The Shroud of Turin: What's Your Opinion?


Interesting. What His Holiness Pope Gelasius wrote, in his Decretum Gelasianum, of the Doctrine of Addai and many similar works, was that these teachings should be “non solum repudiata verum ab omni Romana catholica et apostolica ecclesia eliminata atque cum suis auctoribus sequacibus sub anathematis insolubili vinculo in aeternum confitemur esse damnata”.

“Not only rejected but eliminated from the whole Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and with their authors and their followers to be damned in the indissoluble shackles of anathema forever.”

How things have changed.


We must thank Mr. Farey for his corrections of my mis-representations concerning that decree.
In the future I will be sure to include the appropriate disclaimers warning readers that I am a “blatant liar” and that I write nothing but “incoherent gibberish” anyway.


I did not correct your misrepresentation of the Doctrine of Addai at all. You mentioned that the work was ‘excluded’ by the Pope. I was merely supplementing your warning to the faithful that any credence given to it would result in severe danger to their souls.


However, since you mention misrepresentation, I do find your quotation (above) in contradiction to your conclusion (above). Don’t you?


Yes, once again you have found out my mistake. I should have said, “No mention is made of any miraculous image being presented to King Abgar (by Addai.)”
Thank you so much, Mr. Farey, and, especially, for pointing out the “severe danger to our souls” should we open this book.


Did you think that if the shroud of Turin is authentic… Jesus didn’t just work a miracle, he used scientific protocol that was put in place by him (and a miracle of taking back his life)… (You scientists know more about what I’m talking about than I do… radio carbon dating, photographic negative, etc…)
In the same way he used what science he had created to become human. He could have appeared via a marvelous miracle but chose to use the science of human birth via a mother… (also part miracle with the holy spirit…)

***I think God is trying to tell us and show us that YES science is all the things you can see and understand–but oh, so much more that you can not see and cannot understand…+++


How many truly anonymous artistic masterpieces exist in the world? I am talking true masterpieces, something along the lines of the Mona Lisa. Of which the Shroud, if indeed it is a piece of art, would be considered - an anonymous masterpiece. Has anyone proposed the identity of the artist who supposedly produced the Shroud? Would someone really have produced such a work and have stayed hidden, never to reproduce another work like it or anything else bearing his name?


Good question. The concept of the ‘artist’ is very much a medieval phenomenon, from about the 13th century onwards. Before then, art and craft, whether painting or bricklaying, were considered jobs to be done by people whose job it was to do them, rather than individual expressions of creativity. Of course, the attribution of artistic masterpiece is something of a subjective opinion, but a quick review of almost all the pre-medieval, and indeed a great many medieval art-works, will show that we have no idea who made, painted, sculpted or built them. In more modern times, we have begun to recognise individual talent in a way that was never done before, and attributed some medieval work to “the master of…” this or that, without knowing his name. Sometimes, research into archives will reveal an individual name (usually in connection with having been paid for a job), but more often than not, the earlier the artwork, the more anonymous the artist.

Furthermore, the Shroud was not intended, in my view, as a ‘signature’ artwork. It was a functional artefact with a job to do, and as such, almost any of the known artists from the trecento could have produced it. They could not have known of its ‘negative’ effect, of course, which is an accidental outcome of the skill of their original design, which was to produce an image that might have been produced by a recently traumatised corpse.

If I was given the research grant hypothesised by nooooby above, some of it would certainly be diverted into the study of the Italian artists of Siena and Florence of the time, some of whom also spent some time in Avignon with the exiled popes, with a view to characterising their individual styles with that of the image on the Shroud. They could well have been known to Bishop of Troyes Henri de Poitiers, who allegedly, as we know, knew who had created the Shroud.


I appreciate your response. I supposed that I may have had an anachronistic concept of the role of an artist.


“Yet another of Raes’s findings was of minute but unmistakable traces of cotton adhering to the linen threads, suggesting to him that wherever the Shroud had been woven, it had been done on equipment that had also been used for cotton. Since the particular variety of cotton that Raes found was ‘Gossypium herbaceum,’ a characteristic middle east variety, . . . rather good evidence for the Shroud having originated in the middle east.”**



In fairness to anyone that would want to post a negative comment, I respectfully request that no comments at all be posted regarding this back-lit photo. TY. (Use the second link of numbers for a larger picture)


In THE SHROUD (pg. 233, PB) Wilson mentions a work titled:
“. . .the single work that more than any other has enabled us to piece together a cogent history for the Image.”

The Greek text together with its translation is available in Prof, Mark Guscin’s book of 2009:

The STORY OF THE IMAGE OF EDESSA gives two versions of how the image of Jesus came into existence.
In the first, King Abgar’s messenger, here called Ananias, was noticed by Jesus as he attempted to paint the Lord’s portrait. Jesus had Ananias brought to Him and:
“. . .washed His face in water and wiped the liquid from it onto a cloth that He had been handed, and arranged in a divine way beyond understanding for His own likeness to be imprinted upon the cloth. He gave it to Ananias and told him to give it to Abgar…”

In the second version:
"It is said that when Christ was about to willingly undergo suffering, He displayed human weakness and prayed in anguish. The gospel tells us that His sweat fell like drops of blood and then it is said that He took this piece of cloth, which can still be seen, from one of His disciples, and wiped off the streams of sweat on it. The figure of His divine face, which is still visible, was immediately transferred to it. He gave it to Thomas and told him to send it to Abgar with Thaddaeus after His ascension . . .
“Just before he [Thaddaeus] came into the king’s presence, he placed the likeness [Jesus’ image] on his own forehead and went in thus to Abgar. The king saw him coming from afar and seemed to see a light shining out of his face, too bright to look at, sent forth by the likeness that was covering him. . .”

I find these legends instructive in that they show how the ancients attempted to explain the formation of the indistinct sepia outline of Jesus’ face that they observed on a folded up cloth which was not presented as a bloody burial shroud. The first is deficient in that it does not explain the obvious drops of fluid on Jesus’ face. The second explains these, but, on a close examination, a bruise under Jesus’ eye can be noticed, and this second legend does not account for it.

Later a third legend arose in which both the drops of fluid and the facial bruising were accounted for. I have never seen this legend in any Orthodox written work, but it is noticeable on at least two Orthodox icons of the Mandylion which have three smaller scenes included. One of these small scenes is of a woman offering Jesus a cloth as He is carrying His cross. At that time His face would have the blood drops from the crown of thorns and would also be bruised as a result of being struck the previous night.

Since we now know that this divine Image of Jesus’ face is part of His burial Shroud, we also know that the ancient legends of how His divine face came to be imprinted on the Image of Edessa are not true.


A couple of interesting points, I think.

  1. Cotton.
    a) There is a strong school of authenticist thought (to which neither I nor Undead_rat belong, to be fair), which claims that the Raes sample was part of an alleged ‘medieval reweaving’ process, and that any cotton found there, or anywhere else in that corner, is from a date considerably later than the 14th century, when cotton was well known and extensively used throughout Europe.
    b) However, assuming the cotton is integral to the cloth, there is a suggestion in the quotation given by Undead_rat that it was readily available in 1st century Palestine, but not in 14th century Europe, and that therefore its presence lends support to authenticity. The red herring (Gossypium herbaceum) is trailed across the story to add spurious authority to the idea. Actually, of course, G. herbaceum was originally the only cotton west of Mesopotamia, and although it was grown mostly in North Africa, its use spread northwards to Palestine (indeed before the 1st century), and Spain (before the 9th century), and Italy (before the 13th century), and so on.

  2. The Image of Edessa.
    The origin of the Mandylion as a cloth against which Jesus pressed this face is a good story for the generation of a miraculous image, and the various accounts about when this may have happened - while Jesus was teaching, in the Garden of Gethsemane, or on the way to Calvary - all grew up after the image had arrived in Constantinople. Earlier stories, as Undead_rat recounts above, talk of actual paintings. In none of these stories, however, nor in any representation of the Image of Edessa or the Mandylion, is it clear that Jesus’s face was either monochrome or ‘negative’, two of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Shroud image. That the image was considerably more than a mere sweat or blood transfer is suggested by the Narratio’s amazement that Christ “arranged in a divine way beyond understanding for his own likeness to be imprinted upon the cloth”.

In an earlier post, Undead_rat said that he thought “Eleventh century Icons of the Mandylion are spitting images of the Shroud’s face.” I challenged this, with seven precise reasons why I did not agree. It would be good to read a response to this, which has not as yet been forthcoming.


From THE BLOOD AND THE SHROUD, Wilson, 1998, pg. 19:
In 1967 the British photographic professional Leo Vala, inventor of several new photographic techniques and a complete agnostic, commented on this same [Enrie’s Shroud] negative:

“I’ve been involved in the invention of many complicated visual processes and I can tell you that no one could have faked that image. No one could do it today with all the technology we have. It’s a perfect negative. It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise.”**

And from pages 20-21:
And given that Dr. Walter McCrone contends it [the Shroud’s Image] to be a painting, and ‘cunning painting’ was the term used by the sceptical Bishop d’Arcis as long ago as 1389, one of our first priorities has to be to decide whether it might be just that, or whether we really could be seeing [the image of] a genuine human body.
In order to help us resolve this question there can be few better guides than professional painter and specialist in studies of the naked human figure Isabel Piczek. A child prodigy,. . .Piczek held her first professional painting exhibition at the age of eleven and graduated from Budapest’s Fine Arts at only thirteen.
… .to see her perched atop her fifteen foot studio ladder, Shroud ‘negative’ in hand, carefully checking from this the pose of a totally naked male model laid out Shroud-style directly below her, is to realize she takes it [the question of the Image being a painting] very seriously indeed - particularly when one learns that she has vetted literally dozens of models for this pose, trying to find one with absolutely the right height and physique. . . .
So what, then is her professional opinion on the Shroud? As expressed in highly illustrated talks and articles, it is emphatic in the extreme:
“Although there is an argument that no artist of the Middle Ages could have painted a negative image, the fact is that even today, with or without the aid of a camera, no one could paint a negative image with anything like the perfection exhibited on the Shroud.”

Pg. 25:
. . . .she became obliged to abandon altogether attempts to reconstruct the back of the body image. For these the model would have been required to lie on his front, his hands crossed beneath his pelvis, balancing himself by just his nose, the top of one hand, and one knee…
The only other way that she could have achieved a true back-of-the-body view would have been to have posed the model Shroud-mode on a plate of glass, then suspend him above her. But since plate glass had not been invented in the Middle Ages, this seemed hardly worth attempting.
. . .Piczek’s firm conclusion is…that a genuine male human body lay in the cloth and somehow imprinted its image on it.


From THE BLOOD AND THE SHROUD, Wilson, 1998, pg 28:

As just some indication of the unlikelihood of the Shroud having been created by an artist we may cite the fifty or so surviving life-size direct copies of the Shroud that were made by artists during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and are now preserved in churches in Italy, Spain and, in one instance, the United States.** Compared with the Shroud, each and every one of these direct copies is simply not in the same league. . . .They shriek their production by a human hand, even through the painters concerned lived at a time artistically far more competent than that in which the Shroud theoretically first surfaced.
**Luigi Fossati SDB, “Copies of the Shroud Part I” and “Copies of the Shroud Parts II and III” in Shroud Spectrum, issues no. 12 and 13.

Pg. 29
Another odd property is that the image seems not only to register the surface of the theoretical body, but also, at least in part, its subsurface, in the manner of an X-ray. As several medical specialists have pointed out . . .we seem to be seeing the metacarpal bones and the three phalange bones of each finger. Similarly Professor Alan Whanger of Duke University has argued for features of the skull to be visible.


Still unforthcoming. One thing at a time, I say…


Artists were not involved in the Shroud. It is real. It is of Jesus Christ. No other exists like it.


Science or not, you still cannot say how the image got there! Thus, dumbfounded!


The question of the anatomical perfection of the body on the Shroud has become successively more awkward to those who stand by it. To early observers, such as Pierre Barbet, there was no difficulty. The man lay supine on a slab with the Shroud laid out below and draped over the top, and the resulting image, miraculously or otherwise, reflects that configuration. This was also John Jackson’s finding from the early 1970s. In a film made in 2008 (the “Rageh Omaar” BBC programme), he describes how the exact position of the body and Shroud was obtained. He found a volunteer who:

“was CAT-scanned, and then the X-rays from the CAT-scan, in sequential slices, were cut out, after being digitised, and assembled to make this three dimensional model. So this is actually a real person, laying in the attitude implied by the man in the Shroud.”

Jackson goes on to show, in very precise detail, exactly how the Shroud must have covered a flat, supine body in order to receive the blood-stains. He is so convincing that it comes as quite a shock to discover that other scientists, notably, very recently, Giulio Fanti, have produced equally scientific, equally detailed, and equally convincing body shapes which have raised heads and bent legs (which Fanti attributes to rigor mortis). One of them must be wrong.

How the monumental stained glass window maker Isobel Piczek first entered the story is not clear. She has been adopted as an authority on everything from anatomy to quantum physics by some authenticist factions, when in fact she was neither. It attempting to reconstruct the body shape of the man in the Shroud she had to assume that the cloth was suspended horizontally above the body, so that what she saw as the rather short dimensions of the legs bones could be accounted for by foreshortening. Neither of the former two scientists saw anything of the kind.

In this respect she differed quite dramatically from New York Pathologist Fred Zugibe, who was so disturbed by the unnaturally long dimensions of the leg bones that he wondered if Christ hadn’t suffered from Marfan’s syndrome, which is typified by abnormally long and slender limbs.

The fact is, of course, that convinced authenticists begin with the ‘knowledge’ that the Shroud shows a real body, with absolute anatomical accuracy, and all come to very different ideas as to how that image can have come about. Certainly nearly all of them must wrong, as the ideas are mutually contradictory. To go on to say that no artist could have got the dimensions as correct is therefore unjustified.


The idea that the Shroud shows some X-ray properties is bizarre indeed. Two (and only two) places on the body are usually exhibited as places where X-rays may have produced images, the teeth and the finger-bones. These are supposed to be visible on the Shroud. No mention of ribs, clavicles, lower limb-bones, and so on, just the teeth and the fingers. However, in order to produce an X-ray photo, the rays must come from somewhere behind the objects to be imaged, and be attenuated by those objects, so that they react better with the receiving plate where there is no impediment. An X-ray image is black (heavily reacted) where there are no bones and white (unreacted) where there are bones. This is exactly the opposite of the Shroud, which is darker where there are ‘obstructions’ and lighter where there are no obstructions. Those who accept the X-ray hypothesis are confusing the negative “white-on-black” image of the Shroud (which is not what is really there), with the positive “white-on-black” appearance of an X-ray (which is what an X-ray photo is).

The case becomes even more bizarre if we attempt to explain the origin of these X-rays. From the teeth and finger bones themselves (but not any other bones)? From the muscles (the neck and the genitals)?

Of course, if the whole shebang can be arbitrarily explained away as ‘miracle’, then no such inquiry is either necessary or possible. In that case one wonders why authenticists feel it necessary to inquire into all the ‘science’ at all. A true miracle is a matter of faith alone.

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