If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

HOW OLD IS THE TURIN SHROUD? 
 
The Turin Shroud, reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, was carbon dated in 1988 to having been made between 1260 and 1390 AD. So its too young to be the burial cloth of Jesus. This has not stopped religious cranks from trying to prove the cloth is older than that. One method they use to prove this is from the existence of the Shroud in historical records before that time. The other is seeing if the way the Shroud was made matches what we know about how things were made in first century Palestine. But sadly for them, we can prove that they are just fantasists.
 
The gospels say that Jewish burials had the face left bare with a cloth put over the face as the body was wrapped up in stripes and that Jesus was buried according to the Jewish custom (John 19:40). There have been attempts to deny that Jesus was strictly buried in this method or that there were a variety of Jewish methods. But when the John gospel describes the burial of Lazarus buried with a bare face that a cloth was put on and then says Jesus was buried the Jewish way then clearly John means Jesus was buried that way too. We know that from the fact that his gospel was meant for non-Jews. He wanted to inform non-Jews.

WHERE WAS IT BEFORE 1355?
 
The existence of the Shroud is not even mentioned in early Christian writings and what is mentioned in the gospel is certainly not what is now the Turin Shroud. For centuries after the Christian faith inflicted itself on the world nobody said that the Shroud still existed. Here is a quote: The provenance of the Shroud is very shaky because the earliest written record about it is the reference to the origin of the image from Bishop D’Arcis who wrote a letter to Pope Clement VII that the picture on the Shroud is a forgery and that the forger has confessed that it was a ‘painted’ picture.  Quote from The Shroud of Turin!! Is it Genuine or is it a Forgery? Dr Johnson C Philip, Dr Saneesh Cherian, Edited by Gregory Anderson. Creative Commons. Copyright Philip Communication. First Edition 2014.

 

The excuses for it not being mentioned are just speculation.
 
THE POLLEN

Robin Lane Fox observed that there is evidence that the Eddesa cloth was not older than 560 AD. It was probably discovered thanks to a battle around that time (page 250, The Unauthorized Version). He says the tests that showed pollen from plants in Jerusalem and Edessa on the Turin Shroud were unsatisfactory and failed to show that the Turin Shroud was the same as the Edessa Cloth. The Jesus Conspiracy page 28 for a book determined to show that the Shroud was authentic is admirable for admitting that there was no pollen from the Olive Trees and grasses which were and are common around Jerusalem. It also confesses that no proper answer has been found to this problem. The answer of course is that the Shroud was never in Jerusalem.
 
We must remember too that Walter McCrone reexamined the work of Frei which claimed that pollen from the Holy Land was on the cloth. Frei took tape samples from the cloth to identify pollen.
 
Frei found nothing from Palestinian olive trees. What is not found is more important than what was found. If there is one thing that would have been on the real shroud it is that.
 
Frei's tape samples showed little pollen barring one which held too much pollen for comfort - it was as if it were introduced after being used on the Shroud. McCrone mentioned how it was proven that Frei was a crook and a liar. This does not prove his work with the Shroud was a fraud in itself. But the work itself indicates that he was up to his old tricks.

 

Steven D Schafersman said it was incomprehensible how a cloth that had travelled over Europe and been exposed at times ended up with no pollen on it but pollen from Palestine, Istanbul and the Antaloian steppe.  To me that suggests the cloth is not as old as believers want to think.  It was made at the time the carbon dating showed and more or less kept indoors which explains the lack of pollen.  The pollen that is there was planted.
 
Please read the book, Relics of the Christ by Joe Nickell, University of Kentucky Press for the lowdown on Frei's work.
 
Even if the tests had been valid there are questions. How do we know that the pollen from Palestine wasn’t added when interest grew in the Shroud or when the microscope was invented which made many believe it would soon be possible to see pollen and identify the country of its origin? It’s a matter of shaking flowers from Palestine over the cloth. If the Shroud washed in the past, is the same as the Turin Shroud it is proof that Frei's work was suspect. He was going to try and authenticate the cloth by examining the pollen - some feat when he knew from its history there could be no pollen from Jesus' time on it!
 
The arguments in favour of the Shroud from the pollen are still being published and circulated. The dishonesty of those who want to believe and who want others to believe is worrying. They prove that faith enables fundamentalism and opposition to facts.

 

Read this quote: Flowers And Pollen Grains: Avinoam Danin, a botanist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reported in 1997 that he had identified Chrysanthemum coronarium (now called Glebionis coronaria), Cistus creticus and Zygophyllum on the Shroud. He claimed that pressed image of these flowers on the shroud was first noticed by Alan Whanger in 1985 on the photographs of the shroud that were taken in 1931. He claimed that the outlines of these flowering plants would point to March or April in and around Jerusalem. However, the presence of such impression on the Shroud could not be verified by others who feel that it is a matter of seeing what one wishes to see within irregular patterns.  From

 

We must remember that the mystery of the image is not the only mystery.  The pollen one though far less interesting is the biggest mystery.  It is fatal to authenticity.  Do not obsess about the image - it is easy to for it is ethereal and arresting but that does not mean that it is the only mystery that matters.

1355, is as far back as we may be able to go in tracing the history of the Turin cloth.

THE CARBON DATING
 
In 1988, scientists used carbon dating on the Shroud with the result indicating that it was made between 1260 and 1390 AD and was not the winding sheet of Jesus Christ. Many who say that it was his Shroud hold that it proves that Jesus did not die on the cross and that his resurrection was a hoax. The dispute over the reliability of the tests still continues.

 


A quote is needed, "Radiocarbon dating is one of best available dating methodologies. The basic premise behind it is that cosmic rays generate an unstable isotope of Carbon (Carbon-14 or C14) in the upper atmosphere, which is eventually bonded to oxygen as carbon dioxide (CO2), and incorporated into living creatures during respiration or digestion of other living creatures. Carbon-14 is always decaying into the more stable Carbon-12 (C12) by a radioactive process, but as long as living things continue to breathe, they will maintain the ratio between C14 and C12 that is present in the atmosphere.
After they die, however, the C14 continues to decay but it is not replaced with new C14, and dead creatures over time will exhibit smaller and smaller ratios of C14 to C12. These ratios can be measured and used to estimate when the animal or plant died. The accuracy of radiocarbon dating is very high because its crucial parameters for dating are few and very well understood. The rate of decay for the Carbon-14 isotope is well known, and the atmospheric production of Carbon-14, though varying over the centuries, has been finely calibrated with a mass of tree-ring data."

 

Researcher Rogers tried another form of scientific dating to get around the result of the carbon dating.  In response to Rogers who says that there is no vanillin on the shroud which would only happen if it were much older than the carbon dating date:

 

“Rogers's case for an older Shroud depends far too much on the failure to detect vanillin on other parts of the Shroud. More than one event in the recorded history of the Shroud could have easily been responsible for a substantial loss of vanillin on the order of a few hours."

Believers desperately try to debunk science when it says the shroud is a makebelieve.  Nobody is able to say once and for all why the carbon dating may be wrong. The range of "explanations" include the notion that linen can give you a more recent carbon date than it should, that the cloth is dirty and full of bacteria which threw the dating off, that the samples were taken from a mended part that was indeed medieval and that the shroud's turbulent history changed it chemically. The explanations often contradict each other and are outright lies. Nobody tests for example the dirt and bacteria theory with anything similar to the shroud. The explanations are not evidence based and are speculative.

In 1983 it is claimed by Dr Garza-Valdes that an invisible coating could have been layered on the cloth that could have distorted the results of the tests. The bacteria that does this was indeed found on the cloth. He was backed up by Dr Stephen Mattingly who was a microbiologist but the pair earned mistrust by publishing no detailed reports on their findings. Experienced carbon-daters say that if the cloth had a lacquer great enough to throw the test out by several centuries it would be visible on the cloth.

It is a fact that the argument that the carbon dating which came up with a medieval age for the cloth is wrong for the cloth was contaminated is junk. There would need to be a hugely much more substantial pile of debris on the cloth for it to throw it off so far that it comes up as thirteen hundred years younger than what it is (page 49, Free Inquiry, Joe Nickell, Vol 18, No 2). The pieces tested were thoroughly cleaned (page 28, Looking for a Miracle). The cloth was nearly burned centuries before which some say could lead to misleading carbon dating. Some go as far as to say it gives another reason as to why why the carbon dating cannot be accurate. But experiments with cloth exposed to similar heat and smoke as the Shroud endured show that this claim is futile. Two independent labs using different pieces and using controls which were dated accurately came up with nearly the same dates. Some things cannot be dated accurately by carbon dating but cloth is different.

The fire that nearly destroyed the cloth in 1532 has been ruled out as the culprit that some think was making the test mislead. The portions of the cloth used in the carbon test were cleaned of soot and other contaminants (page 193, The Second Messiah). The test worked out in three labs that the flax used to make the Shroud had died between 1260 and 1390 AD. The other samples used were dated by the process according to the date they were known to have been made in.

The view that the Carbon 14 test was thrown off by the exposure of the cloth to steam when water was thrown on it to put out the flames that had caught and were threatening to engulf the cloth is pure fantasy. No tests of this kind would be any use if they were that easily upset.

Ian Wilson, top proponent of belief in the Shroud, himself has decisively refuted the suggestions that the carbon dating samples were taken from a part of the shroud that was rewoven in the Middle Ages as is the notion that the samples used did not come from the Shroud at all (page 90, The Shroud, The 2000 Year Old Mystery Solved). Pages 215 and 216 of The Blood and the Shroud demonstrate that the samples of the Shroud used in the tests do fit the Shroud despite the assertion of some to the contrary. There was a piece cut off and three bits of it were from the middle leaving the rest (Turin Shroud, page 11). If there was a switch it happened just seconds before the pieces were put in the machine. If anybody wanted to hope that this indeed happened it would be Wilson.
 
The Holger Kersten and Elmar Gruber theory that the pieces of the Shroud that were tested were not really from the Shroud has been thoroughly discredited not only by Wilson but also by other authors (page 195, The Second Messiah). They alleged that the Vatican wanted this hoax to take place because the Shroud proved that Jesus was still alive. The Vatican could not simply burn the Shroud for that would not stop people believing it was real.
 
The Vatican still treats the Shroud as a special relic and puts it on display. It would get the Shroud and make some alterations like sweat painted on to leave brush marks and put some paint on the blood if it wanted to discredit it and it was certainly able. These are the things the sceptics hope to find on the cloth. Even sceptics would have no wish to fake the carbon dating for the Shroud is strange but not paranormal and religiously speaking the man is not Jesus.
 
The best of the pro-Shroud believers teach that the samples were taken from a part of the cloth that was exposed to a lot of handling over the years. They also say the incense burned before the Shroud and the candle smoke would have had an effect. It is agreed that there had to have been 60% contamination to make the cloth seem more than a thousand years younger than what it was and it is agreed that such contamination would not be very obvious when the micro-organisms are transparent (page 96, The Shroud, The 2000 Year Old Mystery Solved). 
 

There are too many miracles with the shroud not just with the image.  There is There is the alleged bacterial coating that could have made the cloth look younger in the carbon 14 tests than it was for it was largely the bacteria that was tested rather than the cloth!  There is the coincidence of how the "bungled" carbon dating happened to coincide with the same medieval time period as when a bishop declared the shroud was made.  There are several other things such as the hair that looks like the man is not lying down and the neat blood stains! Too many things need outlandish explanations.

 

QUOTE: The most common way of explaining it away this date is via the claim that the piece of cloth that was cut away and sent for radiocarbon dating was not from the original cloth but that it was part of a patch that was added to the Shroud in the middle ages when repairs were undertaken on it. However, the sample was not taken by ignorant people or hastily. A large number of experts were involved, and to claim that they did not have the expertise to recognize additions/patches to the Shroud. In fact the official report written by the very people who took the sample made it clear that the sample was taken from the ‘main body’ of the Shroud, away from patches or from charred regions.

THE COINS
 
 

 

 
IT IS IMAGINED THAT THE COIN SHOWN ABOVE LEFT A MARK ON THE EYELID ON THE CLOTH! THE THIRD PICTURE IS A THREE-D SHOT OF THE REGION ON THE CLOTH THAT ALLEGEDLY BACKS THIS UP!


 
A professor from Loyola University in Chicago, Francis L. Filas, said that coins can be seen on the Shroud’s eyes. This nonsense which has forced sceptics to spend time on refuting it is refuted in the pro-authenticity site http://www.skepticalspectacle.com/

The coins are called leptons and were minted by Pilate in 31 and 32 AD another reason why leptons would not have been used for Pilate killed Jesus. The right eye is supposed to show a staff like a bishops crook with letters around it and the roughly roundish shape of the coin on the eye. No coin is going to sit perfectly flat on the eye so you have to laugh at the suggestion that the shape is on the eye if the coins were taken off when the man was laid out. If the mark fits the coin then it is not a coin but just plain prints that some people think they can see a coin shape in.

Also, how could the image of the coins transfer to the cloth when the image was caused by the body and by the blood? We would expect to see clean roundish patches on the eyes. Yet the book, Verdict on the Shroud, says that the man may have been buried with coins on the eyelids.

 

The head of Pilate, can according to some, can be allegedly be seen from a coin on the right eyelid of the Shroud man. But this image would not be is perfectly clear so it could be anything. Actually, it is far from even half distinct. It is easy to see faces and patterns in blots and blobs that are not really there or there by design - we all do that and the cloth has a roughish surface too which causes too much distortion to justify the claim about the coins. But it is probable that burying people with coins on their eyes was not done in the first century (Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, page 151). It is hard to believe that coins with Roman emblems on them would have been placed on Jesus when Rome through Pilate killed him. Also, would they put pagan emblems on the eyes of God’s Son? Some Jews made things like coins to put on the eyelids.

Some try to make out they can see the following coin on the shroud but it should be too detailed and small  to leave any clear print. 



Filas studied 3-D images of the eyelids and though he could read UCAI from Tiberius Caisaros which was inscribed on coins in those days (page 19). But when you look at the pictures you see you can imagine other letters that were not on these coins just as clearly. They are all in the head. Good researchers and even the pro-Shroud STURP insist that the coins are imagined (page 19, Turin Shroud).

Jesus would have died with his eyes closed because the blood would have been running into them from the crown of thorns so there was no need for anything on the lids to keep them shut. He would have closed his eyes on passing gradually into a coma before death.

 

A pro-shroud source says the fibres are too "coarse to resolve the rather subtle and very tiny inscription on a dime sized ancient coin. I believe the fibers are much too large to resolve such fine detail. Also, Filas found these coin "images" on the Shroud using the 1933 Enrie photographs. He personally mentioned to me that he could not achieve the same results with the 1978 photographs. Unfortunately, the 1933 photographs have been copied and recopied multiple times and I believe the "images" he discovered are artifacts of clumped photographic grain, caused by the recopying and enhancement of grain structure from earlier generation photographs. This grain clumping is very common on high contrast or contrast enhanced films when copied over multiple generations.
Filas' research described a large number of points of congruence between the coin image he found on the Shroud and the actual coin. I believe one would get matching points of congruence for practically anything one looked for, since a highly magnified random sampling of clumped grain structure would have the same effect as a sky full of clouds: you could see whatever you wish to see, and no two people would necessarily see the same thing."

OTHER CLAIMS

Shroudies make a lot of noise about the coins. But as usual with every supernatural claim there is a whole supermarket of rival claims. For example, on the website Apollonius of Tyana and the Shroud of Turin there is a series of photos of a bust of Apollonius with each photo of the bust carrying a heavier superimposition of the face of the Shroud man. The result is that the face of the bust looks exactly like the man on the Shroud. This would mean that the pagan god Apollonius was the same person as Jesus or perhaps that Apollonius had a twin brother who masqueraded as Jesus. This bust is preserved in Naples and it is likely that Apollonius got his brother a sculptor to make the bust. Both bust and Shroud man have a scar above the left eye…(www.appollonius.net/bust-shroud.html). If Jesus was Apollonius then he survived the crucifixion for Apollonius died in 97 AD.

 

It has been claimed that the Shroud bears images of Jerusalem flowers and nails and scores of other things (page 20, Skeptical Inquirer, Vol 25, No 5). People think they can read Jesus’ name on it. These things are dismissed by the best pro-Shroud scholars. You can see anything you want on the Shroud just like you can think the moon has a man’s face. We are programmed to see pictures where there are none. But if the Shroud really shows the image of a nail, the sign that was over Jesus’ head, and the dice used by the soldiers then it is a fake. What would all these items be doing in the tomb? They belonged to the Romans. Some argue that because the sign has not produced inverted lettering on the Shroud which it should do it must be fake (page 242, The Divine Deception). Believers argue that the sign was done in Hebrew, Latin and Greek in mirror writing and that is the explanation! Are they mad?

THE HUNGARIAN CODEX

 

 
The believer says the Hungarian codex from 1192-5 AD before the time the carbon dating says the shroud cloth was made depicts a cloth with the same weave as the shroud. From this its said that the dating must be wrong for the Shroud must have been seen by the artist who made the picture in the codex.
 
To get to that conclusion, believers presume that the item in the second picture is the Shroud though it cannot be. The shroud is lying on top of it messed up. The item is a lid and is rigid. It has holes but holes are depicted on the sarcophagus too. The stepped pattern is just a pattern and yet they say it is the herringbone pattern of the Shroud. It only superficially looks like the Shroud pattern. There is no image of Jesus imprinted. The picture is not meant to be taken too seriously as there would have been no crosses on Jesus's tomb. Jesus in the picture above it lies in a tiny shroud and has no blood. There is more reason to deny that there is any link to the Shroud than to say there is.
 
Despite recent attempts to prove that the herringbone pattern of the Shroud was used in first century Palestine the fact remains that the pattern was common in the middle ages. The Jesus Conspiracy, in a futile attempt to prove that the carbon dating of pieces of the Shroud was a hoax claiming that pieces of another cloth with herringbone pattern were used instead at least showed that the pattern wasn’t unique to the Shroud (page 78, The Jesus Conspiracy).

HENRY AND D’ARCIS

It is held by shroud believers that there is no concrete evidence that the Shroud existed before the mid-1350s when it was seemingly fully exposed in the Church at Lirey.  But they assume there were indications that it may have done. Sceptics say the Shroud was forged about that time.
 
The Lirey Shroud was exposed as a cunningly painted fake by the bishops, Henry and D'Arcis. We have their letters.
 
The letters say the artist was identified and as the image was not a normal painting he had to demonstrate how he did it. This sounds like the Turin Shroud which does not look like it was painted except perhaps for the blood.
 
The letters corroborate the carbon dating.
 
CONCLUSION
 
There is no evidence from history that the carbon dating is incorrect. The evidence provided by those who disagree is deception and imagination. The Turin Shroud is most probably a forgery from 1260 to 1390. Would the Jesus of the gospels who said that if your neighbour takes from you what you need give him more than that and go the extra mile if a Roman soldier who is your enemy urges you to carry his pack leave behind a relic that has cost the world millions of dollars in tests and debates and time to work out if the cloth is real or not? I don’t think so.
 
Even if the cloth is strange and inexplicable and even if there is real blood on it, it still does not give us any reason to think these effects came from a body. The image does not carry the huge distortions that would be seen if a body had lain in it and imprinted the images. The image has nothing to do with proving the existence or resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

APPENDIX: CARBON DATING

 

The sample dates (in years before present (bp) with likely error) from each laboratory were as follows:
Sample 1: Arizona (AA-3367): 591±30 bp, 690±35 bp, 606±41 bp and 701±33 bp.
Sample 1: Oxford (Ox-2575): 795±65 bp, 730±45 bp and 745±55 bp.
Sample 1: Zürich (ETH-2883): 733±61 bp, 722±56 bp, 635±57 bp, 639±45 bp and 679±51 bp
Sample 2: Arizona (AA-3368): 922±48 bp, 986±56 bp, 829±50 bp, 996±38 bp and 894±37 bp
Sample 2: Oxford (Ox-2574): 980±55 bp, 915±55 bp and 925±45 bp
Sample 2: Zürich (ETH-3884): 890±59 bp, 1,036±63 bp, 923±47 bp, 980±50 bp and 904±46 bp
Sample 3: Arizona (AA-3369): 1,838±47 bp, 2,041±43 bp, 1,960±55 bp, 1,983±37 bp and 2,137±46 bp
Sample 3: Oxford (Ox-2576): 1,955±70 bp, 1,975±55 bp and 1,990±50 bp
Sample 3: Zürich (ETH-3885): 1,984±50 bp, 1,886±48 bp and 1,954±50 bp
Sample 4: Arizona (AA-3370): 724±42 bp, 778±88 bp, 764±45 bp, 602±38 bp and 825±44 bp
Sample 4: Oxford (Ox-2589): 785±50 bp, 710±40 bp and 790±45 bp
Sample 4: Zürich (ETH-3882): 739±63 bp, 676±60 bp, 760±66 bp, 646±49 bp and 660±46 bp

This is an unprecedented number of samples, with one set from the Shroud and three control samples: the laboratories were not told which sample came from the Shroud and which from the control objects. Those from each sample are consistent, so they can be combined into means. Sample 1 therefore has a mean radiocarbon date of 691±31 bp, which calibrates to 1262-1312, 1353-1384 CE at 2σ (95% confidence); sample 2 has a mean of 937±16, which calibrates to 1026-1160 CE at 2σ; sample 3 has a mean of 1,964±20, with a calibration of 9 BCE – 78 CE at 2σ; and sample 4 has a mean of 724±20, with a calibrated range of 1263-1283 CE at 2σ.

What do these dates mean? Sample 1 was from the Shroud, sample 2 from linen from a Nubian tomb of the eleventh to twelfth centuries CE, sample 3 was linen from a mummy of the early second century CE and sample 4 was from threads removed from the cope of St Louis d’Anjou dated to 1290-1310 CE. There is therefore no question that the Shroud is not medieval; we can be 95% confident that the cloth was manufactured between 1262 and 1384 CE.

  
BOOKS CONSULTED

Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Roberts and Donaldson, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1870
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
Free Inquiry, Spring 1998, Vol 18, No 2, Article by Joe Nickell, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst New York
From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls, Walter Vandereycken and Ron van Deth, Athlone Press, London, 1996
Holy Faces, Secret Places, Ian Wilson, Corgi, London, 1992
Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1987
Jesus Lived in India, Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Miracles, Ronald A Knox, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1937
Sceptical Inquirer 9/10 2001 Vol 25, No 5, Article by Joe Nickell, CSIOCP, Amherst New York
Relics, The Society for Irish Church Missions, Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin
The Blood and The Shroud, Ian Wilson, Orion, London, 1999
The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996
The Divine Deception, Keith Laidler, Headline, London, 2000
The DNA of God?, Leoncio A Garza-Valdes, Doubleday, 1999
The Holy Shroud and Four Visions, Rev Patrick O Connell and Rev Charles Carty, TAN, Illinois, 1974
The Holy Shroud and the Visions of Maria Valtorta, Msgr Vincenzo Celli, Kolbe Publications Inc., Sheerbrooke, California, 1994
The Image on the Shroud, Nello Ballosino, St Paul’s, London, 1998
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten amd Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Relics, From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud, Joe Nickell, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal, Lynne Kelly, Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2004
The Shroud, The 2000 Year Old Mystery Solved, Ian Wilson, Bantam Press, London, 2010
The Turin Shroud is Genuine, Rodney Hoare, Souvenir Press, London, 1998
The Turin Shroud, Ian Wilson, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1979
The Unauthorized Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Turin Shroud, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, BCA, London, 1994
Verdict on the Shroud, Kenneth E Stevenson and Gary R Habermas, Servant Publications, Ann Arbour, Michigan, 1981