become collectively owned by the Jerusalem church[RTB]. Various theories have been proposed to fill in these missing years, including Wilson's Jerusalem to Edessa theory[RTB], Markward's Jerusalem to Antioch theory[RTB] and my Ravenna Theory (Jerusalem to Antioch to Ravenna to Edessa)[07Dec16; 28Mar19 & 01Jan20].

c. 34 Following the martyrdom of Stephen[Acts 7:2, 54-58], the persecuted disciples fled to Antioch in Syria, where they were first called "Christians"[Acts 11:19-26]. Antioch became the major centre of Christianity[OM10, 19; ACW]. Each of the Apostle Paul's three missionary journeys to the Gentiles started from, and returned to, Antioch[Acts 13:1-3; 15:35-41; 18:18-23][PTW]. The plant and human DNA on the Shroud (24Nov15), the Pray Codex's `poker holes' (21Aug18), and the large water stains (05Apr18) are evidence that the Shroud was circulating in small Christian communities flying under history's radar[. The huge amount of pollen on the Shroud indicates that it featured in early Church Easter ceremonies which reenacted the Spring flowers placed by the disciples over Jesus' enshrouded dead body[MP90, 5].

50 Death of Abgar V. According to the early church historian Eusebius (c. 260-339), who had read in Edessa's public records[EE55, 44], that Edessa's King Agbarus, that is Abgar V (r. BC 4–7AD, 13-50) of Osroene, the capital of which was Edessa[AVW], was suffering from an incurable disease[EE55, 43]. Abgar had heard of Jesus’ miracles of healing[Mt 4:23-25], and wrote a letter to Jesus asking him to come and heal him[EE55, 43-44]. Jesus replied by letter to Abgar, promising that after his ascension he would send one of His disciples to Edessa to heal Abgar and preach the Gospel[EE55, 44]. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the Apostle Thomas sent Thaddeus, one of the Seventy (or seventy-two Lk 10:1-17) disciples to Edessa[EE55, 43-45], who healed Abgar V, and commenced Christianity in Edessa and its surrounds[EE55, 44-47]. [See "325"]. The late Jewish Professor of Semitic Languages, Judah Benzion Segal (1912–2003), in his book, "Edessa `The Blessed City'" (2001), on fallacious (and anti-Christian) grounds, rejected this account "as one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity"[SJ01, 64] but although "apocryphal the account of the conversion of King Abgar to Christianity; the legend may well have a substratum of fact"[SJ01, 69-70]. However, Segal failed to plausibly answer the central questions: "Why Abgar?" "Why Edessa"? "Why letters"? Also, significantly, Segal fails to mention the letters between Abgar V and the Roman Emperor Tiberius (r. AD 4-37)[AVW], which clearly add to the plausibility of Abgar writing a leter to Jesus. That Segal was not a nominal Jew, neutral to Christianity, is evident in that: 1) Despite being very erudite on first-century issues, and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, Segal had rejected Christianity; and 2) his daughter, Prof. Naomi Segal (1949-), when being admitted as a fellow of Queens' College Cambridge, insisted that the ceremony's wording be changed from, "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," to "in the name of God" because "I am Jewish":

"In addition I asked for the phrase referring to `Father, Son and Holy Spirit' to be changed to `in nomine Dei', because I am Jewish"[FY19].
However, Eusebius' account says nothing about Abgar V being healed by an image of Jesus on a cloth[RC99, 54; OM10, 15]. The Spanish pilgrim nun Egeria in c.384 recorded that she had seen the text of Jesus' letter to Abgar V and the city gate through which it had entered Edessa[PM96, 173], but she did not mention an image-bearing cloth, which she would have if it then was in Edessa[PM96, 173; GM09, 147].

57 Death of Ma'nu V (r. 50–57), son of Abgar V, King of Osroene[ADW]. He is succeeded by Ma'nu VI (r. 57–71), another son of Abgar V[ADW]. According to the 945 Narratio de imagine Edessena ("Story of the Image of Edessa")[DT12, 185], or the "Official History"[WI98, 149, 256], Ma'nu VI reverted to paganism and intended to destroy "the image of the Lord"[WI79, 281]. To ensure the safety of "the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ not made by hand" which had been fastened to a board and embellished with gold[WI79, 280], i.e. the Image of Edessa (the Shroud "four-doubled" = tetradiplon), was supposedly bricked up inside the public gate of Edessa, where it had previously laid[WI79, 281], and then was completely forgotten for almost five centuries until its discovery in 544 [see "544"] during the Persian King Khosrow II (590-628)'s Siege of Edessa[WI79, 281]. However, this story is most implausible. Did not Ma'nu VI, nor any of his guards or officials, notice that the Image of Edessa they were seeking to destroy, was where it had previously been but only behind fresh brickwork? Or is it more likely to be a "pious fraud" to give the Image of Edessa/Shroud, which is known in Edessa only from 544, a false back-history to the time of Jesus?

c. 60 Shroud-like fresco of Jesus in profile in the Orpheus Cubiculum

[Right (enlarge)[MR86, pl. 1]: Sketch by Thomas Frank Heaphy (1813-73) of a fresco in the ceiling of the earliest section of the Catacomb of Domitilla, Rome, dated to the time of Nero (r. 54–68). Jesus is depicted in profile naked with a white cloth over his shoulder. Presumably sitting up at His resurrection with the Shroud still partly covering Him! If so, this is the earliest, mid-first century, depiction of the Shroud! See 05Jun21]

part of the Catacomb of Domitilla, Rome[CD93, 28]. Jesus has shoulder length hair and a beard, a white cloth is over His right shoulder. The Italian archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822–94) who opened this and many Roman catacombs, dated that section to the time of Nero. Belgian industrial chemist, Remi Van Haelst (1931-2003), saw this fresco and wrote of it, "This is the oldest representation of the Lord, made by an unknown artist ... who had know[n] Jesus":

"On the sepulchral vault, in the light of his flashlamp, the guide showed me a very vague painting. In a kind of circular inset on the ceiling of the chamber I saw the figure of a human bust, looking from the left side. With a kind of sepulchral voice the monk told me: `This is the oldest representation of the Lord, made by an unknown artist, probably based on descriptions or perhaps a sketch or painting by someone who had know[n] Jesus or his disciples"[VR87, 12]
The Apostle Paul, who then had never been in Rome[Rom 1:9-13; 15:22-24], in his letter to the church in Rome (c.55-57), listed many Christians he knew personally[Rom 16:3-15], including "Andronicus and Junia", his "kinsmen" who were "well known to the apostles" and "were in Christ before" him[Rom 16:7]. Paul was converted in 33/34[FJ64, 320], so they likely were among the Greek-speaking Jews who saw Jesus at his final Passover[Jn 12:20-21] and then were among the Hellenists in the earliest Jerusalem church[Acts 6:1][BF85, 258]. Rufus[Rom 16:13] likely is a son of Simon of Cyrene[Mk 15:21][BF85, 260]. So there would likely have been Christians alive then in Rome who would have seen Jesus, making this Shroud-like depiction of Him an independent confirmation that the Shroudman is Jesus!

68 Athanasius (c. 296–373), the Bishop of Alexandria from 328 to 373, with five(!) exiles in between, affirmed that "a sacred Christ-icon traceable to Jerusalem and the year 68, was then present in Syria"[VD99]. This can only be the Shroud, since no other icon would have been tolerated by the earliest Jerusalem church. The Image of Edessa/Shroud was from Christianity's earliest times regarded as acheiropoietos, "not made by hands" (the same word occurs in Mk 14:58; 2Cor 5:1 & Col 2:11) [DR84, 34, 39; OM10, 131; DT12, 184-185], so it was exempt from the commandment to not make an image[Ex 20:4; Dt 4:23]. Athanasius wrote "Syria" not "Antioch," so it is possible the Shroud was initially kept at another location in Syria. Especially since construction of Antioch Cathedral was not commpleted until 341[DAW].

c. 70 Water stains on the Shroud exactly match the pattern of water stains produced by folding a linen cloth of the Shroud's dimensions and

[Left (enlarge)[GS02, 1]: Large water stains on the Shroud (left) were discovered by photographer Aldo Guerreschi and writer Michele Salcito not to have been caused by water to extinguish the 1532 fire (only the small water stains were), but exactly match the pattern of the Shroud having been folded (top right) and hididen in a part-filled first century earthenware jar (bottom right). See 05Apr18.]

putting it in a partly water filled first century earthenware jar, identical to one found at Masada, the Jewish fortress overthrown by the Romans in AD 74[GS02]! Ian Wilson confirmed this:

"This is no anecdote. Guerreschi repeated it in April 2004, with me acting as his assistant, for a British-made television documentary produced by Pioneer Productions. As the production team can confirm, the filming occurred at the very end of the day, with no possible opportunity for a second 'take'. Again, an identical pattern was produced"[WI10, 83]
This is evidence both that the Shroud is first century and that it had to be hidden in its early centuries from Christianity's Jewish and Roman enemies.

c. 100 Gospel of the Hebrews, which many Church Fathers held to be the original Hebrew of St Matthew's Gospel[GM69], now exists only in fragments in the writings of Jerome (c. 342-420)[BP28, 17] and other early Church Fathers[GHW]. Jerome, in his De Viris illustribus[PM96, 172] (The Lives of Illustrious Men[RC99, 52]), wrote:

"The Gospel also which is called the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and which I have recently translated into Greek and Latin and which also Origen often makes use of, after the account of the resurrection of the Saviour says, `but the Lord, after he had given his grave clothes [sindon - SD8, 74] to the servant of the priest, appeared to James ..."[JG16].
In his Latin text, Jerome retained the the Greek word sindon's Latin equivalent (sindonem)[DR84, 105, GM04, 17-18], to make it clear that it was Jesus' shroud that he gave to "the servant of the priest."This is the earliest reference to the Shroud outside the New Testament[GM69; SD8, 74; PM96, 172] and the first that the Shroud existed in the late first, or early second, century[SD8, 74; RC99, 52].

The "servant of the priest," presumably is a pseudonym of the Apostle John [See my series "Servant of the Priest (1)", "(2)" & "(3)"]. A Jewish priest was simply a male descendant of Aaron, who was Israel's first priest[Ex 28:1][UM66, 882; WJ84, 41]. Jesus' mother Mary was a relative of John the Baptist's mother Elizabeth[Lk 1:34-36]. And Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were both descendants of Aaron[Lk 1:5] and so Zechariah was a priest[Lk 1:8-12]. Therefore Mary also must have been a descendant of Aaron, as well as of king David[Lk 3:23-31][ML74, 72-73]. A Jewish priest was not required to marry a descendant of Aaron, but only an Israelite virgin[Lev 21:13-14][ML74, 68]. Mary's sister was Salome (see above)[Mt 27:55-56; Mk 15:40; Jn 19:25], the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and therefore the Apostle John's mother[Mk 3:17; 10:35; Lk 5:10][WJ84, 35]. So Jesus and John were cousins[WJ84, 35]. Mary's, and therefore Salome's, father was Heli[Lk 3:23], that is Eli, a Jewish priestly name[1Sam 1:9; 2:11; 14:3]. Early Church historian Eusebius (c. 260-340) quoted from a letter by Polycrates (c.130–196), a Bishop of Ephesus, who wrote that "John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord; who also was a priest, and bore the sacerdotal plate (petalon)"[EE55, 208]. In Jesus' time there were two Jewish High Priests: Annas and Caiaphas[Lk 3:2; Acts 4:5-6]. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas[Jn 18:13]. Annas was High Priest from 6–15 when he was deposed by the Roman Procurator Valerius Gratus (r. 15-26). But since according to the Law of Moses the high-priesthood could only be terminated by death [Num 35:25], Annas was regarded by the Jews as the legitimate High Priest[ANW]. After Jesus was arrested, he was first brought before Annas[Jn 18:12-13] and then Caiaphas[Jn 18:24]. That John was a servant in Annas' household is evident in that John, the "other disciple"[ML74, 9-12] twice mentions that he was "known to the High Priest"[Jn 18:15-16]; the "servant girl" doorkeeper of Annas' house knew John, and that he was a follower of Jesus, and admitted both John and Peter into the courtyard[Jn 18:16-17]. John knew that the name of the "servant of the High Priest" whose ear Peter had cut off was "Malchus"[Jn 18:10] (but was healed by Jesus [Lk 22:50-51]) and that another servant of the High Priest was a relative of Malchus[Jn 18:26]. There are examples where a High Priest was simply called "the Priest"[2Ki 22:4; 22:10; Neh 3:1; 13:4]. John has a priestly interest in Jewish feasts[Jn 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; 10:22; 11:55]. Although John reached Jesus' empty tomb before Peter, he waited until Peter entered it[Jn 20:4-8]. Presumably for Peter to confirm that Jesus' dead body was not inside, because a priest was forbidden to touch a dead body, except for his closest household relatives[Lev 21:1-3].

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]

ACW. "Antioch: Christianity," Wikipedia, 29 December 2023.
AVW. "Abgar V," Wikipedia, 29 December 2023.
ADW. "Abgarid dynasty," Wikipedia, 8 May 2023.
ANW. "Annas," Wikipedia, 30 November 2023.
BJW. "Brothers of Jesus," Wikipedia, 18 August 2023.
BF85. Bruce F.F., 1985, "The Letter of Paul to the Romans: An Introduction and Commentary," The Tyndale New Testament commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, Second edition, Reprinted, 1987.
BP28. Beecher, P.A., 1928, "The Holy Shroud: Reply to the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.," M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin.
BW57. Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI.
CD93. Crispino, D.C., 1993, "New Evidence for the Earliest Portrait of Jesus: Rex Morgan," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 42, December.
DAW. "Domus Aurea (Antioch)," Wikipedia, 3 July 2023.
DK15. Doig, K.F., 2015, "New Testament Chronology: "The 30 CE Crucifixion."
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.
EE55. Eusebius, 1955, "The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus," Cruse, C.F., transl, Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Fourth printing, 1966.
FG08. Fanti, G., ed., "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," Proceedings of the 2008 Columbus Ohio International Conference, August 14-17, 2008, Progetto Libreria: Padua, Italy, 2009.
FJ64. Finegan, J., 1964, "Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ.
FY19. "40 Years: Professor Naomi Segal Queens' first female Fellow," Queens' College Cambridge.
JG16, 10. Jerome and Gennadius, 2016, "Lives of Illustrious Men," Aeterna Press: Summerville SC.
GHW. "Gospel of the Hebrews," Wikipedia, 3 October 2023.
GM04. Guscin, M., 2004, "The History of the Sudarium of Oviedo: How It Came from Jerusalem to Northern Spain in the Seventh Century A.D., Edwin Mellen Press: Lewiston NY.
GM09. Guscin, M., 2009, "The Image of Edessa," Brill: Leiden, Netherlands & Boston MA.
GM69. Green, M., 1969, "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, No. 3, Autumn, 319-345.
GS02. Guerreschi, A. & Salcito, M., 2002, "Photographic and computer studies concerning the burn and water stains visible on the Shroud and their historical consequences," IV Symposium Scientifique International du CIELT, April 25-26, 2002, Paris, France, 1-15.
GV01. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL.
JBW. "James, brother of Jesus," Wikipedia, 25 December 2023.
MJ08. Markwardt, J., 2008, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret," in FG08, 382-407, 382.
ML74. Morris, L.L., 1974, "The Gospel According to Luke: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press Leicester UK, Reprinted, 1986.
MR86. Morgan, R., 1986, "The Holy Shroud and the Earliest Paintings of Christ," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia.
NR82. Nixon, R.E., "Joseph," in Douglas, J.D., et al., eds., 1982, "New Bible Dictionary," [1962], Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester UK, Second edition, Reprinted, 1988.
OM10. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK.
PM96. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta.
PTW. "Paul the Apostle: First missionary journey," Wikipedia, 5 January 2024.
RC99. 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.
RTB. Reference(s) to be provided.
SD89. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA.
SJ01. Segal, J.B., 2001, "Edessa: The Blessed City," [1970], Gorgias Press: Piscataway NJ,Second edition, Reprinted, 2005.
TR82. Tasker, R.V., "John," in Douglas, J.D., et al., eds., 1982, "New Bible Dictionary," [1962], Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester UK, Second edition, Reprinted, 1988.
TVW. "Tomb of the Virgin Mary," Wikipedia, 3 January 2024.
VD99. Von Dobsch├╝tz, E., 1899, Christusbilder: Leipzig, Vol. 3, 15, in MJ08, 382, 393.
VR87. Van Haelst, R., 1987, "Did I see the Lord?," Shroud News, No. 44, December, 11-15.
UM66. Unger, M.F., "Priesthood: Hebrew," in "Unger's Bible Dictionary," [1957], Moody Press: Chicago IL, Third edition, 1966, Fifteenth printing, 1969.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition.
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.
WJ84. Wenham, J.W., 1984, "Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Stories in Conflict?," Paternoster: Exeter UK, Reprinted, 1987.
WK80. Weaver, K.F., 1980, "Science Seeks to Solve ... The Mystery of the Shroud," National Geographic, Vol. 157, June, 730-753.

Posted 2 January 2024. Updated 2 March 2024.