Archive for May, 2010

The Shroud of Turin: The face of Jesus, or a pic by Leonardo da Vinci?

Today May 2, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the shroud of Turin, Italy, which some Christians believe is Jesus Christ’s burial cloth. I wonder why he does so on the day Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519. Coincidence?

About two million people are expected to view the shroud while it’s on view at the Turin Cathedral for the next six weeks. Don’t miss it if you happen to be in the area!

Jesus died on the cross. Mark, the earliest Gospel, says that his body was taken from the cross and wrapped in a linen cloth before burial in a rock-tomb. Its door was then closed with a stone.

Already in the 4th centyry, St. Nino, an Armenian Christian princess who died in 339 CE, mentions “shrouds of Christ” as existing in Jerusalem. So there…? Or where they fabricating a myth?

The fourth-century historian, Nicephorus Callistus, put in a record that the Empress Pulcheria (399-453) recovered certain sacred linen cloths from the Empress Eudokia and placed them in the new basilica of St. Maria of the Blackernae in Constantinople.

The French bishop Aroulf and St. John Damascene, refer to shrouds called sudarium in Constantinople in the seventh and eight centuries. So this linen has been mentioned since the dark ages. But there also was doubt: Antonio Lombatti, a church historian, said:.
“The shroud owner said it in 1355 … the local bishop said it was a forgery and even the pope of that time said it was a fake.”
The shroud, which bears the image of a face that some Christians say is Jesus’, was restored eight years ago to remove a patchwork repair done by 16th-century nuns after the cloth was damaged in a fire.

The Catholic Church’s official position regarding the shroud, Christianity’s most famous relic, is that “it’s an important tool for faith regardless of its authenticity.” This is the part I don’t get. It makes a bit of a differences I would think.
The archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Severino Poletto, tells visitors to view the shroud with their “hearts rather than their minds.” Come again lol, I want to know what it is!

“It is a man who’s had this horrible set of injuries, lying in death, but the face has a kind of transcendental quality about it,” said David Rolfe, a filmmaker whose latest project argues for the shroud’s authenticity, in describing the relic.
he made a film called “Shroud,” it was made at the Catholic Church’s invitation to coincide with the relic’s exhibition.

The possibility that this linen cloth may have survived (and may be preserved in Turin Cathedral) is derived from a number of ancient references.

Earlier suggestions that the great inventer Lenardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) made the shroud and doing so the first photo ever, as a sort of joke, are still not quite dismissed I think. Of course Leonardo lived later than the first publications of the shroud were made, but he might have made a copy? The resemblance is quite stunning? It is said that Mr. Da Vinci used his own image for the shroud.
I just put a drawing of Leonardo da Vinci here. Is this linen we know now, a copy of the earlier one, made by Leonardo?

Robert of Clari, the chronicler of the Fourth Crusade, which captured Constantinople, states that in 1203 he saw the shroud in the Blackernae Church where it was exhibited every Friday. The figure of Christ was easily discernible.
He says that the shroud disappeared from the church during the sack of the city by the Crusaders and nobody knew what had become of it. Robert of Clari’s statement that the “figure of Christ was easily discernible” is the only link between the linen cloth which appears to have been exhibited prior to 1204 and the one bearing the image of Christ which seems to have made its appearance in France after the return of the Crusaders. So are there more versions of the shroud?

There are two versions of the shroud’s arrival in France. In one, it fell as loot from Constantinople to Otto de la Roche. He sent it to his father. He gave it in 1206 to Amaedus, bishop of Besancon, in whose cathedral it was exhibited every Sunday until 1349, when the cathedral was destroyed by fire. In the other version, the shroud was given to the Lords of Charny by Bishop Garnier. According to documents in the Library of Paris, this gift probably occurred in 1349. A shroud appears to have been in existence in the church at Lirey in 1350.

The possibly true history of the shroud which is now preserved in Turin Cathedral, starts in 1355 when Bishop Henri of Poitiers forbade the canons of Lirey to expose the shroud for public veneration. Geoffrey de Charny, it seems, in 1353 circumvented the bishop by dealing directly with the schismatic pope at Avignon, who gave his permission for the church at Lirey to house the shroud.

When in 1389 Peter D’Arcis, the bishop in whose diocese lay, threatened the canons of Lirey with excommunication if they did not withdraw the shroud from exposition, they implored the king of France and the papal legate to intervene. Both men gave permission for exposition. When the bishop protested, the pope upheld the validity of the legate’s approval.

Peter then addressed a memorandum to the pope. He accused the canons of obtaining papal permission by underhanded methods. He declared that the shroud was a painting, a fraud exposed thirty-four years before by Henri of Poitiers, who had conducted an investigation. The canons, he said, had kept the cloth in hiding when he had tried to secure it.

Peter’s words about the alleged deception are of considerable importance in respect to the history of the Turin shroud. He states, “And lastly, after painstaking study and exploration of the matter, Henri of Poitiers found the deception, and how the cloth had been artificially painted, a fact confirmed by the very man who had painted it; that it was the work of a human being and had not been miraculously made or bestowed.”

As a result of this objection, the king of France withdrew his permission for exposition of the shroud, but the canons continued to venerate it. They were ordered to state that the cloth was only a copy of the true shroud.

The history of the shroud after 1390 is clearer. During the Hundred Years’ War it was moved from one place of safety to another. In the fifteenth century, it was bequeathed by the last of the de Charny family to the wife of the Duke of Savoy, in whose family its ownership has since remained. Somewhere in its journey the shroud could have met with Leonardo da VInci? Pope Sixtus IV authorized the Duke to build a chapel at Chambery to house it. In 1516 the shroud appears to have been at Lierre in Belgium, for the artist Albrecht Durer made a copy of it. Aha, there is at least one copy that we know of now. So I think Leonardo could easily have made one too.

“Da Vinci would have had to ask for permission from the Savoy family in Chambery, England to release the shroud to him in or around 1492” But the shroud was not always there, it was in Belgium 3 years before Da VInci died.
“Then, in one single attempt, he would have had to produce his own photographic image without making a mistake. The Savoy family paid 50 gold franks to claim their ownership of the Shroud and were busy at that time renovating the Church of Chambery for the purpose of housing the Shroud, “so it would be difficult to imagine they would relinquish the Shroud to an artist living in Milan, Italy to tamper with their prized possession.” I don’t agree, I think it would make sense to have a copy. Like we make copy’s of famous pantings. To have it hanging in the living room perhaps? Why is it so strange to think so, Durer made a copy, why not Da VInci?

“The shroud was returned to Chambery where, on the night of December 4, 1532, it was damaged by a fire. The historian Pingonium says that it was removed by four men who broke open the silver shrine containing it, but not before it had become marked by eight symmetrical burns from the molten silver and by the water used to cool the shrine. It was mended by nuns and transferred to Turin in 1572.”

“In 1898, an amateur photographer was given permission to photograph the shroud in daylight. The results were intriguing. However, the implications were not clear until 1931, when the shroud was photographed by professional photographer Giuseppe Enrie. The photographs were developed and printed, they disclosed the full figure of a man — in negative image. The photographic negative had all the characteristics of a positive, and the print of a negative. It showed that the image on the cloth had all the characteristics of a photographic negative. The light values were reversed.” In other words: it was a photo!

“These photographs threw doubt on the long-accepted theory that the image had been painted. What ancient or medieval artist, it was asked, could have conceived and executed a negative image, a painting in reverse which conformed accurately to anatomical detail.”

“Taken by artificial light, Enrie’s photos show the tiniest details. They depict the image of a man of 5 foot 11 inches (1.8 meters) tall, longhaired, bearded, narrow-faced and completely naked. Marks on the body prove that the man had died by crucifixion. The body is marked by lacerations, contusions, swellings, punctures, perforations, by bloodstains in which the blood has both run and coagulated, and by nails driven through the wrists and feet. Even more striking are the rivulets of coagulated blood on the forehead and the deep wound in the side. The shroud, when extended to its full 14 foot 3 inches (4.3 meters), shows the front and back of a man just as if he had been laid on one half with the other half drawn up over his head and extended to his feet.”

“In the interplay between science and religion, science usually sides with the skeptics. But now a bit of microbial science suggests that skeptics have too quickly dismissed the possibility that the Shroud of Turin might indeed be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, as many believe. So in the 1980s, researchers examined samples from the shroud for the presence of carbon-14, a radioactive atom that decays over time. The amount found, they concluded, pegged the linen cloth as medieval, less than 700 years old.” This must have been a set back for some.

But: “microbes may have interfered with those dating results, making the shroud appear younger than it actually is, asserts a research team led by Stephen J. Mattingly and Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The group has for years studied how various microbes can coat artifacts and natural objects with “biogenic varnishes,” plastic like coatings synthesized by bacteria or fungi. From microscopic examination of small samples of the shroud, they recently concluded that some of these same varnishes coat the linen fibers. Further examination of bits of fabric by two techniques, infrared spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy, indicated that the samples were not pure cellulose, linen’s main constituent. The Texas team next found that their samples harbored a number of microbes — specifically, ones that have been found to grow in natron, a bleaching agent that may have been used on the cloth in the past.”

“Past radiocarbon dating, suggest Mattingly and Garza-Valdes, could not distinguish between the linen’s cellulose and the microbes and their coating, which may be of much more recent origin. “What you are reporting is the age of the mixture, not the age of the linen,” says Garza-Valdes. To resolve the shroud’s true age, the researchers hope to obtain another sample and process it with an enzyme that breaks down cellulose — and no other suspected contaminant — into glucose. They could then date the glucose by carbon-14 analysis. “If we can isolate the glucose, that will be the answer,” says Mattingly. ”

So remember: “the image could NOT have been painted. There are no pigments and no brush strokes to be found. If it had been painted, there would be an outline on the image, and there is none. Also, a fire damaged the Shroud in 1532 so the flames would have made the paint crack if the image had been painted. There is no sign of any cracked paint.
A scientific discovery also proves the image was not painted. Let us look at how the cloth was placed around the man on the cloth. The cloth was placed on flat stone, and the body was placed on top of it with the other half brought over the head and down to the feet. It was then tucked around the body using bags of spices. The image is made up of many diffused smudges. Upon looking at the smudges, there is revealed, a body. The image can only be seen on one side, while the backside shows no image even when light is shown through the Shroud. The only marks shown are blood marks, which soaked through the cloth. When the first photographs were taken of the Shroud, it was found that the negative image showed positive coloration, and additionally, there was enough detail to show small to one inch lash marks. This kind of detail is invisible to the naked eye so the fact of this negative image alone is enough evidence to prove that the shroud is not a painted forgery.”

Something I found strange: “Another detail regarding Leonardo Da Vinci and the Shroud of Turin is that he was born in 1452, which is 100 years after what is supposedly the time the Shroud originated. ” Pardon? I thought it originated from the year 33? And probably a lot earlier, as it was used in 33, but we do not know when it was made.

“There is also no evidence that any other photographic negative from that time in history was ever produced. As studies on the Shroud continue, there is evidence of much plant life as well as accurate detail of bodily injuries, pollen and dirt from Palestine which primitive photography or painting could not have produced.”

So it is real? I repeat: “Past radiocarbon dating could not distinguish between the linen’s cellulose and the microbes and their coating, which may be of much more recent origin. What you are reporting is the age of the mixture, not the age of the linen,” in other words: the linen might be authentic. But that could mean the linen might have been made in Palestine during that time, taken from there and later used to fabricate a fake?

“Where did the man on the cloth come from?”

“The most popular theory is the “scorch” or “thermonuclear radiation” theory. Advocates of this idea suggest that the intense light and heat generated by Christ’s body at the moment of resurrection might have burned his image into the cloth, much as “permanent shadows” of men in Hiroshima were burned into walls and other surfaces by the atomic explosion in 1945.” If that is so, it is a true miracle.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:35-38-“But someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.”

So this shroud may not be a fake afterall? I sort of liked the idea that Leonardo da Vinci made a pic of himself, but if it is really the shroud of Jesus, then this piece of linen must have the answer to a lot of questions about Jesus. When will they be revealed?

sources: CNN, several pages on wikip., and a site called ‘all about archaeology’.

Update: more news March 2013

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