Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Argument From the Shroud - Further Reading (1-D)

Hello all,

While I am currently researching and compiling for the next essay, I wanted to post two papers that address some issues surrounding the Shroud. The reason for this is that these essays have compiled so much data and have such a better hold on the subject that I feel it would be pointless for me to create an essay for each of the subjects.

The first paper deals with the blood on the Shroud and the controversy surrounding the faulty research of Walter McCrone. It is a technical paper and a bit long, but well worth the read.

The second paper deals with many of the posited image formation theories (especially those related to forgery) and systematically shows why each of them fail. It goes over theories such as:

  • The Shroud was a painting
  • The Shroud was a photograph
  • The Shroud was a bleaching
  • The Shroud was a rubbing
  • The Shroud was a scorching
  • The Shroud was a 3D block print

The paper also summarizes the problem with the carbon dating results as well as a suggested timeline for the history of the Shroud. Enjoy!

The Shroud of Turin's 'Blood' Images: Blood, or Paint? History of Science Inquiry by David Ford 

Summary of Challenges to the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin by Richard B. Sorensen

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mention at Dan Porter's blog

Hey everyone,

Just want to give a quick thank you to Dan Porter who had a link to my previous post on the Shroud of Turin. I've been a very big fan of Dan Porter's work for at least a year, and used him as a reliable reference before that. Thanks a ton, Dan!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Argument From the Shroud - The Anatomy of the Man (1-C)

In this post I'll be covering the anatomy of the man on the Shroud while attempting to show that the image depicts that of Jesus Christ (regardless of authenticity). I should note now that one cannot prove who the image belongs to, but when all the facts are accounted for we can easily infer that it depicts Jesus Christ.

We shall start from the top and work our way down. The first noticeable wounds are those on the crown of the man; they correlate to the puncture wounds that would have been made by a crown of thorns such as depicted in the gospel of St. Mark: “And they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'”.1 In reality the crown is more akin to a cap2, thus going against artistic norms and therefore common-folk expectations.3 Already we should ask: why would a medieval forger go against the expected norms if he were forging the Shroud to trick others?4 However, this did not seem to stop people from believing the authenticity of The Shroud in the medieval era, but it is still something worth pondering about.

Moving to the face we immediately see the damaged nose and swollen right cheek.5 The wounds here seem to be too general as to identify exactly what caused them, though blows from fists seem to fit.6 This would correlate with the accounts of both Luke 22:637 and Matthew 26:67:

“Now the men who beheld Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, 'Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?'” Luke 22:63-64

Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, 'Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?'” Matthew 26:67-688

The man's hair is of longer length and fashioned into a braid while his beard is both short and forked.9 It is worth noting that this hairstyle was not from “Greco-Roman culture” but is Judaic.10 Likewise, the beard was “highly a manly adornment” in Jewish culture.11

There also seems to be a square imprint in the middle of the man's forehead12 as well as a 'V' mark between his eyes.13 Paul Vignon, the man who first observed the Shroud, noted that “80 percent” “of Byzantine icons”14 of Christ had this same 'V' shape amongst other identifying characteristics, suggesting that “the shroud face and the face on the icons had more than a casual link to one another”.15 This important observation will be covered in another section.

Furthermore, the face of the man was identified by anthropologist T. Dale Stewart (who frequently identified people's race via bones for the FBI) as being “that of a white man” whose origin could be either Palestinian or Greek.16 Furthermore, Carlton S. Coon, a highly “distinguished ethnologist” identified the man of the Shroud as having “a physical type found in modern times among Sephardic Jews and noble Arabs”.17

Moving down to the torso area we see that the body of the man is covered in whip marks which indeed relate to the Gospel accounts.18 The device used to make these wounds was none other than the Roman flagrum, a dumb-bell-whip which was usually fitted with small sheep bones and twin pellets of lead – such specificity has been identified on the Shroud.19 There are around 100 individual dumb-bell marks20 – something that would have been completely unfeasible for an artist to replicate with such accuracy so many times (as Vignon himself remarked)21, let alone as a photographic negative.

The nakedness of the man is also historically accurate as we know from the accounts of Philo of Alexandria in which he reports that crucifixion victims were stripped naked before flogging.22 This seems at first to be a contradiction between the Gospel accounts and the Shroud, as both in the books of St. Matthew and St. Mark, Jesus' own clothes were put back on him after he was beaten. However, we also read in all four Gospel accounts how Christ's garments were divided amongst the Roman Soldiers who then casted lots for them. Thus Christ's clothes were stripped off Him at some point, again showing a correlation between the Gospel accounts and the Shroud of Turin.

Looking on, there is noticeable chaffing of the shoulders23 most likely from carrying the patibulum (crossbeam) on which the man was to be crucified (a common Roman practice).24 This is reported in the Gospel of St. John when the beloved disciple writes: “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17).25 There is also damage to the man's knees, presumably from falling while carrying his patibulum.26 If the man on the Shroud is indeed Jesus Christ, this would make sense as St. Simon of Cyrene had to help Him carry His cross as reported in the Gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark and Luke27:

“Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.” (Matthew 27:32)

“Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” (Mark 15:21)

Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.” (Luke 23:26)28

Next are the wounds in the wrists – not the hands. This, as most people can figure, again goes contrary to traditional Christian art29 where Christ is depicted as being nailed through his hands to the cross. Now this doesn't necessarily rule out the fact that the man was crucified through his hands as we only can see the exit wounds30. Regardless, this does not run contradictory to the account given in the Gospel of St. John31 as the word St. Thomas uses for “hand” includes the wrist area in the original Greek.32 The blood from the wrist also moves in a way that does not seem correct with the way the arms are positioned.33 This is because the blood flowed in such a way only if the man's arms were positioned at a 65 degree angle – an angle that is completely compatible with crucifixion.34

Lastly we'll look at a particular wound in the man's chest which has an “elliptic shape to its top edge”.35 Such a wound could have been caused by a bladed weapon of some kind.36 Ian Wilson further elaborates:

The Greek word the author used for ‘lance’ in this passage was lonche, the Latin equivalent was lancea; Archaeologically we know quite a lot about the lancea. With a long leaf-like blade thickening and rounding off towards the shaft, it was just the kind of general-purpose weapon that would have been standard issue for the small contingent of auxiliaries who took direct charge of Jesus’s crucifixion (pl. l1b). In the Landesmuseum in Zurich there are several good examples with essentially exactly the same elliptic breadth to the blade that we can see on the Shroud.”37

The area targeted is where Roman soldiers were trained to stab since it is the arm in which their enemy would be holding their weapon and not their shield38 (as seen in the “Dying Gaul” statue).39 This relates to the account in the Gospel of St. John when Jesus is stabbed with the Lance of Longinus: “But one one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:34) Furthermore, the area in which the wound appears “showed [a] separation of blood parts, including serum”.40

Furthermore, the blood flows on the Shroud are surprisingly realistic and again go against usual artistic depiction; the “flows follow the natural contours of the body” while “artists...usually depicted such flows in straight lines or stylized droplets”.41 It is worth noting that such a torture technique was not typical of either Roman practice or that of any other culture and that Jesus is the only one known to have received said torture42.

There are other facts that we could go into (as well as further elaboration on the ones discussed here) but I think that this is sufficient to establish vast correlations between the man on the Shroud and Jesus Christ. There is no other person in history or legend that has suffered all these wounds in the same exact matter, and the perfect correlation makes it highly plausible to reason that this man is at least a depiction of Jesus Christ. To invent any other character would seem to be completely illogical as they would be nothing more than pure fiction43 compared to the person of Christ, who even if one does not accept his historicity, must submit to the fact that there is a long oral and written tradition about Him. Thus, at this point, I put forward that we can reasonably deduce two things:
  1. The man on the Shroud is a depiction of Jesus Christ
  2. The Shroud does not seem to have been any kind of medieval forgery
If we agree with these two premises (as I argued in this and my last essay) then I think we can start to consider the fact that this indeed is the Shroud of Jesus Christ and that the image was made from his body (whether by natural or supernatural means). However, at this point we need to show at least some kind of a timeline that the Shroud could be traced back through (though, as I showed in my first essay, we have good reason to believe that this Shroud dates from antiquity). But even before that, we need to answer the elephant in the room:

What went wrong with the Carbon Dating?

1Ian Wilson The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved, 2010. Kindle Locations 955-957. All Scripture quotations are NKJV from The Orthodox Study Bible
2Robert K. Wilcox The Truth About The Shroud of Turin, 2010. pp. 17
5Robert Bucklin, M.D., J.D., An Autopsy on the Man of the Shroud
6Wilson, kl. 947-948
7Ibid., kl. 5834
8Wilcox, pp. 18
10Wilcox, pp. 144
13Wilcox, 101.
14Ibid, pp. 101
15Ibid, pp. 100
16Ibid., pp. 143, 146
17Ibid., 147
18Wilson, kl. 965-967
19Ibid., kl. 977-980
20Ibid, kl. 982-983
21Wilcox, pp. 18
22Wilson, kl. 974-975
23Ibid., kl. 988-989
24Ibid., kl. 995-996
25Ibid., kl. 989-991
26Wilcox, pp. 19
27Wilson, kl. 991-993
28Ibid., kl. 5849
29Wilcox, pp. 17
30 Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D., Pierre Barbet Revisited,
31Wilson, kl. 1006-1008
32Ibid., kl. 5852. “So he said to them, 'Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
35Wilson, kl. 1048-1049
36Ibid., kl. 1049
37Ibid., kl. 1052-1056
38Ibid., kl. 1060-1062
39Ibid., kl. 1062-1064
40Wilcox, pp. 19
41Ibid., pp. 16
42Wilson, kl. 959-960, 962-964
43Ibid., pp. 26 “But those who wish to attribute the shroud to another person are in the same condition as ourselves with respect to the other difficulties, with this difference – that their person is a pure invention without any mention in history, tradition or legend.” - Prof. Delage

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