Shroud of Turin - Summary of Evidence for its Authenticity

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby Philip » Thu May 04, 2017 10:22 am

All I know is that a burial garment once covered the body of the Risen Christ. Jesus was God in the flesh. Everything about His becoming a human being, living, dying, fulfilling so much Scripture in the process - these are all miraculous things. Scripture reveals that His followers came to the tomb when the burial garments were neatly folded. Is it a stretch to think they were not retrieved by His followers? Is it a stretch to think that a God Who created a universe and has preserved His Word, could not have preserved that shroud? Would it be shocking that a miraculous event all Christians believe, that an artifact from that event would not reveal astonishing characteristics? To not believe at least these things are possible is to not believe Scripture. Now, those things don't automatically reveal the Shroud to be the one placed upon Jesus' lifeless human body, but it does have attributes entirely consistent with it. So, that's a start. It cannot be replicated - that's a fact. Show us one other that has the detail and inexplicable elements. Just one. I've not seen it. I've seen pages and pages of jibberjabber about what is possible, that this or that crude version has been achieved. But not one anywhere remotely like the Shroud of Turin. If I'm wrong - let's see the pictures of it.

Also, we must realize that there is no other artifact remotely showing such attributes from the ancient world. Just ONE???!!! So, the ONLY one we know of is purported to be the burial garment of Christ. A NEGATIVE image is produced to fool the gullible? The image isn't paint? All of this is beyond remarkable. And, if a fake, it was done in a pre-scientific age - of which explanations automatically shift to the "what MIGHT have been possible for an ancient faker of great skill and expertise" - yet without there being anything else remotely like it. Then, you must explain the attributes, the how it could have been done - all that. None of it proves it is the Shroud of Christ, but it is consistent with it. It is unique amongst every artifact known.

But I am suspicious of those hyper-focused upon proving it couldn't possibly be the Shroud of Christ. I truly wonder whether anyone arguing to such a passionate level truly believes that Jesus was God crucified in a human body and then resurrected from dead. Because if they don't at least believe THAT, then it is unsurprising that they don't believe the Shroud could at least possibly been produced by that event. If Scripture is true, then the Shroud is indeed possible to be what Scripture describes. And one should expect the incredible connected to the most incredible event in all human history. It is important to examine one's inner motivations and beliefs to see if they might be driving ones assertions over this issue.

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu May 04, 2017 10:58 am

hughfarey wrote:"any forgery we have CAN and HAVE been replicated exactly, hence they are acknowledged as forgeries." Really? Can you name any acknowledged forgery at all which has been replicated exactly? I think there is too much enthusiasm among authenticist circles for the rather pejorative word "forgery". Although there are still a few medievalists who think the Should was made in order to be mistaken for the real thing, this is currently very much a minority view. What I hope you mean is "artificial" or "man-made". And the claim that every single man-made artwork has been shown to be man-made because it has been replicated is a little far-fetched, I feel.


Yes, poor choice of words, I apologize.
EX: A Picasso painting can be a forgery if a person can make one just like a Picasso ( same oils and paints and canvas and style and so forth) but is a forgery due to some minor difference that is, in fact, major.

A piece of art work that is from the 14th century and a fake or copy is made ( different than a copy because it is being passed off as the real thing) then that copy MUST have all the qualities of the original.

In short, there are quite a few people that can create a forgery of an ancient artifact with the same qualities of said artifact, which proves that artifact was made during that time period with the methods and materials available from that time period.

Same must be said of the shroud and that is not the case.

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby hughfarey » Fri May 05, 2017 1:36 am

Fair enough. If the Shroud was manufactured in the 14th century, it should indeed be possible to demonstrate how, and I agree that this has not been satisfactorily achieved. But that is quite a far cry from proof that it cannot be, and must say I deprecate the triumphalism of those who claim that because it has not been duplicated exactly it cannot be anything other than authentic. That's just bombastic.

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby Byblos » Fri May 05, 2017 6:42 am

hughfarey wrote:Fair enough. If the Shroud was manufactured in the 14th century, it should indeed be possible to demonstrate how, and I agree that this has not been satisfactorily achieved. But that is quite a far cry from proof that it cannot be, and must say I deprecate the triumphalism of those who claim that because it has not been duplicated exactly it cannot be anything other than authentic. That's just bombastic.


That has always been my contention as well. There are plenty of things we can't replicate and yet cannot render an opinion as to their origin. One thing I could think of is Egyptian mummification. For the longest time the process and the chemicals used were a mystery. Does this mean, at the time we would have been justified in saying Egyptian mummies are incorruptible? Of course not. The fact that we can't replicate the shroud, in and of itself, says absolutely nothing one way or the other on its authenticity. However, taken with the totality of evidence of the shroud, it is, more likely than not, authentic (subject to future discoveries).
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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby PaulSacramento » Fri May 05, 2017 7:55 am

and must say I deprecate the triumphalism of those who claim that because it has not been duplicated exactly it cannot be anything other than authentic.


On the flip side, UNTIL it IS duplicate as exactly as possible, it should not be viewed as a forgery.

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby DBowling » Fri May 05, 2017 8:55 am

hughfarey wrote:Fair enough. If the Shroud was manufactured in the 14th century, it should indeed be possible to demonstrate how, and I agree that this has not been satisfactorily achieved. But that is quite a far cry from proof that it cannot be, and must say I deprecate the triumphalism of those who claim that because it has not been duplicated exactly it cannot be anything other than authentic. That's just bombastic.


Just wondering... do you equally deprecate the following bombastic assertion?
This is a superb piece of invisible mending from Michaul Erhlich of Withoutatrace, in Chigago. However, as you can see, it is not completely undetectable, especially in close up.

There is no such thing as truly invisible mending. The Shroud was not invisibly mended.

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby hughfarey » Fri May 05, 2017 11:22 am

DBowling wrote:Just wondering... do you equally deprecate the following bombastic assertion?
There is no such thing as truly invisible mending. The Shroud was not invisibly mended.
Try looking up 'bombastic'. I appreciate that what I said is contentious, but it is not "high-sounding but with little meaning" or "marked by writing that is given exaggerated importance by artificial or empty means". For comparison, try:
"It cannot be replicated - that's a fact. Show us one other that has the detail and inexplicable elements. Just one. I've not seen it. I've seen pages and pages of jibberjabber about what is possible, that this or that crude version has been achieved. But not one anywhere remotely like the Shroud of Turin. If I'm wrong - let's see the pictures of it.
Also, we must realize that there is no other artifact remotely showing such attributes from the ancient world. Just ONE???!!! So, the ONLY one we know of is purported to be the burial garment of Christ. A NEGATIVE image is produced to fool the gullible? The image isn't paint? All of this is beyond remarkable. And, if a fake, it was done in a pre-scientific age - of which explanations automatically shift to the "what MIGHT have been possible for an ancient faker of great skill and expertise" - yet without there being anything else remotely like it. Then, you must explain the attributes, the how it could have been done - all that. None of it proves it is the Shroud of Christ, but it is consistent with it. It is unique amongst every artifact known."

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby DBowling » Fri May 05, 2017 12:59 pm

hughfarey wrote:
DBowling wrote:Just wondering... do you equally deprecate the following bombastic assertion?
There is no such thing as truly invisible mending. The Shroud was not invisibly mended.
Try looking up 'bombastic'. I appreciate that what I said is contentious, but it is not "high-sounding but with little meaning" or "marked by writing that is given exaggerated importance by artificial or empty means".

I disagree... your final proclamation, which you quote above, easily meets the definition of 'bombastic'.

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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby Kurieuo » Fri May 05, 2017 9:51 pm

Hugh, you mentioned 1400 AD date. Why not the lesser date in the 1200s of samples tested?

I also have some comments on (Hugh's) fabric sample test. While cutting a hole in the cloth and sending it off for repair is an interesting test, I don't believe it represents the same what was proposed was done with the Shroud -- splicing cotton (bleached) onto the original shroud via careful weaving. The weaving work that is claimed was done, wasn't entirely invisible either, but was identified by expert tailors closely looking at Shroud photos determining that repair work had been done. That's my understanding. With your sample test, patching a hole (especially in the manner that was done to your cloth) seems would be quite different repair work. I'm no expert, but it looks like there are stitches from sewing the patch on (the fluff on the back) rather than careful interweaving of threads, which as I understand was put forward in journals as appear to be found on the Shroud.

Yet, place that aside for the moment. Let me reasonably think about this. Was the Shroud burnt or not? Yes, it was. The evidence is clear it was burnt. And yet, the shroud still looks to be in one piece? Miraculously, it was burnt, yet is still appears intact. I'm not sure what is more miraculous, that it is Jesus' burial cloth, or that the Shroud was burnt and yet the material is intact around the edges (frayed ends would be the first to ignite I'd think). When looking at the Shroud, I see no material was burnt off. That to me is hard to believe. Rather, it seems more sensible to believe that repair work was done after it was burnt, to keep the shroud looking pristine as one full piece of cloth. This is merely my own reflection.

Furthermore, you're right that verifying the C14 test was contaminated doesn't prove that the Shroud of Turin was indeed Jesus'. You've got this backward here though, because Shroud believers don't believe in the authenticity based upon disproving medieval forgery. Rather, the C14 test is the only evidence that you, Hugh, are hanging onto despite all the other positive evidences on the Shroud that must also be explained. You are negating all other evidence, for one questionable evidence, and your alternative explanation seems to me largely unstated and lacking in explanatory depth. Let me name a few other evidences here...

  • Ancient pollen samples (which wouldn't exist had it been medieval)
  • pollen which aligns with the shrouds claimed history and places it has been
  • dirt in Damascus on the nose
  • scourge marks that align with the type of flagrum used in Rome and in number
  • spear penetration dimensions which fit the spear tips Roman soldiers used
  • DNA samples that show the blood is indeed AB blood
  • the fine linen fabric, stitching that has only been found elsewhere on cloths in the Jewish fortress of Masada (dating to the 1st century)
  • thorns on the head
  • right side of beard being plucked
  • possible coin of Pontius Pilate from impression on the right eye (the 'C' on the Shroud was unexplained and skeptics questioned, and then actual coin was found with a 'C' was found -- something the Shroud predicted before our knowledge of the fact)
  • a swollen abdomen which means the body had been dead two days or so
  • and many, many other feature that need explaining.
If we adhere to Occam's razor, then the simplest solution with the highest explanatory power isn't an extreme skepticism that says the Shroud was forged based upon a questionable dating. Where's the skepticism of your skepticism? Rather, the simplest solution with most explanatory power seems to be that the Shroud is indeed as many throughout history believed it to be: the cloth that Christ's dead body was wrapped in.

To anyone who doubts all the other scientific analysis and examinations performed, which counts as POSITIVE evidence for the Shroud being that which Jesus was wrapped in as recorded in the Gospels, then such a skeptic must not simply dismiss based upon ONE questionable piece of evidence they're clinging onto, but rather present a reasonable alternative explanation for the other features we know do exist. I have not yet heard an alternative reasonable explanation, one which explains all these other features better and more reasonably than accepting that the Shroud of Turin indeed was the body cloth Jesus was wrapped in as historically believed.

Here's a video that presents much of the evidence, which again, skeptics must not simply explain away, but provide a plausible alternative explanation for. One that is more reasonable, has higher explanatory power, than the Shroud being authentically Jesus' burial cloth.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_fSgPQYxkk
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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby hughfarey » Sat May 06, 2017 1:04 am

Thanks, Kurieou, for broadening the discussion again. Many, if not all, of the points you raise have been discussed before, of course, not least by me, and not least, in this very thread, but it is always worth pulling back from the minutiae from time to time for a bit of an overview. You will be aware that the C14 test is certainly not the only evidence that I am "hanging onto", and that I have investigated, in most cases in greater depth than almost anybody else, almost all the points you raise.

However, science is built on minutiae, and if I have any particular research forte, it is in the forensic examination of tiny details, and this present area of discussion began with a comment of mine regarding one single topic in a set of videos that you had recommended. Here it is:

"A 'history' for the reweaving hypothesis begins at 26:05. Narrator: "According to this theory, cotton from the 16th century was invisibly woven into the linen fibres of the Shroud, a fixer was applied to the patched area, and the repair was expertly dyed so that it would be invisible to the naked eye. It is a craft they contend was called "French Reweaving." [...] Sue Benford: "The ends are unravelled in the main cloth, the ends are unravelled in the patch, they are spliced together, and the threads are connected and interwoven, so you see literally an interweaving such that you have old and new on both sides of the equation." Not only is this not a description of French Reweaving, which is far from invisible, but it describes a wholly impossible process. Consider taking a piece of cloth, say a handkerchief, and cutting a small rectangle about half an inch wide and three inches long from one corner. Then bring in a "patch" of about the the same dimensions, and unravel sufficient of its threads to enable them to be 'spliced' together. Or rather, don't just consider it, actually do it. Hold a thin strip of cloth, with fine threads - 1/3 of a millimetre wide - and attempt to unravel some, with the object of 'splicing' them to another piece similarly unravelled. Of course it's not possible, and has never been used as a method of mending torn cloth. French Reweaving, which was, and still is, used to mend expensive cloth, is completely different; a very clever way of mending so that the mend is extremely hard to detect from one side, but it is easily visible from the other."

The patch hypothesis has evolved since first proposed by Benford and Marino, and has recently taken refuge in the idea that splicing together individual threads to make new, longer threads, as sailors do with rope, and then weaving these new threads together, is a recognised technique known as French Reweaving. Manuals of how to do it (The Frenway System), and people who were experts at it in London and the US have been quoted, but nobody actually made any attempt to test this hypothesis. This hypothesis has now been tested. I have a copy of, have read, and understood The Frenway System, and actually paid for the experts to carry it out. The results do not support the hypothesis. There is now no evidence that the splicing technique ever was, or is, either existent or even possible. There is only one counter to this, and that is for someone to do some. But I'm not holding my breath.

Incidentally, I had forgotten that this discussion had been restarted with a different name. I'll post this comment on the other thread as well. If we all want to keep singing from the same hymn sheet, or rather posting on the same thread, would it be a good idea for the moderators to reflag the Shroud of Turin post at the top of the Contents page, so that newcomers can come aboard in the right place?

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Re: Shroud of Turin - Summary of Evidence for its Authenticity

Postby Kurieuo » Sat May 06, 2017 8:28 pm

I've moved all recent posts from previous shroud thread to here and locked the older one so discussions don't carry on across two separate threads.
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Re: Shroud of Turin - Summary of Evidence for its Authenticity

Postby Kurieuo » Sat May 06, 2017 8:34 pm

You know, my brother and I had an argument not too long ago. He said, I kept talking away the evidence he was presenting as being propaganda. Yet, I wasn't presenting an alternative explanation with its own supportive arguments. While I thought he just wasn't interested in an alternate explanation (which he wasn't), it was true enough and quite frustrating to him.

C14 supporters are, in my opinion, placing all there ONE egg in a basket, and what occurred to me in watching that video I just posted above, is just how many lines of evidence one can potentially draw upon. The same ought to be true of Medieval shroud proponents, not just those who believe it is authentically Jesus'. Medieval proponents should equally I'd think be able to present a range of evidences to support their position, because if indeed true, then other things ought to align.

Now, absolutely anything can be argued away. Even so it seems our "self". There is "skepticism", a healthy one that serves to identify the weaknesses and strengths, and then an unhealthy skepticism which carried through absolutely leads to an absolute Nihilism. The question is, which skepticism is one practicing with the shroud?

I'm all for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of evidence, but at the end of the day, I'd expect a whole range of individual pieces of evidence on the opposite side to those who believe the shroud indeed wrapped Jesus' dead body. Something more than the C14 date and a whole lot of denial should be presented to build up an alternative position. Then, you might have a hope of convincing those who do believe in the shrouds authenticity (who by the way once didn't, myself included).

My brother is right, it isn't just enough to deny and try show evidence on the other side is questionable, rather an alternate explanation with it's own host of evidence needs to be presented. Otherwise, at the end of the day, there really isn't much of a substantial alternative to accept.
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Re: Shroud of Turin

Postby Kurieuo » Sat May 06, 2017 9:02 pm

hughfarey wrote:This hypothesis has now been tested. I have a copy of, have read, and understood The Frenway System, and actually paid for the experts to carry it out. The results do not support the hypothesis. There is now no evidence that the splicing technique ever was, or is, either existent or even possible. There is only one counter to this, and that is for someone to do some. But I'm not holding my breath.

As I mentioned earlier, I think your test was inadequate. Different material to the shroud, different stitching, hole cut in the middle, and it really doesn't look the the reweaving described but rather a patch was sewed on.

Sewing is different from reweaving. Why is there fluff on the back? That's looks like stitching toegether, not weaving threads around each other. You should follow up and ask them some questions, tell them about the shroud and what people propose was done, whether such in their professional opinion such is plausible, and how your cloth sample provided to them failed. Again, I refer to my previous post for more. With zoomed in photos presented to professionals (discussed in that video I posted), they did think mend work was done. So it isn't entirely invisible, yet if not looking for it, and under watchful eyes to not snip and ruin an important part of the shroud, such would go unnoticed. That corner of the shroud also lights up differently, so why does that happen?

Consider it this way. You won't stop at one failed attempt to replicated the shroud image, and yet this one failed test of reweaving you are satisfied to rest your case. Now evidently, you're more drawn to your side (medieval), as I am now mine (authenticity), but as you don't rest with the many failed attempts of replicating the shroud (not to mention forensic features of pollen types, soil type, blood and the like) it isn't reasonable to think supporters would with your one test. Especially if we broaden the issue to a whole host of other claimed evidence brought to bear.
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Re: Shroud of Turin - Summary of Evidence for its Authenticity

Postby hughfarey » Sun May 07, 2017 12:50 am

I agree with much of that, but go back to a slightly wider point, which is why should I have to be the one who actually investigates the possible truth of a claim, rather than the people who make it. As I said,the patch hypothesis has evolved slightly, and interweaving (as demonstrated by Withoutatrace, above) is increasingly being seen as more and more improbable. The current fantasy is that individual 25 micron diameter threads were unravelled, spliced together with similar threads, and then rewoven to match the original weave. I claim that this is impossible. I claim that it has never been done, and cannot be done. I claim that to say that it might be is as fantastical as the proverbial invisible pink unicorn. Now it is not up to me to prove a negative, it is up to the claimants to demonstrate some support for their hypothesis.

I note with interest that even those experiments I have carried out, or have had carried out, and which refute entirely a stated authenticist hypothesis, have now had their goalposts shifted. The claim was, by bippy if I recall, that Michael Erlich could produce a repair that was wholly invisible on both sides. That's all. Not that he had to use precisely Shroud material, in a precisely specified condition. The authenticist side is making increasingly desperate attempts to try to get me to prove a negative, which is notoriously unscientific. Why don't any of them try to prove a positive for a change? Find someone who can do repairs using the method they prefer. (Then it'll be my turn to say that they have cheated by using the wrong thread!)

Yes, Mr Erhlich was informed precisely as to why I wanted him to perform an extremely expensive repair to a deliberately damaged piece of fabric, and no, the process is interweaving, not sewing on a patch. The "fluff" on the "back" is the inevitable result of the interwoven threads having to end somewhere.

One more point and then I'll go and have a look at your video. As I said, the 'patch hypothesis', which is the authenticist's main defence against a medieval origin for the Shroud, is only one of my research interests. You are perfectly correct that an argument such as this should not consist only of refuting the opposing case, but of finding evidence to support one's own. A credible method whereby the image could be made, and a credible reason for doing so, have been the principal foci of my own research for years. Both Joe Nickell's pouncing method and Luigi Garlaschelli's acid paint have come close, but not close enough yet, to demonstrate the former, and my attempts to produce the 'smoking gun' historically are also insufficient to demonstrate the latter. I have never denied this. I have, however, suggested, and continue to suggest, that investigations are closing in on credibility, and that it is probably unwise for authenticists to jeer from the sidelines that it will never be done.

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Re: Shroud of Turin - Summary of Evidence for its Authenticity

Postby DBowling » Sun May 07, 2017 8:56 am

hughfarey wrote:The current fantasy is that individual 25 micron diameter threads were unravelled, spliced together with similar threads, and then rewoven to match the original weave. I claim that this is impossible. I claim that it has never been done, and cannot be done. I claim that to say that it might be is as fantastical as the proverbial invisible pink unicorn.

And there are those who studied the Shroud for decades who would disagree with your opinion on this.
Two of which are among the most knowledgeable experts on the Shroud in the world. And neither of which are Christians, Barrie Schwortz and the late Ray Rogers.

Both were skeptical of the 'authenticity' of the Shroud when they first joined STURP, and over the decades based on the scientific and physical evidence they both eventually became convinced that the Shroud most likely wrapped the physical body of the historical Jesus of Nazareth (although as non-Christians I think they both reject any 'miraculous' origin for the image on the cloth).

So when non-Christians of the caliber and experience of Rogers and Schwortz, can conclude based on the scientific evidence that a) the Shroud is not a medieval forgery b) the cloth where the radiocarbon samples were taken from included cloth from a Medieval repair and was not representative of the cloth of the Shroud itself and c) the Shroud most likely wrapped the body of the historical Jesus of Nazareth; Then I am inclined to defer to the expertise and credibility of Rogers and Schwortz and the physical evidence on the Shroud itself over bombastic assertions about 'invisible pink unicorns'.

However, as a Christian who believes in the Resurrected Christ, I am not limited to only considering non-miraculous mechanisms for the creation of the image. Since Christians believe that the Shroud that covered Jesus was in the immediate proximity of a miraculous event (ie the Resurrection of Jesus) then it is not unreasonable to me that this proximity to the Resurrection of Jesus' body could have somehow created the image on the cloth.

I cannot say anything with absolute certainty of course, since Jesus' Resurrection in not reproduceable, but it seems to me to be more consistent with all the data (the physical data plus the Scriptural data) than the repeatedly debunked Medieval forgery theory or the as yet unknown natural causes theory.


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