Shroud of Turin: Easter Miracle or Hoax?

Shroud of Turin: Easter Miracle or Hoax? April 23, 2014

Shroud of Turin, DebunkedThe Shroud of Turin is a 14-foot-long linen cloth with the faint image of a man. Imagine the cloth going from feet to head along a man’s back, then folding over the head to continue back to the feet.

Many Christians think that it is the burial shroud of Jesus and that the supernatural energy of resurrecting his dead body burned an image into the cloth. It first appeared in history in 1390 in France, and it was moved to Turin, Italy in 1578. Fire and water damage from 1532 are visible on the shroud.

Proponents argue that marks from Jesus’s last hours are on the figure—the nail wounds, the scourgings, and the cuts from the crown of thorns—but is this the real burial shroud of Jesus?

Which do we believe: the Shroud or the Bible?

The first problem is scriptural. The shroud doesn’t fit with the story of the empty tomb from the Bible.

[Simon Peter] saw the strips of linen lying there [in the tomb], as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. (John 20:6–7)

Strips of linen (presumably for the body) and a separate head cloth is not a single shroud. And there is no evidence besides the shroud itself to imagine that first-century Jews buried their dead that way.

They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:40)

This wasn’t just a pinch of spice—it was 75 pounds worth (John 19:39). The bare body we see in the image shows no evidence of this massive amount of spice.

If the Shroud were real, what would the image look like?

Next, an artistic problem. If a linen cloth were laid over a prone person, it would drape over the sides of the face. That is, it would wrap around to some extent.

A typical man’s face is roughly six inches wide. But it’s more like eleven inches from one ear, across the face, to the other ear. Granted, the shroud wouldn’t be vacuum-sealed to hug the face completely. But we would expect to see some wraparound distortion to the image when the shroud was later laid flat. The face image is actually thinner than an ordinary person’s face, not wider as it ought to be. Even when ignoring the lack of distortion, the head is far too small. The brain size would’ve been about two thirds that of an ordinary human.

The figure on the shroud politely covers his nether region. Try lying down and doing the same thing—your arms won’t be long enough.

He’s also about six feet tall, while the average Jew was roughly eight inches less, and yet nothing is mentioned in the gospels about this remarkable height.

How common were forgeries?

Could this have been a hoax or some other fake? Traffic in holy Christian relics was big business during the medieval period—it’s been said that there were enough pieces of the cross to build a ship and enough nails from the crucifixion to hold it together. This wasn’t the only shroud—history records forty of them. Obviously, at least 39 of these must be false.

In fact, our first well-documented discussion of the shroud in 1390 states that it is a forgery and that the artist was known.

(An aside: I’ve written before about the apologists’ Naysayer Argument, the claim that the gospel story must be true because, if it weren’t, rebuttals from contemporaries would have shut it down immediately. The Shroud debate nicely defeats this argument. Our oldest reliable source is a rebuttal of the supernatural claim of the shroud, and yet this obviously didn’t eliminate Christian belief in it.)

The image of a person being magically transformed into an icon (like a face onto a cloth) is called an acheiropoieton. The shroud is just one of several examples, including the Image of Edessa, Veil of Veronica, and Virgin of Guadalupe.

Skeptical critique 

Many problems argue against the shroud being the real thing. Carbon dating says that the linen is from the 1300s, there is evidence of tempera paint creating the image, 2000-year-old blood should be black and not red, pollen on the shroud seems to be only from Europe and not also Israel, the weave of the fabric doesn’t appear to be authentic, and so on. Christian apologists have a different way to rationalize away each of these problems, but the most economical explanation, the single argument that neatly explains the evidence, is that it’s a fake.

There’s a surprisingly large amount of information on this topic. It is clearly important for a lot of people. The best that can be said of the shroud is that we can’t prove that it wasn’t the burial cloth of Jesus. But that’s no reason to believe that it was, at least for anyone who cares to follow the evidence.

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith, no explanation is possible. 
— Thomas Aquinas

Photo credit: Wikimedia

(This is a modified version of a post that originally appeared 4/4/12.)

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  • $102828240

    Now the only thing to be explained is why a 14th century forger took the trouble to make an image that looks better in negative. Something that was only discovered some 500 years later.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      I don’t think it looks any better or worse in the negative. Just different. Increasing the contrast makes the image pop out more, but that’s just because it is a very faint image.

      Shroud believers like to bring up “unanswerable” questions about the forger as if that somehow proves the shrouds authenticity. It does not. The facts are that the shroud has no provenance before the 1300s, it was carbon dated to the 1300s, and there are numerous other evidences that it’s not from the first century Jerusalem. That we do not know everything there is to know about what the creator did in 1300s does nothing to remove all these evidences.

      Sure, we don’t know every detail about the shroud. But we do know that it is from the late 1300s.

      • $102828240

        Before the invention of photography the Shroud was just another Roman Catholic relic. Some vague stains on an old piece of cloth. No non-Catholic is interested in the relics of the Crown of Thorns or one of the many pieces of the True Cross. But when the first negative images of the Shroud became known, the discussion we are having today took of. The difference between the positive and the negative is striking to every unbiased observer. Please check the images on the internet.

        • I don’t think so. Here are the head from Wikipedia turned into black and white (left) and that image inverted (right).

          What you often see on the internet are images that are enhanced. Is that your point? That it’s not just making a negative but also the contrast enhancement that was important?

        • $102828240

          Let me try it this way: It’s not just about what you and I see today (although I see a dramatic difference between the two images; the left could be any “Jesus on a piece of toast” kind of picture; I wonder if even you would just butter and eat the right one). But think about what the first photographer saw. Wikipedia says: “In May 1898 amateur Italian photographer Secondo Pia was allowed to photograph the shroud and he took the first photograph of the shroud on the evening of May 28, 1898. Pia was startled by the visible image of the negative plate in his darkroom.” Pia was startled and so was the rest of the world. So whether you see it or not, historically something happened to the way the Shroud was percepted and discussed as a consequence of photography.

        • hector_jones

          And the fact that so many people, including probably Secondo Pia himself, were Christians who either already believed, or wanted to believe, that the shroud was a true artefact of Christ, had nothing to do with how the shroud was ‘percepted and discussed’?

          You’ve posted three comments about this and yet I really can’t tell what point it is you are trying to make. What do you think needs to be explained and why? What explanation do you give? That the shroud is truly the burial shroud of Jesus? In spite of all the evidence that it isn’t?

        • I’m unclear on your point. Are you saying that the idea of doing a negative image was beyond the conception of anyone in the 1300s? If so, I think you underestimate human creativity.

          “A forger had a clever idea” sounds more plausible than “Jesus was resurrected, and that left an imagine in this cloth.”

        • $102828240

          I believe we are on the same page now about the fact that the negative image is something interesting (maybe just a very clever 14th century forgery; I wonder who the forger was trying to impress). I don’t think a simple reference to human creativity is enough to explain it. As finding a Swiss watch in a Viking burial site would ask for a more sophisticated explanation. I’m open to alternatives. No need to get the resurrection into the discussion.

        • Kodie

          People were impressed with this artifact for centuries before the invention of photography on its own merits. Knowledge of photographic negatives is unnecessary to explain how it was created or who it was created to impress with a mysterious hidden secret; it is just a coincidence. You are impressed for some reason, but I don’t think there is anything to be impressed about.

        • So you find a curious puzzle and conclude that a man was raised miraculously from the dead (and, BTW, he was a person of the Creator of the Universe)?

          Seems to me that even “Dunno” is a fine place to stop before we get silly about it.

        • hector_jones

          I suspect now that what Basil is trying but failing to argue is the old argument that the image on the cloth is said by some to be a ‘perfect negative’, which astounds them because they ask how could a medieval forger with no knowledge of photography create a ‘perfect negative’?

          But that point is answered in the link in the OP itself:

          And the answer is that it’s a bogus question – the Shroud is not a perfect photographic negative; it’s only a quasi-negative. The hair and beard in the so-called positive image are white, which is the opposite of what they should be in a positive image. So it’s a quasi-negative – it’s sort of a complicated issue; but it’s a quasi-negative and the effect is that if an imprinting technique in which the face and the hair, where they touched the cloth, were darkened. As I say, no burial cloth leaves such picture-like images.

          All the other objections to the shroud’s authenticity, including the bizarre proportions of the body and the fact that the image is perfectly flat and makes no sense for a burial shroud image, would make sensible people look a little bit further into the ‘perfect negative’ idea before ludicrously implying that this trumps all objections and even proves the shroud’s authenticity

    • Kodie

      The artist made what essentially would look like a potato print except with a body. He is staining a cloth the way he thinks it would be stained. Nobody needs to know about photography or predict what it would look like in a photographic negative. If he was trying to paint something that looked more like Jesus, it would look less like a print of his body on the cloth and more like a painting done of him on canvas or other surface. He wasn’t trying to paint a portrait that would look fantastic but unrealistic to what he was aiming for, and it was obvious what he was aiming for – something that looked like a cloth someone was wrapped head to foot as prepared for burial. He was trying to get a result that would look like a stain from a body onto a cloth, then it would make a print using the contours of a body. Use your head, man.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    “The figure on the shroud politely covers his nether region. Try lying
    down and doing the same thing—your arms won’t be long enough.”

    I contest this. I’ve laid down in the shroud pose and was able to cover my nether regions quite comfortably. As far as I know I don’t have freakishly long arms or anything.

    • I wonder how close you were to mimicking the Shroud. Look it up on Wikipedia and zoom in. Note that the left fingertips are all the way over to the edge of the right thigh. Still, there’s a big gap between the chest and the left elbow. Most people’s bodies aren’t like that.

      • OverlappingMagisteria

        I see what you’re saying. The left arm is stretching further, which I wasn’t doing.
        I tried it again and I can manage the position with a decent size gap between my left elbow and chest if I slouch my left shoulder down. It’s a bit of an awkward position, but not impossible.

        Either way, the other evidences are enough. Arm position is just extra.

        • hector_jones

          You managed to maintain the awkward position because you are alive and employed your muscles. But the argument goes, how would a corpse maintain such an awkward position? Far more likely that the image was painted onto the shroud in the 1300s, which is where all the evidence points.

        • OverlappingMagisteria

          “Far more likely that the image was painted onto the shroud in the 1300s, which is where all the evidence points.”

          I agree 100%. I just don’t see the arm position argument as that convincing. The arm could have either been painted that way by the artist, or pulled and positioned that way by people laying out the body (I didn’t have to use significant muscle to position myself that way – I don’t think its unreasonable that a corpse’s arm could be pulled into that position). Since the arm position can be explained by both claims, it doesn’t point in either direction.

          As you say, all the other evidences do point to the 1300s, so we can make conclusions based on that. I just think the arm thing is irrelevant.

          ETA: By “awkward” I just mean uncomfortable, not hard to maintain. As a living person, I care about being comfortable. A corpse does not.

        • hector_jones

          “pulled and positioned that way” – What would have kept the arms positioned that way on a corpse? You didn’t use significant muscle, but you nevertheless had to use some, which is completely impossible for a corpse.

          The only natural positions are folding the arms and hands across the chest, where they will stay in position without any muscular effort, or laying them at the side of the body.

          I think it’s pretty obvious that the painter chose this pose because it was a convenient way to cover up his Lord’s pudenda. In the real world, there’s no need to position the arms and hands of a corpse like that before wrapping it in a shroud. But if one were to do so, the most obvious way would be to tie the wrists together. The shroud, however, shows no evidence of a ligature around the wrists.

        • OverlappingMagisteria

          “What would have kept the arms positioned that way on a corpse?”

          Nothing is required to keep them there. I used some muscle to position my arms that way, then I relaxed. My arms stayed in that position. Similarly, you could position a corpse’s arms that way, and they would stay that way. No tied wrists required. Try it. Your arms can relax in that position.

          I agree that the artist likely put the arms over the groin to hide the holy hambone. But we know that it’s a piece of art through means other than the arm position.

        • hector_jones

          Well I tried it too, on a hard flat surface, and I found it impossible to keep my hands that low on my body without using my muscles to keep my elbows pulled up and in. Once I relaxed and stopped applying muscular effort, my elbows slipped down and my hands moved upward, uncovering the unholy region. I don’t think tying the wrists together would have made any difference now, because the key is the effort needed to keep the elbows in.

          But I agree that the fakery of the shroud is so firmly established by other means that this is a lesser point by far.

      • Kodie

        I would focus on how long his forearms and hands are, as well as other features that are impossible such as the hair. The artist went to a lot of trouble to illustrate all the wounds of a brutal beating, carrying a wooden cross across his back and shoulder, nails through his hands and feet, and from wearing a crown of thorns. It has all the features of a cruel torture and execution, but defies physics, biology, and anatomy. It was as if the artist was painting a picture of a wounded dead corpse like any other artist of the day, more of a poignant, symbolic rendering, and not to be confused with an actual burial linen sheet. The blood stains on this sheet at the time it would have been wrapped on the corpse of Jesus would be impossible.

        I also forgot to say before that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear an apologist explain the length of his arms as an effect of hanging on the cross. Wow, a 2-fer!

        • hector_jones

          Christians pretty much concede that blood forming an image of the corpse like that is impossible. But to them that’s the whole point. It’s impossible, therefore it’s a miracle! And who do we associate with miracles? Why, Jesus-God! So it’s Jesus’s burial shroud! Ta daaa!

          Any believer who wants to argue that no miracle was involved, that it’s perfectly natural for a bloodied corpse to leave an impression like that on a burial shroud is left with numerous objections, such as: how do you know this is Jesus and not some other person then if such things are perfectly natural? How come there isn’t one single burial shroud besides this one bearing an impression of the bloodied corpse? How come tests show that there is no blood on the shroud, but paint pigment? You don’t really see that many true believers who take this approach because it falls apart too quickly.

          Then you get the ‘pseudo-miracle’ proponents, who feel a natural explanation is warranted, but turn to a ridiculous science-fiction explanation, such as that by an amazing coincidence at the time of entombment but before the resurrection a powerful but unrecorded earth quake occurred that somehow released radioactivity that left an impression of the body on the shroud by an inexplicable and never-before-observed mechanism and blah blah blah.

        • Kodie

          They lose nothing by admitting it’s a fake. Jesus still died on the cross, Jesus still got laid in the tomb, the tomb was still empty when they went looking. 1300 years later, someone paints on a cloth. Where is the problem here? Why do they need it to have surrounded Jesus’s actual dead body and printed him on it? They want it to be so it is. Every time I hear stuff like this coming from Christians, I get another point in favor of what kind of dummy believes that bullshit. This is why I don’t care to bother reading the bible. If it was in there, they wouldn’t need this and they wouldn’t fall for it. And yet Satan planted dinosaur bones to fool people! It’s the warpability of someone’s actual sense that lets me know I’m not wrong. What they are willing to believe and the arguments they are willing to put forth tell me all I need to know about how gullible you have to be to be a Christian and there’s nothing more to it.

        • hector_jones

          They lose one thing by conceding it’s a fake – they give up a piece of non-gospel evidence that Jesus physically existed and was executed.

        • Kodie

          They apparently don’t need it so much. In all the arguments with Christians I’ve had or seen had with other atheists, I’ve never once seen a Christian bring up the shroud as evidence. They bring up a lot of side issues they want to talk about and go on their evasive little tour around all the apologetics while not getting themselves pinned down to an actual answer, and I have yet to see one bring up we should consider the shroud unless it’s actually relevant to the topic like this one. They are pretty much kings of changing the subject, but they never turn to the shroud of Turin to support their claims.

        • My experience is similar: the average Christian has no use for the Shroud as evidence. However, Gary Habermas (chair of the Dept. of Philosophy at Liberty “University”) is a major fan.

        • Kodie

          I find that some people get overly focused on one aspect of something, not necessarily to a bad cause, but often to one of the unsolved mysteries of the ages. There could be some Christians and others who are overly focused on the shroud as a topic unto itself, just like there are some who are overly focused on the secret codes in the bible beyond the written word. I think they are the funniest.

          Secondly, I’m sure most theists concur in the authenticity of the shroud. Just yesterday, I read a site that was all about it, with different articles submitted over every aspect of it (not all of them favored the authenticity claim). For whatever reason, they have a need for it to be authentic and go to great lengths to examine the detail. Well holy shit, you know who would put a lot of effort into making those details to be found? Someone creating a fraudulent religious artifact.

        • Doomedd

          I heard something about that a few years ago, in an episode of Bullshit. Those who believe they got a miraculous artifact hold a material proof of the heavens. Remove the artifact and you remove the divine proof. The believer will fight for the artifact because, without it, there is nothing to support the faith.

          I think this is a major reason why the bible inerrancists fight so hard. Remove the divinely inspired book and it gets far harder to justify your faith. It would remove the comically-tragic certainty of the apologists that post here.

        • Kodie

          There definitely are Christians who are fascinated with the artifact and some who occasionally bring it up as an article of cultural fascination through the ages on their blogs, but I have not seen it used as another form of evidence in a random case of Christianity vs. another religion or atheism. I have seen Christians pull out objective morality, fine-tuned universe, irreducible complexity and all that usual stuff that is from outside the bible, and of course including the bible itself, what they find of it to be convincing. Of course the whole thing is inerrant, and they will find a way to justify anything they don’t agree is literal as some kind of spiritual message, or la-da-da happened, but the real moral of the story, like, say, Noah, is that god made a promise to humans and sealed it with a rainbow, isn’t that a good god? The gospels, the empty tomb, the die for a lie thing – this is what makes up their arguments. Weren’t we not too long ago having a thread series on whether Jesus was a literal man at least or a mythical character, and nobody seems to remember the shroud unless it’s mentioned specifically.

        • I came across one sloppy explanation of this sort: that the earthquake shook the rocks in such a way that neutrons zapped the image into the cloth.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Oh yeah. Without getting into the physical ridiculosity of that, check out Richard Carrier on the historicity of their earthquake claims:

          Magical Earthquake Ray Beams Caused the Shroud of Turin

        • MNb

          Wow. I would like to see that reproduced in a lab.

        • Kodie

          I believe that’s the well known Geological Xerox phenomenon.

    • Susan

      I contest this. I’ve laid down in the shroud pose and was able to cover my nether regions quite comfortably.

      I tried it too and there was no problem. Maybe Bob is just bragging. 😉

      Very good article on every other point.

      • Focus on the left arm: left fingertips touching the edge of right thigh + left wrist over naughty bits + substantial gap between chest and left elbow.

        Doesn’t work for me (sample size of 1, admittedly).

        • Susan

          I looked it up and see what you mean.

        • Kodie

          If you lay down flat with your hands at your sides, how far down on your leg do your fingertips rest? Now shorten your arms’ length by bending them. I can effect the same posture as the shroud figure but only by stretching/straining at the shoulders and neck to keep my arms away from my body. HIs elbows at this posture, not just with shortened bent arms but shortened bent arms shortened further by holding them away from his body, his elbows are nearly at his hips, below his waist, even with his arms bent, and his hands lay about the height on his leg they should if his arms were straight. Laying flat, with my arms straight at my sides, my wrists come to about the height of my crotch already. The figure on the shroud has distortedly long forearms, where his bent elbows land about the hips and not at the waist where they normally should.

          It’s not a matter of can you imitate this pose, it’s how long are your arms, how does it distort the shape of the rest of your body to take the dare. As you can see, the figure’s shoulders and neck are not distorted to maintain the pose. I should say I’m a very tall woman, that doesn’t mean my arms are out of proportion. I am as tall as this Jesus figure. If you saw a real human with arms in those proportions you would notice it right away, not where his hands ended up in the pose.

          I looked at a picture of the whole length of the shroud and can’t find anything to back me up (sure I’ve read it before?) but the feet are slightly crossed in an impossible way. If you are taking a print of the front and back of a human being with slightly crossed legs, it would not form a horizontal symmetry. I had a really hard time grasping the spatial reasoning on this so I did an experiment with 2 q-tips and an old birthday card. The top and bottom print identical, one strong diagonal in the same direction and a one weak diagonal in the other-leaning direction. His front leg on the front is his back leg on the back.

          And to analyze this further, I checked it out in an art program. The back is taller than the front. Physically impossible. As several articles point out, his hair hangs as if he’s sitting upright. Physically impossible. I like this article pointing out the forensic impossibilities as well – many people have examined the shroud for wounds as Jesus is supposed to have suffered and overlooked the natural effect of blood pooling at the lowest part of the body, which in a reclining position would all be at his back. Not to mention that the bible says he was cleaned as per Jewish tradition and packed with spices. More on this here:

          which debunks the autopsy here:

        • hector_jones

          It’s not a matter of can you imitate this pose, it’s how long are your arms, how does it distort the shape of the rest of your body to take the dare.


        • Kodie

          I think it’s strange that someone went to the trouble of painting a figure on a sheet instead of wrapping some guy in a sheet. Maybe they tried that first and it didn’t work for some reason? Human body proportions are also kind of weird because we all have bodies. Art classes draw nude figures to see the shapes formed and avoid preconceptions we have of the shapes as we imagine them, and there is a general formula for drawing a human body without a model, that is, the elbow falls at the waist. We could look at a human person with these proportions and immediately notice, but in a drawing or a painting, it’s easy to ignore. It’s a long piece of linen with the image of a human man.

          I used to go out with an art guy, I call him an art guy because he was not an artist. He painted until he broke the painting and then painted over it. His sense of human proportion was awful, even though he used a projector and drew outlines and used a photo for reference. He was very sensitive and wanted me to tell him he was doing great, but he was painting this woman he clipped out of a magazine, and her shoulders were freakishly narrow. Your eye is seeing what she actually looks like in a photo, compare to the painting, and they look the same to you?

          Another common mistake is drawing eyes and/or ears too high on the head, or making the waist too long and either compensating by making the legs longer, or the legs too short. You can sometimes see this effect (the former) on photoshop where they try to make a woman look taller and thinner, and to a regular non-analytical person, she looks like a perfectly tall, thin woman would look, but if you care to measure it, she would be 8 or 9 feet tall. People are looking at this and still don’t notice.

        • I saw a demonstration of how female models are Photoshopped, and it was amazing how many seemingly substantial changes were made–longer legs, longer neck, thinner thighs, and so on. You’d think that the result would look freakish, but I guess we have a fairly broad range for “normal human.”

          With the Shroud, only after the weird stuff was pointed out to me (small head, long arms, etc.) did I notice them.

        • Kodie

          I think in pictures, whether they are photoshopped or drawn/painted renderings of a live model or picture or from the artist’s imagination, if it’s supposed to be a realistic looking portrayal, we usually can reconcile it between the eye and the brain, but we do not on a real live person in front of us. You don’t have to have it pointed out to you to notice a real person’s extremely long arms, unless you’re not that observant or they learned to disguise their features because they draw too much attention from their awesome personality. I am thinking of on Seinfeld when Jerry dated a woman with “man hands”. This of course was enhanced by how she demonstrated strength by opening a stuck jar and cracked a lobster – and that her hands were played by a male hand model. Ordinarily you might not notice right away, but man hands are not just bigger hands. I am tall and my hands are long but not manly. My dad has the same size hands but they are wider across the palm and fingers, and thickness of the hand itself.

          I don’t know what it is when a person is in motion before you that you can see extreme features that you wouldn’t notice in a distorted picture or painting. We do have a range of what fits the definition of a human body, that a photo that is stretched can still look real, or something like a Barbie doll seems like measurements a human woman could have. People seem to have to have it pointed out for them that the female character in Frozen had eyes as big as her wrist. She is obviously a drawn characterization, but that is pretty extreme once the odd proportions are pointed out to you. In real life, you would notice right away!

        • Kodie

          And you have to know that somewhere there is someone who looked at that picture and said they never noticed Tina Fey had such large masculine arms before. Must be the lighting and clever angles, and then start to point out how often she is shot from the shoulders up and you hardly ever see her hands in a shot, e.g. she is always holding a bag of snacks or a sandwich or has a coat on and her hands in her pockets. Now that I think about it.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          but how do you explain away the clear image on an owl?

        • Wait–wasn’t that the symbol of Athena … ?

          Dear lord–she lives!

    • Plutosdad

      I knew a guy that could scratch his knees while standing and not bending. It was crazy.

  • ZenDruid

    According to McCrone (copyrighted article) , Jesus’ blood consisted of red ochre and vermilion instead of hemoglobin.

    • 😀

      • Pofarmer

        How about the eucharistic miracle of Lanciano. Been working to figure that one out. I personally think it’s probably a piece of animal heart.

        • I hadn’t heard of that one. Indeed, I hadn’t heard of the entire category of Eucharistic miracles. Thanks.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          That Lanciano stuff is hilarious. You can find some good skeptical treatments of it on Teh Interwebz if you dig around.

          Remember this the next time you are ridiculing Creationism and some apologist for the Holy Roman Catholic Church shows up to claim that the HRCC is modern, intellectual and science-friendly.

        • MNb
        • David

          Check out if you want to see some serious conservative catholic crazies.

        • Pofarmer

          Unfortunately that seems to be the way the higher ups want to take the Catholic Church, they call it evangelical Cathilicism.

        • Pofarmer

          Unfortunately, there are modern Catholics who eat this stuff up. I’ve been debating a little bit with a Catholic who thinks he’s a philospher on another patheos blog and the best they’ve got is apparently rehashing Aquinas. Some of his arguments are persuasive if you ignore 800 years of scientific advancement.

  • wtfwjtd

    On a related note, have you ever heard of Nicolas Notovitch and his book “The Unknown Life of Christ?” It’s a fraud, and was eventually admitted as such by its author. But every 30 years or so, it pops back up as someone “rediscovers” it, and pretends that it’s a new, authentic discovery. It seems the “truth” revealed in its pages is very convenient for certain religious traditions, so they hold it up as genuine because it *must* be true. Sounds a lot like the shroud you are discussing here; this book and its history might make for an interesting follow-up post to the shroud sometime.

    • I hadn’t heard of this one. Wikipedia shows this as Life of Saint Issa.

      Sounds a bit like Velikovsky. Doesn’t he get rediscovered now and again?

      • wtfwjtd

        Yes, The Unknown Life of Christ, the Life of Saint Issa is Notovitch’s work. I believe Saint Issa was first published in 1884; I’m not familiar with Velikovsky. Is he a later “discoverer” of Life of Saint Issa ,or is he a purveyor of a different work?

        • Velikovsky wrote “Worlds in Collision” in 1950. It’s pretty cool speculation about a chaotic solar system (he imagines a natural explanation for the 10 plagues in Egypt, for example), but it’s universally rejected by scientists as an explanation for how things actually worked.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ah yes, Velikovsky is a different line than Notovitch. Notovitch’s Unknown Life is an attempt at filling in some of the time before Jesus’ ministry was kicked off by his baptism by John. He has Jesus going to India and conversing with gurus and such to get all his wit and wisdom worked out, and get the miraculous tricks honed also. I understand the work is popular in some Buddhist and Hindi circles, and is also accepted by Muslims as authentic as well IIRC. I learned about it in Price’s “Shrinking Son of Man”. There were many early attempts at filling in Jesus’s earlier years, Mark and John just having him pop up didn’t sit well with a lot of people, and this is where Matthew and Luke come in. Their narratives are an attempt to fill in some earlier biographical details of Jesus’s life that the believers were clamoring for. Of course, Notovitch’s work is simply a 19th century attempt at filling in the “lost years”.

        • hector_jones

          I’m glad to see someone besides me felt the need to address this. I’ve often wondered what we are supposed to believe Jesus was up to before he began his ministry. If he was the Son of God why didn’t he begin when he turned 21? The Gospel accounts have him popping up all of a sudden at the age of about 30. Why did a divine being have to wait so long?

          If 30 or thereabouts was a culturally significant age to the ancient Jews and not, say, 21 (i.e. no Jew who began a ministry before that age could possibly be taken seriously) I will concede that, provided someone can cite the evidence, but I still haven’t seen it. And it still leaves me wondering what this guy was up to before the age of 30. Was he a carpenter or a rabbi? It’s odd that for a real person we have no account for this time period and no evidence that anyone ever noticed anything special about him (except the infancy gospel which the early church wisely rejected). Mozart he ain’t.

          If only Notovitch had been born 1800 years sooner, his work might have been the 5th Gospel.

        • MNb

          “It’s odd that for a real person we have no account for this time period ”
          Actually this is not odd at all. The biography of Shakespeare has a gap of several years and nobody knows what happened to Pontius Pilatus after he left Jerusalem.
          Also interesting:

          Until today nobody knows the real name of James Mason.

        • hector_jones

          It’s odd given how exceptional he is supposed to have been, far more so than Shakespeare. You’d think that after his death his devoted followers would want to find out as much as they could about the entire life story of their beloved and worshipped hero and savior. But alas, aside from a bullshit infancy gospel which even the early church rejected, there is nothing.

        • Castilliano

          There’s Christopher Moore’s revelation:

          His pokey hat has 5x the power of the pope’s!

        • A man’s power always comes from his hat.

        • wtfwjtd

          That’s one heckuva hat all right! No doubt, his book is just as authoritative.

        • MNb

          “how exceptional he is supposed to have been, far more so than Shakespeare.”
          No, he wasn’t, not by their contemporaries. Shakespeare was hailed during his life and had a good position at the king’s court; the First Folio was published only seven years after his death. There is no reason to assume Jesus had much fame during his lifetime or shortly after. Neither have we any reason to assume that Pontius Pilatus and the jewish elite thought him important.

          “You’d think that after his death his devoted followers”
          How many of these devoted followers had he after his death? How many of them could write? If Paulus hadn’t shown up, would we even had the slightest idea of Jesus? And Paulus had no interest to fill the gaps of Jesus’ life as that wasn’t of any use for the new movement he tried to start, with infight from the beginning.
          You put the cart before the horse. Because Jesus got famous many decades after his death (and initially among the illerate folks) you wrongly conclude we should know a lot more about his life. It’s the other way round, especially during Antiquity: we know a lot about people’s lives because they were famous during their lifetimes. As the example of Shakespeare shows even that doesn’t guarantee all the gaps can be filled.
          There are even a modern analogies. I like pastafarianism as you might know, but I know zilch about the life of Bobby Henderson. Why would I? How much would Moonies (need to) know about their hero Sun Myung Moon?
          You project your own wishes on a handful of illiterate devoted followers with a mindset completely different from yours. That’s a guarantee for failure. Or worse – you are asking loaded questions to point at a pre-determined conclusion.

        • hector_jones

          Oh MNb I’m not going down this rabbit hole with you. I’m not even making a mythicist argument here at all. That’s entirely inside your own fevered imagination. I’m not a mythicist. I’m making an anti-divinity argument. When I talk about how exceptional Jesus is said to have been, I mean exceptional by having been the son of god, supposedly.

          Even when I was a firm historicist I wondered about these things. Which you haven’t answered, btw, you are just positing one of many possibilities. As a fellow atheist, I agree that you could be right. But you could be wrong. You don’t have a shred of evidence, just conjecture that projects your own wishes onto followers about whom you don’t know a damn thing.

          Why on earth do you blather on about Moonies and Sun Myung Moon? You render yourself ridiculous with such things. You don’t think Moon has created an entire back story for the consumption of his followers? They just accept that he appeared out of thin air at age 30 and so that explanation should be good enough for Jesus?

          You see mythicism popping up everywhere you look and you must. stamp. it. out. It’s clouding your judgment, math teacher.

        • Kodie
        • MNb

          Thanks for not addressing what I have brought up.
          Pseudoscientist loves his ad hominem, eh?

          “I’m making an anti-divinity argument.”
          That your conclusion is right doesn’t mean your argument is right.
          Both in the scenario of a historical and a mystical Jesus it perfectly can be explained why there is a gap. History being a branch of science a divine Jesus is ruled out a priori. In that case your argument makes no sense. If you are going to postulate, like an apologist did recently, that history is no science I can only shrug.
          But of course you are the Great Hector Jones, whose judgment can’t be clouded by definition. So I can only give up.

        • hector_jones

          Pseudoscientists love ad hominem, is such a witty use of ad hominem that I hereby grant you the title ‘King of the Pseudoscientists’. I am at your service, my liege.

          I’m under no obligation to address what you brought up. You’re the guy who couldn’t have been bothered to do a tiny amount of research before insisting that no one knows where the Rubicon is. I got a lot of laughs out of that one. Thanks.

          Yes a gap can be explained by both historicism and mythicism. But the mythicism explanation would be more parsimonious, if mythicism could be proved. You are still left with ‘illiterate followers’, failing yet again to realize that the evidence for these illiterate followers is simply not there. There are simpler historicist arguments than that to explain the gap, though still not as parsimonious as mythicism. The real problem is none of the gap arguments, mythicist or historicist, should be satisfactory to a christian who actually wants to think the matter through.

          I doubt you will give up. You are the Great Mark Newbsomething, slayer of mythicists, math teacher extraordinaire.

        • MNb

          OK, I stand corrected: I give up for today and for this thread. Thanks for the compliments.

          “I’m under no obligation to address what you brought up.”
          Of course not, you being you.

        • hector_jones

          No one is under any obligation to respond to anyone else’s comments around here. Just ask Shem the Penman what I am talking about, though don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response.

          You are perfectly free never to respond to anything I post. It wouldn’t trouble me in the least. But you being you, you think everyone is obliged to join you in a tug of war over whatever old shoe you feel like scrapping over. No thanks.

        • MNb

          You’re kidding me! Me not being you I apparently never have realized this. Fortunately BobS still allows me to thank you (or anyone else) for not responding. I’m happy to repeat my thanks.

          “you think everyone is obliged to join you”
          Really? Then you know better what I think than I myself. But that’s what you’re Hector the Great for.

        • wtfwjtd

          I think I heard David Fitzgerald at a recent lecture say there was something like 40+ separate gospels that have now been identified. Robert Price says the reason some were canonized and other weren’t was simply…theology, not veracity. Just let that sink in for a minute, and think where it leads. It tells me, these guys were writing about Jesus, not because they wanted to carefully preserve actual history before it was lost, but simply to fill a need, and tell people what they were hungry to hear about their beloved “founder”, if he ever really existed at all. The more I see of this subject, the more it seems the term “euhemerism” applies.

        • MNb

          That may surprise you, but it is common knowledge that about all authors in Antiquity did so or something similar. They weren’t anal about separating fact from fiction like you and me.

        • hector_jones

          It may surprise you that even the ancients understood a difference between writing history and writing stories.

        • MNb

          I’m not saying they didn’t understand – I wrote they didn’t care like we do. Just check how many stories are attached to Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, how the accounts of Plato and Xenophanes on Socrates differ from each other.
          The pseudoscientist likes his strawman, eh?

        • hector_jones

          They most certainly gave a damn. Stick with teaching math. You know nothing about ancient historiography.

        • MNb

          Yes sir! The Great Hector Jones has spoken! Then everyone who disgrees can only bow in awe.

        • wtfwjtd

          I wonder if there were boyhood stories of people like Pythagoras or Caesar, for example? It wouldn’t surprise me if there were, and they ended up sounding like some of these “boy Jesus” stories.

        • MNb

          Pythagoras is a very nebulous character. As for Caesar: the pirates story and “Tu quoque, Brutus?” are certainly legends. There is even a historical course on the subject:

          Note how little is known about this JC’s youth …

        • hector_jones

          I agree. I read the infancy gospel once and that’s precisely how it struck me. The author realized the need to account for Jesus’s childhood, so he took a stab at it using what he thought he knew about Jesus, and his own imagination and came up with something … that the church rejected.

          If they rejected it for its unorthodoxy, then I have to ask how did they ever conclude what was orthodox and what wasn’t? What standard did they have to compare it to other than their own personal opinions? ‘Doxy’ means opinion after all.

          How any christian can cling to the idea that the NT is the word of god or even inspired by god is beyond me, given the way this book was cobbled together. Learning about this was a big factor in turning me from an agnostic into an atheist.

        • wtfwjtd

          I love some of those stories from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas–the one about boy Jesus making mud sparrows fly away; some kids pissing him off and he strikes them dead; a teacher makes him mad, and he does something bad to him, although I forget exactly what. And his father telling him to cut it out– “come on son, the neighbors all hate us, quit striking people dead!”
          It just all strikes you as foolish nonsense, but also very comical too. I’m sure the Christians in the 2nd century ate it up, and begged for more.

        • hector_jones

          It reminded me of the story of the evil little boy on the Twilight Zone ep, which was later spoofed by the Simpsons. It reminds me more of the spoof version, actually.

        • Tommykey69

          It’s almost like young Jesus was like Charlie X in the original Star Trek series.

        • wtfwjtd


        • Greg G.

          It seems they canonized the least ridiculous stories.

        • wtfwjtd


        • Greg G.

          Everybody was impressed by his theory. He had enough verisimilitude in it that the historians thought the science was good but he wasn’t quite right with the history whilethe scientists thought he was right on with the history even though his science was off. When they compared notes, they realized he was all wrong.

  • avalon

    You’re looking at the shroud and wondering if it’s real. But would that matter to believers or the church?
    A recent story about the bones of St. Peter indicates it wouldn’t (

    “Regardless of what scientific testing might reveal, he said, Christians
    would venerate the remains and pray at the tomb of Saint Peter.”
    “…”the symbolic value” of the bones – their “underlying theological value” – was hugely important.”

    • Interesting. For Christians to venerate the shroud, imagine that it’s the real thing, or whatever–that’s fine with me. It’s when they say that that’s actually where the evidence points that I have an issue.

      • avalon

        Perhaps you missed the subtle deception. Read the quote again.
        Here’s a translation:
        “”Regardless of what scientific testing might reveal, he said, Christians would venerate the remains (of some unknown dude) and pray at the tomb (of some unknown dude) (and continue to call it) the tomb of Saint Peter.”

        How, exactly, can Christians “pray at the tomb of Saint Peter” when nobody knows where he buried?

        • Greg G.

          That reminds me of the story about the tourist in the Holy Land who visited a small museum with the skull of John the Baptist. He mentioned that he had seen another museum that said it had the skull of John the Baptist but that skull was much larger.

          The curator replied, “But this is the skull he had when he was a boy.”

          (Helpful hint: When you put a URL in parentheses, put a space between it and the parentheses so Disqus doesn’t make the punctuation part of the link. My smart phone only has a backspace and my fingers are too fat to reliably put the cursor between the end of the URL and the big X that clears the whole thing.)

        • Asmondius

          He’s buried exactly where the the Church says he is.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          With or without his skull?

        • Asmondius

          I wasn’t there at the interment – were you?

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          I’m just curious. If there are museums in the Holy Land claiming to have his actual skull, then that means wherever he’s buried (that you believe the Church says he is buried), not ALL of him is buried. Or what the museums have are hoaxes. Where does the Church say he is buried anyway? Wikipedia gives it as the Nabi Yahya Mosque in Sebastia.

  • SparklingMoon

    The signs on Shroud of Turin proves that it has been used for Jesus and secondly he was alive at the time when had been wrapped in this cloth sheet by his followers. Firstly, the sheet has blood stains exactly the place Jesus had on his body by cross, secondly the image of body on Shroud of Turin is negative in itself and when its photo was taken by camera the image turned to positive on the camera film role. An object that ‘s photo is taken is always positive and camera turns this positive image first into negative and then turns this negative into positive form. This image on shroud is already negative and this shows that this sheet (like a camera role) had transfer the image of a positive form by passing through a chemical procedure. It was impossible for a person,two thousand years ago, to paint or print a negative image by hand on a sheet .

    After Jesus was taken down from the Cross, Jesus was handed to his friends and not his enemies. According John 19:9 says, “Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes and other spices ( 75 pounds worth (John 19:39) and this spice mixture (is also known as Marham-e-Isa ; the ointment of Jesus) was used on cloth sheets many times to wrap the body of Jesus for quick recovery. Jesus was laid in a sepulcher (not a grave) and it was blocked by a large rock.

    It is recorded by gospels that at the time of cross :”there was an earth-shock; and the rocks were broken ” at the time of cross.This breakage of rocks had created sulfur like elements inside the tomb (Jesus was put after cross) and other elements of ointment had worked to gather with the vapor coming from the live body of Jesus and transfer a negative image of his body on this Shroud of Turin.

    This negative image is not because of supernatural energy of resurrecting of Jesus that burned an image into the cloth. Jesus had not turned into spirit after cross but had the same physical body what before the cross. Jesus had signs of wounds on his body after cross when had met his followers. He himself says in the Gospel: “Behold my hands and my feet that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit hath no flesh and bones as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). On February 26, 1959, Berna wrote the following in a letter to Pope John XXIII: “From a medical point of view, it has been proved that the body that lay in the shroud was not dead, as the heart was then still beating. The traces of blood fluid, its position and nature, give positive scientific proof that the so-called execution was not legally complete. This discovery suggests that the present and past teachings of Christianity are incorrect. Your Holiness, this is how the case stands scientifically” (Faber-Kaiser,p 31).

    • cest_moi

      curiously, at the time of the cross, nobody else in the area noticed the “earth-shock” (or the darkness or the multitude of other “ressurected” people)

    • pianoman

      so what’s to say that, were the shroud from 1st century israel, that it wasn’t just some other guy who was wrapped in this?

      By the way, quoting bible verses is not proving that something happened.

      • hector_jones

        I swear these people come in here and argue this nonsense not because they believe it (it’s too preposterous for any sane person to believe) but because they have a knee-jerk need to argue against anything an atheist says about religion.

      • SparklingMoon

        it wasn’t just some other guy who was wrapped in this?
        This Shroud of Turin is considered by the followers of Jesus holy because of having the belief that it was wrapped around the body of Jesus after cross and all gospels confirm that Jesus was wrapped in a cloth after cross:

        59)And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.(Mathew 27:59,60) So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. (Mark 15:46) ”Then he took it down,wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock,one in which no one had yet been laid(Luke 53) ”After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus;and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39) Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40)They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths along with spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.(John 19:39,40)

        If someone considers that instead of Jesus this cloth was used for an other person then should provide a proof from Christian history the existence of an other admirable religious personality who also had passed through such a process of cross and his body also had bleeding wounds exactly on the same spots of body where Jesus had got during the cross.
        A person, who is punished by cross, usually have wounds on hands and feet but the image of the Shroud of Turin shows blood stains on head and one side also. According to an examining report of this cloth:” Blood has issued from these punctures into the hair and onto the skin of the forehead.The dorsal view shows that the puncture wounds extend around the occipital portion of the scalp in the manner of a crown.==== Upon examining the chest, the pathologist notes a large blood stain over the right pectoral area Close examination shows a variance in intensity of the stain consistent with the presence of two types of fluid, one comprised of blood, and the other resembling water.”

        The statement of Gospels confirm that Jesus had not only wounds on hands and feet (as had been nailed ) but also had extra wounds on his head and side because of: ”They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter.Then they spit on him and took the stick and hit him repeatedly on his head.(Matthew 27:29) ”and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.” ( Mark 15: 18,19) === ”they did not break his legs.(34) But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side,and forth with came there out blood and water (35) And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.”(John)

        The resemblance, between statements of gospels and examine’ reports of the Shroud of Turin shows that this sheet was used for Jesus to wrap his body and this body was not dead but a live one as bleeding wounds confirm a beating heart.

    • Or, we could just take the simple explanation: it was a hoax, and Jesus wasn’t raised.

      What’s left unexplained?

      • Kodie

        There is no conflict here. The hoax shroud can exist while Jesus allegedly resurrects. The shroud being a fake does not make any statement on the veracity of the resurrection.

      • SparklingMoon

        the simple explanation: it was a hoax, and Jesus wasn’t raised.
        In this philosophical age, which is accompanied by cultured reason and sharpness of intellect, it would be a great mistake to hope for religious success on the basis of such doctrines ( that Jesus (as) died on the cross, came back to life, then ascended bodily to heaven and took his seat on the right hand of his Father and will descend (with the same body) to the earth to judge mankind in these latter days). If these meaningless speculations were to be presented to the illiterate Bedouins of Arabia, or the inhabitants of the deserts of Africa, or the wild dwellers of the far off islands in the oceans, they might gain some acceptance; but we cannot hope to propagate among educated people such doctrines as are utterly opposed to reason, experience, laws of nature and philosophy.. How can those, whose hearts and minds have been developed by the light of new kinds of knowledge, accept such concepts which are disrespectful to God Almighty, denigrate His Unity, falsify His Law and abrogate the teachings of His Books?

        Jesus was a true Prophet of God Almighty and was a loved one of His. According to the eternal ways of God Almighty,every Prophet with a high resolve has to migrate on account of the persecution by his people. Therefore, Jesus (peace be upon him) also, after a ministry of three years, and having been rescued from death on the cross, migrated towards India.Having conveyed the Divine message to the other tribes of Israel, who, after the Babylonian dispersal, had settled in India, Kashmir and Tibet.(Raz-e-Haqiqat)

        • wtfwjtd

          “Therefore, Jesus (peace be upon him) also, after a ministry of three years, and having been rescued from death on the cross, migrated towards India.Having conveyed the Divine message to the other tribes of Israel, who, after the Babylonian dispersal, had settled in India, Kashmir and Tibet.(Raz-e-Haqiqat)”

          Interesting. Is this from The Life of Saint Issa?

        • SparklingMoon

          I never heard about this book ”The Life of Saint Issa” before. Secondly, the descriptions of the Bible confirm all what I have written above.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ok, thanks.

  • Castilliano

    Well, you may not know this, but the “H” in Jesus H. Christ stands for his nickname “Heron” because of his tall, thin frame; pointy, narrow face; and awkwardly long arms. It’s not in the Bible, but it’s part of the lore.
    True Fact.

    • hector_jones

      Interesting. All this time I thought the H stood for Harold.

      • wtfwjtd

        I always thought it stood for Houdini, what with his great disappearing act and all.

        • hector_jones

          Jesus Houdini Christ does have a nice ring to it.

    • Asmondius

      I explained this above.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      “Haploid”…only Mary’s genes, you know 😉

  • GubbaBumpkin

    One episode you didn’t cover: Critics of the radiocarbon dating (which was done on samples taken from multiple areas of the shroud, and dated by several independent laboroatories) have argued that the dating samples were taken from pieces of the shroud which were repaired after fire damage, and thus newer than the rest. In 2005, one of these wackos, Raymond Rogers, supposedly got a hold of some shroud samples and dated them by the amount of vanillin. Vanillin is the active ingredient in vanilla flavouring, but in this case it is a breakdown product of lignin, a plant fiber. Rogers claims that the amount of vanillin in his samples is consistent with a date of about 2000 years.

    I have searched the scientific literature for other articles on dating artifacts by the vanillin method. There are none. Rogers’ is the only article I have ever found claiming to date something in this manner.

    • One wonders how stupid one must be to cut samples from the obvious repairs.

      Anyway, the repairs are from a 1532 fire. Would they have dated to 200 years earlier?

      • hector_jones

        I guess the argument would have to be that there was some other undocumented repair in the 1300s and that the samples were, as you say, all coincidently taken only from these repaired areas and not from the original cloth or from the 1532 repairs. So yeah, not very plausible.

        • Asmondius

          There was one postage stamp sized sample, divided into three.

      • Asmondius

        Simply because repair threads mixed with original threads would have produced an unreliable result.
        Repairs were appended to the original material, not attached in place of it.

        • Your position is unchangeable, isn’t it? I suspect that I’m wasting your time.

        • Asmondius

          Hmm – now the issue is about me, not the Shroud.
          Deflection, is thy name is surrender?

          I’ve given you a reasonable answer to your question. If you have an explanation as to why you find it unacceptable by all means let’s hear it.

        • MNb

          Uh no. Reasonable and Asmondius are two words that don’t go together. Your answer has merely shown, like Gehennah points out above, that you’re ignorant, in this case on radiometry.
          Also you being Mr. Braindead you don’t get sarcasm. BobS wrote “I suspect that I’m wasting your time” but he meant “You are a wast of time”. If I know him a little he will largely neglect you from now on. See, he is a nicer person than me.

        • Asmondius

          Please provide some facts to support your claim. I did – where’s yours? Seems ‘ignorant’ to make an unsubstantiated accusation.

        • MNb

          To support my claim that reasonable and Asmondius don’t go together? This comment of yours for instance from above:

          “I can see clearly how it works from your detailed post”
          Mr. Braindead obviously is not capable of googling “radiometry” and doing some, you know, study.

        • Asmondius

          Still waiting for one of you to explain how the process can not be affected by a contaminated sample.

        • MNb

          Have fun waiting. I never made a claim about that issue as it’s not my field.
          If you’re really interested in the subject – which I doubt – you contact the nearest radiometric lab.

        • hector_jones

          All this argument with this imbecile Assmondius over the Shroud of Turin and yet he dodged Bob’s request to just get to the point and tell us what he thinks the Shroud is exactly and what it proves.

          This is a very common Christian technique, which we saw with that other imbecile Cody, of never making an actual point and instead just trying to snipe around the edges and score cheap points about nothing. Likewise he refuses to tell us about the Geneva decision when pressed for details, because he just made it up. I don’t think this guy has an honest bone in his entire body.

        • MNb

          Glad you haven’t forgotten that little Geneva issue – I can’t remember exactly what his claim was. If you are as nasty as me I ask you to troll him with it every single time you seem fit.
          Your last sentence is the most interesting issue. I opine that Asmon is too braindead to be dishonest. I present it as a bad joke but am actually quite serious about it.

        • hector_jones
        • MNb

          Ah, thanks.

        • Asmondius

          I stated my belief up front – take a look.

        • hector_jones

          I don’t care what you believe. I am asking for your evidence and the arguments you make from that evidence. If you think you have already posted actual evidence please link me to the comment. “Up front” doesn’t help me find it.

        • Asmondius

          Link you?

          Just that little wheel on your mouse to scroll up, then read.

        • Asmondius

          My mistake – scroll down.

        • Asmondius

          I would have to have had visited such a lab over three decades ago.

        • Asmondius

          If you have no claim, why all the fuss?

        • Gehennah

          You don’t understand how radiometric testing works do you?

        • Asmondius

          Yes, I can see clearly how it works from your detailed post.

    • Asmondius

      Rogers published his findings in ‘Thermochimica Acta’ – not exactly a volume for ‘wackos’.
      A year after the Shroud dating in 1988, the Science and Engineering Research Council of Britain conducted a reliability test of the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry method itself. 31 of the 38 laboratories tested were found to have produced questionable results in terms of accuracy.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower


  • Greg G.

    Why is a leg bent at the knee in one image but straight in the other? Why isn’t there an image of the top of the head so that it connects front and back?

    • Asmondius

      The back of the leg would naturally appear ‘straight’ if it were not lying fully on the cloth at the time of imprint, which would be the case if the knee were slightly bent.

      I addressed your question about the head elsewhere here.

      • The Man With The Name Too Long

        I don’t understand. Wouldn’t the back of the leg not appear straight if the knee were slightly bent, because then the leg would raised slightly? I’m having difficulty visualizing this. Maybe I should cover myself in paint and then wrap myself in a sheet to see what it would look like.

        • Asmondius

          Because you are seeing an image transferred onto a 2-dminsioonal medium.
          And take better notes – the body was obviously not ‘wrapped’ in the Shroud.

        • Greg G.

          If the body was reclining, the linen on top would drape over the body. If the body was erect, it would be draped over the head like a Halloween ghost costume made of a sheet. The images would not appear like a projection onto a flat surface.

        • Asmondius

          Who said it was erect?

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          It doesn’t matter if it was wrapped or it was draped over the body. If it was draped, the part of the body that was covered would be imprinted on the cloth (in this case, the front). If it was wrapped then the front of the body would still be shown and the back of the body would appear on the sides of the cloth if it were laid flat (unless there wasn’t any “imprinting material” on the back of the body–but this isn’t important). To visualize this, imagine taking a globe and breaking it so that it could be placed flatly upon a table. Whatever country you were looking at (the front) would appear in the center with the countries farther away appearing to on the sides.

          In short, the image from the front would still look the same regardless if the body was draped or wrapped. And the point about the knee being bent still stands.

        • Asmondius

          Well, the Shroud is there for you to see – does it appear to be a ‘wrapped’ image or a ‘draped’ image?

  • Sven2547

    “Evidence” that the Shroud is the burial shroud of Jesus:
    * It contains pollen from the Middle East
    * It has an image on it that kinda-sorta looks like our preconceived notion of what Jesus looked like.

    That’s it. There’s literally nothing else. On that “evidence” alone, it’s a pretty big leap of faith to assume that this cloth was the burial shroud for Jesus, went missing, and was suddenly discovered in 14-century Europe with no semblance of chain-of-custody.

    Evidence the Shroud is not the burial shroud of Jesus:
    * Uses a complex herringbone weave that was not found during that time period
    * Contains blood stains, contradicting Hebrew laws regarding the cleaning of corpses
    * Independent radiocarbon tests from three different universities concluded with 95% certainty that the material dates from 1260-1390 AD
    * Contradicts the scriptural account of Jesus’ burial, which was that he was wrapped in multiple cloths, with a separate one for the face (John 20:6)

    Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself….

    Note that this contradicting evidence isn’t proof of forgery per se, only that it’s unreasonable to assume it’s the burial shroud of any first-century Jew, much less Jesus.

    • The Man With The Name Too Long

      “Uses a complex herringbone weave that was not found during that time period.” It seems you and Asmondius are in conflict about the same piece of evidence. Asmondius posted earlier about how the herringbone weave was only found in 1st century Judea (maybe earlier too) and you say that is anachronistic. I don’t know who’s right, but I imagine that Googling it will give me contradictory results.

      • Asmondius

        I don’t believe I said the weave was found ‘only’ in 1st century Judea – it is definitely known to have commonly existed during that period. The original bolt of cloth from which the Shroud was probably cut would have been formed on a loom of a size not used during Medieval times.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Asmondius: “[The herringbone weave] is definitely known to have commonly existed during that period.”

          Sven: “Uses a complex herringbone weave that was not found during that time period.”

          These are contradictory statements. One of them must be incorrect. This doesn’t concern the type of loom used to stitch, but the actual pattern of the weave. And what do you say about Sven’s claim that the head was wrapped in a separate cloth (which has Biblical support) than the body? There would be no imprint of the head and body on the same cloth if that were the case, as images of the purported shroud show.

        • Asmondius

          A cloth was probably draped (not ‘wrapped’) over the face for the sake of propriety as the body was transported to the tomb. A body would never have been left naked except for the face cloth even upon a hasty interment, it would have been covered with the shroud at which point it is likely that the then dirty face cloth would be discarded.
          The pertinence of the loom is that the shroud is actually two end pieces from a large loom piece, sewn together. This is because popular style of the day required seamless garments. The only other examples of the stitching technique used to join the two are from Masada and other sites relative to the time of Christ. Additionally, looms of a size that would have produced the shroud were not in use during medieval times.

          The three-over-two pattern is not uncommon in the timeframe being speculated.

        • Face cloth? A separate wrapping for the face is actually what John talks about, but that obviously rejects the one-piece Shroud of Turin.

        • Asmondius

          No it doesn’t. As I explained elsewhere, it is a common practice in any culture to cover the face of a dead body while it is in public view. Once the body was transported inside the tomb, the now-soiled face covering would have been removed and the body covered by the shroud.

          You and I both know that observant Jews would not have left a newly-interred body naked but for a facecloth

        • I’ve seen no authority that says this, but that’s possible. This doesn’t address my concern: when you compare John’s description with the Shroud, they’re talking about two different things.

        • Asmondius

          I’m sorry, it is actually a three-and-one pattern.

  • asmondius

    Let me say that I have no idea as to whether this artifact is related to Jesus. It is however a fascinating object.
    But I want to post a few clarifications and corrections, just for the record.
    Regarding the spices, they were brought to the tomb but not necessarily placed with the body. If you are going to refer to the Bible as a reference in this respect, it must also be noted that women returned on Easter Sunday to complete the ritual preparation of the body. This would not have been necessary had it been completed on Friday.
    Why would it have not been? Possibly because the priority then was to hurriedly clean and transport the mangled corpse before sundown and the Sabbath. Perhaps also to avoid Pilate having second thoughts, as he did later that evening.
    Regarding the cloths, there is much uncertainty as to what the ‘strips of cloth’ and the ‘head cloth’ actually mean. The original word for the cloth could mean a cloth from the size of a hand towel to a long shroud-like cloth. The word for the cloth’s appearance could mean either ‘folded’ or ‘rolled up’. If the Shroud were folded in a certain way, for example, it could appear to be a face cloth with Christ’s image on it (like Veronica’s Veil). The fact that a shroud would not be a standard method of internment could also point to the hasty actions of Friday. The absolute minimum requirement at that time would be to cleanse and cover the body. If the body was laid upon a long piece of cloth which was then folded over the feet to cover the front, it would appear as the Shroud does with frontal and dorsal images. A shroud-like cloth would have also aided in lifting the body onto the shelf of the tomb.

    • 90Lew90

      Special pleading. THE GENEVA CASE???!!!

    • Pofarmer

      “Perhaps also to avoid Pilate having second thoughts, as he did later that evening.”


      • Asmondius

        The usual Roman procedure was to leave the corpse exposed to the elements and carrion. Pilate had to give his permission in order for the body of Christ to be removed. Later that evening the Jewish authorities prevailed upon him to place a guard on the tomb.

        • Greg G.

          From Historical Commentary on the Gospel of Mark by Michael Turton:

          Byron McCane (1998), after noting that Roman prefects usually left the body to rot on the cross, argues:

          “Roman prefects like Pilate, in fact, often allowed crucifixion victims to be buried. Cicero, for example, mentions a governor in Sicily who released bodies to family members in return for a fee (In Verrem 2.5.45), and Philo writes that on the eve of Roman holidays in Egypt, crucified bodies were taken down and given to their families, “because it was thought well to give them burial and allow them ordinary rites” (In Flaccum 10.83-84). In addition, as Crossan has pointed out, the famous case of Yehohanan, the crucified man whose skeletal remains were found in a family tomb at Giv’at ha-Mivtar, proves that a Roman governor in Jerusalem had released the body of a crucifixion victim for burial. [6] Finally, the Gospels’ assertion that Pilate “used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked” (Mark 15:6 par.) is also relevant here, for it shows that during the first century CE one could plausibly tell stories of Roman judicial clemency, especially around religious holidays. Thus the fate of Jesus’ body in Roman hands should not be regarded as automatic. The occasion of Jesus’ death was a Jewish holiday, and Pilate was not in the process of suppressing a revolt, but rather simply trying to protect public order.

          On balance, then, the Romans involved with the death of Jesus naturally would have expected that the body would remain on the cross, unless Pilate ordered otherwise.” (p435-6)

        • Asmondius

          ‘On balance, then, the Romans involved with the death of Jesus naturally would have expected that the body would remain on the cross, unless Pilate ordered otherwise.’
          Thank you for the quote. It’s also noteworthy that most crucifixion victims were probably not embroiled in politics between the Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities.

        • Greg G.

          It’s also noteworthy that most crucifixion victims were probably not embroiled in politics between the Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities.

          Are you sure? After Herod’s son didn’t work out, the Romans took a more direct hand in running Judea. Ananus ben Seth became a high priest for 13 years while most high priests were replaced quite often. After he was removed, a couple of his sons had short stints and then Caiaphas was high priest for 18 years, from before Pilate came until after he left. Then a few more of the sons of Ananus were high priests for short terms, including one son who was high priest on two occasions. John 18:13 says Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Ananus, which seems reasonable since the Ananus family were still involved after Caiaphas was out. If he wasn’t related, a shift in power would be likely after nearly two decades.

          The last son to be high priest was Ananus who you may know from the Josephus paragraph where “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James” was executed while the new Roman governor was en route. This Ananus was later killed by a mob for supporting the Romans shortly before the war.

          So we have a family that was friendly with the Romans and willing to have people killed by the Sanhedrin, which was apparently hard to do according to some Jewish records. Caiaphas was apparently useful and accommodating to Pilate. I wouldn’t make a blanket statement that a family in power that long wasn’t in collusion with the Romans and didn’t have political enemies that needed to be taken care of.

        • Asmondius

          ‘This Ananus was later killed by a mob for supporting the Romans shortly before the war.’

          The Jewish authorities in Jerusalem must have walked a fine line between being seen as in charge and being compliant.

  • asmondius

    Regarding the distortion of the image’s face:
    Suppose the shroud was laid over, rather than wrapped around, the face of the dead man as I described above. Therefore one would not expect the image to have a ‘pumpkin’ type of distortion.
    A crucified person would not have any support of the neck, therefore their head would eventually hang down at an appreciable degree. This position would remain frozen in death due to the onset of rigor mortis. The tucked chin would prevent more of the cloth from touching the face, making the face appear smaller. Mustache and beard would also prevent the cloth from draping too far over the sides of the face.
    On the left side of the face the cloth does not seem to have absorbed the image as deeply as the rest of the fibers did, and the right cheek of the man is obviously swollen to a great degree. These would also have affected the facial image.
    My final note will also answer the question of a person below who asked why the seam between the frontal and dorsal images looks bare. This is due to a very common practice in the treatment of corpses. After death, if left

    • asmondius

      Sorry – premature click.

      My final note will also answer the question of a person below who asked why the seam between the frontal and dorsal images looks bare. This is probably due to a very common practice in the treatment of corpses. After death, if left

      untouched, rigor mortis will draw the jaw muscles and cause the mouth to gape open – very unappealing and undignified. The simple fix for this is to wrap a thin ‘strip of cloth’ under the jaw, behind the ears, and tie at the top of the head (think of the image of Jacob Marley’s ghost in ‘A Christmas Carol’). This procedure was a strict requirement in the Jewish burial rite.
      Of course, this is another factor affecting the appearance of the face upon the cloth by covering a portion of the face and pushing the head hair forward.
      More to come.

  • asmondius

    Another quick reference for the Shroud, if one is using the Bible to detrermine whether it is a possibility:

    Mark 15:46:
    ‘And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. ‘

    Regarding the color of the blood:

    Assuming he was as badly beaten and scourged as he appears to be, the more reddish blood color left on the shroud (rather than brown or black) is typical of blood from someone who has endured massive, extended trauma and internal bleeding. Chemcal analysis of fibers from the bloody area have supported this hypothesis. This is not someone who died quickly from a gunshot. Additionally, the blood on the Shroud would be post mortem blood.


    I said earlier that the shroud would have been folded over the feet – this is incorrect. The Shroud image indicates a long cloth folded over the head and draped down to the feet.

    • 90Lew90

      Yes whatever. For the nth time: THAT GENEVA CASE? The smell of bullshit is overwhelming.

  • asmondius

    Regarding the claim of ’40 fake shrouds’:

    Well, embarrassingly, this claim contains a link to an interview where someone else makes the same claim. Not exactly convincing.

    And where may we see some of the other fakes? Well, gosh, none exist today.

    There are however copies, engravings, and paintings of the Shroud. In fact the Shroud appears in a manuscript dated in the 1190’s – earlier than the carbon dating estimate.

    On the claim of enough cross relics to build a ship:

    Well, this quote came from John Calvin – certainly someone we can count on to give an objective opinion of Catholic practices. Right?

    In the 19th century Charles Rohault de Fleury undertook an inventory of all known relics of the cross, the majority of which were the size of a splinter. He estimated that their total volume would not even account for the estimated size of the cross piece alone.

    • Our oldest and most reliable source for the Shroud says that it’s a fake.

      What are your rules for how we evaluate sources?

      • asmondius

        Some person tells you it’s a fake, and you genuflect.

        • Which, again, doesn’t address the issue. Things aren’t getting too hot for you, I hope?

          I presume you’re not one of those Christians who points to early evidence as justification for the canonicity of the 4 gospels but then dismisses early evidence against the Shroud because it doesn’t fit with his preconceptions. Or perhaps not?

        • Asmondius

          Not going to play the sidebar game with you, Bob.

          The good cleric claimed it was painted – we pretty much know it was not, or at least not in a way we understand today. When you can examine the actual object itself today, it makes little sense to weigh your findings upon an opinion given in the past.

        • Huh? We know that it was not painted? If you’re saying that you can find a source that says this, I believe you. I think that we can find the reverse as well. I fear that your confidence is unsupported.

        • Asmondius

          Of course I do. Life and knowledge move on – several books have been published since your hero’s book was presented way back in the 1980’s.

      • Asmondius

        Then you are positing that a medieval cleric possessed information that we can’t seem to arrive at today.
        Incidentally, the main complaint there was that it was being presented as a relic of Christ.

        • Tell me about it. Our oldest and most reliable documentation seems to come from someone who’d be in a position to know, and he says that it’s a fake. And yet we have armchair time travelers pontificating about its authenticity. Fun times.

        • Asmondius

          ‘we have armchair time travelers pontificating about its authenticity’

          Well, it’s not My blog post,

  • asmondius

    Regarding ‘acheiropoieton’:

    There is some thought that the Image of Edessa and the Mandylion of Constantinople were actually the Shroud presented in a folded format which revealed only the face. The shroud appeared in France some time after Crusaders sacked Constantinople.

    The tilma depicting Or Lady of Guadalupe is in some ways very different from these Christ-oriented icons.

  • asmondius

    Regarding then weave of the fabric:
    The herringbone pattern of the cloth is consistent with first-century technique. The width of the seam and the seam and edge finish are not consistent with medieval loom practice.The stitching in the joining seam of the Shroud is unique and only replicated in the few first century examples of work found in the environs of Judea.

    • 90Lew90

      Regarding that Geneva case… Still waiting.

  • asmondius

    Regarding the length and position of the arms:

    Well, in one place the image is criticized for not being distorted enough, yet here it is blamed for being distorted.

    The arms are obviously placed over the top of the body, which gives them greater contact with the cloth and making them seem proportionately too long. The reason why the hands can cover the groin is because the head is tilted down, arching the back (see previous post) and one foot is on top of another with the knees slightly bent. Try it yourself. The positioning of the legs is probably due to the Roman habit of securing both feet with one spike, requiring a bend at the knees.

    The arms have a rough angle at the elbow, you can easily see the attitude of crucifixion there. This is not nice, but it is likely that in order to defeat rigor mortis and bring the arms in closer to the body it may have been necessary to dislocate the shoulders. Remember, time was of the essence.

    Regarding the presence of paint:
    It is not inconceivable that some specs of paint have contaminated the Shroud over its long history, whether it be ancient or medieval.

    The faint coating of which the image consists appears only on the very top of the cloth’s fibers. No one today can achieve this result using medieval implements.

    The image begins to dissipate from view as a cohesive image once one draws closer than 5 or 6 feet away – the artist must have used a very, very long brush.

    Water damage to the cloth did not blur the image, indicating that it is not a water based pigment.

    Researchers examined the cloth with a microdensitometer, which would have revealed any direction bias within the image such as brush strokes would leave. They found none.
    Regarding the height of the figure:
    The complaint that a Jesus tall enough to center for an NBA team is not mentioned in the Bible is only relevant if this is actually Jesus’ shroud – right?

    Estimates of the man’s height have varied widely from 5’6” to 6’2”. Obviously the distortions in the image prevent determining any more than that the man was probably considered tall for his day.

    Additionally, cloth is not a great medium for measurement as it can be (and has been) stretched considerably

    • Give me the big picture. Why are you defending the idea of authenticity? This being a fake is so screamingly obvious an answer, that I wonder if you are saying that the evidence for a supernatural explanation is so vast that it actually wins the argument.

      • asmondius

        Please clarify – is it a ‘fake’ Jesus or a ‘fake’ image?
        I just presented some specific information, so no, it is not an ‘obvious fake’. Perhaps you can point me to a similar object from the same time period which was is known to be the handiwork of an artist.

        • Jesus is obviously a separate issue. The topic here is the Shroud.

          Give me an idea of the rules that you would use for a religious relic said to support an unidentified religion. I fear that you have one set for Christianity and a tougher set for the other guy’s religion.

          Give me your reaction to the fact that our oldest written evidence for it declares it a fake. How important is early written evidence?

        • Asmondius

          Logically, I would consider analysis of the physical object, the fact that no one has been able to recreate it identically using techniques of the period, and the fact that there is no other object like it currently known to exist to carry more weight than a brief reference from a medieval cleric largely complaining because it was being presented as the actual burial cloth of Christ. As I stated previously, if it is ‘painted’ it was done so in a way and with a medium still unknown to us in modern day.

        • What a coincidence–similarly, I would give more weight to modern analysis of the supernatural claims in the New Testament than to a 2000-yo story coming from a credulous, pre-scientific culture.

        • Asmondius

          I see a pattern here; whenever you are not able to make a convincing defense you seek to turn the issue to the Bible, since you apparently believe that is a safe and fertile ground for your mockery. The New Testament has absolutely no logical bearing on the source of this artifact.
          Mockery is simply an emotional response which makes it seem that the Shroud scares the willies out of you.
          Incidentally, many skeptics more or less gave up on the ‘it’s a painting’ schtik over a decade ago. They’ve moved on to primitive photography, imprints using chemicals or heat, etc.. The fact that you seem to be still making this claim may point to the fact that your information is largely based upon Web cruising. There’s nothing out there to tell you that what you are digesting has been superseded.

        • 90Lew90

          Why do you people always assume you’re scary to atheists? The ridiculous is not scary.

        • Asmondius

          All of you are on this blog specifically to whistle past the graveyard.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “I don’t know” how it was made is a perfectly valid answer.

          If you propose a supernatural explanation, the burden of proof is now on you.

        • Asmondius

          History is not a physical object – nice try.

        • Pofarmer

          “As I stated previously, if it is ‘painted’ it was done so in a way and with a medium still unknown to us in modern day.”

          Ya know, that’s interesting, because there is a lot of the old “Alchemy” that we’ve lost. Folks got creative mixing all sorts of things. There is a guy in Italy, for example, who claims to have recreated the blood of St. Juaranius(sp). Just because a technique is old, doesn’t mean we’ve maintained or retained it.

        • Asmondius

          Are you saying that people of earlier times had sophisticated methods that we no longer possess?
          Then you must believe in that for which there is no existing physical evidence – sounds just like faith in God.

        • Pofarmer

          There are all kinds of methods the ancients used that we no longer posses, or were lost for a long period of time. Look at Concrete. The ancient Romans in 400 A.D. could do concrete. The knowledge for that was lost, wasn’t duplicated again until the 1850’s. The same is true with Alchemy. When Chemistry came on the scene, there was much “knowledge” of Alchemy that was lost, just due to it being superseded. Hell, my grandfather knew woodworking techniques that were taught to me, that my boys will never know, unless I consciously teach it, because of the advent of screws and cordless drivers. So, I guess what I’m saying, is that we have ample evidence that techniques to do certain processes are lost with time. So, evidence.

        • Asmondius

          Except that painting shrouds was probably never a common industry like woodworking.

        • Pofarmer

          Maybe someone was trying to start a new industry. “Shrouds to remember your loved ones.”

        • Asmondius

          Shroud images were all the rage in certain parts of the ancient world – but they were stylistic representations of the deceased in life.

          Not many people wanted their dear departed to be memorialized as a dead corpse.

        • Asmondius

          ‘Give me an idea of the rules that you would use for a religious relic….’

          Please read my first post again – I have no opinion as to whether it is related to Jesus at all.

          It would still be a fascinating historic object even it if involves an anonymous ancient individual.

        • Yes, I realize you’re not declaring this to be authentic. My question is still relevant–how are we to evaluate the evidence? What algorithm separates fact from fiction?

          And yes, I agree that just about anything from the 1300s (I believe that’s the century) would be an interesting artifact, but if it were simply a hoax, it wouldn’t be worth much of my time. The Hitler Diaries were an interesting footnote, but only a footnote.

        • Asmondius

          Since it is an object, the evidence is an examination of the object. As to exactly how it came to be, if it is of human origin certainly the ‘algorithm’ (not an appropriate word) would include being able to recreate it.

  • Asmondius

    ‘This wasn’t the only shroud—history records forty of them. Obviously, at least 39 of these must be false.’

    Here’s one of Bob’s ‘false’ shrouds. It bears a legend in Latin which advises ‘from the original’.

    I was not aware that a copy invalidates the existence of the original..

    • The Man With The Name Too Long

      What happened to the original? And why would anyone deny the existence of a genuine shroud unless they believed Jesus didn’t exist (or at least wasn’t buried)? Having an actual shroud wouldn’t lend much to the supernatural claims of the Bible especially the ones surrounding Jesus, so I wonder what the big fuss is about the shroud. Maybe because it’s just some precious artifact?

      • Asmondius

        The original is what we have been discussing here – no photography or scanners or printing presses back in those days, right?
        If someone wanted a copy of the Shroud, they had to make their own.
        The Shroud is an interesting artifact regardless of whether it depicts Christ or someone else.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          I agree that, as a relic of an ancient time, it is valuable. But it wouldn’t be very interesting to the average person if it was just some random Jew from the 1st century as opposed to Jesus. I guess the possibility that it is actually the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in is enough to give it lots of attention, like when people say they can see the Virgin Mary on some gunk on the wall under some highway.

        • Asmondius

          Unique = interesting to most people

        • 90Lew90

          Wrong. That Geneva case? You slippery ol’ fish you.

        • Maybe A. is hoping that we all die so that eventually his embarrassing overstatement won’t be brought up again. Who’ll be on top then?!

        • 90Lew90

          All he has to do is say, “Oops, I got that wrong.” But no, instead he seems to run away every time I show up. I don’t think I’m blowing my own trumpet in saying that. It looks like he’s suffering the effects of that deadly sin, Pride. He was having a go at gay people for that as well as trying to blame them for the rampant child abuse in his church not long ago. He’s a one, he is. Interesting that his screen name seems to be a misspelling of a particularly nasty demon… Maybe demons have gotten net savvy and we’re this one’s dupes.

        • Asmondius

          You should really stop speaking for other people.

        • Asmondius

          Interesting what gets hauled in with the net…..

        • Asmondius

          Perhaps you – if you make it to Heaven.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          It doesn’t really have to be unique. It’s enough for it to be really old. Take, for instance, dinosaur bones. I’m sure plenty have been found. I remember when I was in elementary school my cousin and I found a large bone buried in the backyard of my grandmother’s house and we were so excited because we thought it was a dinosaur bone. When we had given it to one of the science teachers at our school, I was disappointed because she said it was just a cow bone.

        • Asmondius

          Ah well, that’s better than the chicken bones I found as a budding paleontologist.

    • It doesn’t. Why–did you think that this was my argument?

      • Asmondius

        Ask your editor:

        ‘This wasn’t the only shroud—history records forty of them. Obviously, at least 39 of these must be false.’

        • Just making conversation? Or are you left with only nits to argue about? Maybe we can next talk at length about angels and pin heads.

          A shroud which is claimed to be the one and only shroud is false. A shroud that claims to be a copy of another shroud is also not an authentic burial shroud of Jesus.

          Yup, both categories are not the real deal. Thanks for exploring this.

        • Asmondius

          You failed to make that distinction in your post.

  • Ararxos

    And for the sake of humor, let’s assume it WAS forged.

    The forgers had to find the exact type flagellum used by the Romans at that time (hard to come by 1200 years later – especially without eBay.) They had to know that UV light would later be invented – as many details are not distinguishable to the naked eye.

    They had to be experts in anatomy. The abdomen shows distinct bloating (consistent with death by suffocation). The blood flows are from the wrists – not the hands (as was believed in the 1200’s), and at 65 degrees (correct for arm position for crucifixion). The face is unevenly swollen from being beaten. The buttocks are rigid from rigor mortis. They had to use HUMAN blood and have tortured the person first to get the levels of billirubin found. They also needed the blood type to be uncommon to medieval Europe. All silly, because scientists confirm that the blood is not painted on. They would have had to then take the shroud to Palestine (for pollen spores). Dirt found on the shroud is consistent with dirt from the Damascus gate (nowhere else). The forgers did all of this in anticipation of 20th century science???

    A bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

    Shroud is dated back in the Jesus Christ era.

  • Without Malice

    The shroud is such an obvious fake that I don’t see how anyone can believe it to be genuine. Take a look at the hair. Why is it against the side of his head instead of splayed out due to gravity? Staying with the head; why is there no image of the top of the head as there would be if the shroud had been laying against it? In spite of what Ararxos claims, the blood was found to be paint. And, if it was real blood, why is it not smeared? The other points he makes have all been discredited and the points Bob makes have not. There is no way that we would not have wrap-around distortion over the entire body. The head is too small for the body. And the dating has shown it to be a relic from the 13th century.

    • And that our oldest source is a Christian source saying that they’ve found the original artist and that the thing is a fake.

      So much for Christians eager to find early evidence (cited in support of the New Testament canon).

  • MNb

    As the subject doesn’t interest me much I haven’t read the entire article. But it reports on a thourough research on the shroud.

    Thanks to Jerry Coyne.