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Turin Shroud confirmed as a fake

June 21, 2005

by Richard Ingham 

PARIS, June 21 (AFP) - A French magazine said on Tuesday it had carried out experiments that proved the Shroud of Turin, believed by some Christians to be their religion's holiest relic, was a fake. 

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"A mediaeval technique helped us to make a Shroud," Science & Vie (Science and Life) said in its July issue. The Shroud is claimed by its defenders to be the cloth in which the body of 
Jesus Christ was wrapped after his crucifixion.

It bears the faint image of a blood-covered man with holes in his hand and wounds in his body and head, the apparent result of being crucified, stabbed by a Roman spear and forced to wear a crown of thorns.

In 1988, scientists carried out carbon-14 dating of the delicate linen cloth and concluded that the material was made some time between 1260 and 1390. Their study prompted the then archbishop of Turin, where the Shroud is stored, to admit that the garment was a hoax. But the debate sharply revived in January this year.

Drawing on a method previously used by skeptics to attack authenticity claims about the Shroud, Science & Vie got an artist to do a bas-relief -- a sculpture that stands out from the surrounding background -- of a Christ-like face.

A scientist then laid out a damp linen sheet over the bas-relief and let it dry, so that the thin cloth was moulded onto the face. Using cotton wool, he then carefully dabbed ferric oxide, mixed with gelatine, onto the cloth to make blood-like marks. When the cloth was turned inside-out, the reversed marks resulted in the famous image of the crucified Christ.

Gelatine, an animal by-product rich in collagen, was frequently used by Middle Age painters as a fixative to bind pigments to canvas or wood.

The imprinted image turned out to be wash-resistant, impervious to temperatures of 250 C (482 F) and was undamaged by exposure to a range of harsh chemicals, including bisulphite which, without the help of the gelatine, would normally have degraded ferric oxide to the compound ferrous oxide.

The experiments, said Science & Vie, answer several claims made by the pro-Shroud camp, which says the marks could not have been painted onto the cloth.

For one thing, the Shroud's defenders argue, photographic negatives and scanners show that the image could only have derived from a three-dimensional object, given the width of the face, the prominent cheekbones and nose. 

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In addition, they say, there are no signs of any brushmarks. And, they argue, no pigments could have endured centuries of exposure to heat, light and smoke.

For Jacques di Costanzo, of Marseille University Hospital, southern France, who carried out the experiments, the mediaeval forger must have also used a bas-relief, a sculpture or cadaver to get the 3-D imprint.

The faker used a cloth rather than a brush to make the marks, and used gelatine to keep the rusty blood-like images permanently fixed and bright for selling in the booming market for religious relics.

To test his hypothesis, di Costanzo used ferric oxide, but no gelatine, to make other imprints, but the marks all disappeared when the cloth was washed or exposed to the test chemicals.

He also daubed the bas-relief with an ammoniac compound designed to represent human sweat and also with cream of aloe, a plant that was used as an embalming aid by Jews at the time of Christ.

He then placed the cloth over it for 36 hours -- the approximate time that Christ was buried before rising again -- but this time, there was not a single mark on it.

"It's obviously easier to make a fake shroud than a real one," Science & Vie report drily.

The first documented evidence of the Shroud dates back to 1357, when it surfaced at a church at Lirey, near the eastern French town of Troyes. In 1390, Pope Clement VII declared that it was not the true shroud but could be used as a representation of it, provided the faithful be told that it was not genuine.

In January this year, a US chemist, Raymond Rogers, said the radiocarbon samples for the 1988 study were taken from a piece that had been sewn into the fabric by nuns who repaired the Shroud after it was damaged in a church blaze in 1532.

Rogers said that his analysis of other samples, based on levels of a chemical called vanillin that results from the decomposition of flax and other plants, showed the Shroud could be "between 1,300 and 3,000 years old."



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April 6, 2009

Knights Templar hid the Shroud of Turin, says Vatican

Medieval knights hid and secretly venerated The Holy Shroud of Turin for more than 100 years after the Crusades, the Vatican said yesterday in an announcement that appeared to solve the mystery of the relic’s missing years.

The Knights Templar, an order which was suppressed and disbanded for alleged heresy, took care of the linen cloth, which bears the image of a man with a beard, long hair and the wounds of crucifixion, according to Vatican researchers.

The Shroud, which is kept in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral, has long been revered as the shroud in which Jesus was buried, although the image only appeared clearly in 1898 when a photographer developed a negative.

Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, said the Shroud had disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and did not surface again until the middle of the fourteenth century. Writing in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Dr Frale said its fate in those years had always puzzled historians.

However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times.

Dr Frale said that among other alleged offences such as sodomy, the Knights Templar had been accused of worshipping idols, in particular a “bearded figure”. In reality however the object they had secretly venerated was the Shroud.

They had rescued it to ensure that it did not fall into the hands of heretical groups such as the Cathars, who claimed that Christ did not have a true human body, only the appearance of a man, and could therefore not have died on the Cross and been resurrected. She said her discovery vindicated a theory first put forward by the British historian Ian Wilson in 1978.

The Knights Templar were founded at the time of the First Crusade in the eleventh century to protect Christians making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Order was endorsed by the Pope, but when Acre fell in 1291 and the Crusaders lost their hold on the Holy Land their support faded, amid growing envy of their fortune in property and banking.

Rumours about the order’s corrupt and arcane secret ceremonies claimed that novices had to deny Christ three times, spit on the cross, strip naked and kiss their superior on the buttocks, navel, and lips and submit to sodomy. King Philip IV of France, who coveted the order’s wealth and owed it money, arrested its leaders and put pressure on Pope Clement V to dissolve it.

Several knights, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake. Legends of the Templars’ secret rituals and lost treasures have long fascinated conspiracy theorists, and figure in The Da Vinci Code, which repeated the theory that the knights were entrusted with the Holy Grail.

In 2003 Dr Frale, the Vatican’s medieval specialist, unearthed the record of the trial of the Templars, also known as the Chinon Parchment, after realising that it had been wrongly catalogued. The parchment showed that Pope Clement V had accepted the Templars were guilty of “grave sins”, such as corruption and sexual immorality, but not of heresy.

Their initiation ceremony involved spitting on the Cross, but this was to brace them for having to do so if captured by Muslim forces, Dr Frale said. Last year she published for the first time the prayer the Knights Templar composed when “unjustly imprisoned”, in which they appealed to the Virgin Mary to persuade "our enemies” to abandon calumnies and lies and revert to truth and charity.

Radiocarbon dating tests on the Turin Shroud in 1988 indicated that it was a medieval fake. However this had been challenged on the grounds that the dated sample was taken from an area of the shroud mended after a fire in the Middle Ages and not a part of the original cloth.

After the sack of Constantinople it was next seen at Lirey in France in 1353, when it was displayed in a local church by descendants of Geoffroy de Charney, a Templar Knight burned at the stake with Jacques de Molay.

It was moved to various European cities until it was acquired by the Savoy dynasty in Turin in the sixteenth century. Holy See property since 1983, the Shroud was last publicly exhibited in 2000, and is due to go on show again next year.

The Vatican has not declared whether it is genuine or a forgery, leaving it to believers to decide. The late John Paul II said it was “an icon of the suffering of the innocent in every age.” The self proclaimed heirs of the Knights Templar have asked the Vatican to “restore the reputation” of the disgraced order and acknowledge that assets worth some £80 million were confiscated.

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, based in Spain, said that when the order was dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties, farms and commercial ventures belonging to knights were seized by the Church. A British branch also claiming descent from the Knights Templar and based in Hertfordshire has called for a papal apology for the persecution of the order.



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POPE-SHROUD Jul-27-2009 (560 words) xxxi

Pope confirms visit to Shroud of Turin; new evidence on shroud emerges

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI confirmed his intention to visit the Shroud of Turin when it goes on public display in Turin's cathedral April 10-May 23, 2010.

Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin, papal custodian of the Shroud of Turin, visited the pope July 26 in Les Combes, Italy, where the pope was spending part of his vacation. The Alpine village is about 85 miles from Turin.

The cardinal gave the pope the latest news concerning preparations for next year's public exposition of the shroud and the pope "confirmed his intention to go to Turin for the occasion," said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, in a written statement July 27.

The specific date of the papal visit has yet to be determined, the priest added.

The last time the Shroud of Turin was displayed to the public was in 2000 for the jubilee year. The shroud is removed from a specially designed protective case only for very special spiritual occasions, and its removal for study or display to the public must be approved by the pope.

The shroud underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002.

According to tradition, the 14-foot-by-4-foot linen cloth is the burial shroud of Jesus. The shroud has a full-length photonegative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of the torture Jesus endured in his passion and death.

The church has never officially ruled on the shroud's authenticity, saying judgments about its age and origin belonged to scientific investigation. Scientists have debated its authenticity for decades, and studies have led to conflicting results.

A recent study by French scientist Thierry Castex has revealed that on the shroud are traces of words in Aramaic spelled with Hebrew letters.

A Vatican researcher, Barbara Frale, told Vatican Radio July 26 that her own studies suggest the letters on the shroud were written more than 1,800 years ago.

She said that in 1978 a Latin professor in Milan noticed Aramaic writing on the shroud and in 1989 scholars discovered Hebrew characters that probably were portions of the phrase "The king of the Jews."

Castex's recent discovery of the word "found" with another word next to it, which still has to be deciphered, "together may mean 'because found' or 'we found,'" she said.

What is interesting, she said, is that it recalls a passage in the Gospel of St. Luke, "We found this man misleading our people," which was what several Jewish leaders told Pontius Pilate when they asked him to condemn Jesus.

She said it would not be unusual for something to be written on a burial cloth in order to indicate the identity of the deceased.

Frale, who is a researcher at the Vatican Secret Archives, has written a new book on the shroud and the Knights Templar, the medieval crusading order which, she says, may have held secret custody of the Shroud of Turin during the 13th and 14th centuries.

She told Vatican Radio that she has studied the writings on the shroud in an effort to find out if the Knights had written them.

"When I analyzed these writings, I saw that they had nothing to do with the Templars because they were written at least 1,000 years before the Order of the Temple was founded" in the 12th century, she said.




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Turin Shroud 'shows second face'
Turin Shroud - front (L) and back (R) (Pic: Institute of Physics)
Turin Shroud from front and back
New research into the Turin Shroud has added to the mystery surrounding the controversial artefact.

A second ghostly image of a man's face has been discovered on the back of the linen, according to a report published by London's Institute of Physics.

The delicate 14ft-long linen sheet is believed by some to be the cloth in which Jesus was wrapped after being taken down from the cross.

It has been dismissed by others as an elaborate hoax.

The back of the shroud has rarely been seen as it was hidden beneath a piece of cloth sewn on by nuns in 1534, after it was damaged by fire.

But the back surface was exposed during a restoration project in 2002.

start_quote_rb.gifIt is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features end_quote_rb.gif
Professor Giulio Fanti
A professor at Italy's Padua University, Giulio Fanti, thought he saw a "faint image" in the photographs from this project and decided to investigate it further.

"Though the image is very faint, features such as nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustaches are clearly visible," he said.

"There are some slight differences with the known face. For example, the nose on the reverse side shows the same extension of both nostrils, unlike the front side, in which the right nostril is less evident."

Professor Fanti has dismissed claims that the image on the back confirms that the shroud is a fake - with paint soaking from the front to the back.

"This is not the case of the shroud. On both sides, the face image is superficial, involving only the outermost linen fibres," he said.

"It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features."

Shrouded in mystery

These findings are just the latest in the controversy which has dogged the cloth since it was first photographed more than 100 years ago.

Newspapers reporting that the shroud is a fake
In 1988 the shroud was revealed as a fake
Carbon-dating tests carried out in 1988 suggested the shroud was a fake.

In the 1988 study, scientists from three universities concluded that the cloth dated from some time between 1260 and 1390, and that it was not the burial cloth wrapped around the body of Christ.

That led to the humiliating spectacle of the then Cardinal of Turin, Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, admitting the garment was a hoax.

But since then, some doubt has been cast on the carbon-dating techniques.

In 1997, a Swiss archaeologist who spent 16 years studying the shroud said new tests had proved its authenticity "beyond all reasonable doubt".



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Wrapped in the shroud
By Steve Tomkins
The discovery of a second face on the Turin Shroud has again divided opinion. Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought? Some people, and not just the faithful, never stopped believing in the first place.

Easter could not have been better timed this year for publicity purposes.

First, it coincided conveniently with The Passion of the Christ which attracted audiences several million times bigger than the original crucifixion. And now the Turin shroud - the supposed burial cloth of Jesus, ever-wrapped in controversy - has been showing its contentious face again.

The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ: Top Easter box office
A textiles expert working on the restoration of that countenance divine has claimed that the cloth is from the 1st Century.

Though carbon-dating performed in 1988 suggested that the shroud dates from between 1260 and 1390, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg found that the fabric was woven in a three-to-one herringbone pattern, used for high quality cloths in the ancient world.

Speaking in a programme broadcast in the US in Holy Week, she said that she also saw stitching patterns surprisingly similar to material from Masada, the Jewish fortress destroyed in AD 74.

Fake features

Then, within days, Italian scientists announced that they had found a second facial image on the opposite side of the shroud, usually hidden by a large safety patch. They ruled out the possiblity that it was the forger's paint seeping through: it was only on the two outer surfaces of the cloth, not in between.

Turin shroud - front and back. Picture: Institute of Physics
Instead the scientists are now talking about electrical fields and corona discharges. "It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features," they say. Other scientific investigations have also been undermining the carbon-dating conclusions.

So, having been discredited by its apparently fatal blow from carbon-14, the shroud seems to be coming back from the dead.

For many, these latest developments only confirm what they have believed all along. There is a vast international Turin shroud culture and industry. It has its own ology - sindonology, the study of the shroud. lists 29 centres of sindonological research and information in the US alone. There are international conferences, journals and newsletters in several languages, and you can buy CDs and CD ROMs, books and videos, and framed prints up to life size. The Catholic church has prayers and liturgy for shroud-related worship, and it even has its own feast day, 4 May.

Believers - not all Catholic by any means - point to many features of the mysterious linen that are hard for sceptics to explain:


  • Why are the bloody nail prints on the wrists, when all medieval art depicted Jesus nailed to the cross by his hands?
  • How did the 12th Century Hungarian "Pray Manuscript" come to depict Jesus being wrapped in the shroud - with authentic herringbone pattern and burn marks - 100 years before carbon-dating says the material originated?
  • What would possess a 14th Century forger to design the fabricated face in negative - a fact that only emerged when it was first photographed in 1898?
  • Doesn't the evidence for medieval repair of the cloth and sooty deposits from a 1532 fire challenge the carbon-dating?

Shroud enthusiasts come from all walks of life, and all Christian denominations. Those who have written and lectured about its authenticity include professors of archeology, philosophy, history, chemistry, engineering, and surgery, though not sindonology.

It is not surprising to find priests in their midst, but more surprising that believers included the controversial liberal Bishop of Woolwich John Robinson, of Honest To God fame.

Of course there are conspiracy theorists and far-fetched mystics too, but they seem to be outnumbered by scientists. Judging by the three million who queued to see the linen when it was exhibited in 2000, it seems the average shroud fan is simply an ordinary Christian believer.

Religious aid

On the other hand, Roman Catholic authorities themselves remain agnostic about the shroud. "The Church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions," said Pope John Paul II. "She entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate."

The custodian of the shroud, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin, encourages believers to appreciate it as a religious aid rather than a definite historical relic: "It a sign which must help our faith make that journey which leads us to see Christ."

Shroud on view in Turin in 2000
The 14-foot long cloth, as exhibited in Turin in 2000
And even before the carbon-dating, the Catholic Encyclopedia, conservative though it is, argued that the shroud was probably not authentic. It quoted medieval documents that talk of its blood stains still being bright red, though they have since darkened unrecognisably.

It's ironic that the Church's scepticism towards its own sacred laundry is being challenged by scientists, and a Lutheran textile restorer.

The only thing we can be certain about is that it will continue to be shrouded in mystery and to provoke controversy. And as one researcher working on it has pointed out, whatever future investigations reveal, it will always leave plenty of room for faith and doubt: "There's no test for Christness".


Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

Your comments so far:

The Gospel account of the resurrection of Jesus in the book of John Chapter 20 verses 6 & 7 mentions bandages (plural) that were around Jesus body, with the one cloth wrapped that was around his head separately rolled up on it's own. Therefore, holy scripture does not support a singular cloth / shroud around Jesus that was marked by his resurrection.
Peter Garrido, England

The face on the Turin Shroud remain a physical aspect. Christianity is an individual's feelings towards faith and how we have communion with God, that's more important.
Hunggia, London UK

Belief is a powerful thing and if believing that the shroud is real helps people to understand their faith then what difference does it make whether it is real or fake?
Gregory Skorich, US

If it is a fake then why have no other fakes come into the public domain? If this was a fake of such brilliance surely other would have been created - perhaps this is the real thing and as such gives a true reflection of the face of Jesus. Are we still trying to deny something that happened?
Simon, UK

I saw the face of Jesus in a cloud yesterday afternoon
Rebecca, UK

The Shroud of Turin has been proved a fake many times. But the believers still close their eyes to the evidence. There is no worse blindness than the one of the person who doesn't want to see.
Sergio, Spain


The negative images of victims on walls in Nagasaki & Hiroshima were our first indication that the negative image on the ancient shroud was caused by a atomic sized flash. It's no wonder that the guards ran away. Also, the image could not be the imprint of any mortal, because it is a perfectly proportioned 6 foot male. NO ONE exactly fits into Leonardo Da Vinci's famous circle.
Susan, United States of America


I don't really understand why there is such controversy surrounding the shroud. Even if the method and time of its production fitted with the New Testament stories it says nothing about the identity of the face covered or, more importantly, the divinity of the historical figure of Jesus Christ.
Mark, UK

As a Christian I believe in a risen Jesus, not in a stained old cloth. Regardless of whether or not it's his authentic burial shroud (which I personally doubt), the issue really is that people who venerate it are worshipping an object rather than the one who continually said, "Have faith in Me."
Susanna, Canada


If Christ were alive today he would probably recoil at superstitious veneration of relics. Surely it is for his teachings that he is remembered and not the association with magical objects.
Gareth, UK

There are fanatics on both sides, religious and anti-religious, who are determined to use the Shroud for their own purposes. In itself, the Shroud cannot be a foundation for faith, because the Christian faith does not rest on relics, whether authenticated or not. On the other hand, scientists should study this curiosity carefully and with an open-mind. Forgery or genuine artical, medieval or ancient, it is a very interesting item indeed! For or against, there is no room here for preconceived notions about the Shroud.
Leon Pereira, Oxford, UK

The shroud has been carbon dated as no more than 700 years old. Carbon dating does seem to be pretty accurate, so why does the discovery of a second fake Jesus face make the medieval cloth any more significant? Even if it is Jesus' burial shroud, I'm fairly sure he came to Earth to give us a useful message, not sideshow nicknackery!
Chris Jones, UK

As a Roman Catholic, to me personally the (non-)authenticity of the shroud is totally insignificant. Faith in Christ is all that matters. 
Michael, Canada

The BBC TV popular science strand QED did a number of programmes on the Shroud over the years. One subjected the shroud to computer-generated image analysis and conculuded that yes, it had been draped over a body. A later programme speculated that it might be the work of Leonardo da Vinci (who was demonstrated to be at least available at around the time that the shroud was dated to), but puzzled over the presence of egg white in the dark areas of the image. This suggests to me (though no-one put these facts together at the time) that Leonardo da Vinci actually made the world's earliest photograph! Egg white is an important element of crude photographic emulsions; so it is not too far-fetched to imagine Leonardo creating this image by coating a piece of cloth and then draping over a suitable volunteer (probably even himself!); and then standing in the sunlight for a time until the image formed - a sort of holy wet t-shirt picture!
Robert Day, Coventry, UK

Taking up Mr. Day's comment, it's also possible to create the ethereal almost 3D effect of the image of the Shroud with a large camera obscura (pin-hole camera). A negative image and the egg residue are so suggestive of photography of some sort that even if the Turin Shroud were not an original image of Christ, it would still be a wonder.
Ben Henderson, UK



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Scientist re-creates Turin Shroud to show it's fake

  • Scientist re-creates Shroud of Turin to support his belief it is a medieval fake
  • Many Christians have believed shroud is actual burial shroud of Jesus
  • Luigi Garlaschelli made copy by wrapping cloth over student, baking and washing it
updated 3:41 p.m. EDT, Wed October 7, 2009
By Richard Allen Greene (CNN) -- An Italian scientist says he has reproduced one of the world's most famous Catholic relics, the Shroud of Turin, to support his belief it is a medieval fake, not the cloth Jesus was buried in.
Luigi Garlaschelli says his reproduction of the shroud disproves the claims of its strongest supporters.

Luigi Garlaschelli says his reproduction of the shroud disproves the claims of its strongest supporters.


Luigi Garlaschelli created a copy of the shroud by wrapping a specially woven cloth over one of his students, painting it with pigment, baking it in an oven (which he called a "shroud machine") for several hours, then washing it.

His result looks like the cloth that many Christians through the centuries have believed is the actual burial shroud of Jesus, he told CNN.

"What you have now is a very fuzzy, dusty and weak image," he said. "Then for the sake of completeness I have added the bloodstains, the burns, the scorching because there was a fire in 1532."

Garlaschelli says his work disproves the claims of the shroud's strongest supporters.

"Basically the Shroud of Turin has some strange properties and characteristics that they say cannot be reproduced by human hands," he told CNN by phone from Italy, where he is a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia.

"For example, the image is superficial and has no pigment, it looks so lifelike and so on, and therefore they say it cannot have been done by an artist."

His research shows the pigment may simply have worn off the cloth over the centuries since it was first "discovered" in 1355, but impurities in the pigment etched an image into the fibers of the cloth, leaving behind the ghostly picture that remains today.

"The procedure is very simple. The artist took this sheet and put it over one of his assistants," he said.

"His good idea was to wrap the sheet over the person underneath because he didn't want to obtain an image that was too obviously a painting or a drawing, so with this procedure you get a strange image," said Garlaschelli.

"Time did the rest," he said.

He undertook the research out of personal interest, he said.

"As a hobby I am interested in mysteries, and the Shroud of Turin is obviously a very mysterious object," he said.

He described himself as a rationalist, but said he is not specifically anti-religious.

"I am not a believer, but I am first of all a curious person, and I like to investigate these mysteries, not necessarily related to religion," he said. "It's not my fault if in Italy most of these paranormal facts are related to religion. If the church would like to fund me (to do research), I am ready."

The Shroud of Turin is a linen sheet more than 14 feet long and 3 feet, 7 inches wide that carries an imprinted image of the front and the back of a crucified man, according to the Catholic Archdiocese of Turin.

"The imprint shows the peculiar characteristics that usually belong to a photographic negative," says the Web site of the shroud, which is maintained by the archdiocese.

The Vatican does not have an official position on whether the relic is genuinely the cloth Jesus was buried in after being crucified.

"Since it is not a matter of faith, the church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions," the late Pope John Paul II said in 1998.

Carbon dating in the 1990s suggested it dates from the Middle Ages.

But John Paul II insisted it is important to learn lessons from the relic, whether or not it is genuine.

"The imprint left by the tortured body of the crucified one, which attests to the tremendous human capacity for causing pain and death to one's fellow man, stands as an icon of the suffering of the innocent in every age," he said in an address at Turin Cathedral, the home of the shroud.

"Before the shroud, how can we not think of the millions of people who die of hunger, of the horrors committed in the many wars that soak nations in blood, of the brutal exploitation of women and children, of the millions of human beings who live in hardship and humiliation on the edges of great cities, especially in developing countries?" the pope asked.

The Vatican has not responded to Garlaschelli's research, which was funded by the Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics, he said.

He dabbled on the project for years, he said, starting with handkerchief-size pieces of cloth and different combinations of acid and pigment, before making his shroud this summer.

Scientist re-creates Turin Shroud to show it's fake

  • Scientist re-creates Shroud of Turin to support his belief it is a medieval fake
  • Many Christians have believed shroud is actual burial shroud of Jesus
  • Luigi Garlaschelli made copy by wrapping cloth over student, baking and washing it

updated 3:41 p.m. EDT, Wed October 7, 2009Now that he knows how to do it, he could make another one in about a week, he estimated.

The greatest expense was having a cloth specially woven to mimic the shroud, he said.

He did not have access to the shroud itself, which is usually kept in a special chamber, away from public view.

"Only a few very chosen persons have direct access to it," he said, adding he had relied on "the published data" about the relic.

He is due to present his findings Saturday at a conference of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims on the Paranormal. He has also written a 50-page paper that he hopes to publish in a scientific journal.

The real Shroud of Turin is due to go on display to the public in April and May of 2010. It was last put on public view in 1998 and 2000, but has undergone extensive restoration since then, including removing a backing and patches added over the centuries.



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Shroud of Turin 'is a medieval fake', say Italian scientists

The Shroud of Turin has been reproduced, according to Italian scientists, who claimed their experiment proved that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus's burial cloth is a medieval fake.

Shroud of Turin 'is a medieval fake', say Italian scientists
The Shroud of Turin

The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches, bears the image, reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man some believers say is Christ.

"We have shown that it is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the shroud," said Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pavia who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy.

The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side.

Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business.

But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth.

Mr Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

Scientists placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. A mask was used for the face.

The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the shroud. He believes the pigment on the original shroud faded naturally over the centuries.

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.

The Catholic Church does not claim the shroud is authentic nor that it is a matter of faith, but says it should be a powerful reminder of Christ's passion.

One of Christianity's most disputed relics, it is locked away at Turin Cathedral in Italy and rarely exhibited. It was last on display in 2000 and is due to be shown again next year.



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shroud of Turin


"All empirical evidence and logical reasoning concerning the Shroud of Turin will lead any objective, rational person to the firm conclusion that the Shroud is an artifact created by an artist in the fourteenth-century." --Steven D. Schafersman

Face of Jesus?The shroud of Turin is a woven cloth about 14 feet long and 3.5 feet wide with an image of a man on it. Actually, it has two images, one frontal and one rear, with the heads meeting in the middle. It has been noted that if the shroud were really wrapped over a body there should be a space where the two heads meet. It has also been noted that there is a space where the front and back of the head meet, and that what appears to be the outline of the back of the head is a water stain. Some have noted that the head is 5% too large for its body, the nose is disproportionate, and the arms are too long. Others deny these claims. In any case, the image is believed by many to be a negative image of the crucified Jesus and the shroud is believed to be his burial shroud. Most skeptics think the image is not a burial shroud, but a painting and a pious hoax. The shroud is kept in the cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

Apparently, the first historical mention of the shroud as the "shroud of Turin" is in the late 16th century when it was brought to the cathedral in that city, though it was allegedly discovered in Turkey during one of the so-called "Holy" Crusades in the so-called "Middle" Ages. In 1988, the Vatican allowed the shroud to be dated by three independent sources--Oxford University, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology--and each of them dated the cloth as originating in medieval times, around 1350.

The shroud allegedly was in a fire during the early part of the 16th century and, according to believers in the shroud's authenticity, that is what accounts for the carbon dating of the shroud as being no more than 650 years old. To non-believers, this sounds like an ad hoc hypothesis.

According to microchemist Dr. Walter McCrone,

The suggestion that the 1532 Chambery fire changed the date of the cloth is ludicrous. Samples for C-dating are routinely and completely burned to CO2 as part of a well-tested purification procedure. The suggestions that modern biological contaminants were sufficient to modernize the date are also ridiculous. A weight of 20th century carbon equaling nearly two times the weight of the Shroud carbon itself would be required to change a 1st century date to the 14th century (seeCarbon 14 graph). Besides this, the linen cloth samples were very carefully cleaned before analysis at each of the C-dating laboratories.*

It may interest skeptics to know that many people of faith believe that there is scientific evidence which supports their belief in the shroud's authenticity. Of course, the evidence is limited almost exclusively to pointing out facts that would be true if the shroud were authentic. For example, it is claimed to be the negative image of a crucifixion victim. It is claimed to be the image of a man brutally beaten in a way which corresponds to the way Jesus is thought to have been treated. It is also claimed that the image is not a painting but a miraculouslytransposed image.

the relic trade

Skeptics believe that the shroud of Turin is just another religious relic invented to beef up the pilgrimage business or impress infidels. (Another equally famous painting, also claimed to have miraculously appeared on a cloth, cropped up in Mexico in the 16th century, "Our Lady of Guadalupe.")  The case for the forged shroud is made most forcefully by Joe Nickell in his Inquest On The Shroud Of Turin,which was written in collaboration with a panel of scientific and technical experts. The author claims that historical, iconographic, pathological, physical, and chemical evidence points to its inauthenticity. The shroud is a 14th century painting, not a 2000-year-old cloth with Jesus's image.

McCrone's theory is that "a male model was daubed with paint and wrapped in the sheet to create the shadowy figure of Jesus." The model was covered in red ochre, "a pigment found in earth and widely used in Italy during the Middle Ages, and pressed his forehead, cheekbones and other parts of his head and body on to the linen to create the image that exists today. Vermilion paint, made from mercuric sulphide, was then splashed onto the image's wrists, feet and body to represent blood."

McCrone analyzed the shroud and found traces of chemicals that were used in "two common artist's pigments of the 14th century, red ochre and vermilion, with a collagen (gelatin) tempera binder" (McCrone 1998). He makes his complete case that the shroud is a medieval  painting in Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin (March 1999).  For his work, McCrone was awarded the American Chemical Society's Award in Analytical Chemistry in 2000.

the evidence for authenticity

The shroud, however, has many defenders who believe they have demonstrated that the cloth is not a forgery, dates from the time of Jesus, is of miraculous origin, etc. It is claimed that there is type AB blood on the shroud. Skeptics deny it. Blood has not been identified on the shroud directly, but it has been identified on sticky tape that was used to lift fibrils from the shroud. Dried, aged blood is black. The stains on the shroud are red. Forensic tests on the red stuff have identified it as red ocher and vermilion tempera paint. Other tests by Adler and Heller have identified it as blood.* If it is blood, it could be the blood of some 14th century person. It could be the blood of someone wrapped in the shroud, or the blood of the creator of the shroud, or of anyone who has ever handled the shroud, or of anyone who handled the sticky tape. But even if there were blood on the shroud, that would have no bearing on the age of the shroud or on its authenticity.

It is claimed that the cloth has some pollen grains and images on it that are of plants found only in the Dead Sea region of Israel.Avinoam Danin, a botanist from Hebrew University of Jerusalem claims he has identified pollen from the tumbleweed Gundelia tournefortii and a bean caper on the shroud. He claims this combination is found only around Jerusalem. Some believers think the crown of thorns was made of this type of tumbleweed. However, Danin did not examine the shroud itself. His sample of pollen grains originated with Max Frei, who tape-lifted pollen grain samples from the shroud. Frei's pollen grains have been controversial from the beginning. Frei, who once pronounced the forged "Hitler Diaries" to be genuine, probably introduced the pollen grains himself or was duped and innocently picked up pollen grains another pious fraudhad introduced (Nickell).

Danin and his colleague Uri Baruch also claim that they found impressions of flowers on the shroud and that those flowers could only come from Israel. However, the floral images they see are hidden in mottled stains much the way the image of Jesus is hidden in a tortilla or the image of Mary is hidden in the bark of a tree. The first to see flowers in the stains was a psychiatrist, who was probably an expert at seeing personality traits in inkblots (Nickell, 1994)

Danin notes that another relic believed to be the burial face cloth of Jesus (the Sudarium of Oviedo in Spain) contains the same two types of pollen grains as the Shroud and also is stained with type AB blood. Since the Sudarium is believed to havethe Sudarium of Oviedo existed before the 8th century, according to Danin, there is "clear evidence that the shroud originated before the eighth century." The cloth is believed to have been in a chest of relics from at least the time of the Moorish invasion of Spain. It is said to have been in the chest when it was opened in 1075. But, since there is no blood on the shroud of Turin and there is no good reason to accept Danin's assumption that the pollen grains were on the Shroud from its origin, this argument is spurious.

In any case, the fact that pollen grains found near the Dead Sea or Jerusalem were on the shroud means little. Even if the pollen grains weren't introduced by some pious fraud, they could have been carried to the shroud by anyone who handled it. In short, the pollen grains could have originated in Jerusalem at any time before or after the appearance of the shroud in Italy. This is not a very strong piece of evidence.

Moreover, that there are two cloths believed to have been wrapped around the dead body of Jesus does not strengthen the claim that the shroud is authentic, but weakens it. How many more cloths are there that we don't know about? Were they mass produced like pieces of the true cross, straw from Jesus' manger, chunks of Noah's ark? That cloths in Spain and Italy have identical pollen grains and blood stains is a bit less than "clear evidence" that they originated at the same time, especially since there is clear evidence that the claim that they have identical pollen grains and blood stains is not true. But, even if it were true, it would be of little value in establishing that either of these cloths touched the body of Jesus.

unraveling the weave

The weave of the cloth is said to be typical of the weave wealthy Jews would have had in the time of Jesus. The weave of the wealthy Jew doesn't seem consistent with the kind of people Jesus supposedly hung out with. However, as one reader, Hal Nelson, pointed out, "The linen cloth was supplied by Joseph of Arimathea, described in Matthew 27 as a "rich man" as well as a disciple. (The weave of Turin is herring bone; the weave of Oviedo is taffeta, proving, I suppose, that Jesus had disciples of all types, even AB.)

The image is of a man about six feet tall. The size and weave of the cloth have convinced one researcher/believer that the cloth may have been used as a tablecloth for the Last Supper. It could have been used for a lot of other things as well, I suppose.

To the believer, however, it is not the scientific proof of the shroud's authenticity that gives the shroud its special significance. It is thefaith in the miraculous origin of the image that defines their belief. The miracle is taken as a sign that the resurrection really happened and that Jesus was divine.

Just another relic?

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the shroud of Turin controversy is the way true believers keep bringing up red herrings and the way skeptics keep taking the bait. Danin made his plant image/pollen grain argument in 1998, a follow-up on another plant image argument he made in 1997. He said in the 1998 article that his evidence showed that "the Shroud could have come only from the Near East." An AP article by Traci Angel (8/3/99) quotes Danin as saying that the evidence "clearly point to a floral grouping from the area surrounding Jerusalem." No doubt, a raging debate will follow (once again!) as to the origin of the plants and pollen gains. As if it matters. Even if it is established beyond any reasonable doubt that the shroud originated in Jerusalem and was used to wrap up the body of Jesus, so what? Would that prove Jesus rose from the dead? I don't think so. To believe anyone rose from the dead can't be based on physical evidence, because resurrection is a physical impossibility. Only religious faith can sustain such a belief. To believe that someone floated up to the sky and disappeared (i.e., rose into heaven) is also not going to be proved one way or the other by these shroud arguments. Finally, no amount of physical evidence could ever demonstrate that a man was God, was also his own Father and conceived without his mother ever having had sex. Thus, no matter how many brilliant scientists marshal forth their brilliant papers with evidence for images of Biblical ropes, sponges, thorns, spears, flowers, tumbleweeds, blood, etc., none of it has the slightest relevance for proving these matters of faith.

latest news

Dr. Raymond Rogers, a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, claims that the part of the cloth tested and dated at around 1350 was not part of the original shroud. According to Rogers, the labs that dated the cloth to the 14th century tested a patch made to repair damage done by fire. How does he know this, since the patch was destroyed in the testing? According to shroud investigator Joe Nickell, Rogers "relied on two little threads allegedly left over from the sampling" and the word of "pro-authenticity researchers who guessed that the carbon-14 sample came from a 'rewoven area' of repair." According to Nickell, P.E. Damon's 1989 article published in Nature claims that "textile experts specifically made efforts to select a site for taking the radiocarbon sample that was away from patches and seams."

Says Nickell,

Rogers compared the threads with some small samples from elsewhere on the Shroud, claiming to find differences between the two sets of threads that “prove” the radiocarbon sample “was not part of the original cloth” of the Turin shroud.

The reported differences include the presence—allegedly only on the “radiocarbon sample”—of cotton fibers and a coating of madder root dye in a binding medium that his tests “suggest” is gum Arabic....However, Rogers’ assertions to the contrary, both the cotton and the madder have been found elsewhere on the shroud. Both were specifically reported by famed microanalyst Walter McCrone.

Dr. Rogers estimates the actual date of the shroud to be between about 1,000 BCE. and 1700 CE. Still, all the evidence points toward the medieval forgery hypothesis. As Nickell notes, "no examples of its complex herringbone weave are known from the time of Jesus when, in any case, burial cloths tended to be of plain weave" (1998: 35). "In addition, Jewish burial practice utilized—and the Gospel of John specifically describes for Jesus—multiple burial wrappings with a separate cloth over the face."*

Other evidence of medieval fakery includes the shroud’s lack of historical record prior to the mid-fourteenth century—when a bishop reported the artist’s confession—as well as serious anatomical problems, the lack of wraparound distortions, the resemblance of the figure to medieval depictions of Jesus, and suspiciously bright red and picturelike “blood” stains which failed a battery of sophisticated tests by forensic serologists, among many other indicators. (Nickell 2005).

Of course, the cloth might be 3,000 or 2,000 years old, as Rogers speculates, but the image on the cloth could date from a much later period. No matter what date is correct for either the cloth or the image, the date cannot prove to any degree of reasonable probability that the cloth is the shroud Jesus was wrapped in and that the image is somehow miraculous. To believe that will always be a matter of faith, not scientific proof.



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Shroud Of Turin Reproduced; Italian Group Says Relic Is Man-Made, Fake


First Posted: 10- 6-09 12:51 AM   |   Updated: 10- 6-09 01:12 AM

(AP)-- Scientists have reproduced the Shroud of Turin -- revered as the cloth that covered Jesus in the tomb -- and say the experiment proves the relic was man-made, a group of Italian debunkers claimed Monday.See the original Shroud of Turin compared to the one created by scientists.The shroud bears the figure of a crucified man, complete with blood seeping out of nailed hands and feet, and believers say Christ's image was recorded on the linen fibers at the time of his resurrection.Scientists have reproduced the shroud using materials and methods that were available in the 14th century, the Italian Committee for Checking Claims on the Paranormal said.The group said in a statement this is further evidence the shroud is a medieval forgery. In 1988, scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine it was made in the 13th or 14th century.But the dispute continued because experts couldn't explain how the faint brown discoloration was produced, imprinting on the cloth a negative image centuries before the invention of photography.Many still believe that the shroud "has unexplainable characteristics that cannot be reproduced by human means," lead scientist Luigi Garlaschelli said in the statement. "The result obtained clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure."The research was funded by the debunking group and by an Italian organization of atheists and agnostics, he said.



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The Shroud Re-Created by Linen Bleaching

Commentary by Steven Schafersman
February 28, 2005
Revisions: March 7, 2005; March 11, 2005

I have received word that the Shroud has been re-created by a method compatible with early 14th century technology and artistic method, just as Walter McCrone, Joe Nickell, and I have maintained since the early 1980s. This re-creation will be published in the March, 2005, Books and Culture magazine. The details of the re-creation can be learned by visiting the ShadowShroud website at I had assumed that the re-created Shroud would have all the necessary attributes of the Shroud of Turin: sepia-colored cloth, false photonegative and 3-D encoding properties, pale and ghostly red image, bright red blood rivulets, authentic-looking scourge and puncture markings, distortion-free image of a scoured, crucified, and then-dead Jesus, abundant red ochre pigment particles in the image and blood areas, etc. It indeed has some of these, but not all, because the method used to re-created the Shroud differs from what I expected.

The re-creator, N. D. Wilson, did not use either the Nickell bas-relief or McCrone painting methods--both using red ochre pigment--as I hoped he would. Instead, he and his collaborators used a very simple bleaching method. Wilson asked an artist to paint a sheet of glass with an image of Jesus's face using oil paint, placed the glass over a linen cloth, and allowed the sun's rays to bleach the linen around the painting, thus lightening it, and leaving a superficially life-like, dark, and photonegative image of the original painting. A negative of the photonegative image on the linen produces a positive, just as with the Shroud of Turin, and this is illustrated. The results are remarkably similar to the Turin Shroud, for the re-creation has both the photonegative and 3-D encoding properties that the Turin Shroud possesses. Wilson used image analysis software (which today is commonly available) to produce a 3-D topographic image from their positive image on the linen. The photonegative image, positive image (negative of the negative), and 3-D topographic image are remarkable similar to the respective images of the original Shroud of Turin, and all are clearly illustrated on the ShadowShroud site.

The only problem is that Wilson claims that his method produces a "true photonegative," but--to the contrary--it certainly does not. However, neither did the method used by the original artist to create the Shroud of Turin, which is why the ShadowShroud re-creation is so similar. Instead, as with the Shroud of Turin, the result is a faux or false photonegative, with the beard, hair, and moustache all black (or dark) on it, and all white (or light) on the corresponding positive; obviously, they should be dark if the positive was from a "true photonegative." Jesus was not an albino, no matter what skeletal defects he may have had.

Similarly, the topographically-higher parts of the face--the forehead, chin, cheekbones, beard, moustache, hair, etc.--are lighter than the other parts on the positive, thus giving the image of the re-creation a remarkably life-like appearance and the density gradients necessary to produce a respectable three-dimensional topographic image using appropriate software, just as with the Turin Shroud. It is obvious, from observing the photograph of the original oil painting on glass, that the artist painted the topographically-higher parts of the face with a thicker or more opaque application of oil paint, as any artist would to give the image a life-like appearance. Consequently, the evidence of artifice is readily apparent in the re-creation, just as it is with the original Shroud of Turin.

The ShadowShroud image is not a true photonegative, so a negative of it produces an un-lifelike photopositive; but since this is precisely the case with the Turin Shroud, the result is indeed remarkably similar, just as claimed. Also, both the ShadowShroud and Turin Shroud possess the "3-D encoding" thought to be so unusual and even miraculous by Shroud enthusiasts, but which in reality is merely caused by density gradations in applied pigment (oil paint in the case of ShadowShroud, red ochre in a tempera binder in the case of the Turin Shroud). Obviously, the ShadowShroud re-creation could have possessed other Turin Shroud features if desired: bright red blood rivulets (painted directly on the image, as is the case with the original Shroud), authentic-looking scourge and puncture markings (easily reproduced with proper artistic knowledge and craft), etc. The ShadowShroud image does not reveal the red ochre/iron oxide pigment particles on the linen fibers, as does the Turin Shroud, but then why should it? It was created by a different method. I applaud the effort of N. D. Wilson and his collaborators to artistically reproduce the image of the Shroud of Turin, by which they show how easy it is to create a reasonable facsimile.

I have always thought that the Shroud of Turin would be very easy to re-create, but no one has attempted it because either (1) it would reveal the ease of reproducing a Shroud of Turin and thus serve to debunk the magic and mystery that the current Shroud is claimed to possess, or (2) the evidence that already exists that the Shroud is an artifact is so overwhelming that it isn't worth anyone's time and expense to reproduce it. No. 2 is certainly my reason for not making a Shroud. So far, no one has indeed taken the time and expense to duplicate it exactly, but the ShadowShroud effort is nevertheless a worthy accomplishment.


After the above was posted, Nate D. Wilson contacted me by email to explain that he meant that his positive image was a "true photonegative" of his bleached cloth re-created negative Shroud image, not that the image on the bleached cloth was a true photonegative. In this he is perfectly correct, and I thank him for clarifying the matter.

I emphasized the alleged photonegative aspect of a Shroud image because the Shroud authenticity advocates insist that the Turin Shroud is a true photonegative, a historical anomaly, therefore suggesting it is unprecedented or miraculous, when in fact it nothing of the kind. The well-known final positive image of the Turin Shroud and now Wilson's re-created positive image are manifestly not true photopositives, even though they are both true photonegatives of their respective original negative images, because the original images are not true photonegatives. The Shroud face in a positive image looks remarkably lifelike, but the resemblance is superficial. The image is not only monochromatic, like a photo of a human face in shadow or a dark room, but the shading of features is unrealistic (dark hair is light, etc.), because the image was not reproduced by a photographic process, but by an artistic one. Thus Wilson's method accurately reproduces the Shroud image because his method uses artifice, not photography, exactly as the Shroud was produced.


Aaron Rench sent me his news story from about ShadowShroud:

Surprising new study on Shroud of Turin
By Aaron Rench
Saturday, February 26, 2005

MOSCOW, Idaho -- The Shroud of Turin has long baffled scientists and scholars, Christians and skeptics for over seven centuries. The cloth bears a photonegative image of a man crucified and is thought by many to be the miraculously preserved burial cloth of Christ. Over the years, skeptics have been unable to convincingly demonstrate how any medieval forger could have produced such an image.

N.D. Wilson, a fellow of literature at New St. Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, believes that he has done just that.

"The Shroud has always been particularly mysterious because the image is both three-dimensional and a photonegative," Wilson says. "Artists are simply not able to produce images like that on their own, and so many conclude the Shroud is an authentic relic of Christ's resurrection. What I've done is demonstrate how easy it could have been for a medieval to create a three-dimensional photonegative."

Wilson, who describes his experiment in an article published in Books and Culture, (March/April, 2005) as well as on his website <> ,  began his experiment by painting faces on glass. The painted panes of glass were then set on top of linen and left in the sun for various lengths of time. Dr. Scott Minnich, a microbiologist well-known in Intelligent Design circles, provided Wilson with scientific advice on structuring his experiment. Minnich was not expecting the results the experiment produced.

"The success of these experiments was a surprise to me," Minnich said. "And as Nate [Wilson] aptly concludes in his paper, it doesn't disprove the Shroud's authenticity. However, it does show an alternative hypothesis for its making that has not been considered to my knowledge. And I don't think he goes beyond the data in his interpretation."

Commenting on Wilson's lack of scientific credentials, Minnich said, "It is the irony of science that often someone out of the mainstream shoots an outside shot with such accuracy."

Though the images Wilson produced look remarkably similar to the Shroud of Turin, he does not believe he has proved the relic to be a fraud.

"I believe it to have been faked. But that's not something I can prove," he said. "What I have demonstrated is that in order to produce an image like the one on the Shroud, nothing more is required than the cloth itself, and a painting on glass. All things available to a medieval. A forger would have three-dimensionally encoded a photonegative onto cloth, without even being aware of the completeness of his art, or for how long he would be confusing the rest of us."

Antonio Lombatti, a fellow researcher of medieval church history at the Deputazione di Storia Patria in Parma, Italy, was quite interested in Wilson's findings.

"I am eager to examine his results under the microscope to check the chemical properties of his shroud. What I really find interesting about Wilson's experiment is that his shroud has encoded 3D data even if it was not produced with a real face or a bas-relief."

Wilson said that his faith has surprised people: "I'm a Trinitarian Christian. I believe in the Resurrection and all that it means for this world. Either the Shroud is genuine or, as I believe, it is a lie about a great truth. I think Christians should want to see religious fraud exposed wherever we can find it."

Scientists from around the world have already begun requesting samples of Wilson's shrouds. When asked if he would distribute samples from his experiments, Wilson was unsure.

I haven't thought that far ahead."



Steven D. Schafersman at (substitute @ for AT before mailing)
Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website at
Last updated: 2005/03/11



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A Skeptical Response
Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin
by Raymond N. Rogers
Thermochimica Acta 425:189-194, 2005

Steven D. Schafersman
Science Consultant and Administrator
The Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website
February 8, 2005
Latest revision: February 22, 2005

This report is my initial response to the controversy and publicity recently generated by the publication of the journal article by Ray Rogers cited above. It contains my initial thoughts and is subject to change. Please feel free to forward it and cite it using Web citation format, but it is subject to change and will soon be expanded into a journal article for official publication that will contain references and illustrations. For several reasons, I had to write this present version quickly and informally, and it may contain errors that, if present, will be corrected. Please contact me if you find errors at the email address below. The most recent version of this paper will always be on the Web at

Introduction: An Exercise in Pseudoscience

Ray Rogers, a retired chemist who formerly worked at the Los Alamos national laboratory, recently published a pro-authenticity Shroud of Turin paper in a legitimate and peer-reviewed chemistry journal,Thermochimica Acta (hereafter TA). The Rogers paper makes two claims: First, the piece of the Shroud linen that was age-dated using radiocarbon technology in 1988 was actually a much-younger patch of cloth that allowed the radiocarbon labs to reach an incorrect medieval date. Second, using his own age-dating method, Rogers claims that the Shroud is actually much older than the early 14th century radiocarbon date. This paper has created a minor media frenzy, since it is the first pro-authenticity Shroud paper published in a legitimate scientific journal in about two decades. For this reason, and quite understandably, observers perceive that Rogers' paper must be exceptionally reliable. Unfortunately, these observers would be wrong. This response examines the scientific issues and elucidates the reasons why the Rogers paper fails in its claims in every instance.

In past years, Rogers has published many pro-authenticity papers in various pro-authenticity and pseudoscientific journals, symposia, and websites devoted to the Shroud of Turin, and the public press justifiably took no notice, since private publishing outlets for UFOs, astrology, creationism, and other pseudoscientific topics are numerous (and fill supermarket newsstands and pseudoscience conference book tables). Mainstream media writers know that such privately-published pseudoscientific outlets contain no data or findings that possess legitimate scientific value, and ignore them. The well-know Shroud of Turin website at, for example, has published seven of Rogers papers in the last three years, including two in which Rogers examined the same evidence, made the same analysis, and reached the same conclusions that he did in the TA paper (one of these papers apparently had been published previously in an obscure journal, but I cannot determine if the others were). These papers justifiably received no attention by the mainstream media. It is only when he was able to get a pro-authenticity Shroud paper published in a legitimate scientific journal that public attention was given to his claims. The real story in this controversy is not the mistaken age of the Shroud of Turin, but the misjudgment of a science journal editor and the breakdown of its peer review process.

There is a very recent similar example in which a legitimate biology journal published a paper about intelligent design creationism; as with the present case, the journal had never treated this topic before, but the editor was suitably pliable. He claims he was not biased, but it is clear from his abundant written justifications after the fact that he was indeed biased (but apparently not religiously so; the issue is more complicated, and to understand it you have to be knowledgeable about the details of alternative theories of evolution and biosystematics). And it appears he sent the creationist ID paper to very friendly unnamed reviewers who he knew in advance would approve it (no official associate editor was used for the peer review; any evolutionary biologist actually familiar with the content and context of the submitted paper would have rejected it). As is typical with creationist ID papers, it contained plenty of legitimate and reliable scientific information and had the veneer of scientific respectability, but it also contained subtly illogical arguments, speciously misused data, and omitted the vital scientific information that completely refuted its pdeudoscientific conclusions. It should never have been accepted for publication by the editor. The editor later resigned and the journal's officers, elected councilors, and past presidents published a statement saying that the paper was "inappropriate," had "no credible scientific evidence supporting it," and "does not meet the scientific standards" of the journal. Rogers' paper in TA has characteristics identical to the ID pseudoscience paper in almost every detail. I believe that a future investigation will reveal that his TA paper's editorial history will also be similar, and I further suspect that there will also be similar editorial board repercussions.

Ray Rogers is a member of STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project, an organization totally composed of believers in the authenticity of the Shroud) and accepted the authenticity of the Shroud from the very beginning of their work in the middle 1970s. He accepts all the shoddy work that STURP passed off as science two and three decades ago. As is well known, STURP's analyses on image formation, identity of the blood, sticky tape pollen, and history were hopelessly incompetent and unscientific, despite their claims and posturing to be rigorously scientific. There is no real blood of any kind on the Shroud. Both the image and "blood" were applied by an artist. These facts were conclusively proved beyond even a shadow of doubt by microscopic chemist Walter McCrone, whose microscopic analysis revealed the presence of abundant iron oxide (red ochre) and cinnabar (vermilion) pigments on the Shroud. He published the photographic and chemical evidence in his papers and book. I have microscopically observed these pigments myself on Shroud fibers and can attest to this fact (see below). Joe Nickell first showed that the quality of the Shroud image could not be a direct image transfer by any natural mechanism from a human body due to inevitable distortion, and so must be an artistic rendition, and he demonstrated an easy way that the Shroud could be created by molding a linen cloth over a bas relief carving or cast. I was the first to point out numerous inconsistencies and logical lapses involving the Shroud's speculative history, elongate Gothic body shape, Palestinian pollen fraudulently applied to sticky tape samples, supposed but non-existent photographic negative quality, and other anomalous features, and to explain how the STURP members went wrong. All of these facts are by now well known among informed scientists and are completely accepted.

There are many other avenues of evidence that prove the Shroud is a late medieval artifact. The Skeptical Shroud of Turin website at mentions all of them in several papers and a PowerPoint presentation by myself and others. In brief, every competent and honest scientific investigation of the Shroud of Turin has proven that it is a medieval artifact, a reproduction or representation of the Shroud of Jesus Christ (not a medieval fake, but a 1st century fake!). Ray Rogers and his STURP colleagues continue to pursue their Shroud pseudoscience, in opposition to empirical evidence, logical reason, and skepticism--the hallmarks of legitimate science. In violation of good scientific practice and honesty, Rogers's TA paper completely ignores all of this evidence that refutes his analysis and conclusions. Rogers' paper is an exercise in pseudoscience and should not have been published in Thermochimica Acta. The editor of that journal should be ashamed. So should the STURP "scientists," but I don't expect that to happen soon.

At the beginning of his paper, Rogers states that the early 14th century radiocarbon date "came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin," and the date "does not agree with observations on the linen-production technology nor the chemistry of fibers obtained directly from the main part of the cloth in 1978 [references cited]." This is nonsense: First, the two references he cites are STURP papers that were written with an obvious pro-authenticity bias and lack of scientific objectivity; although published in legitimate scientific journals, their methods and conclusions are suspect and I claim they are exercises in pseudoscience; McCrone conclusively refuted the conclusions of these two papers in his book. Second, these papers contain no data or analysis to support a 1st century date using any scientifically-recognized age determination method. The methods Rogers cites--observations of linen-production technology, chemistry of fibers, and amount of vanillin in lignin--are, unlike radiocarbon dating, useless in accurate and precise age determination. At most, they would allow suggestions of age, and suggestions are notoriously unreliable and subject to bias, which is the case here. Rather than Rogers being surprised at the late medieval date of the Shroud, we are the ones who should be surprised at such obvious credulity on the part of a trained scientist, and that his specious arguments have been published in a legitimate scientific journal. I am more than surprised; I'm shocked, shocked!

Rogers' paper is not science, but classic pseudoscience: it is an example of nonsense-mongering and overreaching, of willingness to use any method, no matter how scientifically unsupported and disreputable, to confirm one's apriori beliefs. I can't understand how this clumsy, invalid, and totally illogical paper passed peer review in a legitimate scientific journal. Actually, I can understand how this lapse happened. When an author submits a paper on a topic that the journal has no history of dealing with, it is not uncommon for the editor to ask the author to suggest peer reviewers. I believe that Rogers simply suggested the names of a few of his fellow Shroud pseudoscientists who he knew would provide favorable reviews. These individuals probably had legitimate reputations in their non-Shroud research, and thus had some scientific legitimacy, and the Thermochimica Acta editor accepted their names without objection. I suspect that the TA editor, having no way to independently judge the veracity and competence of these reviewers, went along with their favorable reviews (this needs to be confirmed by an investigation; it is possible that the editor himself was biased, as in the example recounted above). Rogers' paper has nothing to do with the usual topics covered in TA; he could have submitted his paper to a dozen journals for all we know before finding one whose editor was incompetent or lazy enough to not understand why Rogers' paper was pseudoscience and thus deserved to be rejected outright.

Rogers' Analytical Methods: Deception and Illogic

In his paper, Ray Rogers relies on papers that were neither peer-reviewed nor published in legitimate scientific journals for his belief that the radiocarbon date was taken from a patch ingeniously rewoven into the Shroud linen so that its presence could not be detected. The authors of these papers, M. S. Benford and J. G. Marino, claim that a patch of 16th century material with a weave identical to the Shroud's was undetectably spliced into the 1st century Shroud to give it a 13th century date. But this is nonsense. It is certainly a remarkable coincidence that, according to these authors, their claimed rewoven patch--when combined with "original" Shroud cloth in the proportions subjectively determined by unnamed "textile experts" looking at photographs!--just happens to give an early 14th century date, the same as the date actually measured by radiocarbon dating! Amazing. But in fact the mixture of 16th and 1st century cloth would give a date much younger than the 14th century (about 7th century). The date obtained by the separate university radiocarbon labs exactly matches the date obtained by independent historical analysis, i.e. the early 14th century date when the Shroud first appeared and is believed by Shroud skeptics to be created by a late medieval artist, thus mutually supporting both dates. Benford and Marino submitted their ridiculous speculations in a paper to the scientific journal Radiocarbon, but it was justifiably rejected after peer review. Now, Rogers uses the same mistaken and incompetent speculations to support his conclusions in a paper that was published in a different scientific journal, Thermochimica Acta. I conclude that peer review failed this time for this journal.

As pointed out by Antonio Lombatti (personal communication), editor of Approfondimento Sindone, the skeptical international journal of scholarship and science devoted to the Shroud of Turin, only after one month of careful study on where to cut the linen samples for dating were the samples removed from the Shroud. This process was observed personally by Mons. Dardozzi (Vatican Academy of Science), Prof. Testore (Turin University professor of textile technology), Prof. Vial (Director of the Lyon Ancient Textiles Museum), Profs. Hall and Hedges (heads of the Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory) and Prof. Tite (head of the British Museum research laboratory). There is no way these scientists and scholars could have made such an error and failed to see that the cloth samples they removed was really from a patch, "invisibly" rewoven or not.

Detailed photographs of the area from which the sample was removed clearly reveal that there was no patch there. (How could Benford and Marino's unnamed "textile experts" observe the correct proportions of 1st century and 16th century threads from the "patch" using photographs, while the legitimate experts named above--using both photographs and personal examination of the actual Shroud!--miss seeing that there was a patch there in the first place?) There is no 16th century patch in the area from where the 14C samples were removed; patches can be found only where the fire had burned the linen in 1532, and of course there is the Holland backing cloth. Both the patches and Holland cloth have weaves completely different from the Shroud's distinct herringbone pattern, which was easily identifiable by the radiocarbon dating scientists when they processed the cloth sample. Benford and Marino laughably publish a photo of a historical Shroud replica that they claim shows a missing corner section that was later patched; but this photo is a low-resolution JPEG image and the "missing corner" is really an artifact produced when low-resolution JPEG images are magnified beyond their true size! This anecdote just further illustrates their incompetence.

The tiny patch threads that Rogers analyzed are suspect: there is no official record of the supposed removal or donation of the radiocarbon dating sample threads or the Raes sample threads Rogers claims to possess (personal communication, Antonio Lombatti). "I received samples of both warp and weft threads that Prof. Luigi Gonella had taken from the radiocarbon sample before it was distributed for dating. Gonella reported that he excised the threads from the center of the radiocarbon sample" (p. 190). If Gonella's statement is true, then he seriously violated the protocols of sample removal and performed an irresponsible act. Furthermore, to receive threads of this spurious sample at this late date suggests that the threads are suspect and not to be trusted as really being from the sample sent out for radiocarbon dating. Rogers' entire argument rests on his analysis of these two tiny threads and the addiitonal Raes sample threads he claims to possess. I have no evidence to disprove Rogers' claim that the Raes sample fibers--supplied to him by Luigi Gonella and supposedly taken from the original Raes sample adjacent to the radiocarbon samples--are from the Shroud ("I received 14 yarn segments from the Raes sample from Prof. Luigi Gonella . . . "; p. 189). But I question this claim also, since this was also undocumented and unsanctioned. The samples used by the academic radiocarbon labs to date the Shroud, on the other hand, were officially removed, witnessed, and sanctioned. Are Rogers' two tiny threads truly from the same sample as the ones used for radiocarbon dating? If not, Rogers' entire argument is invalid, since Rogers' claim is that the radiocarbon samples have completely different chemical properties than the main part of the Shroud, and he purports that his two tiny threads are representative of the radiocarbon-dated samples. He could only know this if the threads he tested were actually from the same sample used for radiocarbon dating, and we must trust the words of Rogers and Gonella for this (for Rogers' word, see below).

The alleged differences between the Raes sample and the main Shroud samples that Rogers elucidates include (1) different amounts of vanillin (main Shroud absent, Raes sample present), (2) cotton fibers and madder root dye in the Raes sample, but none in the main Shroud samples, and (3) the Raes fibers have been "dyed" with some chemical, but not the fibers of the main Shroud. Rogers is incorrect about all of these. For the different amounts of vanillin, see below. It has long been known that cotton fibers occur elsewhere in the Shroud, being observed by several investigators including Italian textile experts and Walter McCrone. I don't doubt that cotton fiber impurities made their way into the flax used to make the linen cloth; it would be difficult to keep them separate, and contrary to Rogers, such fibers are found throughout the Shroud. As for madder root dye, McCrone detected rose madder pigment on the Shroud's blood areas and reported this. It is reasonable to believe that this pigment could have ended up anywhere on the Shroud, including a non-blood area. Finally, the entire Shroud is covered by a coating of very thin tempera protein paint used by the artist as a binder; its oxidation over time gives the Shroud its characteristic sepia color (very slightly yellowish-brown; natural linen is white). The tempera binder was not used as a paint but to shape or mold the linen over a bas relief carving or cast, and was used to bind the loose particles of red ocher pigment when still damp. Rogers identifies this as a "dye" only on the Raes threads, but in fact all Shroud fibers have this thin tempera coating and characteristic color, as is readily perceived by simply viewing the photographs. Rogers identification of a colored "dye" is the first admission by a STURP member that fibers of the Shroud have been painted or coated.

Rogers' new method of using the amount of vanillin in a sample to determine its age is useless and incompetent. According to Rogers, the vanillin in known Shroud fibers is missing, but the Raes "patch" fibers do possess vanillin from his tests. Thus, he concludes that the amount of vanillin (a breakdown product of flax over time) can be used to age date his samples, and because "the Shroud and other very old linens do not give the vanillin test, the cloth must be very old," thus making it "very unlikely that the linen was produced during medieval times." But this is nonsense: to demonstrate the efficacy of his new dating method and thus prove his claim of age discrepancy, Rogers first must date his Shroud samples by independent methods and must demonstrate the effectiveness of his method using other independent samples, and he fails to do both of these! Rogers refers to the presence of vanillin in "all other medieval linens," but he provides no evidence to support this statement.

There are some curious anomalies in Rogers' paper that deserve attention. Rogers states, "STURP was not allowed to take radiocarbon samples in 1978; therefore, it was useful to devise independent methods for age determination to test the validity of the published data [in Damon, 1989]. Are we to believe that STURP foresaw, eleven years in the future, that the independent (of each other and especially of STURP) academic radiocarbon labs would find that the Shroud was created in the early 14th century, and STURP must therefore devise independent methods for age determination to test the validity of that date? Of course, that's nonsense; STURP had never devised such tests in 1978, and Rogers developed his new method long after the famous 1989 paper in Nature, and did so only after he had become convinced by others that samples of a clever invisible patch had been dated by colossal error. During the years following the 14th century date, believers in the authenticity of the Shroud came up with over a dozen ways by which the radiocarbon scientists could have gone wrong. Readers will no doubt be knowledgeable about the absurdity of these ad hoc and overreaching explanations, and Rogers himself understood that all would never be taken seriously by legitimate scientists (some examples were contamination of the linen by a bioplastic coating, bacteria, fungi, chemicals released during the fire, etc.) But Rogers temptation to believe was too strong, and he allowed himself to be seduced by one particular suggestion: the skillfully and invisibly rewoven patch in the very spot from which the radiocarbon samples were taken and with exactly the correct proportions of threads of the correct age to give the aberrant early 14th century date.

Of course, we scientists must always be grateful to STURP for allowing us to get the correct radiocarbon date in the first place: STURP's overwhelming certainty of the authenticity of the Shroud--derived from the massive self-deception of believing their own bogus scientific data and illogical conclusions!--gave the Catholic Church the confidence it needed to permit dating the Shroud and proving once and for all that it was 1st century in origin. Members of STURP literally convinced the Catholic Church to proceed with the radiocarbon dating program, allowing truly neutral, skeptical, and mostly secular scientists (and thus completely different in character from STURP personnel) to get their hands on a piece of the Shroud and subject it to a real scientific test. If the Church thought it might get a 14th century date, it would never have permitted the sampling and dating, since its goal has always been to milk the Shroud for its faith-strengthing qualities. For over a decade, STURP has been attempting to make up for their error and get back in the good graces of the Church. I always smile when Rogers and the other believers in the Shroud's authenticity suggest another dating experiment. As they well know, it will never happen!

Several times Rogers refers to the lack of vanillin in all "samples from anywhere on the shroud," and "there was absolutely no coating with these characteristics [the colored encrustations, alizarin dye, red lakes, and swelling gum] on . . . the main part of the shroud." But how could he know this, since he apparently did not perform his "home laboratory" tests for vanillin and coatings on samples from the main part of the Shroud. After careful reading of his paper, I could find no place in which he reports his data of such tests beyond claiming that it is true. Nor do the two STURP references he cites report on such tests, including the all-important presence or absence of vanillin. Walter McCrone, on the other hand, found proteinaceous termpera binder and abundant colored particles on the main part of the Shroud, especially in the blood and image areas. I think Rogers found some of the protein coating material and pigment on his tiny threads and leaped to the false conclusion that this was different from the rest of the Shroud. Therefore, the rewoven patch hypothesis must be correct!

All truly scientific dating methods, including radiocarbon dating, have a level of evidentiary support and verification--which scientists refer to as using controls and replication--that Rogers' new method of vanillin concentration does not. Instead, Rogers concluded--using the questionable sources of Benford and Marino--that the supposed "patch" first existed and was therefore younger than the rest of the Shroud before he developed his new dating method. Then he developed his new but faulty dating method so that it would validate his apriori belief! Rogers did test his method by aging lignin samples at elevated temperatures for 24 months, but this is laughably inadequate. He was not able to adequately calibrate his exponential decay curve, an essential part of any proxy chemical dating method. Nor was he able to eliminate or correct for the many different temperatures and environmental conditions the Shroud has been exposed to during its existence, all of which would explicitly make his chemical method useless. As is well known, the Shroud has been exposed to several fires, boiling in water, and perhaps even boiling in oil. The boiling treatments were used by skeptical individuals in a pre-scientific age to test the authenticity of the Shroud and other supposed Shrouds, of which there were several dozens. That the Shroud of Turin was subjected to at least one water boiling is discussed in several books that relate its history; fake Shrouds would have their paint boiled off, but the Shroud of Turin was apparently the only Shroud to pass the boiling test, because its creator used an unusual and clever method to make sure it that was quite sturdy; its image was originally much brighter and visible, but the boiling left the pale, ghostly image we have today that must be photogaphed through a filter to reveal the image with sufficient contrast. In conclusion, there is no reason to accept Rogers' vanillin-in-lignin method as a valid technique for age determination.

Jay Ingram, writing in the Toronto Star, discusses a topic with which I was not familiar. Ingram interviewed Clint Chapple, a biochemist at Purdue University, and Malcolm Campbell, a botanist at the University of Toronto. Chapple points out that it was odd that Rogers used a powerful and precise technique, pyrolysis mass spectrometry, to assess the carbohydrates in the cloth, but didn't choose to apply that technique to the vanillin. This was odd because the incredible accuracy of this technique as applied to vanillin is scientifically well-documented. "I've published using this method and have this instrument in my own lab. The method would have easily revealed the presence (or absence) of degradation products like vanillin had the author been seriously interested in testing his hypothesis," Chapple says. Instead, Rogers used a staining technique that reveals the presence of vanillin if you get a color change. But this is a qualitative, not a quantitative test.

Malcolm Campbell states that, "in biological sciences, a scientist would be hard-pressed to get their paper published if they ever attempted to quantify vanillin on the basis of this staining technique." Staining is a rough guide to the presence of vanillin and cannot detect very small amounts. (In fact, the pyrolysis mass spectrometry was conducted by STURP in 1981 when they had access to the facility, but Rogers only had his kitchen laboratory, so a poor and inadequate staining technique was all he could manage.) Campbell and Chapple identified other flaws in the paper, such as the same lack of controls and replication that I describe above. As Ingram writes, "these should have been enough to deter the editors of Thermochimica Acta from publishing it. Why didn't they? Maybe they were unfamiliar with the chemistry of linen and its breakdown products; maybe they have a soft spot in their heart for the shroud. Who knows?" Ingram concludes, "the incident just underlines the fact that the Shroud of Turin will never go away, and believers will try anything, including arguments masquerading as science, to prove its authenticity."

Ray Rogers and STURP

For over twenty years I have claimed that arguments based on science and technology that purport to demonstrate the Shroud's authenticity are nothing more than pseudoscience, and pro-authenticity Shroud advocates are pseudoscientists. This includes Ray Rogers and all the other STURP members with the exception of Walter McCrone, a former member of STURP and the single individual with scientific integrity and professional competence among them. The item above from Jay Ingram, describing Rogers use of a highly precise instrument for one test but not using it for the more important one--instead using a clumsy and inadequate method that appreciably gives the desired results--is essentially the story of STURP. Through the years, STURP members have used a battery of highly accurate and precise instruments and methods, but also clumsy and laughably incompetent techniques, to reach fantastic and ultimately false and prejudiced conclusions. Every aspect of the Shroud and its study by STURP has examples of this.

For example, STURP published several papers that concluded that real blood was present on the Shroud, but all their precise tests for protein, iron, albumin, and other substances proved nothing of the kind. Two groups used specific tests for blood and published the results, both finding none. The first was the 1973 Italian Commission, who used at least six sensitive tests for blood, blood species, and blood type; all were negative. The second was the late Walter McCrone, then working with STURP, the world's leading chemical microscopist, an expert in forensic chemistry, and the person best qualified on the planet at that time to use microchemical forensic tests for blood on tiny samples. His articles in The Microscope and book, Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin, contain his negative results with full documentation. STURP, however, continues to mendaciously ignore and impugn these results. I suspect that the STURP pseudoscientists actually did first use their own specific tests for blood, but when they were negative, they unethically suppressed them and published instead their highly technical and instrument-intensive methods that, with convoluted, labored, and illogical reasoning, gave them the conclusions they desired. These mistaken results were then published in technical journals with sympathetic editors that never dealt with microscopic forensic methods of this type before.

Another example was the elaborate instrumentation, experimental equipment, and contrived methods used by STURP investigators to achieve an image transfer from a human body to cloth that had the necessary "photographic negative" quality noticed early in the previous century and the "three-dimensional coding" noticed more recently. The alleged photographic negative effect is in reality not a true photographic negative, but the Shroud image has greater tonal densities in high-relief areas and lower tonal densities in low-relief areas. The so-called 3-D coding gives the Shroud image a 3-D quality when processed through image analysis software that converts tonal gradations to a third axis--height. All of this elaborate equipment and painstaking testing was a useless waste of time and unnecessary expense, since, as I demonstrated many years ago, the photonegative quality of the Shroud image is not a true photographic negative but a faux-photonegative. Both this and the alleged 3-D coding are completely natural and easily attributed to the tonal gradations in pigment application by the artist, using either a bas relief rubbing (suggested by Joe Nickell and my favorite explanation, which I explained automatically creates a faux-photonegative image with tonal gradations such as the Shroud possesses) or a direct faux-negative, tonal-gradation painting (Walter McCrone's hypothesis, which he believes is a simpler explanation, but which I consider to be more complicated and requiring more skill on the part of an artist).

The most notorious case of the incompetent misuse and nonuse of scientific instruments by STURP remains their examination and explanation of the Shroud image. STURP used energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDS) to analyze the Shroud surface, and found calcium, iron, and protein in the Shroud "blood," thus "confirming" in their minds the presence of blood. Unfortunately for STURP, as McCrone points out, blood also contain potassium and chlorine in high amounts, and their absence means that this was not blood. Again using EDS, STURP did detect iron and calcium, but not protein, in the non-blood image areas, and claimed this was due to an alkaline iron salt precipitation that occurred naturally during the linen retting process. They also concluded that the lack of protein was evidence that McCrone's tempera binder hypothesis was incorrect. But EDS is not sensitive enough to detect the small amount of protein present; McCrone used more sensitive methods to reveal its occurrence. Calcium is present due to the linen and water residues, and iron is present due to iron oxide pigments.

Now, here's where the story really gets good. McCrone frequently complained that anyone with a simple polarizing microscope (an essential tool of forensic microscopy and visible with him in many photographs) could easily see and identify the abundant (millions) of tiny red ochre pigment particles that coat all the fibers in the image and blood areas. Undoubtedly, STURP members did see these abundant and colorful orange to red particles on the Shroud image and blood fibers--but never on the Shroud non-image fibers--but, against all reason and evidence, decided they were naturally-occurring alkaline iron precipitates and then ignored them! To this day, STURP members continue to ignore the pigment particles, just as Aristotelian geocentrists ignored the moons of Jupiter in Galileo's time. McCrone and even STURP published abundant photomicrographs that clearly show these particles, but only McCrone took the next essential step and identified them as red ochre, an iron oxide pigment made from the mineral hematite (blood rock). This is the pigment that forms the Shroud image, and it along with vermilion pigment (the mercury sulfide mineral cinnabar) and rose madder pigment make up the blood images on the Shroud. Red ochre/iron oxide/hematite is easily identified by its color and by crossing the polarizing filters of the polarizing microscope and examining the refractive index of a particle. Hematite has a very high refractive index, blood low, and they are easily distinguishable using the proper technique. This technique is known to every forensic microscopist, optical mineralogist, and rock petrologist (I am an expert in the last category, and studied optical mineralogy to become a petrologist). But STURP members never used this simple and powerful technique. They apparently never observed the Shroud sticky tape sample fibers with a polarizing microscope; if they had, they would have no trouble identifying the bright orange and red particles as red ochre/iron oxide/hematite, not "blood sherds" or "alkaline iron precipitate," which is what they called them.

STURP persistently claimed that the Shroud image was not a painting, even though it was clear from the evidence that it is. In his TA paper, Rogers continues this deception. He states that the results of the "pyrolysis/ms analyses proved to be consistent with an array of independent observations and data [references a STURP paper], showing that the image was not the result of an applied material. With that conclusion established, the dozens of pyrolysis/ms data sets can now be reanalyzed to compare samples from the radiocarbon area with samples from the main cloth." In fact, Rogers' "conclusion" was never "established," but quite the opposite, and it is therefore not permissible to use the old 1981 pyrolysis/ms data in the way he does in the 2005 paper. Any scientist-reviewer with even a tiny bit of knowledge about the two decade-old Shroud controversy would have known that the Shroud is an artisic creation and that Rogers' claim here was not valid, and thus reject the paper.

I visited Walter McCrone's laboratory in Chicago several times over the years. In 1980 and 1981, I was able to observe several Shroud fiber samples using one of McCrone's polarizing microscopes. While not trained in forensic microscopy, I am an expert sedimentary petrologist and skilled with geological, biological, and micropaleontological microscopy; much of my academic research involved the study of microfossils, I currently consult in the petroleum industry using sedimentary petrology, and I assist my biologist wife with her zoological photomicrography and image analysis; I have six microscopes of various types in my house and access to several others at the local university and geological consulting lab where I work. Using crossed polars and Becke line movement, I quickly and easily identified the thousands of tiny particles I saw as the mineral hematite using its characteristic color and high index of refraction as criteria; this was a mineral I had observed hundreds of times before. Hematite is finely ground to make the pigment red ochre, which has been used throughout human history as the most common red pigment. The particles are definitely not blood shards or alkaline iron precipitates (such as iron sufide, iron carbonate, or iron nitrate); they are unquestionably iron oxide. I also observed some vermilion pigment particles, the mineral cinnabar; McCrone told me this was often used by medieval artists to represent blood. I saw no pollen grains on the slides I examined (I only studied a few), and McCrone told me they were rare. There were other particles in addition to the abundant linen fibers and red ocher particles which I could not identify; McCrone told me these were other pigments, wax, soil, and other particles.

STURP's Response to Critics

Over the years, I have repeatedly pointed out inconsistencies, logical lapses, and hoaxes in STURPS's and other pro-authenticity believers' reasoning, methods, and evidence. STURP gradually responds to my critiques indirectly, refusing to mention my name or cite my papers. I pointed out that the Christ figure's body, limbs, and fingers were unnaturally elongated, even deformed (amazingly, I was apparently the first person to describe this!); STURP members eventually claimed that Jesus had Marfan's syndrome or suffered skeletal deformities (odd for God on Earth, but there you are). I was the one who claimed that Max Frei's pollen findings were a hoax, since his sticky tape samples had abundant pollen and cotton fibers from his gloves, and STURP's samples had neither; the nonsensical response was that Frei took his sticky tape samples with more force than did STURP, thus actually getting the pollen from inside the fibers. However, they've never explained the presence of the cotton fibers, which I believe got mixed in with Frei's secreted pollen grains when he covertly touched his pollen stash and then pressed his tape sample with his fingers before applying it to the Shroud. I pointed out that the pollen was at least half-derived from insect-pollinated plants and could not have been wind-blown onto the exposed Shroud in Palestine; the response was that visitors to Jesus' funeral benevolently placed flowers on his Shroud and the pollen fell out! For every critique, the Shroud believers--endowed with immense emotional involvement in its authenticity--come up with some bizarre response or overreaching justification. This process would be sad if the stakes were high, but since it's just the Shroud of Turin, the process is hilarious.

Ray Rogers (left) and Walter McCrone (right) at their respective polarizing microscopes.
(Photo credits: Rogers from, the Shroud of Turin Site by Barrie M. Schwortz; McCrone from, the McCrone Research Institute Site.)

Now here's the latest. In the past I have pointed out that the STURP "scientists" never used a polarizing microscope to examine their Shroud fiber samples, for if they did, they would have been able to easily identify the iron oxide particles. I even used pictures in my talks of them in front of expensive and elaborate biological microscopes, which are not the polarizing microscopes used for mineralogical, petrographical, forensic, and chemical analysis that McCrone, I, and thousands of other scientists use. Therefore imagine my surprise a week ago when I visited Barrie Schwortz's Shroud of Turin website at and saw a photo of the smiling visage of Ray Rogers in front of his polarizing "petrographic microscope"! Now, why does a chemist need a petrographic microscope? How long has he had it? Did he get it to use with the Shroud samples, or did he get it recently for the purpose of indirectly refuting me once again! Well, to me this is an example of overreaching yet again, for if Ray actually knew how to use his microscope--of which he appears to be quite proud, exactly mimicking the well-known photo of Walter McCrone!--he would be able to place one of his fiber samples from a Shroud image or blood area under it, add the immersion fluid of proper density, cross the polars, focus up to move the Becke line, and determine that the thousands of tiny orange and red particles he sees covering the fibers have a high index of refraction, revealing them to be iron oxide. That he has apparently neglected to do this reveals Ray Rogers to be either incompetent or mendacious, and thus not deserving of the esteemed designation of microscopist.

Coincidently, in his book McCrone refers to the STURP chemists' "incompetence in light microscopy" (p. 157). McCrone further relates (p. 124) that Rogers, along with John Jackson and Eric Jumper, visited McCrone in 1980 and conned him out of his Shroud sample slides. They deceived McCrone, complaining that he took the better half of the samples, that they needed them for testing, and telling him they would replace his slides with the others they had, but later refused to do so. STURP then had their lawyers write to McCrone and demand all STURP samples be returned (because McCrone still had a few left over slides, all eventually returned). STURP now has all their original Shroud sticky tape fiber samples somewhere, and either Paul Maloney or Alan Whanger has Max Frei's sticky tape slide samples somewhere. As far as I know, no non-STURP or skeptical non-pro-authenticity microscopist has been allowed to study either of these sets of samples since Walter McCrone many years ago. STURP has thus kept the lid on the evidence that conflicts with their pro-authenticity beliefs by disparaging or ignoring McCrone's analytical results, and making it difficult or impossible for others to examine the evidence themselves to reach their own conclusions. If McCrone did not have the reputation as the greatest analytical chemical microscopist in the history of microscopy and a man of the highest integrity, we scientists would be in trouble.

As it is, educated, informed, and rational individuals don't believe the Shroud is authentic, tend to look on the controversy with either disgust or boredom (as I certainly do), and wish to get on with their lives. The Shroud of Turin is, after all, a notorious religious relic of the Catholic Church, and thus should be regarded with the same skepticism and contempt as other such relics. If any competent person were to examine the Shroud sticky tape fiber samples--and there must be many thousands of such individuals in this country--it would be elementary to confirm that the fibers are covered by millions of tiny red ochre pigment particles. I challenge Ray Rogers to let me, or someone else equally competent, or best, several individuals who have the knowledge to identify red ocher/iron oxide/hematite particles, examine the STURP and Frei sticky tape, slide-mounted, sample fibers, perhaps at a public joint conference devoted to the microscopic investigation of the Shroud of Turin. We can bring our own polarizing photomicroscopes, take digital photos, and I will help Ray learn to use his own polarizing petrographic microscope!

A Shroud Re-creation

I have received word that the Shroud has been re-created by a method compatible with early 14th century technology and artistic method, just as Walter McCrone, Joe Nickell, and I have always maintained. This re-creation will be published in the March, 2005, Books and Culture magazine. I have now learned the details by visiting the ShadowShroud website at I had assumed that the re-created Shroud would have all the necessary attributes of the Shroud of Turin: sepia-colored cloth, false photonegative and 3-D encoding properties, pale and ghostly red image, bright red blood rivulets, authentic-looking scourge and puncture markings, distortion-free image of a scoured, crucified, and then-dead Jesus, abundant red ochre pigment particles in the image and blood areas, etc. It indeed had some of these, but not the others.

The re-creators did not use either the Nickell or McCrone methods as I hoped they would. Instead, they used a very simple bleaching method. The re-creators painted a sheet of glass with an image of Jesus's face using oil paint, placed the glass over a linen cloth, and allowed the sun's rays to bleach the linen around the painting (thus lightening it), and leaving a very life-like, dark, and photonegative image of the original painting. A negative of the linen photonegative produces a positive, just as with the Shroud of Turin, and this is illustrated. The results are remarkably similar, for the re-creation has both the photonegative and 3-D encoding properties that the Shroud possesses. The re-creators used image analysis software to produce a 3-D image from their positive image on the linen. Their photonegative image, positive image (negative of the negative), and 3-D image are remarkable similar to their respective images of the original Shroud of Turin, and all are clearly illustrated on the ShadowShroud site.

The only problem is that the re-creators claim that their method produces a "true photonegative," but unfortunately it does not (however, neither did the method used to create the Shroud of Turin, which is why the re-creation is so similar). Instead, as with the Shroud of Turin, the result is a faux or false photonegative, with the beard, hair, and moustache all white (or light); obviously, they should be dark if the positive was from a "true photonegative." Jesus was not an albino, no matter what skeletal defects he may have had. Once again, the topographically-higher parts of the face--the forehead, chin, cheekbones, beard, moustache, hair, etc.--are lighter than the other parts, thus giving the positive image of the re-creation a remarkably life-like appearance, but not a true positive from a true photonegative. It is obvious, from observing the photo of the original oil painting on glass on the website, that the artist painted the topographically-higher parts of the face with a thicker or more opaque application of oil paint, as any artist would draw it to give the image a life-like appearance. Consequently, the evidence of artifice is readily apparent in the re-creation, as it is with the original Shroud of Turin.

I have always thought that the Shroud of Turin would be very easy to re-create, but no one has attempted it because either (1) it would reveal the ease of reproducing a Shroud of Turin and thus serve to debunk the magic and mystery that the current Shroud possesses, or (2) the evidence that already exists that the Shroud is an artifact is so overwhelming that it isn't worth anyone's time and expense to reproduce it. No. 2 is certainly my reason for not making a Shroud. And so far, no one has indeed taken the time and expense to duplicate it.



Copyright © 2005 by Steven D. Schafersman (substitute @ for AT before mailing)
Skeptical Shroud of Turin Website
Last updated: 2005/02/22



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Refutes the Resurrection

In the Cathedral of Turin what many people hold to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ is enshrined.The Shroud is around fourteen feet by three and a half feet.It is a sheet of linen.It looks like a big strip that covered the back and front of a man completely.The image it bears is supposed to be the imprint of the dead wounded and bloody body of Jesus Christ.It is accepted that it matches the four gospels in so far as it apparently depicts a crucified Jesus nailed through the wrists and the feet, pierced through the side,who was scourged and beaten and forced to wear a crown of thorns.I would differ in relation to the nail wounds.Even the gospels never clearly state that Jesus was nailed.Some crucifixion victims were simply tied to the cross.Only John seems to say Jesus had pierced hands that may or may not have been nailed.There is no mention at all of the feet being nailed.

Some ancients believed that dead men did not bleed (eg. Origen (185-254 AD) so whoever forged the Shroud wanted it to say that Jesus bled even after being put on his back in the cloth after being removed from the cross and so was not dead.By the way, when top Christians were acknowledging that corpses don’t bleed it shows that there was no Shroud around in those days.It didn’t exist.

If there was a man in the cloth, he bled after being covered up.Rivers of blood ran along the cloth below his back and from the back of his feet.They ran wide in a variety of directions.If he was Jesus then Jesus did not die on the cross and the Shroud refutes the gospels which assert that Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross and was not by any means buried alive.However, that was only their assumption.The gospels give no proof that Jesus really was dead.They only gave hearsay and their own interpretation.None of them tested him for a pulse.


The bloodstains on the shroud look as if they were made all at the same time.  This contradicts the gospels where Jesus was wounded at different times.  There are no congealed wounds at all and there should be.  If anything, and if real, the shroud suggests that there was some kind of hoax taking place maybe a fraudulent crucifixion.  There were some Docetist Christians who believed that the historical Jesus was not a real man but a vision appearing to be a man.  They might have pointed to the unusual features of the shroud as showing that this theory is true.  For example, if Jesus was wounded at different times but the cloth was showing he was wounded at the same time it might imply that Jesus was not a normal man but possibly a vision.  Another example would be how the trickles of blood from the crown of thorns at the back of the head look like trickles when they should have matted the thick hair and made smudges instead.  In fact all the "blood" is clearly defined - no smudges smacks of forgery.

Christian believers in the Shroud and the death of Jesus say that the blood is just the oozing of blood that takes place after a man has had a long and very cruel death. This is far fetched.And besides there is still too much blood.A big gash can perhaps seep blood after death but most of the Shroud man’s wounds are not big enough to facilitate a seepage and even the tiny pricks from the crown of thorns bled into the cloth.

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Even John who says that Jesus was thrust with a spear after he seemed to have died causing blood and water to emerge doesn’t say that this was necessarily fatal or intended to make sure that Jesus was dead.Perhaps the soldier who did this was told to do it to fit a prophecy quoted by John from the Old Testament that they will look on the one they have pierced.

If the blood and water really came out as described in John surely Jesus would have been stabbed a second time to make sure he was dead for blood means the person is still alive.The Shroud man just has the one stab wound.And the wound as depicted on the Shroud need not have been fatal so it was not intended as a death stab (page 249, The Jesus Conspiracy).The word used for the wound was nyssein which means a light puncture (ibid).When Jesus bled so much from a light wound he had to have been alive.

The side wound need not have been fatal (page 291, The Jesus Conspiracy).It is improbable that it would have cut the heart (ibid).The Shroud endeavours to give the impression that there was no need to think the man was dead.

It is tempting to believe that when the John gospel said that an eyewitness saw the side being wounded and blood and water coming out and stressed that his testimony was true as if there was something strange about it that this is a hint that it was indeed strange that anything came out of the wound at all.Some thought that the blood and water was a miracle but the gospel gives us no reason to think that. The witness couldn’t believe that Jesus was bleeding for he thought Jesus was dead.Another possibility is that he talks the way he does, referring to an anonymous and therefore useless witness, is that the side wound was never heard of until this gospel was written!He was making it all up or reporting hearsay which is just as bad.Either way the resurrection is refuted.If Jesus got a light side wound or no wound at all, then the vast surprise that Pilate felt when Jesus was reported to have died so soon that is recorded in Mark is explained.It makes us wonder if he was really dead.The gospels imply that nothing Jesus went through need have killed him.They say Pilate liked him and so the scourging might not have been too bad.It was Pilates plan to scourge him and then let him go a free man.They say too that Jesus didn’t have to carry the cross much. Simon of Cyrene carried it for him a lot of the way.If Jesus was as robust as the Shroud man looks it seems impossible that he could have died so soon.

The Roman soldiers are said to have refrained from the norm of breaking the legs of the crucifixion victims to make them die quicker in the case of Jesus.They didn’t bother, so the gospel tells us, because he was already dead.But these men must have been familiar with men who were crucified and who passed out and seemed dead.They would still have had to break their legs in case.If Jesus had been stabbed instead of having his legs broken that would destroy a lot of the meaning of his execution.He claimed to be king which insulted Caesar and an example and deterrent had to be made of him. He could get no special treatment.If the soldiers didn’t want to make sure Jesus was dead by breaking his legs then they didn’t want to kill him with the stab wound either.

The Shroud image is not made entirely of blood but consists of some blood marks and the rest is something that has been burned onto the cloth.This makes some think that the washing of the body removed the clots and dried blood causing a little blood and serum to seep out after the body was put in the cloth (page 215, The Divine Deception).This would involve a violent scrubbing.The disciples of Christ would not have been so irreverent.And they would have found it hard to wash for once the scabs would come off and new blood would seem to be coming they would have had to wash until it stopped, which it soon would for dead men don’t bleed.The blood should be running into and mixing with the water on the body and turning into light liquid.None of these things happened.The “blood” on the cloth is bright red and is too strong of a colour to have had any watering down.So the Shroud man was not washed.The only way they could avoid any smears of blood and water would be to wash the body entirely until all the exposed wounds were cleaned and had nothing left to issue.But the Shroud man is clean and has blood from various wounds.

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The Shroud man has twenty-eight wounds, only a few of them were major ones, that bled into the cloth (page 294, The Jesus Conspiracy).A dead man might lose blood from the pull of gravity but it will be extremely small for there is no heart beating to get more out.And it will seep out of big wounds only but the Shroud man has many small bleeding cuts.The Shroud man has lost a lot of blood for a dead man after burial.Also, blood might come from a corpse that was wounded in an area of hypostasis or if blood gathered near a wound so that it could burst out through the clots.The profuse bleeding of the side wound of the Shroud man cannot be explained by either of these so it must have been a living man (page 292, The Jesus Conspiracy).

There would have been big streams of blood that ran from the hand wounds down to the elbows and beyond if this man were really Jesus Christ due to the way he was hung on the cross.Blood did run down the arms but from the scourging for it did not connect with the nails and the stains are too narrow.Either the blood was put on the man’s wrist or he was not nailed long enough to bleed much.Jesus was on the cross three hours.The man was not washed for he has too much blood and the bodies of criminals were buried unwashed so you can’t blame the washing for the fresh blood.

There is a trail of blood that was evidently intended to show that Jesus started bleeding again after the nails were pulled out of his wrists (page 188, Jesus Lived inIndia).

Blood that should have been dried like the scourge wounds and many others should not be on the cloth and certainly not on it so clearly.They are the exact same stains you would expect from a live man.

If the blood did come from a body then the Shroud man was nailed up and crowned with thorns and scourged all about the one time and then fired immediately into the cloth.Brown sees that there is nothing to show that the blood came out at different times but the wounds seemed to have been inflicted at the one time (Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, page 152).Thus, the Shroud man could not have been Christ.He would only have been treated that way to get the blood on the cloth in a convincing way.He would only have been treated that way if the cloth were a fake.

Wilson admits that the blood of the crown of thorns should have dried up before the other wounds but this is not what the Shroud says (page 36, The Blood and the Shroud).Perhaps the crown was taken off causing more blood to flow?But dead men don’t bleed and there is too much blood for it to have been gravity.Either the man was crowned with thorns just seconds before being put into the cloth contradicting the gospels or he was alive or that blood must have been painted/printed on with blood and perhaps paint or something else.Somebody could have discovered that a crucified man’s image had transferred to the Shroud and decided to make it seem that the man was Jesus by painting on the marks of a crown of thorns with blood.This is possible because Wilson says the blood and the image of the man were created differently.The blood simply rubbed off on the cloth (page 46, The Blood and the Shroud) so it could have been rubbed on with a touch of paint to keep it red looking.The scourging wounds were made long before the crucifixion and should have been dried so they could not have transferred to the cloth (page 59, Turin Shroud).Yet they are there.These cuts should overlap but they do not (page 136, The Sacred Virgin and the Holy Whore) suggesting that they are artificial.

Tests have been done by Professor Zugibe to try and show how a dead body with wounds could put marks on a cloth like the Shroud but these marks are nothing like the quality of the Turin Shroud marks (page 216, The Divine Deception).If there had been a body in the Shroud the blood should be distorted and way off the image due to the cloth being wrapped around.But on the Shroud there is no distortion of the blood and it appears on the image where you would expect to see it on a picture of the body.

The demented Catholic booklet, The Holy Shroud and Four Visions maintains that dried blood can transfer to a cloth if there is plenty of sweat or the relevant chemicals that compose sweat in the blood.It seems the booklet sought to offset suspicions that Jesus was buried alive and bleeding.But the transference the way booklet thinks it happened takes time but waiting too long is as bad as not waiting long enough.When the image is ready, the cloth has to be removed slowly and with extra-caution from the blood and no folding must take place for a long time so that the image is not damaged (page 13).This would suggest that somebody had been experimenting years ago to learn this in order to make the Turin Shroud.Some would say it means that Jesus’ body just gently dematerialised inside the cloth resulting in an undamaged image.Experts deny that Jesus would have produced enough sweat to impose an image.He wouldn’t even take a drink so he had no liquid in him.

The Jesus Conspiracy says that there are three lines of blood relating to the wrist wound and tries to argue that two of them dried up and were made liquid again by the oils in the cloth because the outline is not as sharp as that of the third.But if you look at photograph no 57 some parts of the two traces in question have just as much lack of outline as the third.

Interestingly, the Sudarium of Oviedo, thought to be a cloth put on the head of the dead Jesus on the cross, shows bloodstains that came out at different times which was odd for a man who was supposedly dead.And what makes it worse a lot of the stains came out of the crown of thorns!

The possibility that Jesus was buried alive would explain how he could have been taken from the tomb.The Jesus Conspiracy, Jesus Lived in India and The Turin Shroud is Genuine would tell us that Jesus lived long after his crucifixion.That may spoil a lot of things for the theory that Jesus was buried alive and rescued from the tomb if Jesus couldn’t have lived too long after.Jesus might not have lived long assuming that his limbs were dislocated.Plus his hands would have been unusable due to the nails cutting his nerves. But the wounds and the side wound and the fact that Jesus didn’t have to carry his cross all the way show he could have survived the crucifixion.And the spices were medicinal and would have prevented infection.The jury is out on this one. But it seems that to suggest that Jesus started meeting up with the disciples again soon after the crucifixion and was even walking about hours after the tomb was found empty and was seen by Magdalene is absurd.However absurd or not, it has nothing to do with proving or disproving the survival of the crucifixion theory.Visions are only visions.They prove nothing.And Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances were said to be visions.

The idea that rigor mortis set in on the Shroud man and that this can be seen in the image is simply imagination (page 281, The Jesus Conspiracy).It is easy to see what you want to see.It is assumed perhaps because of the way the arms are so well positioned all by themselves but then they were positioned like that from the start – before any rigor mortis could have set in.The man in the cloth looks at peace.

In a dead person lying on their back the weight seems to sink down to the ground.The Shroud man showed no sign of this for the image is as strong at the front as the back.The back image doesn’t look like the sinking caused by dead weight happened.He was alive.

Sweat has been shown by Shroud believer Stephen Mattingly to make an image in the same way as the image on the Shroud was made and made an image this way using his own body and sweat and the bacteria that is in sweat.Clearly if Jesus sweated so much into the cloth he must have been alive in the cloth.Those who realise this argue, “But the image made by Mattingly is distorted while the Shroud image is not.Granted, sweat can do that but the distortion proves that some other process made the image.”But does that rule out sweat as an explanation?No.The strangeness of the image does not rule sweat out because if the sweat creation theory were proven it would not stand against it.If kindly saintly John murders Mary you don’t argue that there must have been another explanation just because he is too good to have done such an awful thing.The strangeness is a separate issue in both cases.Since the cloth is meant to hold the image and body fluids of Christ it is possible that the maker used sweat to make the image of Jesus.Perhaps it was applied with a sponge. If Jesus made the image inadvertently or otherwise clearly the image was meant to be one created by sweat.Whether it is sweat or not cannot be proven, but if the image was the result of sweat from a body inside it then it really was the image of a living man who sweated into the cloth.

Whether the image was made from vapours coming off a body or sweat the fact that the hands and feet the cooler parts of the body were able to project the image would indicate that the blood was still circulating inside the body (page 69, The Turin Shroud is Genuine).It is far more rational and easier to explain the Shroud image assuming a body lay in it as being down to processes generated by the life that was still extant in the man.

A second face similar to the first but with important differences as if the man had moved his face between imprints has been found on the Shroud.a dead man moving his face?We don’t think so!

Jesus being buried alive would mean that the gospels are wrong that he died on the cross.It would mean that when their sources never saw his death or testified to it but only thought they did that makes the resurrection look silly.Jesus would not do this miracle of resurrection for the gospels and the witnesses unless he made sure he could prove his death first.The early Christians felt that God revealed that Jesus died on the cross.If they were wrong about that they could hardly be depended on in relation to other religious matters particularly the resurrection.It would explain why there were so many medicinal herbs and spices put on his body according to the New Testament (page 237, The Jesus Conspiracy).It would show they knew he wasn’t dead.Perhaps Jesus was alive long enough after being taken from the tomb to be put on a throne wearing a white robe with concealed wounds and presented as resurrected to his followers.This would get around the objection that a sick man couldn’t pass for a resurrected one.This appearance could have led to the disciples feeling confident that seeing Jesus in their imagination was as real of a vision so he might only have needed to be seen once.

The gospels say the Shroud of Jesus was found and kept.This would mean that somebody went into the tomb and stole the body and left the cloths behind to create a mystery.

Whoever took the Shroud had no right to.This was theft. It is theft to steal evidence from the scene of a crime.The person or persons responsible would have taken the body just as easily.

It is undeniable that whatever happened, the Turin Shroud is not evidence for the resurrection but evidence against it.


If the Shroud depicts Jesus Christ then the Christian and biblical message that he died on the cross is false.Nothing that the Shroud man went through need have killed him, he showed no sign of death, he bled after being put in the cloth and showed signs of circulation, and it is more likely that the image came from a live body than a dead one assuming a body was in the cloth.Many forensic scientists who believe that the Shroud is authentic also are insistent that the man in the cloth was not dead but alive.


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, AmherstNew 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, AmherstNew 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 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



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Was Turin Shroud faked by Leonardo da Vinci?

The Turin Shroud was faked by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci using pioneering photographic techniques and a sculpture of his own head, a television documentary claims.

Portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci and Shroud of Turin: Turin Shroud was created by Leonardo da Vinci from a model of his face, it is claimed
The artefact has been regarded by generations of believers as the face of the crucified JesusPhoto: GETTY/CHANNEL FIVE

A study of facial features suggests the image on the relic is actually da Vinci's own face which could have been projected into the cloth.

The artefact has been regarded by generations of believers as the face of the crucified Jesus who was wrapped in it, but carbon-dating by scientists points to its creation in the Middle Ages.

American artist Lillian Schwartz, a graphic consultant at the School of Visual Arts in New York who came to prominence in the 1980s when she matched the face of the Mona Lisa to a Leonardo self-portrait, used computer scans to show that the face on the Shroud has the same dimensions to that of da Vinci.

“It matched. I'm excited about this,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this Shroud's face.”

The claims is made in a Channel Five documentary, to be shown on Wednesday night, that describes how da Vinci could have scorched his facial features on to the linen of the Shroud using a sculpture of his face and a camera obscura – an early photographic device.

The programme says the fabric could have been hung over a frame in a blacked-out room and coated it with silver sulphate, a substance readily available in 15th century Italy which would have made it light-sensitive.

When the sun's rays passed through a lens in one of the walls, da Vinci’s facial shape would have been projected on to the material, creating a permanent image.

Lynn Picknett, a Shroud researcher and author, said: “The faker of the shroud had to be a heretic, someone with no fear of faking Jesus’ holy redemptive blood.

“He had to have a grasp of anatomy and he had to have at his fingertips a technology which would completely fool everyone until the 20th century.

"He had a hunger to leave something for the future, to make his mark for the future, not just for the sake of art or science but for his ego."

Art historian Professor Nicholas Allen, of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, has called for more tests on the Shroud for the presence of silver sulphate, which causes a reaction with the sun's UV rays.

He said: "If you look at the Shroud of Turin as it appears to the naked eye, you see a negative image of a human being, and if you take a photograph of that you produce a positive image of that human being, which means the shroud is acting as a negative.

"That in itself is a very good clue that it was made photographically."

Radiocarbon dating in 1988 showed the cloth was made between 1260 and 1390.

The programme explains the theory that da Vinci's forgery was commissioned to replace an earlier version that was exposed as a poor fake, which had been bought by the powerful Savoy family in 1453 only to disappear for 50 years. When it returned to public view, it was hailed as a genuine relic, and experts say it was actually the artist's convincing replica.

American Professor Larissa Tracy, of Longwood University in Virginia, told the programme: "Da Vinci had the necessary skills. He knew enough about anatomy and about the physical muscular structure of the body. Da Vinci had all the skills to create an image like the shroud. If anybody had the capacity to work with camera obscura or early photographic technique, it was Leonardo Da Vinci."

However Professor John Jackson, director of the Turin Shroud Centre of Colorado, who believes the item dates from the time of Jesus's crucifixion, dismissed the programme’s findings and said the earliest known record of the Shroud appears on a commemorative medallion struck in the mid-14th century and on display at the Cluny Museum Paris, he added.

“It clearly shows clerics holding up the shroud and is dated to around 100 years before Leonardo was born. There is no evidence whatsoever that Leonardo was involved in the shroud.”

The professor believes the radiocarbon dating of the shroud was wrong because the sample was contaminated.



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Is the the 3D image of the man imprinted on the Turin Shroud Jesus Christ?

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It Is the must-see event of the year and is likely to draw a bigger audience than 3D movie Avatar on its opening weekend.

But the thing causing the global stir isn't a Hollywood phenomenon packed with the latest special effects. Far from it. What we're talking about is an old, stained rag - albeit a rag that, if you're a believer, is imprinted with the ghostly image of Jesus Christ.

For the first time in a decade, the Turin Shroud, an artefact many believe is the Son of God's burial cloth, is going on display to the public on April 10.

Over one million people have booked to see it. By the end of its six-week run, it is predicted that over four million will have made the pilgrimage.

That is not to say that its story is a triumph of the no-tech over the cuttingedge, however.

In fact, as a History Channel special, The Real Face of Jesus?, will reveal on American TV tonight, the shroud has been the focus of some serious state-of-the-art investigation. The channel enlisted the help of computer graphics whiz Ray Downing to produce a 3D image of Christ.

In his year-long quest to do just that, Downing and his colleagues at Studio Macbeth, who had already created a moving model of US president Abraham Lincoln from photographs, visited the Colorado Turin Shroud Center, which was allowed to carry out a detailed examination of the shroud in 1978.

The centre had argued the cloth, a bloodstained linen sheet measuring about 14ft by 3.5ft, contained threedimensional information, such as difference in shading indicating the face's contours, which could be used to build a relief portrait.

Downing says the shroud was like a series of "instructions for building a sculpture set inside a picture".

The team realised the sheet would have been wrapped around the face, rather than simply laid on top, which explained any distortion in the image. This then gave what they argue is an accurate depiction of what many believe is the true image of Christ.

Downing explains: "We 'lifted' the blood and isolated it on the computer.

I have a lot of information about that face and my estimation is we're pretty darn close to what this man looked like."

And he says he has a theory for how the image ended up on the material: "I will reveal at the end of the show the type of event that must have occurred 2,000 years ago."

The shroud's unveiling will draw people from across the globe to Turin Cathedral in northern Italy. Although entry is free, pilgrims will pump millions of euros into the depressed local economy and merchandise will boost church coffers.

It is the sixth time the relic has been in the past 100 years and the first since its 2002 restoration. Visitors will be able to buy 3D glasses which will allow them to see extra details of the artefact, a gimmick some church officials have condemned.

But then the cloth has always been surrounded by controversy. While many believe the image on it - of a bearded man covered in injuries consistent with crucifixion - is that of Jesus, sceptics argue it is a medieval fake.

Attempts to date the relic have been inconclusive. A 1978 study found no evidence that the shroud was a fake and concluded it was "a mystery". But it was condemned as a forgery in 1988 after carbon-dating tests by researchers in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona, estimated it was made between 1260 and 1390.

In 1999, another group put a 7th century date on it. And in the same year a Jerusalem botanist reported that pollen grains on the shroud were from plants found only in the Holy Land.

In 2005, American chemist Dr Raymond Rogers, considered a shroud authority, claimed it was between 1,300 and 3,000 years old and argued earlier tests were inaccurate because they were carried out on patches of material added to the sheet by nuns in the Middle Ages.

The relic's history reads like the plot from a Dan Brown bestseller.

The first documented evidence of the artefact was in the mid-14th century when the French crusader Geoffroy de Charny claimed to have brought it back from the Middle East.

It was displayed in a French church before becoming the property of Duke Ludovico I of the House of Savoy. A few decades later, it was almost lost in a fire - the burns are evident today, despite the efforts of nuns to darn them. Historians also believe that at one point the secretive Knights Templar had possession of it.

In 1983, the former King Of Italy, Umberto II, bequeathed it to the late Pope John Paul. It narrowly escaped destruction again in 1997 when a fire ravaged the Guarini Chapel where it is held.

Today the shroud is owned by the Catholic Church, which has not officially endorsed its authenticity. Pope John Paul II stated in 1998: "The church entrusts to scientists the tasks of continuing to reach adequate answers to the questions connected to this shroud."

In 2000, when he was a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI came closest to authentidisplayed cating it when he wrote that it was "a truly mysterious image, which no human artistry was capable of producing".

Last year Vatican scholar Dr Barbara Frale claimed she had deciphered Christ's death certificate from words written on the sheet. Dr Frale, a researcher in the Holy See's archives, says she found the words "Jesus Nazarene" on the cloth.

Computer analysis of photographs of the shroud revealed a jumble of faint words written in Greek, Aramaic and Latin.

But, according to Dr Frale's reconstruction, the inscription reads: "In the year 16 of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, Jesus the Nazarene, taken down in the early evening after having been condemned to death by a Roman judge because he was found guilty by a Hebrew authority, is hereby sent for burial with the obligation of being consigned to his family only after one full year."

Gian Maria Zaccone, scientific director of Turin's Shroud Museum, says whether it is real or not is irrelevant: "Scientists can't explain how the image was formed, and we should leave it at that. It's not important whether or not it's a fake - the important thing is it encourages faith."

No matter whether you believe the Turin Shroud is genuine or the greatest April Fool in history, one thing's for sure, this spring millions will queue to see it.



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Shroud of Turin Not Jesus', Tomb Discovery Suggests

The simple weave of a textile found in a first-century A.D. Jerusalem tomb adds to evidence that the Shroud of Turin isn't from Jesus' time, experts say.

The simple weave of a textile found in a first-century A.D. Jerusalem tomb adds to evidence that the Shroud of Turin isn't from Jesus' time, experts say.

Photograph courtesy Shimon Gibson

Mati Milstein in Jerusalem

for National Geographic News

Updated December 17, 2009

From a long-sealed cave tomb, archaeologists have excavated the only known Jesus-era burial shroud in Jerusalem, a new study says.

The discovery adds to evidence that the controversial Shroud of Turin did not wrap the body of Christ, researchers say. 

What's more, the remains of the man wrapped in the shroud are said to hold DNA evidence of leprosy—the earliest known case of the disease.

"In all of the approximately 1,000 tombs from the first century A.D. which have been excavated around Jerusalem, not one fragment of a shroud had been found" until now, said archaeologist Shimon Gibson, who excavated the site for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

"We really hit the jackpot."

Found in a first-century cemetery filled with priestly and aristocratic burials, the tomb was initially opened by looters, who left the shroud behind, apparently thinking it has no market value. Experts were able to retrieve the artifact before it began to disintegrate.

The so-called Tomb of the Shroud is a rarity among Jerusalem tombs from the time of Jesus.

For starters, the Tomb of the Shroud appears to have been sealed shut with plaster for 2,000 years, perhaps as a precaution against the spread of leprosy or tuberculosis, which was also detected in DNA extracted from the man's bones.

The tight seal apparently allowed the shroud—radiocarbon-dated to between A.D. 1 and 50—to survive the high humidity levels characteristic of Jerusalem-area caves.

Archaeologists were surprised to even find remains inside the tomb. Traditionally corpses were removed from such tombs after a year or so and placed in ossuaries, or bone boxes. (Related: "'Jesus Box' Is a Fake, Israeli Experts Rule.")

Evidence Against Jesus Link to Shroud of Turin?

Housed since 1578 in a Turin, Italy, cathedral, the Shroud of Turin is believed by many to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ after his death in Jerusalem—but the cloth has been decried as a hoax by many others. Several studies have attempted to settle the debate.

Carbon-dating studies by three different laboratories in the late 1980s, for example, suggested the shroud was made between A.D. 1260 and 1390, long after the time of Jesus. In 2005 another study asserted that the 1980s test had been based on a patch added in the Middle Ages and that the shroud is actually 1,300 to 3,000 years old.

(Related: "'Jesus' Shroud? Recent Findings Renew Authenticity Debate.")

The weave of the Tomb of the Shroud fabric, the new study says, casts further doubt on the Shroud of Turin as Jesus' burial cloth.

The newfound shroud was something of a patchwork of simply woven linen and wool textiles, the study found. The Shroud of Turin, by contrast, is made of a single textile woven in a complex twill pattern, a type of cloth not known to have been available in the region until medieval times, Gibson said.

Both the tomb's location and the textile offer evidence for the apparently elite status of the corpse, he added. The way the wool in the shroud was spun indicates it had been imported from elsewhere in the Mediterranean—something a wealthy Jerusalem family from this period would likely have done.

First Such Shroud, Second Such Textile

Assuming the new shroud typifies those used in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, the researchers maintain that the Shroud of Turin could not have originated in the city.

That's perhaps a big assumption, given that there are no other known shrouds from the same place and time for comparison—though in one case clothing had been found in a Jerusalem tomb.

"There have now been only two cases of textiles discovered in Jewish burials from this period," said archaeologist Amos Kloner of Bar Ilan University. And both appear to contradict the idea that the Shroud of Turin is from Jesus-era Jerusalem.

As for the analysis of the newfound shroud, the researchers "checked their findings with the best experts, and this textile was found to be different [from the Shroud of Turin]," said Kloner, who was not involved in the new study, published today in the journal PLoS ONE.

To Kloner, the most important aspect of the new find is that the shroud could be carbon-dated. Examples of Jerusalem textiles from this period—never mind burial shrouds—are so rare that their main importance is in providing organic material for such tests.

The opportunity to compare the weave of this shroud to the weave of the Shroud of Turin is simply an added bonus, he said. "It is wonderful that they found this niche with the remains of a person, and even remains of hair," Kloner said.

Shroud Is a Picture of Health

In addition to adding to the Shroud of Turin debate, the newfound shroud could help paint a clearer picture of the public health situation at the start of the last millennium.

Experts don't know much about the origins of leprosy, and biblical references may well have referred to various skin conditions. The disease is believed to have originated in India and to have arrived in the Mediterranean region sometime between the fourth and second centuries B.C. These most recent findings in Jerusalem may be able to fill critical gaps in knowledge of the disease.

The deceased's apparently high status, right up to the end, indicates leprosy and tuberculosis crossed socio-economic lines at the time in Jerusalem—and that perhaps not all lepers were ostracized, as historical accounts often suggest, the study says.

The origins of leprosy remain hazy, but the researchers are hopeful that, as with the new study, a combination of archaeology and molecular pathology will help trace the evolution and distribution of this and other ancient diseases.

"The medical research has been quite extensive and has shed enormous light on the inhabitants of Jerusalem," study leader Gibson said. "This is the first time that DNA research has been done on the skeletal remains of human beings from the period of Jesus around Jerusalem."



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A Forensic Science CSI to Explain the Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin

The Forensic Science CSI Quest for the Historical Jesus
The Longest Running Forensic Science CSI in History

Sometimes the CSI evidence doesn't make sense even to the best CSI or CSI fan. It is like finding the body of a scuba diver in a tree in the desert outside Las Vegas. The forensic science picture of the Shroud of Turin is every bit as nonsensical.

What follows is an essay that will challenge the best CSI fan. It doesn't matter if you are one of the millions of people who believe that the Shroud is fake or one of the millions of people who think it is real.

The  essay that follows is not about religion. It is about CSI methods and CSI-style thinking applied to an artifact or a relic or whatever it is. It is about CSI-style thinking applied to the enigma of the fake or real pictures of Jesus that are found on the Shroud. It is the forensic science CSI quest for the historical Jesus.

Read the Five-minute CSI Challenge:

Institute of Physics Report on the Shroud of TurinForensic Science CSI: The Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin - The Science Quest for the Historical Jesus


CSI you say?  Crime Scene Investigation?  Maybe!

If the Shroud of Turin is fake, then many centuries ago someone forged these pictures of Jesus on the cloth. With forensic science, we should be able to figure out how it was done. If the Shroud is the real burial cloth of Jesus, as many believe it is, then with a bit of CSI-style thinking we should be able to figure out how the pictures of Jesus came to be on this cloth?

Is it fair to call the images pictures of Jesus? If the Shroud of Turin is fake, then certainly the forger intended us to think of the images as pictures of Jesus. We can call them pictures of Jesus just as we do with any artistic picture of Jesus. If the pictures are a natural phenomenon of science, as some scientists believe, or if they are miraculous pictures, then we are on safe ground calling them pictures of Jesus.

Until recently the prima facie CSI-like case for forgery seemed strong. Now, for the first time, we have new forensic science data. Much of it didn't come to light until 2004. And because of this new information, the enigma of the pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin becomes even more intriguing and perhaps more difficult to solve. The fan of CSI, the student of forensic science, and all of us should be challenged to try and figure out what is going on here.

Let's be clearLet's be clear in forensic science and CSI terms. No one has figured out how these pictures came to be on the cloth; not if it was faked and not if it is real.

Let's also be clear in a forthright CSI way of thinking, the carbon 14 testing has been so challenged by modern forensic science (as recently reported by the Associated Press, the American Chemical SocietyNature MagazineThe New York Times and BBC) that it fails the test of reasonable doubt. The honest CSI is left with no option but to admit that there is no evidence from forensic science that the cloth is medieval.

Read the Five-minute CSI Challenge:

Institute of Physics Report on the Shroud of TurinForensic Science CSI: The Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin - The Science Quest for the Historical Jesus


The Big CSI Picture - Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud

The Shroud of Turin pictures of Jesus

CSI forensic science microscope picture from the picture of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin

A forensic phase-contrast microscope view of a fiber from the Shroud of Turin picture of Jesus


Read the Five-minute CSI Challenge:

Institute of Physics Report on the Shroud of TurinForensic Science CSI: The Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin - The Science Quest for the Historical Jesus

Please give a link to this web site:

Title: A Forensic Science CSI to Explain the Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin

Thank you.




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Forensic Science CSI to Explain the Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin

The Forensic Science CSI Quest for the Historical Jesus
The Longest Running Forensic Science CSI in History

Sometimes the CSI evidence doesn't make sense even to the best CSI or CSI fan. It is like finding the body of a scuba diver in a tree in the desert outside Las Vegas.

CSI? Was a crime committed? If the Shroud of Turin is fake, then many centuries ago someone forged these pictures of Jesus on the cloth and we should be able to figure out how it was done. If the Shroud is the real burial cloth of Jesus, as many believe it is, we should be able to figure out how the pictures of Jesus came to be on this cloth?

Is it fair to call the images pictures of Jesus? If the Shroud of Turin is fake, then certainly the forger intended us to think of the images as pictures of Jesus. We can call them pictures of Jesus just as we do for any artistic picture of Jesus. If the pictures are a natural phenomenon, as some scientists believe, or if they are miraculous pictures, then we are on safe ground calling thempictures of Jesus.

This site is not about religion. It is about CSI methods, Crime Scene Investigation thinking. It's about forensic science applied to solving the enigma of these pictures of Jesus. The term CSI is used as a shorthand expression for forensic science explanations.

It's important because, frankly, millions of people believe the Shroud is genuine and the pictures are really of Jesus. But it is also important because millions of others think it is a fake. Until recently the prima facie case for forgery seemed strong. Now, for the first time, we have some new CSI data. Much of it didn't come to light until 2004. And because of this new information, the enigma of the pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin becomes even more intriguing and perhaps more difficult to solve. The fan of CSI, the student of forensic science, and all of us should be challenged to try and figure out what is going on here.

Let's be clearLet's be clear in forensic science CSI terms. No one has figured out how these pictures came to be on the cloth; not if it was faked and not if it is real.

The prima facie case was:

  • In 1389, a French bishop claimed that an artist confessed to painting the pictures. Did the bishop lie? The discovery of a picture of a very faint second face on the back of the cloth suggests that he did. Modern forensic science proves that he did.

  • In 1978, Walter McCrone, a world renowned forensic science microscopist, reported finding paint particles. Was he mistaken? A battery of CSI-style forensic tests, suggests that he was. They include ultraviolet spectrometry, infrared spectrometry, x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, thermography, pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry, laser microprobe Raman analyses, and microchemical testing. No evidence for pigments (paint, dye or stains) was found anywhere on the Turin Shroud. The pictures were not painted.

  • In 1988, three highly reputable radiocarbon dating laboratories conducted carbon 14 tests on snippets of material cut from the cloth. All three labs concluded that the cloth originated between 1260 and 1390 CE. But now, as reported by the Associated Press, theAmerican Chemical SocietyNature MagazineThe New York Times and BBC), the labs were given invalid samples. No one is questioning the quality of the testing performed in these labs. But this is a classic CSI sampling failure.

The Big CSI Picture - Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud

Look carefully at the following picture. You will notice two pictures of Jesus on a fourteen-foot long piece of linen. They are ghostlike pictures lying head-to-head with the top picture upside down.

The Shroud of Turin pictures of Jesus


The 2004 Forensic Science CSI Bombshell - The Second Face Picture

Computer enhanced picture of the second face on the Shroud of TurinWhen, in April 2004, the peer-reviewed, scientific Journal of Optics reported the discovery of a second face on the back of the Shroud it caused a firestorm of new interest in the Shroud. The Associated Press, the BBC and CNN fed the story around the world and newspapers wrote stories about it.

The big CSI question was how did the picture get there. It is in perfect registry with face picture on the front of the Shroud. What that means is that if you push a pin through some specific part of the face, it will emerge on the other side in the same part of the face. But if you take that pin and pull back some of the fibers in the thread, you will not find any image on those fibers. The pictures of Jesus are on the surface only. Nothing had soaked through to form the picture on the back of the cloth. In CSI terms: the pictures are superficial.

We need to look a bit closer at the fibers to see if there is a clue.


A CSI Microscopic Picture of the Fibers

CSI forensic science picture from the picture of Jesus on the Shroud of TurinAs the forensic scientist notices, the cellulose fibers that make up the yarn (thread) are from the woody stems of flax plants. The fibers are about about 15 microns thick. By comparison, a typical human hair is about 100 microns in diameter. About 70 to 120 fibers are spun together to make the linen yarn used to weave the cloth. You can clearly see the fibers, the yarn, and the weave of the cloth in this picture.

Notice that some of the fibers have a golden, caramel color. It is this color that actually produces the pictures of Jesus that we see on the Turin Shroud. The big forensic science CSI question: what is that caramel colored stuff?

It should be noted that, mistakenly, at different times during the last 25 years, different forensic science researchers have assumed that it was either a change of color to the fibers themselves or a pigment that coated the fibers. But those CSI assumptions have been proven wrong.


Another CSI Picture - Phase-Contrast Microscopic View

A phase-contrast microscope view of a fiber from the Shroud of Turin picture of JesusIt turns out that a very thin, clear film coats some of the fibers. And in some places, and only in some places, this film has changed color.

Spectral analysis and wet chemistry, typical tools of the forensic science CSI, reveal that it is comprised of starch fractions and saccharides.

The coating is only between 200 and 600 nanometers thick. That is thinner than the invisible anti-glare coating on modern eyeglasses. It is as thin as the wall of a soap bubble.

This chemical film, where it has changed color, is consistent with a melanoidin, something that is produced by an amino/carbonyl reaction. It seems to be the same chemistry; the same browning process that give baked cookies and beer their brownish color.

The film, whether clear or colored, is only found on the outermost fibers of the thread and only on the sides of the thread that face outward on both sides of the cloth.

Another important fact is that this carbohydrate film can be removed from the fibers by reducing it with diimide or by pulling it away with adhesive tape. When the coating is removed, the fibers are clear (or at least as clear as ancient cellulose fibers can be). The forensic science CSI conclusion must be that the pictures of Jesus are contained in the coating.

Throughout the centuries, as the Shroud of Turin was unfurled for public display and folded or rolled up for storage, microscopic bits of the filmy substance certainly must have flaked away. And that can be seen in the picture above. In fact, when the Shroud was examined in 1978, pieces of the coating, pieces of the picture of Jesus, were pulled away when adhesive tape was rubbed on the Shroud to collect particulate samples for forensic science research. Today, countless tiny bits of these pictures of Jesus, even whole fibers of the Shroud's cloth, are on microscope slides in laboratories around the world.


The Filmy Substance of the Pictures of Jesus

This coating was not applied mechanically. There is little question about that. If it were applied as a thick, viscous liquid, there would be a thick coating, just as if the pictures were painted with an oil paint. If it was applied as a thin liquid, the liquid would have soaked into the thread. Capillary action would moved the carbohydrate solution deep into the thread.

There is, however, a way to apply this coating to the cloth so that it only coats the outermost fibers at the crowns of the yarn. By washing the cloth in water that contains trace amounts of starch and various saccharides and then allowing it to dry, just such a coating will form.

It turns out that the distribution of the carbohydrate substance found on the Shroud of Turin fits an evaporation-deposit model.

Interestingly, this fits a description, right out of history, of how linen was made in the first century. Pliny the Elder tells us that during weaving, threads on the loom were lubricated with crude starch to make weaving easier and to prevent fraying. The starch was then washed out by rinsing it in suds from the Soapwort plant and the linen cloth was spread out across bushes to dry.

Even with rinsing, trace amounts of starch and the numerous saccharides found in Saponaria officinalis (Soapwort) would have remained in the wet cloth.As the cloth dried, moisture would wick its way to the surface carrying with it dissolved starch and saccharides. The dissolved material would concentrate at the surface and remains on the outermost fibers as the moisture evaporated into the air.

It is important to further note that during drying, the side of the cloth that faces sun and gets more air circulation will have a greater concentration of starch and saccharides and this may be important information in understanding the very faint second face on the backside of the cloth.

Raymond Rogers, a Fellow of the University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, a charter member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science Education and a chemist who has published many scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, has tested this concept. Using primitive linen (not modern linen which has been sized) he applied crude starch (not modern refined starch) and washed it in Saponaria officinalis. He dried it flat just as linen would have been dried in Pliny's time. He was able to duplicate the type of coating found on the Shroud's fibers.


Pictures of Jesus Formed by Browning

Ray Rogers with Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan have hypothesized that a complex but well documented, naturally occurring chemical reaction may explain all of the known image chemistry of the Shroud of Turin. They have documented this in the scientific, peer-reviewed journal Melanoidins (Vol. 4, Ames J.M. ed., Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2003, pp.106-113, "The Shroud of Turin: An Amino-Carbonyl Reaction (Maillard Reaction) May Explain The Image Formation").

In summary, Rogers and Arnoldi have suggested a reaction in which a carbonyl group of saccharides reacts with an amino group producing N-substituted glycosylamine. The unstable glycosylamine undergoes Amadori rearrangement, forming ketosamines, which then form nitrogenous polymers and melanoidins.

Rogers has conducted numerous experiments to show that this would work. Additional papers by Rogers in support of this include: "The Chemistry of Autocatalytic Processes in the Context of the Shroud of Turin," "Pyrolysis/Mass Spectrometry Applied to the Shroud of Turin" and "Scientific Method Applied to the Shroud of Turin: A Review (with Arnoldi)."

Why This Picture Forming Idea Might Work

Slowly, two ghostlike, bleary pictures would almost certainly take form if this is really a burial cloth. Shortly after death amine vapors of cadaverine and putrescine would come forth from the body and react with the coating on the fibers if that coating was in fact there. The pictures might not be visible right away. They might for some time be only latent pictures that would emerged later as chemical reactions ran their coarse over time. It all depends on many factors including ambient temperature, humidity, the concentration levels of starch and saccharides, the body chemistry of the deceased person, timing (how soon after death was the person buried in a shroud), body washing, etc. But some form of Maillard browning would occur.

backsidesmall.jpgThe amine vapors would also diffuse through the cloth and come in contact with the evaporation surface coating on the other side of the cloth. And this may help us further understand the picture of a second face on the back of the cloth.

But this is not a tidy explanation. For one thing, vapors coming off of a body will diffuse and go off in all directions. Yet we have, at least on the front of the cloth, very distinct, properly focused, properly exposed pictures. This is a problem if we imagine that the pictures were formed by gaseous emissions. We'll examine this problem shortly.

The chemical process, that would certainly occur, would continue until the reactants were exhausted or until the body and the cloth were separated. And that is the other part of the problem. We can assume that the cloth and the body were separated at some time. How can we not assume this. But we must also realize that it must have happened soon, before fluidic bodily decomposition products formed and ravaged the pictures and the cloth. Soon after exposure to decomposition products, the cloth would rot away along with the body.

This raises another interesting problem. The chemical reaction needed to be long enough for a picture to form and not so long that the picture was oversaturated. In photographic parlance, we have a picture that is not underexposed or overexposed. How likely is that?


Patterns of Discontinuity in the Jesus Pictures

If we look at the pattern of the brownish color in the pictures of Jesus we notice that it is not uniform. There are distinct discontinuities. Along any single fiber there may be a stretch of color, then a clear stretch, and then some more color. Moreover, one fiber may have color while the one next to it may not; and so forth in alternating or seemingly erratic patterns.

In looking at the Shroud, if we step back from the pattern of discontinuous bits of caramel-brown, our eyes see average colors. Where there are many bits of color we see a darker shade. Where there are fewer bits we see a lighter shade. While we can understand how this visual blending works, just as we know how pictures are formed from pixels in newspapers (halftone) and inkjet printers and computer screens, it is hard to understand how a chemical reaction from diffusing vapors could produce this visual (so-called) pixelated (and ironically pixilated) characteristic.

Step back farther and a bleary, ghostlike picture of Jesus appears on the Shroud.


The Beginning of the Forensic Science CSI of The Shroud, Before We Called it Forensic Science and When Sherlock Holmes Defined CSI

In 1898, an amateur photographer, Secondo Pia, took a picture of the Shroud with a large wooden box camera. Back in his darkroom, he examined the glass-plate negative by holding it up to the light. He was so startled by what he saw that he almost dropped to negative, which would certainly have shattered thus losing one of the greatest pictures ever taken. What Pia saw was a positive, realistic looking picture of a man. Pia's negative was a positive and the Shroud, or so it seemed, was a negative.

negativeandpositive.jpgThe ghostlike picture on the left show how the picture of Jesus appears on the Shroud. When photographed with a film camera something quite startling emerges. If we look at negative before making a print we see a realistic picture of a man.

Thus began the longest running Forensic Science CSI in history: how to explain these pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin. From that day three schools of thought emerged. Then, as now, those schools of thought persist. Forensic science has yet to fully explain these enigmatic pictures. They are:

  • Fake, the work of some masterful crafter of fake relics
  • Natural, pictures explainable by forensic science
  • Miraculous pictures of Jesus, beyond explanation and properly not something that can be explored by science.

We will examine the first two possibilities:

If We Wish to Think These Are Fake Pictures of Jesus

If we want to believe that the Shroud is not genuine then we have to consider some basic questions. How did the faker of relics accomplish this and produce these pictures of Jesus.

1) How did a faker of relics alter the chemical properties of the carbohydrate coating to create the color and how did he do so with such artistic precision -- on both sides of the cloth?

2) The history of art is the story of the evolution of styles, techniques, methods and technology. Every work of art and fakery is no exception. Every form of art and craft has its precedents. When a new technique is discovered it is exploited. Over time every worthwhile technique is refined and improved. Where are the precedents for pictures such as those that we find on the Shroud? Where are the other works in this once-upon-a-time new-found technology? Are we to imagine that some genius invented a new way to create pictures and that a single picture was made and the technology was lost to history?

3) How did  a faker of pictures create a suitable negative picture hundreds of years before the discovery of photographic negativity? How did he know that he had it right? How, without a camera and film, could he test his work? The negativity is extraordinarily precise and correct. Was he simply lucky?

The bigger question is why? What was his purpose? What was his motive? If we are to ask why he created an extraordinarily complex chemical picture, in negative, we must ask some other questions.

  • Why a negative image when a positive image would be more convincing? Keep in mind that gradual tone negative pictures were unknown in the Middle Ages.
  • Why did he go against conventional expectations of his era? Why did he create a picture with wounds from nails that went through Jesus' wrists? All art and all expectation throughout medieval Europe showed Jesus nailed to his cross through the palms of his hands.
  • Why is Jesus shown completely naked, unlike in all artistic depictions everywhere throughout the history of Christianity?

Despite many attempts to do so, no one has found or invented an artistic or crafty technique that can reproduce even a few of the characteristics of the pictures. That does not mean, that in the future, someone will not find a method to create such pictures. But even if someone does so, the tenacious question will remain: How likely is it that there would be such a one-of-a-kind work of art for which there are no known precedents; created by methods that were never again exploited?

Any method that might be devised must be scientifically credulous, fit into the history of art, and conform to the cultural expectations in which the technology was supposedly employed. If not, it will be seen as newly invented art designed to mimic an otherwise unexplained natural process or a supernatural event. The skeptic has a dilemma. To believe that the Shroud is fakery he or she must rely on an underlying belief that transcends forensic science as we know it today.

Are They Natural Pictures of Jesus? The Forensic Science CSI Must Consider the Problem of Chiaroscuro

Lean over and look down into a perfectly still, smooth-surfaced pool of water and you will see a perfectly formed picture of yourself. But drop a pebble into the water, or wait for a breeze to ripple the surface, and the picture becomes indistinct, fuzzy and unclear.

The image in the pool of water, when rippled, looks like an out-of-focus photograph. But that really isn't the case. In a naturally reflected picture, your eyes are the lenses that provide focus. The reflection surface is wrinkled and causes reflected light to go off in different directions. It distorts the resolution of the image but it doesn't defocus it. While the analogy is not a perfect one it suggests a potential problem for a natural image explanation.

The pictures on the Shroud are not only very well focused but highly resolved. It is almost certain that in the first century a piece of linen was naturally wrinkled, that it even had creases from folding. This is something that would certainly distort the resolution of the image.

A reflecting pool was certainly mankind’s first mirror.  Eventually man would learn to make other mirrors, first by polishing stone or metal and eventually by fixing metals such as mercury, tin or silver to pieces of glass. Of course, the glass had to be smooth and flat. If the glass was wavy or curved, any reflected picture would be highly distorted. We see this when we look into the special mirrors in carnival funhouses. Again there is an analogy that relates to the pictures on the Shroud of Turin. It is hard to imagine how any process could form an essentially undistorted image if the cloth was draped across a human form.

What assumption can we make about how Jesus’ body was positioned on the limestone shelf in the tomb? How flat was the shelf? Was it smooth or rough-hewn? We don’t know. Was the cloth smoothed out?

In placing Jesus’ body on the shelf was the cloth pulled about, rippled in places and even creased in places? We can’t know. How closely did the cloth follow the contour of Jesus’ body? Was it pulled like a bed sheet? Did loving hands smooth it across the body? Did it stick in places to still wet blood or to remaining water from some washing? Were there flowers resting on the cloth weighing it down or under the cloth propping it up?

Image analysts and forensic pathologists argue that the image on the cloth is of a man with his knees bent slightly and with his head tilted forward as though resting on a pillow that was under the cloth. Assumptions about the shape of the cloth and how closely it followed the contours of Jesus’ body are difficult if not impossible to make. If wrapped closely, wide and grotesque distortion would result. But even if draped loosely, the distortion caused by the surface terrain of the cloth should be evident.

It becomes extremely difficult to imagine an image that was not very much distorted by shapes and wrinkles no matter how the image was formed. This is perhaps the most intuitively strong argument for thinking the image is the work of an artist. It would be a powerful argument were it not for the chemistry of the image and some of the other rather odd qualities of the pictures.

There is another problem that we must consider. Scientists refer to it as saturation. In the parlance of photography we might say that the pictures of Jesus are surprisingly not underexposed or overexposed. This means if the pictures are the product of a chemical reaction, the reaction ran long enough but not too long. What stopped the reaction at just the right time, everywhere on the pictures?

There would need to be sufficient chemical reaction time and concentrations of reactants to cause highly discernable pictures. Similarly the reaction must end sufficiently early to avoid over saturation which would washout image detail. Computerized image analysis shows no saturation plateaus or washout anywhere in the image. In simple terms, the chemical process ended late enough to form a discernable image and early enough so it was not ruined.

Reactant exhaustion is one thing that would have ended the process. Another would have been separation of Jesus’ body from the cloth at just the right time. And we do know that if a natural process formed the pictures, the cloth at sometime had to have been separated from the body.

Another problem is diffusion. If we accept the hypothesis that chemical changes to the carbohydrate coating on the Shroud’s fibers was caused by amine vapors, we must recognize that vapors diffuse and scatter when they come off of a body. Heavy amines molecules do not diffuse as greatly as those of lighter gases. Nonetheless they go isotropically in different directions. So precise are some of the features on the Shroud’s pictures that one pundit likened vaporous formation to painting a perfect copy of the Mona Lisa with aerosol spray paint.


The pictures seem spectacularly like chiaroscuro images; pictures created by reflected light. When we look at the pictures on the Shroud, and particularly the face, we see seemingly three-dimensional pictures on a flat two-dimensional plane, much as we do when we look at a photograph or a conventional painting of a person -- and just as we do when we look at a reflection in a smooth pond or a flat mirror. The cheeks, as they curve around from the front of the face, seem to recede into shade. The hollows of the eyes are evident from their darker tones. The tip of the nose is white and stands out. This is how reflected light works on the human face. Unless we are an artist or a photographer, we probably don’t think about the patterns of light in pictures. But our mind nonetheless puts it all together for us when we look at a person or a picture of a person. And the Shroud, to our way of perceiving pictures, to our anthropic bias, does look like a picture of reflected light.

How do we imagine that given so many chemical reaction variables . . .

  • wrinkles

  • the shape of the cloth

  • diffusion

  • ambient temperatures

  • humidity

  • body chemistry

  • a likely uneven distribution of evaporation-model coating

  • other trace impurities

. . . that nature will be so kind as to produce such near perfect chiaroscuro pictures of Jesus quite by accident -- pictures of arguably the most important person in history?

Thus the forensic science CSI to explain the pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin continues.


Please give a link to this web site:

Title: A Forensic Science CSI to Explain the Pictures of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin


Thank you.




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Tomb DescriptionPDFPrintE-mail
The Tomb - Details


The following images are provided to the Tomb of Jesus Website courtesy Ken Lee of Eleven Shadows Ken visited the tomb in 1997 and 2005 when he took these images.

A Description of the Tomb of Yuz Asaf, believed to be the name Jesus took in Kashmir, by Dr Fida Hassnain


Click Here For More Photos of The Tomb

The present building built from bricks and mortar is raised on the ancient stone sepulchre. the building is rectangular, with an attached entrance chamber. Towards the East of the structure lies the common grave-yard.

"The plinth of the present building is in reality a rectangular structure enclosed by walls made of chiselled stone blocks of big size. Very recently, the ancient stone wallings have been plastered with cement, but the upper portion of the original door, for access to the crypt, is still visible. Its decorated stones have been plastered with cement. The cella is an ancient structure decorated internally but access to is blocked now by the road towards its West, which have arisen [sic] in the past. There is also a small niche towards the North of this access door. This cella is the original sepulchre containing the remains of Yuz Asaf.


The structure above it contains the following:

1. Outer wooden sarcophagus

2. Inner wooden sarcophagus

3. Two artificial grave stones.

4. One stone slab with carved foot prints.

5. One rectangular stone slab, or a grave stone

6. One wooden cross

7. One wooden insence stance...

"This tomb was bult in a Jewish style of a sepulchre, with a room underground, having a side door. The shrine is quite distinct from the Muslim shrines, which have the Buddhist style of conic domes..."

This can be found on pages 223 to 224 of The Fifth Gospel by Dr Fida Hassnain and Dahan Levi.


(Below Images are taken from "The Rozabal - Beyond the Da Vinci Code" by Hassnain and Olsson and are re-produced here with the authors permission. The tomb has undergone many changes in recent years and these old photographs provide us a much needed record of various items that were present at the tomb originally.)




Wooden SarcophagusThe boulder within the sarcophagus


Grave inside the sarcophagusWooden Cross or Ornamental Sword (1975)
Entrance to the TombWooden insense stand (1975)





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Photos of the Rozabal Tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir

The following images were taken December 2006 provided by an individual who visited the tomb and was able to take these photos. Photography is generally prohibited in and around the tomb.


Older Photos

The following images are provided to the Tomb of Jesus Website courtesy Ken Lee of Eleven Shadows

Ken visited the tomb in 1997 when he took these images.


Photos from 1930s - 1950s

The following images are taken, with permission, from The Rozabal - Beyond the Da Vinci Code - by Fida Hassnain and Suzanne Olsson









1978 Telegraph Feature

The following images are photographs of an article that appeared in the Telegraph magazine in the UK. The feature was done on the tomb just prior to the 1978 "International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus from the Cross" in London.


The photograph of the footprints in this article is very detailed.



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The Crucifixion - Events


Do we have documented evidence of anyone surviving a Crucifixion in the 1st Century?

"I was sent by Titus Caesar with Ceralius and a thousand riders to a certain town by the name of Thecoa to find out whether a camp could be set up at this place. On my return I saw many prisoners who had been crucified, and recognized three of them as my former companions. I was inwardly very sad about this and went with tears in my eyes to Titus and told him about them. He at once gave the order that they should be taken down and given the best treatment so they could get better. However two of them died while being attended to by the doctor; the third recovered.”(Flavius Josephus, Vita, IV, 75)


The above quote from the Jewish historian Josephus is very significant.


We are conditioned from birth to associate crucifixion with death. Many people will never have heard of the idea of survival of crucifixion. The idea of Jesus dying on the cross is something that is so widely accepted that its rarely questioned.


But what happened to Jesus Christ? We are fortunate to live in modern times, when science and the field of medicine lend us powerful tools of analysis, as well as a language of medical and scientific terminology. These things even allow us to determine what may have occurred physiologically to Jesus Christ during and, assuming he survived the crucifixion, even after his ordeal on the cross.

The Crucifixion - Pilate & the Centurion

"And now when the even [evening] was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.”

Pilate would have experience of many Crucifixions in his time and he was surprised how quickly Jesus seemed to die. The usual duration for a crucifixion would be several days and the victims would die from asphyxiation over an extended time. The punishment was designed to be long and drawn out.

Jesus' Legs were not Broken

Crucially Jesus' legs were not broken as he was deemed to have already been dead. Holger Kersten has shown that, based on the Greek text of these events, it seems likely that the test for if Jesus was alive or dead was the lance used to pierce his side. As he did not react to this it was assumed he was dead.

When Jesus side was pierced "blood and water" flowed out. Would this occur on a body that had been dead for some time?

Below are some clips from 'Did Jesus Die?'

Dr James Tabor

Below is are clips from 'Did Jesus Die?'. We have Dr James Tabor talking about the possibility of survival of Crucifixion. Dr Tabor goes on to talk about the reason for Jesus to travel to India.



Dr James Tabor - Resurrection or Resuscitation?

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The “Tomb of Christ” in the enigma of Rennes-le-Château Before the enigma of Rennes-le-Château, the Tomb of Christ existed

tomb_jerusalem.jpgSince the publication of The Da Vinci Code, which (it should be remembered) is a novel, the link between Rennes-le-Château and Jesus Christ is solidly linked with the enigma of Saunière, if only because of the court case that has ensued, between Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh on the one hand and Dan Brown’s publisher on the other. Let us note that this link – between Jesus and Rennes-le-Château – was originally not a part of the puzzle, when Robert Charroux and Gerard de Sède were writing about the mystery of the enigmatic priest. Both works speak of a treasure – a physical treasure – or the transmission of a type of message that is destined for our time. This “transmission” is specifically aligned with a secret that is linked with Saunière and which presents a lost dimension of the history of France; at the time, it appears that there is no connection with the Church or a major revelation about the Church’s history. It’s important to remember this, for what is now, wasn’t necessarily at first.

boulstperi.gifCertain “funerary” knowledge

To illustrate the various phases of this evolution, we will use Saunière’s model. For sure, we know that knowledge of a “hidden Christian tradition” existed at the time of Saunière’s – and many centuries before. The Cathars and their specific beliefs, which later were proven to coincidence with portions of forgotten – lost – gospels is a point in hand. 
But we will use Saunière’s model. There ,we find a reference to “Tomb of Christ”. Do we need to take this type of information literally, or is it merely a name that is placed there as a mask for what is truly hidden on that location? Irrelevant of this extremely important question, we can merely note that Saunière himself decided to use these words to identify two important locations that he found near Perillos: For one location, he uses “Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea”, for the other, “Tomb of Christ”. 
The model was revealed to the general public in 1995. Between Andre Douzet’s recovery of the model and 1995, only ten-odd people were aware of its existence. In 1995, this changed and since, many are aware of the model, what it contains, including its anomalies… as well as its potential. 
Making a link between Saunière and the “Tomb of Christ”, before the revelation of the model in 1995, is therefore quite impossible to “guess”. Let us note that originally, there was no link between a major mystery that involved Mary Magdalene, Christ and the origins of Christianity on one hand and the mystery of Rennes-le-Château on the other. That link should normally only become available with the revelation of Saunière’s model. So did it? The answer, intriguingly, is “no”. 

boulstperi.gifBefore the model

holybloodgrail.jpgOriginally, the “mystery of Rennes-le-Château” was mainly the “mystery of Saunière”. And this mystery involved a treasure, of some sort, but deemed to be monetary wealth. After all, this priest accumulated a tremendous wealth in an extremely short period of time, without an identifiable cause or reason. The “Christ dimension” was added by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in their “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”, published in 1982. The authors are one of the prime instruments that promote the legend that Mary Magdalene has come to France to spend the final years of her life. Though this tradition exists in France, the authors add a new component: that she was accompanied by a child, the child of Jesus… and thus perhaps even by Jesus himself, dead or alive. To this, they add that the Merovingian kings that ruled France were the descendants of this “Jesus’ bloodline”, something that remains, almost a quarter of a century later, totally unproven. Nevertheless, their work begs the question whether or not this implies that there is a possibility to find a Tomb of Christ somewhere in France… if not in the region of Rennes-le-Château, or linked with the enigma of Saunière. 
tomb_simon.jpgThe next book that is of interest is written by S.P. Simon, in 1990. It is titled "L’or du temple et le tombeau du Christ – L’Énigme de Rennes-le-Château révélée”, published by L’égrégore/Curandera, in Voreppe, Isère. It straightforwardly uses the “Tomb of Christ” in its title and identifies it as the revelation of the enigma of Rennes-le-Château.
The author’s real name is apparently someone named Gruaz. During the construction of his thesis, he uses the prophecies of Nostradamus and arrives at the conclusion that Jesus’ body is located in Rennes-le-Château. According to this author, Jesus – Christ – will return with the gold of the Temple, which he has been guarding for the past 2000 years, through which he will fulfil the prophecies. The author isn’t the inventor of this hypothesis: in fact, it is based on the famous “Dossiers Secrets” by Lobineau. 
Again, we need to underline that at the time, Saunière’s model hadn’t yet been recovered. It will only fall in André Douzet’s hands in 1994. 
tomb_poesson.jpgLet us look at another book, “Occident Tradition Secrète”, in 1994, in Paris, by Guy Trédaniel. Its author is Paul Poesson. He states that Jesus comes from Egypt and that he studied in Alexandria. This type of information is also found in Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince’s 1997 book, The Templar Revelation, which also speaks about the “true identity of Christ”. It is this book that will become the main inspiration for The Da Vinci Code, which appears in 2003. 
Poesson concludes that a group of people, all of whom were involved in some way or another in the Passion of Christ, came to France: Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, etc. Using a methodology that cannot always be described as logical, he uses the inscription of the tombstone of Marie de Nègre, found in Rennes-le-Château and used by most authors on the subject, to arrive at the following conclusion: “Sept nobles, dans l’embarras, Marie noire d’Arles, d’Opoul deux avens, sept, 681, ils reposent dans une grotte.” We note an intriguing reference towards Opoul, which of course is now Opoul-Perillos, and which is of course the territory parts of which have been depicted on Saunière’s model. We also note the presence of “two caves”, which coincides with the model. In short, he states that these seven bodies can be found in a cave. But before we jump too high, we need to note that he does not locate this cave in Opoul-Perillos, but elsewhere: near the source of la Salz, located above Sougraigne, in a valley that ascends from Rennes-les-Bains. Nevertheless, Opoul is mentioned and the location of the tomb is, according to Poesson, discovered by following the axis between Opoul-Perillos and Rennes-le-Château.

So? In short, we note that in 1990, one author states that the Tomb of Christ is at the centre of the enigma. In 1994, a curious “coincidence” allows for the entry of the name of “Opoul”. Most logically, it is clear that the theory presented by S.P. Simon is but the “logical” next step of the hypothesis presented by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln. And as for the entrance of “Opoul”, that is done by a play on words of Hautpoul, and that play of words had been done in the 1980s by Brian Innes.

boulstperi.gifAfter Saunière’s model

tomb_god.jpg1996 saw the publication of “The Tomb of God”, by Richard Andrews and Paul Schellenberger. The authors approach the problem from a typically “English” perspective: they resort to “sacred geometry”, to arrive at the conclusion that the Tomb of Christ can be found at Pech Cardou. We note that this mountain is found in the immediate vicinity of Rennes-le-Château, thus remaining close to the core area of the mystery of Saunière. Poesson nevertheless went further from “ground zero”, and places his tomb east of Rennes-les-Bains. We should underline that at the same moment in time, André Douzet too thinks that the landscape that is represented on the model could be found in the immediate vicinity of “ground zero”: the region of Rennes-le-Château. 
It was between 1995 and 1997 that, thanks to the creation of the “mirror image” of the model, the true landscape of the model is revealed as being located on Perillos… Opoul-Perillos. 
That same year, 1997, Christian Doumergue in his book "Rennes-le-Château, Le Grand Héritage. L’Enigme du Sphinx” argues that the Saunière’s notes clearly indicate that Saunière discovered a tomb in 1891, which he believes was the Tomb of Christ – or rather: Jesus. To arrive at this conclusion, he makes use of the model, even though he supposes that the tomb is located in the Rennes-le-Château area. Still, his hypothesis is the first to argue that Saunière discovered “a” tomb of Christ.

boulstperi.gifThe Priory’s quest

pds_logo.jpgWe have already noted that De Sède himself liked to “change” certain elements when it comes to Christ and certain stones. In our opinion, his book and the Priory’s publicity campaign need to be seen as just that: a campaign, aimed at gathering public momentum… as to its purpose: a quest, for answers, and more information. We have already seen that De Sède had direct links with Pierre Plantard and the latter’s Priory of Sion. 
As to Pierre Plantard: he claims he is a descendant of the Merovingian kings, through a forgotten king, Dagobert II. And at the start of his campaign, Plantard speaks about an important sacred treasure, but also of a tomb! In “Circuit”, he speaks about a treasure that is located underneath the Roc Negro, between Rennes-le-Château and Rennes-les-Bains. In “Le Serpent Rouge”, there are other references towards a tomb that is perhaps that of Mary Magdalene. 
In his analysis of the writings of the Priory, Christian Doumergue states: “The evoked sanctuary […] does not consist of a single sepulchre of Mary Magdalene, but also contains other tombs, which holds bodies that are mummified. Furthermore, next to these tombs is a treasure to which more than one has come to take a few items out.”
In 1985, in the magazine “Le Trésor de Sion”, the Priory – its publisher – makes an intriguing reference towards the tomb of a Jew who is “like a Pharaoh”. Christian Doumergue adds that this seems to imply “that they seem to identify the dead person with Christ”, before concluding: “It appears that the final message of the Priory of Sion is that the tomb of Christ and of Mary Magdalene can be found in the vicinity of Rennes-les-Bains.”

boulstperi.gifA play on words and a passage to Arcadia

poussin_arcadia.jpgIt’s possible. It’s all possible. At the same time, since the 1970s, or more precisely, the year 1973 with Gerard de Sède’s publication of “La Race Fabuleuse”, the “Tomb of Arques” (which is actually not located on the territory of Arques) is gaining more popularity. The tomb is specifically promoted as being integral to the enigma, via the famous painter Nicolas Poussin. That “link” is made via the inscription ET IN ARCADIA EGO, which means “And In Arcadia, I…” The sentence is incomplete, which should suggest that there is a possibility of a code – an anagram. Anagrams and codes, as we all know since the publication of The Da Vinci code, are integral and greatly loved by the Priory. Nevertheless, when it comes to ET IN ARCADIA EGO and the “Tomb of Arques”, we are faced with a puzzle that is not of the Priory’s making: the Priory fabricated the parchments and references to Merovingians. They are integral to their campaign, which resulted in de Sède’s 1967 publication, “L’Or de Rennes”. In 1973, we are six years post publication of his book and nine years post the publicity campaign that was the “Dossiers Secrets”. It is only now (1973) that the Tomb of Arques enters the framework. 
Let us look at ET IN ARCADIA EGO and wonder whether it is indeed an anagram and whether the “Tomb of Arques” is indeed another clue… which is not of the Priory’s making, for it is clear they had no direct hand in this. If there is a clue, then it was handed directly to Gerard de Sède. But did this pioneer understand the importance of what he got? Apparently, the answer is no.

To start with Andrews and Schellenberger: they discovered that the phrase could become another phrase, though it’s not a true anagram. These authors add the word “SUM” to the phrase, as that word is implied in the sentence: “And in Arcadia I… (am)” This leads to a new phrase: “Arcam Dei Tango Iesu” – “And I touch the tomb of God – Jesus”. As mentioned, this is not a true anagram, as we need to add an implied word… and though likely, it is not 100% sure that the missing word has to be “sum”; it could e.g. be “and in Arcadia I lived.” Other researchers have nevertheless arrived at a veritable anagram: “I TEGO ARCANA DEI” – “Go! I hide the Secrets of God.” 
Is this the coded message of Poussin? Is it “The Poussin Code”? Is this an inroad into the secret that the Priory and its leaders were trying to discover? Furthermore, can we argue that it is “the Secrets of God” that Saunière was trying to find, trying to identify on his model, by labelling it “Tomb of Christ”? Let us note that apart from Saunière, it was the royal notary Courtade who, at the time of Poussin, indicated the same site in his register as “Royal and Sacred Tomb”. Even though this “royal” may not be Merovingian, is there a question of a “return”? And does it hint that Plantard knew something, but not the totality?

boulstperi.gifWhen Arques transforms into Perillos

tomb_peyrolles.jpgBut what are we to make of the fact that the “Tomb of Arques” is actually located on the territory of the community of Peyrolles? And Peyrolles is linguistically oh so close to “Perillos”… so much so that people repeatedly ask whether there is a connection there. 
Isn’t it intriguing therefore that “someone” adds a dimension to the puzzle: The “Tomb of Arques”, which is actually the “Tomb of Peyrolles”. This when we now know, but not in 1973, that there is a “Tomb of Christ” in Perillos (using phrasing used by Saunière), or, in general, a “Tomb of Perillos”. Is it evidence that someone knew more than they were saying, or, to rephrase the question: did someone know more than the Priory, but were they toying with the enigma by inserting oblique references and coded messages? 
Saunière placed his order for the model in 1916. The Tomb of Arques was added to his mystery in 1973. The model’s existence is revealed in 1995. But shortly afterwards, certain people make contact with André Douzet. They claim that they are members of an organisation that knew – or had known – about the existence of this model… and this for many years, if not generations. They waited for the moment when Saunière would recover the model from the model maker and hand it over to them. But this never happens, as Saunière dies before the work was accomplished. 
Those strange people, are they the ones that introduced the coded reference of a “Tomb of Arques” into the puzzle of the Priory? In short, just like they approached André Douzet following his revelation of Saunière’s model, did they approach Plantard and/or De Sede between 1967 and 1973, and did they equally reveal their knowledge about a hidden dimension? 



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How many foreskins did Jesus have?18, at last count.
Published on August 29th, 2008 In PhotographyBloggingDreamsFriendsGoalsMoviesNewsPhilosophyRomance-RelationshipsPolitics Views 6601

Jun 23, 2008

How many foreskins did Jesus have?

CirconcisionRothenburg.jpgThe Holy Prepuce, or Holy Foreskin (Latin præputium or prepucium) is one of several relics attributed to Jesus. At various points in history, a number of churches in Europe have claimed to possess it, sometimes at the same time. Variousmiraculous powers have been ascribed to it.

Circumcision of Christ

From: Rajeev Srinivasan
Date: Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 10:40 PM
Subject: The Jesus Family Tomb

Yeah, right.

How many foreskins did Jesus have?

18, at last count. See

This whole thing is a complete hoax: Jesus didn"t exist at all, it"s just an instance of “truth by repeated assertion". There is simply no evidence, either via physical relics (cf. the tooth of the Buddha) or via independent historians that such a person existed. It’s only the church that keeps asserting that there was a certain jess who actually existed.

Another really interesting “miracle" is the Two Skeletions of ‘Saint" Thomas: One, As a Young Man (Found in Mylapore, Chennai), and the Other, As an Old Man (Found in Ortona, Italy)

Just think that through. The word that leaps to mind is “hoax".

The Birth of Jesus:
Hype or History

by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts

Copyright © 2004 by Mark D. Roberts

Note: Some of this material appears also in the series Sharing Laity Lodge

Note: You may download this resource at no cost, for personal use or for use in a Christian ministry, as long as you are not publishing it for sale. All I ask is that you give credit where credit is due. For all other uses, please contact me Thank you.

My Various Writings on Jesus

The Birth of Jesus: Hype or History?

Was Jesus Divine? The Early Christian Understanding

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Was Jesus Married? A Careful Look at the Real Evidence

What Was the Message of Jesus?

How Can We Know Anything about the Real Jesus?

What Languages Did Jesus Speak and Why Does It Matter?

Recovering the Scandal of the Cross?

The Passion of the Christ: An In-Depth Review

Book — Jesus Revealed: Know Him Better to Love Him Better


Most Britons do not believe in the nativity, survey shows

[Source here]:

Most Britons do not believe the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus, a study has found.

By Ben Leach
Last Updated: 10:20PM GMT 20 Dec 2008

Young people were particularly doubtful about the nativity, with 78 per cent of 16-24-year-olds saying they were not convinced of its historical reliability.

Overall, 70 per cent were sceptical of the baby’s birth in a manger to a virgin mother, according to the poll of 1,000 people by the British Marketing Research Bureau.

Almost a quarter of those questioned who described themselves as Christians admitted they did not believe certain aspects of the Bible’s teaching about Jesus.

The survey was commissioned by St Helen’s Church in Bishopsgate, London, which has produced a film of “sound evidence” supporting the Bible’s account. The Rev Charlie Skrine, curate of the church, said the survey showed that “most of the UK believes that the accounts of Jesus’s birth aren’t good history“.

He added: “Combined with a general lack of understanding about the real meaning of Christmas, this leaves people without the hope that Jesus offers.”

Simon Gathercole, a new testament scholar at Cambridge University, said people were sceptical because they were not aware the origins of Christianity were anchored in real history.

He added: “Jesus was born while Augustus was emperor of Rome just before Herod died. We’re talking about events that are anchored in real history not in ancient Greek myths.”

A separate study by Mothers’ Union, a Christian charity, showed that more parents encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas than in the nativity.

A spokeswoman for the charity said the survey “raised concerns that the church needs to do more to support families in the spiritual nurture of their children”.

She added: “The church needs to get across the fact that in times of both adversity and prosperity, it has a universal message which enables people to connect with something outside themselves.”

The study of 1,000 parents found that one in five do not encourage their children to associate Christmas with the nativity. Five per cent do not encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas.

It also found only four per cent plan to attend church services more with their children in 2009.

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Saturday that he believed the basic premise of story of the three wise men was true.

Last year, Dr Rowan Williams appeared to cast doubt on it, but speaking on BBC Radio 4, he argued that the idea of astrologers following a bright star to Bethlehem made sense in the historical context.

Asked if he believed the men - who according to the gospel of Matthew, took gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus - existed, Dr Williams said: “Yes I do. I think I trust the beginning of Matthew’s gospel in broad outline, because the notion that there are astrologers, perhaps of partly Jewish background, just outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire who might be on the watch for this, getting involved in the politics of Herod’s last days in Jerusalem.”


December 20, 2008 - Posted by no2evangelismAnglican ChurchBankrupt ChurchesJesus ChristThe Bible ExposedUK | | No Comments


Table of Contents
Part 1The Birth of Jesus: Hype or History?
Part 2Colossal Controversy or Tempest in a Teapot?
Part 3Facts, Faith, and False Dilemmas
Part 4A Telling “Perhaps" and the Jesus Seminar
Part 5Are the Birth Narratives Historical? Section A
Part 6Are the Birth Narratives Historical? Section B
Part 7Are the Birth Narratives Historical? Section C
Part 8The “Birth" of the Virgin Birth Story
Part 9Concluding Thoughts on Reason, History, and Faith
Some Helpful Resources for Dealing with the Gospels and the Nativity Stories



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The Birth of Jesus: Hype or History?

Part 1 in the series “The Birth of Jesus: Hype or History”
Posted at 10:00 p.m. on  Thursday, December 9, 2004

This week both Newsweek and Time feature the birth of Jesus on their covers. Newsweek’s cover story is entitled: “The Birth of Jesus – Faith and History: How the Story of Christmas Came to Be.” Time’s cover proclaims:“Secrets of the Nativity: Why the story of Jesus’ birth inspires so much scholar interest – and faith.” Both stories share many common themes. Among other things, they both argue that, although Christmas and its traditions are beloved among Christians, much if not all of the story of the birth of Jesus was an invention of the early Christian church rather than a chronicle of what really happened when Jesus was born.If you’re a fairly conservative Christian, one who believes that the stories of the Bible, including the story of Jesus’s birth, are true, then the articles in Time and Newsweek may be upsetting to you. Then again, they may not be particularly troublesome. After all, they’re mostly just retreads of old ideas. If you’ve been reading secular accounts of Christmas for as long as I have, then you’re response toTime and Newsweek may be “Been there, done that.” Although both articles have a few novel insights, for the most part they repeat the sort of thing that has been appearing in secular media for years and years. You can count on the fact that when major Christian holidays approach, secular “news” sources will publish stories that seem to undermine the whole point of the holidays.


Now in fairness to the writers and publishers of such articles, I should add that they may not intend to be as corrosive of Christian faith as they seem to be at first glance. The authors, whose personal faith commitments are not obvious in their essays, are obviously at home in the worlds of secular biblical scholarship and liberal Christianity. In these worlds it’s commonplace to deny the historical accuracy of the biblical narrative without necessarily disparaging the perceived essence of Christian faith. One can believe that God truly loves humankind and has reached out to save us, it is assumed, without also believing that Jesus was actually born in a manger from a virgin mother. Whether, in the end, it makes logical sense to believe this way I’ll save for another series. My point, however, is that the people behind articles that seem to debunk Christian faith may not have this intention in mind. They may in fact see themselves as offering a genuinely faithful alternative for those who can’t quite stomach the miraculous and exclusive claims of Christian orthodoxy. As I read the articles in Time and Newsweek, this is the impression I received.



One of the greatest things in both magazines is their use of classic Christian art, not only on the cover, but throughout the articles.


My main concern about articles such as these is that they certainly appear to undermine classic Christian belief, even though they acknowledge the pervasiveness of this belief and don’t directly condemn it. Nowhere do they actually say: “Though many Christians believe the Christmas stories are true, in fact they’ve been duped, both about the stories and about Christian faith.” But, although many believers who read these cover stories will chalk them up as “same ol’, same ol’,” others may be worried. Perhaps, some Christians may wonder, what we believe about Christmas really was made up by the early church. Perhaps the Christmas story is really nothing more than a collection of pious and propagandistic legends.

Furthermore, stories like we find in Time and Newsweek stoke the fires of unbelief. When read by a non-Christian person, they may confirm the suspicion that Christian orthodoxy has no grounding in actual historical events. Thus the story of Jesus is notthe story of God’s entry into human experience, but simply one story among many religious and philosophical options. After all, if the baby Jesus was really God in the flesh, then all people ought to take him seriously whether they’d like to or not. But if the account of his miraculous birth was fabricated by early Christians to compete with Roman emperor worship, then non-Christian folk can feel free to continue to ignore Jesus.

In this post I want to begin a short series that examines the articles in Time andNewsweek, using this examination to speak more broadly on the issues of history, scholarship, faith, and Christmas. I don’t envision this series as a systematic attempt to deal with the birth of Jesus (as I have done with several other Jesus series, for example: Was Jesus Divine? The Early Christian Perspective). Rather, I want to use the recent articles as jumping off points for a more informal conversation. The form of this series will be a critical commentary on the articles themselves. I will cite various passages from the articles and then offer my critique.

Before I do this, however, I want to note that much of what is contained within these articles is both true and helpful. I haven’t actually counted the words, but I’d expect that I agree with well over eighty percent of what is found in each article. In my commentary I will note some of my agreements with the articles, but for the most part I want to focus on places where I differ from the articles. I will begin by focusing on the Newsweek piece because it is, in my opinion, less supportive of traditional Christian faith and understanding.

One final point: Though orthodox Christians believe that the accounts of Jesus’s birth are historically accurate, we don’t use these accounts as compelling arguments for Christian faith. This stands in contrast to the case for the resurrection of Jesus, for which there is strong historical evidence, and which Christians often use to persuade others of the reasonableness of Christian faith. When it comes to the Christmas stories, however, we don’t have the kind of historical data that we have for the resurrection. Thus, while many Christians can say, “The gripping evidence for the resurrection of Jesus helped me to become a believer,” virtually none would say, “The overwhelming historical proof for the virgin birth led me to faith in Jesus.” Belief in the virginal conception of Jesus comes as a result of our belief in Jesus and in the essential trustworthiness of the New Testament gospels, not the other way around. Thus most Christians would say something like this: “Because I believe Jesus is the divine Son of God, and because I believe that the gospels accurately tell the story of Jesus, therefore I accept the Christmas stories as factually true.”

Yet, as the articles in Time and Newsweek inform us, some scholars assert that the birth narratives themselves are rife with problems that demonstrate their legendary nature. To this assertion and others like it I’ll turn in future posts. Though I can’t prove that the Christmas stories really happened – which, by the way, is the case for the rest of ancient history as well – I can show that it’s reasonable to accept the biblical narratives as historically reliable accounts. Therefore, we can have confidence that the traditional celebration of Christmas is not only spiritually moving, but also grounded upon what really happened 2000 years ago.

On Wed, Feb 28, 2007 at 10:12 PM, gurnath prakash wrote:

The Jesus Story

An amazing storm of controversy has been unleashed by the press conference yesterday in New York on The Jesus Family Tomb. The Who"s Who of the world media were gathered in a tightly packed room at the New York Public Library. Two of the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb were on display. I was there and was part of the panel that fielded the questions. Since that time I have been responding to media requests non-stop. Last night I was on Larry King with James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, the producers of the film, The Secret Tomb of Jesus and Larry King paired his guests so that we took the full brunt of some rather strident attacks from a well known New York Catholic and the head of the Southern Baptist Convention. I think we kept our cool and tried to stay with the facts. I knew the story would cause controversy but I never anticipated it would get this crazy. We are getting it hard from the “reds" and the “blues," both sides and the middle. But then again, I guess it really was to be expected.

There are literally thousands of news stories out on the Web and multiple thousands of Bloggers. It is the good, the bad, and the ugly. I noticed tonight that Time.comhad over 3000 comments on their coverage of the Tomb on Sunday. How does one keep anything straight? Is there any way to get on top of it all?

I recommend you read the very fine book by Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino, The Jesus Family Tomb as soon as you can get a copy. It is being released this week. It is exceptionally well written, utterly riveting, and it lays out most of the facts related to the discussion. I think that probably 99% of all the words exchanged yesterday on this subject were between those who had not looked at the book. It just goes to show, you can"t believe what you hear, or read. The Discovery TV production airs Sunday night in the US at 9pm EST (check listings for Canada, UK, Europe, Germany). I have previewed it and it is really a well done production. There is also a wealth of source materials and documentation on the Discovery Web site, with much of it available for download, including some of the scholarly articles on the tomb with lots of details.

The controversy surrounding this Tomb is not going to go away soon. I anticipate that next week, when the TV show airs, the reaction will be monumental, many times multiplied from this week, from all perspectives. I have written an Epilogue to the forthcoming paperback version of The Jesus Dynasty in paperback as well as an update to the Introduction: The Tale of Two Tombs. That should be out in late March. I want to also point you to my Blog which I will be updating regularly over the next few weeks with all aspects of this Tomb story. There I will do my best to keep readers informed of all the latest issues and facts.

We live in interesting times.

James D. Tabor


Missing: Jesus’ Foreskin




Jesus CircumcisionDavid Farley is hot on the trail of Jesus’ foreskin, which has allegedly been missing from an Italian Church since 1983, theStar Tribune reported in Minneapolis last December.

The disappearance of the “Holy Prepuce,” which is a patch of the foreskin of Jesus, is currently a topic of research for the writer. It is apparently the only bit of the Lord that was left behind; talk about marking your territory! Until it went missing 25 years ago, it was used as a centerpiece for the Feast of the Holy Circumcision at the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Calcata, Italy. Tasty!—Rachel Brook

Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Holy Foreskin

By Edward T. Babinski at 6/03/2008

Amazing info about incredible holy relics from Christianity"s great age of faith.

According to Austin Cline at The power and popularity of relics in Medieval Europe was dependent upon the saintliness of the original “owner.”

The ultimate source of relics, of course, was Jesus himself. But there was just one problem: it is clear in the New Testament that after his resurrection, Jesus was “carried up to Heaven.” Thus, there just wasn’t any possibility of a church acquiring Jesus’ head or foot, as happened with various saints. For the most part, the only Jesus relics available were things like his crown of thorns, his robe, his sandals, or even pieces of the “True Cross.”

But then some astute theologian — or was it a businessman? — realized that not all of Jesus’ body could have been actually transported up to Heaven. Jesus was, after all, a faithful Jew, and as such, he would have been circumcised like every other boy. So where was his foreskin? Whatever happened to that bit of divine flesh?

And thus began a search for a very odd “Holy Grail” which resulted in not one, but up to a dozen different holy foreskins, each competing to be the genuine article. Of course, one presumes that they could not all be genuine and I am not aware of anyone who tried to argue that the unusual bounty was a miracle akin to the loaves and fishes.

In France, Charroux claimed that they inherited their foreskin from Charlemagne. In the early twelfth century they took it to Rome and paraded it through the streets alongside one of those pieces of the True Cross and Jesus’ sandals, bringing them before Pope Innocent III.

At the same time, however, the parish of Calcata north of Rome also claimed to possess Jesus’ foreskin. Then there was the abbey of Coulombos in the diocese of Chartres claiming that they were the owners of the True Foreskin. Other claimants included Puy, Metz, Anvers, the church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, and Hildersheim.

It shouldn’t be surprising that all of these strongly disputed the claims of everyone else. Pope Innocent III decided not to become involved and refused to judge who was right. According to him, only God could know the truth about such a “delicate” matter. It’s probably better for his legacy that he didn’t become involved — who would want to become known as the Foreskin Pope?

Imagine what it would have been like had they chosen to rule on the issue! Can you see them peering into the reliquaries, attempting to determine if the foreskin before them was from Jesus’ or just some leper’s? By what standards would they have made their judgments? Sight? Texture? Smell? Unfortunately, the pope’s reluctance to become involved just led to the “discovery” of several more “real” foreskins.

In the end, it was Charroux who “won” the battle of the foreskins when Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) issued a bull granting indulgences to any and all who made a pilgrimage to the Charroux foreskin. Just think — you could have sins forgiven by God just for getting a glimpse at a bit of severed genitalia!

But then tragedy struck: the foreskin went missing! The relic disappeared from Charroux for centuries and was thought to have been stolen. What kind of a sicko would steal a foreskin? (Of course, the same could be asked of anyone who would display one for money.)

Then, in 1856, a lucky workman discovered the reliquary hidden inside a wall, perhaps put there to protect it during the many religious wars. I wonder if that workman had his sins forgiven for the discovery? Nineteenth century Catholics hadn’t grown out of their taste for relics, and a new church was built to house the tiny ringlet of flesh. Monsignor Pie, who spoke at the dedication ceremony, informed the excited crowd that if they looked closely, they could still see a bit of coagulated blood on the holy flesh.

For some strange reason, however, the Vatican grew less and less supportive of relics, particularly foreskins. In 1900 the Vatican suggested that foreskins encouraged “irreverent curiosity” and that, somehow, this was a bad thing. Generally the foreskin fever died down with the lack of official encouragement, although it didn’t disappear entirely. One church in Italy kept up the worship right through the 1980s — and each year the relic was exposed to the adoring crowds during the Feast of the Circumcision. (I wonder — what was served?)

But in 1983, thieves broke in and stole the 300 year-old jewel-encrusted reliquary and the holy flesh it contained. Presumably they only wanted the case — but what on earth did they do with the foreskin? Is it sitting in someone’s basement right now?

Maybe Steven Spielberg should look upon this as a movie idea: Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Holy Foreskin!




The story of St. Blannbekin (died in Vienna 1315); (Zilch’s translation from a book in German located here.)

“This person [Agnes Blannbekin] had the habit, starting almost in childhood, to weep profoundly at the Feast of the Circumcision, touched to the heart by the blood spent by Christ, who deigned to suffer so early…. Thus she started to wonder, where the prepuce might be. And lo and behold! Soon she felt a little skin on her tongue, like the skin of an egg, full of great sweetness, and she gulped it down. Hardly had she swallowed it, when she felt the little skin again, and so she swallowed it once more. And she did so a good hundred times…. And it was revealed to her, that on the Day of Resurrection the prepuce was also resurrected. So great was the sweetness when she swallowed this little skin, that in all her limbs and in all the muscles of her limbs she felt a sweet transformation…”

St. Agnes’ confessor added after this chapter the note:

“I was greatly comforted, that the Lord would reveal himself to people this way, and burned to hear more.”


(sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music)
by Alex Murphy

They didn’t save blood
that He sweat in the Garden
Or teardrops in temples
For Jewish hearts hardened,
No skin off His back from the Roman scourging
But they saved skin that was cut off of His thing

His first baby teeth
No one’s tried to fence ‘em
No first diaper movements
on eBay for ransom,
No baby’s first zwieback, spit up on Mary
But they saved skin, cut off during His bris

Every nose hair
Each ounce of earwax
Drool by the gallon, man!
Each burst of methane from out of His being
It came from the Son of Man!

Psoriasis that fell from atop His melon
His fingerprints, taken by Romans (a felon)
Each Relic demands veneration, ka-ching!
Especially skin that was cut off of His thing

Dried up kleenexes
And half-eaten matzos
A Holy Quest is on for
His baby bottles
Dirt from the bath when He left a scum ring
If it fell off Him, it’s a Holy thing

Underarm hairs
Sand from his eyes
Every picked off scab
Just get a receipt when you turn in some meat
The foreskin will be so glad



Two of the relics that the Patriarch of Jerusalem gave to King Charlemagne and that recall “with profound reverence events in the history of salvation," include fragments of the newborn Jesus" diapers, and the cloth Jesus wore around his waist on the cross, both of which one might presume to have once contained remnants of Jesus"s feces. See this article:

John Paul II"s Letter for 1,200 Years of Aachen Cathedral
VATICAN CITY, JAN 31 (ZENIT)– John Paul II referred to the ties that unite the Catholic community spread over the world with the Church of Rome and the Holy City of Jerusalem, in a letter to commemorate 1,200 years since the construction of Aachen Cathedral, an event which was celebrated last Saturday and Sunday in this historic German locality. The Pope"s special envoy to the celebration was Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. The Holy Father addressed the letter to Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen. John Paul II pointed out that the Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin, was built at the request of Charlemagne. That same year, 800, the emporer was crowned in Rome by Pope Leo III in the Vatican Basilica. This historical event reflects the closeness that existed between that local Church and the diocese of Rome. But Aachen Cathedral has yet “another link" that carries it “with heart and mind" to the Holy City. These are 4 precious relics that Jerusalem gave to Charlemagne and that recall “with profound reverence events in the history of salvation." The 4 relics are fragments of the newborn Jesus" diapers, the cloth Jesus wore around his waist on the cross, the dress Mary wore on Christmas Eve, and the cloth of John the Baptist"s beheading.



The Castle Church at Wittenberg, where Martin Luther probably posted his ninety-five theses, was famous for its extensive collection of relics, as the following excerpt from what might be called the official catalogue shows:

“… Three pieces of the city where the Virgin Mary was born. One piece of a yarn which she spun. One piece of the house where she lived at the age of fourteen. Two pieces of the city of Mt Zion where Mary lived. Two pieces of the room where Mary was greeted by the angel. Five particles of the milk of the Virgin Mary. One piece of the tree where Mary nursed the Lord near the Garden of Balsam. Four pieces of the hair of Mary. Three pieces of the shirt of Mary. Three pieces of one robe of Mary. Eight pieces of other robes of Mary. Four pieces of the belt of Mary. Seven pieces of the veil of Mary. Two pieces of the veil of Mary which was sprinkled with the blood of Christ under the Cross. One piece of the city where Mary died. One piece of the wax candle given to Our Lady when she died. Six pieces of the grave of Mary. Two pieces of the earth of the grave of Mary. One piece of the place where Mary ascended into heaven.

VI. A silver picture of the little baby Jesus. Four pieces of the city where the Lord Jesus was born. One piece of the diaper in which he was wrapped. Thirteen pieces of the manger of Jesus. One piece of the cradle. Two pieces of the hay. One piece of the straw on which the Lord lay when he was born. One piece of the gold and of the myrrh which the Three Kings offered unto the Lord. One piece of the city where the Lord Jesus was circumcised.

VII. Four pieces of the mountain on which the Lord Jesus fasted. Two pieces of the city where Christ preached the Lord"s Prayer. One piece of the stone on which Jesus stood while weeping over Jerusalem. One piece of the stone from which Christ got on the donkey. Two pieces of the ground where the Lord Christ was arrested.

VIII. Five pieces of the table on which the Lord Christ held the Last Supper with his disciples. One piece of the bread of which Christ ate with his disciples during the Last Supper.

IX. One piece of the land which was bought for the thirty pieces of silver for which Christ was betrayed. One piece of the Holy Land. Three pieces of the stone where the Lord sweated blood. One piece of the ground where the Lord sweated blood. One piece of the stone sprinkled with the blood of Christ.

X. Three pieces of the Mount of Olives and of the rod of Aaron. Two pieces of the rod of Moses. One piece of the burning bush which Moses saw. One piece of an object sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Eleven pieces of Mount Calvary. Two pieces of the Mount of Olives. XI. One piece of the cloth with which the Lord wiped his disciples" feet. One piece of the robe of Christ: One piece of the seamless robe of Christ. One piece of the robe of Christ. One piece of his purple robe. Two pieces of the cloth which St Veronica received from the Lord. Three pieces of the white robe in which the Lord was ridiculed by Herod . Three pieces of the cloth with which our Lord"s holy eyes were blindfolded. One piece of the beard of the Lord Jesus.

XII. One piece of the wax of the candles which touched the sudarium of Christ. One piece of the wedge with which the cross of Christ was held. Three pieces of the stone on which the cross stood. Three pieces of the place where the cross of Christ was found. Twelve pieces of the column where the Lord Christ was scourged and flogged.

The Eight Aisle. I. One piece of the rope with which Jesus was tied. Three pieces of the rod with which the Lord Jesus was scourged. Three pieces of the whip with which the Lord Jesus was flogged. One piece of the stone upon which the Lord Jesus sat when he was crowned. One piece of the stone which was crushed while the Lord carried the cross. One piece of the sponge with which the Lord was given vinegar and gall….

III. Two pieces of the crown of the Lord Jesus. Eight complete thorns of the crown of the Lord Jesus. IV. One large piece of one nail which was driven through the hands or feet of the Lord Jesus. V. A thorn which wounded the holy head of the Lord Jesus.

VI. One piece of the holy cross….

VII. Three pieces of the holy cross.

VIII. Three pieces of the three kinds of wood of the cross of Christ.

IX. A particularly large piece from the holy cross.

X. Twenty-five pieces of the holy cross.

XI. One piece of the stone which lay on the grave of Christ. Twenty-two pieces of the grave of Christ. One piece of the stone from which Christ descended into heaven.

XII. A casket lined with silver in which are found sixteen hundred and seventy-eight pieces. Seventy-six pieces of holy remains. Bones from holy places which on account of faded writing can no longer be read and identified. All in all : five thousand and five pieces. An indulgence of one hundred days for each piece. There are eight halls and each hall has an indulgence of one hundred and one days in addition. Blessed are those who participate therein.

Source: Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed. The Reformation: A Narrative History Related by Contemporary Observers and Participants (Harper and Row, Inc. 1964, Reprint Baker Book House, 1978) pp. 47-49.

Clinton: Circumcision - the answer to AIDS


When my son was born and I held him for the first time, I checked him out from head to toe and found that he had a gauze over his penis. I ask the nurse what had happened to him and she said he was circumcised. What? I could not believe that a child born in a catholic hospital would ever be brutalized in that way. No one asked my permission. It was a done deal just like the umbilical cord. Later, I discovered that this practice is standard in all US hospitals.

Jesus had his prepuce (foreskin) removed, according to Jewish law, when he was 8 days old.
It is said that upon his resurrection, Jesus had his prepuce restored as he ascended “wholly into Heaven".


Michelangelo"s David with prepuce

I ask, since males are born with a prepuce, there must be a reason for one and if Jesus" prepuce was restored, was it to make him whole? The prepuce that was removed from Jesus is now called the “Holy Prepuce". It is a relic sought after like the “Holy Grail". Like everything of historical value, the Italians claim to possess the Holy Prepuce. Perhaps they would like to use the DNA to rebuild the whole man or, don"t laugh, to grow prepuces for future necessary transplants.

It was the Greeks who first did skin grafts of the prepuce so as to be allowed admittance in a gymnasium because no circumcised boy was allowed to enter. Therefore, many young boys were left out due to the cultural and religious beliefs of their parents. Then a good doctor named Celsus decided to try to reconstruct a prepuce and he did so with success. The act is known as uncirumcision and was used very much in the Nazi era to cover up a man"s Jewishness.

But now that all American males go around without a prepuce, it is hard to tell Jew from Gentile. Perhaps this is a form of camouflage.

It amazes me that in the 21st century we are hearing that those nasty prepuces have to be removed to save the world from AIDS. What? Yes, that is the latest fetish of the Clinton foundation"s AIDS campaign. Cut off those foreskins and do away with AIDS.

In a speech to the International Aids conference in Toronto, Canada, Clinton speculates

“. . . if, as many expect, trials show that it protects men and the women they sleep with from AIDS"

And he further speculates that:

“Should this be shown to be effective, we will have another means to prevent the spread of the disease and to save lives, and we will have a big job to do. It is important that as we leave here we all be prepared for a green light that could have a staggering impact on the male population but that will be frankly a lot of trouble to get done."

“Trouble to get done" is an understatement. Just go to Africa and ask a black man to give you his prepuce. Ha!

Science is science and religion is religion. Since there have been no completed trials on the prepuce subject, it would be wise to ignore this barbaric suggestion and put research money behind science not religious practice. Or one can simply put on a yellow arm band and sing “we are all Jewish" and save a hell of a lot of tax payer money that the Bush administration"s neoconservative government is throwing at Clinton to aid his AIDS campaign.

Clinton, whose foundation negotiates cheaper prices for drugs and HIV tests in developing nations, said PEPFAR (Bush"s plan for AIDS relief) has done a lot of good, despite a requirement that 33 percent of prevention funding be spent on abstinence-only programs.

“If you take out the 30 percent of the money that has to be spent on that - the other 70 percent is still a whopping amount of money and more money in federal aid than I think anybody else is getting," Clinton told a plenary session of the conference.

Great Bill, but please don"t spend all that hard earned tax payers money on prepuce removal. It does not seem like the correct target.



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The Legends of Mary Magdalene
The Life, History, and Legends of Mary Magdalene


Legend: Mary Magdalene was of the district of Magdala, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where stood her families castle, called Magdalon; she was the sister of Lazarus and of Martha, and they were the children of parents reputed noble, or, as some say, royal descendants of the House of David. On the death of their father, Syrus, they inherited vast riches and possessions in land, which were equally divided between them. 

Lazarus betook himself to the military life; Martha ruled her possessions with great discretion, and was a model of virtue and propriety, -perhaps a little too much addicted to worldly cares; Mary, on the contrary, abandoned herself to luxurious pleasures and became at length so notorious for her extravagant lifestyle that she was known through all the country round only as 'The Sinner'.

Allegorical interpretation of scriptureSinners were people devoted to the god, Sin. Moses spent 38 of 40 years in the Wilderness of Sin, the land where the god, Sin, was worshipped. Sinai is the feminine form of Sin; therefore, Mount Sinai can be called "the mountain of the goddess," feminine counterpart of Sin. "Mary Magdalene" represented the Great-Goddess-Mother-Queen, wife of "Jesus." Historically, she was the daughter of Juba II, the black-skinned King of Mauretania and wife, Queen Cleopatra Selene (daughter of Antony and Cleopatra).

Mauretania is from mauro, which means blackMagda means greatest. Mauro Magda, literally black greatest can be translated as "The Greatest Queen with black skin" from the land of Mauretania. The name, "Mary Magdalene," was chosen so that her historical identity could be discovered when Luke-Acts and Revelation are interpreted allegorically.

Legend: Her discreet sister, Martha, frequently rebuked her for these disorders and at length persuaded her to listen to the exhortations of Jesus, through which her heart was touched and converted. The seven demons which possessed her, and which were expelled by Jesus, were the seven deadly sins common to us all. The struggles of these seven principal faults are; first, Gluttony or the pleasures of the palate; secondly, Fornication; thirdly, Covetousness, which means Avarice, or, the love of money, fourthly, Anger; fifthly, Dejection; sixthly, "Accidie," which is the sin of spiritual sloth or sluggishness; and seventhly, kenodocila which means ego, foolish pride or vain glory.


On one occasion Martha entertained the Saviour in her house, and, being anxious to feast him worthily, she was  'cumbered with much serving.' Mary, meanwhile, sat at the feet of Jesus, and heard his words, which completed the good work of her conversion; and when, some time afterwards, be supped in the house of Simon the Pharisee, she followed him thither and she brought an alabaster box of ointment and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment - and He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.'


Fact: Seven in Hebrew is ShabbatShabbat Hamalka represented the feminine side of Yahweh - his consort, and she is of extremely ancient origin. Sometimes called AsherahShekhina, etc., this goddess is a combination of Queen, Bride, and Goddess. The word translated as "demons" can be, and is, translated as "Angels" in other biblical verses.

Allegorical interpretation of scripture: The referenced "anointing scene" harkens to the Old Testament, Song of Solomon. King Solomon and his "Black and Beautiful Sister-Bride" sing a love song as they profess their everlasting love. Many myths of "gods and goddesses" describe them as "Sister-Bride, Brother-Groom." Many ancient goddesses had black skin. Black king of Libya, Juba II, married a second time; his second wife was Glaphyra, widow of Alexander III, son of Herod the Great and Jewish princess, the Hasmonean Mariamme. With that marriage, Juba's children with Selene and Glaphyra's children with Alexander became "Brothers and Sisters." When Juba's eldest daughter married Glaphyra's eldest son, they became, "Sister-Bride, Brother-Groom."







Mary Magdalene was one of the most devoted of his followers, always by his side and 'ministered to him of her substance.' She attended him to Calvary, stood weeping at the foot of the cross, and was the first to see the Christ risen. Extra-biblical and Gnostic traditions about Mary Magdalene holds that she was the wife of Jesus and pregnant with his child at the time of his death, a fact which was omitted by later revisionist editors of the Gospels. Interpreted allegorically, Luke-Acts reveals their marriage, a daughter, and two sons.

There is good argument which supports the idea of their marriage. Bachelorhood was very rare for Jewish males of Jesus' time, being generally regarded as a transgression of the first mitzvah (divine commandment): "Be fruitful and multiply". Mary Magdalene appears with great frequency (especially as compared with other women in the Gospels) and is shown as being a close follower of Jesus.

In the scene of the wedding at Cana, the names of the nuptial couple are not mentioned, but Jesus acts as a groom would be expected to act at such a wedding. Mary's presence at the Crucifixion and Jesus' tomb is consonant with a role as grieving wife and widow.

After the Crucifixion she watched by his tomb, and was the first to whom he appeared after the resurrection; her unfaltering faith, mingled as it was with intense grief and love, obtained for her this peculiar mark of favor. It is assumed by several commentators that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene because she, of all those whom he had left on earth, was his beloved and in most need of consolation: The disciples went away unto their own; but Mary stayed without the sepulcher and wept.

Mary Magdalen by Da Vinci. Note she is holding a thin "veil" over her reproductive area and a red cloth in her left hand. She was the "bleeding woman" whose bleeding stopped when "power went out from" Jesus. A woman's bleeding stops when she becomes pregnant..

Legend: Tradition relates that afterwards in Italy, Mary Magdalene visited the Emperor Tiberias (14-37 AD) and proclaimed to him about Christ's Resurrection. According to tradition, she took him an egg as a symbol of the Resurrection, a symbol of new life with the words: "Christ is Risen!" Then she told Tiberias that, in his Province of Judea, Jesus the Nazarene, a holy man, a maker of miracles, powerful before God and all mankind, was executed on the instigation of the Jewish High-Priests and the sentence affirmed by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Tiberias responded that no one could rise from the dead, anymore than the egg she held could turn red. Miraculously, the egg immediately began to turn red as testimony to her words. Then, and by her urging, Tiberias had Pilate removed from Jerusalem to Gaul, where he later suffered a horrible sickness and an agonizing death.

Allegorical interpretation of scripture: After the "Passover Pageant," designed to merge the Jewish "Messiah" with the Greco-Roman "Dying-and-Resurrected gods" (Dionysus, Osiris, etc.), the woman who played the role of "Mary Magdalene" accompanied her husband, the man who portrayed "Jesus," to Alexandria, Egypt. "Jesus" became the Alabarch of Alexandria; "Mary Magdalene" assumed one of the names carried by her famous grandmother, Cleopatra Thea Philo Pater (wife of Marc Antony), which were probably the names she also carried. Using the name, Philo, and claiming to be a man, "Mary Magdalene" became famous as the philosopher and chief proponent of merging of Judaism with Greek Philosophy. She also promoted the allegorical interpretation of scripture, the only method by which their story could be told.

Legend: Suggestions of commentators and legend continues her story. Fourteen years after the ascension, Lazarus with his two sisters, Martha and Mary; with Maximin, one of the seventy-two disciples, from whom they had received baptism; Cedon, the blind man whom our Saviour had restored to sight; and Marcella, the handmaiden who attended on the two sisters, were by the Jews set adrift in a vessel without sails, oars, or rudder; but, guided by Providence, they were safely borne over the sea till they landed in a certain harbor which proved to be Marseilles, in the country now called France.

The people of the land were pagans, and refused to give the holy pilgrims food or shelter; so they were fain to take refuge under the porch of a temple and Mary Magdalene preached to the people, reproaching them for their senseless worship of  idols; and though at first they would not listen, yet being after a time convinced by her eloquence, and by the miracles performed by her and by her sister, they were converted and baptized. And Lazarus became, after the death of the good Maximin, the first bishop of Marseilles.

These things being accomplished, Mary Magdalene retired to the cliffs not far from the city. It was a frightful barren wilderness and in the midst of horrid rocks she lived in the caves of Sainte-Baume; there for thirty years she devoted herself to solitary penance for the sins of her past life, which she had never ceased to bewail bitterly. During this long seclusion, she was never seen or heard of, and it was supposed that she was dead.

Assumption of Mary Magdalene, by José Antolinez

She fasted so rigorously, that but for the occasional visits of the angels, and the comfort bestowed by celestial visions, she might have perished. She was given the Holy Eucharist by angels as her only food. Every day during the last years of her penance, the angels came down from heaven and carried her up in their arms into regions where she was ravished by the sounds of unearthly harmony, and beheld the glory and the joy prepared for the sinner that repenteth.

One day a certain hermit, who dwelt in a cell on one of those wild mountains, having wandered farther than usual from his home, beheld this wondrous vision-the Magdalene in the arms of ascending angels, who were singing songs of triumph as they bore her upwards; and the hermit, when he had a little recovered from his amazement, returned to the city of Marseilles, and reported what he had seen.

Allegorical Interpretation of scripture: "Mary Magdalene" spent the remainder of her life in various locations including: Alexandria, Rome, Emesa, and Greece using a variety of aliases.



Chapel on the cliff above the Caveat St. Baume where Mary Magdalene is believed to have been carried to heaven by angels.

Legend: According to Church tradition, Mary Magdalene remained in Rome until the arrival of the Apostle Paul, and for two more years still, following his departure from Rome after the first court judgment upon him.

Allegorical interpretation of scripture: Paul was never an "apostle" but remained the arch-enemy of Jesus and all he attempted to teach and to do. "Jesus" and "Mary Magdalene," using aliases, lived in Rome from 41 until 54. They filled powerful positions under Emperor Claudius and were responsible for the many innovations that improved the lives of Roman citizens, including the poorest and most vulnerable. Both their sons served as "Procurator of Judea." (One from 46 to 48; the other from 51 to 60.)

Legend: From Rome, Mary Magdalene, moved to Ephesus where she unceasingly labored the holy Apostle John, who with her wrote the first 20 Chapters of his Gospel (John 1-9, John 10-20). There the saint finished her earthly life and was buried. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments. She died when she was 72.

Allegorical interpretation of scripture: "Mary Magdalene" and "Jesus" traveled to Ephesus and may have lived there when she wrote "The Gospel of John." However, her work was "over-written" by a later author who called himself "John" and corrupted much of her original work. "Mary Magdalene" was also known as "Io Anna," the feminine form of  "John." Io and Anna are both names of goddesses.

In 899 the Emperor Leo VI transported her alleged relics to a monastery in Constantinople. It was not until the tenth century that devotion to Mary Magdalene, the composite saint, took root in the west.



Allegorical interpretation of scripture: "Mary Magdalene"was buried in her family's mausoleum in Mauretania. She is called, "The Roman Woman," and the mausoleum is called, "the tomb of the Christian woman." For more information on this tomb:




About 1050 the monks of Vézelay, an abbey recently reformed and affiliated to Cluny, began to claim her body, brought, they related, from the Holy Land either by a ninth-century saint, Badilo, or by envoys dispatched by their founder. A little later a monk of Vézelay believed that he had detected in a crypt at St. Maximin in Provence, carved on an empty sacrophagus, a representation of the unction at Bethany. The monks of Vézelay pronounced it to be Mary Magdalene's tomb from which her relics had been translated to their abbey. Thus the erection of one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture was made possible by pilgrims to a spurious relic.


Entrance to Tomb of the Christian Woman, Algeria



Magdalene's tomb at Vezelay

The tomb of "The Roman Christian Woman," Mary Magdalene


The Mary Magdalene Reliquary (above left) is located in a crypt beneath the Basilica to Mary Magdalene in Saint Maximin de Provence, France (above center) where Mary Magdalene is purportedly buried.  The reliquary contains what  many believe is Mary Magdalene's skull (above right).

The Provençals, however, took full advantage of this development and outstripped Vézelay by pilgrimages to three places henceforward associated with Mary Magdalene. One of these was St. Maximin, where the crypt still contains sacrophagi attributed to the Magdalene, St. Maximin and St. Sidonius. The representation of the anointing has, however, disappeared.

Another is the Sainte Baume, a grotto in the face of a cliff, where Mary Magdalene is said to have spent long years in penance and ecstatic contemplation, whose detail was suggested by the life of the penitent Mary of Egypt.

The third is a church on the coast, built and fortified against pirates in the twelfth century. Dedicated originally to St. Mary (our Lady) of the Sea, its title became The Three Marys of the Sea--'Les Saintes Maries de la Mer." A legend originating about the year 1200 informs us that Mary Magdalene, driven out to sea by the Jews, landed there together with Mary, mother of James, Mary Salome, her sister Martha, their maid Sara, Lazarus, Maximin, one of the seventy-two disciples, and Sidonius, the man born blind. In fact Maximin and Sidonius were saints of Auvergne, the latter being the fifth century man of letters and bishop; Lazarus was a fifth century bishop of Aix; Martha, the two Martyrs and Sara were Persian martyrs of the fourth century whose relics were brought later to southern Gaul.

Detail of Mary Magdalene in Da Vinci's 'Last Supper'

In legend and artistic representation Mary Magdalene is often depicted with flowing red hair and grieving at the loss of her beloved. At once sensuous and spiritual, she made a powerful appeal to the Baroque mentality, as she became a typical figure of devotion, literature and art.



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Kashmir shrine bars tourists over Jesus row

Foreign tourists have been banned from entering a Muslim shrine in Kashmir due to increasing curiosity about a theory that it contains the body of Jesus Christ.The shrine in Srinagar is the focus of speculation that Christ survived the crucifixion and died later in Kashmir,a belief fanned by popular books such as Jesus Lived In India by German author Holger Kersten.This Easter,for the first year,travellers to Srinagar will be kept out the shrine -- which is conventionally said to hold the remains of medieval Muslim saint Yuz Asaf -- after the gates were locked to outsiders several months ago.Mohammed Amin Ringshawl,the senior manager in charge of the small green-roofed building,said the attention that it receives was unwelcome and that local people resented the presence of inquisitive foreigners.The idea that the Rozabal shrine,as it is known,contains the body of Christ has existed for at least 100 years.But the controversy has now been included in the latest India edition of the best-selling international guidebook the Lonely Planet,alerting many of the visitors who travel to the scenic Himalayan state.At the wooden-domed shrine,local Muslims stop and pray as they pass,or enter to pray next to the tomb.On the 13th of every Muslim month,special prayers are held inside.Holger Kersten's book,published in 1981,claims there are hidden details at the shrine -- such as carved footprints marked with crucifixion wounds -- along with other "literary and historical" evidence that make a strong case.



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போலிகளை வைத்தே போலிகளைத் தயாரிக்கும் கிருத்துவர்களுக்கேயுரிய கைவந்த கலை!

April 11, 2010 by vedaprakash
போலிகளை வைத்தே போலிகளைத் தயாரிக்கும் கிருத்துவர்களுக்கேயுரிய கைவந்த கலை!
‘3டி’யில் இயேசுவின் முகம்

ஏப்ரல் 11,2010,00:00  IST

Top global news update

லண்டன்:நவீன ‘3டி’ கம்ப்யூட்டர் தொழில்நுட்பத்தை பயன்படுத்தி, ஓவியர்கள் குழு ஒன்று, இயேசுவின் முகத்தை வரைந்துள்ளது.இது குறித்து லண்டனிலிருந்து வெளியாகும், ‘டெலிகிராப்’ பத்திரிகையில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளதாவது.இயேசு உயிர் நீத்தபின், அவரை கல்லறையில் அடக்க செய்யும் போது, அவரது உடல் மீது போர்த்தப்பட்டிருந்த லினன் ரக துணியால் ஆன போர்வையில், அவரின் உருவம் அமைப்பு பதிந்ததாக நம்பப்படுகிறது. அதை பயன்படுத்தி, இந்த ஓவியர்கள் குழு, தற்போது இயேசுவின் முகத்தை, ‘3டி’ கம்ப்யூட்டர் தொழில்நுட்பத்தின் மூலம் வரைந்துள்ளனர்.

இதை பதிவு செய்த, ‘டிவி’ சேனல் ஒன்று,’தி ரியல் பேஸ் ஆப் ஜீசஸ்’ என்ற பெயரில் அதை ஒளிபரப்பியது.இதுகுறித்து, இத்திட்டதின் தலைமை ஓவியரான, ரே டவுனிங் கூறுகையில்,’இயேசுவின் முகத்தை மீண்டும் வரைய விரும்பினால், அதற்கு அவரது உண்மையான முகம் தேவை. அதற்கு தற்போது ஆதாரமாக இருக்கும் ஒரே பொருள், இயேசுவின் உடலில் போர்த்தப்பட்டிருந்த போர்வை தான்’ என்றார்.இவ்வாறு பத்திரிகையில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.

டூரின் சிரௌட் (turin shroud)எனப்படும் அந்த துணி 13ம் நூற்றாண்டில் உருவாக்கப் பட்ட போலி என்று மூன்று பரிசோதைக் கூடங்களில் நடத்தப் பட்ட ஆய்விலிருந்து சில தெரிவிக்கப் பட்டது (carbon dating showing the shroud is from 1260-1390). அதனை வாடிகனுன் ஏற்றுக் கொண்டது. அது மட்டுமல்லாது, அதில் படிந்துள்ள ரத்தக் கரை மனிதனுடையர்தல்ல என்றும் நிரூபிக்கப் பட்டது. பிறகு எப்படி அத்தகைய போலியான் ஒன்றிலிருந்து ஏதோ ஒன்று வரமுடியும்? விஞ்ஞானம் என்று சொல்லி இப்படியும் பொய் சொன்னால் என்னாவது?

The Shroud of Turin


shroud_resized.jpgImage from the Shroud. This is also a low magnification shot taken of a blood-image area 3-FB (small of the back) taken by Pellicori and Evans in 1978. Note the red color unlike dried blood which is brown, magnification 10X.

According to Dr. Walter McCrone and his colleagues, the 3+ by 14+ foot cloth depicting Christ’s crucified body is an inspired painting produced by a Medieval artist just before its first appearance in recorded history in 1356.

The faint sepia image is made up of billions of submicron pigment particles (red ochre and vermilion) in a collagen tempera medium. The pigments red ochre and vermilion with the collagen tempera medium was a common paint composition during the 14th century; before which, no one had ever heard of the Shroud.

Initial Examination – 1979

Dr. McCrone determined this by polarized light microscopy in 1979. This included careful inspection of thousands of linen fibers from 32 different areas (Shroud and sample points), characterization of the only colored image-forming particles by color, refractive indices, polarized light microscopy, size, shape, and microchemical tests for iron, mercury, and body fluids. The red ochre is present on 20 of both body- and blood-image tapes; the vermilion only on 11 blood-image tapes. Both pigments are absent on the 12 non-image tape fibers. The paint pigments were dispersed in a collagen tempera (produced in medieval times, perhaps, from parchment). It is chemically distinctly different in composition from blood but readily detected and identified microscopically by microchemical staining reactions. Forensic tests for blood were uniformly negative on fibers from the blood-image tapes. Based on these findings, McCrone postulated that the Shroud was painted in 1355.


From: McCrone, Walter C. The Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Supplemented by the Polarized Light Microscope (PLM), and Vice Versa. Scanning Microscopy, 7(1): 1-4, fig. 3. 1993.

Further Research in 1980

In 1980, using electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, McCrone found red ochre (iron oxide, hematite) and vermilion (mercuric sulfide); the electron microprobe analyzer found iron, mercury, and sulfur on a dozen of the blood-image area samples. The results fully confirmed Dr. McCrone’s results and further proved the image was painted twice – once with red ochre, followed by vermilion to enhance the blood-image areas.

In 1987, carbon dating at three prestigious laboratories agreed well with his date: 1355 by microscopy and 1325 by C-14 dating. The suggestion that the 1532 Chambery fire changed the date of the cloth is ludicrous. Samples for C-dating are routinely and completely burned to CO 2 as part of a well-tested purification procedure. The suggestions that modern biological contaminants were sufficient to modernize the date are also ridiculous. A weight of 20th century carbon equaling nearly two times the weight of the Shroud carbon itself would be required to change a 1st century date to the 14th century (see ‘Amount of Modern Biological Contaminant Required to Raise the Date of a 36 A.D. Shroud’). Besides this, the linen cloth samples were very carefully cleaned before analysis at each of the C-dating laboratories.


This graph shows the effect of the measured 1st Century linen cloth of added 20th Century carbon (mold, mildew, bacteria, etc.). The “Shroud” weighs about 20 pounds (9 kg.). Approximately 40 pounds (18 kg.) of 20th Century carbon contaminant would be required to raise the measured carbon date to 14th Century.

Experimental details on the tests carried out by McCrone are available in five papers published in three different peer-reviewed journal articles: The Microscope 28, p. 105, 115 (1980); The Microscope 29, p. 19 (1981); Wiener Berichte uber Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst1987/1988, 4/5, 50 and Acc. Chem. Res. 1990, 23, 77-83.


The “Shroud” is a beautiful painting created about 1355 for a new church in need of a pilgrim-attracting relic.

The reaction of the ‘world’—Quotes on Dr. McCrone’s work on the Shroud

Now you can read the Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud book and hear Dr. McCrone’s account of the microanalytical research on the Shroud.

An excerpt from the book is included here:

“This book makes three major contributions. Firstly, it provides a clear, easily understood description of the analytical methods that have been used on the Shroud. Secondly, it reviews the scientific debates surrounding these methods, the analytical results obtained, and the interpretations made by the scientists. Thirdly, it serves as an excellent example of the scientific, personal and social issues that come into play when emotions, prejudices and perceptions of science interact with classical scientific methods and ethics.

As one who has spent his entire professional life as a consulting analytical chemist and microscopist, Dr. McCrone has regularly seen differences in opinions arise among scientists, and, more importantly, seen objective scientists resolve these differences, professionally and honestly.” Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud, Foreward, p. xviii

Michael Grigori


Why is this Fake being projected so often?

It blood was in this cloth, then Jesus was not dead in Cross?



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February 15, 2010

I know why Judas betrayed Jesus, says Gerry Adams in Channel 4 documentary

Gerry Adams investigates the life and death of Jesus Christ, against the backdrop of his own life and career

Adams: toured the Holy Land for the programme

Ever since Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss 2,000 years ago theologians have argued about his motives. But one British academic has now given credit to Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin leader, for a new insight into one of the most controversial passages of the Bible.

The man who spent a lot of his youth “on the run” from the Army in Belfast yet still swears that he has never been a member of the Provisional IRA, believes that Judas was turned informer by the Roman security services of the time in Palestine, just as many of his former comrades in the Republican movement were induced to spy.

Mr Adams’s views will be shown in a Channel 4 documentary The Bible: A History on Sunday. But even before it has aired it is creating a storm of controversy among many victims of IRA violence.

Victor Barker, whose 12-year-old son James was killed in the 1998 Omagh bombing, said: “Asking Gerry Adams to speak about love and forgiveness is like asking Myra Hindley to lecture on child-minding. I think it’s a big mistake and completely misguided. Channel 4 is being used by Mr Adams. It is offering him a platform for doing what he does so well, of coming across on camera as a genuine, peaceful person who wants to promote peace and love.”

Willie Frazer, who runs a victims’ group, said that the prospect of Mr Adams featuring in a documentary about the Bible and forgiveness was disgusting.

“Would the victims of 9/11 accept a programme where extremist Islamic terrorists were allowed to frame their actions in terms of religion?” he asked.

The documentary, in which Mr Adams travels to Jordan, Palestine and Israel, also includes his first meeting with Alan McBride, whose wife was killed in the IRA bombing of a fish shop on the Shankill Road in 1993.

Mr Adams, who carried the coffin of an IRA man who blew himself up in the attack, calls the Shankill bombing “stupid” and Mr McBride acknowledges that the Sinn Féin leader has played a role in ending the terrorist campaigns.

Mr Adams says cryptically of his own past: “Sometimes I was in tune with the Jesus message and sometimes not.”

He was accompanied on his journey through the Holy Land by Helen Bond, senior lecturer in New Testament language, literature and theology at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Bond said Mr Adams “spent hours arguing whether first-century Galilee was ‘occupied’ and the meaning of ‘democracy’ in ancient societies”.

She says on her blog that she learnt from Mr Adams. “Judas’s betrayal was another area where Gerry’s perspective helped me to see things rather differently.” Dr Bond said that while she had always approached Judas intellectually, “Gerry instinctively understood the defection of a ‘gang member’. “ ‘Yeah, that’s what happens,’ he said, ‘they got to him’.

“I had thought of Judas’s betrayal as something active, something he chose to do, rather than a situation he was forced into, perhaps (and quite likely) under duress. The general outline of events is historically plausible, a historicity made even stronger by its clear resonance with the way groups (on both sides) were infiltrated and betrayed in Belfast.”

Meanwhile, Jim Allister, leader of the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice, called on Channel 4 to pull the programme because of allegations made in a recent documentary over Mr Adams’s role in a cover-up of the sexual abuse of his niece by her father, his brother Liam.



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Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 5:00 PM by Alan Boyle

History Channel
Click for video: A computer graphic shows Jesus' body underneath the Shroud
of Turin, as reconstructed for "The Real Face of Jesus" on the History Channel. 
Click on the picture to watch an MSNBC video about the program.


Does the Shroud of Turin show the "real face of Jesus"? That claim is impossible to judge, even though it serves the title of a documentary about the 3-D analysis of the Shroud of Turin premiering tonight on the History Channel. What can be said is that the centuries-old image wasn’t just painted freehand. Computer analysis of the imprint on the shroud suggests that it had to be left behind by someone draped in cloth.

"Is this the artifact of a real person or not? Definitely it is," Ray Downing, the digital illustrator at the center of the show, told me today.

Downing worked with specialists on the shroud to come up with a photorealistic representation of the man whose body's imprint appears faintly on a famous 14-foot-long length of linen. For some Christians, the stain serves as the miraculous snapshot of their risen Lord. For most scientists, it is a cleverly done fake from the 13th or 14th century, but nothing more.


History Channel
A rough computer model shows the 3-D face imprinted on the Shroud of Turin.


Back in 1988, carbon-14 dating tests were conducted on a sample from the shroud in an effort to determine whether the cloth was created in Jesus' time. The verdict from three laboratories was that the cloth was produced in medieval times. But the shroud's fans have insisted that the sample was actually taken from a patch, rather than from the original linen. Just this month, a chemist proposed a new series of non-destructive dating tests that would give an estimate for the entire cloth.

From a marketing perspective, the timing of the History Channel show couldn't be better: Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Christian holy days that mark Jesus' death and resurrection, are just a few days away. What's more, the shroud is due to go on display for six weeks at Turin Cathedral, starting April 10. The last time the relic was exhibited, a decade ago, more than 3 million people came to Turin to see it. More than a million reservations have been received already for next month's viewing.

Have scientists been wrong about the shroud? Downing noted that historical records referring to the shroud predate the current carbon-14 estimate. "We know the carbon-14 [test] is wrong," he said. "The question is, how wrong are they? The further back you go, the less likely it is that anybody could have faked it."

History Channel
Digital illustrator/animator Ray Downing and John Jackson look at a high-quality 
replica of the Shroud of Turin, displayed at Jackson's research center in Colorado.

But the dating debate isn't the focus of Downing's work: Rather, he concentrated on what the shroud shows. Could the faint outlines preserved in the cloth match up with the outlines of a specific person? Downing found that they could, and he drew up a 3-D image that fit the data.

"It's just like how a police investigator will question an eyewitness, and from that information he can draw a complete sketch," Downing said. "The shroud is a silent witness. It's like the witness in an investigation."

Downing started out with high-resolution photographs of the shroud from the Holy Shroud Guild and the Shroud of Turin Research Project. "Between the two of them we were able to come up with a good image," he said.

He also consulted with John Jackson, a physicist who has come to specialize in studying the shroud at his research center in Colorado. Once all the imagery was computerized, Downing used software to massage the 2-D data into 3-D imagery.

History Channel
A computer reconstruction shows a body image that matches up with the faint 
imprint seen on the Shroud of Turin. The imagery was used to develop 3-D models.

3-D visualizations of the face in the shroud have been done before, but Downing found that the data couldn't be matched up with a realistic representation if he just added another dimension to the shroud's flat plane. The image looked more like a reflection in a funhouse mirror - and that's because the cloth had to be draped around the body's form to produce a match.

Downing said the cloth "encoded" the 3-D data on a 2-D surface. "It's as if there is an instruction set inside a picture for building a sculpture," he explained in a news release.

By manipulating the computer model, Downing matched up the shroud's imprint with anatomical features drawn from more than 100 human scans. "The nose might have come from here, the nostrils from there," he told me. The result is a realistic illustration, based on the data encoded in the shroud.

History Channel / Ray Downing
Illustrator Ray Downing tweaked graphic representations of human models to come
up with a realistic 3-D image of the person whose imprint is on the Shroud of Turin.

Downing said the depiction shown in the History Channel program represents his best effort to put flesh and bones on the shroud's imprint - and he would argue that it's the best effort anyone has made. "This is the closest one, anatomically," he said.

Over the years, not everyone has agreed that the shroud can fit a realistic form. Joe Nickell, a paranormal investigator for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, told an interviewer a decade ago that if the draping effect is taken into account, the body beneath the shroud would have to have been "unusually narrow ... so very long and narrow that one pro-Shroud pathologist suggested that Jesus must have had Marfan's syndrome."

If Downing's analysis played it straight, the shape beneath the shroud is at least plausibly human. But is it Jesus? Or some anonymous person from the first or the 13th century? Feel free to weigh in with your comments below, before or after the show airs.

Update for 8:18 p.m. ET March 30: In a follow-up telephone interview, Skeptical Inquirer's Joe Nickell noted that questions have surrounded theShroud of Turin since the 14th century, when it showed up in France. Nickell suggests that the shroud could have been forged by applying a red ochre pigment to the linen, then modeling it on a body with a bas-relief mask over the face.

Nickell said an Italian chemist, Luigi Garlaschelli, used the recipe to create a shroudlike replica. "He made a 'shroud' using the theories of mine that I told you, then artificially aged it by baking, and then he washed it to remove the pigment - and voila! There was the yellow stain," Nickell said. The effect was similar to the effect seen on the Shroud of Turin.

You can read more about Garlaschelli's experiment here and here.

"There are two approaches to this," Nickell told me. "There's ordinary science, and then there's what I call shroud science. Ordinary science starts with evidence, and lets the evidence lead wherever it will. This is the approach used by a 'CSI' team. Shroud science is quite different, and it starts with the answer. They start by saying, 'This is the shroud of our Lord,' and then they take whatever steps they need to get to that answer."

Nickell is skeptical ... not only about the Shroud of Turin, but also about the prospects for settling the shroud debate to everyone's satisfaction.

"Shroud science is backward from ordinary science," he said. "It's very discouraging to me that the media have been so willing to give it a pass."

Update for 2:50 p.m. ET March 31: I've been wading through thousands of comments on this item - an exercise that has revealed once again how fallible mortals (and software) can be. I apologize to those whose messages I have not approved, either because I just couldn't get to them or because they struck a slightly wrong or redundant chord. I also apologize to those who may take offense at some of the messages that were approved. Thanks to all of you who wrote in - and whether you're Christian or Jew, Muslim or Buddhist, of some other faith or of no religious faith at all, have an uplifting week!

More on the Shroud of Turin:



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“You must not make for yourself an image of anything 
....You must not bow down to them or worship them..."
(Exodus 20:4)(NLT)-BibleGateway

"for we walk by faith, not by sight."
(2Corinthians 5:7)(ESV)-BibleGateway

"You shall not make for yourselves an image bow down to it......."
(Leviticus 26:1)(NASB)-BibleGateway


Why would you wear an instrument of torture 
and execution as your religious symbol ?

"Imagine if Christ came back to Earth 
and found everyone wearing a small effigy 
of the thing he so horribly died on."

-Why wear an instrument of torture 
round your neck?  by Miles Kington
Independent, The (London),  May 2, 2006 
Independent Newspapers UK Limited
ProQuest Information and Learning Company

"The cross is a fetish and is found in ears, 
around necks, pinned on clothing or carried about 
in some other way. Some ladies wear crosses hanging 
on chains as charms and carry books and Bibles 
stamped with a cross.  The Vestal Virgins of pagan 
Rome wore a cross suspended from their necklaces 
just as do the nuns of our day. The Egyptians did 
the same,"
-The Cross, A Symbol of Paganism 
by Rev. Howard Hart

"the cross has been used to torture, 
and to threaten whole civilizations, 
and yet used as jewelry by some."
- Some Pagan items adopted by Christians

"For those men and women who wear 
a cross necklace,  cross earrings or other 
crucifixion jewelry,  if you think it adds 
to your beauty, think again.  For those who
know what the cross really represents, 
do you really think your symbol of torture 
will help attract the opposite sex? "
- History to Consider 
Compiled by Jim Walker 

An Instrument of Torture
-- used as -- 
A Pendant For Your Necklace ?

If Jesus died by a different form of execution 
- then would we wear that instrument on our necklace
or earring - as our symbol of faith ?


"The late Bill Hicks, said he could not understand 
why Christians went around with a small model of an 
instrument of torture dangling round their necks.
That was what the cross was. A method of putting 
people to death slowly and agonisingly. 
We might as well have a model of a guillotine,
or an axe.  Can you imagine, he said, if Christ 
came back to Earth and found everyone wearing a 
small effigy round their necks of the thing he had 
so horribly died on? He'd go - No!- Take that damned
thing off...!"
-Why wear an instrument of torture 
round your neck?  by Miles Kington
Independent, The (London),  May 2, 2006 
Independent Newspapers UK Limited
ProQuest Information and Learning Company

Instrument  of  Executioners

"Crucifixion was not only an execution, 
but also a method of torture. " 
(From Forerunner Commentary) 
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

"Christians didn't use the cross as their religious 
symbol for many generations after Christ. Rather than 
being a Christian symbol it had associations with 
executioners. When Christianity became the state religion 
of Rome, the cross became the emblem for Christians.
Now, it is carried by more people than any other 
religious talisman and is considered by many to be 
sacred. People sometimes go as far as to make the cross 
an object of adoration or an icon in its own right."
- Some Pagan items adopted by Christians

"The Christians' choice of a cross as the symbol 
of our faith - is really surprising when one considers 
the horror with which crucifixion was regarded in the 
ancient world."
-John Stott 
The Cross of Christ, p. 21)

"Crucifixion is probably the most cruel method of 
execution ever practiced, for it deliberately delayed 
death until maximum torture had been inflicted. 
So, Why make the cross the centerpiece of our faith? "
-John Stott 
The Cross of Christ, p. 21)

Even on Church Buildings

"Now days you see the cross everywhere, 
on church buildings, embroidered into clergy robes, 
on clergy stationary, on pulpit cloths, in stained 
glass windows of church buildings and worn around 
the neck of Christians and none Christian alike."
AND THE CROSS; by David A. Shortt 

"We must also consider if it is even appropriate 
to use the very tool that was used to kill our Savior
as an emblem of our faith. If Jesus Christ had been 
killed by hanging, would we use a gallows or a noose 
as a symbol of our faith? If He had been beheaded, 
would we use a guillotine? Why should we parade the 
instrument of shame and death before the world 
and be proud of it? The New Testament shows that the 
fact that Christ was killed by crucifixion was an 
offense to some."
(From Forerunner Commentary) 
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment



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Posts: 9863

An Instrument of Torture
-- used as -- 
A Pendant For Your Necklace ?

If Jesus died by a different form of execution 
- then would we wear that instrument on our necklace
or earring - as our symbol of faith ?


"The late Bill Hicks, said he could not understand 
why Christians went around with a small model of an 
instrument of torture dangling round their necks.
That was what the cross was. A method of putting 
people to death slowly and agonisingly. 
We might as well have a model of a guillotine,
or an axe.  Can you imagine, he said, if Christ 
came back to Earth and found everyone wearing a 
small effigy round their necks of the thing he had 
so horribly died on? He'd go - No!- Take that damned
thing off...!"
-Why wear an instrument of torture 
round your neck?  by Miles Kington
Independent, The (London),  May 2, 2006 
Independent Newspapers UK Limited
ProQuest Information and Learning Company

Instrument  of  Executioners

"Crucifixion was not only an execution, 
but also a method of torture. " 
(From Forerunner Commentary) 
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

"Christians didn't use the cross as their religious 
symbol for many generations after Christ. Rather than 
being a Christian symbol it had associations with 
executioners. When Christianity became the state religion 
of Rome, the cross became the emblem for Christians.
Now, it is carried by more people than any other 
religious talisman and is considered by many to be 
sacred. People sometimes go as far as to make the cross 
an object of adoration or an icon in its own right."
- Some Pagan items adopted by Christians

"The Christians' choice of a cross as the symbol 
of our faith - is really surprising when one considers 
the horror with which crucifixion was regarded in the 
ancient world."
-John Stott 
The Cross of Christ, p. 21)

"Crucifixion is probably the most cruel method of 
execution ever practiced, for it deliberately delayed 
death until maximum torture had been inflicted. 
So, Why make the cross the centerpiece of our faith? "
-John Stott 
The Cross of Christ, p. 21)

Even on Church Buildings

"Now days you see the cross everywhere, 
on church buildings, embroidered into clergy robes, 
on clergy stationary, on pulpit cloths, in stained 
glass windows of church buildings and worn around 
the neck of Christians and none Christian alike."
AND THE CROSS; by David A. Shortt 

"We must also consider if it is even appropriate 
to use the very tool that was used to kill our Savior
as an emblem of our faith. If Jesus Christ had been 
killed by hanging, would we use a gallows or a noose 
as a symbol of our faith? If He had been beheaded, 
would we use a guillotine? Why should we parade the 
instrument of shame and death before the world 
and be proud of it? The New Testament shows that the 
fact that Christ was killed by crucifixion was an 
offense to some."
(From Forerunner Commentary) 
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment



If jesus died on the guillotine, 
would the symbol of Christianity be a guillotine?

If Jesus was stoned to death - Would the symbol of
Christianity be a pile of stones?

If Jesus was put to death by means of an AXE,
would the symbol of Christianity be an "AXE" ?

If Jesus was shot to death, would the symbol of
Christianity be a gun or pistol ?

If Jesus died by hanging, would the symbol of
Christianity be a Noose or the Gallows ?

If Jesus was beaten to death by a whip, would the
symbol of Christianity be the whip ?

If Jesus was decapitated by a knife, would the
symbol of Christianity be a machete or knife ?

"Throughout the world, people universally regard 
the cross as THE symbol of Christianity. Churches 
have crosses atop their steeples, on their walls, 
windows and doors. Catholics and Protestants wear 
crosses on necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, 
keychains and items of clothing. People in some 
churches "cross" themselves by touching the forehead, 
breast, and then each shoulder to form a symbolic 
cross in carrying out certain religious rituals 
or in blessing themselves or others. Some think 
the sign of the cross to be effective in warding 
off evil spirits and for generally protecting 
believers from harm."
-The Cross:
Christian Banner or Pagan Relic?
by Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)


"What most people do not fully realize 
is that Satan has deceived this whole world 
(Revelation 12:9). Many of the comfortable, 
familiar customs and traditions of this world 
have, indeed, been borrowed from rank paganism 
and have nothing at all to do with true Christianity."
-The Cross:
Christian Banner or Pagan Relic?
by Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)


"the cross was introduced to the Christian system 
from the Mystery cults along with the other forms 
of worship which gradually took over Christianity 
and which had no part of the early church."
-The Cross: Its Origin and Significance; Wade Cox
(No. 39)(Edition 3.0 19940625-19991203)


"the cursed tree" (Galatians 3:13); Acts 5:30; 10:39)

"There is no evidence of any use of the cross 
in Christian churches before the 4th century A.D. 
There was no religious significance whatever of 
the cross used until the 4th century."
-The Cross, A Symbol of Paganism 
by Rev. Howard Hart

"The cross as a sign of Christianity did not come 
into public use in the church until towards the end 
of the fourth century, when there was a definite 
falling away from "The faith", and when Pagans with 
their symbols and rites were admitted into the Church 
of Rome."
AND THE CROSS; by David A. Shortt

"Dr. Choul, the learned Romish antiquarian, writes 
thus: "if we closely investigate the subject, we shall 
perceive that many institutions of our religion have 
been taken and translated from Egyptian and heathen 
AND THE CROSS; by David A. Shortt



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Did Jesus Die on a Stake ?


Did Jesus Die on a Stake ?

Many scholars believe that Jesus died on 
an upright Stake rather than a "cross" -

According to a literal translation of the bible
Jesus died on a "tree" or "stake" - and NOT
on a cross.   Both of the words used to describe
his execution "stauros" and "xylon" are literally
translated as tree or stake, and never had any 
other meaning.  The word "cross" did not appear
in any Bible translation, until Rome adopted the
Cross of the pagans.

"his body shall not remain all night upon the tree,
but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; 
for he that is hanged is accursed of God..."
(Deuteronomy 21:23)(ASV)-BibleGateway

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law,having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. "(Galatians 3:13)(ASV)-BibleGateway

"A stauros was a mere stake, and horrible to contemplate,
it was used in the cruelest fashion to execute criminals
and other persons..."
- Jesus: God, Man, or Myth (The Truth Seeker, 1950)



If a contemporary artist had stood before the dying Jesus
on Golgotha,  he might have left us an authentic portrayal
of that highly significant event.  But no artwork of this kind 
is in existence,  and certainly later tradition is not conclusive. 
Nevertheless, we do have the recorded words of an eyewitness.

Who was he?

As Jesus looked down from that implement of torture and death, 
he saw "the disciple whom he loved,"  the apostle John. 
To him Jesus committed the care of his mother, Mary. 
(John 19:25-30)

So, John was there.
He knew whether Jesus died on a cross or not.

What did John Say ?

To designate the instrument of Christ's death,
John used the Greek word "stawros".
(John 19:17, 19, 25)

In classical Greek, 'stawros' denotes the same thing 
that it does in the common Greek of the Christian Scriptures -
primarily an upright stake or pole with no crossbar.

'stauros': "Literally an upright stake, pale, or pole...
As an instrument of execution."
-The Jnterpreter's Dictionary of the Bible

"The Greek..... 'stauros', properly signified a stake, 
an upright pole, or piece of paling, 
on which anything might be hung,
or which might be used in impaling [fencing in]
a piece of ground....
Even amongst the Romans the crux
(from which our cross is derived)
appears to have been originally an upright pole,
and this always remained the more prominent part."
-The Imperial Bible Dictionary.

Most of the time, the noun stauros (stake)
and the verb stauroo (impale) 
are used in connection with Jesus Christ's death.
These two words appear 74 times in the New Testament.

The New Testament uses the word  'tree' five times
to refer to Christ's death. The references are found in 
Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24.

In rendering Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 ("stake") 
and Ezra 6:11 ("timber"),  the translators of the Septuagint Version 
employed the Greek word xylon,   the same term that Paul used 
at Galatians 3:13.   It was also the one employed by Peter,
when he said that  Jesus "bore our sins in his own body 
upon the stake."  (1 Pet. 2:24)

"When they had carried out all that was written about him,
they took him down fromthe tree and laid him in a tomb."
(Acts 13:29)(NIV)-BibleGateway

"We are witnesses of everything he did 
in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. 
They killed him by hanging him on a tree."
(Acts 10:39)(NIV)-BibleGateway

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law 
by becoming a curse for us,  for it is written : 
"Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
(Galatians 3:13)(NIV)-BibleGateway

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, 
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 
by his wounds you have been healed. "
(1Peter 2:24)(NIV)-BibleGateway

"The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--
whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. "
(Acts 5:30)(NIV)-BibleGateway


"The New Testament word  'cross'  is an incorrect 
translation of the Greek word stauros
. The word 
"stauros" referred to any upright wooden stake 
firmly fixed in the ground. A stauros could serve 
a variety of purposes as, for example, a pole in 
a picket fence. The word stauros also represented
a pointed stake used for impalement of human beings.
This was an ancient form of punishment used to 
publicly display the bodies of executed criminals."
-The New International Dictionary 
of New Testament Theology 

"It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers 
to translate the word 'stauros' as 'cross' - when rendering 
the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue...
that was... not the primary meaning of the word
in the days of the Apostles."
-The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896)
Pp. 23, 24

"A tradition of the Church which our fathers
have inherited, was the adoption of the words 
"cross" and "crucify."  These words are nowhere 
to be found in the Greek of the New Testament. 
These words are mistranslations,  a "later rendering,"
of the Greek words stauros and stauroo."
-The New International Dictionary 
of New Testament Theology 


Was Christ Hung on a Cross ?

TO MANY millions of people the answer to this question 
seems as simple as the three-letter word "Yes". 
To serious students of both ancient history and the Bible 
the answer is even simpler, as simple as the two-letter word "No!"

It is common knowledge in this enlightened age that the Bible 
was not first set down in English. Consequently, to settle the question
as to whether Christ was hung on a cross or not -  it is necessary 
to consult the original Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible 
was originally written.  Manuscript copies of the original accounts, 
some of which copies date back to within fifty years of the originals, 
are available to scholars.  Besides these, the original words are defined 
and explained in dictionaries or lexicons written in modern English.
And, in addition, there are dependable encyclopedias, histories, etc., 
to which reference can be made.

"It may come as a shock to know 
that there is no word such as 'cross' 
in the Greek of the New Testament. 
The word translated 'cross' 
is always the Greek word [stau·ros'] 
meaning a 'stake' or 'upright pale.' 
The cross was NOT originally a Christian symbol;
it is derived from Egypt and Constantine." 
-Dual Heritage-The Bible and the British Museum

"There is not a single sentence in any of 
the numerous writings forming the New Testament,
which, in the original Greek,
bears even indirect evidence 
to the effect that the stauros used 
in the case of Jesus was other than 
an ordinary stauros; 
much less to the effect that it consisted, 
not of one piece of timber,
but of two pieces nailed together
in the form of a cross."
- The Non-Christian Cross;
John Denham Parsons

"If Jesus had been executed, mythically or historically,
it would NOT have been with outstretched arms on a 
cruciform structure
.  Cutner reports that scholars 
have been aware of the error
but have been unable to 
In the 18th century - some Anglican bishops recommended 
eliminating the cross symbol altogetherbut they were ignored. 
There is no cross in early Christian art before the middle of the
5th century."
- Jesus: God, Man, or Myth (The Truth Seeker, 1950)

"Another...tradition of the Church
which our fathers have inherited,
was the adoption of the words 'cross' and 'crucify'.
These words are nowhere to be found
in the Greek of the New Testament
." (Koster, p. 29). 
-Koster, C.J. Come Out of Her My People. Johannesburg, RSA: 
Institute for Scripture Research, 1998.

"Homer uses the word 'stauros' - of an ordinary pole or stake, 
or a single piece of timber.  And this is the meaning and usage 
of the word throughout the Greek classics. 
It never means two pieces of timber placed across one 
another at any angle, but always of one piece alone
Hence the use of the word 'xulon'  [which means a timber]
in connection with the manner of our Lord's death, 
and rendered tree in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 
and 1 Pet. 2:24. 
. . .
There is nothing in the Greek N.T.  even to imply two
pieces of timber
. . .  The evidence is thus complete, 
the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, 
and not on two pieces of timber  placed
at any angle." 
- The Companion Bible,
published by the Oxford University Press.
On page 186 in the "Appendixes"

Prophecy Points To A  "TREE" - 
NOT A  Cross

"you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. 
Be sure to bury him that same day, 
because anyone who is hung ontree is under God's curse. "
(Deuteronomy 21:23)(NIV)-BibleGateway

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law 
by becoming a curse for us,  for it is written : 
"Cursed is everyone who is hung ontree."
(Galatians 3:13)(NIV)-BibleGateway

Hence the Jewish Christians would hold as accursed and hateful 
the stake upon which Jesus had been executed. 
Says the celebrated Jewish authority, Moses Mai.mon'i.des, of the 12th century: 
'They never hang upon a tree which clings to the soil by roots; 
but upon a timber uprooted, that it might not be an annoying plague: 
for a timber upon which anyone has been hanged is buried; 
that the evil name may not remain with it and people should say, 
"This is the timber on which so-and-so was hanged."    
So the stone with which anyone has been stoned; and the sword, 
with which the one killed has been killed; and the cloth or mantle 
with which anyone has been strangled; all these things are buried
along with those who perished.' "
- (Apud Casaub. in Baron. Exercitat. 16, An. 34, Num. 134)

" 'Consequently since a man hanged was considered 
the greatest abomination- the Jews also hated more than other
things the timber on which he had been hanged, so that they covered it
also with earth, as being equally an abominable thing.' "
- Kalinski in Vaticinia Observationibus Illustrata, page 342


"'In the Egyptian churches, the cross was a pagan symbol of life
borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner'."
-The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, vol. 14, p. 273

"It was not until Christianity began to be PAGANIZED
that the cross came to be thought of as a Christian symbol."
- Babylon Mystery Religion; Ralph Woodrow (pg 50)

"STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pole 
or stake...Both the noun and the verb stauroo,
to fasten to a stake or pole, are originally 
to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical
form of a two-beamed cross. The shape of the latter
had its origin  in ancient Chaldea (Babylon),
and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz
(being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial
of his name)... By the middle of the 3rd century A.D.
the churches had either departed from,  or had travestied,
certain doctrines of the Christian faith.  
In order to increase the prestige of the apostate 
ecclesiastical system pagans were received into 
the churches
apart from regeneration by faith,
and were permitted largely to retain their pagan 
signs and symbols
.  Hence the Tau or T, in its 
most frequent form, with the cross piece lowered,
was adopted..."
-Vine's Expository Dictionary 
of New Testament Words

"crosses were used as symbols of the 
Babylonian Sun-god...
It should be stated 
that Constantine was a Sun-god worshipper...
The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord 
was put to death upon an upright stake,

and NOT on two pieces of timber placed 
at any angle."
-Dr. Bullinger, The Companion Bible,  appx. 162

Wasn't it a Roman Custom
To execute Evildoers on Crosses ?

Not Always !

-  read the evidence below -

"A stauros was a mere stake, and horrible to contemplate,
it was used in the cruelest fashion to execute criminals
and other persons...It was sometimes pointed and thrust
through the victim's body to pin him to earth; or he was
placed on top of the stake with it's point upwards so that
it gradually pierced his body; or he was tied upon it 
and left exposed till death intervened;
and there were
other methods too.
There is not a scrape of evidence 
that a stauros was ever in the form of a cross or even
of a "T" shape......"
- Jesus: God, Man, or Myth (The Truth Seeker, 1950)

"Beside scourging, according to the gospel accounts,
only the simplest form of Roman crucifixion comes into 
consideration for the infliction of punishment upon Jesus,
the hanging of the unclad body on a stake. . .Anything other 
than a simple hanging is ruled out by the wholesale manner 
in which this execution was often carried out : 2000 at once by Varus"
-- (Jos. Ant. XVII 10. 10), by Quadratus (Jewish Wars II 12. 6),
by the Procurator Felix (Jewish Wars II 15. 2), 
by Titus (Jewish Wars VII. 1)." - P. W. Schmidt ; pp. 387-389

"Crosses must have been commonly of the simplest form 
(Stakes - without crossbeam), because they were used
in such marvellous numbers. Of Jews alone, Alexander 
Jannaeus crucified 800, Varus, 2000, Hadrian, 500 a day;
and the gentle Titus so many that there was no room 
for the crosses, nor crosses for the bodies."
-Smith's Dict. of the Bible.

The Latin word used for the instrument  on which Christ died was 'crux'
which, according to Livy, famous Roman historian
of the first century C.E.,  " it means a mere stake. "

The 'crux simplex' was a 
"a mere stake 'of one single piece WITHOUT transom [crossbar]. " 
The Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, 
and Ecclesiastical Literature

"Trees were not everywhere available  at the places chosen 
for public execution.  So a simple beam was sunk into the ground.
On this the outlaws, with hands raised upward and often also 
with their feet, were bound or nailed....Jesus died on a simple death-stake."
- Das Kreuz und die Kreuzigung (The Cross and the Crucifixion), 
by Hermann Fulda, Breslau, 1878,  p.109,  pp. 219, 220

"Lipsius and other writers speak of the single upright stake 
to which criminals were bound as a cross,
and to such a stake the name of crux simplex has been applied."
- The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition

" 'In Livy,' even crux means a mere stake "
- Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible " 


NO !

"The representation of Christ's redemptive death  on Golgotha 
does not occur in the symbolic art of the first Christian centuries. 
The early Christians, influenced by the Old Testament prohibition 
of graven images, were reluctant to depict even the instrument 
of the Lord's Passion."
-New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. IV, p. 486

"There was NO use of the crucifix 
and NO material representation of the cross."
-A History of the Christian Church (New York, 1897),
J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366.

"Most scholars now agree that the cross,
as an artistic reference to the passion event(Jesus' death), 
cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine."
--Archaeological Evidence of Church Life 
Before Constantine (1985), 
by Professor Graydon F. Snyder, page 27

An early Christian wrote this to the pagans -
thus showing the early Christian attitude
toward their pagan Crosses.

"Crosses, moreover, 
we neither worship - nor wish for. 
You, indeed, who consecrate gods 
of wood
adore wooden crosses 
perhaps as parts of your gods. . ."
-(The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 191) 
Minucius Felix - 3rd Century

"It was not until Christianity began to be PAGANIZED 
that the cross came to be thought of as a Christian symbol."
- Babylon Mystery Religion; Ralph Woodrow (pg 50)


Regardless of whether Jesus died on a Stake or a Cross -
we must be careful not to place his instrument of execution
as something sacred.  We must not idolize it, nor pray before it,
nor adore it as something wonderful.  For the Bible warns us about
idolatry and also says that the instrument of Christ's death was
an abomination.

What really is important is the fact that Jesus remained faithful
to Jehovah God, even up to death.

"Jesus was humble. He obeyed God..."
(Philippians 2:8)(CEV)-BibleGateway

"He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death...." 
(Phil. 2:8) 

Instead of idolizing a cross - we should show our appreciation 
for everything that Christ has done for us,  and will do for us
in the near future.

Surely, the instrument of Jesus' suffering and death would not merit
reverence, worship, or adoration any more than would the gallows
on which a beloved one might have died unjustly.  Moreover, 
God's Word prohibits such veneration, for it says, "flee from idolatry" 
and "guard yourselves from idols." (1 Cor. 10:14; 1 John 5:21).



Status: Offline
Posts: 9863

The Cross and Ancient Sex Worship

A shocking Look 
at the Origin of the Cross
in Ancient Sacred Worship

The Cross was originally
a Symbol of Phallic (Sex) Worship.

The Cross - The Idol of Babylon
Later - Adopted by Rome


The cross is a very ancient religious symbol that
got it's start in Ancient Babylon.  It was from
here that this symbol spread to other pagan relgions
around the world.  Even Egyptian tombs are decorated
with this religious symbol, often in the form of
the ankh cross.

Eventually, even pagan Rome embraced the Cross in
her religious worship as well.  It is well known
among the pagans of the world that the cross represent
the union of the male with the female and is thus
considered a "Phallic Symbol".

How offensive this must be to Christ - to have the
symbol of sex worship adopted by Christendom for 
use in their apostate worship of him.  And worse yet,
is the fact that the instrument upon which he was 
tortured - is used by Christendom as an idol of

The stake or tree upon which a criminal was executed,
by Jewish law was considered an "Abomination", and
certainly nothing to kiss or bow down before.


The Cross as an Idol :
"Yet the cross itself is the oldest of phallic emblems
and the lozenge-shaped windows of cathedrals are proof 
that the yonic symbols have survived the destructions
of the pagan Mysteries. The very structure of the church 
itself is permeated with phallicism.
Remove from the
Christian Church all emblems of Priapic origin 
and nothing is left..." 
-The secret teaching of all ages; by Manley P. Hall

"The practice of making the Sign of the Cross originated in Babylon as people paid homage to their Messiah, Tammuz..."-The Two Babylons; Alexander Hislop
"the crucifix was not always the symbol 
of Christianity but ,in fact, it started out 
as a Pagan Roman symbol."
Mark Brown and Farsheed Khosmood

"It was not until Christianity began to be PAGANIZED 
that the cross came to be thought of as a Christian symbol."
- Babylon Mystery Religion; Ralph Woodrow (pg 50)

"The magic virtues attributed to the so-called sign of the cross,
the worship bestowed on it... was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, 
was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes."
-The Two Babylons; Alexander Hislop

"You certainly, who worship wooden gods, 
are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses."
- Minucius Felix, Christian of the 3rd Century


"The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome 
wore it (the cross) suspended from their necklaces, 
as the nuns do now. "
- The Two Babylons ; Alexander Hislop

Why should we Reverence and love the horrible image
that was used to cruelly kill our Savior ! ???



For many people, the portrayal of Jesus on the cross
is sacred.  In fact, some people have made the cross itself 
an object of adoration.  Many people in Christendom bow
down before the Cross or use it as a symbol by which to pray,
or as a magical charm (amulet) by which to seek divine protection.


Christendom uses the CROSS in much the same way as the
ancient pagans did.

"The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome 
wore it suspended from their necklaces, 
as the nuns do now. "
- The Two Babylons ; Alexander Hislop

"You certainly, who worship wooden gods, 
are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses."
- Minucius Felix, 3rd Century

"...he maketh a god, even his graven image; 
he falleth down unto it and worshippeth, 
and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me...
an abomination....
shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?"
(Isaiah 44:17,19)(ASV)-BibleGateway

"The magic virtues attributed to
the so-called sign of the cross,
the worship bestowed on it... 
was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, 
was applied by Paganism to the same 
magic purposes (as used by Christians now)."
-The Two Babylons; Alexander Hislop

“From the most remote antiquity 
the cross was venerated in Egypt and Syria
it was held in equal honour by the Buddhists 
of the East; . . . about the commencement of our era,
the pagans were wont to make the sign of a cross 
upon the forehead
in the celebration of some of 
their sacred mysteries.” 
-The Ancient Church; by W. D. Killen 

"the cross represents the Tree of Life,
the age-old fertility symbol
combining the vertical male
and horizontal female principles,
especially in Egypt,"
- An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols,
J.C. Cooper,  p.45

"From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used
both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, 
from the dawn of man’s civilization."
-The Encyclopedia Britannica
(Eleventh Edition, Vol. VII, p. 506)

"The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life 
-- the ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop
and known as crux ansata -- was adopted
and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments."
(The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 
1995, volume 3, page 753)

"The symbol of Phallic worship, the cross
has become the emblem of Christianity...
We find the cross in India, Egypt, Tibet, Japan, was worn as an a symbol of 
what was, to them, a religious calling.
The cross...a significant emblem of its pagan origin;
it was adored, carved in temples, and worn as a 
sacred emblem by sun and nature worshipers.
-The Christ; by John E. Remsburg

"The origin of the Ankh has been ascribed
to a combination of the male Tau and the female oval 
representing unity of the sexual organs.
it was adopted by early Egyptian Christians,
as their ‘cross’."
A short illustrated history; by Ian McNeil Cooke


(Hieroglyphs in an ancient Ptolemaic Egyptian frieze,
from "The Cross Revealed", by Crichton E. M. Miller.)

"Various figures of crosses  are found everywhere 
on Egyptian monuments and tombs, 
and are considered by many authorities  as symbolical
either of the phallus [a representation of the male sex organ] 
or of coition (sexual intercourse). . . In Egyptian tombs -
the crux ansata [cross with a circle or handle on top] 
is found side by side with the phallus."
A Short History of Sex-Worship (London, 1940),
H. Cutner, pp. 16, 17

Hence, the cross does not have 
what some might term a "Christian" origin.


"Crosses, moreover, 
we neither worship nor wish for. 
You, indeed, who consecrate gods 
of wood, adore wooden crosses 
perhaps as parts of your gods
. . ."
-(The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 191) 
Minucius Felix - 3rd Century

"The representation of Christ's redemptive death
on Golgotha does not occur in the symbolic art 
of the first Christian centuries. 
The early Christians, influenced by the Old Testament
prohibition of graven images, were reluctant to
depict even the instrument of the Lord's Passion."
—New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. IV, p. 486

"There was no use of the crucifix 
and no material representation of the cross."
—A History of the Christian Church (New York, 1897),
J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366.

"You certainly, who worship wooden gods, 
are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses."
- Minucius Felix, 3rd Century

"Most scholars now agree that the cross,
as an artistic reference 
to the passion event(Jesus' death), 
cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine."
—Ante Pacem—
Archaeological Evidence of Church Life 
Before Constantine (1985), 
by Professor Graydon F. Snyder, page 27.

"They did not focus on Jesus the man crucified 
on the cross like a common criminal - so they 
did not make images of that aspect of his life 
in the 3 and 4th centuries. To them the cross as
a common instrument of execution was as much an 
abomination as the electric chair to many today
-  The Image of Christ;  
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2003

"That this custom came at last to be superstitious is 
evident. After the boasted vision of Constantine, 
and the invention and the multiplication of the wood, 
in the name of the cross, had supplied the whole world, 
many superstitious practices of the heathen were adopted,
perverting the faith, and changing the significant sign of
Christ's name into the present sign of the murderous tree."
- Veneration of The Cross; Gibbon, chap.xx

"Veneration of the Cross the first ages of Christianity, 
when converts from paganism were so numerous, 
and the impression of idol-worship was so fresh, 
the Church found it advisable NOT to permit 
the development of this cult of images; 
but later, when that danger had disappeared, 
when Christian traditions and Christian instinct 
had gained strength, the cult developed more freely."
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV
Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight
Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

"It may come as a shock to know 
that there is no word such as 'cross' 
in the Greek of the New Testament. 
The word translated 'cross' 
is always the Greek word [stau·ros'] 
meaning a 'stake' or 'upright pale.' 
The cross was not originally a Christian symbol;
it is derived from Egypt and Constantine."

-Dual Heritage—The Bible and the British Museum

"It is not a littlemisleading upon the part of our teachers 
to translate the word 'stauros' as 'cross' when rendering 
the Greek documents  of the Church into our native tongue...
that was... NOT the primary meaning of the word 
in the days of the Apostles."
-The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons 
(London, 1896)   —Pp. 23, 24
see also The Companion Bible (London, 1885), 
Appendix No. 162.

" 'In Livy,' even crux means a mere stake "
- Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible " 
(Livy - famous historian)

"Another...tradition of the Church 
which our fathers have inherited, 
was the adoption of the words 'cross' and 'crucify'
These words are nowhere to be found
in the Greek of the New Testament." 
-Koster, C.J. Come Out of Her My People.
Johannesburg, RSA:   page 29
Institute for Scripture Research, 1998.

"The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome 
(who served the goddess "Vesta")
wore it (the cross) suspended from their necklaces, 
as the nuns do now. "
- The Two Babylons ; Alexander Hislop

"Crosses, moreover - we neither worship - 
nor wish for.   You, indeed, who consecrate
gods of wood - adore wooden crosses 
perhaps as parts of your gods. . ."
-(The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 191) 
Minucius Felix - 3rd Century

Could our blessed Lord himself be pleased
with the evil instrument that was used to kill him? 
Could HE want us to make an idol of the wood 
on which HE was nailed, then lifted up, and left 
to drink the vinegar and the gall in death? 
Can it be pleasing in HIS sight for HIS followers
to make an ornament of the image of the instrument
on which HE was hung and cruelly nailed to, 
amid the scoffs and jeers of the chief priests and rulers 
of  his Father's chosen people ?

Can it be pleasing to the blessed Jesus to behold His followers
glorying in the image of that instrument of capital punishment 
on which HE was tortured and shamefully suffered upon ?

Surely, the instrument of Jesus’ suffering and death
no more merits such reverence than would the gallows
on which a beloved one might have died unjustly.
Moreover, God’s Word prohibits such veneration,
for it says, "flee from idolatry" 
and "guard yourselves from idols." 
(1 Cor. 10:14; 1 John 5:21).


"We may add that the crux ansata of the Egyptians, 
may be shown to be a sex symbol, the union of the oval
with the upright being of symbolic significance. 
The crux ansata is found in the hand of most of the Egyptian deities.
It is found in the Assyrian temples 
and throughout the temples of India as well. Prehistoric
monuments of Ireland have the same design. Priests are 
portrayed in adoration of the crux ansata before phallic
monuments. This symbol, from which our modern cross is 
doubtless derived, originated with the religions of 
antiquity. Much additional evidence could readily be 
given to illustrate this prehistoric origin. The present
Christian symbol affords another example of the adoption
by a new religion of the symbols of the old."
-The Sex Worship and Symbolism 
of Primitive Races
by Sanger Brown II., M. D.


"the origin of many church customs and symbols, 
and indeed of a great number of obscure customs 
and usages, may quite properly be traced to the 
religions and practices of primitive races."
-The Sex Worship and Symbolism 
of Primitive Races
by Sanger Brown II., M. D.

"The symbol of Phallic worship, the cross, 
has become the emblem of Christianity.
We find the cross in India, Egypt, Tibet, 
and was worn as an amulet and seems
to have been specially worn by the women attached 
to the temples as sacred prostitutes, as a symbol 
of what was, to them, a religious calling.
The cross is, in fact, nothing but the phallus, 
and in the Christian religion is a significant 
emblem of its pagan origin; it was adored, 
carved in temples, and worn as a sacred emblem 
by sun and nature worshipers, long before there
were any Christians to adore, carve, and wear it."
- The Christ by John Remsburg, 
Prometheus Books, 1994

"the symbols of the sexual energy were retained 
in things like the Christian cross."
-Sex, Religion & Magick: 
a concise overview; by Asa Rhadon


"Various figures of crosses
are found everywhere 
on Egyptian monuments and tombs, 
and are considered by many authorities
as symbolical either of the phallus 
[a representation of the male sex organ] 
or of coition (sexual intercourse). . . . 
In Egyptian tombs 
the crux ansata 
[cross with a circle or handle on top] 
is found side by side with the phallus."
—A Short History of Sex-Worship (London, 1940),
H. Cutner, pp. 16, 17; 
see also The Non-Christian Cross, p. 183.

"the cross itself 
is the oldest of phallic emblems"
- The secret teaching of all ages
by Manley P. Hall


"The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome 
wore it suspended from their necklaces, 
as the nuns do now. "
- The Two Babylons ; Alexander Hislop


This extraordinary golden cross 
depicts four phalli (Penis)
with a circle of female pudenda (vaginal openings)
around the four testicles in the centre.
It was designed to be suspended from the neck
and is thought to have been intended
for someone of high rank. 
Found at San Agata di Goti, Naples, Italy,
during the early 19th century

"The erect penis was commonly used 
in religions of early Mediterranean
and West Asian civilisations 
to show the procreative 
and protective properties 
of various deities....
there is concrete evidence 
of links between the cross 
and the phallus(penis)
in classical pagan civilisations,
a link which was to continue
into Christian art and mythology
not only in the image
of various types of cross
with their symbolism
of protection and renewal (fertility),
but in the adoration of 
phallic pagan deities 
disguised as ‘saints’ - 
Cosmo, Damiano, Foutin, Guerlichon,
Gilles, Rene, Regn, Arnaud, Guignole -
figures associated with phallic rituals
designed to give fertility,
health or just ‘good luck’. 
Many of these ceremonies 
were carried out in churches 
under auspices of the resident priest
as recently as the early 19th century."
A short illustrated history
Ian McNeil Cooke

Venerating an Abominable Image

Surely, the instrument of Jesus’ suffering and death
no more merits such reverence than would the gallows
on which a beloved one might have died unjustly.
Whether Christ died by stoning, gunshot, knife,
or guillotine - we would never want to use such an
instrument as an object of veneration, prayer or worship.
Moreover, God’s Word prohibits such veneration,
for it says, "flee from idolatry" 
and "guard yourselves from idols." 
(1 Cor. 10:14; 1 John 5:21).

Could our blessed Lord himself be pleased
with the evil instrument that was used to kill him? 
Could HE want us to make an idol of the wood 
on which HE was nailed, then lifted up, and left 
to drink the vinegar and the gall in death? 
Can it be pleasing in HIS sight for HIS followers
to make an ornament of the image of the instrument
on which HE was hung and cruelly nailed to, 
amid the scoffs and jeers of the chief priests and rulers 
of  his Father's chosen people ?

Can it be pleasing to the blessed Jesus to behold His followers
glorying in the image of that instrument of capital punishment 
on which HE was tortured and shamefully suffered upon ?

Why should a rational man make an image of the instrument
of our Savior's death - kiss it, wear it as an ornament
around his neck, bow down before it - and even adorn a
building of worship with it?

Why should we Reverence and love this horrible image
that was used to cruelly kill our Savior ! ???

It is monstrous.

Were the crown of thorns taken from the Saviour's wounded 
head, or the nails which fastened His hands and His feet
to the tree, or the sword used to pierce his side - 
really brought to our view,  they would surely be objects
of abhorrence to every loving heart.

Suppose we take up reverently in honour, and glory in, 
and even kiss a weapon which had been used to slay
our best friend - an instrument which brought someone
we loved - to an untimely, shameful, and agonising death !

No mortal in his senses is capable of such perverseness,
yet many,  under the delusion of the cross,  are daily 
guilty of such a thing.

It was in this light -  that the Holy Crosses of the 
pagan nations - were venerated, honored, worshipped,
and idolized.

Many Christians have overstepped the Bible's
commandments concerning the instrument of Christ's
death and have turned it into a type of God- into an idol.
They adore it, they bow down before it, they pray
in front of it, and they attribute special powers
to it.  Indeed they have turned the cross into 
an idol by which they worship - In direct rebellion
to God's words.  Remember that the stake or cross that
Christ died on was used to harm and hurt him, to
kill and humiliate him.  Why would we honor and 
venerate a wooden instrument used for such a horrible
deed ?

"Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, 
nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that
is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not 
bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for
I  Jehovah thy God am a jealous God..."
(Exodus 20:4,5)(ASV)-BibleGateway



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Posts: 9863

The Cross 
and "Babylon-the-Great"
What is the connection ?

The Cross 
and "Babylon-the-Great"
What is the connection ?

The use of the cross in worship started in Ancient
Babylon as part of the rebellion of Nimrod and his son
Tammuz and his mother-wife Semiramis.

The worship of the snake, Fire, the sun, and the
sexual organs, all originated in Ancient Babylon

The cross was originally a symbol of that union,
and did not find its way into Christian Art until almost
700 years after the death of Christ.

"The Cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea (Babylon), 
and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz 
(being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial 
of his name)."
--Vine's Expository Dictionary    
of New Testament Words 

Apostate Christendom has adopted the cross of
the pagans, and in doing so - she has added just
another vestige of Ancient Babylonian worship
to her corruption.

This along with pagan holidays like Christmas
and Easter, that originated in Ancient Babylon,
all of these corruptions are the reason that
False religion is called "Babylon-The-Great".
Yes, by adopting Ancient Babylonian Beliefs,
rituals, traditions, holidays, and worship -
including the "trinity" and "Nameless LORD"
worship - it makes it easy to identify who
is part of the Mystery of Revelation - known
as the Harlot - "Babylon-The-Great".

Jesus did not die on a cross - in fact the cross
was not used as a religious symbol by Christians
until Rome took over Christianity and made it a
state religion.  Then the cross of the pagans was
adopted to stand for the instrument that Jesus
was impaled upon.

A tradition of the Apostate Church which our 
fathers have inherited, was the adoption of the
words "cross" and "crucify".

These words are nowhere to be found in the Greek 
of the New Testament. These words are mistranslations, 
a "later rendering", of the Greek words stauros and 

"crosses were used as symbols of 
the Babylonian Sun-god..."
--The Companion Bible; pg 162
Dr. Bullinger

"the cross was a pagan symbol 
borrowed by the Christians and 
interpreted in the pagan manner." 
--The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 
11th edition, vol. 14, p. 273

"all things indicate that sex worship
is long anterior to sun worship. And yet,
both sex worship and sun worship were
mingled with each other.  They were tenets
that mingled together under the
same faith."
--The Masculine Cross 
and Ancient Sex Worship; 1874
By By Sha Rocco;  ISBN 0977100324

"Serpent Worship, next to the adoration of
the phallus, is one of the most widespread
and persistant forms of religion that the
world has ever known.  There is not a 
country of the ancient world where it cannot
be traced, pervading every known faith and
system of theology, and leaving abundant 
proof in its monuments, symbols, and temples.
That the serpent was a phallic symbol, there
is no doubt, for its worship is coequal with
that of the phallus, and formed part of every
sex-worshipping religion that ever existed.
--Chaper VIII
The Serpet and The Cross

"Common among the Ancinets was the Cross; an image made of wood or stone, in representation of the union of the lingam and yoni. The crosswas merely a simplification of the congress ofthe sexes."-- Sex Worship: An Exposition of the Phallic Origin of Religion By Clifford Howard Published 1898; pg 154-170Chicago Medical Book Co.

"From time immemorial the cross has been used
as a religious symbol.  There is no portion of
the earth inhabited by man and no time in the
history of the world - that it has not been found.
The cross primarily represented the divine union 
of the sexes. At first, however, the use of the 
cross in any form was not permitted by the early
Christian Church, because it was a pagan symbol,
and its introduction into Christian celebration
was regarded as rank profanation, and sternly
-- Sex Worship: An Exposition 
of the Phallic Origin of Religion 
By Clifford Howard 
Published 1898; pg 154-170
Chicago Medical Book Co.

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