Thursday, June 26, 2008

Re: In my humble opinion, the Shroud of Turin is a hoax #3

Continuing from part #2 of my response to a comment under my "Shroud News-January 2008." The commenter's words are bold.

[Above: How a soudarion (Latin sudarium) was placed over the head of a deceased Jewish person and then removed before he was enveloped by a linen shroud in his tomb. Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.118.]

[...]

But clearly the believers in the shroud are also believers in the bible as an accurate gospel of God and Jesus Christ, etc. I have seen a few bible quotes in the debate about the shroud, but I rarely, if ever, see one in particular that I offer here. How can the Shroud of Turin possibly be authentic when the bible reads thusly: John 20:

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

The scripture clearly states that there were two pieces, with a separate piece around Jesus' head, and from what I understand common practice of the time. No, while the "napkin" (Gk. soudarion) in John 20:7 is singular and therefore one "piece" of graveclothes, the "linen clothes" (Gk. othonia, othonion) in John 20:5-7 are plural, that is more than one "piece" of graveclothes:

"... othonia is to be understood as a `collective singular,' just like the English word `clothes' could refer to one article of clothing, or two or three or four" (Ruffin, 1999, pp.46-47).

"... othonia refers to all the grave clothes associated with Jesus' burial-the large sindon (the shroud), as well as the smaller strips of linen that bound the jaw, the hands, and the feet." Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.48-49).

"John mentions no shroud, but speaks in the plural of linen cloths (othonia) ...and also of a soudarion - `the napkin, which had been on his head ... " (Wenham, 1984, p.66).

"... othonia means cloths in general, which could incorporate shroud and bands." (Wilson, 1978, p.41).

Here is what all the gospel accounts say in the NIV, with the underlying Greek key words added :

Mt 27:59-60 NIV "59 Joseph took the body, wrapped [enetulizen] it in a clean linen cloth [sindoni], 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away."

Mk 15:46 NIV "So Joseph [of Arimathea] bought some linen cloth [sindona], took down the body, wrapped [eneilesen] it in the linen [sindoni], and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb."

Lk 23:52-53; 24:12 NIV "52 Going to Pilate, he [Joseph of Arimathea] asked for Jesus' body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped [enetulizen] it in linen cloth [sindoni] and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. ... 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen [othonia] lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."

Jn 19:40; 20:5-8 NIV "40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them [Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus] wrapped [edesan] it, with the spices, in strips of linen [othoniois]. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. ... 5 He [John] bent over and looked in at the strips of linen [othonia] lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen [othonia] lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth [soudarion] that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up [entetuligmenon] by itself, separate from the linen [othonion] . 8 Finally the other disciple [John], who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed."

As can be seen, the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke focus on the main large sindon or linen burial cloth in which the body of Jesus was wrapped (i.e. enfolded, not bandaged like a mummy) (Guerrera, 2000, p.31; Ruffin, 1999, pp.46-47; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.48-49; Wenham, 1984, pp.66-67).

The gospel of John focuses in more detail on the soudarion or head-cloth, and collectively referring to the other graveclothes, including the Shroud, as othonia (Guerrera, 2000, p.31; Ruffin, 1999, pp.46-47; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.49-50). That the sindon was included in the othonia is evident in that Luke above mentions both the sindon at the burial of Jesus and the othonia in the empty tomb (Ruffin, 1999, pp.46-47; Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.49-50).

That being the case, the image of Jesus' face would not be on the Turin shroud, or would at least appear differently from the rest of the fabric. This would only be true if the soudarion remained "on the face under the Shroud, as this would have prevented the image from being formed on the Shroud, and it would presumably have caused it to be formed on the sudarium." (Guscin, 1998, p.34). But the gospels in John 20:7 only says that "the burial cloth ... had been around Jesus' head, without specifying when" (Guscin, 1998, p.33).

As historian Mark Guscin explains:

"the sudarium was used to cover Jesus' face before he was buried, from the moment when he died to the moment he was laid out in the tomb. ... then ... the sudarium was taken off his face, folded up and put to one side, and the clean linen cloth was used to quickly wrap the body before the sun went down and the Sabbath started. This coincides with Jewish custom and ritual. ... that if the face of the dead person was any way disfigured, it should be covered with a cloth ... The sudarium must have been placed over his face before his body had been taken down from the cross, left there while it was being transported to the tomb and there taken off, folded up and left to one side, when the body was placed in the larger linen cloth." (Guscin, 1998, p.35).

See also Shroud Report Interview with Mark Guscin for a video on how the soudarion (Latin. Sudarium) would have been placed over the head of Jesus on the cross and then removed in the tomb before He was enfolded in the Shroud.

And the absense of folds, voids, and displacements in the image that would occur had the fabric been wrapped around a body further support the Shroud, not so much an intentional hoax, but a medieval work of art. See parts #1 and #2 for the Shroud not being "a ... work of art." Even Prof. Christopher Ramsey, the Director of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, the same laboratory which in 1988-89, radiocarbon-dated the Shroud and declared it to be "medieval", has admitted:

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow ... there needs to be a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information" (Ramsey, ORAU, 2008).

"`With the radiocarbon measurements and with all of the other evidence which we have about the Shroud, there does seem to be a conflict in the interpretation of the different evidence,' Professor Ramsey tells the BBC." (Omaar, BBC, 2008).

"Ramsey also acknowledged the need to reconcile radiocarbon-dating results with other forensic and historical evidence, which indicate the shroud is much older than 600 to 700 years old." (Draper, Chicago Tribune, 2008).

Clearly Prof. Ramsay would not be investigating whether the Shroud's "medieval" radiocarbon-date was wrong, would not be doing that if the Shroud had been conclusively proved to be "a medieval work of art." And if the Shroud was a "work of art," whether "medieval" or not, considering that:

"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.219).

science would have long ago proved the Shroud to be a "work of art."

Also, the Shroud was not "wrapped around a body" like an Egyptian mummy. In first century Jewish burials, the body was enfolded in a linen shroud, as the Shroud of Turin is:

"Jewish burial customs do not support the idea that John's othonia refers to the wrappings of a mummy. Jews did not wrap up their dead like mummies, but laid them in shrouds, as indicated by the Gospel of John, the Essene burial procedures, and the Code of Jewish Law." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.48).

"John's use of othonia has led to a widely held belief that Jesus was wrapped like an Egyptian mummy. But such a procedure doesn't conform to what is known of first-century normal Jewish burial ritual. ... John used the word edesan, which is translated wound in the KJV but literally means `enfolded.' Enfolded would also match the burial custom. Being wrapped with strips of cloth would not." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.149-150).

See quotes below hyperlinked to references above (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine, my transliteration).

Posted: 26 June 2008. Updated: 25 May 2016.


"Ramsey also acknowledged the need to reconcile radiocarbon-dating results with other forensic and historical evidence, which indicate the shroud is much older than 600 to 700 years old. Scientists must arrive at a coherent story about the enigmatic shroud, Ramsey said. The shroud is either authentic or a hoax so ingenious that state-of-the-art scientific analysis has yet to explain how it was done, said David Rolfe, director of a new documentary, `Shroud of Turin.' `The shroud is brilliant and unfathomable,' Rolfe said." (Draper, E., 2008, "Lab agrees to test Shroud of Turin for new theory," Chicago Tribune, May 20).

"As for the image itself, what meets the eye is intelligible, but how it was formed is a matter of vigorous debate. We shall need to review, although necessarily in a superficial way, the scientific analyses of the Shroud's image (detailed discussions, by writers competent in these matters, are available elsewhere). The battery of sophisticated and expensive tests conducted in 1978 by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) has yielded a few significant conclusions, and these have been admirably presented by L. A. Schwalbe and R. N. Rogers. [Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., `Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin: Summary of the 1978 Investigation,' Reprinted from Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, 1982, pp.3-49] ... But although much remains unclear, considerably more is known now than was known when the Shroud was shown on television in 1973. Most important, perhaps, is the consensus that the image was not painted on the cloth. This is now conceded by virtually every observer, even those who believe that the image is somehow the result of human artifice. Painters outline a figure before painting it, but there is no tell-tale outline on the Shroud. Nor is there a hint of the directionality that brush-marks would produce. Finally, there is no clear evidence of any pigment on the Shroud .... The STURP team, using microscopic, chemical laser microprobes, concluded that the Shroud shows no trace of `any of the expected dyes, stains, pigments, or painting media.' [Ibid, p.27]" (Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, pp.16-17).

"WE know from the Gospels that after the body of Jesus was taken down from the Cross, it was wrapped in a linen cloth. The Synoptic Gospels use the Greek word sindon to describe this Shroud (cf. Matt. 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53). The Fourth Gospel, on the other hand, uses the word soudarion to refer to the cloth which covered the head of Jesus (John 20:7) and the plural othonia (John 19:40), often interpreted to mean `strips of linen,' `wrappings' or `linen bandages:' An entry in a biblical dictionary, however, states: `Nowhere in the account of Christ's burial is mention made of keiriai, strips of cloth, bandages, such as bound the hands and feet of Lazarus in the tomb' [Hartman, L.R., "Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible," McGraw-Hill: New York, 1963, p.287] (John 11:44). ... In the Old Testament the sindon was used for a variety of purposes other than for burial. Samson promised his companions `thirty linen tunics, [Hebrew: sedhinim, Greek: sindonas] and as many coats' if they would solve a riddle for him (Jdg. 14:12). Interestingly, the Latin manuscript Codex Vaticanus, in lieu of sindonas, uses the word othonia, thereby indicating that the words were considered synonymous. The book of Proverbs speaks of the ideal wife who makes fine linen (sindonas) and sells it (Prov. 31:24). The word sindon is also used in the New Testament to refer to the cloth worn by the young man who followed Jesus from a distance after His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. `There was a young man following him, who was covered by nothing but a linen cloth. As they seized him he left the cloth behind and ran off naked' (Mark 14:51-52)." (Guerrera, V., "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, 2000, pp.31-32).

"The only biblical reference to the sudarium is the one already discussed, in the gospel of John. We are told that this cloth had been over Jesus' head, and the seemingly natural conclusion from this is that it was over Jesus' head at the same time as the Shroud, when Jesus was buried. However, John does not exactly say this, he simply says that the sudarium had been over his head, without specifying when. There are various reasons that make it impossible for the sudarium to have covered the dead body of Jesus in the tomb." (Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, p.33).

"One of the greatest mysteries about the Shroud is how the image was formed - and this mystery has not been solved. We know how it was not formed. It was definitely not painted, as there are absolutely no traces of any kind of paint, (except for tiny particles left by painted copies when they were pressed to the Shroud in order to `sanctify' the copy) and there is no direction in the outline, which is impossible on a painting. Also, nobody could have painted a perfect negative before negatives and photography were even known about. Various people have thought that the image was created by a mixture of body heat (another reason why they need Jesus to be alive in the tomb), gases and the spices which were present. However, all their attempts to reproduce the image using these methods have either resulted in total failure or in grotesque caricatures of the volunteer under the linen. Nobody has been able to reproduce anything even remotely similar to the image on the Shroud. What we do know about the image is that it appears to have been scorched into only the top few fibres in each thread, has no direction and its intensity was directly dependent on how far from the actual body the cloth was. This is why the throat is not shown on the image-the cloth would have been stretched from the chin to the chest, not tucked into every fold of the body." (Guscin, 1998, pp.33-34).

"This eliminates the possibility of the sudarium being on the face under the Shroud, as this would have prevented the image from being formed on the Shroud, and it would presumably have caused it to be formed on the sudarium. As the face image on the Shroud is just as clear as the rest of the body, and as there is no image, only blood, on the sudarium, we can confidently state that the smaller cloth was not placed between the face and the larger cloth in the tomb. Could it have been placed over the Shroud while the dead body was in the tomb? ... This does not seem probable, however, as John clearly states that the sudarium in the empty tomb was lying separate from the linen wrappings. No matter how the body came out of the tomb, there is no reason why anybody should fold up the sudarium and put it in a separate place, if it had been with the Shroud over the body. Some have tried to see a theological meaning in the fact that the sudarium was lying separate from the linen cloths. ... It is true that there is a high symbolic content in John's gospel, but at this point it looks much more like an exact detail remembered by an eyewitness than a passage with a symbolic meaning. Even if the sudarium was placed on Jesus' head on top of the Shroud, the blood stains are definitely from before this." (Guscin, 1998, p.34).

"All this points to one thing - the sudarium was used to cover Jesus' face before he was buried, from the moment when he died to the moment he was laid out in the tomb. It was probably then that the sudarium was taken off his face, folded up and put to one side, and the clean linen cloth was used to quickly wrap the body before the sun went down and the Sabbath started. This coincides with Jewish custom and ritual. One of the rules of the Sanhedrin for the burial of the dead was that if the face of the dead person was any way disfigured, it should be covered with a cloth to avoid people seeing the unpleasant sight. This would certainly have been the case with Jesus, whose face was covered in blood from the crown of thorns and swollen from falling and being struckThe cloth was placed on Jesus' face, then folded over itself, although not in the middle. This is why there are four groups of the same stains. The cloth was then wrapped round the left side of Jesus' head, and fastened to his hair at the back with some kind of hairpin. This is evident from the blood stains which coincide with the blood on the nape of the neck on the Shroud. The cloth was only wrapped around the left-hand side of the head because Jesus' right cheek was almost touching his right shoulder. This suggests that the cloth was placed over the face when the body was still on the cross. The experiments with the stains show that the body was then left on the cross for about one hour before being taken down. It was then laid on the ground a further forty-five minutes before being carried to the tomb. The chronology of the two cloths is thus clear: the smaller linen cloth was only in contact with Jesus' face for the short period of time from the death on the cross until the body was placed in the larger cloth and left in the tomb." (Guscin, 1998, pp.35-38).

"Mr Jackson has developed a new hypothesis that could explain how a genuinely ancient piece of linen could produce a distorted younger date. I took this to Professor Christopher Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. He agreed to collaborate with Mr Jackson in testing a series of linen samples that could determine if the case for the Shroud's authenticity could be re-opened. `With the radiocarbon measurements and with all of the other evidence which we have about the Shroud, there does seem to be a conflict in the interpretation of the different evidence,' Professor Ramsey tells the BBC. `And for that reason I think that everyone who has worked in this area, radiocarbon scientists and all of the other experts, need to have a critical look at the evidence that they've come up with in order for us to try to work out some kind of a coherent story that fits and tells us the truth of the history of this intriguing cloth." (Omaar, R., 2008, "Shroud mystery 'refuses to go away'," BBC, 21 March)

"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 we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally 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." (Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "The Shroud of Turin," Version 77, Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March)

"At question is the exact meaning of the Greek word used for the linen in which Jesus' body was enfolded. Matthew tells us that Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus' body and wrapped it in a linen Shroud (see Mt 27:59-60). The Greek word usually translated as shroud is sindon. In the literature of the time, it usually refers to the type of winding sheet of which the Shroud of Turin is representative. The author of the first Gospel makes no mention as to what became of this cloth after the Resurrection. Mark, likewise, tells us that the body of Jesus was wrapped in a linen shroud, and again, the Greek word is sindon. Like Matthew, Mark does not mention the sindon after the Resurrection. Luke also records that Jesus' corpse was wrapped in a sindon. However, when Peter is described as finding the linen lying by itself after the Resurrection (see Lk 24:12), the word used is othonia, which is plural, and has occasioned nearly all translators to render it as `linen cloths' or `linen wraps.' John speaks of the body being wrapped also in othonia (see Jn 19:40). Then, when he recounts his arrival (or that of `the disciple whom Jesus loved') with Peter at the empty tomb, he says, `Then Simon Peter came, following [John], and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself' (Jn 20:6-7). The Greek word usually translated as `napkin' is sudarion. ... We have two problems. According to John, the grave clothing of Jesus is described in plural. John also specifies that the body of his Lord was wrapped in two types of graveclothes: the othonia (linen cloths) and the sudarion (napkin). Some have said that othonia refers to strips like those in which the Egyptians wrapped their mummies. Many artists throughout the years have pictured Jesus as being buried this way. Others have said that othonia is to be understood as a `collective singular,' just like the English word `clothes' could refer to one article of clothing, or two or three or four. Certainly Luke uses both the singular sindon and the plural othonia to refer, evidently, to the same thing. Victor Tunkel of the University of London described in a lecture in 1983 how Jewish victims of violent death were usually buried in one-piece shrouds. ... However, what is to be made of St. John's assertion that Jesus' burial clothing was in two parts? Most scholars think that othonia refers to what we now know as the Shroud, or something similar. The sudarion was most likely a smaller cloth put over the face or tied around it to keep the mouth from falling open. " (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.46-47).

"The Grave Clothes. Another issue concerns the difference in the words chosen by the gospel writers to describe the grave clothes that Jesus was wrapped in. The synoptic evangelists say that he was wrapped in a sindon, a Greek word meaning a linen cloth which could be used for any purpose, including burial. John, on the other hand, says Jesus was wrapped in othonia, a plural Greek word of uncertain meaning. Othonia is sometimes translated as `strips of linen,' a meaning that would seem to be incompatible with a fourteen-foot-long shroud covering the front and back of the body. However, it is likely that othonia refers to all the grave clothes associated with Jesus' burial-the large sindon (the shroud), as well as the smaller strips of linen that bound the jaw, the hands, and the feet. This interpretation of othonia is supported by Luke's use of the word. He says (23:53) that Jesus was wrapped in a sindon, but later (24:12) that Peter saw the othonia lying in the tomb after Jesus' resurrection. Luke, then, uses othonia as a plural term for all the grave clothes, including the sindon. Furthermore, as seen earlier, Jewish burial customs do not support the idea that John's othonia refers to the wrappings of a mummy. Jews did not wrap up their dead like mummies, but laid them in shrouds, as indicated by the Gospel of John, the Essene burial procedures, and the Code of Jewish Law. John himself insists that Jewish customs were followed Jesus' case (19:40). Thus, there is good scriptural evidence that Jesus was laid in the tomb wrapped in a shroud. Therefore, the gospels refer to the grave clothes in both the singular and the plural. When a single cloth is spoken of, it is obviously the linen sheet itself. However, since Luke (or early tradition) had no difficulty in using the plural (24:12) to describe what he earlier referred to in the singular (23:53), the term `clothes' may still refer to a single piece of material. On the other hand, if more than one piece is meant, `clothes' is most probably a reference to both the sheet and the additional strips which were bound around the head, wrists, and feet, as indicated in John 11:44 (cf. John 19:40). Interestingly enough, bands in these same locations can be discerned on the Shroud of Turin. At any rate, it is a reasonable conclusion that at least one major linen sheet is being referred to in the gospels." (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.48-49. Emphasis original).

"Another apparent problem crops up in the descriptions of the grave clothes the disciples saw in the tomb on Easter morning. Both Luke and John describe grave clothes in the tomb. Luke says that Peter went inside the tomb and saw the othonia-the generic term for all the grave clothes, including the shroud and the smaller pieces used to bind the jaw, hands, and feet. John, however, gives a more detailed description of what he and Peter saw, and he introduces another term into the grave clothes listing. When they went into the tomb, they saw the othonia lying on the ground, but also the sudarion lying rolled up in a place by itself, apart from these othonia. John adds the detail that the sudarion had been `around the head' of Jesus. Sudarion means `napkin' or `sweat cloth.' It is, at any rate, a rather small piece of cloth. If it had been placed over the face of Jesus in the tomb, no image of Jesus' face would have appeared on the Shroud. Since the Shroud of Turin bears the image of a face, the reference to a sudarion seems to challenge the authenticity of the Shroud. Indeed, some Christians have pointed to this passage as evidence that the Shroud is incompatible with scripture. However, a number of scripture scholars do not think that the sudarion was a napkin or cloth placed over Jesus' face. ... Why did the Gospel of John include this detail about the sudarion? The author seems to attach great importance to it. He describes the burial cloth on the ground and the sudarion rolled up in a place by itself, and then adds that this discovery caused belief. It is not easy to tell from the Greek exactly what it was about the placement of the grave clothes that caused belief (John 20:9), but Robinson has a plausible interpretation of what is being described here. We are told that the disciples entered the tomb and saw the shroud and the other linen cloths lying flat. But the sudarion was apparently still in its twisted oval shape, the way it had been when tied tightly around Jesus' head to keep the jaw closed. Something about this scene convinced them that grave robbers could not have stolen the body, as Mary Magdalene had reported after she discovered that the stone had been moved away from the tomb. Until this moment, the gospel explains, the disciples had not understood that Jesus would rise from the dead. Now, looking at the grave clothes, they believed." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.49-51. Emphasis original).

"Many STURP scientists thought that the Shroud was simply a fake to be exposed by scientific testing. But in the 1981 meeting at New London, Connecticut, the scientists reported: `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultraviolet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies.' ["Text," The Shroud of Turin Research Project, Press Release, 8 October 1981]. Ever since then, several STURP scientists have continued to report that forgery could not be the cause of the Shroud's image. [Murphy, C., "Shreds of Evidence," Harper's, November, 1981, pp.42-65, pp.61-62] Heller notes: `At the end of months of work, we had pretty well eliminated all paints, pigments, dyes, and stains.... the images were not the result of any colorant that had been added.' [Heller, 1983, p.198] Heller points out that fraud can be checked by at least two scientific methods - chemistry and physics. Concerning the first means, he said, `Adler and I had reached the conclusion that the image could not have been made by artistic endeavor.' [Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 1983, p.207] The second method revealed no forgery either: `The conclusion of the physical scientists was that the Shroud could not be the result of eye/brain/hand.' [Ibid., p.209]" (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, pp.120-121).

"Q. Doesn't the Shroud conflict with Scripture? a) John 20:5-7 mentions linens and at the very least implies there were a minimum of two cloths. Many have suggested that the linens were `strips,' however the Shroud is merely one piece of cloth. ... A. All of the other scriptural issues were dealt with heavily in Verdict. The answers to these apparent discrepancies are as follows: First, the Gospels use the following words to describe the Shroud: Sindon-burial sheet, winding sheet, shroud; sudarion-sweat cloth, face cloth, handkerchief; othonia linens. ... John's use of othonia has led to a widely held belief that Jesus was wrapped like an Egyptian mummy. But such a procedure doesn't conform to what is known of first-century normal Jewish burial ritual. Nor does it match what was previously mentioned in the Word, to wit, that Joseph of Arimathea had purchased a winding sheet and wrapped Jesus in it (Mark 15:46). Even John used the word edesan, which is translated wound in the KJV but literally means `enfolded.' Enfolded would also match the burial custom. Being wrapped with strips of cloth would not. In other words, othonia in John should be understood to mean that Jesus' dead body was enveloped from head to feet in one burial cloth, not wrapped like a mummy with numerous strips of cloth." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.149-150).

"The precise nature of the burial cloths has been the subject of much debate. The synoptists tell us that Joseph of Arimathea bought (Mark) a clean (Matthew) linen shroud or sheet (Greek - sindon) and wrapped Jesus in it (Matthew, Mark, Luke) [Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:50-56]. John mentions no shroud, but speaks in the plural of linen cloths (othonia) [Jn 19:40; 20:5-6] and also of a soudarion - `the napkin, which had been on his head ... rolled up in a place by itself.' [Jn 20:7] The disputed (but probably authentic) passage at Luke 24:12 makes no further reference to the sheet, but mentions othonia lying by themselves. Christian artists have commonly depicted the grave-clothes of Jesus as broad bandages wound round the limbs and the body, together with a turban-like towel around his head. Some writers have visualised the linen sheet being torn into strips and the spices being wound into the folds. It has then been supposed that at the resurrection the soudarion and othonia collapsed in situ to form two separate piles. As will be seen presently this does not in fact tally very well with what the evangelists say, but it illustrates the apparently rather imprecise and confusing picture which they seem to give. John gives us an account of a normal burial in a well-to-do home in his record of the raising of Lazarus: `The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages (keiriai), and his face wrapped with a cloth (soudarion). Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."' [Jn 11:44] There is nothing in this account to suggest a winding of long bandages around arms and legs and other parts of the body; indeed just the opposite, for the resuscitated corpse was certainly not deprived of wrappings which left him standing there naked. Before burial he had been washed, anointed with perfumed ointments and dressed in his best clean garment. Short strips of cloth had apparently been tied round wrists and ankles to keep his arms and legs in position, and the soudarion kept the mouth from falling open. The hobbled Lazarus was able to shuffle to the entrance of the tomb, where he was set free by the untying of these three cloths. And now he stood there fully clothed." (Wenham, J.W., 1984, "Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Stories in Conflict?," Paternoster: Exeter UK, Reprinted, 1987, pp.66-67).

"As we have already mentioned, it was normal for Jews to be buried in clothing, more specifically the white garments they wore for festivals. In the case of Jesus we would not necessarily expect this, as we know his clothing was taken from him at the time of crucifixion. But many authors have pointed out. that we would certainly not expect the fourteen-foot sheet that we find preserved in Turin. Here again we are in a hornets' nest of controversy over gospel interpretation that exists quite independently of the Shroud. It all stems from apparent conflicts of information between the synoptic writers and St. John. The synoptics speak only of the sindon purchased by Joseph of Arimathea (Mt. 7:59; Mk. 15:46; Lk. 23:53). This is often translated as shroud, although it should be pointed out that it does not have a specifically sepulchral meaning. St. Mark, for instance, used the same word to describe the garment lost by the young man at Gethsemane who fled at the arrest of Jesus (Mk. 14:51, 52). St. John, on the other hand, does not use the word sindon, but instead says the body of Jesus was wrapped in othonia. And in his account of the discovery of the linens in the empty tomb again he uses the word othonia (which he describes as lying at the scene), and refers also cryptically to a mysterious soudarion, rolled up and lying in a place by itself (Jn. 20:7) . The precise meanings of othonia and sindon in their gospel context have been hotly debated. Some have contended that othonia (which is a plural form) means linen bands and that Joseph must have torn up the sindon into strips to wind Jesus mummy-style. Quite neutral exegetes such as Pere Benoit have pointed out that it would surely have been easier for Joseph to purchase ready-made bandages rather than tearing up a large sheet for this purpose. The most balanced modern view is that othonia means cloths in general, which could incorporate shroud and bands." (Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, pp.41-42).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Re: In my humble opinion, the Shroud of Turin is a hoax #2

Continuing from part #1 of my response to a comment under my "Shroud News-January 2008." The commenter's words are bold.

[Above: Yves Delage (1854-1920), Professor of Zoology at the Sorbonne 1886, an agnostic and the first of a long line of scientists who concluded on the basis of the scientific evidence that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France.]

[...]

Still, the only questions left to science after much investigation is how the artwork on the shroud was actually painted. Daubed, brushed, whatever. One thing that science has established is that the Shroud of Turin is not painted (my emphasis below):

"Most important, perhaps, is the consensus that the image was not painted on the cloth. This is now conceded by virtually every observer, even those who believe that the image is somehow the result of human artifice. Painters outline a figure before painting it, but there is no tell-tale outline on the Shroud. Nor is there a hint of the directionality that brush-marks would produce. Finally, there is no clear evidence of any pigment on the Shroud .... The STURP team, using microscopic, chemical laser microprobes, concluded that the Shroud shows no trace of `any of the expected dyes, stains, pigments, or painting media.'" (Drews, 1984, pp.16-17).

"One of the greatest mysteries about the Shroud is how the image was formed It was definitely not painted, as there are absolutely no traces of any kind of paint ... and there is no direction in the outline, which is impossible on a painting. Also, nobody could have painted a perfect negative before negatives and photography were even known ..." (Guscin, 1998, p.33).

"... STURP scientists ... reported: `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray fluorescence and microchemistry ... preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. ... `...we had pretty well eliminated all paints, pigments, dyes, and stains.... the images were not the result of any colorant ... the image could not have been made by artistic endeavor.' ... `.... the Shroud could not be the result of eye/brain/hand.' " (Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.120-121).

All this other stuff is just a point of argument and an excuse to publish another academic paper. The real answer is very simple. Sounds like, "my mind is already made up, so don't confuse me with facts"?

Now, I believe the bible is just a master work of compiled collections of ancient writers. Actually one doesn't have to believe in the Bible to be persuaded by the evidence that the Shroud is the actual burial sheet of Christ. The agnostic French anatomy Professor Yves Delage (1854-1920) concluded on the basis of the scientific evidence that "the body wrapped in the Shroud was that of Jesus":

"... Delage ... presented these findings to the French Academy. ... he stated unequivocally, `The man of the Shroud is the Christ!' ... many of his colleagues ... jeered at Delage ... he had always been at most an agnostic, and probably an atheist ... Delage replied ... ` ... it must be recognised that their whole constitutes a bundle of imposing probabilities, some of which are very near to being proven.' .... If, instead of Christ, there were a question of someone like a Sargon, an Achilles or one of the Pharaohs, no one would have thought of making any objection.'" (Brent & Rolfe, 1978, pp.41-42).

"... Yves Delage, an anatomy professor at the Sorbonne. In 1902 ... gave a lecture to the Paris Academy of Sciences in which he reported that the image appeared to be in every respect anatomically correct. ... Delage's peers at the Academy did not think much of it and refused publication. Subsequently, Delage wrote: `... I recognize Christ as a historical personage and I see no reason why anyone should be scandalized that there still exist material traces of his earthly life.' (Culliton, 1978, p.238).

"Delage told his listeners of the existence of a strip of linen supposed to be the Shroud of Christ. .... Showing the photographs, he explained the problem of negativity that had given rise to the whole question and had led him and his colleagues into the fields of chemistry, physics and physiology in their pursuit of the truth. ... He sketched ... their conclusion that the stain-image could not possibly be a painting ... the naturalism of the bloodstains, the marvelous complexity of the wounds left by the flogging, the surprising nudity of the image, the unusual position of the wound in the wrist, and the delicate modeling of the whole figure. ... the image of the shroud is not a painting made by the human hand ...`Must I speak of the identification of the person whose image appears on the shroud?' ... there was the Shroud telling plainly of a victim who had been crucified, flogged, pierced in the side and crowned with thorns. ...there was the story of Christ's Passion, telling just as plainly of a man who had suffered those very punishments. ... in order for the image to have formed itself without being ultimately destroyed, it was necessary that the corpse remain in the shroud at least twenty-four hours ... and at the most several days ... this is precisely what happened to Christ; dead on Friday and-disappeared-on Sunday.' Then, gravely, Delage made his affirmation: `The man of the shroud was the Christ.'" (Walsh, 1963, pp.96, 98-101).

"But perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Shroud as a subject of inquiry is the extent to which the visible blood flows and physical injuries have been viewed as authentic by members of the medical profession. As early as April 21, 1902 ... Yves Delage, professor of anatomy at the Paris Sorbonne, gave a lecture to the French Académie des Sciences in which he claimed that the Shroud body image and wounds are physiologically so flawless and meaningful that he found it impossible to believe they could be the work of an artist. To the scandal of his rationalist colleagues, who had always known him as an agnostic, Delage said he found no difficulty in believing that the body wrapped in the Shroud was that of Jesus." (Wilson, 1986, pp.16-17).

[...]

See quotes below hyperlinked to references above (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine, my transliteration). Continued in part #3.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


"It was Delage ... who presented these findings to the French Academy. ... At the end of his lecture he stated unequivocally, `The man of the Shroud is the Christ!' ... Yet there were many of his colleagues who openly jeered at Delage and the conclusions he had endorsed. They accused him of not behaving scientifically. Knowing he had always been at most an agnostic, and probably an atheist, they said that now he had had a sudden rush of religion to the head. They said that the work he and Vignon had done was very far from being conclusive. Delage replied with a statement that remains relevant, both to Shroud studies and all similar specialities. `I willingly recognise that none of these arguments offer the features of an irrefutable demonstration; but it must be recognised that their whole constitutes a bundle of imposing probabilities, some of which are very near to being proven.' He complained that religion was being confused with science, `with the result that feelings have run high and reason has been led astray. If, instead of Christ, there were a question of someone like a Sargon, an Achilles or one of the Pharaohs, no one would have thought of making any objection.'" (Brent, P. & Rolfe, D., 1978, "The Silent Witness: The Mysteries of the Turin Shroud Revealed," Futura Publications: London, pp.41-42).

"Since the early 1900's, the Shroud has attracted the attention of biologists interested in the anatomy of crucifixion. Among the first to approach the problem were Paul Vignon, a French biologist, and Yves Delage, an anatomy professor at the Sorbonne. In 1902, Delage gave a lecture to the Paris Academy of Sciences in which he reported that the image appeared to be in every respect anatomically correct. Although The Lancet critiqued his paper as being sound, Delage's peers at the Academy did not think much of it and refused publication. Subsequently, Delage wrote: `If, instead of Christ, there were a question of some person like a Sargon, an Achilles or one of the Pharaohs, no one would have thought of making any objection... . I recognize Christ as a historical personage and I see no reason why anyone should be scandalized that there still exist material traces of his earthly life.' [Walsh, J.E., "The Shroud," W.H. Allen: London, 1963, p.107]. Physicians and anatomists in England, Italy, Germany, and the United States who have examined the image all come to the same conclusion-anatomically, it fits. Of particular interest is the observation that the nail marks penetrate the wrists rather than the palms, as is characteristic of most artistic portrayals of the crucifixion. The weight of a human body could not be supported by nails through the palms, whereas it could be held by nails through the muscles of the wrists. Those gathering evidence in support of the authenticity of the Shroud claim that a forger would have to know a lot about crucifixion to be clever enough to produce such an anatomically accurate representation." (Culliton, B.J. , 1978, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin Challenges 20th-Century Science," Science, Vol. 201, 21 July, pp.235-239, p.238).

"As for the image itself, what meets the eye is intelligible, but how it was formed is a matter of vigorous debate. We shall need to review, although necessarily in a superficial way, the scientific analyses of the Shroud's image (detailed discussions, by writers competent in these matters, are available elsewhere). The battery of sophisticated and expensive tests conducted in 1978 by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) has yielded a few significant conclusions, and these have been admirably presented by L. A. Schwalbe and R. N. Rogers. [Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., `Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin: Summary of the 1978 Investigation,' Reprinted from Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, 1982, pp.3-49] ... But although much remains unclear, considerably more is known now than was known when the Shroud was shown on television in 1973. Most important, perhaps, is the consensus that the image was not painted on the cloth. This is now conceded by virtually every observer, even those who believe that the image is somehow the result of human artifice. Painters outline a figure before painting it, but there is no tell-tale outline on the Shroud. Nor is there a hint of the directionality that brush-marks would produce. Finally, there is no clear evidence of any pigment on the Shroud .... The STURP team, using microscopic, chemical laser microprobes, concluded that the Shroud shows no trace of `any of the expected dyes, stains, pigments, or painting media.' [Ibid, p.27]" (Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD, pp.16-17).

"One of the greatest mysteries about the Shroud is how the image was formed - and this mystery has not been solved. We know how it was not formed. It was definitely not painted, as there are absolutely no traces of any kind of paint, (except for tiny particles left by painted copies when they were pressed to the Shroud in order to `sanctify' the copy) and there is no direction in the outline, which is impossible on a painting. Also, nobody could have painted a perfect negative before negatives and photography were even known about. Various people have thought that the image was created by a mixture of body heat (another reason why they need Jesus to be alive in the tomb), gases and the spices which were present. However, all their attempts to reproduce the image using these methods have either resulted in total failure or in grotesque caricatures of the volunteer under the linen. Nobody has been able to reproduce anything even remotely similar to the image on the Shroud. What we do know about the image is that it appears to have been scorched into only the top few fibres in each thread, has no direction and its intensity was directly dependent on how far from the actual body the cloth was. This is why the throat is not shown on the image-the cloth would have been stretched from the chin to the chest, not tucked into every fold of the body." (Guscin, M., "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, 1998, pp.33-34).

"Many STURP scientists thought that the Shroud was simply a fake to be exposed by scientific testing. But in the 1981 meeting at New London, Connecticut, the scientists reported: `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultraviolet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies.' ["Text," The Shroud of Turin Research Project, Press Release, 8 October 1981]. Ever since then, several STURP scientists have continued to report that forgery could not be the cause of the Shroud's image. [Murphy, C., "Shreds of Evidence," Harper's, November, 1981, pp.42-65, pp.61-62] Heller notes: `At the end of months of work, we had pretty well eliminated all paints, pigments, dyes, and stains.... the images were not the result of any colorant that had been added.' [Heller, 1983, p.198] Heller points out that fraud can be checked by at least two scientific methods - chemistry and physics. Concerning the first means, he said, `Adler and I had reached the conclusion that the image could not have been made by artistic endeavor.' [Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 1983, p.207] The second method revealed no forgery either: `The conclusion of the physical scientists was that the Shroud could not be the result of eye/brain/hand.' [Ibid., p.209]" (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, 1990, pp.120-121).

"At three o'clock on the afternoon of April 21, 1902, the regular weekly meeting of the Academy of Sciences was called to attention by its president. ... When the name of Yves Delage was called, at about four o'clock and after several members had spoken, an utter and unaccustomed silence descended on the gathering. Amid the hush, the bearded and black-suited Delage moved toward the president's desk. Under his arm he carried enlargements of the face on the Shroud. Attendants hurriedly supplied a blackboard and table. In crisp tones that carried to the extremities of the hall, Delage told his listeners of the existence of a strip of linen supposed to be the Shroud of Christ. He briefly detailed its history, and outlined the facts of the exposition of 1898 and the pictures taken by Secondo Pia. Showing the photographs, he explained the problem of negativity that had given rise to the whole question and had led him and his colleagues into the fields of chemistry, physics and physiology in their pursuit of the truth. `The question poses itself,' he said, `as to how this image was made.' He sketched Vignon's painstaking studies and their conclusion that the stain-image could not possibly be a painting, either directly or by inversion of colors. He launched into a description of the naturalism of the bloodstains, the marvelous complexity of the wounds left by the flogging, the surprising nudity of the image, the unusual position of the wound in the wrist, and the delicate modeling of the whole figure. The picture of the face, he said, was extremely realistic-impeccable, without a weakness. It even showed `characteristics which are not found in any iconographic reproductions' of the fourteenth century, or in fact in those of any other period. `For these and other reasons,' he continued, `the conviction results that the image of the shroud is not a painting made by the human hand, but that it has been obtained by a physicochemical phenomenon. And the scientific question which presents itself is this: how can a corpse yield an image on the shroud which covers it, causing it to reproduce its shape with the details of the facial features?' ... Pausing, he looked round. `Must I speak of the identification of the person whose image appears on the shroud?' he asked. No answer was expected. Acutely aware of what he was about to say, the question was a way of sliding into difficult terrain, of softening the impact of the name of Jesus. The truth could be reached, he continued, along two separate lines of inquiry. On the one hand, there was the Shroud telling plainly of a victim who had been crucified, flogged, pierced in the side and crowned with thorns. On the other hand, there was the story of Christ's Passion, telling just as plainly of a man who had suffered those very punishments. `Is it not natural to bring these two parallel series together and tie them to the same object?' Glancing at his notes, he went on. `Let us add to this, that, in order for the image to have formed itself without being ultimately destroyed, it was necessary that the corpse remain in the shroud at least twenty-four hours, the amount of time needed for the formation of the image, and at the most several days, after which a putrefaction sets in which destroys the image and finally the shroud.' He paused again. He had gone as far as he could without a wrench to his own conscience. His next words were carefully phrased. `Tradition-more or less apocryphal, I would say-tells us that this is precisely what happened to Christ; dead on Friday and-disappeared-on Sunday.' Then, gravely, Delage made his affirmation: `The man of the shroud was the Christ.'" (Walsh, J.E., 1963, "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY, pp.96, 98-101).

"But perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Shroud as a subject of inquiry is the extent to which the visible blood flows and physical injuries have been viewed as authentic by members of the medical profession. As early as April 21, 1902 ...Yves Delage, professor of anatomy at the Paris Sorbonne, gave a lecture to the French Académie des Sciences in which he claimed that the Shroud body image and wounds are physiologically so flawless and meaningful that he found it impossible to believe they could be the work of an artist. To the scandal of his rationalist colleagues, who had always known him as an agnostic, Delage said he found no difficulty in believing that the body wrapped in the Shroud was that of Jesus." (Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.16-17).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Re: In my humble opinion, the Shroud of Turin is a hoax #1

The following is part #1 of my response to a comment under my "Shroud News-January 2008." The commenter's words are bold.

[Above: Perfect fit of Sudarium of Oviedo (right) to the face on the Shroud of Turin (left), in Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.122]

In my humble opinion, the Shroud of Turin is a hoax. As I mentioned in my introductory post to this blog, that is what my "opinion" was before January 2005. Prior to then I knew very little about the Shroud of Turin, and being a Protestant, had just dismissed it out of hand as another fake Roman Catholic relic. However as I related on my then Yahoo discussion group in January 2005, I had recently seen Stevenson and Habermas' Verdict on the Shroud in a secondhand bookstore. I knew one of the authors, Dr. Gary Habermas, was an eminent Christian philosopher, so if he thought the Shroud of Turin was authentic, I put aside my prejudices and bought and read the book. And, as I wrote back then:

"... I was astonished for the evidence that points to it being the burial shroud that covered the crucified Jesus and through which he was resurrected ... based on the evidence that "Stevenson & Habermas present, I provisionally accept that the Turin shroud is the actual burial shroud of Jesus and the unique nature of the image, is indeed additional `Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ'!"

Having since then read a lot more about the Shroud, I am even more persuaded by the evidence, that the Shroud of Turin is the very burial sheet of Jesus Christ.

Regarding the Shroud being a "hoax," then it would be the only one that has withstood decades of the most intensive scientific testing. Indeed, "The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available" (Heller, 1983, p.219). Chemist Ray Rogers, who was a member of the scientific team (STURP) which studied the Shroud intensively for about a week in 1978, typified the expectation of many (if not most) members that, it would take only about "twenty minutes" to show that the Shroud was a fake (Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.120-121).

But Nature, arguably the world's most prestigious scientific journal, admitted in 2005, that "It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made." (Ball, 2005). And, "if anyone had come up with a convincing solution as to how and by whom the Shroud was forged, they would inevitably have created a consensus around which everyone sceptical on the matter would rally. Yet so far this has not even begun to happen" (Wilson, 1998, p.235).

That's not to say it doesn't represent a great act of faith and in spite of itself hasn't become a religious relic anyway. It actually requires a greater "act of faith" to believe that the Shroud is a hoax. In addition to modern scientific analysis being unable to determine how the image on the Shroud was made, and there being no alternative explanation that has created a consensus around which Shroud sceptics have rallied, the fact that the bloodstains on the Shroud, exactly match that of the Sudarium of Oviedo, which is known to have existed since at least 1075:

"The most striking thing about all the [Sudarium of Oviedo] stains is that they coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud" indicating that "both cloths covered the same face" (Guscin, 1998, pp.27-28).

"Perhaps the most obvious fit when the stains on the sudarium are placed over the image of the face on the Shroud, is that of the beard; the match is perfect. ... from the right hand side of the man's mouth. ... the same stain is present on the Shroud, and the shape of the stain coincides perfectly with the one on the sudarium" (Guscin, 1998, p.28).

"The comparative study of the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo shows that the frontal stains on the sudarium have seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud ... both cloths covered the face of the same person" (Bennett, 2001, p.84); "The frontal stains on the sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows fifty. The only possible conclusion ... is that the sudarium covered the same face as the Turin Shroud ... it is impossible to deny that the sudarium has been in Oviedo since 1075 ..." (Guscin, 1998, p.32).

"All the studies on the sudarium point to its having covered the same face as the Shroud did, and we know that the sudarium was in Oviedo in 1075. ... If the sudarium did not cover the same face as the Shroud, there are an enormous number of coincidences, too many for one small piece of cloth. ... The only logical conclusion from all the evidence is that both the Oviedo sudarium and the Turin Shroud covered the same face." (Guscin, 1998, pp.64-65).

"... the sudarium... shows that the fourteenth century date for the Shroud obtained by the carbon dating must be mistaken. All the tests carried out on the sudarium show that it must have covered the same face as the Shroud did, and as the sudarium has been in Oviedo since 1075, the Shroud cannot possibly date from the fourteenth century." (Guscin, 1998, p.110).

"Based on the marked similarity between the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo, it can be said the probability that they did not cover the same person is extremely small. ... what probability exists that both formations of stains, generated by chance and at different times with different subjects, would be able to demonstrate this much similarity? ... one would be left with only one explanation: that both linens were placed on the same person, and that that person was Jesus of Nazareth ...." (Bennett, 2001, p.86).

So, if these two cloths, had not each covered the same face of Jesus, there would have to be two hoxes by two forgers. See Guscin, 1998, p.84 for all that would be required for this to be true. But as Guscin concludes, "Such a story, even without the embellishments, is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity." (Guscin, 1998, p.87)!

[...]

Continued in part #2.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


"The scientific study of the Turin shroud is like a microcosm of the scientific search for God: it does more to inflame any debate than settle it. Believers' ability to construct ingenious arguments is more than a match for the most exhaustive efforts of science.... And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status. It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made. It does not seem to have been painted, at least with any known historical pigments." (Ball, P., "To know a veil," Nature news, 28 January 2005).

"The comparative study of the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo shows that the frontal stains on the sudarium have seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, according to the image overlay technique used by Dr. Alan Whanger. He has concluded that both cloths covered the face of the same person. It should be remembered that the first person to notice the similarities of both cloths was Monsignor Ricci." (Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.84).

"Based on the marked similarity between the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo, it can be said the probability that they did not cover the same person is extremely small. According to EDICES [Investigation Team of the Spanish Centre for Sindonology], what probability exists that both formations of stains, generated by chance and at different times with different subjects, would be able to demonstrate this much similarity? If one adds to the physical and geometrical similarities those such as the similarities in how long it took the stains to form, as well as historical considerations, one would be left with only one explanation: that both linens were placed on the same person, and that that person was Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew crucified at noon in Jerusalem during the rule of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, and who died three hours later." (Bennett, 2001, p.86).

The most striking thing about all the stains is that they coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud. The first fact that confirms the relationship between the two cloths is that the blood on each belongs to the same group, AB. If the blood or each cloth belonged to a different group, there would be no sense in pursuing the comparative investigation, and little meaning in any further points of coincidence. This test is the starting point for all the others, and the results are positive. Blood of the group AB is also very common in the Middle East and rare in Europe. According to Monsignor Ricci's method of numbering the stains on the sudarium, the main group, corresponding to the liquid which came out of the nostrils, receives the number 13. The length of the nose which produced this stain has been calculated at eight centimetres, just over three inches, which is exactly the same as the length of the nose on the Shroud. In a case like this, it is very easy for sceptics to say that the investigators have just come up with the measurement they needed, but this is not a scientific or rational argument. The only to be expected, if, as seems obvious, both cloths covered the same face. Nobody would be surprised, for example, if we had two gloves that belonged to Napoleon, and the size of the hand that used each one was calculated to be the same. This would be the obvious measurement." (Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, pp.27-28).

"Perhaps the most obvious fit when the stains on the sudarium are placed over the image of the face on the Shroud, is that of the beard; the match is perfect. This shows that the sudarium, possibly by being gently pressed onto the face, was also used to clean the blood and other fluids that had collected in the beard. Stain number 6 is also evident on all four faces of the sudarium. If stain 13 is placed over the nose of the image on the Shroud, stain 6 is seen to proceed from the right hand side of the man's mouth. This stain is hardly visible on the shroud, but its existence has been confirmed by Dr John Jackson, who is well known for his studies on the Shroud using the VP-8 image analyser. Using the VP-8 and photo-enhancements, Dr Jackson has shown that the same stain is present on the Shroud, and the shape of the stain coincides perfectly with the one on the sudarium. The gap between the blood coming out of the right hand side of the mouth and the stain on the beard is mapped as number 18. This gap closes as the stains get progressively more extensive on faces 1, 2, 3 and 4 while at the same time they are less intense. Stain number 12 corresponds to the eyebrows of the face on the Shroud. As with the beard, this facial hair would have retained blood and this would have produced the stains on the sudarium when it was placed on Jesus' face. There is also blood on the forehead, which forms stain number 10 on the sudarium" (Guscin, 1998, p.28).

"Dr Alan Whanger has studied the points of coincidence and relationship between the Shroud and hundreds of Byzantine paintings and representations of Christ, even using coins, from the sixth and seventh centuries. This was done using a system called Polarised Image Overlay Technique. His conclusion was that many of these icons and paintings were inspired by the image on the Shroud, which means that the Shroud must have been in existence in the sixth and seventh centuries. This coincides with Ian Wilson's theory that the Shroud was `rediscovered' in Edessa just before this. Dr Whanger applied the same image overlay technique to the sudarium, comparing it to the image and blood stains on the Shroud. Even he was surprised at the results. The frontal stains on the sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows fifty. The only possible conclusion, according to this highly respected scientist, is that the sudarium covered the same face as the Turin Shroud. If this is so, and taking into account that it is impossible to deny that the sudarium has been in Oviedo since 1075, it casts a great shadow of doubt over the results of the Shroud's carbon dating." (Guscin, 1998, p.32).

"We are faced with a choice. There are two irreconcilable conclusions, one of which must be wrong. All the studies on the sudarium point to its having covered the same face as the Shroud did, and we know that the sudarium was in Oviedo in 1075. On the other hand, the carbon dating specialists have said that the Shroud dates from 1260 to 1390. Either the sudarium has nothing to do with the Shroud, or the carbon dating was wrong - there is no middle way, no compromise. If the sudarium did not cover the same face as the Shroud, there are an enormous number of coincidences, too many for one small piece of cloth. If there was only one connection, maybe it could be just a coincidence, but there are too many. The only logical conclusion from all the evidence is that both the Oviedo sudarium and the Turin Shroud covered the same face. As we have already seen from the Cagliari congress, there are also many inherent reasons why the Shroud cannot be fourteenth century, reasons that nobody has been able to disprove, and only one that suggests a medieval origin-carbon dating. Those who believe in the carbon dating have never been able to offer any serious proof or evidence to explain why every other scientific method practised on the Shroud has given a first century origin as a result, most have not even tried. It can hardly be considered rational or scientific to blindly accept what conveniently fits in with one's own personal ideas without even taking into consideration what others say. And after all, carbon dating is just one experimental method compared with dozens of others, and it stands alone in its medieval theory. If both the sudarium and the Shroud date from the first century, then the carbon dating must be mistaken, and it is the duty of those who believe in the dual authenticity of the cloths to show why carbon dating has shown the Shroud to be first century. Those who have attempted this can be broadly divided into two bands, those who think that the particular process of the Shroud's carbon dating was a fake, a deliberate deception by the scientists involved, and those who believe that the whole process of carbon dating is not as reliable as it is made out to be, and is far from infallible" (Guscin, 1998, pp.64-65).

"However, let us suppose for a while that the results obtained from the carbon dating of both the sudarium and the Shroud are accurate, and neither cloth ever touched the body of Jesus. In that case, the following story would have to be true. Sometime in the seventh century, in Palestine, after reading the gospel of John, a well known forger of religious relics saw the opportunity of putting a new product on the market - a cloth that had been over the face of the dead body of Jesus. This forger was also an expert in medicine, who knew that a crucified person died from asphyxiation, and that when this happened, special liquids fill the lungs of the dead body, and can come out through the nose if the body is moved. The only way he could get this effect on the cloth was by re-enacting the process, so this is exactly what he did. He crucified a volunteer, eliminating those candidates who did not fulfil the right conditions - swollen nose and cheeks, forked beard to stain the cloth, etc. When the body was taken down from the cross, he shook it around a bit with the help of a few friends, holding the folded cloth to the dead volunteer's nose so that future generations would be able to see the outline of his fingers. He even stuck a few thorns in the back of the dead man's neck, knowing that relic hunters would be looking for the bloodstains from the crown of thorns. Being an eloquent man, he convinced people that this otherwise worthless piece of cloth was stained with nothing less than the blood and pleural liquid of Christ, and so it was guarded in Jerusalem with other relics, and considered so genuine and spiritually valuable that it was worth saving first from the invading Persians and later from the Arabs. A few hundred years later, some time between 1260 and 1390, another professional forger, a specialist in religious relics too, decided that the time was ripe for something new, something really convincing. There were numerous relics from various saints in circulation all round Europe, bones, skulls, capes, but no, he wanted something really original. Various possibilities ran through his mind, the crown of thorns, the nails from the crucifixion, the table cloth from the last supper, and then suddenly he had it - the funeral shroud of Jesus! And not only that, but he would also put an image on the Shroud, the image of the man whom the Shroud had wrapped! The first step was difficult. Being an expert in textile weaves, (one of his many specialities, the others being pollen, Middle East blood groups, numismatism of the years of Tiberius, photography, Roman whips, and electronic microscopes) he needed linen of a special kind, typical of the Middle East in the first century. Once this had been specially ordered and made, he folded it up before starting his work, as a neighbour had suggested that such a cloth would have been folded up and hidden in a wall in Edessa for a few hundred years, so the image would be discontinuous on some of the fold marks. Leaving the cloth folded up, he travelled to Oviedo in the north of Spain, where he knew that a forerunner in his trade had left a cloth with Jesus' blood stains. On obtaining permission to analyse the sudarium, he first checked the blood group - AB of course, common in the Middle East and relatively scarce in Europe - then made an exact plan of the blood stains (carefully omitting those which would have already clotted when the sudarium was used) so that his stains would coincide exactly. After his trip to Oviedo, he went on a tour of what is now Turkey, forming a composite portrait of Jesus from all the icons, coins and images he could find. After all, he needed people to think that his Shroud had been around for over a thousand years, and that artists had used it as their inspiration for painting Christ. He didn't really understand what some of the marks were, the square box between the eyes, the line across the throat, but he thought he'd better put them on anyway. He didn't want to be accused of negligence, because he was an internationally famous forger and had a reputation to maintain. Once he was back home, he somehow obtained some blood (AB, naturally) and decided to begin his work of art with the blood stains, before even making the body image. Unfortunately, he miscalculated the proportions, and the nail stains appeared on the wrist instead of on the palms of the hands, where everyone in the fourteenth century knew that they had been. `Well', he thought, `it's just a question of a few inches, nobody will notice.' Now, even the omniscient author is forbidden to enter in the secret room where the forger `paints' the image of Christ, a perfect three dimensional negative, without paint or direction. His method was so secret that it went to the tomb with him. After a few hours, he opened the door, and called his wife, who was busy preparing dinner in the kitchen. `What do you think?' `Not bad. But you've forgotten the thumbs' `No, I haven't. Don't you know that if a nail destroys the nerves in the wrist, the thumbs bend in towards the palm of the hand, so you wouldn't be able to see them?' `But didn't the nails go through the palms?' `Well, yes, but I put the blood on first, and didn't quite get the distance right' `Oh, in that case ... and what about the pollen?' `What pollen?' `Well, if this Shroud has been in Palestine, Edessa, and let's suppose it's been in Constantinople too, it's going to need pollen from all those places.' Our forger loved the idea, got the pollen from all the places his wife had indicated, and delicately put it all over his Shroud. And then, the final touch. Two coins from the time of Christ, minted under the emperor Tiberius, to put over the man's eyes. Our man had a sense of humour too - he decided that the coins would be included in the image in such a way that they would only be visible under an electronic microscope. Such a story, even without the embellishments, is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity." (Guscin, 1998, pp.84-87).

"The Shroud is larger and contains much more than the sudarium, but this cloth too is valuable and contributes to our knowledge about the death of Jesus. It confirms that he died in an upright position with his head tilted to one side, and it confirms that he died from asphyxiation. It shows that he was taken to the tomb with his face covered, and it shows that someone was pressing the cloth to his face. As a historical document, it confirms many of the details contained in the gospels. More importantly, it shows that the fourteenth century date for the Shroud obtained by the carbon dating must be mistaken. All the tests carried out on the sudarium show that it must have covered the same face as the Shroud did, and as the sudarium has been in Oviedo since 1075, the Shroud cannot possibly date from the fourteenth century. This, perhaps, is the most valuable testimony of the sudarium. All the arguments in its favour are purely scientific, not depending in any way on faith. The investigations have had a cold, twentieth century approach, and the results point to its being genuine." (Guscin, 1998, p.110).

"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available. The physical and chemical data fit hand in glove. It is certainly true that if a similar number of data had been found in the funerary linen attributed to Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, or Socrates, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that it was, indeed, the shroud of that historical person. But because of the unique position that Jesus holds, such evidence is not enough." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.219).

"`Give me twenty minutes and I'll have this thing shot full of holes,' testified STURP chemist Ray Rogers. [Rogers, R., in Murphy, C., "Shreds of Evidence," Harper's, November, 1981, pp.42-65, p.61] Bill Mottern of Sandia Laboratory, another STURP scientist, said, 'I went in as a doubting Thomas.' [Mottern, R.W., in Murphy, 1981, p.47] Heller reported that, `For numerous reasons, Adler and I had been assuming all along that the Shroud was a forgery.' [Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 1983, p.201] Testimonies like these could be multiplied. Many STURP scientists thought that the Shroud was simply a fake to be exposed by scientific testing. But in the 1981 meeting at New London, Connecticut, the scientists reported: `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultraviolet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies.' ["Text," The Shroud of Turin Research Project, Press Release, 8 October 1981]. Ever since then, several STURP scientists have continued to report that forgery could not be the cause of the Shroud's image. [Murphy, 1981, pp.61-62] Heller notes: `At the end of months of work, we had pretty well eliminated all paints, pigments, dyes, and stains.... the images were not the result of any colorant that had been added.' [Heller, 1983, p.198] Heller points out that fraud can be checked by at least two scientific methods- chemistry and physics. Concerning the first means, he said, `Adler and I had reached the conclusion that the image could not have been made by artistic endeavor.' [Ibid., p.207] The second method revealed no forgery either: `The conclusion of the physical scientists was that the Shroud could not be the result of eye/brain/hand.' [Ibid., p.209]" (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, pp.120-121).

"Indeed, if anyone had come up with a convincing solution as to how and by whom the Shroud was forged, they would inevitably have created a consensus around which everyone sceptical on the matter would rally. Yet so far this has not even begun to happen. Realistically, to date there has been only one genuinely satisfying, albeit still only partial, replication of the Shroud's image, that by Professor Nicholas Allen. And that demands so much ingenuity and advanced photographic knowledge on the part of someone of the Middle Ages that it may actually represent rather better evidence for the Shroud's authenticity than for its forgery." (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.235).

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shroud News - May 2008

Here is my Shroud News for May 2008. There was no significant Shroud of Turin News for April 2008, so the previous issue was March 2008. My comments are in bold.

Springs prof revives shroud riddle, The Denver Post, Electa Draper, May 20, 2008 ...

[Left: John Jackson, Denver Post]

... Colorado Springs - A physics professor here has resurrected the mystery of the Shroud of Turin, the fabled burial cloth of Christ that 20 years ago scientists declared a fake. Millions of faithful believe the shroud's bloodstained image of a battered, crucified man is the miraculous image of Jesus, formed as he rose from the dead. Scientists at three laboratories using radiocarbon dating in 1988 and 1989 determined the shroud was a medieval forgery, though they could not explain how the image was created. Now, John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has done something his colleagues consider nearly miraculous. Jackson, a leading researcher on the 14-foot-long linen sheet, has persuaded the Oxford laboratory that dated the shroud to the 13th or 14th century to revisit the question of its age. Professor Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, has agreed to test Jackson's hypothesis that contamination by carbon monoxide could throw off radiocarbon dating by more than a millennium. It is possible, Jackson said, that even minimal contamination of the shroud by environmental carbon monoxide could have skewed the dating by 1,300 years - making it not medieval but contemporaneous with Jesus's life. ... There seems to be nothing new (see Shroud News - March 2008) in this article but it has provoked a flurry of similar news articles (see Chicago Tribune, WorldNetDaily, Catholic News Agency).

However, again note that it is possible that "even minimal contamination of the shroud by ... carbon monoxide could have skewed the dating by 1,300 years - making it ... contemporaneous with Jesus's life." And as pointed out in my March Shroud News, Prof. Ramsey has admitted this, noting that "A relatively small amount of carbon monoxide ... could affect the radiocarbon age of the Shroud enough to allow it to be 2000 years old." (Ramsey, 2008). Even the mere possibility of this, makes false the 1989 claim in Nature that the 1988 radiocarbon dating provided "conclusive evidence that the linen of the shroud of Turin is mediaeval" (Damon, P.E., et al., Nature, 1989, pp.612,614). See also `tagline' quotes below.

Will Judean Desert find shed light on Shroud of Turin?, Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2008, Etgar Lefkovits ...

[Right: The wrapping sheet, Cave of the Warrior, American Museum of Natural History]

Can a 6,000-year-old shroud uncovered in the Judean Desert in 1993 help illuminate the centuries-old debate over the Shroud of Turin? That is the question posed by Olga Negnevitsky, a conservator at the Israel Museum who was involved in the conservation of the lesser-known shroud for the Antiquities Authority after it was discovered inside a small cave near Jericho. The idea to use the older shroud to learn more about the famous one came to Negnevitsky this week after she listened to an address on the Shroud of Turin at the International Art Conference in Jerusalem on the conservation of cultural and environmental heritage. "If we reexamine the [Jericho] shroud with all the latest modern technology, then maybe we will find out more information that will help solve the secrets of the Shroud of Turin," Negnevitsky said Wednesday. .... I cannot recall having heard of this Jericho Shroud before. I am not sure what studying this ~6,000 year-old shroud would tell us about the Shroud of Turin. But at least it shows that there was in Israel ~4000 years before Christ, "a very high level of fiber technology" employing "an enormous loom and an experienced team of three or four weavers working side by side" (American Museum of Natural History, 1998)!

Turin Shroud to go on public display, Daily Telegraph, Malcolm Moore, 30 May 2008 ...

[Left: Crowd queuing to see the 1978 Shroud Exposition, Shroud.com]

The Turin Shroud is to go on public display for the first time in a decade, sources at the Vatican have indicated, coinciding with a new set of tests on its age. The linen has only been put on display five times in the last century. The Vatican keeps the 14ft by 4ft piece of linen, believed by some to be the death shroud of Jesus, in an aluminium case built by an Italian aerospace company to shut out all light, air and humidity. The case is filled with Argon gas in order to prevent bacteria from eating the material. However, the success of the exhibition of Padre Pio's remains in Puglia has convinced the Vatican to bring forward the next public showing of the shroud from 2025 to the year after next. This is great news-I may yet see the Shroud. It is interesting that, as mentioned in my Shroud News-November 2007 it was reported that there was to be a Shroud exhibition in 2010, but Cardinal Poletto, the Archbishop of Turin, who is the custodian of the Shroud, denied it, claiming "This is news invented by the press"! According to Barrie Schwortz' Shroud.com, "Some of the articles also suggested that this exhibition is timed to coincide with additional scientific testing of the Shroud's age" but "there is no official notice that this is the case and the article may be referring to the testing being planned by the Oxford Laboratory with Dr. John Jackson on other (non-Shroud) linen samples." See also Associated Press, Catholic World News, Chicago Tribune, Reuters & Zenit.

PS: Only the first two `tagline' quotes below (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine) are hyperlinked to references above.

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


"The large Textile A formed a unique wrapping sheet. It was folded over twice to create an `envelope' that contained the corpse of the deceased. The two smaller textiles, probably items of dress, also lay inside the burial bundle. The textile assemblage reflects a very high level of fiber technology. It also suggests that the warrior was a person of high rank, perhaps a `chief' or other leader. Because the textiles had become very stiff and brittle, they had to undergo painstaking processes of conservation. The wrapping sheet, 23 by 7 feet, is made of linen yarn, woven in the basic tabby weave. Dark-brown patterned bands at both ends and elaborate warp and weft fringes embellish the cloth. The weaving of such a wide cloth would have required an enormous loom and an experienced team of three or four weavers working side by side." ("The Textiles," Cave of the Warrior, American Museum of Natural History, 1998).

"The Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit has been working with a team from Performance Films Ltd making a documentary about the Shroud of Turin for the BBC. .... Another contributor to the film, John Jackson (Turin Shroud Center of Colorado) ... has developed a new hypothesis, which he believes may explain why the mediaeval date for the Shroud is incorrect. The hypothesis put forward in the film is that the linen of the Shroud might have been contaminated by carbon monoxide. Unlike most contaminants, carbon monoxide is naturally enriched in radiocarbon when found in the environment and would therefore in principle be able to alter the radiocarbon age significantly. A relatively small amount of carbon monoxide (roughly 2% of the carbon in the linen) could alter the age of the sample by a thousand years. This is the only contamination hypothesis which could affect the radiocarbon age of the Shroud enough to allow it to be 2000 years old." (Ramsey, C.B., "Shroud of Turin Version 77," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March, 2008).

"The techniques used in 1988 by three separate teams of scientists to date the Shroud of Turin to the middle ages, may have been inconclusive, a radiocarbon dating expert at Oxford University has told the BBC. According to the Church official in charge of the Shroud, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, director of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator, whose specialty is the use of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research, told the BBC that radiocarbon dating techniques have developed since 1988, and that the Shroud's long history of travel, exposure to the elements and handling could have skewed the results. The BBC interview, that has yet to be broadcast, was discussed by Mgr. Giuseppe Ghiberti, president of the Diocesan Commission for the Shroud of Turin, at a conference in Novara Italy. Mgr. Ghiberti speculated that the Shroud's long history, including travels from Palestine to Europe, damage by fire in the 16th century, and much handling over the centuries could have influenced the outcome of the tests." (White, H., "Shroud Dating May Have Been Inaccurate," LifeSite News, February 5, 2008)

"A British scientist is overseeing new tests on the Shroud of Turin that he says will show it dates to the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Professor Christopher Ramsey of Oxford wants to check the theory that some type of contamination of the cloth caused the carbon-dating tests run in 1988 to mistakenly peg the shroud as a medieval forgery. The 14-foot-long cloth bearing the image of a man is said to be the burial shroud of Jesus. However carbon dating 20 years ago indicated the cloth dated from A.D. 1260-1390. Ramsey's retest is based on the theory that the level of contamination on the cloth required to skew carbon-14 dating results is far less than had been thought back in the 1980s, The Telegraph said Monday. The project will be covered in a BBC documentary that will reportedly include new supporting archaeological evidence. `This new theory only requires 2 percent contamination to skew the results by 1,500 years,' said David Rolfe, the director of the documentary. `It springs from published data about the behavior of carbon-14 in the atmosphere which was unknown when the original tests were carried out 20 years ago.'" ("Age test of Shroud of Turin planned," PhysOrg.com, February 25, 2008)

The research continues because the effect of the specific storage conditions of the Turin Shroud have yet to be reproduced by John Jackson's team. It remains possible, though not at all likely, that in these specific conditions there are reactions which provide significant contamination. There are also other possible types of contaminant, and it could be that one, or some combination of these, might mean that the Shroud is somewhat older than the radiocarbon date suggests. It is important to realise, however, that only if some enriched contaminant can be identified does it become credible that the date is wrong by 2000 years." (Ramsey, C.B., "Shroud of Turin Version 77," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March, 2008)

"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 we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally 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." (Ramsey, C.B., "Shroud of Turin Version 77," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March, 2008)

"Mr Jackson has developed a new hypothesis that could explain how a genuinely ancient piece of linen could produce a distorted younger date. I took this to Professor Christopher Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. He agreed to collaborate with Mr Jackson in testing a series of linen samples that could determine if the case for the Shroud's authenticity could be re-opened. `With the radiocarbon measurements and with all of the other evidence which we have about the Shroud, there does seem to be a conflict in the interpretation of the different evidence,' Professor Ramsey tells the BBC. `And for that reason I think that everyone who has worked in this area, radiocarbon scientists and all of the other experts, need to have a critical look at the evidence that they've come up with in order for us to try to work out some kind of a coherent story that fits and tells us the truth of the history of this intriguing cloth." (Omaar, R., "Shroud mystery 'refuses to go away'," BBC, 21 March 2008)

"The Shroud of Turin, the 14- by 4-foot linen believed by some to have been wrapped around Jesus after the crucifixion, might not be a fake after all, according to new research. The director of one of three laboratories that dismissed the shroud as a medieval artifact 20 years ago has called for the science community to reinvestigate the linen's authenticity. `With the radiocarbon measurements and with all of the other evidence which we have about the shroud, there does seem to be a conflict in the interpretation of the different evidence,' said Christopher Ramsey, director of England's Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, which carried out radiocarbon dating tests on the cloth in 1988." (Lorenzi, R., "Shroud of Turin's Authenticity Probed Anew," Discovery News, March 21, 2008).

"COLORADO SPRINGS A physics professor here has resurrected the mystery of the Shroud of Turin, the fabled burial cloth of Christ that 20 years ago scientists declared a fake. .... Scientists at three laboratories using radiocarbon dating in 1988-89 determined the shroud was a medieval forgery, though they could not explain how the image was created. Now, John Jackson, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs physics lecturer has done something his colleagues consider nearly miraculous. Jackson, who is a leading researcher on the 14-foot-long linen sheet, has persuaded the Oxford laboratory that dated the shroud to the 13th or 14th Century to revisit the question of its age. Professor Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, has agreed to test Jackson's hypothesis that contamination by carbon monoxide could throw off radiocarbon dating by more than a millennium. It is possible, Jackson said, that even minimal contamination of the shroud by environmental carbon monoxide could have skewed the dating by 1,300 years - making it not medieval but contemporaneous with Jesus's life. Jackson, who must prove a viable pathway for that contamination, is working with Oxford to test samples of linen under the various conditions the shroud has endured, such as outdoor exhibitions and exposure to extreme heat during a 1532 fire. `Science still has much to tell us about the shroud,' said Jackson, a devout Catholic. "If we are dealing with the burial cloth of Christ, it is the witness to the birth of Christianity. But my faith doesn't depend on that outcome." (Draper, E., "Lab agrees to test Shroud of Turin for new theory," Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2008).

"Ramsey also acknowledged the need to reconcile radiocarbon-dating results with other forensic and historical evidence, which indicate the shroud is much older than 600 to 700 years old. Scientists must arrive at a coherent story about the enigmatic shroud, Ramsey said. The shroud is either authentic or a hoax so ingenious that state-of-the-art scientific analysis has yet to explain how it was done, said David Rolfe, director of a new documentary, `Shroud of Turin.' `The shroud is brilliant and unfathomable,' Rolfe said." (Draper, 2008).

"The Vatican owns the shroud and keeps it locked away in a special protective chamber of inert gases in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. The Catholic Church makes no claims about the relic's authenticity. The first documented exhibition of the Shroud of Turin was in Lirey, France, around 1360, by its former owner, French knight Geoffrey de Charney. De Charney's descendants sold the relic to the House of Savoy, which later ascended to the Italian monarchy and moved to Turin. The shroud's last public display was in 2000 in Turin. The next is set for 2010. Jackson led a research team in 1978 given unprecedented access to the shroud by the church. The Shroud of Turin Research Project determined the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained. It is not known how the Shroud's faint brown discolorations, which form a negative image of a man, came to mark the linen, Jackson said. It was only with the advent of photography, centuries after the shroud's first public appearances, that its clearer positive image could be seen. Jackson is working on a radiation hypothesis to explain the markings. His 1978 findings were enough to heighten curiosity about a relic that no modern artist or scientist could reproduce. Jackson's work is so critical, Rolfe said, `that I sometimes think it should be called the Shroud of Colorado Springs.'" (Draper, 2008).

"In 1988, the church allowed tiny samples of the shroud to be removed for radiocarbon dating by laboratories at Oxford, in Zurich and at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Researchers concluded the cloth was made between 1260 and 1390 and could not have been the burial cloth of Christ. But Jackson, his wife, Rebecca, and fellow researchers at his Turin Shroud Center of Colorado have assembled, with other scientists around the world, reams of documentary, genealogical and forensic evidence challenging the radiocarbon dates. Their evidence suggests the shroud is as old as Christianity. Forensic data shows the blood stains on the shroud are real. Jackson said blood stained the cloth before the body image appeared. This rules out scorching the cloth to produce the image because the blood was not degraded by heat. Forensic experts have documented that stains around the head are consistent with punctures by thorns. The scourge marks on the back are consistent with those made by a Roman whip called a flagrum. A large puncture wound to the man's side is consistent in shape and size with a Roman spear of the era. While medieval paintings and Christian iconography portray Jesus nailed to the cross through his palms and the front of the feet, archeologists have found the bones of a Roman crucifixion victim nailed through the wrists and heels. The shroud is consistent with the archeological find and not centuries of artwork. In 2002, renown textile restorer Mechthild Flury-Lemberg went to Turin to help preserve the shroud and found a style of stitching she had only seen once before - in the ruins of Masada, a Jewish settlement destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 74. The cloth's herringbone weave, while common in the 1st Century, was rare in the Middle Ages, she said." (Draper, 2008).

"Historical evidence also suggests that the shroud may be the Shroud of Constantinople, which was displayed in the 1100s but disappeared from that city, now called Instanbul, during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Genealogical and literary researcher Alexei Lidov found that the Shroud of Turin's former owner, de Charny, was married to a direct descendant of a French crusader who sacked Constantinople. The Shroud of Turin also has been linked to the Sudarium, a face covering touted as another burial cloth of Jesus. The Sudarium has been on display in Oviedo, Spain, since the mid-600s. When researcher Mark Guscin compared the blood stains on the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin, by laying one over the other, he found a match. Science has shown the shroud is remarkable, whatever its genesis, Jackson said. As for his hypothesis on shroud dating, he said that it's going to take months or years to test because of the project's complexity and limits on time and money. `The shroud doesn't rise or fall on this one hypothesis of mine,' Jackson said, `but it's part of a first-class adventure story in science and religion.' " (Draper, 2008).

Updated: 7 July 2015.