Sunday, January 30, 2011

Re: Why couldn't Joseph of Arimathea have taken the Shroud?

M.R. Minkler

Thanks for your comment under my post "Turin Shroud goes on display for first time in 10 years, etc."

[Above: Icon of St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, with the Holy Grail and the staff that flowered, by the hand of a Monk of the Brotherhood of St. Seraphim of Sarov. See below that the story that Joseph of Arimathea visited Britain is a confusion by the Venerable Bede (c.672-735) with the Shroud as the then tetradiplon (doubled in four) Edessa Cloth being at "Britio Edessenorum" in Edessa (now Sanliurfa,Turkey).]

As I commented in reply, I have decided to responds to your comment in a separate post. Your words are >bold to distinguish them from mine.

----- Original Message -----
From: M.R. Minkler
To: Stephen E. Jones.
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2011 7:32 AM
Subject: [The Shroud of Turin] New comment on Turin Shroud goes on display for first time in 10 ....

>Why couldn't Joseph of Arimathea have taken it? He owned the tomb

First, for the authenticity of the Shroud it doesn't matter WHO recovered Jesus' burial clothes, including the Shroud and the Sudarium. What matters is that they WERE recovered.

Having said that, prime candidates to have taken Jesus' burial clothes, including the Shroud and Sudarium were (not in any order):

1. Joseph of Arimathea. He both owned the tomb (Mt 27:59-60; Mk 15:44-46) and had bought the burial clothes (Mk 15:46). But while Joseph's allowing Jesus' body to be buried in his tomb would not be a relinquishing of ownership of the tomb (since typically many bodies were buried in Jewish family tombs, including non-family members), Joseph's covering Jesus with the linen burial clothes he bought would be a gift of them to Jesus and so a relinquishing of Joseph's ownership of them.

2. Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary as Jesus' mother and therefore His next of kin, would presumably inherit His earthly goods, including His burial clothes. Mary was at the Cross (Jn 19:25) and later on the Day of Pentecost "Mary the mother of Jesus, and ... his brothers" (Acts 1:14) were still in Jerusalem praying with the other disciples.

3. John. The Apostle John's mother Salome was actually Mary's sister (Mt 27:55-56; Mk 15:40; Jn 19:25), making him Jesus' cousin (Mt 27:55-56; Mk 15:40). This explains why Jesus on the Cross told John that Mary was now his mother, and why John took Mary to live in his home from that time on (Jn 19:25-27). So if John recovered Jesus' graveclothes he could have given them to Mary (and vice-versa).

4. Peter. Peter with John first discovered Jesus' discarded burial clothes in the empty tomb (Jn 20:3-8). So either or both could have collected those clothes. And they probably would have since it is highly unlikely they would just have left them there for grave-robbers to loot out of the now open tomb, along with the large quantity of valuable spices (Jn 19:39-40).

Of the above, I favour John because of his connection with Mary, i.e. John (with Peter) collected Jesus' burial cloths and gave them to Mary, Jesus' next of kin.

>and according to Scavone may have taken the shroud to Britain as it was mistakenly referred to as the Holy GRAIL(a misinterpretation according to Scavone).

No. Historian Daniel Scavone does not say that the Shroud was taken to Britain. He has showed how by a verbal confusion of Edessa's "Britio Edessenorum" with "Britain", the Holy Grail never existed but was actually the Shroud which was then in Edessa (now Sanliurfa, Turkey) and never was in Britain:

"My paper now adduces further documentation as evidence that Joseph was never in the West, but rather that the earliest reference placing him in Britain was in reality a reference to Edessa, whose royal palace complex was called Britio Edessenorum. The confusion arose from the similarity of the names. Also, a 5th c. Georgian (Russia) MS relates that Joseph captured Jesus's blood as it dripped from his crucified body not in a cup-Grail--but in the burial shroud itself. Grail and shroud are here identified!" (Scavone, D.C. "Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud," 1996).

Watch also Scavone's "Origins of the Holy Grail--Lecture Given at Ohio State--May 24, 2006" and/or "Shroud Report Interview with Dr. Daniel Scavone."

>This would explain why the disciples didn't talk about it as Joseph had it and they were busy dealing with after resurrection appearances of Jesus to them! Then they had to go out and disciple the nations, leaving them little time for shroud keeping.

Joseph of Arimathea was one of the disciples:

Mt 27:57. As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.

Jn 19:38. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders.

And as I explained in my "Re: John Calvin on the Shroud #1" and #2, there is a much better reason why the disciples did not publicly mention they had the Shroud:

"... the tiny, persecuted minority that the early Church was, would have very good reasons to keep secret from its then far more numerous and powerful enemies, the Romans and the Jews, that it had Jesus' bloodstained Shroud on which, `the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen.' The Jews and/or Romans would have demanded they hand it over, or suffer torture and death until they did. Especially when it would support the chief priests' official explanation, that the disciples had stolen Jesus' body ..."

>It would make practical sense to me that Joseph simply picked it up when he went back to the tomb after the resurrection. Surely he went straight to the tomb when he heard of it and would have easy access since he owned the tomb. After all, in his mind he probably felt he had a right to take the shroud since he bought it!

It's possible (see above) but it is more likely that John and Peter took it the first time they found it (Jn 19:25-27). They would not know that if they left it for Joseph of Arimathea or any other disciple to take, that the guards or grave-robbers would not come to the open tomb before them.

>Joseph would understand the true value of the shroud and have the means to keep it safe. He would know how to care for fine linen, to protect it.

So would John and Mary.

>The fishermen probably would not have.

John was not the average fisherman. He writings reveal a high intelligence (at least the equal of St Paul in my opinion) and he was "known to the high priest" (Jn 18:16). There is a tradition that John was a priest, i.e. while his mother Salome as a sister of Mary (see above) was of the tribe of Judah, his father Zebedee was a Levite. Ordinary Jewish priests in the first century were part-time and had secular occupations.

>It just makes sense to me but of course I have no evidence.

As I said above, for the Shroud to be authentic, the very burial sheet of Jesus, it does not matter WHO recovered it, only that it WAS recovered.

But having once favoured that it was Joseph of Arimathea who took Jesus' burial clothes, including the Shroud and Sudarium, I now lean towards that it was probably the Apostle John (for the above reasons) and him giving them to their rightful owner Mary, who lived with him.

Again thanks for your comment.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Re: John Calvin on the Shroud #2

Ed

Continued from part #1, with this final part #2 of working through the arguments of the Protestant Reformer John Calvin (1509-15) in his "A Treatise on Relics" (1543) and also his "The Gospel according to St. John" (1553), against the Shroud of Turin.

[Above: "The Holy Shroud," by Giovanni Battista della Rovere (c. 1575-c. 1640): Wikipedia. It accurately depicts from the information on the Shroud of Turin, how Jesus' body was laid on the bottom half of Shroud and then the top half was taken over His head and overlapped His feet. Note that "the napkin from about his head" (the Sudarium of Oviedo), had been first taken off before Jesus' head and body were covered by the Shroud.]

Although it was not then called the "Shroud of Turin" in Calvin's day because it would not be in Turin until 1578.

>Another point to be observed is, that the evangelists do not mention that either of the disciples or the faithful women who came to the sepulchre had removed the clothes in question, but, on the contrary, their account seems to imply that they were left there.

Again, as in part #1, Calvin commits the Argument from Silence fallacy. The fact is that the gospels do not say what the disciples did with Jesus' burial clothes, whether they recovered them from the tomb or left them there. The only two accounts which mentions Jesus' burial clothes found in the tomb:

Luke 24:12: "Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."

and

John 20:3-10. So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

do not say how long Peter and John were at the tomb, nor what they did while they were there.

But it far more likely than not that Peter and John, or other disciples, took Jesus' burial clothes away, as a tangible reminder of His earthly life among them, as well as evidence to the other disciples that Jesus' had been resurrected, rather than just leave them there in the now opened tomb.

Also, they would not just leave the valuable spices (Jn 19:38-40) for grave-robbers to plunder, yet nothing is mentioned about the disciples taking those.

So although there is no mention of any other disciples coming back to the tomb, it beggars belief that they would not have. And if Peter or John had not taken Jesus' graveclothes, any of those other disciples, including the "women" mentioned in conjunction with the tomb (Mt 27:61; Mk 15:47; Lk 23:55-56 & Mt 28:1-9; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-8,22-23; Jn 20:1-2) could have.

And there is positive evidence in second century Christian writings "that Jesus' shroud was removed from the tomb and saved," e.g. "After the Lord gave his shroud to ... Peter," etc, and although they "disagree about who saved it from the tomb, but they agree that it had been saved" and they also "show us that second century writers knew about the Shroud in their day":

"Even though the Bible is silent about what happened to the Shroud after Easter, there are other documents of an unofficial nature which do point to the Shroud's survival after Easter Sunday. In the second century (about 100-200 A.D.), several accounts were written about the life of Christ. These biographies are similar to the Gospel accounts in the Bible. For various reasons the early Church Fathers did not include them among the `official' texts of the Bible. Some of these writings contain incorrect religious teachings; some are just copies of the Gospels with a few additions. Hence we have called them `unofficial.' The usual word for these books is `apocryphal' or `hidden' books. But because they were excluded from the Bible does not mean that they are utterly false. They agree with the Gospels on many points. As books actually written in the second century, they are valuable source materials for that time. Most importantly, these texts say that Jesus' shroud was removed from the tomb and saved. Writers of the second century, therefore, knew of the existence of this sheet in their own day. The first of these apocryphal books is called the Gospel of the Hebrews. The author is anonymous (unknown) as is the case with all these apocryphal books. We have only fragments from it, for most of it has been lost over the centuries. One key surviving passage says, `After the Lord gave his shroud to the servant of the priest [or of Peter; the actual word is not clear], he appeared to James:' The Acts of Pilate is another apocryphal book of the second century. It states that Pilate and his wife preserved the shroud of Jesus. It suggests that they were sorry for their part in his death and were now Christians. These two books, along with the Gospel of Peter, The Acts of Nicodemus, and The Gospel of Gamaliel, show us that second century writers knew about the Shroud in their day. They disagree about who saved it from the tomb, but they agree that it had been saved. The silence of the `official' Biblical stories about the preservation of the shroud is countered by these books." (Scavone, D.C., "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, 1989, pp.73-74).

>Now, the sepulchre was guarded by soldiers, and consequently the clothes were in their power.

Calvin is simply wrong. The guards had been rendered unconscious (i.e. "became like dead men"):

Mt 28:2-4,11. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. ... While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.

and then after that, before the first of the disciples had arrived at the tomb, the guards had evidently fled, because "some of them went into the city and reported to the chief priests " (see above). Also, there is no mention of any members of the guard being still at the tomb by the time the disciples arrived, and why would they still be there if the body of Jesus had vanished?

>Is it possible that they would have permitted the disciples to take them away as relics, since these very men had been bribed by the Pharisees to perjure themselves by saying that the disciples had stolen the body of our Lord?

This is a thoughtless, argument by Calvin. If the tomb was still being guarded by some of the soldiers, then the disciples would not have been able to enter it in the first place.

Clearly there was no guard by the time the first of the disciples arrived and therefore either Peter and John (since nothing is said about how long they were at the tomb, or what else they did), would have been able to take Jesus' discarded burial clothes out of the tomb. Or the women later (e.g. Jesus' mother Mary who, being Jesus' next of kin, would presumably have been the rightful owner of Jesus' clothes), could have taken them.

>I shall conclude with a convincing proof of the audacity of the Papists.

Calvin is too prejudiced against "the Papists" to think clearly. His prejudice may be understandable, given the effective state of war that the Reformers and the Papacy were then in. But whatever the faults of the then 16th century Papacy, that has nothing to do with the authenticity of the Shroud. The fact is that Shroud did not belong to the Papacy in Calvin's day, but to the House of Savoy:

"The history from the 15th century to the present is well understood. In 1453 Margaret de Charny deeded the Shroud to the House of Savoy. In 1578 the shroud was transferred in Turin." ("Shroud of Turin: History," Wikipedia, 4 January 2011)

and it was only in 1983, following the death of ex-King Umberto II of Savoy, that the Shroud became the property of the Papacy:

"In 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See by the House of Savoy. However, as with all relics of this kind, the Roman Catholic Church made no pronouncements claiming whether it is Jesus' burial shroud, or if it is a forgery.".("Shroud of Turin: Vatican position," Wikipedia, 4 January 2011)

>Wherever the holy sudary is exhibited, they show a large sheet with the full-length likeness of a human body on it.

This "full-length likeness" Calvin is referring to sounds like the single-sided "frontal image of a crucified man, but no image of his back" copy of the Shroud which was "destroyed by the French revolutionaries in 1794" and was then held in the cathedral at Besançon - about 70 miles or 114 kilometres from Geneva:

"There was, in fact, a Shroud of Besançon. It was destroyed by the French revolutionaries in 1794, but paintings of this fabric survive. It was apparently very different from the Shroud of Turin. It evidently displayed a frontal image of a crucified man, but no image of his back. The nail wounds were in the center of the hands. There were no marks of scourging, and, according to one scholar, the body of Christ looked like a stick, straight up and down, with the neck, pelvic area, and knees all of one width. [Vignon, P., "The Shroud of Christ," University Books: New Hyde Park NY, 1970, pp.67-68]" (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.62).

The Shroud of Turin, bearing two images, front and back, is double full-length. As pointed out in part #1, the Shroud was at this time when Calvin was writing his Treatise on Relics which was published in 1543, located at Nice between 1537-1540 on the French Mediterranean, a long way from Calvin's Geneva. So Calvin probably had never seen the original Shroud, but only inferior copies of it (if that).

>Now, St John's Gospel, chapter nineteenth, says that Christ was buried according to the manner of the Jews; and what was their custom? This may be known by their present custom on such occasions, as well as from their books, which describe the ancient ceremony of interment, which was to wrap the body in a sheet, to the shoulders, and to cover the head with a separate cloth.

Again Calvin is wrong about the Jewish "ceremony of interment," in that he fails to distinguish between ordinary burials and burials of bodies that had been bleeding. According to Jewish law, if a body had "the blood of the soul ... absorbed in his clothes [in Jesus' case he had no clothes so the Shroud would have been placed over His naked, bloody body] he should not be cleansed." but "those preparing the dead person for burial had to wrap a `sheet which is called a sovev' straight over any clothes ... an all-enveloping cloth ... a `single sheet ... to go right round' the entire body" and "Such a sovev readily corresponds to the `over the head' characteristics of Turin's Shroud":

"Lazarus died a natural death. In accordance with normal Jewish practice he would have been washed, interred fully dressed in his Sabbath best, tied up with a few binding strips to keep his jaw and limbs suitably together, and provided with some kind of face cloth for screening purposes. Jesus, in contrast, died a very bloody death, and stark naked, his clothes having been removed from him at the time of his crucifixion. [Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:23] In his case Jewish law prescribed something very different. As has been carefully explained by Jewish-born Victor Tunkel [Tunkel, V., "A Jewish View of the Shroud," Lecture to the British Society for the Turin Shroud, London, 12 May 1983] of the Faculty of Laws, Queen Mary College, University of London, the belief among the Pharisees of Jesus's time, shared by Jesus's own followers, was that everyone's body would be physically resurrected at the end of time. This meant that as far as humanly possible everything that formed part of that body, including particularly the life-blood, should be buried with it. As expressed in the Jewish Code of Laws, `One who fell [e.g. in battle] and died instantly, if ... blood flowed from the wound, and there is apprehension that the blood of the soul was absorbed in his clothes, he should not be cleansed.' [Gansfried, 1927, Vol. IV, ch. CXCVII, Laws Relating to Purification (Tahara nos 9 and 10), pp.99-100] In these circumstances, therefore, those preparing the dead person for burial had to wrap a `sheet which is called a sovev' straight over any clothes, however bloodstained. This sovev had to be an all-enveloping cloth, that is a `single sheet ... used to go right round' the entire body. Such a sovev readily corresponds to the `over the head' characteristics of Turin's Shroud." (Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.52).

>This is precisely how the evangelist described it, saying, that St Peter saw on one side the clothes with which the body had been wrapped, and on the other the napkin from about his head.

The "napkin" was the sudarium or facecloth (i.e. the "Sudarium of Oviedo") a smaller cloth placed over a Jewish corpses' face and around its head (as we do in our Western culture). As in the Rovere painting above, in the tomb the facecloth was removed, Jesus' body was laid on the lower half of the Shroud, and then the top half of the Shroud was taken over His head and overlapped at His feet. See the video "Shroud Report Interview with Mark Guscin on the Sudarium of Oviedo."

> In short, either St John is a liar, or all those who boast of possessing the holy sudary are convicted of falsehood and deceit.

This is yet another fallacious argument by Calvin, this time the Fallacy of False Dilemma, claiming there are only two possible alternatives: Either 1) "St. John is a liar"; or 2) "All those" claiming to possess the Shroud are guilty of "falsehood and deceit."

But there is a third alternative, that Calvin is wrong (see above and previously) and one of the shrouds, the one that he listed at "Nice" in his Treatise on Relics, is the genuine original and all the others are inferior copies.

That ends our examination of Calvin's arguments against the Shroud in his Treatise on Relics. Now we will look at his (as far as I am aware) only other attack on the Shroud, in his, Commentary on John (1553):

"[John 20:5]. And seeth the linen cloths lying. The linen cloths were, so to say, the slough, which should produce faith in Christ's resurrection. For it was improbable that His body would be stripped to be taken elsewhere. This would have been done neither by a friend nor by a foe. That His head was wrapped in a napkin refutes the falsehood of the Papists, who pretend that the whole body was sewn up in one linen cloth, which they show to the unhappy masses to adore. I overlook their ignorance of Latin, which led them to make the word `napkin' (which was used to wipe sweat off the face) into a covering for the whole body. I overlook also their impudence in boasting-in five or six different localities-that they have this same napkin. But this gross falsehood is intolerable, for it openly contradicts the Gospel history. To this is added the fabulous miracle which they have invented, that the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen. I ask you, if such a miracle had been performed, would the Evangelist have suppressed it, when he is so careful to relate less important things? Let us be content with this simplicity, that by laying aside the tokens of death, Christ meant to testify that He had put on a blessed and immortal life." (Calvin, J., 1553, "The Gospel According to St. John, Part Two 11-21," Parker, T.H.L., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1959, Reprinted, 1979, pp.193-194. Emphasis original).

I will now comment on those of Calvin's words above (in bold) which are relevant to the Shroud.

>That His head was wrapped in a napkin refutes the falsehood of the Papists,

Again, Calvin's prejudice against "the Papists" is evident, which blinds him to the truth about the Shroud. Calvin on this is in `good' company with anti-Christians like you Ed, who uncritically enlist his false arguments against the Shroud in your "The Shroud of Turin: John Calvin versus the Catholic Church" as part of your attack on Christianity!

Calvin doesn't seem to understand that the "napkin" or headcloth (the Sudarium of Oviedo) was first taken off Jesus' head and then the Shroud was drawn over His body, "The sudarium ... was used during the descent from the cross and during the transport of the body to the tomb ... It was then removed and placed separately in the tomb":

"Garcia's studies show that the Sudarium of Oviedo had to have been used before wrapping the body in any other linen, particularly in the Shroud of Turin. The image of the face on the Shroud of Turin, as well as that of the lateral surface of the head, negates the possibility that this person had another linen placed around his head. The stains of blood on the Sudarium of Oviedo also point in the same direction. The sudarium therefore, was not part of the shrouding process. It was used during the descent from the cross and during the transport of the body to the tomb, in order to cover the disfigured face of Jesus, according to the orders of the Sanhedrin, and to prevent loss of blood. It was then removed and placed separately in the tomb. John 20:7 also indicates that Jesus, had the Sudarium placed on his head before the burial, but not after. It would have been necessary to remove the cloth in order to anoint the facial wounds, and would not have been used to cover the face once again due to the large amount of blood it contained. It was sufficient to wrap the body in a clean white linen shroud, and is unthinkable that a dirty, bloodstained linen would have left in place on the head of Jesus. While Jewish burial customs would have exempted Jesus from the washing ritual, a clean shroud was required by law." (Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.151).

>who pretend that the whole body was sewn up in one linen cloth,

Not "sewn up" but enfolded "in one linen cloth.":

"Since the Jewish burial custom allowed the use of cloths to bind the hands and feet as well as the jaw, the total picture matches Jewish burial customs exactly and explains clearly why the synoptics only mention a sindon and John mentions othonia. Second, John's use of othonia has led to a widely held belief that Jesus was wrapped like an Egyptian mummy. But such a procedure doesn't conform to what is known of first-century normal Jewish burial ritual. Nor does it match what was previously mentioned in the Word, to wit, that Joseph of Arimathea had purchased a winding sheet and wrapped Jesus in it (Mark 15:46). Even John used the word edesan, which is translated wound in the KJV but literally means `enfolded.' Enfolded would also match the burial custom. Being wrapped with strips of cloth would not. In other words, othonia in John should be understood to mean that Jesus' dead body was enveloped from head to feet in one burial cloth, not wrapped like a mummy with numerous strips of cloth." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.150).

>which they show to the unhappy masses to adore.

Calvin here comes across as an arrogant intellectual, looking down on the mostly illiterate "unhappy masses." But what is wrong with the "masses" adoring Jesus' image on the Shroud? Or even on a copy of the Shroud? It is still the image of Jesus they are adoring! "Authentic or not, the message is the same":

"Oddly enough, the controversy around the Shroud keeps many Christians from looking at it for what it is-a visual representation of Jesus Christ. .... Why is this so? Blame it on the Reformation ... and I'm a Protestant. In ... 1517 ... the Catholic preoccupation with relics was in high swing. .... items ascribed to the saints were being sold in the marketplace to the gullible and the desperate. It's no wonder that the reformers reacted to such abuse. And since few if any of the true relics could be distinguished from the bogus, there was a wholesale rejection of all of them. ... But the Protestants, led by John Calvin, may have gone too far in their bias against images. ... There is an irrational fear that images of any kind will end up being worshipped ... Part of the Protestant fear of images stems from an incorrect interpretation of the Second Commandment to make no graven or carved images ... But all that changed with the coming of Jesus a thousand years after this commandment was given. Jesus was `the image of the invisible God' [Col 1:15]. Suddenly God himself became an image; the image was that of a man. ... The Reformer's over-reaction to the abuse of relics and icons has left us aesthetically impoverished and unnecessarily fearful of images. Now we come to the Shroud of Turin, that 14-foot long linen cloth bearing the front and back images of a bearded, crucified man, including blood from the wounds. ... Many experts believe that the preponderance of evidence supports authenticity. ... that the Shroud of Turin is in fact the Shroud that wrapped Jesus in the tomb. .... But what if it isn't? The irony is that the message is the same. ... if it is the work of an unknown medieval genius who figured out how to create this 3-D, negative image without artistic substances but used real blood to represent the wounds, then it was done to visually represent biblical truths. In other words, It either is the actual shroud of Christ or it represents His shroud. It either is an image resulting from the resurrection or it represents His resurrection. It either is the blood of Christ on the cloth or it represents His blood. Authentic or not, the message is the same: It is a visual representation of Jesus. IT'S THE MESSAGE THAT MATTERS. ... the good news that God loves us enough to redeem us with His own life and blood. That very blood, the heavenly currency that purchased the souls of men, might have stained a 14-foot linen cloth now kept in Turin, Italy. And the image that barely penetrates the surface of the cloth could have captured His victory over death through a glorious resurrection." (Breault, R.A., 1999, "It's the Message that Matters," Shroud of Turin Education Project. Emphasis original).

> I overlook their ignorance of Latin, which led them to make the word `napkin' (which was used to wipe sweat off the face) into a covering for the whole body.

Calvin is right at least on this. The "napkin" (Gk. soudarion) is a small piece of cloth, not "a covering for the whole body." It occurs in the Parable of Pounds (or Talents) being a piece of cloth that money was wrapped in:

Lk 19:20 KJV. "And another came, saying, `Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin [soudario]'."

and is translated "handerkerchiefs" for cloths placed against the Apostle Paul's body, which then were used to heal the sick:

Acts 19:12 KJV. So that from his [Paul's] body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs [soudaria] or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

The same word soudarion, translated "napkin" (KJV) is used for the cloth placed over the dead Lazarus' face:

Jn 11:44 KJV. And he [Lazarus] that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin [soudario]. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Which in turn is the same word used of "the napkin, that was about his [Jesus'] head":

Jn 20:7 KJV. And the napkin [soudarion], that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

The "napkin" or soudarion corresponds with the Sudarium of Oviedo, which "measures two feet nine inches by one foot nine inches [~ 84 x 53 cm]" and was "the face cloth or napkin that covered the face of Christ when He was taken down from the Cross" because "According to Jewish burial traditions, it was considered impertinent to show the disfigured face of a dead man":

"ONE cloth which can contribute a great deal to the study of the Shroud of Turin and its authenticity is the Sudarium of Oviedo. This cloth has been kept in Spain since the seventh century and housed in the cathedral of Oviedo, a town in the north of Spain, since the eleventh century. The sudarium is a piece of bloodstained cloth woven with the same type of thread as the Shroud. The cloth bears no image and measures two feet nine inches by one foot nine inches [~ 84 x 53 cm]. It is believed by many to be the face cloth or napkin that covered the face of Christ when He was taken down from the Cross. The sudarium is mentioned in the Gospel of St. John: `Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself' (John 20:6-7). According to Jewish burial traditions, it was considered impertinent to show the disfigured face of a dead man. Therefore, a sweat cloth or a napkin was placed over the face and was then discarded at the tomb." (Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.41. Emphasis original).

>I overlook also their impudence in boasting-in five or six different localities-that they have this same napkin.

By "napkin" I assume Calvin is using "the Papists" term for the Shroud, i.e. "a large sheet with the full-length likeness of a human body on it," "one linen cloth" in which "the whole body was."

Again (see part #1), Calvin uses the same fallacy that atheists use to dismiss Christianity: "all religions contradict each other, therefore they are all false." But one religion could be true (as Christianity claims - (Jn 3:16-18; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 10:38-43), and all other religions be false.

Similarly, one Shroud (Gk. sindon - a large linen sheet), the Shroud of Turin, and one "napkin" (Gk. soudarion - a smaller cloth), the Sudarium of Oviedo, could be true, and all other shrouds and cloths could be false.

>But this gross falsehood is intolerable, for it openly contradicts the Gospel history.

Calvin is here just blustering. He has not explained why the disciples' keeping Jesus' burial Shroud and its subsequent survival down to his day was a "gross falsehood," and how "it openly contradicts the Gospel history." Only if the Gospels stated that Jesus' burial garments were not recovered from Jesus' tomb but were later destroyed would the Shroud's claimed continued existence in Calvin's day "contradict... the Gospel history." But all Calvin has is an Argument from Silence.

As we saw in from part #1, Jesus' linen burial garments (including the Shroud and Sudarium) are mentioned in all four gospels (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54; Jn 19:38-42) before Jesus' resurrection, and in two gospels (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:5-7) after it. Nothing is said, one way or the other, what happened to them. But having mentioned them, one would expect that at least one gospel would have mentioned they were left in the tomb and later lost or destroyed. That there is no such explanation, more plausibly argues for the most distinctive among those garments, the sindon (Shroud) and the soudarion (face-cloth), being kept by the disciples and never destroyed in New Testament times or subsequent Church history.

>To this is added the fabulous miracle which they have invented, that the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen.

The "Papists" didn't "invent" the "fabulous miracle" that "the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen." Calvin would be unaware that the history of the Shroud and its image goes back well before the Papacy via the Image of Edessa to the first century.

In fact the Papacy itself had very little to do with the Shroud until 1940 and to this day the Vatican's position is to make "no pronouncements claiming whether it is Jesus' burial shroud, or if it is a forgery":

"The first official association between the image on the Shroud and the Catholic Church was made in 1940 based on the formal request by Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli to the curia in Milan to obtain authorization to produce a medal with the image. The authorization was granted ... In 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See by the House of Savoy. However, as with all relics of this kind, the Roman Catholic Church made no pronouncements claiming whether it is Jesus' burial shroud, or if it is a forgery." ("Shroud of Turin: Vatican position," Wikipedia, 4 January 2011).

>I ask you, if such a miracle had been performed, would the Evangelist have suppressed it, when he is so careful to relate less important things?

Again Calvin uses the same Argument from Silence fallacy (see part #1). Indeed, as we saw in part #1, Calvin himself, in this very commentary admitted that "John ... has only written some things out of many; not that the others were not worth recording:"

[Jn 20:30] Many other signs therefore. If this anticipation had not been added, readers might have thought that John had not left out any of the miracles that Christ performed and had given a full and complete history. John therefore declares that he has only written some things out of many; not that the others were not worth recording, but because these were sufficient to build up faith. And yet it does not follow that they were performed in vain, for they profited that age. Secondly, although today their kinds are unknown to us, we must not deduce that it is of little importance for us to know that the Gospel was sealed by a great wealth of miracles." (Calvin, 1553, p.213).

And as mentioned in part #1, the tiny, persecuted minority that the early Church was, would have very good reasons to keep secret from its then far more numerous and powerful enemies, the Romans and the Jews, that it had Jesus' bloodstained Shroud on which, "the likeness of Christ's body is impressed on the linen." The Jews and/or Romans would have demanded they hand it over, or suffer torture and death until they did. Especially when it would support the chief priests' official explanation, that the disciples had stolen Jesus' body:

Mt 28:12-15. "When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, `You are to say, "His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep." If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.' So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day."

In fact the early Church (perhaps unknown to Calvin) had a doctrine called "the Discipline of the Secret," by which "knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non-Christians and even from those who were undergoing instruction in the faith":

"Disciplina Arcani or Discipline of the Secret or Discipline of the Arcane, is a theological term used to describe the custom which prevailed in Early Christianity, whereby knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non-Christians and even from those who were undergoing instruction in the faith." ("Disciplina arcani," Wikipedia, 22 December 2010).

"Discipline of the Secret ... A theological term used to express the custom which prevailed in the earliest ages of the Church, by which the knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from the heathen and even from those who were undergoing instruction in the Faith. The custom itself is beyond dispute, but the name for it is comparatively modern, and does not appear to have been used before the controversies of the seventeenth century, when special dissertations bearing the title `De disciplina arcani' were published both on the Protestant and the Catholic side. The origin of the custom must be looked for in the recorded words of Christ: `Give not that which holy to dogs; neither cast your pearls before swine; lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you' (Matthew 7:6), while the practice in Apostolic times is sufficiently vouched for by St. Paul's assurance that he fed the Corinthians `as . . . little ones in Christ', giving them `milk to drink, not meat', because they were not yet able to bear it (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).' ("Discipline of the Secret," Catholic Encyclopedia Online, 10 January 2011).

There is not space in this already too long post to go into it, but historian Jack Markwardt in his 2008 paper, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret [PDF ~2Mb]"

":In the course of an intense theological debate which followed on the heels of the Protestant Reformation, an ancient Church custom was identified and labeled the `Discipline of the Secret'. Pursuant to this practice., the clergy was required, when speaking of Christian tenets, doctrines, mysteries, and rites, to employ coded language, symbolic representations, metaphorical expressions, and allegorical narratives in a manner conducive to making the message understandable only to advanced believers. Initially, the practice was designed to prevent catechumens from acquiring detailed knowledge of the faith, somewhat in accordance with Paul's counsel that the uninitiated and dull of hearing' be fed with milk, and not with meat'; [1Cor 3:1-2; Heb 5:12-14] however, after Roman persecutions had intensified and expanded, the Discipline was employed to conceal all critical faith-related information, in strict obedience to Christ's commandment to `give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you'. [Mt 7:6] When employing the custom, the technique was to speak of the realities and the rituals of the Christian life in an allusive manner, by hinting rather than by stating explicitly. `It is natural and necessary that a Christian inscription (of) about A.D. 200, which was intended to be public, should be so expressed as not to offend the sense of the pagans; i.e. it must be capable of being read by the ordinary observer without its Christian origin being obvious .... it was the recognized duty of a Christian to use carefully veiled language.' [Ramsay, W.M., `The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia,' Clarendon Press: Oxford 1897, p.789.]" (Markwardt, J., 2008, "Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret," in Fanti, G., ed., "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," Proceedings of the 2008 Columbus Ohio International Conference, August 14-17, 2008, Progetto Libreria: Padua, Italy, 2009, pp.382 407, p.386).

shows that the Shroud did exist in at least the second century AD:

"By applying the precepts of the Discipline of the Secret to the Inscription of Abercius [c. AD 216]... the historical circumstances which underlie the evangelization of Edessa, including the Shroud's role in that historic event, are revealed. ...

By applying the precepts of the Discipline of the Secret to the ancient Abgar Legend, the historical circumstances which underlie the evangelization of Edessa, including the Shroud?s role in that historic event, are further revealed. The ancient legend consists of the Syriac tale, known as the Doctrine of Addai, and the Greek tale which was presented by Eusebius. Like the Inscription of Abercius, the Doctrine of Addai, which was composed originally in the late third century and acknowledges Edessa?s archives as the source of its narrative, specifically declares that it contains a concealed message understandable only by Christians and, thereby, proclaims itself to be a product of the Discipline. ...

By applying the precepts of the Discipline of the Secret to the Syriac poem known as the Hymn of the Pearl, the Shroud?s presence in Edessa during the late second century is revealed. Unlike the Inscription of Abercius and the Doctrine of Addai, the Hymn of the Pearl does not specifically declare itself to contain a concealed message understandable only by Christians and, thereby, proclaim itself to be a product of the Discipline; however, and as will be demonstrated, its anonymous author?s utilization of an allegorical narrative to conceal a Christian message, superbly crafted in accordance with the precepts of the Discipline, is patent. The Hymn is datable to the early part of the third century and was written no later than the year 224. ..." (Markwardt, 2008, p.387-391).

>Let us be content with this simplicity, that by laying aside the tokens of death, Christ meant to testify that He had put on a blessed and immortal life."

And in the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo, Christ testified just that!

No doubt Calvin meant well, but it is not for him to set limits on what God in Christ should do. If Jesus in His love and mercy (especially to the many millions of illiterate Christians who lived before the advent of printing and universal education) wanted to preserve His Shroud and Sudarium as additional evidence of His suffering, death, burial and resurrection, then who is Calvin, or anyone, to object (Job 9:12; 11:10; Rom 9:19; 11:33)?

Since we now know that the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin and Sudarium of Oviedo are Jesus very burial sheet and headcloth, in his fallacious and ignorant attack on the Shroud's authenticity, Calvin was sincerely but unwittingly "fighting against God" (Acts 5:34-39)!

However, since Calvin lived in the 16th century, well before the scientific, historical and artistic evidence that has overwhelming confirmed the Shroud of Turin's authenticity, he at least has the excuse, "I acted in ignorance and unbelief" (1Tim 1:13). But NO such excuse is available to those like you Ed, who in this 21st century are aware (or should be) of that evidence, but refuse to accept it!

In conclusion, I am astonished how weak Calvin's arguments against the Shroud were. As we have seen, they were mostly based on the Argument from Silence fallacy. Indeed, the Gospel writers' silence on what happened to Jesus' burial garments, having been unnecessarily mentioned as "linen" in all four Gospels (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54; Jn 19:38-42) at Jesus' burial, but then being obscurely mentioned in only two Gospels (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:5-7), points to their deliberate silence. That is, a silence that would: 1) explain to Christians where the Shroud and Sudarium came from; but 2) conceal from non-Christians that the disciples had recovered them!

Posted: 11 January 2011. Updated: 9 December 2017.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Re: John Calvin on the Shroud #1

Ed

Thanks for your comment under my post "Re: Shroud: I had a quick question regarding blood evidence." As I briefly responded

[Above: Painting titled Portrait of Young John Calvin from the collection of the Library of Geneva: "John Calvin (1509-1564)" Wikipedia]

to your comment:

"... many of the arguments Calvin raised against the Shroud are fallacious and plain wrong, but they are still used (or thought) by many (if not most) of my fellow Protestant Christians and by atheist/agnostics like you, to dismiss the Shroud out of hand, regardless of the evidence for its authenticity."

----- Original Message -----
From: Edward T. Babinski
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2011 9:46 AM
Subject: [The Shroud of Turin] New comment on Re: Shroud: I had a quick question regarding blood....

>Hi Steve, I didn't know you were not only a fan of "creationism" but also "sindology though maybe I forgot, and maybe we did discuss that topic briefly ages ago on the web.

It's sindonology, "the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin." And I did argue for the authenticity of the Shroud on my now defunct CreationEvolutionDesign Yahoo group when you may have been then a member.

>Anyway, I put together a post recently on my blog regarding the shroud. Since I was doing some online research, I also ran across this blog of yours, and thought I'd share the link with you: The Shroud of Turin: John Calvin versus the Catholic Church

Thanks for the link. Although I am a life-long Calvinist, owning Calvin's two-volume "Institutes of the Christian Religion" and a 12-volume set of his New Testament Commentaries, as well as his commentaries on Genesis and Daniel, I regret to say that while Calvin was right about a lot of things, he was wrong about the Shroud.

Here are Calvin's arguments against the Shroud in his "A Treatise on Relics" (1543):

"It is now time to treat of the `sudary,' about which relic they have displayed their folly even more than in the affair of the holy coat; for besides the sudary of Veronica, which is shown in the Church of St Peter at Rome, it is the boast of several towns that they each possess one, as for instance Carcassone, Nice, Aix-la-Chapelle, Tréves, Besançon, without reckoning the fragments to be seen in various places. Now, I ask whether those persons were not bereft of their senses who could take long pilgrimages, at much expense and fatigue, in order to see sheets, of the reality of which there were no reasons to believe, but many to doubt; for whoever admitted the reality of one of these sudaries shown in so many places, must have considered the rest as wicked impostures set up to deceive the public by the pretence that they were each the real sheet in which Christ's body had been wrapped. But it is not only that the exhibitors of this one and the same relic give each other mutually the lie, they are (what is far more important) positively contradicted by the Gospel. The evangelists who speak of all the women who followed our Lord to the place of crucifixion, make not the least mention of that Veronica who wiped his face with a kerchief. It was in truth a most marvellous and remarkable event, worthy of being recorded, that the face of Jesus Christ was then miraculously imprinted upon the cloth, a much more important thing to mention than the mere circumstance that certain women had followed Jesus Christ to the place of crucifixion without meeting with any miracle; and, indeed, had such a miracle taken place, we might consider the evangelists wanting in judgment in not relating the most important facts." (Calvin, J., 1543, "A Treatise on Relics," Krasinski, V., transl., Johnstone, Hunter & Co: Edinburgh, Second Edition, 1870, pp.175-176. Emphasis original).

Of the above, the "sudary" at Nice on the French Mediterranean coast (about 182 miles, or 293 kilometres from Geneva where Calvin lived) was evidently the Shroud of Turin (although it was not called that then as it did not arrive in Turin until 1578), because the Shroud was in Nice between 1537-1540 when Calvin may have been writing his Treatise:
"The Holy Shroud. Calvin (1543, 237) mentions several alleged shrouds of Jesus. He does not refer to a Shroud of Turin, since the most famous of the reputed shrouds of Jesus-of which there were once some forty-three in Europe alone (Humber 1978, 78)-did not arrive at Turin until 1578, long after Calvin's death. However, Calvin does mention a shroud at Nice, and the cloth now known as the Shroud of Turin was kept in Nice at the time Calvin was writing his treatise (Nickell 1998, 26). Therefore he is surely referring to that famous cloth (and copies of it, like the one at Besançon [Wilson 1979, 300]) when he remarks how unlikely it would be that Jesus' shroud had borne `the full-length likeness of a human body on it' without the apostles or evangelists having mentioned the fact (Calvin 1543, 239). Except for copies or fakes inspired by it, the Turin cloth is unique in bearing the image of an apparently crucified man. (It is also crucial to observe that no burial cloth in the history of the world ever bore such images.)." (Nickell, J., 2008, "Treatise on Relics: John Calvin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, pp.40,43. Emphasis original).

The other important "sudary" in the list above is the copy of the Shroud which was at Besançon (destroyed in 1794), which was only about 71 miles or 114 kilometres from Geneva because (as we shall see in part #2) it may be the only `Shroud' that Calvin had personally seen (if even that).

Calvin continued in his Treatise:

"The same observations are applicable to the tale of the sheet in which the body of our Lord was wrapped. How is it possible that those sacred historians, who carefully related all the miracles that took place at Christ's death, should have omitted to mention one so remarkable as the likeness of the body of our Lord remaining on its wrapping sheet? This fact undoubtedly deserved to be recorded. St John, in his Gospel, relates even how St Peter, having entered the sepulchre, saw the linen clothes lying on one side, and the napkin that was about his head on the other; but he does not say that there was a miraculous impression of our Lord's figure upon these clothes, and it is not to be imagined that he would have omitted to mention such a work of God if there had been any thing of this kind. Another point to be observed is, that the evangelists do not mention that either of the disciples or the faithful women who came to the sepulchre had removed the clothes in question, but, on the contrary, their account seems to imply that they were left there. Now, the sepulchre was guarded by soldiers, and consequently the clothes were in their power. Is it possible that they would have permitted the disciples to take them away as relics, since these very men had been bribed by the Pharisees to perjure themselves by saying that the disciples had stolen the body of our Lord? I shall conclude with a convincing proof of the audacity of the Papists. Wherever the holy sudary is exhibited, they show a large sheet with the full-length likeness of a human body on it. Now, St John's Gospel, chapter nineteenth, says that Christ was buried according to the manner of the Jews; and what was their custom? This may be known by their present custom on such occasions, as well as from their books, which describe the ancient ceremony of interment, which was to wrap the body in a sheet, to the shoulders, and to cover the head with a separate cloth. This is precisely how the evangelist described it, saying, that St Peter saw on one side the clothes with which the body had been wrapped, and on the other the napkin from about his head. In short, either St John is a liar, or all those who boast of possessing the holy sudary are convicted of falsehood and deceit." (Calvin, 1543, pp.176-178).

Calvin also wrote about the Shroud (probably the inferior copy of the Shroud at Besançon) in his Commentary on the Gospel of John), as we shall see in part #2.

I will now work through Calvin's criticisms of the Shroud (his words bold to distinguish them from mine), first in his Treatise on Relics and then in his Commentary on John, in this two-part series of posts.

>The same observations are applicable to the tale of the sheet in which the body of our Lord was wrapped.

Calvin had previously in his Treatise been debunking various medieval Roman Catholic relics. But most (if not all) advocates of the Shroud's authenticity would agree with him that (with the exception of the Sudarium of Oviedo, which Calvin did not mention) they are frauds.

But Calvin is here using the same logical fallacy that atheists use against Christianity: "1. All religions contradict each other in their core truth claims; 2. Therefore all religions are false." The fallacy is that one of those religions can be true, and all the rest be false, which is Christianity's (and therefore Calvin's) claim (Jn 3:16-18; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 10:38-43). So also, the Shroud of Turin can be authentic (i.e. the very burial sheet of Jesus) and all the other relics listed by Calvin can be false.

>How is it possible that those sacred historians, who carefully related all the miracles that took place at Christ's death, should have omitted to mention one so remarkable as the likeness of the body of our Lord remaining on its wrapping sheet? This fact undoubtedly deserved to be recorded.

This is an example of the Argument from Silence, fallacy, i.e. "the Shroud must be false because the New Testament writers did not mention it." This is the same argument that Christianity's critics use against the Virgin Birth, that it is only mentioned explicitly in two gospels Mt 1:18-24 & Lk 1:26-38, therefore it must be false, because otherwise the other Gospels would have mentioned it. Or the resurrection of Lazarus must be false because only one Gospel mentions it (Jn 11:38-43) and such a stupendous miracle, if it really happened, would have been mentioned in all four gospels.

But the fact is, as Calvin was well aware, the Gospels did not mention everything about Jesus, and in fact Jn 20:30-31; 21:25 explicitly states this:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ... Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

Calvin himself in his Commentary on John later wrote that "John ... has only written some things out of many; not that the others were not worth recording:"
[Jn 20:30] Many other signs therefore. If this anticipation had not been added, readers might have thought that John had not left out any of the miracles that Christ performed and had given a full and complete history. John therefore declares that he has only written some things out of many; not that the others were not worth recording, but because these were sufficient to build up faith. And yet it does not follow that they were performed in vain, for they profited that age. Secondly, although today their kinds are unknown to us, we must not deduce that it is of little importance for us to know that the Gospel was sealed by a great wealth of miracles." (Calvin, J., 1553, "The Gospel According to St. John, Part Two 11-21," Parker T.H.L., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1959, Reprinted, 1979, p.213).

So Calvin here contradicts himself. That Jesus' image on the Shroud was "worth recording," does not mean that it had to be recorded, otherwise it didn't exist. Why did no New Testament writer include a physical description of Jesus? Or an account of the first 30 years of His life? And Calvin is not the only Christian theologian (and indeed Shroud theorist as far as I am aware) who ignores the fact that Jesus spent "forty days" with his disciples after His resurrection:

Acts 1:3. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

in which there was ample time for Him to answer their questions whether to keep His burial garments and if so, to publicly mention they had them.

Besides, all four gospel writers did mention the Shroud:

"The Shroud Is Mentioned in the Bible Jesus' burial wrapping is a part of the Easter story of the Bible. All four Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John [Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54; Jn 19:38-42]) tell how Joseph of Arimathea, a devoted follower of Jesus, bought a fine new linen burial sheet for Jesus' body after he was taken down from the cross. Is this sheet the Shroud which is today in Turin, Italy? A passage in the Gospel of John is probably the last `official,' that is, Biblical, reference to this cloth. In John 20:19-36 we read that John and Peter ran to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. Inside John saw the burial sheet, and he saw the sudarium or chin-band (for holding the jaws closed) rolled up in its own place. After this the record is silent." (Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.68. Emphasis original).

Why the seemingly unnecessary recording in all four gospels the fact that Jesus' burial garments were "linen":

"Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth" (Mt 27:59)

"Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen"(Mk 15:46)

"Then he took it [Jesus' body] down, wrapped it in linen cloth" (Lk 23:53)

"Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves." (Lk 24:12)

"Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen" (Jn 19:40)

"He [Peter] bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there ... Then Simon Peter ... went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there ... as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen." (Jn 20:5-7).

unless the Shroud (and Sudarium) were kept, and the disciples wanted to let Christians know, but needed to keep it a secret from their much more numerous and powerful enemies, the Jews and the Romans?

>St John, in his Gospel, relates even how St Peter, having entered the sepulchre, saw the linen clothes lying on one side, and the napkin that was about his head on the other; but he does not say that there was a miraculous impression of our Lord's figure upon these clothes,

Calvin shows his ignorance of the Shroud image, which is very faint (and photography enhances the image):

[Above (click to enlarge): "This is how the Holy Shroud looks as we see it with our eyes ... There is only a very faint image of a human being on the shroud. The first photograph taken of the Shroud in 1898 revealed the miraculous nature of this faint imprint." ("Shroud: A Miracle of Christ We See Even to this Day," 8 March 2008).]

so it is unlikely the disciples would see the image in the darkness of the tomb, especially when they would not be expecting it and were overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus' body was not there. Also, it may be that "the image was not yet visible on the cloth" and so "If an image could not yet be seen on Easter morning, then the ... Gospel writers ... could not mention one.":

"What the Gospel narratives do not say is equally important-and has, in fact, set in motion the mystery that has surrounded the Shroud of Jesus ever since: none of the Gospel writers say that the Shroud was saved after the events of Easter Sunday morning. John's last reference leaves it in the sepulcher. Also, the Gospel accounts do not mention an image on Jesus' burial sheet. These omissions are one reason Bishop d'Arcis believed the Lirey Shroud could not possibly be the one referred to in the Bible. Wouldn't the Gospel writers have said something about preserving Jesus' burial linen with his precious blood on it? Wouldn't they have mentioned if it had contained a portrait of Jesus himself? As Bishop d'Arcis argued, this would seem to be proof that the Lirey Shroud with its image was not the same as the shroud of the Gospel accounts. One explanation may be that the image was not yet visible on the cloth. Perhaps it only darkened little by little. (Remember what was said about the slow yellowing of linen.) If an image could not yet be seen on Easter morning, then the Evangelists (Gospel writers) could not mention one." (Scavone, 1989, pp.68,70).

However, as mentioned above, Calvin had probably never seen the true Shroud, only inferior copies (if even that), and if so he would not be aware of the extreme faintness of its image.

And of course, writing in 1543, Calvin would not be aware of the

[Above: "The actual image on the Shroud (left) - Photo negative of that image (right)": Photo of Jesus.com. That is, the photo on the right is a negative which is photographically positive, developed from the Shroud image on the left, proving that the actual image on the Shroud is a photographic negative!]

discovery over 350 years later in 1898 that the Shroud was actually a photographic negative (something no one knew existed until the discovery of photography in 1825), and therefore a forger would not (and could not) have produced the Shroud:

"More than one hundred years ago, on 28th May, 1898 an amateur Italian photographer, Mr. Secondo Pia, took the first photograph of the shroud. He was startled by the resulting negative which seemed to give the appearance of a positive image. See below more recent Jesus pictures of the actual image on the Shroud and the photo negative of it. Ever since Mr. Secondo Pia took the first photograph of the shroud in 1898, the Shroud of Turin has been the subject of intense scientific study. A negative image is what appeared on a developed film (negative) back in the days of 35mm photography. No one could understand how a perfect, full length negative image of a human body could be formed on an ancient piece of linen cloth. Scientists found it difficult to accept the fact that it was a Jesus Miracle, but to date no one has been able to find an explanation. When the scientists did investigations with very modern sophisticated instruments, even more surprising facts emerged. They discovered that the image on this ancient cloth is more than just an ordinary photo negative, it also has digital information from which 3D images could be made. Many other surprising findings were also made ... Even though many modern scientists, photographers and painters have tried to make a similar image on cloth, no one has succeeded. If the holy Shroud were a fake, then a forger, sometime before the year 1578 (the year the holy shroud came to be kept with utmost care in Turin), produced a masterpiece that not a single modern man has been able to duplicate. ... Considering all this, it is impossible for a forger, even the most cleverest, to have made such a Shroud. Modern scientists, even the cleverest scientists of today, from the leading research institutions of the world, are unable to understand or explain how the image on the Shroud was formed." ("First Photograph of the Shroud of Turin," Photo of Jesus.Com).

>and it is not to be imagined that he would have omitted to mention such a work of God if there had been any thing of this kind.

If Calvin, with his brilliant mind, had really thought it through, he could easily have "imagined" why John (or the other three Gospel writers) "does not say that there was a miraculous impression of our Lord's figure upon these clothes."

As pointed out above: 1) The image on the Shroud is very faint and it is most unlikely the disciples would have noticed it in the tomb; 2) The image may not have been visible even in the light of day at that point in time; 3) Jesus in the forty days between His resurrection and ascension, could have (and so almost certainly would have) answered the disciples' questions about what to do with His burial garments that all four gospels mention.

Apart from the above, Calvin should have "imagined" 4) the fact that Christianity was for many centuries after its origin a persecuted minority religion, and therefore if the New Testament writers were to publicly announce that they had Jesus' blood-stained burial shroud, complete with the imprint of His crucified (and resurrected) body, it would lead Christianity's much more powerful enemies, the Romans and the Jews, to demand they hand it over, on pain of torture and death:

"As to whether the disciples of Jesus did remove the burial wrappings from the tomb, the Gospels are indeed silent. There is evidence, described later, that they did take the Shroud. This evidence suggests they took it with them into hiding, for, as we read in the Bible, they feared for their lives. They would have known that if they `advertised' their valuable possession, it might become a target for either Romans or Jewish zealots. Those who were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion seemed determined to stamp out the new Christian-sect. The Easter story shows that they would do anything to erase the memory of Jesus. They would seize and destroy the Shroud if their attention was drawn to its survival. So the Shroud was kept hidden, and the Gospel stories are silent about its removal from the tomb. The Bible is silent on many other things as well. For instance, details about much of the first thirty years of Jesus' life are omitted." (Scavone, 1989, pp.70-71).

"It is absurd to demand a detailed documentation from Jews and Jewish Christians regarding the presence and handing down of the Holy Shroud in the period before Christianity enjoyed full freedom of expression in the Middle East, and particularly in Jerusalem, which was a troubled, much conquered city right from the beginnings of Christianity. The lack of documentation may be due to three main reactions which would have been provoked by the open showing of the shroud of a man who, from the blood marks and entire imprint, clearly died on the cross: a religious reaction concerning legal impurity, a theological reaction concerning the question of real or only apparent humanity, and a juridical reaction concerning violation of the tomb. This would have led to the immediate destruction of the shroud and severe punishment of those having it in their possession." (Ricci, G., 1981, "The Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, p.xxi. Emphasis original).

This should be so obvious to a first-rank scholar as Calvin was, that it can only be his extreme prejudice against anything to do with "the Papists" that prevented him seeing it.

Concluded in part #2.

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