© Stephen E. Jones
This is the fourth (which is an update of the second) installment of part #8, "Eighth century," of my "Chronology of the Turin Shroud: AD 30 - present" series. For more information about this series see part #1, "First century" and index.
8th century (701-800)
[Above (enlarge): Bust of Christ Pantocrator from the catacomb of Pontianus, Rome. Note in particular the Vignon marking on this 8th century fresco: "(2) three-sided [topless] `square' between brows. See "710" below.]
c. 710 Estimated completion during the reign of Justinian II (668–711) of the eighth century Christ Pantocrator fresco (see above), in the style of Byzantine iconography, found in the depths of the catacomb of Pontianus, Rome. That the Shroud ("doubled in four" = tetradiplon as the Image of Edessa) was the original upon which this early eighth century Byzantine icon was a copy, is evident in that it has at least eight, and by my count eleven Vignon markings [18Mar12 & 22Sep12, 27Apr14]:
"(1) Transverse streak across forehead, (2) three-sided [topless] `square' between brows, ... (5) raised right eyebrow, (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, ... (12) forked beard, (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair.out of the fifteen found on the Shroud! In the 1930s French biologist Paul Vignon (1865-1943) was struck by this "topless square" and other oddities which were unnatural and had no artistic merit, found in Byzantine depictions of Jesus' face, and which are also found in identical positions on the Shroud:
"Vignon thought. If the Shroud was the progenitor of the traditional Christ, then something of the parent must have carried over into the offspring! Eventually, after a long and minute comparison of the face on the cloth with hundreds of paintings, frescoes and mosaics, he found the answer. Certain peculiarities were evident in the Shroud- peculiarities that were really accidental imperfections in the image or the fabric itself, and that served no artistic purpose. Yet, he observed jubilantly, these very oddities appeared again and again in a whole series of ancient art works, even though artistically they made no sense. Surely, this could mean only one thing: ancient artists had taken their conception of a bearded, long-haired man from the image on the Shroud, and had included the anomalies because of a feeling that they were in some mysterious way connected with the earthly appearance of Jesus. There were about twenty of these items in all [later refined by Wilson to 15]; some very pronounced, some just strongly characteristic of the face on the cloth. Most arresting were such things as a small square set above the nose and open at the top, the result either of a defect in the weave or a unique, accidental stain. There was the distorted appearance of the nose, swollen at the bridge with the right nostril enlarged; the abnormal shading of the right cheek; a curved transverse stain that ran senselessly across the forehead."So these "peculiarities" became known as the "Vignon markings". But as can be seen below, this "topless square" is merely a flaw or change in the weave of the Shroud, which runs all the way down the
[Above (enlarge): ShroudScope "Face only Vertical" online Shroud photograph showing outlined in red the `three sided' or `topless square' Vignon Marking no. 2, superimposed on the above 8th century bust of Christ in the catacomb of Pontianus, Rome: ShroudScope and Wikipedia.]
cloth (see 22Sep12), and which explains its "starkly geometrical" shape. And since this catacomb was closed in 820 and only opened in 1852, a 14th century forger could not have known of the Vignon markings on this Pontianus fresco. So as Wilson points out, just as "a single footprint on fresh sand provided for Robinson Crusoe the conclusive evidence that there was another human being ... on his island":
"Just as the viewing of a single footprint on fresh sand provided for Robinson Crusoe the conclusive evidence that there was another human being (later revealed as Man Friday) on his island, so the presence of this topless square on an indisputably seventh/eighth-century fresco virtually demands that the shroud must have been around, somewhere, in some form at this early date".so is "this topless square on an ... eighth-century fresco" (and many other Byzantine portraits of Christ) conclusive evidence that the Shroud existed in at least the eighth century! That is, six centuries before the earliest 1260 date given to it by radiocarbon dating. Moreover this `footprint in the sand' is not "single" - there are fourteen other different `footprints in the sand' which prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud existed in at least the sixth century!
711 Musa ibn Nusayr (640–716), the Muslim governor of North Africa, invaded Spain in 711 and in 718 took Toledo. But in 711 the Sudarium of Oviedo [see "616"] had already been taken from Toledo in its then chest to the northern Spanish kingdom of Asturias where it was kept in a cave on a mountain called Monsacro, ten kilometres (6 miles) from what was to become the city of Oviedo.
To be continued in the fifth installment of this part #8 of this series.
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to quote from any part of this post (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page[return].
2. "Catacomba di Ponziano," Google Translate, Wikipedia, 25 January 2016. [return]
3. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.105; Scavone, D.C., "The History of the Turin Shroud to the 14th C.," in Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, pp.171-204, 189, 191; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.153. [return]
4. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.110. [return]
5. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," , Image Books: New York NY, Revised, p.102; "Catacomba di Ponziano," Wikipedia, 25 January 2016. [return]
6. Wilson, 1986, pp.105-106; Scavone, 1991, p.189. [return]
7. Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY, p.77. [return]
8. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.193. [return]
9. Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, p.85; Wilson, 1986, p.107; Scavone, 1991, p.189; Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.193; Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, p.110. [return]
10. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, p.82E. return]
11. Wilson, 1979, pp.104-105; Maher, 1986, p.77; Iannone, 1998, p.152; Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.110. [return]
12. Wilson, 1986, p.105, 107. [return]
13. Morgan, R.H., 1980, "Perpetual Miracle: Secrets of the Holy Shroud of Turin by an Eye Witness," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia, pp.114-115; 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.15-16. [return]
14. Walsh, J.E., 1963, "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY, pp.156-157. Emphasis original. [return]
15. Currer-Briggs, N., 1988, "The Shroud and the Grail: A Modern Quest for the True Grail," St. Martin's Press: New York NY, p.58. [return]
16. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.166. [return]
17. Wilson, 1979, p.103; Wilson, 1986, p.105; Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.159; Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.142. [return]
18. Wilson, 1991, p.169. [return]
19. Wilson, 1991, p.168; Wilson, 2010, p.142. [return]
20. Wilson, 2010, p.142. [return]
21. Wilson, 1991, p.169; Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.110. [return]
22. Guscin, M., 1999, "Recent Historical Investigations on the Sudarium of Oviedo," in Walsh, B.J., ed., 2000, "Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Research Conference, Richmond, Virginia," Magisterium Press: Glen Allen VA, pp.122-141, 127; Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, pp.31, 195. [return]
23. Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, p.15; Bennett, 2001, p.32. [return]
24. Bennett, 2001, p.29, 31, 195. [return]
25. Guscin, 1998, p.15; Bennett, 2001, p.32; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.43. [return]
Posted: 24 February 2017. Updated: 28 February 2017.