Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Turin so-called Shroud: stunningly successful realization of a 14th century thought experiment?

Joseph of Arimathea's linen being used in 'stretcher mode' (NOT as a burial shroud). Might this kind of artistic imagery, fully in keeping with the biblical account, have been the inspiration for a 14th century THOUGHT EXPERIMENT, one that resulted in what today we call the Turin Shroud, erroneously so if taken to mean burial shroud, when in fact one's only entitled to call it a DOUBLY-IMPRINTED BODY ENVELOPE? Did the thought experiment assume or envisage imprinting as having  occurred en route from cross to rock tomb, NOT after the start of burial ritiuals with ointments, spices, winding strips etc and probable REPLACEMENT of Joseph of Arimathea's linen with that of Nicodemus's bandage-like winding strips?
(See my other site for more on the above painting and others of a similar genre that can be googled in image files as "deposition jesus from the cross", hoping the lower case does not give offence)

The further crystallization of ideas re the Turin so-called Shroud begain with this comment which I placed on a recent article by Kevin Kilbane in  Indiana's Fort-Wayne-based News-Sentinel: the article was ostensibly about Barrie M.Schwortz, documenting photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).

July 11 2015 5:02 am
It's refreshing to see one of STURP's old hands, so to speak, still expressing a degree of caution re the authenticity of the Shroud. Yes, there is still much to be learned. STURP barely scratched the surface as to what the image is (sticky tape samples being the less damaging alternative to 'scratching' the surface!) as distinct from telling us what is not (definitely NOT a painting, despite attempts by some, notably historian Charles Freeman, to resurrect that notion with arguments that simply fail to address or do justice to decades of scientific investigation).

However, this Shroud researcher (3.5 years of testing different models) must take issue with a term employed here and pretty well every where else in the media, namely the description of the linen as a BURIAL shroud. I invite writer Kevin Kilbane and readers to go back to the Gospels and read what is said about Joseph of Arimathea and his arrival at the CROSS, not tomb, with fine linen. There is no indication that the linen was intended for use as a burial shroud (Nicodemus providing the wherewithal). It was merely for discreet and dignified transport from cross to nearby tomb. Once that is appreciated, then it greatly reduces the number of models that need to be tested, especially those that see the Shroud as having captured by some mysterious 'photographic' process the instant of Resurrection. Instead, one can view the image as a contact imprint, left in blood and PERSPIRATION. One then asks whether the Shroud bears a 2000 year old contact imprint, the body image being highly aged yellowed sweat, or a medieval attempt to reproduce what a then 1300 year old sweat imprint (plus blood) might have looked like.

My own preference is for the second of those. The current preferred model is one where a human volunteer is 'painted' from head to toe in a paste of flour and water and then overlaid with linen, gently pressed around contours, to leave a contact imprint. The imprint is then developed chemically, maybe with nitric acid to turn the imprint from white to yellow, or even by simple pressing with a hot iron!

Being an imprint explains the negative image, and even those 'mysterious' 3D properties revealed by modern computer software.

That was followed by this afterthought. Late edit: now highlighted in red, since it's suddenly disappeared from the Sentinel site (over-zealous moderation in response to outside pressure?)

 July 12 2015 9:21 am
Oh, and one has to challenge the bit that reads: "...the cloth, which holds the faint image of a man who has been crucified." (my italics).

In point of fact, the "faint image" is simply that of an adult male, recumbent in his birthday suit. The sepia-coloured body image itself shows no evidence at all as to manner of death, even assumimg he was dead. The evidence for crucifixion, indeed of scourging, rests entirely on those bloodstains. Take away the bloodstains and it's, as I say, simply an otherwise unmarked male exhibiting extreme wardrobe malfunction.

Does it matter? Probably not if one tends towards believing the Shroud is authentic. But it does matter if one tends contrariwise towards the view that the Shroud is a product of medieval creativity and inventiveness. Why? Because it's a lot easier to fabricate, dare one say fake, a seemingly genuine Shroud if one can imprint the base image first off an unblemished body, and then - and only then - add bloodstains in all the correct biblical locations to suggest scourging and crucifixion. That's especially true in the proposed flour paste/hot iron model where one makes the flour imprint first from a healthy live undamaged volunteer, then adds imprinted blood (scourge marks) or trickles of blood (from otherwise invisible sites of blood hemorrhage - crown of thorns, nail and lance wounds etc). Sorry to be so pedantic - but the details matter hugely where that iconic - but maybe too-good-to-be-true body/blood image - is concerned.

Late addition: 16:15  the missing comments have now reappeared! I'll keep this red for a day or two, until absolutely sure that the comments are permanent.

That article and comments thread was then picked up by Dan Porter's shroudstory.com.

In the course of responding to it and comments there, I suddenly realized that the description of the linen in its glass case in Turin as a "shroud", especially as a "burial shroud" was not only an unwarranted assumption, at odds with the biblical account if one assumes (reasonably) that the linen in question is the actual fabric provided by Joseph of Arimathea (or more likely a 14th century proxy thereof, consistent with the radiocarbon dating), but was responsible for much unwarranted speculation re the mechanism by which the blood and body images were acquired.
 All the while, the cogs were turning in this blogger's mind as to what to call the Turin so-called Shroud if it wasn't a burial shroud, but the fabric as it might have looked if taken from the body on arrival at the tomb (to be replaced by Nicodemus's bandage-like winding strips, spices etc) and then "aged" naturally for 13 centuries or so.Thirteen centuries, note, not 20, since what one is doing is a thought experiment that started in a 14th century head: how might Joseph of Arimathea's linen have looked in 1350 if starting with then MODERN 14th century linen, and imprinting the body of a recently-crucified man in blood and sweat BEFORE it and its enveloping linen reached the tomb? Here's the comment with the first shot at new nomenclature right at the end (bolded hre, not the original comment)

Let’s avoid a lot of futile talking at cross purposes. I maintain that the Shroud is the realization of a thought experiment, carried out in the 14th century, freely admitting that requires mhaving to make some qualifying assumptions. That leaves you or anyone else free to question those qualifying assumptions if wishing to undermine and/or demolish my case. What you cannot do is come back with pro-authenticity thinking that makes its own qualifying assumptions and imagine they have any relevance to my medieval thought experiment scenario, with incomplete knowledge of actual historical events, and based instead on an imaginative reconstruction of those events, accurate or otherwise (probably the latter).

But there’s a further sting in the tail, as I have flagged up on the News Sentinel artticle. The description of the Shroud as a “burial” cloth goes beyond the biblical record. It is based on making a number of qualifying assumptions, all presupposing authenticity, and then uses that label “burial cloth” essentially to promote authenticity via the back door, so to speak. That back door is then left open so as to admit further fanciful speculation, requiring still more qualifying assumptions e.g. thatthat the superficial body image could only have been formed by miraculous flash of radiation at the instant of resurrection (overlooking to mention that the image thickness corresponds roughly with that of the primary cell wall of the flax bast fibre).

The desription of the TS as a “burial shroud” is an egregious example of “begging the question”. There is no greater academic sin one can commit, short of downright fraud, than to create and promote lines of argument that “beg the question”, ones that carelessly or shamelessly create a closed loop between preconceptions and conclusions.

I can see why sindonologists want the TS to be seen as a burial shroud, and do NOT want it to be seen as having any transport role from cross to tomb – that creating all kinds of problems re stereo-register or lack thereof between blood and body image. But I’m not buying into any of that. Solid scholarship never begs the question, and scrupulously avoids terminology that eseentially begs the question. There are no legitimate grounds – scientific, historical or biblical – for describing the TS as a “burial” shroud. In fact it’s best not described as a shroud at all. It’s the Lirey/Turin body-imprinted envelope.

Yup. The first thought was to call it the Lirey/Turin body-imprinted envelope (which wins no prizes for impact, far less for tripping easily off the tongue).

That comment became "promoted" as a new posting on Porter's site (in reality demoted if one reads his tetchy response).

However, the splendid  David Goulet (whose book I've always been meaning to read if I can lay my hands on it) put up this appreciative comment on Porter's site a few hours ago:
Colin isn’t saying the Shroud was the actual transport linen, he’s saying a medieval audience may have been convinced it was a transport linen. The medieval audience wouldn’t have known the Jewish burial customs. There is medieval art that shows a linen being used when Jesus is taken from the cross.

If the Shroud is authentic it is not likely a transport linen but a burial linen given the image characteristics. But Colin’s theory is premised on a medieval forgery.


In the course of responding to it, I was able to fine-tune slightly this blogger's preferred description for the TS as a "doubly-imprinted body envelope", which is DIBE when abbreviated as an acronym, just about tolerable I guess.

Here's the comment in question:

Thanks again David. Spot on as ever, which is impressive, given you are correcting the record on views that are not necessarily your own (though i suspect you are one of the few here to see some merit in them). Yes, this blogger sees the doubly-imprinted body envelope (what some choose to call the ‘shroud’ ;-) as having started in someone’s head as a thought experiment, one that was finally realized in an artisan’s workshop. (See a recent posting on this site as to how the body image could have been realized in practice).

Wife-assisted imaging of my crossed hands using simple flour paste/hot iron technology available in the 14th century, seen here prior to 650 years of ageing (the latter being needed for that authentic softer-focus, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't  Turin "Shroud" look).

 As you and I say, the recreated scenario did not have to pass the test of 21st century biblical scholarship. It had only to seem credible to 14th century pilgrims who were drawn to a must-see relic that claimed to be a bigger-and-better version of the Veil of Veronica, both having natural or semi-supernatural images captured as a result of brief contact between body and linen, the Veil’s en route to the cross, the ‘recently discovered’ rival en route from cross to tomb in J of A’s linen used in up-and-over mode, possibly but not necessarily as a makeshift stretcher.
That book of yours, David, re your childhood experiences in a family home that also served also as your father’s undertakers’ business: is it still available? I’d love to read it. You’re someone who clearly shares my love of words.

Those who frequent this investigative site know that each posting generally begins as a work-in-progress, this one being no exception. I'll stop here for now and hit the Publish button, but will probably be tacking some more on the end in a day or two. Expect to see an image from the Hungarian Pray codex (illustrated manuscript, dubiously invoked in support of Shroud 'authenticity' )showing both Joseph of Arimathea's linen and Nicodemus's winding strips in the same picture).

Update: Wed 08:16 London time:

Lo and behold, here it is.


Pray Codex: JA: Joseph of Arimathea's linen , as per Matthew, Mark and Luke, used to transport body from cross to rock tomb, with no suggestion in the biblical account that is was ever used or intended to be used as final burial shroud and N: Nicodemus's linen as winding strips for ritual burial according to Jewish custom, as described in book of John.

Further update: 08:41

This, from Charles Freeman, not this blogger's favourite historian (of the book-writing, not ivory-tower variety), on Dan Porter's site. He begins by quoting my words:

    "Thanks again David. Spot on as ever, which is impressive, given you are correcting the record on views that are not necessarily your own (though i suspect you are one of the few here to see some merit in them). Yes, this blogger sees the doubly-imprinted body envelope (what some choose to call the ‘shroud’ […]"
It had only to seem credible to 14th century pilgrims who were drawn to a must-see relic that claimed to be a bigger-and-better version of the Veil of Veronica’.

The Veil was an impression of the face of Christ when still alive. It was the top papal relic, the subject of enormous crowds when exhibited in St.Peter’s in 1350.

So how do you go bigger and better than that ? Clearly it was a PA disaster if only because no one at the time saw any resemblance to the image of a living Christ (cf. Image of Edessa), and the double image of a dead Christ.

The choice of venue was also a serious mistake- far too out of the way for a serious relic cult. Compare the Shroud of Cadouin which was on a major pilgrim route so you could hardly miss it!

It was also extremely easy to get it suppressed in c.1355. Altogether an enormous flop.

My response?  It can wait. I'm interested in seeing that of others first.


Notre Dame Cathedral Paris, built 1163-1345. That's just the inside. One wonders how the unsophisticated  medieval mind as portrayed by Charles Freeman, so easily confused we're told between one image and another,  pre- verus post-mortem, could have been capable of producing this

Update (10:10):here's the first response to Freeman on Porter's site from "Thomas"

"Well Lirey isn’t THAT far from Paris…and who knows, there could have been a certain ‘mystique’ in venturing into the wilderness to see a relic…I know I for one like exploring off beaten tracks.
Also to what extent did Paris temporarily depopulate in the wake of the Black Death??"

Update: 10:25  Briefly considered re-naming the Turin Shroud in a way that provides greater descriptive detail, i.e. as Doubly imprinted, attenuated, tone-reversed image, body envelope.

Then realised ;-) that some unkind soul would make a new acronym!

Update, 12:00: It didn't take long to find a history educator being highly circumspect about attempts to over-empathize with folk who lived in earlier societies entirely different from one's own (what I pejoratively call archaeo-psychology). Here's just one (my bolding)

"Bruce A. VanSledright (2001) locates historical empathy within the same critical tradition as Lévesque – Ashby and Lee (1987) reading Shemilt; Shemilt reading Collingwood – but is more pessimistic than him or his intellectual forbears about the possibility of empathising with those in the past. For VanSledright, the highest of Ashby and Lee’s five levels of historical empathy is virtually unattainable, and none of Shemilt’s fantasy archetypes are achievable, let alone desirable. The reason is an inescapable presentism: we simply “have no place to stand outside our present bearings from which we could make sense of the past” (p. 58). VanSledright is serious enough to trace this assertion to its logical conclusion – the impossibility of historical empathy."

Yes, best to stick to the facts, and not airily assume one knows better than non-historian layfolk as to what folk in the Middle Ages were really thinking.

Update: 13:15  this has just appeared from "Dcn Andy".

"Perhaps they weren’t ignorant idiots back then. That in no way means they completely understood everything. Architectural marvels in no way correlates to medical scientific understanding as we have it today."

The only kind of empathy one needs where then Turin DIBE is concerned is in asking what would be the first impression made on the viewer, seeing it with his or her own eyes, or hearing it decribed by someone else. Which features would make the greatest impacted. Let's imagine it's hanging verticsally, and one approaches from a distance. Here's my suggested list of key features:

1. It's a double-image of a naked man. The images are life-size. Why would they be life-size if it's just a painting? Maybe it's not a painting.

2. It's the same man, front and back,with a small separation at the head. He has a beard, moustache and longish hair.

3. The image is a fairly uniform yellow-brown, further evidence it's not an ordinary painting.

4. There's what look like bloodstains - a big one in the side and lots of others that are those expected from scourging and CRUCIFIXION. Ah ha.

5.The image is on linen, with an expensive-looking herringbone weave. Ah ha. The double image is because it was used "up-and-over" around the head, which suggests that the images are some kind of imprint left only by those parts of the body that made direct contact with linen.

6. There is indeed  something odd about the image. It has gaps here and there between raised parts of the body. No, it's not a painting. It's definitely an imprint.

7. It's as I thought. It's Jesus, the crucified Jesus. The big patch of blood is from the lance wound., ev So it's not the living Jesus. It is Jesus after he was taken down from the cross.
en though one cannot see the wound itself (why not?)

8. It must be the image left by Jesus on Joseph of Armiathea's linen.  Some of the image is blood, but there's that faint body image as well. Why?

9 .It must be a sweat imprint. It must be the same kind of imprinting process that resulted in the Veil of Veronica when cloth made contactt with just the face of Jesus. But that too was covered in sweat and blood, given he had a crown of thorns and was carrying a heavy cross.

10. It's a post-mortem imprint of Jesus, unlike the Veil of Veronica which was while he was still alive.

11.There is no loin cloth or crown of thorns. That's probably because they were removed before Jesus was placed in the linen.

12. Amazing. I could be looking at a whole body version of the Veil of Veronica, also imprinted in sweat and blood, but one of Jesus in death, after crucifixion, instead of life, when, according to legend,  he stopped next to Veronica on his way to the cross a day or two earlier.

13. This image is not legend. This image fits the biblical account of Joseph of Arimathea being allowed to remove the body from the cross, from which he placed it into fine, clean linen.

14. It may be his burial shroud. or there again, it may not, depending on whetherJesus was washed to remove blood.

15. There are no signs of myrhh, aloes, spices, ointments etc. So it may well be Jesus's imprint on Joseph's linen before being transferred to different linen clothes, supplied by Nicodemus.

16. Are the eyes open or closed? it's hard to tell, but then this is an imprint, not a painting. The eyes sit at the bottom of hollows, so eyes (or eye lids) would not imprint well, if at all.

17.While there's no crown of thorns, there's plenty of blood stains on the hair and forehead that are where thorns would have pierced the skin to cause heavy bleeding. It's not just any crucified man. It's the crucified jesus.

18. Those scourge marks, the lance wound, a nail wound in the palm (or could that be wrist?)  also make it a dead cert that it's Jesus.

19. This not an idealized,prettified image, such as an artist might paint. This is terribly, terribly realistic looking, what with the blood, the nudity, the scourge marks. This isn't a painting. It's the imprint left by the real crucified Jesus BEFORE he rose from the dead.

20. There are no wounds as such in the body image - only bloodstains to indicate the sites of wounds. Why is that?It's becasue the body image is a sweat imprint. Where there's a wound, there's blood but no sweat (or the sweat is masked). That explains the absence of wounds in the body image. It's impossible for the wound itself to be imaged on account of its blood.

Now let's try to reconstruct the thought processes of the entrepreneurial  and opportunist mind that conceived the Turin DIBE (reminder: Doubly Imprinted Body Envelope). The starting point will be the fabled Veil of Veronica.

Here are those "thoughts":

1. The legendary Veil of Veronica attracts thousands and thousands of pilgrims each year. It is the Church's most highly venerated icon. Where the Church goes, the Veronica accompanies it.

2. But the Veronica has no biblical authority whatsover. There is nothing in the Gospels about a woman wiping the brow of Jesus, bearing his cross on the way to Calvary, far less leaving his likeness on that cloth.

3. Why not create a new "relic" by supposing there had been another opportunity for Jesus to leave his image on cloth? Give the populace the thing it craves for- an image, preferably bigger and better, showing what Jesus really looked like.

4. There is an occasion when Jesus made contact with fabric other than his own clothes. In fact there are two, albeit post mortem. The first involves the linen with which Joseph of Arimathea received the body of Jesus from the cross. The second is the linen used by Nicodemus and Joseph at the nearby rock tomb to prepare the body for burial, described in the book of John as winding strips, used to incorporate sweet smelling myrrh, aloes etc etc.
Yes. more to come shortly.

5. Which of those two offers the better opportunity for displaying a captured image? No contest. It has to be Joseph's linen, which was clearly a single large sheet, not a long bandage-like strip for "winding".

6. How might an image of Jesus be captured onto linen, especially if the mechanism were the same or simialr to that which pilgrims take for granted where the Veronica is concerned? Answer: there's a brief contact between skin and linen. There's a faint imprint, in sweat, or blood, or both. Time does the rest to make that image darken and become more recognizable as that of Jesus. Being Jesus, part man, part God, one can invoke the supernatural if necessary if challenged by sceptics claiming the image is "too good to be true".

7.So one finds a way of imprinting the image of a man onto linen, such that it's instantly recognizable as the image that the crucified Jesus might have left on Jospeh of Arimathea's linen.  How does one ensure that it's not dismissed as the image of just anyone who had died and had been wrapped in cloth, even if they too had suffered death by crucifixion?

8. There is a way of signalling instantly to the viewer that a long sheet, representing J of A's linen, was used to receive a DEAD body. That is to show two images, head to head, one of the front of the body, one of the rear, with NONE OF THE SIDES (unlike a painting). In other words, the linen was used in up-and-over mode around the head so as to envelop the entire body. Some confusion with a simple bag-like burial shroud is inevitable,i.e. of the non-winding kind, but that is not without its advantages, even if at odds with the biblical account in the book of John. All that matters is that the image is immediately recognized as that of the crucified Christ.

 9. What if one encounters scepticism that an image of Jesus on Joseph's linen would be single - the rear side only if a body was laid on the sheet? No problem. As above, one says the linen was used in up-and-over mode so as to conceal the entire body from view. The linen would probably be strong enough to allow that up-and-over configuration to be used as a makeshift stretcher, with someone at the front, someone at the back, and maybe at the sides too.

10. Make sure the soles of the feet are well imaged on the dorsal side, but, in contrast,  the tops of the feet are poorly imaged on the frontal side. That helps make the case (if challenged) that the image is not on just any sheet of linen, but on Joseph of Arimathea's linen used in makeshift stretcher mode.

11. To make it clear that those two images are not painted onto the linen by an artist, but are IMPRINTS left on the linen by the highest relief of the body only, they must be created by actual imprinting from a real adult male, naked, smeared or covered with agents that simulate bodily sweat and blood.

12. The double body image must be subtle, not too intense,  as to look like paint or dye, not too faint as to be too indistinct. It has to look like ancient degraded yellowed sweat.

13.The blood is even more problematical. It needs to be red enough to be seen immediately as "blood", but not too red, given that blood goes brown with age.

14.Careful thought needs to be given to the order in which blood (or blood substitute) and "sweat" (or sweat substitute) are applied, either to the individual acting as template, or the imprint on linen. Much depends on the method used to produce the sweat imprint - a simple one step dye-imprinting OR a two stage process in which the body is first imprinted, and the colour then enhanced, e.g. with heat, chemicals or both. The method chosen for the latter must be one that does not destroy the blood imprint, or cause it to flake off.

15. How might whole body, double-imprinting be done in practice? Leaving aside for  a moment the crucial choice of imprinting medium, one might do it as follows.
Instruct the subject to lie on a floor face down. Brush one's imprinting medium thinly over the entire dorsal surface (NOT encroaching on the sides) Then add blood in all the biblically correct places. Then drape the lower half of the linen over the body, and pat the linen gently downwards onto the highest relief.  Then peel the linen away from the subject. One has one's dorsal imprint, with blood UNDER the body imprint.

16. Then  get the subject to lie on his back, with hands crossed over groin, and do the same for the frontal side, coating with imprinting medium, adding blood, draping over the linen, being careful to get the position correct re long axis and head-to-head distance, followed by peeling off as before. One now has one's complete primary blood/body double imprint. It can, if necessary, then be further "developed" at leisure to obtain a more prominent Stage 2 body image, hopefully without too much change to the blood (though a little darkening would not matter, and indeed might add realism).

17. Imprinting medium? Yellow paint? No, it looks like paint. Yellow dye? No, it will quickly soak through the pores of the linen, making a mess on the opposite side. One does not want that. Why not go for something that is finely particulate, that disperses well in water to make a thin paste, that leaves its solid on the side where placed when the water is removed by 'blotting paper' action? It doesn't have to be yellow or brown. It could be white, provided one has a means of making it turn yellow AFTER imprinting. Better still, find a white powder whose dispersion in water has adhesive properties, such that the linen sticks to the skin and body relief immediately when one is pressed against the other. Why not try ....  white flour? Now we're motoring. Correction, cantering.

18. Thinks. How might one get a flour imprint on linen to go yellow or brown, without affecting the linen (though a little darkening, as with that blood earlier, might not be a bad thing if it gave new linen an aged appearance)?  Heat maybe, like putting in an oven and watching closely, removing when one has the desired result? Or simply pressing the imprinted areas with a hot iron? Or maybe adding a chemical that makes flour turn yellow? An acid maybe, or an alkali? Nitric acid? Limewater?
 More to follow.

Update: 16 July

This posting is already too long of course, if seen as merely that - a blog posting. But it's not, of course. As I've said before, it's a old-fashioned millennial type blog, that term being a contraction of 'weblog'. In other words it is a diary, a running account, the only difference being that new additions are going onto the end, not the top (I tried the latter 'reverse chronology' model but it created too many problems re archiving).

I was briefly minded today to create a new posting, addressing some of the criticism voiced on that other site. The latter hoovers up all the new 'Shroud' content often within minutes of its appearance in the blogosphere, whose followers rarely bother to check with the originating site (as judged by my sitemeter) and who use that other site to post comments of variable qualit, never on the source site. They then presumably consider that the end of the matter, having expressed their invariably partisan views.

The question then is: do I need to spend time here (or there) responding to what really is bad netiquette in so many different ways? Reminder: we are not discussing any old Shroud issues. We are discussing new content - mine for example - that has required some thought and in many instances originality, that has also required a decision to 'publish and be damned'.

If there were a simple solution to this problem, dare one say abuse of internet, with a particular site effectively acting as black hole for new content, everything going in, nothing coming back out, then I would surely have discovered it by now. However, that will not stop me experimenting with new approaches, ones that show I'm watching what happens on that other site, am occasionally willing to respond, but not in the way that those folk over there would necessarily approve of.

Let's return to one of those comments, cut-and-pasted earlier, the one from Charles Freeman in response to my link between the 'Shroud' and the earlier Veil of Veronica. The only part I consider worth addressing is highlightied in red.

The Veil was an impression of the face of Christ when still alive. It was the top papal relic, the subject of enormous crowds when exhibited in St.Peter’s in 1350.

So how do you go bigger and better than that ? Clearly it was a PA disaster if only because no one at the time saw any resemblance to the image of a living Christ (cf. Image of Edessa), and the double image of a dead Christ.

The choice of venue was also a serious mistake- far too out of the way for a serious relic cult. Compare the Shroud of Cadouin which was on a major pilgrim route so you could hardly miss it!

It was also extremely easy to get it suppressed in c.1355. Altogether an enormous flop.

This blogger has written numerous postings on the link that WAS made right from the very first appearance of the 'Shroud' in the written historical record, starting in Lirey in approx 1355. They began with a close scrutiny of the Lirey Pilgrim badge, the latter receiving but a fleeting mention in Freeman's 'History Today' article, merely to acknowledge that the Man on the Shroud was entirely naked. But it was the discovery of the Machy mould for a second Lirey badge, assisted by Ian Wilson's invaluable research on its new and distinctive features, totally overlooked or ignored by Freeman, that finally led to this blogger abandoning his original 'scorch hypothesis' for an altogether different one that viewed the 'Shroud' as an attempt to simulate a SWEAT IMPRINT. Not for nothing did I call that a pardigm shift, knowing it would provoke derision, but I stand by that term. The sweat imprint hypothesis is and was a PARADIGM SHIFT. I do not intend to repeat my reasoning here. If folk like Charles Freeman cannot be bothered to read my postings, then so be it. But when they make assertions that show they have not bothered to acquaint themselves with an opponent's thinking, then I shall simply remind them where those thoughts can be found, and refuse to engage with them until they learn what I consider to be standard academic courtesy (which may or may not be on the radar screen of those who write books and magazine articles instead of academic papers or mere blog postings).

Here are screen shots of two consecutive postings in which, at the instant of paradigm shift, this blogger DID make that all important link between the 'Shroud' and the Veronica, asserting that the first known owners of the Lirey Shroud WERE ALSO KEEN TO MAKE THAT SAME ALL-IMPORTANT LINK, at least on the Mark?2 version of the Lirey Pilgrim's badge, arguably as a CRUCIAL AND DEFINING MARKETING PLOY.

From my specialist 'Shroud' site, Feb 15, 2014

followed by:

From the same specialist 'Shroud' site, two days later, Feb 17, 2014.
That's really all I have to say to Charles Freeman, except for this: some of us have spent the best part of 3-4 years, attempting to fit together the pieces of the 'Shroud' jigsaw puzzle - scientific, historical and biblical, to form a coherent and credible whole. Charles Freeman appears not to understand that there is a jigsaw puzzle, or if he does, has contemptuously kicked it aside in his oh-so-condescending magazine piece that tells the world it was 'just another painting' , which conveniently for him has somehow managed to lose ALL chemical traces of its pigment leaving us scientists dottily obsessed and spellbound by a mere 'shadow image' (undefined except, that is, for its curious and unique set of properties - negative but non-photographic image, 3D properties, ultra-superficial, easily detachable, half-tone character, diimide-bleachable, etc etc). Taking a celebrated line from "1066 And All That" I personally would rather be seen as "Right but Repulsive" than "Wrong but Romantic".

Update: I do not understand why Daniel Porter allows troll "anoxie" to use his site for her constant stream of ridicule and spite.

Here's what she posted yesterday, showing her now highly practiced modus opernadi of weaponising one's own words:

"AONU, you should know Colin is never wrong, usually he vanishes and comes back with a “paradigm shift”. 

Next time he’ll explain you why the shroud was not the actual transport linen according to his latest comments on his blog."

One hardly need say that science is not politics. Ideas are not political manifestos that have to be adhered to come hell or high water. Science works by proposing ideas, then testing them. If they fail the test then the idea is modified or abandoned. There is no shame in a scientist using the tried-and-test scientific model. Troll anoxie, who claims to be a chemist, should know that. But who is troll anoxie, hiding behind that pseudonym, leaving us ignorant of her claim to be a working scientist? I see little evidence of an enquiring mind.   Publications? Or is she merely following a superior's instructions?

As for the toxic comment re Joseph of Arimathea's linen, I have made it clear that I see its role in the mind of a medieval forger as allowing a discreet and dignified transport of body from cross to tomb. That is apparent from the three synoptic gospels: the linen was produced at the cross, not the tomb. Whether it was used as a makeshift stretcher, as suggested in so much medieval art, is of secondary concern. The key thing is that it was seen in a 'thought experiment' as a opportunity to envelop an unwashed body taken down from a cross. Why should I retreat from any of those suggestions that are an attempt to read the mind of a forger seeking a pretext from scripture to create a rival to the Veil of Veronica?

Yes, I abandoned the scorch hypothesis and proposed instead that the 'Shroud' body image was a simulated sweat imprint. I was so determined that folk should sit up and take notice that I called it a 'paradigm shift' That was the one and only occasion I used that expression. yet here we have troll anoxie suggesting I bandy it around, or that I am constantly changing my mind. I am not: ideas evolve certainly, but as I say, there has been only the one major switch from one model to another - scorch to sweat. Everything else has been about the details: paradoxically, the latter is by degrees becoming a scorch hypothesis too, albeit by proposed thermal or thermochemical effects on a flour-based imprint as distinct from linen fibres per se. As i say, ideas evolve in the light of new data: it's insulting to see it portrayed as a flighty changing of one's mind, and a demeaning of the scientific method.

Why should one have to waste time fending off what in reality are character attacks that masquerade as something else. Dan Porter should do the decent thing and eject troll anoxie from his site. One shouldn't have to ask. Site owners who rely on others to supply their content should not allow those others be made targets for people with 'issues' that have nothing to do with the advance of knowledge, whether in correct directions or otherwise. I repeat, Dan Porter. Kindly eject troll anoxie from your site.

Update: reminder re the Lirey Pilgrim badge (Cluny Museum):

 The man on the herringbone weave linen is bas relief, note (frontal side only shown here, but dorsal side is bas relief too needless to say).Think of the fiddly meticulous work that required on the part of the mould maker. His material was a softer variety of stone, assuming it was the same as the Machy mould for Lirey badge Mk2. He had to gouge out that stone and then buff the cavities and hollows to get smooth contours. Why would he go to all that trouble if the man on the 'Shroud' was just a 2D painting? Answer:because the message he needed to get across was that one should regard the image on the 'Shroud' as an IMPRINT from a real 3D man, not a mere sketch of painting, and that man was Jesus. If the image was just a painting he could simply have scored an outline on the stone.

Update: Friday 17 July:

See the new posting on my specialist "Shroud" site, posted this morning;.



Unknown said...

Nicely said, Colin, that paragraph about Charles Freeman

Dan Porter, black-hole-meister.

sciencebod said...

Thanks mystery man (or lady). One is always reluctant to get personal, but we all need a safety valve from time to time...

sciencebod said...

I say. That was Dan Porter no less who visited my site earlier as "Unknown", as he states in his latest posting (my candid summing up of the 'just a painting' views of Charles Freeman receiving a rare compliment).