Friday, October 28, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #5 What is the Shroud of Turin?

This is part #5, "What is the Shroud of Turin?!" and is the beginning of Section 2 of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!." The series is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing to give to church and any other interested groups. For more information about this series, see parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" .

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Here are quotes on, "What is the Shroud of Turin?" (in date order-oldest first):

"We next ask, what is the Holy Shroud of Turin? It is a piece of very fine, oriental material, fourteen feet in length and about three and a half in width, on which can be traced the figure of a man, very tall and dignified in appearance, with a face of surpassing majesty ... It reveals a double figure, that is, the front and back of the same person. The back shows that he is completely naked, and the back shows also, from head to feet, the traces of a terrible scourging. It is claimed that that Shroud is the Sindon of Our Lord, in which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped His body, and that the figure we see on it is that of Our Lord Himself. Assuming for the present that this is true, I will answer the question which will naturally be asked, how came the double figure on the sheet? Our Lord's body was laid on one end of the sheet, and this portion of the sheet took the impression of His back. The sheet, let us remember, is very long, but not wide. Accordingly, it could not be folded across the body width-wise, but instead it was drawn over His head and stretched as far as His feet ...This part of the sheet took the impression of His face and the front of His body. Accordingly, when the sheet is extended to its full length, it shows two figures, front and back, head to head, of the same person ..." (Beecher, P.A., 1928, "The Holy Shroud: Reply to the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.," M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin, pp.17-18).

"Turin, Shroud of. A linen cloth, which measures 14"3' by 3"7', housed at Turin, Italy. On the material is a double, head-to-head image of a man, revealing the obverse and reverse of the body. Known to exist since at least 1354, there are indications that the shroud is much older. Pollen studies point to its presence in Palestine at a much earlier date, while the weave and type of linen is compatible with first century cloth. It is also quite possible that a coin over the right eye is a lepton of Pontius Pilate, minted ca AD. 29-32. While some have raised biblical questions concerning various aspects of the shroud, such a burial is well supported. Evidence reveals that the head napkin was rolled up and wrapped around the head as indicated in the Gospel of John (11:44; 20:5-7), the Mishnah (Shabbath 23:5), and the Code of Jewish Law, `Laws of Mourning' (chs. 351-52). The lengthwise wrapping and positioning of the body is supported by Qumran burial procedures and the `Laws of Mourning' (ch. 364). The lack of bodily washing is explained by the `Laws of Mourning' in that those who are executed by the government or who die violent deaths are not to be washed. The use of several strips of linen described in John is also confirmed by the shroud, where pieces were also used. Additionally, the hasty burial recorded in the Gospels (Mark 15:42; 16:1-3; Luke 23:54-56; 24:14) explains a number of these issues. In October, 1978, the Shroud of Turin was the subject of an intense scientific investigation revolving around such questions as the nature of the bloodstains and the composition and cause of the image. It was found that the shroud is very probably not a fake of any kind. There is no sign of paint, dye, powder, or any other foreign substance on the cloth that can account for the image. Additionally, the image was found to be three-dimensional, superficial, and nondirectional, each quite an enigma to the explanation of the image. The man buried in the shroud apparently died from crucifixion, and his body is in a state of rigor mortis. The Gospels, which have been shown to be trustworthy on historical grounds, present reliable accounts of Jesus' crucifixion. A comparison of the man of the shroud with Jesus reveals that they suffered the same wounds, even in several points that were not normal crucifixion procedure. Both men received a series of punctures throughout the scalp from a series of sharp objects, a badly bruised face, a severe whipping (over 120 wounds are visible on the shroud), shoulder abrasions from a heavy object, and knee contusions. There are punctures in both wrists and both feet, the absence of broken ankles, and a postmortem chest wound with a clear flow of blood and watery fluid. Both were buried hastily individually, and in fine linens. There certainly are strong indications that the two men might be one and the same since they agree in such features and disagree in none. Most significantly, there is no decomposition on the cloth, meaning that the body exited comparatively quickly. Many of the bloodstains are intact, including the blood clots, meaning that the body probably was not unwrapped, since this would have disturbed the stains. Additionally, it is very possible that a light or heat scorch caused the image. The convergence of the data certainly indicates that the dead body appears to have left the cloth in some mysterious manner. It is still possible that the shroud is a fake, or that it is a genuine ancient shroud but simply not the burial garment of Jesus. Yet, the evidence thus far indicates the probable conclusions that the shroud is ancient (perhaps from the first century), that it does not contradict the NT accounts, and that the image is not a fake. It may well be the actual burial garment of Jesus, as indicated especially by the similarities in areas of abnormal crucifixion practice. Lastly, the image on the shroud may have resulted from Jesus' resurrection, which is complemented by the demonstrable historical evidence and reliable Gospel testimony for this event, as well. However, no absolute conclusions are possible at present concerning the shroud with regard to some of these matters. " (Habermas, G.R., "Turin, Shroud of," in Elwell, W.A., ed., 1984, "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," Baker Book House: Grand Rapids MI, Seventh Printing, 1990, pp.1115-1116. Emphasis original).

"The `Holy Shroud' is a large, oblong linen cloth, of great but contested age, which is normally housed in a chapel built especially for it in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Turin, in northern Italy. It is displayed only on rare occasions, contained in a frame that shows the length of the cloth parallel to the ground. The cloth, marked by various blemishes and stains, measures fourteen feet three inches long and three feet seven inches wide - or, according to the measurement in use in the Middle East in the first century, eight cubits by two. Experts in the field of textiles have determined that the threads were hand-spun and the fabric hand-woven in what is known as a `three-to-one herringbone twill.' This was a type of weaving practiced in the Middle East at least as far back as two thousand years ago. The linen has a number of scratches and burn holes, as well as water stains. The features most visible to the naked eye are two dark blemishes, one on each side of the fainter body image, running parallel to the sides of the cloth. Along these streaks, on both front and back images, on either side of the shoulders and on either side of the knee, are diamond-shaped patches. These are the result of a fire that broke out in December 1532, in the chapel in France where it was housed. The patches cover holes that were burned through the folded cloth by hot metal. There some other burn marks on the fabric which are much less obvious. There is a row of three small holes with burnt edges on either side of the crossed hands on the frontal view, and similar configurations on each side of the posterior portions of the figure on the back image. No one knows the cause of this damage, which seems to have been the result of a hot poker being thrust three times through the center of the cloth. Because these holes are evident in a copy of the Shroud which dates to 1516, it is clear that they predated the damage from the fire. ... Less evident on the Shroud than the sixteenth-century fire damage are the two faint head-to-head straw-colored images of an undressed man that appear in the center of the cloth, one of the front of the body, the other of the back, with the feet of both images facing the outer margins of the fabric. There are only a few inches between the front and back images of the head. It seems as though a body had been laid on its back at one end of the cloth, which was then drawn over the front of the man, and that somehow an image was made of him. If the viewer approaches too close, he (or she) is unable to see anything except stains. Standing three to six feet away from the cloth, he will be able to discern some detail. From the frontal image the observer will be able to make out the shape of a man with long hair and a beard, with his hands folded over his pelvic area and his knees slightly drawn up. Around the head, wrists, and feet are what appear to be bloodstains, especially on the back image. Viewing the cloth with the naked eye, it is hard to make out anything else - much less determine whether the image is a painting. With its ghostly face and great owl-like eyes, it certainly does not look much like a real image of a real person." (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.12-13).

"What is the Shroud? The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth stored in a cathedral in Turin, the major city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. It is in the shape of a large table cloth, approximately 14 ft long and 3.5 ft wide, and down the middle of the cloth, there is a faint, straw-coloured image of the front and the back of a naked man. Since this cloth exists today, it can be, and has been, subjected to numerous scientific investigations. But after decades of study, science has yet to determine how this image got on the cloth. Tradition states that the faint image represents Christ as his lifeless body laid in the tomb following his crucifixion, but alas, there is also no scientific means to test if the image is Christ. On the other hand, science has been able to determine firstly that this image is not the product of an artist, and secondly, that this image is, so far as modern science can tell, a flawless representation of a man who was crucified and buried as Christ was. Historical documents on the Shroud start in 1357 AD, and because this places the Shroud in the Middle Ages during the golden age of religious relics, many skeptics believe that the image on the Shroud was painted in order to be used as a relic to obtain funds for a struggling church. Other experts believe the Shroud to be authentic, and Wilson has provided a reasonable scenario which places the Shroud first into the hands of Jesus' disciples, then found in Turkey where it was used to impart healing, and eventually ending up with the Crusaders prior to the collapse of Constantinople at the hands of the Turks. According to Wilson, the Shroud was cared for by the Knights Templars for several centuries. The Knights Templars was a secret sect composed of knights who were crusaders or the descendants of these crusaders. The appearance of the cloth in Medieval Europe corresponds roughly to the time the Templars were undergoing severe persecution for political reasons, possibly explaining why it appeared at this point in history. ... After being moved around to a number of cities because of various wars, the Shroud came to Turin. ... For any Christian who believes the Gospels are historically accurate, it would be safe to conclude that not only did a burial cloth exist, it must have had some importance; each of the gospels describes the body of Jesus being wrapped in this linen. It is the assumption of many today that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth or linen that wrapped the body of Christ." (Chiang, R.G., 2004, "Science meets Religion: Shroud of Turin," in "Overcoming Prejudice in the Evolution Creation Debate: Developing an integrative approach to Science and Christianity," Doorway Publications: Hamilton ON, Canada. Emphasis original).

"WHAT IS THE SHROUD OF TURIN? A large piece of ancient linen, it apparently bears images of a bearded, naked, crucified man. ... It is a piece of ancient linen cloth, presumably a burial shroud, fourteen feet three inches long by three feet seven inches wide. .... It was hand woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill from fairly heavy yarn made of Near East or Mediterranean-Basin flax, and the cloth is in an excellent state of preservation. On the Shroud are indistinct images of the front and back views of a man. The two views are nearly joined at the head, as if the man's body had been wrapped in the cloth lengthwise, foot to head to foot. ... Apart from being indistinct, the body images are ... of a faint sepia color (light tan) on the off-white, yellowing old cloth. Superimposed on these body images are darker markings resembling bloodstains, that are brownish red in color. These `bloodstains' are significantly seen at the wrists and feet, which exactly correspond to the blood stigmata of a classical Roman crucifixion. There also appear to be wounds covering the top of the head, the face, and one side of the body as well as several dozen smaller wounds on the back, all of which dramatically conform to the biblical description of Jesus' wounds. On the back, or dorsal, view, a narrow configuration extends for some eight or ten inches from the long hair of the head to a point midway between the shoulder blades. Some experts feel this may be a pigtail or ponytail hairstyle, as if the hair was caught and tied at the base of the skull-a common hairstyle among Jewish males in Palestine during Jesus' time. The Man's beard seems to show the twin points of the Nazarene style of that day." (Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, pp.1,3-5. Emphasis original).

"The Shroud of Turin has been described as the single most studied artifact in history. Whether this is true or not it is certainly one of the most controversial subjects of all time. To the true believer it is the burial shroud of the crucified Christ, left in his tomb at the time of the Resurrection. ... The Shroud has given rise to its own branch of science, known as sindonology. To the sceptical it is a piece of mediaeval trickery which has been fooling the gullible for the last six hundred years or more. The Shroud itself is an ivory-coloured cloth with a herringbone weave. It measures 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. These measurements may seem a little odd. They make far more sense when converted into first-century Jewish cubits. Using a measure of 21.4 inches to the cubit, based on the Assyrian standard, the measurement of the Shroud converts to exactly 8 cubits in length by 2 cubits in width. It was made in a single piece, apart from a strip approximately three and a half inches wide running the entire length of the left-hand side of the Shroud. This strip is attached to the Shroud by a single seam. On the cloth itself is a faint image, almost shadow-like. This shows the back and front of a well-built man, nearly six foot tall, with a beard and long hair, laid out with his hands crossed in front of him. He appears to be dead, and somehow there is a peacefulness and serenity about his features.... There is no visible outline of the image; it melts away into the fabric. It can only be seen clearly from a distance; when viewed from close up it almost seems to disappear. Also apparent on the Shroud are what seem to be bloodstains. There are flows from several points on the upper forehead as well as from the back of the head; flows from the wrists and the feet; and a copious flow from an elliptical-shaped wound on the left side of the body. The Shroud material is disfigured by stains and by fire damage. One night in December 1532 a fire broke out in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambery, in south-eastern France, where the Shroud was then being kept. ... a drop of molten silver fell on to the linen inside the casket, resulting in scorching of all forty-eight folds of the Shroud. This was then doused with water, which resulted in further stains. Almost as if by a miracle the image itself was scarcely touched." (Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, pp.3-4).

I don't necessarily agree with every part of the above quotes. But read together they help provide a comprehensive answer to the question, "what is the Shroud of Turin?" As explained previously, these quotes both help to illustrate my points in this post, and will be a resource base for helping me answer questions at the Q&A session at the end of each of my presentations.

The previous post in this series was part #4 "The Shroud's image is a photographic negative!"and the next is part #6 "An old, yellowed, rectangular, linen sheet about 4.4 x 1.1 metres."

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign Jesus is Jehovah!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #4 The Shroud's image is a photographic negative!

Here, following part #3 , "1.1 About me," of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!" is this part #4, "1.2 The Shroud's image is a photographic negative!"

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

As explained previously, this series is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing to show to church and other groups (see part #1, "Title page" and part #2 Contents for more details).

Logically this topic, that the Shroud's image is a photographic negative, should be later in the series when I get to 4. History of the Shroud, where the lawyer and amateur photographer Secondo Pia in 1898 discovered that the Shroud's image on his negative photographic plate was positive!:

"The Image as Photographic Negative Those who have seen the Shroud in the original report that the image, which is a sepia tone with a slightly darker color forming the `blood' spots, is extremely subtle-almost indistinguishable to the unaided eye. British Shroud historian and journalist Ian Wilson writes, `... the closer one tries to examine it, the more it melts away like mist.' But in photographic negative, the image is unmistakable; subtlety sharpens into clarity and the face of the Man of the Shroud is revealed, his features strikingly like those that artists since at least the 6th century have given Christ. The first photographs of the Shroud were taken in 1898 by a man named Secondo Pia. What astonished Pia, and continues to astonish Shroud scholars, is that the image that appeared on his photographic plate was not a characteristic negative in which light areas are dark, dark light, and left and right reversed. Instead, Pia's negative showed all the qualities of a positive print. The image of the Man of the Shroud showed gradations of tone that gave the body depth and contour. The face had the qualities of a photographic likeness, not the flatness of a negative. Thus, it seems that the Shroud itself must be, or possess some of the properties of, a photographic negative. It is as if the cloth were a piece of film." (Culliton, B.J., 1978, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin Challenges 20th-Century Science," Science, Vol. 201, 21 July, pp.235-239, p.236. Emphasis original).

And I will cover that in more detail then. But since this is based on a PowerPoint presentation to groups of people who may know little about the Shroud, I thought I should start with something that would stimulate their interest.

The above quote is remarkable in that it is from an article in Science one of the world's leading scientific journal.

Here are more quotes about the image on the Shroud being a photographic negative, centuries before photography was invented, "in the first decades of the 19th century":

"Invented in the first decades of the 19th century, photography (by way of the camera) seemed able to capture more detail and information than traditional mediums, such as painting and sculpting. Photography as a usable process goes back to the 1820s with the development of chemical photography. The first permanent photoetching was an image produced in 1822 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce, but it was destroyed by a later attempt to duplicate it. Niépce was successful again in 1825. He made the first permanent photograph from nature with a camera obscura in 1826. However, because his photographs took so long to expose (8 hours), he sought to find a new process. Working in conjunction with Louis Daguerre, they experimented with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1816 that a silver and chalk mixture darkens when exposed to light. Niépce died in 1833, but Daguerre continued the work, eventually culminating with the development of the daguerreotype in 1837. Daguerre took the first ever photo of a person in 1838 when, while taking a daguerreotype of a Paris street, a pedestrian stopped for a shoe shine, long enough to be captured by the long exposure (several minutes). Eventually, France agreed to pay Daguerre a pension for his formula, in exchange for his promise to announce his discovery to the world as the gift of France, which he did in 1839." ("Photography: History," Wikipedia, 15 October 2011. Footnotes omitted).

"No human being could have painted this negative that lies hidden in the stains. ... If it was not painted, not made by human hands, then ... Pia felt a numbing certitude that he was looking on the face of Jesus":

"A small, red light shone feebly in [Secondo] Pia's darkroom as he gingerly placed the large glass plates in a solution of oxalate of iron. When the first vague outlines began to appear under the shimmering liquid, the anxiety left Pia's eyes and the frustrations of the past few days began to lift. ... In the dim, red glare, he held the dripping plate up before his eyes. Clearly visible was the upper part of the altar with the huge frame above it containing the relic. But the brown stain-image seemed somehow different from the way it looked on the cloth itself. It had taken on a molding ... a depth ... a definition. Turning the plate on its side, he gazed at the face. What he saw made his hands tremble and the wet plate slipped, almost dropping to the floor. The face, with eyes closed, had become startlingly real. `Shut up in my darkroom,' Pia wrote later, `all intent on my work, I experienced a very strong emotion when, during the development, I saw for the first time the Holy Face appear on the plate, with such clarity that I was dumbfounded by it.' All his life Pia was to remember that moment, speaking of it as a great glory. ... His first reaction to the unexpected sight in the negative, however, had been mixed with uncertainty. What he saw violated all the laws of photography and he knew it. The stain-image, diffuse and flat on the relic, now stood out like a picture of an actual body, the contours indicated by minute gradations of shading. The face, so bizarre when viewed on the cloth, had become a harmonious, recognizable portrait of a bearded man with long hair. Emotions frozen in death emanated from the features; a vast patience, a noble resignation spoke out of the countenance. Even with the eyes shut, the face was suffused by an expression of majesty, impossible to analyze. All this on his negative plate! Pia knew that in any negative there should be only a rearrangement of lights and shadows and a reversal of position. Light areas should become dark and dark areas light. Left should be right and right, left. The result should have been the usual grotesque caricature of the original that would make good sense only when printed in positive. Instead, here in his negative was a positive portrait as real as any Pia had ever seen. As he carefully lowered the plate into a fixative bath of hyposulphate of soda, he turned over in his mind the possible answers to the phenomenon. Had there been some kind of rare photographic accident, something never before encountered? Perhaps some strange property of lighting or camera could account for it. But Pia was an expert with a confidence born of a quarter-century of experience; he had a sure grasp of photographic principle. He soon rejected any explanation but the obvious one: what showed on the negative was exactly what his camera had seen on the cloth. ... Later that morning, with a positive print made from the negative, he compared the two. There was no longer any doubt. This incredible portrait existed in the stain-image. Although to the naked eye the brownish stains on the relic presented only haphazard outlines, they must, in reality, form a negative, or at least they must possess, in some mysterious way, the qualities of a negative. Thus, when a picture is taken of the cloth, and the negative plate developed, the stain-image is reversed in light values and relative position and shows positive characteristics. Exactly the same process would occur if a picture were taken of a real photographic negative. As dawn crept through the streets of Turin, Pia sat before the negative and its print, occupied with a sudden, stunning thought. No human being could have painted this negative that lies hidden in the stains. ... If it was not painted, not made by human hands, then ... gazing fixedly, Pia felt a numbing certitude that he was looking on the face of Jesus." (Walsh, J.E., "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY, 1963, pp.24-27. Emphasis original).

"On the glass negative there slowly appeared before him, not a ghost of the shadowy figure visible on the cloth, as he had expected, but instead an unmistakable photographic likeness. ... Pia ... had discovered a real photograph, hitherto hidden in the cloth, until it could be revealed by the camera":

"According to his [Secondo Pia's] own account, his first thoughts were of relief when he saw the negative image begin to appear under the developer. Seconds later, they were to turn to astonishment, then to a chilling awe. On the glass negative there slowly appeared before him, not a ghost of the shadowy figure visible on the cloth, as he had expected, but instead an unmistakable photographic likeness. The double figures of the Shroud had undergone a dramatic change. Now there was natural light and dark shading, giving relief and depth. Bloodstains, showing white, could realistically be seen to flow from the hands and feet, from the right side, and from all around the crown of the head. Instead of having a masklike, almost grotesque appearance, the man of the Shroud could be seen to be well-proportioned and of impressive build. Most striking of all was the face, incredibly lifelike against the black background. Pia found himself thinking that he was the first man for nearly 1,900 years to gaze on the actual appearance of the body of Christ as he had been laid in the tomb. He had discovered a real photograph, hitherto hidden in the cloth, until it could be revealed by the camera. Throughout history, saints and holy men have claimed to see visions of Jesus. None has ever been able to provide material evidence. In archaeology, ancient tombs have been opened up to reveal, for a fleeting moment, the perfectly preserved remains of someone from the distant past-only for these immediately to crumble to dust. Yet, here, an ordinary man had an amazing `vision' on a photographic plate, a vision capable of endless reproduction. And, above all, a vision seemingly of none other than Jesus Christ." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.27-28).

"... no one could have faked that image. No one could do it today with all the technology we have. It's a perfect negative. It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise":

"If I had known Stewart would need a profile of the man in the shroud, I would have brought along the photographs made by Leo Vala, a photographer of British royalty and a pioneer in the development of the 3D visual process and cinemascope movie screens. By manipulating light through photo transparencies, he produced an image on a normal screen that enabled sculptors to make a three-dimensional model which could then be photographed in profile or indeed from any other angle. In perfecting the process Vala had selected the shroud face as a subject `because it's such a beautiful image.' After publishing the results of his experimentation in the March 8, 1967 issue of Amateur Photographer, he became an outspoken critic of anyone who thought the image could have been produced by human hands either through artistry or technology. `I've been involved in the invention of many complicated visual processes, and I can tell you that no one could have faked that image. No one could do it today with all the technology we have. It's a perfect negative. It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise.'" (Wilcox, R.K., "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, 1977, pp.130-131).

"It was only in the nineteenth century that the very idea of a `negative' came into existence. ... A 14th century painter could not possibly have had the faintest idea of a negative":

"But it was Pia's negative of the face which excited world-wide interest. Until then no one had-or could have had-the slightest suspicion that the real features of the Man in the Shroud were hidden in the apparently ugly face depicted and could be extracted therefrom were there available a physical process for reversing light and shade. We are nowadays so accustomed to photography that we may fail to grasp the extraordinary nature of this discovery. It was only in the nineteenth century that the very idea of a `negative' came into existence. The physical method of obtaining a negative, and then a positive therefrom, is of quite recent origin. The blackening effect of light on silver salts was known to the alchemists and further studied in the 18th century by Schulze and Scheele. By contact with paintings on glass, Wedgwood (1805) made shadow-negatives on paper or leather impregnated with a silver salt. Herschel (1871), inventor of the word `photograph,' discovered the fixing properties of sodium thiosulphate, commonly but incorrectly called hyposulphite; this was in 1819 but he did not utilise the result until twenty years later. If permanency is taken as the criterion, the first photographs were produced in 1827 by Niepce (1833); they depended on the action of light in reducing the oil solubility of a preparation of asphalt and lavender oil spread upon a plate of silver or glass. ... Not until this inversion was effected (first in 1898) was it possible to interpret the markings properly, or indeed to locate the mouth or the eyebrows correctly. ... From a comparison between the negatives and the originals we can deduce that no artist would dream of making an unnatural negative for the purpose of subsequently having even a monochrome positive. Before photography was invented, the very idea could not occur to him. And even to-day it is almost impossible to copy any graded negative without spoiling the resultant positive. ... A 14th century painter could not possibly have had the faintest idea of a negative. Even if he had, he lacked the technical means of verifying it. Now why should a forger go to the trouble of concocting impressions which were not discernible for five centuries? Even forgery, being a business, must supply in accordance with demand, it must give customers what they want-not a negative whose existence could not even be suspected for centuries. Meanwhile their devotion had to be content with what was really a caricature." (O'Rahilly, A. & Gaughan, J.A., ed., 1985 "The Crucified," [1959], Kingdom Books: Dublin, pp.46-48,52. Emphasis original).

"Why would a fourteenth-century forger have painted a negative image? Not until the nineteenth century did anyone understand the concept of [photographic] negativity":

"When the exposition drew to a close in May, 1898, a local lawyer named Secondo Pia was allowed to take the first photographs of the Shroud. His equipment failed on the first attempt, but Pia made good exposures on May 28. That night, in Pia's darkroom, one of the abiding secrets of the Shroud was first revealed. Pia removed his glass negative from the developing solution and discovered that the negative which he held in his hands was actually a `positive'--a `print' which was far more lifelike than the image viewed with the naked eye. This meant that the image on the Shroud was a negative. When printed, the dark areas of the image appeared light and the light areas appeared dark, and there was a left-right reversal of details. ... The most important scientific implication of Pia's discovery was that the Shroud was not an obvious forgery. Why would a fourteenth-century forger have painted a negative image? Not until the nineteenth century did anyone understand the concept of negativity: an image resembling the original would be created if light was projected onto a light-sensitive paper through a film in which the light-dark values were reversed. It seemed improbable that anyone would have known this in the fourteenth century. It was almost ludicrous to suggest that a painter, depicting Jesus' body as it might have appeared on his burial garment, would have chosen to do so with an artistry and detail that would have not been discovered for more than 500 years, until the invention of a photographic process which his age knew nothing about." (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.56-57. Emphasis original).

"A negative image? Hundreds of years before the invention of photography? ... how could a medieval artist have produced a negative image, and why would he choose to do so?":

"It would not be the shroud's first brush with science. That happened eighty years before, in 1898, with the first photographs of the relic. Those pictures uncovered the most surprising of the shroud's many mysteries. When the photographer, Secondo Pia, examined his first glass-plate negative as it emerged from the developing bath, he almost dropped it in shocked excitement. He was looking not at the usually unrealistic, confusing photographic negative, but at a clear positive image. Highlights and shadows were reversed from those on the cloth and were far more lifelike and realistic. Moreover, they showed details never before seen in the shroud, which was now revealed as a negative image. A negative image? Hundreds of years before the invention of photography? The idea that the shroud was a hoax suddenly seemed less plausible, for how could a medieval artist have produced a negative image, and why would he choose to do so?" (Weaver, K.F., 1980, "Science Seeks to Solve...The Mystery of the Shroud," National Geographic, Vol. 157, June, pp.730-753, 743. Italics original).

"What artist, centuries before, would have fabricated details that could only be discerned with the help of a nineteenth-century invention?":

"The modern history of the Shroud might be said to have begun on May 8, 1898, when Secondo Pia was permitted to photograph the Shroud for the first time while it was being exhibited at the Cathedral in Turin. Pia was flabbergasted to find that his glass-plate photographic negative was turning out in the developing bath to show, in fact, a photographic positive image. The Shroud itself had somehow been stained in such a way that the body imprint on the cloth was a negative. This feature alone would seem to rule out the claim that the Shroud is an ancient or medieval forgery. What artist, centuries before, would have fabricated details that could only be discerned with the help of a nineteenth-century invention? And the photographic process, subsequently confirmed by the photographs taken by G. Enrie in 1931, brought out a wealth of hitherto concealed details." (Sullivan, B.M., 2005, "Reading the Shroud of Turin: How in fact was Jesus Christ laid in his tomb?," National Review, July 20, 1973, Reprinted March 24, 2005).

"The question that obviously arises is whether any forger, centuries before the age of photography, could really have managed to create such an extraordinary image, working in negative, yet without any means of checking his work":

"Of extraordinary interest, therefore, is what happens to the Shroud's image when it is reversed by black-and-white photography into a photographic negative.... The now famous discovery associated with this took place in the year 1898, at the time of one of the rare expositions, when a prominent Turin councillor, Secondo Pia, was asked to make the first-ever official photograph of the Shroud. Photography was still a relatively new science at this time, and for Pia the assignment presented some special difficulties. ... After an abortive attempt on May 25, the night of May 28, Pia successfully took two exposures on large glass negative plates customary for the photography of the time, then hurried back to his darkroom to develop them. Because of the already shadowy and ghostlike nature of the Shroud image, Pia expected that anything he had managed to capture on the photographic negative plate, itself invariably a ghost of the original, would be even more difficult to distinguish. Nothing, therefore, prepared him for the shock that awaited him that night. As under the developer recognizable features of the Shroud began to appear, the cloth now black, the dark scorch marks from the 1532 fire showing up white, he observed an extraordinary change in the Shroud's double-figure image. For the first time visible in natural relief, with lifelike highlights and shadows as on a real photograph, the body could be seen to be well-proportioned and of an impressive build. The apparent bloodstains, showing up white, similarly took on a striking realism as injuries to the hands, feet, chest, and crown of the head. Instead of the owlish, mask-like face, the photographic negative revealed a hauntingly majestic countenance, with eves closed in death ... . As Pia came to believe that moment and for the rest of his life, the image on the negative must be the actual appearance of the body of Christ when laid in the tomb. Somehow the Shroud itself was a kind of photographic negative, which became positive when reversed by the camera. ... The question that obviously arises is whether any forger, centuries before the age of photography, could really have managed to create such an extraordinary image, working in negative, yet without any means of checking his work." (Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.4,10-11. Emphasis original).

As well as helping to illustrate my points in this series of posts here on this blog, quotes like this will be part of my resource base when I give my presentations, especially for helping me answer questions at its end

See also: "Shroud of Turin Negative Images," Shroud of Turin Facts Check, Daniel R. Porter, 2004.

The previous post in this series was part #3 "1.1 About me" and the next is part #5 "2. What is the Shroud of Turin?"

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign Jesus is Jehovah!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus! #3 About me

Continuing from part #2, "Contents", here is part #3 "1.1 About me," which is part of the Introduction section of my new series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!" See parts #1 and #2 for more information about this series.

As previously explained, this PowerPoint slide is to introduce myself to my future audiences who mostly wouldn't know me.

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

As I mentioned in my first post to this blog, Introduction to my The Shroud of Turin (TSoT) blog!:

My interest in the Shroud of Turin began in January 2005 when, as I posted to my then Yahoo group, after reading Stevenson & Habermas' "Verdict on the Shroud" (1981), I accepted (then provisionally but now fully) that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial sheet of Jesus Christ and therefore extrabiblical evidence of His death and resurrection. Before then I knew very little about the Shroud and, to the extent that I thought about it at all, I assumed it was just another medieval fake relic.

The previous post in this series was part #2 "Contents" and the next is part #4 "1.2 The Shroud's image is a photographic negative!"

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Re: `your own reasons for believing why the Shroud is important to Christians'


Thanks for your message. As explained to you in my brief interim response, my long-standing policy is to respond to private messages I receive on a topic that is covered by one of my blogs,

[Right: John Iannone's "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence" (1998), which I recommend as a first book to read on the Shroud.]

via that blog, in this case my The Shroud of Turin blog, minus the sender's personal identifying information. Your words are >bold to distinguish them from mine.

>Dear Rev. Jones,

Thanks, but it's just plain "Mr. Jones."

>I was reared Catholic, later became Mormon, later still Lutheran and finally got it right with fundamental, born-again, evangelical Pentecostal. How's that for labels!

I am glad you eventually became a born-again Christian, although the "born-again" is redundant because there is no other sort of Christian:

Jn 3:3,7. 3Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." ... 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

>I, too, am in my sixties. I know myself to be a baby Christian but I strive to grow.

I have been a Christian for 44 years and, by the grace of God, I am still growing. I am 65 next month, but I want to hit the tape of the race of the Christian life (Heb 12:1; 2Tim 4:7) still running!

>As a historian and archaeologist (BA, History ... University ....; MA, Historic Archaeology .... I have always been keenly interested in research and artifacts that verify the past. I became Pentecostal because I search for the earliest Christian knowledge, believing this to be the most accurate. Christians of numerous denominations have had 2,000 years to screw things up. For me, it is, "Back to the Basics," and "Back to the Start," as accurately as we can to the time of Christ and his immediate followers for what they held to be The Truth.

As a member of the Church of Christ denomination, whose origin was part of the "The Restoration Movement [which] originated with the convergence of several independent efforts to go back to apostolic Christianity" ("Churches of Christ: Early Restoration Movement history," Wikipedia, 6 October 2011), I agree with trying to go "`Back to the Start,' as accurately as we can to the time of Christ and his immediate followers." But the fact that "Christians of numerous denominations have" been going "2,000 years" shows they (or rather the Spirit of Christ in them) has been doing something right!

>I have a compelling interest in the Turin Shroud and have studied it extensively. To me, it is just a small leap of faith to conclude, after all the scientific evidence, that the Shroud is the actual burial shroud of Christ.

For me, knowing what I now know of the Turin Shroud, it would require a very great "leap of faith" not "to conclude, after all the scientific evidence, that the Shroud is the actual burial shroud of Christ"!

>The questions that seems inescapable to me is, "why has Christ left this garment for us? Why has it survived 2,000 years to be examined in the modern age of science?" Why, indeed.

By "us" I assume you mean innumerable Christians down through these past "2000 years"? Remember that for 1500 of those 2000 years (i.e. 3/4ths or 75%) of that time, there was no printing press and the depictions of Jesus based on the Shroud must have had an immeasurable influence on the growth of Christianity.

Although I do think that the Shroud is an important part of the Risen Jesus' "for God so loved the world" (Jn 3:16) witness to modern man in this Age of Science.

>This keenest interest in the Shroud troubles my faith-based Pentecostal friends.

Most Christians in my experience do not need much evidence to believe that Christianity is true. Others (like me) are "doubting Thomases" (Jn 20:24-28) who need more evidence than most. But I had already satisfied myself that Christianity was objectively true (i.e. true whether it is believed or not) about a quarter of a century before 2005 when I first discovered the evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud, by reading Stevenson & Habermas' "Verdict on the Shroud" (1981).

So for me the Shroud is `the cream on the cake.' It is an example of the verse I had inscribed on the inside of the ring that I gave to my wife of 39 years on our wedding day: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think ..." (Eph 3:20 KJV).

>My wife is very troubled by this interest, claiming I spend more time researching the Shroud than reading the actual Word.

First, it is important that we do continue with regular "reading the actual Word," e.g. in a daily `quiet time'.

But then, we all (including no doubt your wife) spend more time doing other things "than reading the actual Word," e.g. sleeping, working, etc. And how many Christians have hobbies and interests that have little or nothing to do with Christianity and no one criticises them?

>For my wife and friends, faith is enough and scientific evidence matters not.

See above on most Christians don't seem to need a lot of evidence that Christianity is true. My wife and most of my Christian friends are like that. Most of them do not care about the Shroud, one way or the other. My wife believes the Shroud is the burial sheet of Jesus, but she cannot see what she should do about it. Personally I don't try to change them. Belief in the Shroud's authenticity is not an article of the Christian faith.

But on the other hand, that does not mean that Christians should criticise or even oppose those of us who are convinced, on the basis of the evidence, of the Shroud's authenticity. Since the evidence is overwhelming that Shroud is the burial sheet of Jesus (see for example my "Bogus: Shroud of Turin?" series), then Jesus must have left it for His original disciples and then has preserved it for us down through the ages. So while a Christian is apparently free to ignore the Shroud, if they actually oppose the Shroud, then they may be unwittingly "fight[ing] against God" (Acts 5:39).

>To them the Shroud is just another dubious relic now held by the suspect Catholic Church.

I myself was like that. As mentioned in my introductory post to this my The Shroud of Turin blog, if it wasn't for the fact that the book, "Verdict on the Shroud" (1981) was co-written by leading Protestant philosopher Gary Habermas' that I even considered the evidence that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus. Before that, I assumed that the Shroud of Turin was just another fake Roman Catholic relic.

Also, the Shroud has only since 1983 been the property of the Roman Catholic church when it was bequeathed by the ex-king of Italy Umberto II of Savoy to the Pope. Before 1983 it had been privately owned by the House of Savoy, who in turn received from the previous private owner, Margaret de Charny in 1453, and it had never been previously owned by the Roman Catholic church. Besides, as Jewish Barrie Schwortz pointed out in a radio interview, there was no Protestant church back in the 1350s when the Shroud first appeared in Lirey, France owned by the de Charny family.

>They cannot tolerate my fascination with the Shroud. My pastor even refused me permission to show one or ore of the better Shroud videos at church classes.

To be fair to your Pastor it could be divisive if a Shroud video was shown at Protestant evangelical church. I have never been asked by my Pastor to give a talk on the Shroud, even though he knows I write a blog on it, and I have not yet asked him if I could do so.

But I am now preparing a PowerPoint presentation "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!" to be shown at church or any other groups. When I have finished preparing that presentation I will formally ask permission of my Pastor to show it first at my church. But if he refuses I will write to other churches, including Roman Catholic, offering to show my presentation there.

>I cannot believe the Shroud matters not. But I cannot formulate myself concise arguments to present to my brothers and sisters why, as conservative, fundamentalist believers, we should be comforted by the knowledge that the Shroud is the actual burial cloth.

Personally I wouldn't bother trying to convince your fellow "conservative, fundamentalist believers." Since they already are Christians, "the knowledge that the Shroud is the actual burial cloth" of Jesus adds little to them. Just as the average Christian does not bother reading Christian theology, or Church history, or Bible and Science, etc. But whether their attitude is right or not I leave it between Jesus and them.

>They don't understand and thus far I cannot explain why the Shroud is important even if faith is paramount in our beliefs. One reason I cannot explain probably is my own faith and knowledge are still in the "baby" phase.

Remember that you have degrees in History and Archaeology, so you are not the average Christian. You like me, are "hit" by evidence, that most people (including most Christians) are not. I cannot explain why that is so, but it is something that I have learned to live with my 40+ years a Christian.

>I would be most grateful if you could help focus me on your own reasons for believing why the Shroud is important to Christians and point me to resources that would help me develop my arguments.

First, I don't think it is up to me (or anyone) to state what is "important to Christians" over and above what the Bible says. But having said that, next to the Bible, I believe the Shroud (or rather the image of Jesus' on it) is the most important thing in the world, since it is tangible proof that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son," to die a horrible death on a cross so "that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). After all, Jesus did not have to leave His shroud behind, nor did he have to preserve it these ~2,000 years. I can only assume that He did it, because He loves us and is "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2Pet 3:9).

As for Shroud resources, in my brief reply to you, I pointed out that, there is plenty of information on the Shroud on this my blog The Shroud of Turin and on other Shroud sites that are on my blog's blogroll on its right hand side. And also that I have just commenced a series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!" which will cover in outline most of what I know about the Shroud.

Beyond that, if you are serious about learning more about the Shroud, you should read books on it. If you haven't already done so, my suggestion is you first read John Iannone's "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence" (1998). Then I suggest you read, Ian Wilson's, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" (2010).

Also, one major advantage you have over me is that you live in America, not in isolated Western Australia as I do. There are probably Shroud groups you could join and Shroud conventions and exhibitions you can attend far more easily than I can.

>I know you must be busy, but any guidance will be deeply appreciated.

I hope this has helped. My guidance is that you study the Shroud for yourself, i.e. to bring you closer to knowing Jesus ("that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" - Php 3:10), while not neglecting your other Christian duties, like daily Bible reading and prayer, and not try to force the Shroud on to your fellow-Christians, but rather ask the Lord to lead you to the field of ministry (if any) He has for you with the Shroud.

>Thank you.

Thanks again for your message. I hope this has helped answer it.

PS: As an afterthought, here is why I think the Shroud is important,not just for Christians, but for everyone, because it bears the image of the Face of the One who is going to judge us all, on the Last Day (Jn 5:26-27; Act 10:41-42; 17:31; Rom 2:16; 2Cor 5:10; 2Tim 4:1):

"In this context, although there are many individuals who are quite happy to accept that the shroud was faked in the fourteenth century, and regard it as of supreme unimportance in their everyday lives, there are others, including myself, for whom the question `Was this what you really looked like?' simply refuses to go away. Not only is the shroud as difficult to attribute to a fourteenth-century artist as the Sistine Chapel ceiling is attributable to Van Gogh, there is not even any comfort in not being able to dismiss it in such a way. For if that face, however subjectively, seems as though it has transcended two thousand years, it is as if neither time, nor the grave, have any meaning. It bespeaks the very same questions as those that wracked the pilgrims to the Veronica: `Were those the lips that spoke the Sermon on the Mount and the Parable of the Rich Fool?'; `Is this the Face that is to be my judge on the Last Day?'" (Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.189).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus! #2 Contents

Here, following part #1, "Title page", is this part #2 "Contents," of my new series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!"

Each page of this series will be a copy-and-paste of a PowerPoint slide, which in turn is part of a presentation on the Shroud that I am preparing for church and other groups.

The PowerPoint text below is actually a JPG image, so it can be clicked on to enlarge it.

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

A disadvantage of the above JPG image of my PowerPoint Contents page is that it cannot be hyperlinked to the relevant posts. Therefore, I have added the following HTML copy of the above Contents page and will add links to new major heading pages when they have been posted:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is the Shroud of Turin?
  3. The Bible and the Shroud
  4. History and the Shroud
  5. Art and the Shroud
  6. Science and the Shroud
  7. The Sudarium of Oviedo
  8. Major Features of the Shroud's Image
  9. How was the Image Formed?
  10. Conclusion
  11. Questions?

Some of the posts linked to the above will not have the same headings (e.g. "Introduction" is actually "About me") because I have not posted every subsidiary contents page.

The previous post in this series was part "#1 Title page" and the next part is #3 "About me" (to introduce myself on a PowerPoint slide to my future audiences who mostly wouldn't know me).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus! #1 Title page

I had been struggling with `writer's block' trying to find a way to post here a series on the Shroud, which covers briefly the main points for and against. I had already started a PowerPoint presentation on the Shroud back in 2009, which I intended to eventually use in presentations to interested church and any other groups. An attractive feature of PowerPoint for me is that it forces one to be brief! So if I could restart my PowerPoint presentation and then post it here to my TSoT blog, then I would `kill two birds with one stone.'

But there does not seem any way that one can directly post a PowerPoint to Blogger. Googling "PowerPoint Blogger" came up with a number of sites offering ways of posting a PowerPoint to Blogger but these all seemed to be through a third party. I eventually found by trial and error that I could copy-and-paste from PowerPoint via Microsoft Paint to Outlook Express (which is the way I prefer to post to Blogger). So here goes ...!

[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

How's that for a brief post? A record for me! The next post in this series is be part #2 "Contents".

Stephen E. Jones, BSc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign& Jesus is Jehovah!