Saturday, September 22, 2012

My critique of Charles Freeman's "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 10: "The Image of Edessa" (6)

Here is part 10, "The Image of Edessa" (6), of my critique of historian Charles Freeman's, "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," May 24, 2012 [page 8]. See previous part 9.

[Above (enlarge): "The Vignon markings-how Byzantine artists created a living likeness from the Shroud image. (1) Transverse streak across forehead, (2) three-sided `square' between brows, (3) V shape at bridge of nose, (4) second V within marking 2, (5) raised right eyebrow, (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, (12) forked beard, (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair." (Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," 1978, p.82e).]

Freeman continues with his attempts to "poison the well" against historian Ian Wilson's theory that the Image of Edessa/Mandylion is the Shroud of Turin folded eight times (see my Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin) by the prejudicial "bizarre" and "enthusiasts":

An even more bizarre explanation comes when Wilson tackles Byzantine art. Seventy years ago a Frenchman, Paul Vignon, noted that the bearded face on the Turin Shroud has some of the characteristics of Byzantine art. All kinds of measuring was done and some enthusiasts found as many as sixty resemblances.

Again Freeman, "fails to tell his readers relevant material which might undermine his case, weak though it already is" (Freeman's own, hypocritical, pot calling the kettle black, criticism of Wilson in this paper). Paul Vignon was not merely "a Frenchman," but he was also a Professor of Biology and an artist. And they were not merely "some of the characteristics of Byzantine art" which Vignon discovered, but at least fifteen (15) unique markings on the Shroud (see above), which are all found (although no icon has all fifteen), on Byzantine depictions of Christ's face, from the 6th century onwards:

"This said, however, even from much this same early time there is actually one further even more compelling indicator that the Image of Edessa was one and the same as our Shroud. The seventh century saw another wave of Pantocrator-type depictions of Christ, which we have shown to be based on the Image of Edessa. One of these can be found in the little-visited St Ponziano catacomb in Rome's Transtevere district ... It is of exactly the same type as the Pantocrator icon at St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai that we earlier established as having been painted under the influence of the Image of Edessa. However, it features one highly important extra detail: on the forehead between the eyebrows there is a starkly geometrical shape resembling a topless square. Artistically it does not seem to make much sense. If it was intended to be a furrowed brow, it is depicted most unnaturally in comparison with the rest of the face. But if we look at the equivalent point on the Shroud face ... we find exactly the same feature, equally as geometric and equally as unnatural, probably just a flaw in the weave. The only possible deduction is that fourteen centuries ago an artist saw this feature on the cloth that he knew as the Image of Edessa and applied it to his Christ Pantocrator portrait of Jesus. In so doing he provided a tell-tale clue that the likeness of Jesus from which he was working was that on the cloth we today know as the Shroud. Seven decades ago Frenchman Paul Vignon identified another fourteen such oddities frequently occurring in Byzantine Christ portraits ... likewise seemingly deriving from the Shroud. Among these is a distinctive triangle immediately below the topless square. But like a Man Friday footprint of the Shroud's existence six centuries before the date given to it by carbon dating, the topless square alone is enough. (Wilson, I., "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," 2010, p.142).

[Above: Bust of Christ from the catacomb of St. Pontianus, Rome: Catacomba di Ponziano, Wikipedia, 31 January 2012. Note the Vignon marking on this 7-8th century mosaic, a three-sided `topless square' between the eyebrows (see below).]

As Wilson correctly points out, this Vignon marking no. 2, the three-sided `square' or `topless square', which is merely part of a flaw or change in the Shroud's weave (see below) was slavishly copied by Byzantine artists, from the 6th century onwards. And just as Robinson Crusoe's discovery of Man Friday's footprint on the seashore was conclusive proof that there was another human being on the island, so this topless square Vignon marking no. 2, which is on almost all (if not all) of the hundreds of Byzantine depictions of Christ's face since the 6th century, is alone conclusive proof that the Shroud existed as the Image of Edessa in at least the 6th century in the Byzantine world.

[Above (enlarge): ShroudScope "Face only Vertical" online Shroud photograph showing the three sided `square' or `topless square' Vignon Marking no. 2, superimposed on 7th-8th century bust of Christ from the catacomb of St. Pontianus, Rome: ShroudScope and Wikipedia.]

As the late evolutionary biologist Prof. Colin Patterson pointed out, copyright courts rule that it is "proof `beyond reasonable doubt'" of plagiarism if two or more works share the same error, and also that the original is the work in which the shared error is a physical flaw in the text:

"An interesting argument is that in the law courts (where proof `beyond reasonable doubt' is required), cases of plagiarism or breach of copyright will be settled in the plaintiff's favour if it can be shown that the text (or whatever) is supposed to have been copied contains errors present in the original. Similarly, in tracing the texts of ancient authors, the best evidence that two versions are copies one from another or from the same original is when both contain the same errors. A charming example is an intrusive colon within a phrase in two fourteenth-century texts of Euripides: one colon turned out to be a scrap of straw embedded in the paper, proving that the other text was a later copy." (Patterson, C., "Evolution," 1999, p.117).
The `topless square' is a physical flaw or change in the weave of the fabric of the Shroud of Turin and so it has no intrinsic artistic

[Above: Closeup of face of the Man on the Shroud, showing that the `topless square' is part of a flaw or change in the Shroud's weave which runs all the way down the face (and in fact appears to run down the entire length) of the Shroud: ShroudScope "Durante 2002 Vertical"]

significance whatsoever. So those hundreds of Byzantine depictions of Christ's face from the 6th century onwards which have the `topless square' in exactly the same location it is on the Shroud, were copied from the Shroud, as the Image of Edessa. Just as a single human footprint in the sand, below the last high tide mark, proved to Robinson Crusoe beyond any reasonable doubt that he was no longer alone on his island, so the `topless square' alone (although there are 14 other Vignon markings) on hundreds of Byzantine icons since the 6th century is "proof `beyond reasonable doubt'" that the Image of Edessa is the Turin Shroud and so the latter already existed from at least the 6th century. Therefore, Freeman (and his ilk), who deny this "proof `beyond reasonable doubt'" of the authenticity of the Shroud based on the Vignon markings, are simply WRONG!

Freeman continues with his already failed quest to show that the Image of Edessa or Mandylion, is not the Shroud of Turin folded eight times, mounted on a board and framed so that only Christ's face was visible.

This is all interesting but Wilson goes on to make the absurd suggestion that this was because Byzantine art was born from the Image of Edessa, also known to Wilson as the Turin Shroud!
This is another false "straw man" statement by Freeman, that Wilson claimed that "Byzantine art was born [in the sixth century] from the Image of Edessa." Wilson did not claim that there was no Byzantine art until the Image of Edessa (the Shroud of Turin "doubled in four") was rediscovered in the sixth century. In fact Wilson explicitly stated that there was Byzantine art before the sixth century. What Wilson actually stated was that Byzantine art underwent "a quite extraordinary change in how artists portrayed Jesus's likeness, which happened very soon after the Image of Edessa cloth came to light ... in the art of the sixth century there occurred a remarkable transformation in the way Jesus was depicted":
"But why should we believe that this Image of Edessa cloth was our Shroud? The main clue lies in a quite extraordinary change in how artists portrayed Jesus's likeness, which happened very soon after the Image of Edessa cloth came to light ... right up until at least the end of the fifth century the portrayals of Jesus lacked any authority, most representation depicting him beardless ... there was a general lack of any awareness of what he looked like. But in the art of the sixth century there occurred a remarkable transformation in the way Jesus was depicted. Just two of several surviving examples will serve to illustrate this. The first is a 'Christ Pantocrator' icon painted in encaustic - a wax technique, the recipe for which became lost after the eighth century - that is preserved in the remote monastery of St Catherine in the Sinai desert ... The second is a relief portrait of Christ on a silver vase that was found at Homs in Syria, and is now in the Louvre in Paris ... Firmly datable to the sixth century, both are authoritative, definitive versions of the distinctive likeness that today we instinctively recognize as Jesus Christ. And if we compare these front-facing likenesses with the face as visible on the Shroud before any discovery of the hidden photographic negative, there is a very uncanny resemblance: the same frontality, the same long hair, long nose, beard, etc. It is as if someone has studied the Shroud's facial imprint and for public consumption has very carefully crafted an interpretative official likeness from this in the guise of Christ Pantocrator - the 'King of All'." (Wilson, 2010, pp.133,135).
So again, either Freeman has not actually read the above in Wilson's latest book as he implied he had (under a different subtitle) in this paper:
"Despite many years of research de Wesselow uncritically accepts much of the work of the veteran Shroud researcher Ian Wilson whose latest volume, The Shroud, Fresh Light on the 2000-year-old Mystery, Bantam Books, 2011, is used here."
(which would be scholarly incompetence), or he has read the above, but is concealing it from his readers and in its place telling them something else which Wilson did not say (which would be scholarly dishonesty).

Freeman continues with his careless approach to historical accuracy:

Wilson makes some vague points about a new period in art at this time and finds a reference to two wandering Georgian monks with contacts with Edessa in the 530s who may have painted images.
They were not "Georgian monks" but "Assyrian monks" who "travelled to Georgia specifically to paint interpretative versions of their charges [which included the Image of Edessa] for the newly founded churches there":
"Tradition in Georgia, the former republic of the old Soviet Union, has long held that some time around the mid 530s twelve Assyrian monks left Mesopotamia and travelled north to found several monasteries in Georgia. Present-day tour groups to Georgia can follow in these missionary monks' footsteps, and in Georgia's capital Tbilisi there is a very badly worn sixth-century Chris Pantocrator icon, the Anchiskhati - an almost exact counterpart to the one at St Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai - which is thought to have been brought to Georgia by this mission ...

[Right ( (enlarge): "The Ancha Icon of the Savior, known in Georgia as Anchiskhati ... is a medieval Georgian encaustic icon, traditionally considered to be ... imprinted with the face of Jesus Christ miraculously transferred by contact with the Image of Edessa (Mandylion). Dated to the 6th-7th century ... The icon derives its name from the Georgian monastery of Ancha in what is now Turkey, whence it was brought to Tbilisi in 1664. The icon is now kept at the National Art Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi" ("Ancha Icon," Wikipedia, 20 August 2012. If you click on the image to enlarge it and then look closely, you will see that this "6th-7th century" icon, based on the Image of Edessa, also has (like many other Byzantine icons) the `topless square' Vignon marking no. 2, exactly where the Turin Shroud has the original, being part of a physical flaw or change in its weave (see above).]

The quite remarkable new insight from one of the recently discovered Georgian documents from Sinai is what it tells of the activities of two of these Assyrian monks, Theodosius from Edessa and Isidore from Edessa's sister city Hierapolis. Theodosius is specifically described as 'a deacon and monk [in charge] of the Image of Christ' in Edessa. As Georgian scholars recognize, this Image can be none other than our Image of Edessa, thereby confirming Evagrius's information that this was an extant historical object by this time, one evidently sufficiently important to have its own `carer'. Theodosius's companion Isidore was apparently responsible for a tile image belonging to Edessa's sister city Hierapolis. Both monks travelled to Georgia specifically to paint interpretative versions of their charges for the newly founded churches there. Never before have we been afforded a glimpse of who lay behind the rash of Christ portraits that appeared in the sixth century. It is quite evident from the Georgian document that they were Assyrian artist-monks from Edessa and its environs who saw themselves as missionaries or icon evangelists for the newly revealed 'divine likeness' that had been so recently rediscovered in Edessa." (Wilson, 2010, pp.135-136).

So again, for someone who claims to be a historian, albeit only a "freelance" one, who seems to hold (or to have held) any university position, his current position being merely "head of history at St Clare's, Oxford" a boarding school:
"Charles Freeman Charles Freeman is a scholar and freelance historian specializing in the history of ancient Greece and Rome. He is the author of numerous books on the ancient world including The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason. He has taught courses on ancient history in Cambridge's Adult Education program and is Historical Consultant to the Blue Guides. He also leads cultural study tours to Italy, Greece and Turkey. In 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He lives in Suffolk, England. ... In addition to a law degree, he holds a master's degree in African history and politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and an additional master's degree in applied research in education from the University of East Anglia. In 1978 he was appointed head of history at St Clare's, Oxford." ("Charles Freeman (historian) ," Wikipedia, 11 May 2012).
Freeman is remarkably careless with historical facts, at least regarding the Shroud of Turin.

To be continued in part 11, "The Image of Edessa" (7). I never did continue this series, having bigger fish to fry than Freeman!

Posted: 22 September 2012. Updated: 27 February 2017.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin

A commenter onDan Porter's Shroud of Turin blog pointed out

[Above (enlarge): Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin illustrated: The full-length Shroud of Turin (1), is doubled four times (2 through 5), resulting in Jesus' face within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (5), exactly as depicted in the earliest copies of the Image of Edessa, the 11th century Sakli church, Turkey (6) and the 10th century icon of King Abgar V of Edessa holding the Image of Edessa, St. Catherine's monastery, Sinai (7).]

what I had previously realised, but had forgotten, that Dan's "Tetradiplon" graphic illustrating how the Shroud of Turin, when

[Above: "Tetradiplon," The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ, Dan Porter, 2009. Note that this otherwise useful illustration of how the Greek word tetradiplon ("four doubled" when applied to the Shroud, results in Jesus' face within a rectangle in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in the 10th century St. Catherine's monastery icon of Edessa's King Abgar V holding the Image of Edessa, shows only three doublings of the Shroud.]

"four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon), with Jesus' face uppermost, results in Jesus' face only within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (exactly as in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa), has a flaw in that it only shows three doublings of the Shroud (see above).

Even Ian Wilson's illustrations of this in his books (e.g. "The Evidence of the Shroud," 1986, p.113; "Holy Faces, Secret Places," 1991, p.142; "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.153; "The Turin Shroud," 2000, p.111; and "The Shroud," 2010, p.141), show the Shroud doubled only three times.

But some months ago I cut out a photo of the Shroud and proved to myself that the Shroud can be doubled four times in such a way that it results in Jesus' face in a rectangular segment of the cloth, in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in early copies of the Image of Edessa. Here I will show how it can be done, in what is a reasonable way to fold a long cloth, minimising strain at its fold edges.

[Right: The Shroud full-length: ShroudScope, Durante 2002, Vertical]

Try it yourself: 1) print out a full-length photo of the Shroud; 2) cut out the Shroud from the page; 3) fold the cutout of the Shroud in two between the two head images, with the front head image (face) uppermost; 4) then, as described below, fold the doubled Shroud cutout three more times (making a total of four doublings), with the face image always uppermost; and 5) you hold in your hand a copy of the Image of Edessa or Mandylion - a portrait of Jesus' head within a rectangle, in landscape aspect!

Starting with a full-length photograph of the Shroud (see above right), first cut out the Shroud itself.

Then fold the Shroud copy in two, with the fold between the two head images, and with the front side uppermost. This is the first doubling.

[Left: Result of the first doubling, with the front half of the Shroud uppermost.]

Taking the first doubling photo of the Shroud, fold it a quarter way down from its top edge, across Jesus' chest. Jesus' face appears centred in a rectangle in landscape aspect. Fold the remaining three-quarters of the first doubling upwards, keeping Jesus' face uppermost in the bottom quarter. The back lower half of the Shroud photo will appear upside down above Jesus' face quarter (see right). This is the second doubling.

[Right: Result of the second doubling (ignore my white join lines), with Jesus' face now in the bottom third, and the lower half of His back upside down, above Jesus' face, making up the top two-thirds of this second doubling.]

Now, with the result of the second doubling, fold the top two-thirds, the upside down back of Jesus' legs at the top of Jesus' face panel, down below Jesus' face panel. Jesus' face panel now appears to be on top of the lower part of the front of Jesus' legs (see left). This is the third doubling.

[Left: Result of the third doubling, with Jesus' face panel uppermost and the lower front of Jesus' legs appearing under it.]

Finally, taking the third doubling, fold back the front lower panel of Jesus' legs under Jesus' face panel (see right). Jesus' face now

[Right: Result of the fourth doubling, with Jesus' face alone within a rectangle, in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa or the Mandylion (see below).]

appears, after four doublings of the Shroud, alone in a rectangle, in landscape aspect, exactly as it appears in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa (see below). This is the fourth doubling.

This is consistent with major foldlines at one-eighth intervals, found on the Shroud by Dr John Jackson from raking light photographs of the Shroud taken in 1978 by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).

[Left (enlarge): Diagram of raking light photograph of the Shroud, taken in 1978 by STURP, showing major foldlines consistent with the Shroud having been folded at one-eighth intervals, discovered by Dr John Jackson: Ian Wilson, "The Evidence of the Shroud," 1986, p.123.]

As previously mentioned, below are two of the oldest surviving copies of the Image of Edessa or Mandylion. As can be seen, in both of them, Jesus' face is within a rectangle, in landscape aspect, exactly as obtained above by doubling the Shroud of Turin four times. I cannot show it here, but readers can verify it for themselves by following the above instructions, that when the fourth doubling is viewed from the side in profile, one sees four doublings of the Shroud.

[Above (enlarge): Image of Edessa, part of 10th century icon depicting Edessa's King Abgar V, holding it, showing Jesus' face only, in landscape aspect, within a rectangular panel: Digital Journal]

[Above (enlarge): The Image of Edessa (11th century), Sakli church, Goreme, Turkey: Wilson, I., "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," 2010, plate 22b.]

The Greek word tetradiplon is a compound of tetra ("four") and diplon ("doubled)," hence "four-doubled." In all of known ancient Greek literature, tetradiplon occurs only in connection with the Image of Edessa. Its first known occurrence is in the Acts of Thaddeus, a sixth century update of an earlier (c. AD 400) story in the Doctrine of Addai, about Edessa's King Abgar V (c. 4 BC - AD 50) receiving an image of Jesus imprinted on a cloth. The sixth century Acts of Thaddeus added new information to that earlier story that the cloth was a sindon (a large linen sheet) which was tetradiplon ("four doubled"):

"In those times there was a governor of the city of Edessa, Abgarus [Abgar V] by name. And there having gone abroad the fame of Christ, of the wonders which He did, and of His teaching, Abgarus having heard of it, was astonished, and desired to see Christ, and could not leave his city and government. And about the days of the Passion and the plots of the Jews, Abgarus, being seized by an incurable disease, sent a letter to Christ by Ananias the courier ... And Ananias, having gone and given the letter, was carefully looking at Christ, but was unable to fix Him in his mind. And He knew as knowing the heart, and asked to wash Himself; and a towel [Gk. tetradiplon] was given Him; and when He had washed Himself, He wiped His face with it. And His image having been imprinted upon the linen [Gk. sindon], He gave it to Ananias, saying: Give this, and take back this message, to him that sent you: Peace to you and your city!" ("The Acts of Thaddaeus, One of the Twelve," New Advent, 29 January 2010).

That the Shroud of Turin, when doubled four times results in Jesus' face within a rectangle, in landscape aspect, exactly as depicted in the earliest copies of the Image of Edessa/Mandylion, is proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Image of Edessa/Mandylion is the Shroud of Turin, doubled four times, mounted on a board, and framed, so that only Jesus' face is visible. And therefore that the Shroud of Turin existed in the sixth century, and indeed in the first century, as the Image of Edessa's connection with Edessa's first century King Abgar V, attests!

The Shroud of Turin therefore is the very burial sheet of Jesus (Mt 27:59; Mk 15:46; Lk 23:53), bearing the image of His crowned with thorns (Mt 27:29; Jn 19:2), flogged (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15), crucified (Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:18), dead (Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37,43-45; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30), speared in the side (Jn 19:34), and resurrected (Mt 28:1-6; Mk 16:1-6; Lk 24:1-6; Jn 20:1-9) body!

Posted: 15 September 2012. Updated: 19 January 2017.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My critique of Charles Freeman's "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 9: "The Image of Edessa" (5)

Continuing from part 8 of my critique of historian Charles Freeman's, "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," May 24, 2012 [pages 7-8] with this part 9, "The Image of Edessa" (5).

[Above: My illustration of Freeman's "four foot by four foot" square Image of Edessa (see below), marked with `one foot' gridlines, and with his own "good example" of the Image, "one of the panels of the Santa Chiara triptych (c. 1330-50) in the Sartario Museum in Trieste" (see part 7) in the centre, making Freeman's "foot by two foot square" face image, in portrait aspect.]

Freeman continues, looking first at two arguments that historian Ian Wilson provides for his attribution of the Image of Edessa being the Shroud of Turin (folded eight times, with Jesus head only visible in landscape aspect).

What arguments can Wilson provide for his attribution? I will look at those from before the sixth century later but here let us take just two. He has tracked down one of the legendary accounts of the origins of the Image of Edessa in a sixth century text, the Acts of Thaddeus (or Jude). This gives a standard account of the image having been made by Christ himself and this in itself just provides further evidence against Wilson's thesis!

Here is the relevant part of the Acts of Thaddeus:

"In those times there was a governor of the city of Edessa, Abgarus [Abgar] by name. And there having gone abroad the fame of Christ, of the wonders which He did, and of His teaching, Abgarus having heard of it, was astonished, and desired to see Christ, and could not leave his city and government. And about the days of the Passion and the plots of the Jews, Abgarus, being seized by an incurable disease, sent a letter to Christ by Ananias the courier ... And Ananias, having gone and given the letter, was carefully looking at Christ, but was unable to fix Him in his mind. And He knew as knowing the heart, and asked to wash Himself; and a towel [Gk. tetradiplon] was given Him; and when He had washed Himself, He wiped His face with it. And His image having been imprinted upon the linen [Gk. sindon], He gave it to Ananias, saying: Give this, and take back this message, to him that sent you: Peace to you and your city!"("The Acts of Thaddaeus, One of the Twelve," New Advent, 29 January 2010).

Freeman had just stated that the Acts of Thaddeus is "one of the legendary accounts of the origins of the Image of Edessa." So how can a "legendary account," which claims that Jesus' image was imprinted upon a linen towel when Jesus wiped His wet face with it, be regarded as historically factual? And what about Freeman's previous statement in this same paper (see part 6) that:

In the case of the Image of Edessa there were two or three stories, that it had been painted by the court painter of king Abgar or, more usually, that Christ himself had wiped his face with a cloth and the image had been imprinted. ... What is important is that these images are not known before the sixth century and the stories of their origins must be treated as legendary.

So if Freeman believes that those stories which say that the Image of Edessa was imprinted on a cloth when Christ wiped his face with it, "must be treated as legendary," how can he then claim that one of those stories, in the Acts of Thaddeus, "provides further evidence against Wilson's thesis"? Neither Wilson, nor any Shroud pro-authenticist, believes that Jesus' image was imprinted on the Shroud while He was still alive. Indeed, Wilson actually states in his latest book, which Freeman implies he has read, that, "... the Acts of Thaddaeus ... its initially off-putting aspect is that it 'explains' the creation of the Image as by Jesus washing himself ...":

"In the case of the Image of Edessa's dimensions, one important indicator is to be found in one of the very first documents to provide a 'revised version' of the King Abgar story in the wake of the cloth's rediscovery. The document in question is the Acts of Thaddaeus, dating either to the sixth or early seventh century. Although its initially off-putting aspect is that it 'explains' the creation of the Image as by Jesus washing himself, it intriguingly goes on to describe the cloth on which the Image was imprinted as tetradiplon `doubled in four'. It is a very unusual word, in all Byzantine literature pertaining only to the Image of Edessa, and therefore seeming to indicate some unusual way in which the Edessa cloth was folded. So what happens if we try doubling the Shroud in four? If we take a full-length photographic print of the Shroud, double it, then double it twice again, we find the Shroud in eight (or two times four) segments, an arrangement seeming to correspond to what is intended by the sixth-century description (fig. 25). And the quite startling finding from folding the Shroud in this way is that its face appears disembodied on a landscape-aspect cloth exactly corresponding to the later 'direct' artists' copies of the Image of Edessa." (Wilson, I., "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," 2010, p.140).

As can be seen above, Wilson's major claim about the Acts of Thaddaeus is that:

"... it intriguingly goes on to describe the cloth on which the Image was imprinted as tetradiplon `doubled in four'. It is a very unusual word, in all Byzantine literature pertaining only to the Image of Edessa, and therefore seeming to indicate some unusual way in which the Edessa cloth was folded."

And that:

"If we take a full-length photographic print of the Shroud, double it, then double it twice again, we find the Shroud in eight (or two times four) segments, an arrangement seeming to correspond to what is intended by the sixth-century description (fig. 25). And the quite startling finding from folding the Shroud in this way is that its face appears disembodied on a landscape-aspect cloth exactly corresponding to the later 'direct' artists' copies of the Image of Edessa."

[Above (click to enlarge): "Tetradiplon," The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ, Dan Porter, 2009. Illustration of Ian Wilson's discovery, that if the Shroud of Turin is doubled four times, keeping Jesus' face image uppermost, the result is Jesus' face only, in landscape aspect, exactly as it is in the earlies copies of the Image of Edessa!]

So again Freeman, "fails to tell his readers relevant material which might undermine his case, weak though it already is" (to quote Freeman's own criticism of Wilson in this very paper), so that he can take a cheap shot at Wilson, knowing that his Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website readers would be unlikely to notice his self-contradiction.

Having softened up his readers so that they are in the frame of mind to reject Wilson's real point about the Acts of Thaddaeus (see above), Freeman now tries (unsuccessfully) to explain away Wilson's discovery:

However, the Acts go on to describe the image as tetradiplon which seems to imply some form of doubling (diplon) taking place four (tetra) times.
Freeman continues to mislead his readers by concealing from them that tetradiplon, which literally means "four-doubled," is unique in all of known ancient Greek literature. As Wilson stated in his book (see above) and Freeman must have read, "in all Byzantine [and Greek] literature" it occurs "pertaining only to the Image of Edessa."

Freeman continues:

This is not difficult to explain. All cloth needs to be folded and stored against the damp and other molesters, and this is usually done in a wooden box or chest. This would be as necessary for the Image of Edessa as it would be for the Turin Shroud whenever the latter was made.

Freeman misses the point. A cloth is not normally described by its method of folding. And there would not be only one right way to fold a cloth. Nor would it be necessary to coin a unique Greek word, tetradiplon ("four-doubled") to describe the way a cloth was folded. Wilson is surely correct when he says (see above) that tetradiplon "indicate[s] some unusual way in which the Edessa cloth was folded."

And if Freeman had actually read Wilson's book, he need not have been so vague. Because Wilson quotes from the tenth century Story of the Image of Edessa that the Image of Edessa was stored and carried about in a wooden chest:
"Thus, the Story of the Image of Edessa - whether or not it was directly written by or merely commissioned by the Emperor includes some tantalizing indirect snippets of information about the Image's physical appearance, even though it never provides us with any direct description. In terms of the Image's housing, the Story includes several mentions of its being carried around Constantinople, together with the letter of Jesus to Abgar, in a kibotos, which means a coffer or chest. In the description of how the Image had been stored in Edessa the alternative word used was theke, carrying much the same meaning. There is therefore a strong suggestion that whether it was being transported long distance or being stored long term, its housing was rather more substantial than might be expected for something that was merely a headscarf-size piece of cloth." (Wilson, 2010, p.174).

Freeman continues with his attempt at an ordinary explanation of how the cloth bearing the Image of Edessa was stored:

Now how to store the Image of Edessa? It would clearly have been sacrilegious to have folded the sacred face of Christ and one would expect that the face would be fully visible when the protective box was opened.

Again Freeman reveals his ignorance of the Edessa Image, in assuming it was stored loose. But as Wilson, again quoting from the Story of the Image of Edessa, points out, the cloth bearing Jesus' face was "fixed to a wooden board and adorned with ... gold":
"The Story also makes fairly explicit that, as a piece of linen cloth, the Image was mounted in some form rather than merely being stored loose. For it relates that after King Abgar had been cured of his disease, he ordered the Image to be 'fixed to a wooden board and adorned with the gold that can still be seen. He had these words inscribed on the gold: "Christ, the God. Whoever hopes in you will never be disappointed.'" [Guscin, M., "The Image of Edessa," 2009, p.33] The strong inference is that at the time of the Story's composition - understood to have been no later than 16 August 945 - the Image was being preserved in Constantinople in the very same mounting provided for it while it was being kept in Edessa, a mounting possibly dating even as far back as Abgar's time." (Wilson, 2010, p.174).

So Freeman's `explanation', premised on a loose cloth, fails right there! Freeman, aptly, prefaces his `explanation' with "Now let us suppose ...":
Now let us suppose the Image was four foot by four foot. Lay it on the ground, draw a horizontal fold across the cloth one foot down from the top and fold the resulting rectangle underneath the cloth. This is the first doubling.

[Above: My illustration of what would be seen (minus the gridlines) after Freeman's "first doubling" of his "four foot by four foot" square Edessa Cloth (see above). But as can be seen, this is not a "doubling" of the whole cloth. It is merely a folding over of 4/16ths or one-quarter of Freeman's "four foot by four foot" square cloth bearing the Edessa Image.]

Continuing with Freeman's already failed (because the Edessa Image was not loose but fixed to a board) `explanation':

Repeat with the lower part of the cloth ...

[Above: My illustration of what would be seen after Freeman's "second doubling" of his originally "four foot by four foot" square cloth bearing the Edessa Image. Again, this is not a "doubling" of the whole cloth, but merely a folding over of another one-quarter of Freeman's originally "four foot by four foot" square Edessa Image cloth.]

Continuing with Freeman's failed `explanation':

... and then the two sides...

[Left: My illustration of what would be seen of the Edessa Cloth after Freeman's third `doubling' of it. But as can be seen, it is even less a "doubling" of the whole cloth, being only a folding of 2/16ths or 1/8th of the remaining left edge. And the original top left and bottom left corners that were already folded in the first and second `doubling' are now not doubled, they are quadrupled!]

[Right: My illustration of the Edessa Cloth after Freeman's fourth `doubling' of it. As can be seen, like the left hand `doubling', it is also only a folding of 1/8th of the remaining right edge. And again, the original top right and bottom right corners that were already folded in the first and second `doubling' are now quadrupled!]

Freeman concludes his `explanation':

... so as to make four doublings, and you have a folded cloth, with the face, now in a two foot by two foot square, ready for storing in a much smaller box.
Freeman deceives himself. Did he ever check this out? As can be seen, he has not doubled the whole cloth. All he has done is folded over: 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/8 = three quarters of the whole cloth. And the centre one quarter was not "doubled" at all!

So Freeman's alternative `explanation' fails not once, but four times: First, the oldest copies of the Edessa Image show Jesus' face on a rectangular cloth in landscape aspect, not on a square cloth in portrait aspect. Second, according to the 10th century Constantinople Story of the Image of Edessa, the Edessa Image was not a loose cloth as Freeman's explanation requires, but it was "fixed to a wooden board." Third, Freeman's "four doublings" explanation are not even that, but a folding over of a total of only three-quarters of his "four foot by four foot" square cloth, leaving the central one-quarter not doubled at all. Fourth, Freeman's `four-folding' ordinary explanation is just that. Ordinary! There would be no need to coin a unique word, tetradiplon ("four-doubled") to describe the result and in fact, it would not be described as "four-doubled".

Freeman concludes this section of his paper with an unscholarly dogmatic assertion:

As the Image of Edessa was never the Shroud of Turin in the first place, we do not need Ian Wilson's elaborate explanation (p.190 ff.) of how the Shroud, as we know it today, could be folded into four!

Freeman evidently thinks he is omniscient, being able to infallibly affirm that "the Image of Edessa was never the Shroud of Turin in the first place"! Freeman is here like the preacher whose sermon outline had a note: "Argument weak here: SHOUT!" That Freeman feels he needs to conclude his evaluation of only two of Wilson's arguments why the Image of Edessa is the Turin Shroud, with a dogmatic assertion, I interpret as `body language' revealing that deep down Freeman knows that he hasn't refuted Wilson's arguments at all.

And as for Freeman's "we do not need Ian Wilson's elaborate explanation ... of how the Shroud, as we know it today, could be folded into four," at least Wilson's explanation, unlike Freeman's: 1) accounts for the unique word tetradiplon ("four-doubled") being applied only to the Image of Edessa; and 2) explains why, if the Shroud is folded eight times (doubled four times), keeping Jesus' face image uppermost, the result is Jesus' face in the centre of a rectangular cloth, in landscape aspect, exactly as the earliest copies of the Image of Edessa, depict it (see above).

Continued in part 10: "The Image of Edessa" (6).

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: Jesus is Jehovah! and CreationEvolutionDesign (inactive)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My critique of Charles Freeman's "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 8: "The Image of Edessa" (4)

Here is part 8, "The Image of Edessa" (4), of my critique of historian Charles Freeman's, "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," May 24, 2012 [page 7]. See previous part 7.

[Above (click to enlarge): Fifth century depiction of the crucifixion of Christ between the two thieves, without crosses, on the wooden door of the Basilica of Saint Sabina, Rome. This is one of the earliest surviving depiction of the crucifixion of Christ: "Santa Sabina," Wikipedia, 3 September 2012]

Freeman continues with his reasons why he thinks the Image of Edessa is not the Shroud of Turin (doubled four times with only Jesus' head visible in landscape aspect):

There are two reasons why this could not be the Shroud of Turin (quite apart from the lack of water damage on the eyes of the Shroud!). The first is that no one knowing the legend that gave the image its authenticity, as a cloth wiped by Christ himself on his face while he was alive, would have stared at the face we see the Turin Shroud and have believed that this was an image of a living man. We can assume that the image, if extant, in the sixth century, would have been brighter than it is now. It might have been possible to fold the Turin Shroud up to conceal the image of a naked lifeless body but this could hardly have been kept secret for long. The Turin Shroud is of a dead man, the Edessa image is, like all the other images of this time, a living Christ. They cannot be one and the same.

Freeman's first- mentioned reason why the Image of Edessa cannot be the Shroud, "the lack of water damage on the eyes of the Shroud," doesn't hold water (pun intended)! First, as we saw in part 7, art historian Hans Belting's report that on feast days the people of Edessa approached the Edessa Image and sprinkled water on its eyes, is anonymous, vague, and not contemporaneous. And as I pointed out, it is highly unlikely that the Edessan clergy would have let the common people get close enough to their holiest relic for them to be able to sprinkle water on its eyes, let alone allowing them to do it.

Besides, even if water was sprinkled on the Image of Edessa's eyes (which are the Shroud image's eyes), the Shroud has been through at least two fires in 1532 and 1997, when water was used to put out those fires, and yet the Shroud's image was not affected. That is because it is not a chemical but a physical change to the cloth. Indeed, Freeman confirms that (despite those two fires and the copious amounts of water used to extinguish them), there is a "lack of water damage on the eyes of the Shroud." So again Freeman shows his ignorance of the topic he is criticising, that the Shroud's image is not affected by water.

Freeman's second-mentioned reason why the Image of Edessa cannot be the Shroud of Turin, because "no one ... would have stared at the face we see the Turin Shroud and have believed that this was an image of a living man" ignores the fact that the Shroud's image is very faint, it is a photographic negative, and there is not the unmistakable evidence of the Shroudman's torture, crucifixion and death on His face as there is on His body. So it would be precisely those who were brought up "knowing the legend" that the Image of Edessa was "a cloth wiped by Christ himself on his face while he was alive" who "would have stared at the face we see the Turin Shroud and have believed that this was an image of a living man"!

Freeman presents no evidence for his assumption "that the image ... in the sixth century, would have been brighter than it is now." Again, either Freeman has not read Ian Wilson's latest book he is criticising (as he implied he had), or Freeman conceals from his readers that in it Wilson mentioned that the Shroud's image was so indistinct back in 944 that some of those who had the luxury of examining it closely, such as the Emperor's sons and son-in-law, could not perceive some of the Image's facial features:

"Amid so much ceremony and self-evident excitement it is difficult to determine when and where, if at any point at all, anyone meaningfully saw the Image removed from its casket in a way that could enable proper study. Nevertheless, that this actually happened is confirmed by an independent contemporary account, not part of the Story of the Image of Edessa. According to this, 'A few days beforehand, when they [the imperial party] were all looking at the marvellous features of the Son of God on the holy imprint, the Emperor's sons [i.e. Stephen and Constantine] declared that they could only see the face, while Constantine his son-in-law said he could see the eyes and the ears.' [Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CIX, 812-13, in Guscin, 2009, p.180.] Given the extraordinary efforts that had been made to obtain the Image, several historians have expressed puzzlement that it should have appeared so indistinct to the few who were allowed to view it directly ... If the Image of Edessa was genuinely one and the same object as today's Shroud of Turin, no such explanation is of course necessary. The Shroud's watery-looking impression and its uncertainty of detail would readily explain Romanos's sons' perception difficulties." (Wilson, 2010, p.165).

Freeman's third-mentioned reason, "It might have been possible to fold the Turin Shroud up to conceal the image of a naked lifeless body but this could hardly have been kept secret for long" is just an unsubstantiated assertion. Sixth century Edessa was not open democratic society, and people back then would have believed what they were told by the clergy. Even if there were rumours that under the Edessa Cloth's face image lay the image of Jesus' naked lifeless body", it would be dismissed by most Edessans as both preposterous and blasphemous. While a select few among the clergy must have known that behind the image of Jesus' face was His double body length burial shroud, bearing the image of Jesus' bloodstained, naked and crucified body, Freeman himself has given compelling reasons why the Edessan clergy would have kept this a very closely guarded secret.

Freeman's gives as his fourth-mentioned reason why the Image of Edessa is not the Turin Shroud, the Byzantines had a taboo about showing Christ, who was God incarnate, dead:

There is another important reason why this is not the Turin Shroud. There was a taboo in the Byzantine world about showing Christ, no less than God, of course, dead. Of course, most images avoided the problem by showing Christ while alive as the Edessa image surely did. What about the Crucifixion? There is a fascinating wood panel of the Crucifixion from about AD 420 on the door of Santa Sabina in Rome. It shows Christ and the two thieves. Christ has his arms outstretched but they are in the orans or praying form and he is standing as if alive. There is simply no cross behind him. So Christ can be shown `on the cross' while still being alive. This was one way of getting around the theological problem of showing Christ dead. Even if the Turin Shroud did show the face of the real dead Christ, it could not have been displayed without causing immense controversy. None is recorded among the accounts of the veneration of the Edessa image.

But this is a non sequitur, i.e. "it does not follow." That is, while it is true that the early Eastern Byzantine Church, and indeed the early Western Roman Church, was very reluctant to depict Jesus as dead, as evidenced by there being no extant early depictions of Christ on the cross, as the above 5th century depiction of Jesus crucified between two thieves, without crosses, attests.

But it simply does not follow that because the Byzantines had a taboo on showing Christ dead, the Image of Edessa cannot be the Shroud of Turin (folded eight times, mounted on a board and framed, so that Jesus' face only is visible in landscape aspect). That would only be the case if the bloodstained Shroud of Turin, bearing the image of a naked, crucified Christ, was a Byzantine forgery. But if the Shroud is authentic, and its bloodstains, and its naked, crucified image, really are of Jesus Christ, then that the Byzantines had a taboo on depicting that reality is beside the point.

Indeed, that the Byzantines had a taboo about depicting a dead Christ would explain why the Image of Edessa is the Turin Shroud! That is, why the Edessan clergy doubled the Shroud in four, mounted it on a board and framed it, so only the face of Jesus was visible in landscape aspect, hiding the unmistakable marks of Jesus' torture, crucifixion and death on His body, on the remaining 7/8ths of the cloth.

Freeman's "the face of the real dead Christ ... could not have been displayed without causing immense controversy" and "None is recorded among the accounts of the veneration of the Edessa image," would only apply if: 1) the Edessan public could perceive the face image as that of "a dead Christ"; and 2) it was widely known among the general Edessan populace that behind the face of Jesus on the Image of Edessa was folded His full burial shroud, bloodstained and bearing the image of His naked, crucified body. So again, Freeman has given a good reason why the burial shroud of Jesus was folded eight times, and mounted in a frame so only His face could be seen in landscape access. And then Byzantine artists `airbrushed' out signs of death on Jesus' face, a prime example being the "reversed 3" bloodstain on Jesus' forehead was depicted by Byzantine artists as a double or triple wisp of hair.

The next fallacy Freeman commits is "begging the question," that

[Above (click to enlarge): "The Crucifixion," St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, 8th Century: Belmont University, Nashville, TN]

is, assuming in his premise the conclusion of his argument:

The earliest known representation of Christ dead on the Cross comes from an eighth century icon of the Crucifixion in St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai. Christ's eyes are closed although the blood is still flowing from his hands, feet and side, with a separate stream of water from his side. This icon is also notable as it is the very first to show the Crown of Thorns. (See the entry/illustration of the icon in the catalogue of the Byzantium and Islam exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, 2012, catalogue entry 27, page 55.) This is another representation clearly based on the gospel accounts. The earliest example known in the west is the Gero Crucifix of c. 970 from Cologne Cathedral. Christ's suffering then becomes a major element of medieval thinking, which is why many would believe that only in the Middle Ages would a relic such as the Turin Shroud with its emphasis on suffering be created. If it were created earlier, it would not have been venerated. The theological counter-attack would have been overwhelming.

[Above (click to enlarge): The Gero Cross or Crucifix, c. 965–970, in Cologne Cathedral in Germany: Wikipedia]

That is, Freeman first assumes that the Turin Shroud was "created" and then he concludes that it could only have been created "in the Middle Ages." With his mind taken captive (Colossians 2:8) by the philosophy of Naturalism ("nature is all there is-there is no supernatural") Freeman apparently cannot conceive that the image on the Shroud was not "created" by man in any age, but was imprinted on Jesus' burial Shroud at the moment of His resurrection:

"Although many wonder why anyone should find a few stains on an old piece of linen so fascinating, it is the character of those stains ... which is so compelling. The plain fact is that no normal human body leaves behind an image of itself, certainly not one with the extraordinarily photographic character of that on the Shroud. Can it be by accident, therefore, that this phenomenon has happened uniquely in the case of Jesus Christ, the one man in all human history who is accredited with having broken the bounds of death? If the Shroud really is two thousand years old, could whatever happened at that moment in time quite literally have flashed itself on to the cloth that we have today, a now permanent time-capsule of how Jesus's body looked at the very moment of his resurrection?" (Wilson, 2010, p.293).

But Freeman does not go far enough: if the Turin Shroud had not already existed in every age since the first century, depictions of Christ naked, bloodstained, and having died an horrific death by crucifixion, would never have been created at all, let alone venerated, because "The theological counter-attack would have been overwhelming"! An artist in the Middle Ages or earlier, who forged the Shroud, showing Jesus for the first time totally naked, front and back, and with the horrific marks of His scourging, crucifixion and death, which the Gospels do not depict in detail, would have been burned at the stake for blasphemy and his forgery would have been included in his pyre!

Continued in part 9: "The Image of Edessa" (5)

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: Jesus is Jehovah! and CreationEvolutionDesign (inactive)

Monday, September 3, 2012

My critique of Charles Freeman's "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 7: "The Image of Edessa" (3)

Here is part 7, "The Image of Edessa" (3), of my critique of historian Charles Freeman's, "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," May 24, 2012 [pages 6-7]. See previous part 6.

[Above (click to enlarge): "The Holy Towel of Jesus," also known as "The Holy Face of San Silvestro," a copy of the Mandylion or Image of Edessa (the Shroud of Turin folded eight times with Jesus' head only visible in landscape aspect), is normally kept at the Pope's private chapel in the Vatican: "Is this a true portrait of Christ?," Daily Mail, 6 April 2011. Freeman mentions this below as part of the British Museum's "Treasures of Heaven" exhibition, 23 June–9 October 2011.]

This is one of at least six very similar "Holy Faces," including the "Holy Face of Genoa"

[Right (click to enlarge): "The Holy Face of Genoa," preserved in the Church of St Bartholomew of the Armenians, Genoa: Wikipedia]

and the "Holy Face of Vienna."

[Below right (click to enlarge): the "Holy Face of Vienna": Facsimile Copy of the Veronica made in 1617. The Hofburg palace, Vienna: Wikipedia]

All six are thought to be copies of the Vatican's "Veil of Veronica", which has become so faded that its image is nearly invisible.

While these "veils" may be ultimately based on the Image of Edessa, their apparent stylistic conformity to a woman's veil means they are not a good example to demonstrate that the Image of Edessa is actually the Shroud of Turin, "four-doubled" (Greek: tetradiplon). Which presumably is why Freeman cited it, as part of his "misguided" attempt to convince his readers that both the Image of Edessa and the Shroud of Turin are two separate, and fake, relics!

Freeman continues with another falsehood, that "The Image of Edessa shows the face of a bearded ... Christ set in the middle of a square cloth":

The Image of Edessa shows the face of a bearded and, of course, living, Christ set in the middle of a square cloth. It is known from many copies. There is no body shown under the face and the cloth is often shown with a border. A good example is one of the panels of the Santa Chiara triptych (c. 1330-50) in the Sartario Museum in Trieste where red tassels surround the borders. It is illustrated below – apologies for quality of the enlargement but it shows the head of Christ, his halo, the red borders of the cloth and the lack of any body. One instantly knows that this is the Image/ Mandylion precisely because only the face is shown and the whole cloth is shown delineated. An excellent early example of a copy of the Mandylion, from the Vatican, was to be seen in the British Museum Treasures of Heaven exhibition of 2011 (catalogue entry no.113). There is an excellent discussion of the Mandylion with illustrations in Chapter 11 of Hans Belting's Likeness and Presence, pp. 208-224.

That in fact the Image of Edessa shows Jesus' face set in the middle of, not a "square" cloth but a rectangular cloth, is evident from

[Above: (click to enlarge): Tenth century icon depicting Edessa's King Abgar V (c. 4 BC-AD 50), holding the rectangular Image of Edessa or Mandylion, with Jesus' face in unusual (if not unique in all of art), for a portrait, in landscape aspect: Wikipedia]

Wikipedia's "Image of Edessa" page (above). See also the rectangular Sakli Church Image of Edessa in part 6. This rectangular versus square issue is very important as we shall see.

As for Freeman's "good example" (so-called) of the Image of Edessa, in "one of the panels of the Santa Chiara triptych (c. 1330-50) in the Sartario Museum in Trieste," that he had to `scrape the

[Right: Freeman's so-called "good example" of the Image of Edessa in "one of the panels of the Santa Chiara triptych (c. 1330-50) in the Sartario Museum in Trieste." His caption is:

A copy, one of many of the Image of Edessa, the Mandylion. Shown as one panel on a large triptych. Venetian/ Byzantine art, c. 1330-50. Note how the border of the cloth is clearly shown.]

bottom of the barrel' to find a square Image of Edessa is evident in that all he could find is this blurry photo of one, and he even gives "apologies for quality of the enlargement"! Freeman does not consider that the reason this rare Mandylion is square, is because it is a "panel" and so its shape is determined by its functional context.

But if he had tried harder (i.e. Googling "Santa Chiara" and "Mandylion"), Freeman could have found a clearer example of this Mandylion copy (see below).

[Left (click to enlarge): "Holy Face, part Triptych of St. Clare, 1310 the middle 1330 side panels, Trieste, Civico Museo Sartorio. The altarpiece panel can be assigned to a teacher near the Byzantine style and miniature (recognized in Marco Veneziano or Master of Santa Chiara). The Face represented as Mandylion is positioned between episodes of the Passion (Road to Calvary and the Crucifixion)": Veronica Route (Translated from Italian by Google)]

But perhaps the real reason Freeman only allowed his readers to see a blurry photograph of this copy of the Image of Edessa is because it reveals at least eight "Vignon Markings": wisps of hair representing the reversed 3 bloodstain (no. 15);

[Left (click to enlarge): The 15 "Vignon Markings" all found on the Shroud of Turin: Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," 1978, p.82e]

line across the forehead (no. 1); topless square above nose (no. 2); eyes wide and staring (no. 14); vertical line between nose and upper lip (no. 9); heavy line under lower lip (no. 10); hairless area between lower lip and beard (no. 11) and forked beard (no. 12). These are all found on the Shroud and so alone refute Freeman's argument that the Image of Edessa and the Shroud of Turin are not one and the same.

Freeman continues:

After it was `revealed' in its walled-up enclosure (miraculously surviving centuries of damp!) the Image of Edessa became open to intense veneration. In 787 Leo, Reader of Constantinople reported that he had seen in Edessa `the holy image that was "not made by human hands", held in honour and venerated by the faithful'. Hans Belting quotes (p.211) a report that the faithful actually sprinkled its eyes with water. For reasons that completely escape me, Wilson claims that the Image of Edessa is none other than the Shroud of Turin.

As for his "miraculously surviving centuries of damp," Freeman fails to tell his readers that Wilson, in his latest book (which Freeman implies he has read) specifically states that the Shroud's hiding place "above the city gate" was "sealed up with mortar" and so would "have enjoyed near hermetically sealed conditions":

"According to the ... information [in the Story of the Image of Edessa] ... was hidden away above the city gate ... in a place... shaped like a cylindrical semi-circle ... the gateway's brickwork ... sealed up with mortar ... would certainly have enjoyed near hermetically sealed conditions throughout" Wilson, I., "The Shroud," 2010, pp.131-133).

As stated in part 6, for other reasons I prefer Markwardt's theory (see his "Antioch and the Shroud" [PDF]) that the Shroud was in Antioch from c.47-526, after which it was taken to Edessa and the Edessans retrospectively applied the true history of the Shroud in Antioch to Edessa. Nevertheless ancient linen cloths have survived far longer in worse conditions than the 468 years (c.57-525) that Wilson's theory proposes that the Shroud was near-hermetically sealed up in Edessa's wall.

As for Freeman's, "In 787 Leo, Reader of Constantinople, reported that he had seen in Edessa `the holy image that was "not made by human hands", held in honour and venerated by the faithful'," this is an argument for Wilson's theory! Indeed, it is quoted by Wilson as such:

"Certainly in 787, a certain Leo the Reader of Constantinople when he visited Edessa was able to report, 'When I, your unworthy servant, went to Syria with the royal commission, I came to Edessa and saw the holy image that was not made by human hands, held in honour and venerated by the faithful.' [Mansi, in Guscin, M., "The Image of Edessa," 2009, p.179]." (Wilson, I., "The Shroud," 2010, p.154).

Art historian Hans Belting's "report that the faithful actually sprinkled its eyes with water" can be read online and may be seen to be anonymous, vague, and not contemporaneous:

"The rituals of the feast of the cloth image in Edessa are described retrospectively by a writer apparently a court theologian, from Byzantium, who adorns them with mystagogic explanations. The relic, concealed behind a white or purple cover, was usually kept in a shrine and was set up on a `throne' only on special days. On feast days it was approached with water that the people sprinkled on its eyes." (Belting, H., "Likeness and Presence," Chicago, 1994, p.211).

This sounds like one of those "mystagogic explanations"! It is highly unlikely (to put it mildly) that the Byzantine clergy would have let the common people get anywhere near close enough to their holiest relic for them to be able to sprinkle water on its eyes, let alone allow them to do it. There is more in the next part on this.

Freeman's "For reasons that completely escape me, Wilson claims that the Image of Edessa is none other than the Shroud of Turin," is an "Argument from Ignorance" ("I cannot understand this, therefore it cannot be true") by Freeman, if not an "Argument from Personal Incredulity" ("I cannot believe this, therefore it cannot be true"). That it completely escapes Freeman the reasons why Wilson claims that the Image of Edessa is the Shroud of Turin (apart from it being an damaging admission for a scholar to make, that he cannot understand the position he is criticising), is no reason why the Image of Edessa cannot be the Shroud of Turin!

Continued in part 8: "The Image of Edessa" (4)

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: Jesus is Jehovah! and CreationEvolutionDesign (inactive)