Thursday, December 22, 2011

Italian study claims Turin Shroud is Christ's authentic burial robe

Here are my comments (bold) on an article in The Telegraph, on Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development (ENEA)'s finding that the Shroud's image can only be replicated by a high-energy excimer laser ("a form of ultraviolet laser": Wikipedia).

[Above: ENEA's Hercules-L XeCl excimer laser: ENEA FIS-ACC Excimer Laboratory Annual Report 2000-2001]

"Italian study claims Turin Shroud is Christ's authentic burial robe," Nick Squires, The Telegraph, Rome, 19 Dec 2011. Just days before Christmas, a new study has emerged that suggests that one of Christianity's most prized but mysterious relics - the Turin Shroud - is not a medieval forgery but could be the authentic burial robe of Christ. The evidence already is overwhelming (see for example my "Bogus: Shroud of Turin?" series) that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His crucified and resurrected body! Italian scientists have conducted a series of advanced experiments which, they claim, show that the marks on the shroud - purportedly left by the imprint of Christ's body - could not possibly have been faked with technology that was available in the medieval period. This is an important new approach. Unlike those who claim that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to 1260-1390AD proved the Shroud was "medieval" but then (like the late Prof. Edward Hall, head of Oxford University's radiocarbon dating laboratory), refuse to explain how a forger could have created the Shroud's image in the fourteenth century:

"And of the Shroud itself, and the utterly valid question of how, if the carbon-dating method really is right, someone of the fourteenth century produced a fake that `good', one looks in vain for the slightest light on this in Gove's book [Relic, Icon or Hoax? Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud]. Professor Hall said likewise that this question was of absolutely no interest to him and he would be giving no thought to it. But the Shroud simply cannot be left in such limbo. The carbon-dating verdict was either right or it was wrong. And if it was right, just how could someone have produced something like it back in the fourteenth century?" (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.194. Emphasis original).

this group of scientists actually considered seriously what it would take to recreate the Shroud's image. And they found that "it could not possibly have been faked with technology that was available in the medieval period." The research will be an early Christmas present for shroud believers, but is likely to be greeted with scepticism by those who doubt that the sepia-coloured, 14ft-long cloth dates from Christ's crucifixion 2,000 years ago. There are those for whom no amount of evidence for the Shroud's authenticity would be sufficient. They are the self-styled "Shroud sceptics" who are really true believers in the Shroud's inauthenticity. For them the old saying applies: "There are none so blind as those who will not see." Sceptics have long claimed that the shroud is a medieval forgery, and radiocarbon testing conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona in 1988 appeared to back up the theory, suggesting that it dated from between 1260 and 1390. The Hungarian Pray Codex (1192-1195) with its faithful reproduction of the Shroud's L-shaped poker holes alone proves the radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 has to be wrong. The only question is how did the radiocarbon dating laboratories get it so wrong? But those tests were in turn disputed on the basis that they were skewed by contamination by fibres from cloth that was used to repair the relic when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages. This is the most likely explanation: the radiocarbon laboratories dated a patch on the Shroud that was medieval! The new study is the latest intriguing piece of a puzzle which has baffled scientists for centuries and spawned an entire industry of research, books and documentaries. "The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin, has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining ... is impossible to obtain in a laboratory," concluded experts from Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development. The ENEA report is at http://opac.bologna.enea.it:8991/RT/2011/2011_14_ENEA.pdf. It is in Italian but after saving it to one's hard disk, it can then be translated into English using Google's translate facility. Thanks to Dan Porter for the following instructions:

Translating the whole ENEA report into English with Google by episcopalian A reader writes: This will do a good job of translating 2011_14_ENEA.pdf. The format gets a tad messed up and the pictures disappear so print out an Italian copy to refer to. Save this file to your computer: http://opac.bologna.enea.it:8991/RT/2011/2011_14_ENEA.pdf Load this URL in your browser: http://translate.google.com Click on "translate a document". Click Chose File and select the saved file on your computer. Click Translate and wait a minute.

However those instructions did not work `out of the box' for me. Only when I selected "Italian to English" and then copy-and-pasted the resulting web page document, "2011_14_ENEA.htm," into Microsoft Word did I obtain a readable copy. The scientists set out to "identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a colour similar to that of the image on the Shroud." They concluded that the exact shade, texture and depth of the imprints on the cloth could only be produced with the aid of ultraviolet lasers - technology that was clearly not available in medieval times. The report found that the depth of the image on the cloth is only "one fifth of a thousandth of a millimeter" (0.0002 mm) which is "the thickness of the primary cell wall ... [of] ... a linen fiber":

Furthermore, the color of the image resides on the outer surface of the fibrils that make up the threads of the cloth, and recent measurements of fragments of the Shroud show that the thickness of staining is extremely thin, around 200 nm = 200 billionths of a meter, or one fifth of a thousandth of a millimeter, which corresponds to the thickness of the primary cell wall of the so-called single linen fiber. ("The Shroud is not a fake," Marco Tosatti, The Vatican Insider, 12/12/2011).

This is the final nail in the coffin of all medieval forgery theories, whether painting, hot statue, camera obscura, etc.

As one of Dan Porter's readers pointed out, even Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince will have to concede that their theory that Leonardo da Vinci improved on an earlier version of the Shroud by inventing photography:

I asked Lynn and Clive to tell me more. For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with your books, could you briefly outline your theory regarding the connection between Leonardo da Vinci and the Turin Shroud? In our 1994 book Turin Shroud: In Whose Image?, revised in 2006 as Turin Shroud: How Leonardo da Vinci Fooled History, we argued that he faked the alleged holy relic - believed to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus, miraculously imprinted with his image and bearing his redemptive blood. We also argued, based on intensive research, that he created the image using a basic form of photography - a camera obscura - which is why it has puzzled so many people for so long. And to cap it all, we believe that he used his own face as the model for that of Christ. All of this was not only within his capabilities - he was known to experiment with camera obscuras, for example - but it also perfectly fits his mind-set. We believe that Leonardo's Shroud was first displayed in 1494 in a town very close to Milan (where he was working at the time) and replaced an earlier, cruder, and more obviously faked "Holy Shroud" which had been exhibited in France. ("Da Vinci and The Turin Shroud Did Leonardo fake the face of Christ?," James Clark, The Morton Report, November 17, 2011).

is now refuted, unless they want to claim that Leonardo invented the laser!:

Email of the Day: Picknett and Prince Changed Their Mind December 19, 2011 episcopalian ... A reader writes: Just heard from Picknett and Prince. After reading the ENEA Report the conspiracy theory duo have changed their mind. Leonardo used an excimer laser instead of a camera obscura, they now tell us. Look for a new book and National Geographic special.

The scientists used extremely brief pulses of ultraviolet light to replicate the kind of marks found on the burial cloth. Not only did not anyone even know about "ultraviolet light" until the 19th century, the actual "total power of VUV [vacuum ultraviolet] radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen" of the Shroud is about "34 thousand billion watts":

However, ENEA scientists warn, "it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )" (Tosatti, The Vatican Insider, 12/12/2011).

They concluded that the iconic image of the bearded man must therefore have been created by "some form of electromagnetic energy (such as a flash of light at short wavelength)."That the image on the Shroud was formed by some sort of radiation, as Jesus' body was resurrected, has long been the explanation that best fits the facts. In 1978, Ian Wilson concluded his first book on the Shroud by hypothesising that the Shroud's image is "a literal `snapshot' of the Resurrection" "indelibly fused onto the cloth" by "a burst of mysterious power from it":

"Even from the limited available information, a hypothetical glimpse of the power operating at the moment of creation of the Shroud's image may be ventured. In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered in blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there is a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant the blood dematerializes, dissolved perhaps by the flash, while its image and that of the body becomes indelibly fused onto the cloth, preserving for posterity a literal `snapshot' of the Resurrection." (Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, p.211).

Although they stopped short of offering a non-scientific explanation for the phenomenon, their findings will be embraced by those who believe that the marks on the shroud were miraculously created at the moment of Christ's Resurrection. This "a non-scientific explanation for the phenomenon" is an example of the modern confusion of "scientific" with the philosophy of Naturalism, i.e. the unproven and unprovable assumption that `nature is all there is - there is no supernatural.' But if the Shroud's image is in fact a byproduct of Jesus' resurrection, then that is the truth and if science is a search for the truth, it is therefore a "scientific explanation for the phenomenon." Unless the proposition is that it is better for science to embrace a false naturalistic explanation than a true super-naturalistic one! "We are not at the conclusion, we are composing pieces of a fascinating and complex scientific puzzle," the team wrote in their report. It is sufficient that the ENEA team conducted the tests (over a 5-year period 2005-2010) but stopped short of actually drawing a supernatural conclusion. Such is the dominant irrational prejudice within science that it would probably lead to them being persecuted and their paper being forcibly retracted (as happened to the Smithsonian Institution's Richard M. Sternberg). Prof Paolo Di Lazzaro, On Googling "Paolo Di Lazzaro" I discovered this 2008 paper on this very topic, which either I was not aware of, or had forgotten:

"Abstract. The body image of the Turin Shroud has not yet been explained by traditional science; so a great interest in a possible mechanism of image formation still exists. We present preliminary results of excimer laser irradiation (wavelength of 308 nm) of a raw linen fabric and of a linen cloth. The permanent coloration of both linens is a threshold effect of the laser beam intensity, and it can be achieved only in a narrow range of irradiation parameters, which are strongly dependent on the pulse width and time sequence of laser shots. We also obtained the first direct evidence of latent images impressed on linen that appear in a relatively long period (one year) after laser irradiation that at first did not generate a clear image. The results are compared with the characteristics of the Turin Shroud, reflecting the possibility that a burst of directional ultraviolet radiation may have played a role in the formation of the Shroud image." (Giuseppe Baldacchini, Paolo Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra, and Giulio Fanti, "Coloring linens with excimer lasers to simulate the body image of the Turin Shroud," Applied Optics, Vol. 47, Issue 9, pp. 1278-1285 (2008).

the head of the team, said: "When one talks about a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things like miracles and resurrection." Indeed! Dead bodies do not naturally emit "a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen," let alone one with the energy of "34 thousand billion watts"! That it occurred on the Shroud purported to have covered Jesus' body, which according to Christianity was resurrected and changed instantaneously (1Cor 15:50-52) from a "natural body" into a "glorious" (Php 3:20-21 ) "spiritual body" (1Cor 15:35,41-44), should be sufficient proof of Christianity being true to those whose minds are not closed to that possibility. "But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes. This is perhaps understandable but reflects a physical science view of "scientific processes." But that does not stop many branches of modern science drawing conclusions from "verifiable scientific processes." For example, Forensic Science presents its conclusions in such a way that juries and judges convict those accused of crimes to prison and even execution, on far less evidence than there is for the Shroud being the burial sheet of Jesus. We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate but we will leave the conclusions to the experts, and ultimately to the conscience of individuals." I agree with this. In the end, God allows those who deny the evidence that He has graciously provided in the Shroud, the freedom to do so. But they will have to explain to Jesus their Judge (Jn 5:26-27; Act 10:41-42; 17:31; Rom 2:16; 2Cor 5:10; 2Tim 4:1) why they refused to accept that evidence. The research, conducted in laboratories in Frascati, a town outside Rome famous for its white wine, backs up the outcome of tests by a group of 31 American scientists between 1978 and 1981. The Americans - who called themselves the Shroud of Turin Research Project or STURP - conducted 120 hours of X-rays and ultraviolet light tests on the linen cloth. They concluded that the marks were not made by paints, pigments or dyes and that the image was not "the product of an artist", but that at the same time it could not be explained by modern science. In a sense the image now has been explained by modern science, but it is not the explanation that naturalistic science expected! The mythology of modern naturalistic science is that "science" (being objectively true) will continually advance and "religion" (being objectively false) will correspondingly continually retreat before it. Or as Darwin's "bulldog" Thomas Henry Huxley famously put it, "extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules [; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain]":

"But myths also were used to promote science, as in Huxley's statement that `extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules.' [Huxley (1894) Vol II p 52].Like the infant Hercules, science grew in power. Huxley's symbolic inversion in casting theologians as serpents could not have been lost on his audience." (Caudill, E., 1997, "Darwinian Myths: The Legends and Misuses of a Theory," The University of Tennessee Press: Knoxville TN, p.136).

That modern science could actually help prove that Christian theologians were right after all, is almost unthinkable to those brought up to accept uncritically that foundational scientific myth. "There are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately." The US team - which included nuclear physicists, thermal chemists, biophysicists and forensic pathologists - concluded: "The image is an ongoing mystery." That was in 1978. But now with these findings, the mystery has effectively been solved. The image on the Shroud was created by Jesus' resurrection, as His body underwent a change of physical state. One of Christianity's greatest objects of veneration, the shroud appears to show the imprint of a man with long hair and a beard whose body bears wounds consistent with having been crucified. And with having been resurrected! Each year it lures millions of pilgrims to Turin Cathedral, where it is kept in a specially designed, climate-controlled case.There it has remained, except for short periods, since 1578 - over 400 years! God's ongoing gracious miracle to the world He so loves (Jn 3:16). Further proof that God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph 3:20 KJV)! Scientists have never been able to explain how the image of a man's body, complete with nail wounds to his wrists and feet, pinpricks from thorns around his forehead and a spear wound to his chest, could have formed on the cloth. Now they can. But will they accept the explanation? The Vatican has never said whether it believes the shroud to be authentic or not, although Pope Benedict XVI has said that the enigmatic image imprinted on the cloth "reminds us always" of Christ's suffering. It will be interesting to see if, after this, the Vatican drops this official pretense and comes right out and states that, on the basis of the overwhelming weight of the evidence, the Shroud of Turin is the very burial sheet of Jesus' and bears the imprint of His crucified and resurrected body. Because it does! Other news articles on this include (in date order-earliest first):

"The Shroud is not a fake," Marco Tosatti, The Vatican Insider, 12/12/2011.

"Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural," Michael Day, The Independent, 20 December 2011.

"The Turin Shroud is fake. Get over it," Tom Chivers, The Telegraph, December 20th, 2011.

"The Shroud of Turin Wasn't Faked, Italian Experts Say," Suzan Clarke, ABC News (blog), Dec 21, 2011.

"Turin Shroud 'was created by flash of supernatural light': It couldn't be a medieval forgery, say scientists," David Wilkes, Mail Online, 21st December 2011.

"Shroud Of Turin, Jesus' Proposed Burial Cloth, Is Authentic, Italian Study Suggests," Ileana Llorens, The Huffington Post, 12/21/11.

"Shroud of Turin can’t be a fake, researchers say: Scientists unable to replicate cloth’s Christ-like image," Rheana Murray, NY Daily News, December 22 2011.

"Mystery of Turin Shroud revealed," Milena Faustova, Voice of Russia, Dec 22, 2011.

"Was Holy Shroud created in a flash? Italian researchers resurrect claim," Alan Boyle, MSNBC, Dec. 23, 2011.

"Scientists say Shroud of Turin authentic, of supernatural origin," Nancy Houser, Digital Journal, Dec 23, 2011.

"Vatican's official newspaper says science cannot explain Turin Shroud," Nick Squires, The Telegraph, 29 Dec 2011.

"Italian state experts create similar colorations seen on Turin shroud," Carol Glatz, The Pilot, 12/29/2011.

"The Shroud of Turin: forgery or divine? A scientist writes," Tom Chivers, The Telegraph December 30, 2011.

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #9 The man has wounds and bloodstains matching the Gospels' description of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ

This is part #9 "Has wounds and bloodstains matching the Gospels' description of the death and burial of Jesus Christ." which is part of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!." The series is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing. The previous post in this series was part #8 "Bears the faint image, front and back, head to head, of a naked man." For more information about this series, see parts #1 "Title Page" and #2 "Contents".




















[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Here are some quotes, in date order (earliest first), referencing the above points:

"What Is the Turin Shroud? In the summer of 1978 three million tourists visited Torino (Turin), Italy. They had come from all over the world to wait in line and to look upon a linen cloth which had been in Turin for more than four hundred years. They knew that the cloth had not been shown to the general public for almost fifty years and that this would likely be its only display in their lifetime. As they entered the cathedral of St. John the Baptist they could see a large, narrow cloth measuring 14.3 feet long by 3.5 feet wide. It was flood-lit and was mounted in front of the main altar at the far end of the church. Gradually, as they neared the altar, they began to notice on the cloth an extremely faint, reddish-colored, life-sized image of a bearded man. The man looked strikingly like traditional images of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the cloth known as the Shroud of Turin is thought by many people to be the actual burial wrapping of Jesus. Both the front and the back of the body can be seen on the cloth. From either end the figure appears feet-head, head-feet. This tells us that he may have been placed on one half of the cloth. The other half would then have been pulled over the front of the body. There are stains on the body that resemble blood stains from an ancient Roman scourging and crucifixion with nails. On the front, there are trickles of blood on the man's forehead, a large stain on his right side, and stains from a wound in one wrist. (The other hand cannot be seen.) Both arms show blood runoffs from the hands to the elbows. On the back can be counted about 120 small stains which conform to the shape of a Roman whip. More blood trickles are seen on the back of the head. The feet are bloodied from apparent nail wounds. In short, the wounds on the image of the Shroud conform to the story of Jesus' crucifixion as told in the Gospels. There are other visible marks. The Shroud has two long burn lines running down its whole length. It has fourteen triangle-shaped patches covering burn holes. There are also several diamond-shaped water marks. The cause of these marks is well known: The Shroud was once damaged in a fire in Chambery, France, in the year 1532. Finally, along one whole side, a strip of linen cloth has been sewn on." (Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, pp.6,8. Emphasis original).

"Measuring 14 ft. 3 in. long by 3 ft. 7 in. wide and known to exist since at least 1354 A.D., the Shroud might at first appear to be an odd object for the serious studies and debates which have characterized its most recent history. Caught in a fire in 1532 and almost destroyed by dripping molten silver, the Shroud survived with a twin series of burn marks down its entire length. Almost every destructive burn is mirrored by a similar one across from it, reminiscent of paper doll cutouts. But most compellingly, this cloth reveals the frontal and dorsal images of a man, the whole body of an apparent crucifixion victim. The double image, arranged head to head with the feet at opposite ends of the cloth, appears to have been created after being wrapped lengthwise around the dead body. The person apparently suffered wounds popularly associated with crucifixion-a pierced scalp; serious beatings in the face and down the length of the body, both front and back; pierced wrists and feet; and a larger wound in the side of the chest." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, pp.11-12).

"Shroud aficionados entering the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Turin are confronted, outside the Royal Chapel, with a full-size, colour photograph of the Turin Shroud. That will have to satisfy their curiosity. The shroud itself is stored, elaborately coffined, on an altar behind a triply locked iron grill in the cathedral's chapel. It is only displayed to the public on special occasions every forty years or so. The photograph shows an altogether impressive and beautiful stained linen cloth the colour of old ivory, 14' 3" long and 3' 7" wide. It bears the faint front and back imprint of a naked crucified man with hands folded modestly over his genitals. The image depicts all the stigmata of the crucifixion described in the Bible including a large blood stain from the spear wound in the side. The linen weave is a three to one herringbone twill. A seam or tuck divides the main body of the shroud from a 6" side strip of the same weave which runs almost the entire length of the cloth. A backing cloth of basket weave covering the entire back area of the shroud is exposed at both ends of this side strip where pieces of the side strip have either been removed or never existed. The most notable feature of the shroud is the sixteen patches that were applied symmetrically in pairs to the front of the shroud in 1534, two years after it was damaged in a fire that occurred in the chapel in Chambery, France, where the shroud was stored in a silver chest. Gouts of molten silver burned through the shroud, fortunately outside the image, in a symmetric fashion due to the way in which it was folded in the chest. The shroud was doused with water before the fire damage could spread to the image." (Gove, H.E. , 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.1).

"The Shroud is in the form of a cloth strip, yellowish-white in colour, 4.37 metres long, 1.11 metres wide and 1.450 kg in weight. It shows, close to each other at the head, the front and rear imprint of the body of a man. From the archaeological standpoint, the Shroud is a burial-sheet, wrapped round a corpse on the table in the tomb where the body was laid. To forensic medical examination, the image of the body seems to be stiffened by rigor mortis, and reveals a whole series of wounds and injuries corresponding to those recounted in the Gospels as being inflicted on Jesus. Signs of flagellation over the whole body, small wounds in the scalp caused by a helmet of thorns, two torn areas in the left scapula zone and the right super-scapular zone, holes in the wrists and at the feet, which could be caused by the penetration of nails, and a wide injury caused by a steel weapon in the lower right rib region." (Cassanelli, A., 2002, "The Holy Shroud," Williams, B., transl., Gracewing: Leominster UK, p.15).

The next post in this series is part #10 "His death and burial matches the Gospels' description of that of Jesus Christ."

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #8 Bears the faint image, front and back, head to head, of a naked man

This is part #8 "Bears the faint image, front and back, head to head, of a naked man" which is part of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!." The series is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing. The previous post in this series was part #7 "Kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578." For more information about this series, see parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" .



















[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Here are some quotes in date order (oldest first) which serve as references to the points I make in the PowerPoint slide:

"FOR MORE than half a century, scholars in the most divergent fields have been at loggerheads over the authenticity of what is commonly called the Shroud of Turin. An immense literature both pro and con has grown up over the decades. The Cloth in question is a piece of linen, 171 inches long by 43¼ inches wide (4.36 by 1.10 m.), preserved in a chapel of the cathedral of Turin. The Cloth today is marred by numerous burn marks and water stains, sustained in 1532, during a fire in the castle chapel of Chambéry. But over and above these, it has peculiar markings of its own-the frontal and dorsal image of a full grown man." (Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.1. Emphasis original).

"There are marks on the Turin Shroud. Some (the most obvious) are accidental and easily explained. Other are remedial and present no problem. But the central markings seem to be intentional and baffle all natural explanation. The accidental marks are burns and singes caused by molten silver in a fire which broke out in the Sainte-Chapelle at Chambéry on the night of 3-4, December 1532. The remedial marks are triangular linen patches applied to the worst of these burns by the Poor Clares of Sainte-Claire-en-Ville in April 1534. But the marks down the centre of the Shroud's length are mysterious in the extreme. Quite what they are, or how they were caused, no one can honestly say, least of all the scientists who have examined therm. They are not marks caused by paint or any pigment. They have not penetrated the linen fibres, as paint would have done, nor have they insinuated themselves between the fibres, nor do they appear on the back of the cloth. These marks have shape and figure. At first sight they might suggest two ghostly brass-rubbings of some medieval knight bereft of armour. On closer inspection they are seen faintly but perceptibly to represent the naked body - both back and front - of a mature bearded male with long hair who would have stood about 5 feet 11 inches [178 cms] tall and weighed in the region of 12½ stone, or 175 pounds [79.5 kgs]. It appears that he has been laid supine on one half of the cloth, while the other half has been doubled back to cover him from face to feet, so that the two life-size images lie head to head down the centre of the Shroud." (McNair, P., "The Shroud and History: fantasy, fake or fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.22-23).

"The Turin Shroud is a linen cloth the color of old ivory measuring 4.4 by 1.1 m. It bears the faint front and back, head to head, imprint of a naked man. This remarkable image depicts all the stigmata of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible. As a result, it is thought by many to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus. The shroud's known history dates back to about the year 1357 when it was displayed in a church in Lirey, France. The shroud, or some version of it, eventually passed into the hands of the House of Savoy. The shroud was stored in a silver chest in a chapel in Chambery, France and in 1532 a fire raged through the chapel. Part of the chest melted and gouts of molten silver burned through the shroud, fortunately outside the image, in a symmetric fashion due to the way it was folded in the chest. The shroud was doused with water before further damage could occur and the burn holes were later patched. In 1578 the seat of the House of Savoy was moved to Turin, Italy and the shroud moved with it. In 1983 the last king of Italy, Umberto II, a member of the House of Savoy, willed the shroud to the Vatican. It is presently stored in a silver reliquary in a glass case behind the main altar of the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Turin, under the custody of the Archbishop of Turin." (Gove, H.E., Mattingly, S.J., David, A.R. & L.A. Garza-Valdes, 1997, "A problematic source of organic contamination of linen," Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research - Section B, pp.504-507, p.504. My emphasis).

"In November 1973, while I was living in Bristol, England, a call came through from the United States alerting me that for the first time in forty years the Shroud was to be brought out for public gaze from its then normal repository in the Royal Chapel. It was to be shown on Italian television, and there was also to be an unprecedented opportunity for journalists and interested individuals such as myself to view the cloth at first hand. ... By lunch-time on 22 November I found myself, with some thirty others, being given a brief preliminary introduction by Turin's then archbishop, Cardinal Michele Pellegrino. The group was escorted up a grand marble staircase of Turin's Royal Palace and into a huge, frescoed hall, the Hall of the Swiss. At the far end of this the Shroud hung upright in a simple oak frame, its fourteen- foot length brilliantly illuminated by high-powered television lights. ... It did not look at all as I had expected. Everything that I knew of the Shroud up to this point - and I thought I knew quite a lot - had been based on black-and-white photographs that, whether they are in positive or negative, make it look a lot darker than it really is ... To see the original's faintness and subtlety was really quite breath-taking. Framed by the burns and patches from the other fire in which the Shroud came perilously close to destruction - a similarly ruinous chapel blaze while it was being kept at Chambéry in 1532 - there was the familiar `body image' that to me was the Shroud's central mystery. If you stood back you could make it out readily enough: a bearded face, a pronounced chest, crossed hands, legs side by side, together with, as one looked up at the back-of-the-body image, a long rope of hair, taut shoulders and buttocks, and soles of the feet. But the image colour was the subtlest yellow sepia, and as you moved in closer to anything like touching distance .. it seemed virtually to disappear like mist. Because of the lack of outline and the minimum contrast to the ivory-coloured background, it became well-nigh impossible to `see' whatever detail you were trying to look at without stepping some distance back again. To me, as a practising life-painter and an enthusiast of art history, it seemed absolutely impossible that any artist-faker could have created an image of this kind, certainly not one of centuries ago. The succeeding day and a half during which I was allowed some eight hours of further direct examination served to reaffirm my conviction, despite all the obvious rational objections, that this cloth simply had to be genuine." (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.3-4. Emphasis original).

"All around the forehead of the face can be discerned overlying trickles in a distinctively redder colour. Although the only logical interpretation of these trickles is as blood stains, their colour under artificial lighting is more magenta than is normally associated with blood which is even a day old, let alone twenty centuries. In room interior daylight ... they can appear more maroon, deepening in places where the trickling of droplets has terminated. In this same colour there is also a large `blood' flow overlying the right-hand side of the figure's chest. More, similar-coloured `blood' trickles down the figure's forearms, one larger, distinctively V -shaped stain at the one visible wrist seemingly indicating the source of this. In the `body' image colour, bony-looking hands are very clearly discernible crossed over the genitals region. And yet more `blood' is apparent at the cloth's far left end, where the figure's feet might be construed to have been. ... When we turn our attention to the right-hand half of the cloth there are several more `blood' trickles in the back-of-the-head area, resembling those earlier noted on the forehead. These trickles overlie a head-shaped `body' image suggestive of long hair, together with what seemed ... to be an unbound pigtail lying in parallel with the spine ... Again in the `body' image coloration, there is the impression of shoulders that became peppered with faint but distinctively regular-size marks, each having a characteristic dumb-bell shape. In the `blood' colour a chain-like complex of rivulets runs across what would appear to be the small of the figure's back, while a scattering of more 'body'-coloured dumb-bells can be discerned on faintly indicated buttocks. Limbs are similarly vaguely indicated in the `body' image colour, the back of the figure's upper or left-hand leg seemingly slightly more strongly imprinted than its partner. At the cloth's far right we can make out the surprisingly well-defined sole of a foot, with its `body' image colour almost completely covered over with heel-to-toe `blood'. From the heel/ankle area a rill of more `blood' seems to have spilled sideways directly onto the cloth, arguably as the figure was laid in it, while a complex of further `bloodstains', as from a second foot, is also evident, though rather less clearly delineated. Yet, although this enigmatic `body and blood' imprint is the Shroud's very raison d'etre ... it is by no means its most conspicuous feature. That most doubtful `honour' must instead go to two lines of brownish marks and add-on patches that each run the length of the cloth transversely, only just beyond the sides of the two head-to-head figure imprints, thereby effectively framing these. These brownish marks are scorches from a fire in December 1532, when the Shroud was being kept in the Savoys' then capital of Chambéry, high in what are now the French Alps. As the cloth lay in an ornate silver casket, secure behind a multi-locked iron grille, the Savoys' Sainte Chapelle burst into flames, leaving no time for the clergy to obtain the keys from the various worthies holding them. Although a hastily summoned blacksmith managed to prise the grille open in the nick of time, the Shroud's casket was found to have melted in the heat. Inside the cloth had been stored away folded up in forty-eight folds, and upon its being opened up a drop of molten silver fell on one corner, causing it to burst into flame, and necessitating a hurried dousing with water. Although the Shroud had not been destroyed, as some rumoured at the time, it was undeniably seriously scarred and blemished with a sorry patchwork of burn-holes, scorchmarks and water-stains." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.19-22).

"The Shroud of Turin ... is a sheet of linen fourteen feet six inches long by three feet nine inches wide [442.5 cm x 113.7 cm], these dimensions being a broad approximation because of two missing corners. Most of those who have had the opportunity to view it close up describe its general background coloration as ivory. Even so, one of the first surprises on any viewing is just how clean the fabric appears for an object theoretically two thousand years old. ... Another surprise is the Shroud's general state of repair. Any examination in close-up clearly reveals the cloth's tight herringbone weave, and how fundamentally strong it remains, with no sign of disintegration. Yet the texture is not at all coarse in the manner of sailcloth or sacking. Instead, as was possible to determine with a surreptitious touch during the 1973 showing, it has the basic lightness of a modern-day linen bed- sheet. But what principally draws the eye during any direct viewing is the Shroud's famous and all-important double image. Like the subtlest of shadows, cast on the cloth can be seen faint imprints of the back and front of the body of a man with long hair and a beard. He seems to be quite naked, bloodstained in places, and laid out in the attitude of death. To those unfamiliar with the Shroud, the head-to-head arrangement of the two imprints ... can only appear most curious without some explanation of the basic theory behind how they seem to have been formed. First the body the Shroud wrapped was laid on one half of the cloth, thereby creating the back-of- the-body imprint; the remaining half of the cloth was then drawn over the head and down to the feet, creating the front-of-the-body imprint. Given a corpse soaked in sweat and blood, each side of the body thereby acted like some kind of printing plate. Yet another of the surprises arising from viewing the Shroud directly rather than via a photograph is discovering just how pale and subtle the two body imprints appear. First-hand assessments of their colouring range from straw-yellow to sepia, much depending on the prevailing light conditions. Nevertheless there is universal agreement on their most enigmatic property: the closer one tries to examine them, the more they seem to melt like mist." (Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.6-7, 311n1).

The next post in this series is part #9, "The man has wounds and bloodstains matching the Gospels' description of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ."

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #7 Kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578

This is part #7, "Kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578" which is part of of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!," which is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing. The previous post in this series was part #6, "An old, yellowed, rectangular, linen sheet about 4.4 x 1.1 metres." For more information about this series, see parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" .




















[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Here are some more quotes, in chronological order (earliest first), which mention the Shroud being kept in in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578, i.e. over 430 years, except for comparatively brief periods, e.g. when it was moved to a secret location southern Italy, later revealed to be the Abbey of Montevergine, in Avelino, Italy:

"What is the Shroud of Turin? The Shroud of Turin is a large piece of linen cloth (14 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 7 inches) which is preserved today in a chapel attached to the cathedral in Turin, Italy. It is called the Shroud be cause tradition says that the Body of Christ was wrapped in this cloth at the time of His burial. It is called the Shroud of Turin because since 1578 the Shroud has been preserved in Turin. Historians trace the cloth back to France where in 1389 it was the subject of a controversy between the Canons of the Cathedral at Lirey and the Bishop of Troyes. The Canons claimed that it was the Burial Cloth of Christ, while the Bishop said that the image on the cloth was a painting. .... From May 25th to June 2nd, 1898 the Shroud was displayed publicly in the Cathedral at Turin. Permission was sought to photograph the cloth for the first time ... When permission was granted, Secondo Pia was chosen to take the photograph. ... The resulting photograph was anything but routine. .... The image on the glass plate was not negative, but positive! ... the only possible explanation for the positive image was that the image on the cloth ... was itself a negative image! But how could this be? Photography was less than a hundred years old. This cloth was certainly five hundred years. It existed long before anyone knew what a negative image was. When Pia's discovery was reported in scientific journals, scientists became curious about the origin of this `negative' image which ante-dated photography by several hundred years. In Paris at the Sorbonne University under the direction of Dr. Paul Vignon a group of scientists studied the glass plates provided by Secondo Pia. The group included ... Dr. Yves Delage, a member of the French Academy of Science and, incidentally, a professed agnostic. After an intensive investigation of eighteen months the scientists were convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud, and they believed that they had discovered a process by which the imprints could have been formed (Vignon's vaporograph theory). On April 12, 1902, Delage presented a report to the French Academy of Science. Delage rejected categorically the possibility that the image had been painted. All evidence indicated that the image was actually the imprint of a human corpse. Accepting the Gospels as historical records, Delage the agnostic, went one step further and on purely scientific and circumstantial evidence accepted the identification of the Man of the Shroud as Christ of the Gospels." (Otterbein, A.J., "Introduction," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, pp.3-4).

"Evasively was also the way Cardinal Fossati had answered the Nazis' repeated request, during World War II, to see the shroud. Although they said they wanted to view it for scholarly and devotional purposes, the cardinal had already spirited the shroud from its resting place over the altar in the shroud chapel to a stone fortress overlooking Avellino, 140 miles south of Rome. Built in the twelfth century and accessible only by a dirt road, the building now was the Benedictine monastery of Monte Vergine. When the shroud arrived, it was placed in a wooden box, sealed, and placed under the main altar in the chapel. If the monastery were bombed, the monks could rush it to a cave in the heart of the mountain. In 1946, in gratitude for their preserving the shroud while war raged up and down the country, Cardinal Fossati gave the monks and several invited guests a private showing of the shroud." (Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, p.18).

"Except for the duration of the Second World War (when it was hidden high up in the Southern Italian Province of Avellino in the crypt of the Abbey of Montevergine ... the Shroud has remained for the last four hundred years at Turin. It was brought there from Chambéry in September 1578 (hence its exposition throughout the month of September 1978 and the date of the publication of this book), ostensibly to shorten the journey of the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, St Charles Borromeo (1538-84), who wished to venerate it, but more probably as part of a political move on the part of its owner, Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy (1528-80), who was planning to transfer his capital from Chambéry to Turin. Since 1694 it has been preserved in a chapel specially built for it between the apse of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista and the Royal Palace, known as both the Cappella Reale and the Cappella della Santa Sindone. This shrine is the work of the Theatine architect, Guarino Guarini of Modena (1624-83), and was commissioned by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II (1666-1732), the first King of Sardinia. The bold dome of this impressive black marble rotonda is 195 feet high, and soars beyond the top of most internal photographs. The Shroud - when not exposed - is kept rolled up round a pole inside a silvered wooden reliquary behind a grille above the altar. Although jealously guarded and protected by asbestos, it has been the target of pyromania even in this decade: on 1, October 1972 some acrobatic Herostratus climbed over the palace roof, broke into Guarini's chapel through the dome and tried to set fire to Christendom's most precious relic, repeating his gesture twenty days later." (McNair, P., "The Shroud and History: fantasy, fake or fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.23-24).

"WHAT IS THE HOLY SHROUD? The Holy Shroud of Turin is a piece of cloth measuring 14'3" by 3'7" which bears an image of a man laid out in death. The Shroud is kept today in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John in Turin, Italy. It is regarded by many millions of people as the genuine burial shroud of Jesus Christ. Its documented existence takes us back over 600 years and there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence to indicate its continuous existence back to the time of Christ 2,000 years ago in Palestine. Since the end of the nineteenth century an enormous amount of scientific investigation has been carried out on the Shroud and on photographs of it whose enigmatic properties have baffled highly acclaimed scientists in many parts of the world." (Morgan, R., 1983, "Shroud Guide," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia, p.7. Emphasis original).

"What is the Shroud of Turin? ... The Shroud, often called the `Holy Shroud,' is most commonly referred to as the Shroud of Turin because it has been physically located in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy for over 400 years. This precious cloth is considered by millions of Christians throughout the world to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ - a direct witness to His passion, death and resurrection 2,000 years ago. The Shroud is the holiest relic in Christianity. Physically, the Shroud is a remarkably well-preserved oblong piece of linen cloth 14'3" long (4.36 meters) and 3'7" wide (1.1 meters), weighing approximately 5 1/2 lbs. (2.45 kgs.). The linen fibers are woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill with a Z-twist and consist of a fairly heavy yarn (34/100 of a millimeter thick) of Near Eastern or Mediterranean basin flax. Down the left side of the Shroud is a border approximately 3 1/2 inches wide (8 centimeters from the edge) running the full length of the linen cloth. Once thought to be a side-strip sewn onto the main cloth, it has now been determined to be a selvedge, that is, a piece of cloth woven into the main cloth so that it will not unravel. It is done in such a manner as to require no hem. The reason for adding the selvedge is not known for certain. However, historian and renowned English sindonologist Ian Wilson speculates that the selvedge may have been added at a later date perhaps to center the image on the cloth for viewing. He considers this the most logical explanation and points out that the selvedge was added at the same time as the fringe and gold covering, the overall purpose being to transform the cloth from a shroud to what seems to have been some sort of `portrait.'" (Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.1-2. Emphasis original).

"The burial cloth known today as the Shroud of Turin has been kept in the city of Turin (Torino), Italy, since 1578. In 1694, the Shroud was placed in a special chapel within the Italian cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Except for a brief period during World War II when the cloth was moved elsewhere for safety, the Shroud remained in this cathedral until the night of April 11, 1997, when a raging fire necessitated its removal. The Shroud was not damaged, and was kept elsewhere in the city until again placed in the cathedral for public display from April 18 through June 14, 1998 (Van Biema, 1998)." (Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, 1999, p.3).

"Emmanuel Philibert, the Duke of Savoy, brought the Shroud to Turin, Italy on September 14, 1578. One of the principal reasons for doing so was so that St. Charles Borromeo might venerate it. The saint had been the first resident archbishop of Milan in more than eighty years. ... The Shroud was never returned to Chambery and was exposed for veneration each year on the 4th of May in front of the Palazzo Madama. ... On June 1, 1694, the Shroud was placed in a chapel of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist designed by the abbot, Guarino Guarini. Except for a brief period during World War II, it has been kept there ever since. In 1939, Cardinal Maurilio Fossati, Archbishop of Turin, secretly moved the Shroud for safekeeping to the Benedictine Abbey of Montevergine located at Avellino, about 140 miles south of Rome. There it remained until it was returned to Turin in 1946. That year the last Duke of Savoy, King Umberto II, was deposed. He died in Geneva on March 18, 1983. In his will he bequeathed the Shroud to the Holy See, but the Pope left the relic in the custodial care of the Archbishop of Turin." (Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, pp.18-20).

"In 1453 Marguerite de Charny, the last descendant of the family, gave custody of the Shroud to Anna di Lusignano, the wife of Duke Lodovico of Savoy, who transferred it to Chambery, then Capital of Savoy. Here, in the `Sainte Chapelle' during the night of 4 December 1532, the Shroud suffered very severe damage as a result of a fierce fire; the damage caused, even though lovingly repaired by the Poor Clares, is still evident. In 1578, in order to ease the exhausting pilgrimage for St Charles Borromeo, who was travelling on foot and fasting to Chambery, Duke Emanuel Philibert moved the Shroud to Turin, his new capital. Since 1694, the Shroud has been preserved in the Chapel of the same name built between the Cathedral and the Royal Palace, to a design by the Theatine father and architect, Guarino Guarini. Venerated beneath the famous dome, it is contained in an ornate urn, the three keys to which are separately in the possession of the Custodian, the Archbishop, and the Proprietor. The latter, by virtue of the will of Umberto (Humbert) of Savoy, the last king of Italy, is now, since 1983, the Holy Father himself. The Shroud, stretched and stitched on to a backing of Holland canvas, has been preserved rolled up for its entire length around a wooden cylinder.Only on occasions associated with the Church or the history of the House of Savoy was the Shroud exposed for the viewing of the faithful. The relic has thus never left Turin, a city with which it has such deep associations, except that in 1706, during the siege by the French, it was taken for safe-keeping to Genoa, while in the terrible years of the Second World War, after a stay in the Quirinale, it was hidden in the Benedictine Monastery of Montevergine (Avellino)." (Cassanelli, A. , 2002, "The Holy Shroud," Williams, B., transl., Gracewing: Leominster UK, p.14).

"The Fire of 1997 Before midnight on 11 April, in the Guarini Royal Chapel of the Holy Shroud adjoining the Turin Cathedral, a fire broke out, the flames quickly engulfing the Chapel. The seventeenth-century altar was set ablaze, with debris raining down upon it from the high dome above. Because of restoration work that had been going on in the Chapel, including rewiring, the fire alarms had been switched off and there was no night watchman on duty. Fortunately, the Shroud, in its silver casket, had been removed earlier from its place above the elaborate Bertola altar and placed in a temporary display case in the Cathedral, behind the main altar. When the fire brigade arrived at the scene and burst into the Cathedral, the nave was filled with smoke billowing in from the Chapel entrance. As almost 200 firemen set about quenching the blaze, one of them rushed to the Shroud's display case and flailed a sledgehammer at its 4 centimetre-thick toughened glass panel. At great personal risk, fireman Mario Tematore smashed a hole in the glass - even though it was reputedly unbreakable. He withdrew the Shroud's 1.4 metre-long silver casket and rushed it to safety. .... The Guarini Chapel, totally guttered by fire, was left a smoldering, blackened ruin, and its entry wall adjoining the rear of the Cathedral was extensively damaged. ... Some days later, with the Shroud casket safely in the Cardinal's residence, it was opened and the cloth was removed and rolled onto a long table for examination. To the relief of all persons present, it had survived unharmed. In the aftermath of the fire ... the Shroud ... was transferred into a new, high-tech, bullet-proof glass conservation case, weighing 3 tons .... In an air-conditioned atmosphere of nitrogen and the inert argon gas, specially created for the cloth's protection, the Shroud was stretched out full length. The case was placed behind the cathedral's high altar and was surrounded by black curtaining." (Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, pp.175-177, 179. Emphasis original).

The next post in this series is part #8 "Bears the faint image, front and back, head to head, of a naked man."

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Earlier issues of the BSTS Newsletter now online

I have been scanning old issues of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter (from issues #54, then #42 backwards) which Ian Wilson loaned me for that purpose.

[Right (click to enlarge): My scan of the front cover of the BSTS Newsletter, issue 42, January 1996.]

And then, with Wilson supplying photos and art-work from his original copy masters, sending them to Barrie Schwortz for his final editing, conversion to PDF, and adding them to his The Shroud of Turin website.

In his latest Shroud.com update, Schwortz writes:

"Earlier Issues of the BSTS Newsletter Now Online
As most of you know, we have been reprinting the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter on this website since we first went online in 1996. Of course, we only reprinted each current issue once it was published, so the 42 earlier issues of the newsletter previous to 1996 were not available online. However, that is all changing thanks to Stephen E. Jones, BSTS member living in Australia. Stephen has begun the major task of scanning and using optical character recognition to archive the earlier issues and is working backwards from Issues #42 through #1. By using optical character recognition after scanning, the resulting pdf files that we publish are completely searchable by the individual reader as well as by major search engines. In today's update, we are including Issue #54, which was previously not on the site, along with Issues #42, 41 and 40. My thanks not only to Stephen, but also to Ian Wilson, former BSTS Newsletter editor, who has helped in reviewing the earlier issues and making high quality cover art available to us.

In the next website update we will include at least five more back issues (#35-39) and will continue to do so until the entire archive is completed and online (or Stephen throws in the towel). You will also notice some other changes to the BSTS page, including the addition of a Pick an Issue navigator bar, which allows you to quickly pick the specific issue you wish to view by issue number. My sincerest thanks to Stephen and Ian for their willingness to take up this time consuming but important work, from which we will all benefit. Of course, we will continue to publish the latest issues as we always have, so watch for Issue #74 in our January 21, 2012 update."

I emailed Barrie Schwortz (cc. Ian Wilson) yesterday:

"It's great to see the `missing' BSTS Newsletters finally being webbed! Thanks for doing it.

I have been reading Ian's old Newsletters from #1 forward and am up to #24 of January 1990. I have `lived through' the BSTS' dark days following the 1988-89 carbon-dating of the Shroud as `medieval'. It is fascinating reading and I am looking forward to the day when those immediately pre- and post-carbon dating issues are webbed."

Having read those old post-carbon dating BSTS Newsletters, I feel I must pay tribute to Ian Wilson, who like a good Captain, remained at the helm of the apparently sinking (or even sunk) ship Shroud, first leading the damage control, and then spearheaded the counter-attack, so that today, all but the `true believers' in the Shroud's inauthenticity and the blissfully ignorant, at least doubt, if not reject, the 1989 claim in Nature that:

"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich. As Controls, three samples whose ages had been determined independently were also dated. The results 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, No. 6208, 16th February, 1989, pp.611-615. My emphasis).

Here is a quote from a 1988 BSTS Newsletter, in response to pervasive leaks that the Shroud had been carbon-dated to the 14th century, where Wilson coined the brilliant metaphor of "the captain of an Atlantic-crossing jumbo Jet" who does not, having "spotting that his fuel gauges suddenly read empty, immediately ... ditch his aircraft in the sea without a few further checks":

"But if there was one feature of the British Museum press conference that particularly astonished, and frankly annoyed me, it was Professor Hall's flat assertion, on the basis merely of the averaged `1260-1390 AD' dates quoted (scientific publication of details will follow in another few months), that the carbon dates have overwhelmingly proved the Shroud's fraudulence. Effectively we are supposed to believe that on the basis of one single branch of science, nuclear physics (and all involved with the carbon dating, including Gonella and Tite, were physicists), every other scientific and historical contribution to the subject must now be tossed aside as totally worthless. As Hall admitted, it did not matter to him that there remained no clear explanation for how some hypothetical forger created the Shroud's image. The laboratories' instruments had spoken, and that was it. Now although a mere arts graduate, I have always understood that to be truly scientific, any hypothesis needs to be checked from at least two different directions. For instance we do not expect the captain of an Atlantic-crossing jumbo Jet, spotting that his fuel gauges suddenly read empty, immediately to ditch his aircraft in the sea without a few further checks. In the case of the Shroud it may be argued that just such further checks were provided by the `blind' control samples supplied by the British Museum. The fact that the laboratories agreed on the datings of these latter as well as on the Shroud samples has seemed to the media effectively the final proof positive that the Shroud really does date from the fourteenth century. To plead anything else is, as BBC Science Correspondent James Wilkinson put it to me, `clutching at straws'." (Ian Wilson, "The Carbon Dating Results: Is this the End?", BSTS Newsletter 20, October 1988, pp.2-10, p.4).

There are rich veins of gold in those old BSTS Newsletters, which are well worth reading. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to serve in this way the One whose image He graciously had imprinted on His burial shroud, and then preserved it for us these past ~2,000 years.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!: #6 An old, yellowed, rectangular, linen sheet about 4.4 x 1.1 metres

This is part #6 "An old, yellowed, rectangular, linen sheet about 4.4 x 1.1 metres," which is part of my PowerPoint presentation-based series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!" The previous post in this series was part #5 "What is the Shroud of Turin?" See parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" for more details.


















[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

Attached are quotes that expand on this topic in date order (oldest first):

"Before them was a long, narrow piece of cloth that had once been white, but now had the tone of old ivory. It was about fourteen feet in length and less than four feet wide. From one end to the other it presented a bewilderingly mottled appearance: a series of large and small patches, darkened areas, discolorations and brownish stains. The gaze of the onlookers immediately went to the stains: though vague and diffused, they gave an irresistible impression of a human body. On one half the length of the sheet could be dimly seen the front of the body, with head, arms, chest and legs discernible. On the other half, the back of the head and the broad expanse of shoulders tapering down to hips and legs were visible. The figures had no sharp outlines. Yet, somehow, the stains, fading here and darkening there, managed to convey the image of a man. Smears and trickles of a darker hue, like blood, marred the figure in places. The face was a grotesque thing, mask-like and expressionless. Owlish white spots indicated the position of the eyes. The nose was a dark line running down the middle of the face from arched brows, the mouth a small, dark blob beneath which stains seemed to form a beard. Separately, another stain straggled up from the level of the beard, over the head and down the other side of the face. Long hair." (Walsh, J.E., "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY, 1963, pp.7-8).

"... the Turin Shroud ... This length of ivory-coloured cloth measures 14 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 7 inches, or 4.36 metres by 1.10 metre. Its exact age has not yet been determined, but it is at least six hundred years old, and there is nothing in its fabric or weave to invalidate the claim that its manufacture is of the first century AD. From the purely textile angle it can be described as a three-to-one herring-bone twill, the material being linen with a small admixture of cotton (as the Belgian Professor Gilbert Raes reported in 1976 after his microscopic examination of carefully selected and extracted threads of it in his textile laboratory at Ghent University). The presence of cotton fibres in the weave is considered by experts to be conclusive in ruling out a European provenance for the fabric of the Shroud, since cotton was not grown or used in Europe in any possible epoch of the manufacture of this cloth. But it is entirely consonant with a Palestinian provenance, as the fibres are of the Gossypium Herbaceum variety which is cultivated in the Middle East. The total absence of wool in the Shroud's composition is instructive to anyone versed in the Mosaic Law with its prohibition of textile mixture, for Leviticus 19:19 commands: `Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.' The presence of even one wool fibre would have excluded this cloth from ever having been a Jewish burial shroud." (McNair, P., "The Shroud and History: fantasy, fake or fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.21-22).

"What is it pilgrims see when, during the seldom recurring expositions of the famous Relic, they flock by the thousand to the Cathedral of Turin? A long strip of yellowish cloth (14 feet 3 inches long and 3 feet 7 inches wide) variedly marked with stains, burns and patches, forms the great centre of attraction for those eager and reverent eyes. .... The spectators perceive two rather vague imprints of a human body in natural size, placed head to head, outlined in the centre of the linen. ... The two dark streaks that run parallel to the sides of the Cloth are the traces left by a fire which nearly destroyed the Relic at Chambéry [France] in 1532. At that time, the Shroud, folded eight times lengthwise and four times crosswise, was kept in a silver chest. When the chest was rescued from the flames, one side had already been partly melted. A corner of the folded Shroud was charred where a piece of the red-hot metal had fallen, and the scorching reproduced itself symmetrically through all the several layers of the Cloth. Other stains were made by water poured on to quench the fire. The mended portions are the work of the Chambéry nuns who used altar linen in repairing the precious Cloth. The burns, patches and water stains, and even the many creases on the Cloth, tend to divert the eye from what should be its great point of attraction: the two shadow-like images in the centre of the Shroud. On the fourteen-foot length of cloth it is not easy for the viewer to grasp and interpret their significance. Photography has made it possible for us to view the Shroud as a whole, at one glance and yet correctly, reducing that long expanse of cloth into small compass. Yet even when seen on photograph these images appear somewhat blurred and formless: they are the imprints of the Body of our Saviour. ... The reader ... I do not expect him to be impressed to any degree from his study of this picture. Perhaps he may even be disappointed. He may have already thought that those shadow-like imprints constitute no portrait of Jesus at all; that it takes no small effort of the imagination to see in those stains the traits of the Crucified One. This is all very true. The images of the Shroud are both meaningless and disappointing. The detail of the face as seen on the Shroud ... is even more disconcerting; it looks unnatural, expressionless, more like a mask than a face. It is certainly not a portrait. ... And rightly so, for on the Shroud the images are shown reversed in light and shade and position from what they are in reality. They are a perfect negative, and they look as meaningless and grotesque as would the picture of any one of us on a negative film. We know this because photography gave us the positive version of the Shroud's mysterious imprints, thus revealing to us the true nature and significance of those stains that make the Turin Shroud the most precious cloth in the world." (Rinaldi, P.M., 1978, "The Man in the Shroud," [1972], Futura: London, Revised, pp.25-27).

"The linen, although ivory-colored with age, was still surprisingly clean looking, even to the extent of a damasklike surface sheen. It was possible to study closely the herringbone weave of the linen. In the areas untouched by the ravages of history it was in remarkably good condition. Even when examined under a magnifying glass, the fiber showed no signs of disintegration. The texture was also surprising. Some writers have described it as 'coarse.' This is quite definitely not so. Although any handling was officially disapproved, the temptation was too great not to touch the linen gently when at close range. It was light and almost silky to the touch. The dimensions of the cloth are impressive: 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. It was created in a single piece, apart from a strip approximately 3½ inches wide running the length of the left-hand side and joined by a single seam. It is the imprint of the all-important `double image' that principally draws the eye. There, like a shadow cast on the cloth, is the faint imprint of the back and front of a powerfully built man with beard and long hair, laid out in the attitude of death. To anyone who has not seen a photograph of the Shroud before, the two figures could only appear most curious, until one understands the manner in which the image seems to have been formed-that the body was first laid on one end of the cloth, with the remaining half of the cloth then drawn over the head and down to the feet. The sixteenth-century Italian artist Clovio illustrated this beautifully in an aquatint of the Shroud in which, below the angel-borne cloth, he painted Joseph and Nicodemus wrapping Jesus in just such a manner after the descent from the cross. The astonishing aspect of seeing the Shroud itself rather than a photograph is discovering how pale and subtle the image appears. The color of the imprint can best be described as a pure sepia monochrome, and the closer one tries to examine it, the more it melts away like mist." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.21).

"Along these same lines has been a study of the shroud's dimensions as recently made by an expert in early Syriac, Ian Dickinson, from Canterbury, England. [Dickinson, I., "Preliminary Details of New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud: Measurement by the Cubit," Shroud News, April 1990, pp. 4-8] Curious at the shroud's, by British units of measurement, anomalous 14 foot 3 inch by 3 foot 7 inch overall size, Dickinson wondered if these dimensions might make more sense if converted to the cubit measure as prevailing in Jesus's time. Establishing that the first-century Jewish cubit was most likely to the Assyrian standard, reliably calculated at between 21.4 and 21.6 inches, Dickinson found that if he chose the lower of these measures there was an astonishing correlation, accurate to the nearest half-inch:

 Length of Turin shroud 14 feet 3 inches
 8 cubits at 21.4 inches 14 feet 3 inches
 Width of Turin shroud  3 feet 7 inches
 2 cubits at 21.4 inches 3 feet 7 inches

Such conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits is yet another piece of knowledge difficult to imagine of any medieval forger. It also correlates perfectly with the `doubled in four' arrangement by which we hypothesized the shroud to have been once folded and mounted as the `holy face' of Edessa, for the exposed facial area of this latter would have been an exact 1 by 2 Jewish cubits." (Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.181).

" The Turin Shroud is, in fact, a rectangular sheet, strong and solid, made of pure flax of a yellowish colour .... The Shroud is 4.36 metres long and 1.10 metres wide. Originally it was probably longer by about 30 centimetres; there are various reports of small fragments having been cut from the relic and then distributed to churches and monasteries. One of these relics is to be found in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Perhaps concessions of pieces from the Shroud continued for years and it proves that the Shroud was an object of veneration even in much older times. The thickness of the cloth, about one third of a millimetre, is greater than that of cloth usually used to make covers for mattresses; this does not prevent the linen from being soft and easy to fold. The Shroud was woven in one whole piece in a diagonal weave shape of `three to one': the transversal thread of weft passes alternatively over three and under one of the longitudinal threads of the warp. This type of weave helps to guarantee its strength. The twill that runs along its length varies its inclination at every centimetre, giving the cloth its characteristic `herring-bone' aspect. A nearly 8 centimetre wide strip, incomplete at its extremities, forms part of the sheet on the topmost side. The missing pieces were 14 and 36 centimetres long. This side strip is made from the same twilled cloth of the Shroud, of which it originally formed part; in fact, the irregularities of the weave, clearly visible in the principal section, extend exactly to the side strip, as can be seen from the radiographies carried out in 1978 ..." (Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, pp.161-162).

"The `Holy Shroud' is a large, oblong linen cloth, of great but contested age, which is normally housed in a chapel built especially for it in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Turin, in northern Italy. It is displayed only on rare occasions, contained in a frame that shows the length of the cloth parallel to the ground. The cloth, marked by various blemishes and stains, measures fourteen feet three inches long and three feet seven inches wide - or, according to the measurement in use in the Middle East in the first century, eight cubits by two. [Wilson, I., "Holy Faces, Secret Places," Doubleday: London, 1991, p.181] Experts in the field of textiles have determined that the threads were hand-spun and the fabric hand-woven in what is known as a `three-to-one herringbone twill.' This was a type of weaving practiced in the Middle East at least as far back as two thousand years ago." (Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.11).

"The occasion of the Shroud being housed in this new case, immediately prior to the expositions of 1998, also saw the removal ... of a blue satin frame-type surround that had been sewn onto the Shroud in the nineteenth century, and its replacement by a new white cloth. This removal enabled the original cloth's dimensions to be measured rather more precisely than had been possible before, at 437 cm long by 111 cm wide. In describing its most salient features, we shall use terms such as `left', `right', `top' and `bottom' to refer to the mode in which it was displayed in 1998, that is landscape-wise, with the imprint of the front half of the `Christ' body ranged to the left, and the back half imprint ranged to the right ... This has the virtue that it is also the mode in which it has most commonly been displayed since as early as the 1350s ... When the Shroud is viewed in this `landscape' way the two `Christ body' imprints appear somewhat incongruously head to head. Yet, as was deduced by artist-copyists nearly four centuries ago, this is actually very readily explained. Whether the Shroud is authentic or a forgery, the theory behind the imprints' origination is that the `Christ' body was laid on the half of the cloth that now bears the `back' imprint, the other half of the cloth then being brought over the head and down to the feet, thereby creating the `front' imprint. Inevitably the more impressive of these two imprints is the left, or 'front-of-the-body' half, on which can be discerned a ghost-like front-facing face, complete with hair, nose, beard, moustache and eyebrows. The coloration of this and all related so-called `body' imprinting is so subtle and evanescent that it is extremely difficult to describe. `Sepia' was the term that I adopted following my 1973 viewing, but `straw-yellow' was preferred by the STURP scientists of 1978 ... But in any event the body image's prime characteristics are its lack of apparent substance (as from any pigment), also its failure to exhibit optically meaningful contours, and its imperceptible fading into the background colour of the natural cloth itself, without any defined edges.." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.18-19).

"THE Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth of ivory color measuring fourteen feet three inches long by three feet seven inches wide or eight cubits long by two cubits wide, according to first-century Jewish measurements. (A cubit is equivalent to 21.7 inches.) The cloth is made of a three-to-one herringbone weave with a `Z' twist. Parallel to one side of the cloth is sewn a six-inch-wide strip of the same weave pattern. It is generally believed that this piece was added to the Shroud in order to insert a rod to facilitate its exposition. The Shroud bears the frontal and dorsal image of a naked, crucified, bearded man, approximately five feet eleven inches tall, between the ages of 30-35, weighing about 175 pounds. Many people believe that this Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ." (Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.1. Emphasis original).

"Ian Dickinson, a researcher from Canterbury, England, was struck by the fact that the measurements of the Shroud-14'3" by 3'7"-seemed odd. Research indicated that the international standard unit of measurement at the time of Jesus was the Assyrian cubit (21.4 inches). When measured in Assyrian cubits, the Shroud is 8 cubits by 2 cubits, a strong indication that this standard unit was used to measure the linen cloth. [Dickinson, I., "Preliminary Details of New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud: Measurement by the Cubit," Shroud News, 58, April 1990, pp.4-7]" (Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.115).

"The Shroud of Turin has been described as the single most studied artifact in history. Whether this is true or not it is certainly one of the most controversial subjects of all time. To the true believer it is the burial shroud of the crucified Christ, left in his tomb at the time of the Resurrection. ... The Shroud has given rise to its own branch of science, known as sindonology. To the sceptical it is a piece of mediaeval trickery which has been fooling the gullible for the last six hundred years or more. The Shroud itself is an ivory-coloured cloth with a herringbone weave. It measures 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. These measurements may seem a little odd. They make far more sense when converted into first-century Jewish cubits. Using a measure of 21.4 inches to the cubit, based on the Assyrian standard, the measurement of the Shroud converts to exactly 8 cubits in length by 2 cubits in width. It was made in a single piece, apart from a strip approximately three and a half inches wide running the entire length of the left-hand side of the Shroud. This strip is attached to the Shroud by a single seam. ." (Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, pp.3-4).

The next post in this series is part #7 "Kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578."

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

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

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

















[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]

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

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

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

"The `Holy Shroud' is a large, oblong linen cloth, of great but contested age, which is normally housed in a chapel built especially for it in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Turin, in northern Italy. It is displayed only on rare occasions, contained in a frame that shows the length of the cloth parallel to the ground. The cloth, marked by various blemishes and stains, measures fourteen feet three inches long and three feet seven inches wide - or, according to the measurement in use in the Middle East in the first century, eight cubits by two. Experts in the field of textiles have determined that the threads were hand-spun and the fabric hand-woven in what is known as a `three-to-one herringbone twill.' This was a type of weaving practiced in the Middle East at least as far back as two thousand years ago. The linen has a number of scratches and burn holes, as well as water stains. The features most visible to the naked eye are two dark blemishes, one on each side of the fainter body image, running parallel to the sides of the cloth. Along these streaks, on both front and back images, on either side of the shoulders and on either side of the knee, are diamond-shaped patches. These are the result of a fire that broke out in December 1532, in the chapel in France where it was housed. The patches cover holes that were burned through the folded cloth by hot metal. There some other burn marks on the fabric which are much less obvious. There is a row of three small holes with burnt edges on either side of the crossed hands on the frontal view, and similar configurations on each side of the posterior portions of the figure on the back image. No one knows the cause of this damage, which seems to have been the result of a hot poker being thrust three times through the center of the cloth. Because these holes are evident in a copy of the Shroud which dates to 1516, it is clear that they predated the damage from the fire. ... Less evident on the Shroud than the sixteenth-century fire damage are the two faint head-to-head straw-colored images of an undressed man that appear in the center of the cloth, one of the front of the body, the other of the back, with the feet of both images facing the outer margins of the fabric. There are only a few inches between the front and back images of the head. It seems as though a body had been laid on its back at one end of the cloth, which was then drawn over the front of the man, and that somehow an image was made of him. If the viewer approaches too close, he (or she) is unable to see anything except stains. Standing three to six feet away from the cloth, he will be able to discern some detail. From the frontal image the observer will be able to make out the shape of a man with long hair and a beard, with his hands folded over his pelvic area and his knees slightly drawn up. Around the head, wrists, and feet are what appear to be bloodstains, especially on the back image. Viewing the cloth with the naked eye, it is hard to make out anything else - much less determine whether the image is a painting. With its ghostly face and great owl-like eyes, it certainly does not look much like a real image of a real person." (Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, pp.12-13).

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

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

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

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

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

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