Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Re: Shroud: I had a quick question regarding blood evidence

Steve

Thanks for your private message. It is my long-standing policy to

[Above: Bloodstain on the Shroud of Turin, "The Bloodstain on the Shroud of Turin are from Real Blood," Daniel R. Porter, 2 September 2008]

answer private questions about a topic of one of my blogs, via that blog, in this case my The Shroud of Turin blog, after removing the questioner's personal identifying information.

I will here give a quick public answer to you, `off the top of my head' and later add more details to flesh out my answers, including quotes. But this may take weeks rather than days, given other demands on my time. Your words are bold to distinguish them from mine.

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:20 AM
Subject: Shroud

>Mr. Jones.
>
>I have read a number of articles online regarding the Shroud and the science behind it. To be quite honest most of it confusing more than enlightening.

There are Internet pages about the blood on the Shroud of Turin, e.g.:

"Real Blood on the Shroud of Turin-DNA-Porphyrins," Daniel R. Porter, 6 November 2005.

"The Blood on the Shroud of Turin is Real: 2005 Facts," Daniel R. Porter, 4 December 2005.

"The Bloodstain on the Shroud of Turin are from Real Blood," Daniel R. Porter, 2 September 2008.

But if you really want to study the Shroud of Turin, you will need to read books on it. I recommend Ian Wilson's latest, "The Shroud : The 2,000 Year Old Mystery Solved" (2010). Or more popularly, John C. Iannone's "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence" (2004). I hope to do a multi-part book review of Wilson's book. I have started a series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus!" which will be the equivalent of an online book, but it will take me years to complete.

>I have reason to believe the Shroud is authentic. These reasons are more spiritual in nature than scientific. However I do believe the science for proof is right around the corner. My belief more comes out of the book. I believe we are in a time where God is revealing more and more spiritual truths from the book.

What is already known about the Shroud complements the Gospels' account of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. But I doubt if there will be any more evidence from the Bible that will support the authenticity of the Shroud and vice-versa. What we already have is more than enough.

>I had a quick question regarding blood evidence.

Real human blood was found the bloodstain areas of the Shroud. The blood was type AB, which is consistent with the Man on the Shroud being Jewish ("Blood type: ABO and Rh distribution by country," Wikipedia, 13 November 2010), but it is not conclusive, because all blood tends to denature over time to become type AB.

>I read that DNA specifics were limited and if fact it was doubtful if enough DNA material existed to map.

Human male DNA was also found in the bloodstain areas of the Shroud. But it was fragmentary and degraded and so there is not enough DNA to construct a map of a single gene, let alone of a whole human genome.

>I believe I read there was some but that contamination was highly likely.

The Shroud has been handled by countless thousands of people in its at least 660-year history, any or all of whom could have left part of their DNA on its surface; so it is not possible to completely exclude that the DNA isolated from the bloodstained areas is a later contamination.

But the Shroud DNA isolation and identification was done by experts in that field, so it is more likely than not that that DNA was from the blood of the Man on the Shroud, whom all the other evidence points overwhelmingly to being Jesus.

However, we do not have any other copies of Jesus' DNA, nor of any of His relatives (Mt 13:55; Mark 6:3; Lk 1:34-36; Gal 1:19; Jude 1:1) to compare their DNA with that from the bloodstained areas of the Shroud. So the DNA evidence is necessarily inconclusive, apart from adding to the evidence that the blood on the Shroud is real, human blood.

> I was curious as to whether the samples available or if additional samples could yield enough information to determine a direct descendant of the man's who's image appears on the cloth?

No. Apart from the DNA from the bloodstained areas of the Shroud being fragmentary and degraded, we do not have any other independent sample of Jesus' DNA, DNA mutates over time, and the effects of genetic drift, it would be impossible to determine from DNA the "direct descendant" of anyone who lived ~2,000 years ago, or even ~660 years ago.

Furthermore, every human child receives half its nuclear DNA from each parent, one-quarter from each grandparent, one-eighth from each great-grandparent, and so on. Assuming an average of one generation every 20 years, there would be 100 generations in the last 2,000 years. Therefore, even if Jesus did have descendants (which the Bible - Isa 53:8; Acts 8:33; 1Cor 9:5 - indicates He didn't) his specific DNA configuration would have been so attenuated over ~2,000 years as to be effectively non-existent.

Granted that each child, male and female, receives 100% of its mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from its mother, and she 100% from her mother, and so on, mitochondrial DNA has only 37 genes, so it is too non-specific, and besides it also has mutated over time.

>A burning question I have been led to ask. I appreciate any clarity you may be able to bring on the topic for me.

I hope this has helped, albeit `off the top of my head' without supporting backup quotes, which I plan to add later.

>Gratefully your brother in Christ
>
>Steve

It is good to hear from a fellow Christian who accepts the authenticity of the Shroud. Most Christians in my experience are either indifferent to the Shroud, or even hostile to it (as I was before 1995). But now the Shroud for me is, in addition to my salvation 43 years ago and my dear wife of 38 years, proof that God is both willing and "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20)!

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

Updated: 2 August 2015

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shroud of Turin: Burial Sheet of Jesus! #1 Introduction

This is the first of a series about the Shroud of Turin being the burial sheet of Jesus Christ. In this series

[Above: "The Real Face of Jesus - Shrouded in Mystery," Ben Witherington, Beliefnet.com:

"This of course is the image on the famous Shroud of Turin, perhaps at this juncture the most famous Christian relic of all. But is it Jesus? Medical experts have examined the Shroud in detail and shown how the wounds, the trajectory of blood flow and the like are anatomically correct and reflect a person badly abused and crucified. There are many particulars about this Shroud which make unlikely the claim that it is a mere clever forgery ... What is most interesting about the image of the Shroud is that it is a photographic negative, and in itself appears to be the result of a scorch on the cloth from some high intensity light and heat. That it was a negative was only discovered at the beginning of the age of photography by an Italian camera man [Secondo Pia] allowed to shoot old style pictures the Shroud. Imagine his surprise when he saw the negatives in the dark room, and they were positives. We can say with some confidence now that the image on the Shroud is not painted nor stained on the Shroud (the depth of the image is so shallow that these suggestions do not work). In other words, the suggestion of mere human artifice does not seem to work in this case. The Shroud of Turin is not like so many of these Christian relics which can be shown to be phony with very little scholarly effort at all. But the image on the Shroud is a mystery. How did it get on the cloth, and where did the Shroud originally come from, and for that matter what is its relationship to the bloody facial cloth housed in a church in Spain [Sudarium of Oviedo], that seems to have the very same image on it, when the two images are electronically super-imposed, only the facial cloth has much more blood on it."]

I will systematically cover all the major lines of evidence for and against the Shroud of Turin being the burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the impression of His crucified and resurrected body as depicted in the Gospels. I will provide at the foot of each page a list of online references, making this series also an index to other sites on each topic.


THE SHROUD OF TURIN

[Index: #2 Cloth; #3 Image; #4 Bible; #5 History; #6 Art; #7 Science; #8 Alternatives; #9 Objections; #10 Conclusion]

1. INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS THE SHROUD OF TURIN?

The Shroud of Turin is a linen sheet, measuring 437 x 111 centimetres (~14.3 x 3.6 feet), which bears the faint, front and back, bloodstained image of a man who has been beaten, flogged, crowned with thorns and crucified, consistent with the Gospels' depiction of the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For over 400 years the Shroud has been kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

No plausible naturalistic explanation of how the image on the Shroud was formed has yet been provided, despite the Shroud having been subjected to intensive scientific study since the 1970s.

As we shall see, the balance of the evidence, for and against, is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus Christ, bearing the impression of His crucified and resurrected body!

References:
"Shroud of Turin," Wikipedia, 24 September 2010.
"Shroud Of Turin - Authentic?" AllAboutArchaeology.org, 28 September 2010.
"The Shroud of Turin," Shroud.com, 7 September 2010.
"The Turin Shroud - past, present and future," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 50, June 2000.
"What is the Shroud of Turin?" wiseGEEK, 4 August 2010.

To be continued with #2 Cloth.


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

Updated: 2 August 2015

Friday, June 4, 2010

Turin Shroud goes on display for first time in 10 years, etc

Here belatedly, is my first set of comments (in bold) on excerpts of news accounts about the Shroud of Turin exhibition 10 April - 23 May 2010, in date order (earliest first).

Shroud of Turin Again on Display, VOANews, Sabina Castelfranco, Rome, 09 April 2010.

[Right: The Shroud as it now appears after the June-July 2002 restoration, with the 1532 fire charring and repair patches removed: Shroud.com]

Shroud Draws Crowd at Display in Turin. Everything is ready in the northern Italian city of Turin for a rare display of the Shroud of Turin, which some believe is the burial cloth of Jesus and others a medieval forgery. The evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is "the burial cloth of Jesus" (see my "The Shroud of Turin is the Burial Sheet of Jesus!"). And those who dismiss the Shroud as "a medieval forgery need to explain how it was forged and who forged it. Because no one has done either. ... The Shroud of Turin ... is being put on rare display this weekend for the next 44 days. The last time it was displayed in the Turin Cathedral was for the Jubilee year 2000 marked by the Catholic Church. Bruno Barberis heads the international center on the shroud. He says this will be the first public viewing since it underwent a major cleaning. "In 2002 it has been completed the restoration work made in order to give to the shroud the most modern possible way of conservation," .... Visitors will now view the shroud without the 30 patches and a fabric backing sewn onto the shroud after a fire in the 16th century. The patches were well-meant, but their ugliness made them a case of the cure being worse than the disease. Two million people are expected to come to view the Shroud of Turin. This is an indicator that probably there are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people worldwide who now believe that the Shroud is authentic. Barberis says no one has yet been able to explain how the image on the cloth was formed." Given that:

"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," p.219)

it is effectively impossible for the science of the 20th-21st centuries to not be "able to explain how the image on the cloth was formed," if the Shroud was "a medieval forgery." "We are practically sure that it is the image left by a human corpse not a painting or an image obtained in some other human way," he said. STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) in 1978 proved conclusively that the Shroud was not a painting, because it has no paint, dye or pigment traces that form its image; it is non-directional (and all painting is directional); it is extremely superficial in that the image is on the topmost fibrils and has not soaked in; and there is no artist's outline. See "Is the Shroud of Turin a Painting?" and "Alice In Wonderland and the Shroud of Turin" both by painter and physicist Isabel Piczek. This is a huge blow to the medieval forgery theory because painting is the easiest and most obvious means that a medieval forger would have used to fake the Shroud. Carbon dating in 1988 claimed the image of the man could not be that of Jesus because the shroud was medieval. The 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to 1260-1390 must be wrong, because (for starters) the Pray Codex (1192-95)

[Left: Pray Codex (click to enlarge): "The images serve as one of the evidences against the radiocarbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin": Wikipedia]

(or Pray Manuscript) is clearly of the Shroud (see my The Pray Manuscript), but it is at least 65 years before the earliest radiocarbon date of 1260, not counting the considerable time (at least decades if not centuries) required for the Shroud, which the Pray Manuscript is depicting, to achieve its iconic status. But many have rejected that result and want further scientific tests to be carried out. Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, president of the Turin archdiocese's commission on the Shroud, says he believes this will happen. He says the Vatican is not against new testing and will probably allow this to occur in phases in order not to do everything at the same time. This is highly significant that such a senior Turin Archdiocese official would say that "the Vatican is not against new testing" and that he "believes ... further scientific tests ... will happen"! The Vatican has never claimed that the Shroud is authentic. Monsignor Ghiberti has called it "an instrument of evangelization". Indeed! If the Shroud is ever carbon-dated to the 1st century AD, its "evangelization" effect will be immense. He says it represents the story of a man who died because he was crucified and this death has all the characteristics of the death on the cross that Jesus suffered. Yes. Including a crown of thorns that no other crucifixion victim but Jesus would have suffered. And who would have preserved the burial shroud of a crucifixion victim unless it was Jesus? And so, he adds, it is a very touching reminder of this mystery of our salvation. Pope Benedict XVI is also expected to come and view the shroud, just like his predecessor did. He is expected in Turin on May 2. I will comment on Pope Benedict's viewing of the Shroud and what he said in a future post in this series on the Shroud exhibition 2010.

Turin Shroud goes on display for first time in 10 years, BBC, 10 April 2010 ... The Turin Shroud, which is believed by some Christians to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, has gone on display for the first time in 10 years. It is not just "Christians" who believe, on the basis of the evidence, that the Shroud of Turin is "the burial cloth of Jesus Christ." Barrie Schwortz, the owner of the world's leading Shroud pro-authenticity site, Shroud.com, describes himself as "an Orthodox Jew." The cloth shows the faint image of a bearded man with stains of blood on his hands and feet. It is significant that the BBC correctly states that these are "stains of blood" and don't just appear to be. That alone rules out the Shroud being a painting, because no medieval artist painted with real blood. Tests in 1988 suggested it dated from the medieval period but those carbon dating findings are contested. While still inadequate, it is an advance that the mainstream media now mostly admit that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "medieval" is "contested." In 1988, special tests dated it to between 1260 and 1390,

[Right: Profs. Edward Hall, Michael Tite and Robert Hedges, in 1988 triumphantly announcing that the Shroud was radio-carbon dated to "1260-1390!": Ian Wilson, 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," pl. 3b]

suggesting it was a medieval forgery. They didn't merely "suggest" it, they stated it:

"The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260 - 1390" (Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, pp.611-615, pp.612, 614).

Or as the late Prof. Edward Hall, head of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, put it:

"`There was a multi-million-pound business in making forgeries during the 14th century,' he bluntly told a British Museum press conference. `Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it.'" (Hedges, R. & Tite, M., "Obituaries: Professor Edward Hall," The Independent, 16 August 2001).

Measuring just over 4m x 1m (14ft x 3.5ft), While approximate dimensions of the Shroud are understandable in a news article, in fact during its 2002 restoration the dimensions of the Shroud were finally accurately measured as "437 cm long by 111 cm wide":

"the dimensions [of the Shroud] have been authoritatively determined by Dr. Flury-Lemberg as 437 cm long by 111 cm wide." (Wilson, I., "`The Turin Shroud - past, present and future', Turin, 2-5 March, 2000," BSTS Newsletter, No. 51, June 2000).

This is approximately 8 x 2 cubits, based on:

"555mm as the 'legal' or 'Talmudic' cubit" ("Can You Help?," BSTS Newsletter, No. 46, Nov/Dec 1997),

i.e. 444 x 111cm, especially if the foot end has been reduced by relic-taking. So even the Shroud's dimensions are evidence of its authenticity! the frail linen sheet shows an image of a man's body complete with bloodstains and what appear to be wounds from crucifixion. They don't just "appear to be", they are "wounds from crucifixion." ... But since then, other scientists have cast doubt on those findings and appealed to the Vatican to allow new tests using more modern techniques. This makes the important point that it is not a case of science versus scientifically illiterate believers. It is "other scientists" who "have cast doubt on those findings." ...

Shroud of Turin displayed again, CBC, April 10, 2010

[Above (click to enlarge): The Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Severino Poletto, stands in front of the Holy Shroud: CBC]

... Each visitor will be allowed five minutes to stand before the bulletproof, climate-controlled case containing the cloth inside northern Italy's Turin Cathedral, where it has been kept for 500 years. Having been subject to many attempts to destroy it, the latest in 1997, and concerns for its conservation and preservation, the Shroud is now kept in a "bulletproof, climate-controlled case." Clearly the Vatican must think the Shroud is authentic, otherwise why spend the equivalent of what must be many millions of dollars protecting "a medieval forgery"? In that time, the public has been allowed to view it on only five occasions. The last time was in 2000. The shroud was discovered in the French city of Troyes in the mid-14th century. No. It was Lirey, France, near Troyes. ...

Shroud of Turin: Real Deal Or Master Fake?, FOX News, April 10, 2010, Greg Burke. .... The linen cloth is normally kept wrapped up inside a silver box, and only taken out for public display on special occasions. As far as I am aware, the Shroud has not been kept in a silver box since 1532, when a fire caused molten silver to burn a hole through 8 layers of the folded cloth. While many believe this is the linen cloth that covered Jesus Christ after his death - and you can see a faint outline of a man's face and arms on it - testing done on the cloth two decades ago suggested it dated from between 1260 and 1390. However, those results have been contested, and other experts say contamination of the shroud over the years could have skewed the dating process. Not "could have" but would have. For the Shroud to date from 1325 (the mid-point of 1260-1390) means that the radiocarbon labs would have to have removed all contamination. But if this were possible, then there would be no need to have warnings "not to introduce any contamination" into the sample and that even mere "Cigarette ash is also taboo":

"Collecting and packaging of samples It is important not to introduce any contamination when collecting and packing the sample. If flotation is used in the collection process, no hydrocarbons should be used. Hydrogen peroxide can, however, be used to break up soil samples. Many materials used for preserving or conserving samples contain carbon that may be impossible to remove subsequently: do not use glues, biocides, polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polyvinylacetate (PVA). Many ordinary packing materials, such as paper, cardboard, cotton wool and string, contain carbon and are potential contaminants. Cigarette ash is also taboo." (Bowman, S., "Radiocarbon Dating," Interpreting the Past, University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 1990, pp.55-56. Emphasis original).

So for the three laboratories to `just happen' to converge on date (1325 +/- 65 years) which is immediately before the date of the Shroud's first undisputed appearance at Lirey, France, in the 1350s is simply too good to be true. Therefore there

[Above (click to enlarge): Exposition Medallion of Shroud ca. 1356: Shroud of Turin Skeptical Spectacle.]

must have been at least low-level fraud on the part of the laboratories, i.e. "data manipulation-such as making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit the case":

"The term `scientific fraud' is often assumed to mean the wholesale invention of data. But this is almost certainly the rarest kind of fabrication. Those who falsify scientific data probably start and succeed with the much lesser crime of improving upon existing results. Minor and seemingly trivial instances of data manipulation-such as making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit the case-are probably far from unusual in science. But there is only a difference in degree between `cooking' the data and inventing a whole experiment out of thin air. A continuous spectrum can be drawn from the major and minor acts of fabrication to self-deception, a phenomenon of considerable importance in all branches of science. Fraud, of course, is deliberate and self-deception unwitting, but there is probably a class of behavior in between where the subject's motives are ambiguous even to himself." (Broad, W.A. & Wade, N.J., 1982, "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," Simon and Schuster: New York NY, p.20).

In any case, the Shroud of Turin is always a major mystery, and the Turin Cathedral still draws millions of visitors every year, even when the linen is wrapped up and hidden away. The Shroud has always drawn huge crowds over the centuries whenever it has been exhibited publicly. Far more than all Christian relics combined. This massive `voting with their feet' in all ages is itself evidence that it the Shroud is uniquely authentic. About two million people are expected to visit over the next six weeks while the original can be seen in the cathedral. Is it the real thing, or a brilliant forgery? This correctly states the dilemma. Even the Shroud's opponents admit that, "... there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic... or it is a product of human artifice":

"As the (red ochre) dust settles briefly over Sindondom, it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic (naturally or supernaturally produced by the body of Jesus) or it is a product of human artifice. Asks Steven Schafersman: `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No, and here's why. Both Wilson [Wilson, I., "The Shroud of Turin," 1979, pp.51-53] and Stevenson and Habermas [Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "Verdict on the Shroud," 1981, pp.121-129] go to great lengths to demonstrate that the man imaged on the shroud must be Jesus Christ and not someone else. After all, the man on this shroud was flogged, crucified, wore a crown of thorns, did not have his legs broken, was nailed to the cross, had his side pierced, and so on. Stevenson and Habermas [Ibid., p.128] even calculate the odds as 1 in 83 million that the man on the shroud is not Jesus Christ (and they consider this a very conservative estimate). I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus.' [Schafersman, S.D., "Science, the public, and the Shroud of Turin," The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring 1982, pp.37-56, p.42]" (Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY, Revised, Reprinted, 2000, p.141. Emphasis original).

The Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Severino Poletto, opts for real. "As a Christian I believe the Shroud is authentic," Poletto said. To his credit, Cardinal Poletti nails his colours to the mast."I can't say officially, because it's not my job, but either it's a miracle, or it's the real thing. This is significant, in that, despite claims that the Roman Catholic Church, after the 1988 radiocarbon dating, admitted that the Shroud was a forgery, more and more its leadership (including the Pope-see a future post in this series) are staking their reputation on it being "the real thing"!

Shroud of Turin displayed for 1st time in 10 years, Associated Press, April 10, 2010. TURIN, Italy - The Shroud of Turin went on public display Saturday for the first time in 10 years,

[Above (click to enlarge): Perfect fit of the bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo (which has been in Spain since shortly after 616: Wikipedia) and the Shroud of Turin, proving that they once covered the head of the same crucifixion victim: Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image" Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.122. That is, the Sudarium is the "smaller face cloth, the sudarium" [Gk. soudarion], mentioned in John 20:6-7, as distinct from the other "linen cloths" [Gk. othonia], including the Shroud "that had wrapped the body":

"One of the relics held by the cathedral in the town of Oviedo, in the north of Spain, is a piece of cloth measuring approximately 84 x 53 cm. There is no image on this cloth. Only stains are visible to the naked eye, although more is visible under the microscope. The remarkable thing about this cloth is that both tradition and scientific studies claim that the cloth was used to cover and clean the face of Jesus after the crucifixion. We are going to present and look into these claims. Such a cloth is known to have existed from the gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 6 and 7. These verses read as follows, `Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloth [Gk. othonia, "linen cloths"] lying on the ground, and also the cloth [Gk. soudarion, "face cloth"] that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself.' John clearly differentiates between this smaller face cloth, the sudarium, and the larger linen that had wrapped the body. The history of the sudarium is well documented, and much more straightforward than that of the Shroud. ... According to this history, the sudarium was in Palestine until shortly before the year 614, when Jerusalem was attacked and conquered by Chosroes II, who was king of Persia from 590 to 628. It was taken away to avoid destruction in the invasion, first to Alexandria by the presbyter Philip, then across the north of Africa when Chosroes conquered Alexandria in 616. The sudarium entered Spain at Cartagena, along with people who were fleeing from the Persians. The bishop of Ecija, Fulgentius [c. 590-633], welcomed the refugees and the relics, and surrendered the chest, or ark, to Leandro, bishop of Seville." (Guscin, M., "The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin," 1997).]

drawing long lines of people to see the linen some believe is Christ's burial cloth and others dismiss as a medieval fake. See above on those who dismiss the Shroud as "a medieval fake" need to explain how it was faked and who faked it. And that includes how the Shroud's head bloodstains exactly match those of the Sudarium of Oviedo, which has been in Spain since the early 7th century! Turin Cardinal Severino Poletto led the opening ceremony in Turin's cathedral. He referred to the debate over the shroud's authenticity, saying it was "not up to the church but for science to decide." This has been the Vatican's defensive `party line' for too long. While the Shroud's authenticity is not an article of faith of Christianity, the evidence is now overwhelming that the Shroud is the very burial sheet of Jesus, and bears the image of His crucified and resurrected body! .... The Vatican has tiptoed around the issue of just what the cloth is, calling it a powerful symbol of Christ's suffering while making no claim to its authenticity. If the Roman Catholic Church did not now firmly believe the Shroud is authentic, why are they exhibiting it as though it is authentic? ... But experts stand by carbon-dating of scraps of the cloth that determine the linen was made in the 13th or 14th century in a kind of medieval forgery. They are deluding themselves. The Pray Manuscript and the Sudarium of Oviedo (see above) prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the Shroud was not "made in the 13th or 14th century." That testing didn't explain how the image on the shroud - of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Christ - was formed. An important point. It is not enough to claim that the Shroud was "made in the 13th or 14th century" without explaining how and who "in the 13th or 14th century" made it and its image. However, some have suggested the dating results might have been skewed by contamination and called for a larger sample to be analyzed. It is important to realise that the sample removed for radiocarbon-dated in 1988 was only:

"Approx 1.2cm x 8cm" (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.189).

i.e. 0.012m x 0.08m = 0.00096m2. Yet the Shroud measures approximately 4.4m x 1.1m = 4.84m2. That is, the sample was only ~0.00096*100/4.84 = ~0.02% of the whole! It is therefore a scientific disgrace (if not deliberate deception) for the radiocarbon laboratories to have claimed that such a minuscule sample is representative of the whole. Such a conclusion would fail any high school science experiment (I speak as a science teacher)!

Shroud of Turin goes on display for first time in decade, NEWS.com.au, April 10, 2010 ... A large area around the Turin cathedral has been cordoned off, and scores of volunteers were on hand from a total of some 4000 retired elite mountain warfare soldiers sporting plumed felt caps. If the Shroud was just a fake, why guard it with "4000 retired elite mountain warfare soldiers"? ... Pope Benedict XVI will pay homage to the shroud on May 2. .... Benedict said his visit would be "a propitious occasion to contemplate this mysterious visage that speaks silently to the heart of men, inviting them to recognise the face of God". I will comment on Pope Benedict's visit to the Shroud in my next post in this series. But clearly by calling it "the face of God" he believes the Shroud is authentic. ....

Mysterious Shroud of Turin Goes on Display, Sky News, April 10, 2010, Nick Pisa .... The linen cloth, worthy of a Dan Brown thriller, has captivated the imagination of historians, church chiefs, sceptics and Catholics for more than 500 years. Again, that this is so, is evidence that the Shroud is not a fake. It even gripped occult-obsessed Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler who wanted to steal it so he could use it in a black magic ceremony. I interpret this (and the attempts to destroy the Shroud) as Satan's continuing war against Jesus and His followers (Rev 12) .... The Shroud has been kept at Turin Cathedral for more than 500 years A key visitor to the Shroud will be Pope Benedict XVI on May 2. Vatican officials have stressed the event will be "spiritual" and not "religious tourism". The Church, for the first time, also expressed its doubt over the authenticity of the Shroud which many believe is a fake. "There is no mathematical certainty that the Shroud is indeed the cloth in which Our Lord was wrapped," said Cardinal Severino Poletto, Archbishop of Turin.This is true, but misleading. There is only "mathematical certainty" in mathematics! But people are routinely convicted and jailed or executed based on "proof beyond reasonable doubt" on far less forensic evidence than the Shroud represents that "it is indeed the cloth in which Our Lord was wrapped.""It is quite clear to all that our Christian faith is not based on the Shroud but on the Gospel and the teaching of the Apostles.Again true. But why all this defensive official backing and filling? The evidence is now overwhelming that the Shroud is the burial sheet of Jesus and what's more that it bears the evidence of His resurrection. So it is now time that the Roman Catholic Church (and indeed the entire Christian Church) went on the offensive! "However, the displaying of the Shroud is an occasion to help the faithful meditate, pray and contemplate on the mystery and extraordinary suffering of Christ." This is the problem with the Vatican's "Mr Facing-Both-Ways" approach. It makes those like this journalist assume that the Roman Catholic Church is expressing "its doubt over the authenticity of the Shroud" when in reality its `body language' is increasingly indicating that it believes the Shroud is authentic.

Shroud Draws Crowd at Display in Turin, VOANews, Sabina Castelfranco, Rome, 10 April 2010 ... Among those who went in Saturday was Emanuela Marinelli, a shroud expert who has written numerous books on the shroud. One her books is the excellent, "The Enigma of the Shroud - A Challenge to Science," co-authored with Orazio Petrosillo. "I believe more and more that the shroud is really the burial cloth of Jesus so for me it's important to see again this important relic, to stay in front of it for one moment to say a prayer because I am convinced that the shroud is authentic, not for reasons of faith but for scientific reasons," she said. I also do not need the Shroud to be authentic for Christianity to be true. I was a Christian for nearly 40 years while believing the Shroud was a fake. Like Marinelli, I believe the Shroud to be authentic "for scientific reasons." .... Still there are plenty of skeptics who say that the Shroud of Turin is a fake. It is the so-called `skeptics' who are the true believers. They believe the Shroud to be a fake, irrespective of the evidence that it is authentic. They say carbon dating by three separate laboratories in 1988 - in Britain, Switzerland and the United States - dated it to the Middle Ages. They did not date the Shroud. They dated a postage-sized sample, which was only ~0.02% or about 1/50th of 1 percent of the whole cloths. There is a hidden assumption that this miniscule sample is representative of the whole Shroud. But that remains an unproven assumption. But Marinelli says she has no doubt about the image that has special significance to her. "For me the shroud is something to have continuously the memory of the presence of Jesus and the presence of the shroud in my life is also the presence of Jesus in my life," she said. I already had the presence of Jesus in my life. But for me the Shroud is "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20). That is, concrete, scientific, evidence that Christianity is objectively true, i.e. true for everyone, whether they believe it or not. To this day, no one has yet been able to explain how the image on the shroud was formed. That is, explained it away naturalistically. And again, they would have, if they could have.. ...

Shroud of Turin to be on display, United Press International, April 11, 2010 ... TURIN, Italy, April 11 (UPI) -- The shroud of Turin, believed by some Christians to be the burial cloth of Jesus, is on display for the first time since its 2002 restoration, officials say. The shroud is expected to draw around 2 million people -- including Pope Benedict XVI -- to Turin Cathedral in Italy while on display for six weeks, CNN reported Sunday. The 2002 restoration removed a patchwork repair done by 16th-century nuns after a fire damaged the cloth, CNN said. The authenticity of the shroud has long been in dispute, with many scholars like church historian Antonio Lombatti saying it dates only from the Middle Ages. "The shroud owner said it in 1355 ... the local bishop said it was a forgery and even the pope of that time said it was a fake," Lombatti said. Yes, "the local bishop said it was a forgery." But that is hearsay, not evidence. And it was not even "the local bishop" but what another bishop, Pierre d'Arcis, bishop of Troyes, claimed in 1389 what his predecessor bishop Henri of Poitiers allegedly said 45 years earlier in 1355. And what's more it is demonstratably false because d'Arcis said the Shroud was "cunningly painted," but one thing that STURP proved in 1978 was that the Shroud is not a painting (see above). The Catholic Church's official position on the shroud calls it an important tool for faith regardless of its authenticity, CNN said. The Vatican's position is self-contradictory. If the Shroud is not authentic, then it is a blasphemous fraud. So how could it then be "an important tool for faith"? The Vatican by its actions shows that it believes the Shroud is authentic. So why doesn't it be honest and say so, instead of all this defensive official double-talk?

To be continued.

Posted: 4 June 2010. Updated: 24 May 2016

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mark Oxley, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin" (2010)

I have recently bought a new book on the Shroud by a Mark Oxley, entitled, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, 2010, 348 pages, paperback.

[Right: "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," by Mark Oxley: Amazon.com]

I have only dipped into it, but it is evidently pro- authenticity, although Oxley's approach is to present the evidence and leave it to the reader to choose whether to accept or reject it. Oxley concludes:

"Yes, I personally believe that the Shroud is genuine, as I said right at the beginning of this book, and my views may be apparent in the style and content of the book, but it is not up to me to force my beliefs on others. Matters of faith are matters of individual choice. The words of the American writer John Walsh, written in 1963, remain as relevant today as they were then. He wrote that the Shroud is either `one of the most ingenious, most unbelievable products of the human mind and hand on record' or it is `the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence'. Which is it?" (Oxley, M., "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, 2010, p.282).

Here is my scan of the book's Contents pages:

INTRODUCTION ix
PART 1 - INTRODUCTION TO THE SHROUD
Chapter 1 - The Shroud of Turin 3
PART 2 - THE SHROUD AND HISTORY
Chapter 2 - Jerusalem, Antioch and Edessa 13
Chapter 3 - From Edessa to Constantinople 28
Chapter 4 - Geoffrey de Charny and the Shroud of Lirey 44
Chapter 5 -The Later Years in Lirey 54
Chapter 6 - From the de Charny Family to the House of Savoy 64
Chapter 7 - To the Present Day 73
Chapter 8 - The Missing Years: Cathars or Templars? 86
Chapter 9 - The Missing Years: From Athens to France 100
PART 3 - THE SHROUD AND THE CRUCIFIXION
Chapter 10 - Death on the Cross 119
Chapter 11 - The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ 157
Chapter 12 - The Evidence of the Man on the Shroud 169
Chapter 13 - The Sudarium of Oviedo 182
PART 4 - THE SHROUD AND SCIENCE
Chapter 14 - The First Investigations 195
Chapter 15 - The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) 207
Chapter 16 - Dating the Shroud 221
Chapter 17 - Image Formation: Radiation Hypotheses 237
Chapter 18 - Image Formation: Contact and Chemical Hypotheses 252
Chapter 19 - Preservation, Restoration and the Future for Research 261
PART 5 - THE CHALLENGE OF THE SHROUD
Chapter 20 - Heroes, Sceptics and Challenges 277
NOTES 283

And here is what Amazon.com says about the book (from its back cover):

Product Description
The book addresses the many challenges posed by the Shroud. If, for example, it really was the work of a 14th century forger, how did such a person, with the limited scientific knowledge of his time, produce an artifact that can still not be replicated or even explained by 21st century science? If the Shroud is evidence of an event that could be called supernatural - the resurrection of a dead man - what does this imply for scientists studying it? If the Shroud is evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, what are the implications of this for those who do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God or that he was anything but a rural Jewish teacher? What are the challenges facing researchers and theologians today both in preserving the Shroud and in carrying out further scientific research? The book is in three main parts - a complete review of the history of the Shroud - both known and speculated; a study of crucifixion as a method of execution and its relationship to the image and markings on the Shroud; and a review of the scientific studies carried out on the Shroud over the past century, together with the various hypotheses that have been advanced as to how the image was formed. The book concludes with some suggestions as to how conflicting demands for preservation of the Shroud and for further scientific studies can be reconciled and carried forward. Is the Shroud the genuine burial cloth of Jesus Christ? This question is left to the reader to answer.

and its author:

About the Author
Mark Oxley is a Zimbabwean businessman who has spent over three years carrying out detailed research on the history of the Shroud of Turin and on the scientific studies that have been carried out on it. A scientist by training with an avid interest in both classical and mediaeval history, he has used both disciplines to carry out an in-depth review of the current state of knowledge about the Shroud. He has been interested in the Shroud since he was a schoolboy, when he saw a film about the Shroud in which the late Lord Cheshire explained the Shroud, its history and what was known at the time about the image on it. Over the years he has followed the scientific debate on the Shroud and particularly the controversy over its radio-carbon dating. It was this controversy in particular and some of the hypotheses that arose from it that eventually led to his decision to carry out further research and write his own book on the subject of the Shroud.

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

`Ian Wilson's Turin Shroud theories are the worst kind of junk history'

Ian Wilson's Turin Shroud theories are the worst kind of junk history, Telegraph.co.uk, Guy Walters, April 13th, 2010.


Walters' critique of Wilson and Wilson's response are no longer online, but I had saved each of them as a text file. Because of the continued interest in this 2010 post (according to Google Analytics), I have now (5 August 2016) posted as a comment below Walters' critique of Wilson and Wilson's response to Walters.

This is a good (or bad) example of a modern scoffer's (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18) attack on the

[Right: Ian Wilson. Rear cover of "The Shroud: The 2,000 Year Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, 2010.]

authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, through a sustained ad hominem personal attack:

"An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting)." ("Fallacy: Ad Hominem," The Nizkor Project, 14 April 2010);

on leading Shroud theorist Ian Wilson. Wilson's attacker is Guy Walters, who "is a British author and journalist." ("Guy Walters," Wikipedia, 23 March 2010).

[Left: Guy Walters: www.guywalters.com.]

Significantly, Walters presents no actual facts or even arguments that the Shroud of Turin is not the burial sheet of Jesus, but instead tries to discredit Wilson personally, presumably so that readers will not bother reading Wilson's new book, "The Shroud: The 2,000 Year Old Mystery Solved" (2010).

While I was putting the finishing touches to this my own response to Walters' attack on Wilson, and through him the Shroud itself, I discovered that in the meantime Ian Wilson had himself responded to Walters' article, so I will also quote Wilson to support my points and to add information that I was not sure of. Walters' words are bold to distinguish them from mine.

If one object encapsulates the practice of junk history more than any other, then it's the Turin Shroud, which is currently on display until May 23.

Because Walters is merely an "author and journalist," he therefore has no standing as a leading professional historian to determine what is, or is not, "junk history." It seems that "junk history" for Walters is what he does not personally like or want to be true.

According to Walters' (presumably) own self-description above this article, he "sees it as his personal mission to wage war on ignorance and misconceptions about the past":

"Guy Walters is the author of nine books, which include four wartime thrillers and the critically acclaimed histories Hunting Evil and Berlin Games. Frustrated at the enormous amount of junk history around, Guy sees it as his personal mission to wage war on ignorance and misconceptions about the past. His website is www.guywalters.com."

But if the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus (and the evidence is overwhelming that it is - see my "The Shroud of Turin is the Burial Sheet of Jesus!"), then Walters is himself perpetrating "ignorance and misconceptions about the past"!

Now that would not really matter much about most things. But again if the Shroud is the burial sheet of Jesus, and bears the image of His crucified and resurrected body (as again the evidence overwhelmingly indicates it is and does), then to be in "ignorance" and have a "misconceptions about the past," of not believing that in "Jesus Christ ... God really lived on earth as a man and said and did the things that the Gospels report":

"What is the most important event in recorded history? ... Christians should be able to give a confident answer to the ultimate question on the premise that the Gospels, summarized in the introductory verses of the Gospel of John, tell the truth. The incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, is undoubtedly the most important event in the history of mankind if it actually happened as the Bible says. One may not know all sorts of things and be none the worse for it, but if God really lived on earth as a man and said and did the things that the Gospels report, then not to know these sayings and deeds, or to disregard them, is to be missing the one key that is capable of unlocking everything else. That is why it is of supreme importance that the good news must be made available to everyone, whether or not they choose to believe it. The most devastatingly negative judgment must be made of any educational system which insists, as the schools of most nations do now, that students should not be taught the information they need to give an informed answer to the question posed by Jesus: 'Who do you say that I am? [Mat. 16:15-17]'" (Johnson, P.E. 2002, "The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate, InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, pp.172-173).

is the most important "ignorance and misconceptions about the past" of all!

Those who study this piece of cloth grandly call themselves sindonologists, as if concocting crackpot theories about a 13th or 14th century hoax were a legitimate branch of academia.

Walters continues with his ad hominem fallacy `arguments,' i.e. "crackpot," "hoax" and "high priest" (see below). But irrespective of Walters' disdain for the term, "sindonology," it has entered the dictionary as a legitimate field of study, "the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin":

"sin·do·nol·o·gy ... - noun the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin. ... Origin: 1965-70; < It sindon(e) the shroud in which Christ was interred (< Gk (NT) sindon winding sheet, Gk: muslin sheet; cf. sindon) + o + -logy - Related forms sin·do·nol·o·gist, noun" ("Dictionary.com Unabridged," Random House Dictionary: Random House, 14 April 2010).

But in fact Wilson points out that he does not use of himself, or like, the term "sindonologist":

"Nor in four decades of Shroud researches have I ever called myself a `sindonologist', a term I dislike as much as he does." (Ian Wilson, "My response to Guy Walters and his critique," Telegraph.co.uk, 15 April 2010).

And no one yet (including Walters) has shown the Shroud to be "a 13th or 14th century hoax." Indeed, the idea that an unknown forger in the "13th or 14th century" perpetrated a "hoax" that the science of the 20th-21st centuries still has not been able to explain how it was done, or who did it, is itself increasingly bordering on a hoax!

Classics scholar Mark Guscin, in his book on the Sudarium of Oviedo, points out (with satirical "embellishments"), what a forger

[Above: Perfect match of bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo (which has been in Spain since at least "AD 840") and the Shroud of Turin, proving that they once covered the head of the same crucifixion victim: Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image" Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.122]

would have to do, to fit the known facts about the Shroud and concludes that "Such a story ... is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity" (my emphasis below):
"However, let us suppose for a while that the results obtained from the carbon dating of both the sudarium and the Shroud are accurate, and neither cloth ever touched the body of Jesus. In that case, the following story would have to be true. Sometime in the seventh century, in Palestine, after reading the gospel of John, a well known forger of religious relics saw the opportunity of putting a new product on the market - a cloth that had been over the face of the dead body of Jesus.

This forger was also an expert in medicine, who knew that a crucified person died from asphyxiation, and that when this happened, special liquids fill the lungs of the dead body, and can come out through the nose if the body is moved.

The only way he could get this effect on the cloth was by re-enacting the process, so this is exactly what he did. He crucified a volunteer, eliminating those candidates who did not fulfil the right conditions - swollen nose and cheeks, forked beard to stain the cloth, etc. When the body was taken down from the cross, he shook it around a bit with the help of a few friends, holding the folded cloth to the dead volunteer's nose so that future generations would be able to see the outline of his fingers.

He even stuck a few thorns in the back of the dead man's neck, knowing that relic hunters would be looking for the bloodstains from the crown of thorns.

Being an eloquent man, he convinced people that this otherwise worthless piece of cloth was stained with nothing less than the blood and pleural liquid of Christ, and so it was guarded in Jerusalem with other relics, and considered so genuine and spiritually valuable that it was worth saving first from the invading Persians and later from the Arabs.

A few hundred years later, some time between 1260 and 1390, another professional forger, a specialist in religious relics too, decided that the time was ripe for something new, something really convincing. There were numerous relics from various saints in circulation all round Europe, bones, skulls, capes, but no, he wanted something really original. Various possibilities ran through his mind, the crown of thorns, the nails from the crucifixion, the table cloth from the last supper, and then suddenly he had it - the funeral shroud of Jesus! And not only that, but he would also put an image on the Shroud, the image of the man whom the Shroud had wrapped!

The first step was difficult. Being an expert in textile weaves, (one of his many specialities, the others being pollen, Middle East blood groups, numismatism of the years of Tiberius, photography, Roman whips, and electronic microscopes) he needed linen of a special kind, typical of the Middle East in the first century.

Once this had been specially ordered and made, he folded it up before starting his work, as a neighbour had suggested that such a cloth would have been folded up and hidden in a wall in Edessa for a few hundred years, so the image would be discontinuous on some of the fold marks.

Leaving the cloth folded up, he travelled to Oviedo in the north of Spain, where he knew that a forerunner in his trade had left a cloth with Jesus' blood stains.

On obtaining permission to analyse the sudarium, he first checked the blood group - AB of course, common in the Middle East and relatively scarce in Europe - then made an exact plan of the blood stains (carefully omitting those which would have already clotted when the sudarium was used) so that his stains would coincide exactly.

After his trip to Oviedo, he went on a tour of what is now Turkey, forming a composite portrait of Jesus from all the icons, coins and images he could find. After all, he needed people to think that his Shroud had been around for over a thousand years, and that artists had used it as their inspiration for painting Christ. He didn't really understand what some of the marks were, the square box between the eyes, the line across the throat, but he thought he'd better put them on anyway. He didn't want to be accused of negligence, because he was an internationally famous forger and had a reputation to maintain.

Once he was back home, he somehow obtained some blood (AB, naturally) and decided to begin his work of art with the blood stains, before even making the body image.

Unfortunately, he miscalculated the proportions, and the nail stains appeared on the wrist instead of on the palms of the hands, where everyone in the fourteenth century knew that they had been. `Well', he thought, `it's just a question of a few inches, nobody will notice.'

Now, even the omniscient author is forbidden to enter in the secret room where the forger `paints' the image of Christ, a perfect three dimensional negative, without paint or direction. His method was so secret that it went to the tomb with him.

After a few hours, he opened the door, and called his wife, who was busy preparing dinner in the kitchen. `What do you think?' `Not bad. But you've forgotten the thumbs' `No, I haven't. Don't you know that if a nail destroys the nerves in the wrist, the thumbs bend in towards the palm of the hand, so you wouldn't be able to see them?'

`But didn't the nails go through the palms?' `Well, yes, but I put the blood on first, and didn't quite get the distance right'

`Oh, in that case ... and what about the pollen?' `What pollen?' `Well, if this Shroud has been in Palestine, Edessa, and let's suppose it's been in Constantinople too, it's going to need pollen from all those places.' Our forger loved the idea, got the pollen from all the places his wife had indicated, and delicately put it all over his Shroud.

And then, the final touch. Two coins from the time of Christ, minted under the emperor Tiberius, to put over the man's eyes. Our man had a sense of humour too - he decided that the coins would be included in the image in such a way that they would only be visible under an electronic microscope.

Such a story, even without the embellishments, is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity."

(Guscin, M., "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, 1998, pp.84-88. My emphasis).

Their high priest is one Ian Wilson, who the BBC flatteringly refers to as a "historian".

Another ad hominem personal attack as a substitute for argument by Walters. Ian Wilson is not the "high priest" of "Those who study this piece of cloth." And Wilson is a historian, in that he "graduated in Modern History from Magdalen College, Oxford":

"Ian Wilson (born 1941) is the prolific author of religious and scientific books. He often mixes the two while examining his various topics, whether it's the Shroud of Turin or life after death. He graduated in Modern History from Magdalen College, Oxford. He has written and presented a three part Channel 4 TV series based on his book Jesus: The Evidence. He converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism." ("Ian Wilson (writer)," Wikipedia, 22 March 2010).

and he is writes about "history," the "study of the human past":

"History (from Greek ...historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation" is the study of the human past. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of research which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events." ("History," Wikipedia, 5 April 2010 ).

Wilson himself makes further points in defense of his right to be called "a historian":

"First, Walters questioned my right to be `labelled a historian'. The facts are that I am a history graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, where I studied under A.J.P.Taylor and others. I graduated with honours in 1963, and was conferred an M.A. in 1977. Walters fails to mention the historical biography of Shakespeare, Shakespeare: The Evidence, which I wrote in 1994. No-nonsense Oxford historian the late Dr. A.L. Rowse, reviewed this in the London Evening Standard as: `Full of good sense. The reader will not go wrong with it Ian Wilson is conscientious, as a good Oxford man should be." (Wilson, Ibid.).

Walters' here attempts to demarcate what is, and is not, "history," and who is, and is not, a "historian," so that one does not then have to listen to the arguments of those whom he decrees are not "historians" and do not write "history." But, apart from Walters being merely an "author and journalist," with no authority to decide what and who is in, and out, of those categories, what Walters and his Shroud anti-authenticity ilk need to do is provide a comprehensive, testable, alternative theory that fully and plausibly explains all the major features of the Shroud and how they were created by the perpetrator of "a 13th or 14th century hoax." That Walters is reduced to ad hominem personal attacks against Ian Wilson only shows the bankruptcy of the anti-authenticity position.

Quite why Wilson deserves this job description is unclear, because his works have little to do with history, and instead are books that hail from a strange sector of publishing nicely captured by Peter Wilson in The Independent in 2001:

Pick an ancient riddle to unravel. Mix together a pinch of history, a splash of archaeology, a soup├žon of theology, lashings of first-person travelogue and a hefty dose of maps. Then flavour it with talk of the pyramids, the Inca sacred sites, the truth behind the Bible and obstructive, conspiratorial clerics. Finally, garnish in a bold cover with gold letters and a sensational title about a lost civilisation, a missing continent or extra-terrestrial life. Watch the copies walk out of the bookshops.

Actually it was "Peter Stanford" (unless he and "Peter Wilson" are one and the same) and he was writing about Wilson's book on Noah's Ark, Before the Flood, not one of his books on the Shroud. But Stanford also concluded in the same review:

"I am inclined to give Ian Wilson the benefit of the doubt. As he points out a little too often, he is a trained historian (though the training turns out to be as a history undergraduate at Oxford). More important, there is his evident sincerity in an area where that quality is at a premium. In the course of writing The Turin Shroud, for instance, he became so close to his subject that he abandoned his lifelong atheism and became a Catholic. It is hard to imagine some of the young pretenders taking what they write that seriously." ("Ian Wilson: When mystery drowns history," The Independent, Peter Stanford, Saturday, 24 November 2001).

Wilson makes a living as a writer on controversial historical topics, for which he clearly takes great pains to research and tries to present the evidence honestly and factually. That he may be wrong on some of those topics, has no bearing on whether he is right (or wrong) about the Shroud.

A look at Wilson's back catalogue sheds little light on why he should be labelled a historian.

It is significant that Walters needs to "label" Wilson as not "a historian." That is another an ad hominem fallacious attempt to prevent readers taking seriously Wilson's arguments in favour of the Shroud's authenticity (see below on the "poisoning the well" fallacy). But as any fair-minded person, who has taken the time and effort to read through Wilson's books on the Shroud (as Walters hasn't-see below), they are models of well-researched works of history.

My favourites are The Turin Shroud: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ? (1979); The Evidence of the Shroud (1986); Holy Faces, Secret Places: An Amazing Quest for the Face of Jesus (1991); The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence That the World's Most Sacred Relic Is Real (1998); The Turin Shroud: Unshrouding the Mystery (2000); and his latest shlockbuster, The Shroud : the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved (2010). Are you spotting a pattern here?

Note the derogatory term "shlockbuster" for Wilson's latest book, "The Shroud : the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved (2010)." which I am currently reading and finding very well-researched and well-written, with new facts which I was not aware of.

I thought it impressive that Walters had actually read all those books of Wilson's. But later in this same article, Walters lets it slip that: "I don't have time to read Wilson's books ..." So in what sense are they Walters' (sarcastic) "favourites"? It can only be that he is prejudiced against the titles of these books, or rather against the idea that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus (see below on Walters' presumed Metaphysical Naturalism, the view that "nature is all there is," i.e. there is no supernatural).

Wilson adds, "The first rule of the professional historian is surely to familiarise himself with what he is writing about, thus avoiding the sort of `ignorance and misconceptions' that Walters says he so abhors":

"Surprising as it may seem, I share Guy Walters' frustrations at `the enormous amount of junk history around'. This therefore makes it all the more galling that Walters should have chosen me, Ian Wilson, as his number one target, lumping my books into this category without, on his own admission, having bothered to read a single word of them. The first rule of the professional historian is surely to familiarise himself with what he is writing about, thus avoiding the sort of `ignorance and misconceptions' that Walters says he so abhors. Yet Walters clearly saw no need to follow this rule when he rushed out his blog about me, condemning my standards as a professional author."(Wilson, Ibid.).

The "pattern" that Walters finds so reprehensible in Wilson's books he has listed, seems to be that Wilson is open to evidence of the supernatural, whereas Walters appears to be a Philosophical Naturalist, i.e. a believer that "nature is all there is" (i.e. there is no supernatural, including God):

"Metaphysical naturalism, (or ontological naturalism or philosophical naturalism) which focuses on ontology: This stance is concerned with existence: what does exist and what does not exist? Naturalism is the metaphysical position that "nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature." ("Naturalism (philosophy)," Wikipedia, 14 April 2010).

and so he has a closed mind on the existence of the supernatural in general and on the supernatural origin of the image on the Shroud, in particular.

Wilson has also written about stigmata, reincarnation, and yep, you guessed it, Nostradamus.

This is a form of ad hominem argument called "poisoning the well," i.e. "a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is ... presented ... with the intention of discrediting ... everything that the target person is about to say" (my emphasis):

"Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well is a special case of argumentum ad hominem ..." ("Poisoning the well," Wikipedia,19 December 2009).

Walters attempts to discredit Wilson's argument in favour of the Shroud, by telling his readers that Wilson had "written about stigmata, reincarnation, and ... Nostradamus." But Sir Isaac Newton wrote commentaries "on the prophetic Books of Daniel and Revelation" and in fact "wrote more on religion than he did on natural science" (Wikipedia). Does that make his other writings on Gravity and Optics false? Cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle wrote fictional works like A for Andromeda and The Black Cloud (Wikipedia). Does that make his other writings on Cosmology false?

Apart from it being irrelevant as to the truth or otherwise of the Shroud, Walters does not say what Wilson's conclusions were about those topics. I myself don't know and don't have the time or inclination to find out, but unlike Walters I would not find Wilson guilty by association, just because he had "written about" those topics.

Indeed, as Wilson points out, he is not an "adherent of every topic" that he writes about and in fact does not believe in "stigmata, reincarnation, and ... Nostradamus":

"Second, and compounding his ignorance, Walters has assumed that I must be a card-carrying adherent of every topic that I write about. Had he actually consulted the books he might have found this to be very far from the case. In my book on reincarnation (Mind out of Time? 1981), I debunked the then popular myth that hypnotic regression could lead back to past incarnations. In Stigmata I showed this phenomenon to have a psychological rather than any spiritual origination. In Nostradamus: The Evidence I expressly showed the falsity of Nostradamus' prophetic reputation." (Wilson, Ibid.).

It's clear that Wilson's "historical" enquiries are little more than excuses to peddle the type of bilge that appeals to those who believe in The Da Vinci Code.

This last is a falsehood, by which Walters discredits himself in his attempt to discredit Wilson and his writings, and ultimately the Shroud. There would be little correlation (if any) between "those who believe in The Da Vinci Code" and those who believe in the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

I don't have time to read Wilson's books, but it's clear from their reviews that his imagination easily outstrips that of Dan Brown.

This is truly an amazing admission. I had wondered whether Walters had really read all of Wilson's books on the Shroud (not to mention his other non-Shroud books). But here he answers my unspoken question. All he has done is read "reviews" of Wilson's books! Walters should be ashamed of himself, and so should the Daily Telegraph for allowing someone to write an article under their name, condemning Wilson's theories on the Shroud as "junk history," when he has never read first-hand from the original source what those theories actually are and the evidence which supports them.

For example, in Before the Flood (2001), Wilson speculates on the existence of Atlantis.

So what? Whether Atlantis existed or not, and whether Wilson believes it existed or not, is irrelevant as to whether the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus. This is just more "poisoning the well" by Walters.

But in fact, Wilson states that his "Before the Flood" did not speculate "on the existence of Atlantis" and that Wilson himself is not "a believer in Atlantis":

"Third, Walters is completely misinformed in supposing that Before the Flood speculated on the existence of Atlantis. I am no more a believer in Atlantis than Walters is." (Wilson, Ibid.).

But my favourite is The Blood and the Shroud, in which Wilson wonders whether the resurrection of Jesus took the form of a small thermonuclear reaction that corrupted the carbon-dating tests made on the Shroud.

Again, how can this book be Walters' "favourite" (even sarcastically) when by his own admission he has never "read Wilson's books"?

Wilson, in his response wrote:

"Likewise my The Blood and the Shroud did not argue for a `thermonuclear reaction' having corrupted the carbon-dating tests." (Wilson, Ibid. Typo corrected).

This surprised me, because I was aware that in Wilson's The Blood and the Shroud, in the context of "arguments for how the Shroud carbon dating might have been in error" Wilson presented an "argument, by some high-level scientists... that if there were anything thermonuclear to the circumstance by which the crucified body image was created on the Shroud, then this ... could have made the Shroud appear younger than its true age":

"But what if Dr Garza-Valdes is found to be wrong? Would that mean the end of all arguments for how the Shroud carbon dating might have been in error? Another argument, also advanced by some high-level scientists, has been that if there were anything thermonuclear to the circumstance by which the crucified body image was created on the Shroud, then this in itself, by adding to the cloth's low-level radioactivity levels, could have made the Shroud appear younger than its true age. A letter from Dr Thomas J. Phillips of Harvard University's High Energy Physics Laboratory, published in the very same issue of Nature which carried the formal report of the radiocarbon-dating findings, commented: `If the Shroud of Turin is in fact the burial-cloth of Christ ... then according to the Bible it was present at a unique physical event: the resurrection of a dead body. Unfortunately this event is not accessible to direct scientific scrutiny, but ... the body ... may have radiated neutrons, which would have irradiated the Shroud and changed some of the nuclei to different isotopes by neutron capture. In particular some carbon 14 would have been generated from carbon 13. If we assume that the Shroud is 1950 years old and that the neutrons were emitted thermally, then an integrated flux of 2 x 1016 neutron cm-2 would have converted enough carbon 13 to carbon 14 to give an apparent carbon-dated age of 670 years [i.e. fourteenth century].' [Phillips, T.J., "Shroud Irradiated With Neutrons?," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, p.594]" (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.232-233).

But on reading more carefully, I found on the next page that Wilson makes it clear that he is not himself actually arguing for that hypothesis:

"The great difficulty in such a hypothesis, whether it comes from me or from a trained scientist, is that it demands that 2000 years ago something far beyond the normal order happened to the body of Jesus as it lay in apparent death. That something of this kind indeed happened has of course been claimed by Christian believers throughout those 2000 years. But the honest agnostic can understandably only throw up his hands in horror at what he must instinctively reject as scientific heresy, calling, as it does, for the occurrence of a 'miracle'. As Dr Robert Hedges of the Oxford radiocarbon-dating laboratory commented, back in 1989, on Dr Thomas Phillips's arguments: `If a supernatural explanation is to be proposed, it seems pointless to make any scientific measurement on the Shroud at all.' [Robert Hedges, Letter to the Editor, Nature, 16 February 1989.]." (Wilson, 1998, p.234).

This is supported by the fact that in his latest book, "The Shroud : the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" (2010), in his Chapter 7, "What's in a Date?" regarding the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "between 1260 and 1390" (p.84), as far as I can see, Wilson does not even mention the "thermonuclear" argument.

You couldn't make it up. Neither could I. But Mr Wilson can.

If Walters had actually read Wilson's book, he would have realised that Wilson did not "make it up" but in fact a physicist, "Dr Thomas J. Phillips of Harvard University's High Energy Physics Laboratory" in a letter published in Nature, arguably the world's leading scientific journal, made the argument and Wilson was merely reporting what he wrote.

Actually Walters is the one who is making it up. He presents himself as a critic of Ian Wilson's theories on the Shroud of Turin, but on his own admission he has never "read Wilson's books" but only "reviews" of them. So it is Guy Walters who is here writing "junk," not Ian Wilson!

As Wilson concluded his response to Walters' article, "Mr.Walters has acted recklessly and in complete ignorance - thereby abandoning his own professed historical standards" (my emphasis):

"Professing Christianity these days does not court popularity, and some of the subjects that I write about are undeniably controversial. However if Mr. Walters actually deigned to read my latest book The Shroud, published last month by Bantam Press, he would see that, although it is directed to the general reader, I maintain the critical standards appropriate to a trained historian. The extensive historical references that I have cited are not the garbage sources that typify true `junk history'. They are solid academic publications in every instance. Mr.Walters has acted recklessly and in complete ignorance - thereby abandoning his own professed historical standards." (Wilson, Ibid.).

PS: It is significant that the above article by Walters, and Wilson's response to it, are no longer at the end of the above links to them and cannot be found in searches of the Telegraph.co.uk site. It therefore appears that the Daily Telegraph has retracted Walters' article as sub-standard and possibly even defamatory of Wilson!

Posted: 17 April 2010. Updated: 6 August 2016.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New dating technique could establish age of the Turin Shroud

This is an article that I was commenting on at Dan Porter's Shroud of Turin Blog, when I decided to post it with my comments here on my own blog! My comments are bold to distinguish my words from the article's.

[Above (click to enlarge): Diagram including Texas A&M's plasma chamber: Tabacaru, G., et al., "The Light Ion Guide CB-ECRIS Project at the Texas A&M University Cyclotron Institute," Proceedings of ECRIS08, pp.194-197, p.195. Note the plasma chamber's very small size.]

"New dating technique could establish age of the Turin Shroud," Telegraph.co.uk, Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent, 24 Mar 2010 ... The Turin Shroud could finally be dated accurately thanks to new technique that determines the age of ancient artefacts without damaging them, claim scientists. This tacitly admits that the Shroud was not "accurately dated" in 1988 (see further below)!

See also the same story at: "Could new test settle Shroud of Turin debate?," Discovery News, March 24, 2010; "Researchers Introduce `Non-Destructive' Carbon Dating" Scientific Blogging, March 23rd 2010; "New Method Could Revolutionize Dating of Ancient Treasures," ScienceDaily, March 23, 2010 & "Method would `revolutionize' dating of ancient treasures," World Science, March 23, 2010.

The researchers said the new method was so safe it could allow scientific analysis of hundreds of artefacts that until now were off limits because museums and private collectors did not want the objects damaged. For those who are new to the Shroud and/or radiocarbon-dating, a major limiting factor in radiocarbon-dating the Shroud of Turin, or any priceless artifact, is that the sample must be reduced to carbon by burning it, which totally destroys that part of the artifact (see below).

"This technique stands to revolutionise radiocarbon dating," said Dr Marvin Rowe,

[Right: Dr. Marvin Rowe: Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University.]

who led the research team at the Texas A&M University. It expands the possibility for analysing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating. "In theory, it could even be used to date the Shroud of Turin." This last is highly significant coming from a senior Professor in the field of radiocarbon-dating archaeological artifacts, as Dr Rowe is. That is because it is a tacit admission by him of what is probably now widely accepted in the radiocarbon-dating community, that the 1988 carbon-14 dating of the Shroud as "AD 1260-1390 ... mediaeval":

"The results of radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range with at least 95% confidence for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260 - 1390 (rounded down/up to nearest 10 yr). These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, P.E., et al., "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, pp.611-615, p.614).

was flawed, otherwise why bother proposing to radiocarbon-date the Shroud again?

Traditional carbon dating involves removing and burning small samples of the object. Scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment. Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyse its C-14 content. Although it sometimes requires taking minute samples of an object, even that damage may be unacceptable for some artefacts. The Shroud could still be radiocarbon-dated conventionally by taking tiny samples of a few threads each from several different inconspicuous areas (e.g. under the side-strip's seam, at the sheet's ends and sides, etc) with no significant visual loss or risk (see next) to the Shroud itself. In fact, even the charred areas from the 1532 fire, that were removed in the 2002 restoration and have been kept, could be carbon-dated, with no loss to the Shroud, whatsoever:

"A significant amount of charred cellulose was removed during a restoration of the shroud in 2002. Material from different scorch locations across the shroud was saved in separate containers. The elemental carbon could be completely cleaned in concentrated nitric acid, thus removing all traces of foreign fibers, sebum from repeated handling, and adsorbed thymol from an unfortunate procedure to sterilize the shroud's reliquary in 1988. In addition, the separate samples would give a `cluster' of dates, always a desirable procedure in archaeology. A new radiocarbon analysis should be done on the charred material retained from the 2002 restoration." (Rogers, R.N., 2005, "Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin," Thermochimica Acta, 425, pp.189–194, pp.193–194).

The new method does not involve removing a sample of the object. Scientists place an entire artefact in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to gases used in

[Above (click to enlarge): University of Arizona's similar plasma oxidation chamber for radiocarbon-dating: Jones, K.B., et al., "A new plasma oxidation apparatus for radiocarbon dating," University of Arizona, October 1, 2005]

big-screen plasma television displays. The gas slowly and gently oxidises the surface of the object to produce carbon dioxide for C-14 analysis without damaging the surface, he said. As I commented on Dan Porter's blog (with corrections):

"I cannot imagine that the Roman Catholic Church would ever allow the entire Shroud to be placed in a chamber of gas which is then electrically charged up to a plasma state. Nor should us Shroudies want them to take the risk, if there was even the slightest chance that something could go wrong and the Shroud be destroyed or permanently changed (e.g. the image disappear into the background). I personally do not want to gain a 1st century radiocarbon dating of the Shroud but lose it in the process."

and:

"... there is effectively zero probability that the Pope would allow the whole Shroud to be put in a chamber of gas which was then electrically charged up to a plasma state."

This was confirmed by what I later read, "it would take a significant amount of data to convince museum directors, art conservators and ... the Vatican that the ... method ... causes no damage":

".... Rowe and his colleagues ... conceded, however, that it would take a significant amount of data to convince museum directors, art conservators and possibly the Vatican that the non-invasive method indeed causes no damage." (Lorenzi, R., "Could new test settle Shroud of Turin debate?," Discovery News, March 24, 2010).

The problem is, as I commented above, there would always be a possibility of something going wrong, and the artifact being damaged or destroyed. I predict that few (if any) museum directors (let alone the Vatican) would consider that the risk, no matter how small, of losing one of their priceless artifacts, is worth knowing more precisely how old it is.

Anyway, having now seen how small the plasma chambers are in the above diagram of Texas A&M's and photos of the University of Arizona's, and reading another article on this "small ivory figurine called the `Venus of Brassempouy'" which "is small enough to fit into the chamber used for analysis" and that, "The chamber" would have to "be sized to accommodate large objects, such as ... the Shroud of Turin":

"The chamber could be sized to accommodate large objects, such as works of art and even the Shroud of Turin, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, Rowe said. He acknowledged, however, that it would take a significant amount of data to convince museum directors, art conservators, and others that the new method causes no damage to such priceless objects The scientists are currently refining the technique. Rowe hopes to use it, for instance, to analyze objects such as a small ivory figurine called the `Venus of Brassempouy,' thought to be about 25,000 years old and one of the earliest known depictions of a human face. The figurine is small enough to fit into the chamber used for analysis." ("New Method Could Revolutionize Dating of Ancient Treasures," ScienceDaily, March 23, 2010)

I realised that it is not currently possible to date the Shroud using this method, and it remains to be seen if it ever will be.

Dr Rowe and his colleagues used the technique to analyse the ages of about 20

[Right: Venus of Brassempouy: Wikipedia, 24 March 2010. Note this figurine's tiny size: "She is 3.65 cm high, 2.2 cm deep and 1.9 cm wide" or 1.44 x 0.87 x 0.75 inches.]

different organic substances, including wood, charcoal, leather, rabbit hair, a bone with mummified flesh attached, and a 1,350-year-old Egyptian weaving. The results match those of conventional carbon dating techniques, they say. The chamber could be sized to accommodate large objects, such as works of art and even the Shroud of Turin, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, Dr Rowe said. Again, why would Dr Rowe even bother to date "the Shroud of Turin" by this method if the 1988 radiocarbon dating had provided "conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval"? Presumably he knows it didn't.

The origins of the shroud and its image are the subject of intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians and researchers. Some contend that the shroud is the cloth placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus. The evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus!

Others contend that the artefact postdates the Crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium. They are simply wrong. The only evidence that the Shroud "postdates the Crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium" is the 1988 radiocarbon-dating and that has been found to be wrong because what was dated was a medieval patch, not the Shroud itself:

"Radiocarbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin ... Once generally accepted by the scientific community by those who consider the shroud to be inauthentic, and by some members of the Catholic Church, these results have since been questioned in peer-reviewed journals by Raymond Rogers in Thermochimica Acta and by M.Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino in Chemistry Today. Criticisms have been raised about aspects of the study as doubts were raised regarding the original nature of the sample that was taken for testing, not the quality of the radiocarbon testing itself." ("Shroud of Turin: Radiocarbon dating," Wikipedia, 31 March 2010. Footnotes omitted).

Moreover, a thread from the Shroud itself has been radiocarbon-dated at "about AD 200" (my emphasis)!:

"A very interesting finding is that a single weft thread has been extracted at about the midway level of where the Raes sample was removed, beginning about 1 cm medial to the rolled seam that reattached the Shroud to the backing cloth. The space of the missing thread appears to be about 8 cm in length. We do not know the history of this particular thread, but Dr. Alan Adler had a thread about 8 cm in length that came from the Shroud that he acquired in the early 1980s from an unidentified source. He detected what he referred to as starch on one end of this thread. He then had a very unofficial and admittedly inadequate radiocarbon dating done on each end of this thread in 1983. Reportedly, the starched end tested about AD 1000 and the other end of the same thread tested about AD 200. At a minimum, this would indicate that carbon dating the Shroud might be very technically problematic. Assuming that the thread that Dr. Adler had might have been the one that had been extracted at this site, we may have a highly significant, even if inadequate, finding, since the lateral 1 to 2 cm of this thread would have been in the continuation of the area from which the 1988 specimen was extracted. If this scenario is correct, we may not only have evidence that the 1988 sample-extraction-area is abnormal, but we may also have a much more accurate dating of the body of the Shroud, namely, in the range of AD 200." (Whanger A.D. & Whanger, M., 2005, "Excerpt from Radiological Aspects of the Shroud of Turin," Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin: Durham NC, pp.1-15, p.5).

[Left: Missing 8 cm thread near where the Raes' sample was taken, which is presum- ably the 8 cm thread that the late Dr. Alan Adler had privately carbon-dated in 1983, and which returned a date at one end of AD 1000 and at the other end AD 200: Figure 19 in Whanger & Whanger, 2005, "Excerpt from Radiological Aspects of the Shroud of Turin," p.15.]

And since contamination by newer carbon-14 (e.g. by human handling, microbe and fungal invasion, smoke, etc) makes an artifact's radiocarbon age appear more recent than it actually is, a radiocarbon dating of AD 200 is consistent with the linen of the Shroud dating from the time of Jesus!

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

Updated: 27 July 2015