Re: [asa] Resurrection of the Shroud?

From: Kirk Bertsche <Bertsche@aol.com>
Date: Mon Apr 21 2008 - 18:39:18 EDT

> On Mon, 21 Apr 2008 14:27:05 -0400 steamdoc@aol.com writes:
> Is anybody here familiar with the book "Resurrection of the Shroud:
> New Scientific, Medical, and Archaeological Evidence" by Mark
> Antonacci (2000)? If I used the search facility correctly, it
> does not appear to have been reviewed in PSCF.
>
> This book has become popular among some in my church who are into
> evidentialist apologetics. As I understand it, the author is a
> lawyer, not an expert in any of the fields of his subtitle, which
> is a red flag.
>
> I remember reading the article in Nature in about 1989 where an
> international team of experts did a careful radiocarbon dating
> study and seemed to show quite clearly that this relic was
> manufactured around 1300-1400 and therefore was a medieval forgery
> (as the church originally said when it appeared). I thought that
> was the final nail in the coffin. But this guy seems to be
> claiming to have discredited the radiocarbon dating, along with
> making a variety of other scientific (or pseudoscientific)
> arguments that make a case which seems convincing to my non-
> scientific friends who have read it.
> Of course I have to wonder if it rates with other books that make a
> "convincing" case to the non-scientist, like "Worlds in Collision"
> or "Chariots of the Gods" or various "creationist" books.
The paper in Nature presents consistent results from three separate
laboratories, and was probably the best radiocarbon intercomparison
test yet done at the time. [P.E. Damon et al, "Radiocarbon dating
the Shroud of Turin", Nature 337, 611-615 (16 Feb 1989).]

I haven't seen the book you mention. I've seen one by Gary Habermas
of Liberty University, "Verdict on the Shroud" (1981) and it looks
like he's followed this with a sequel, "The Shroud and the
Controversy" (1990). Apparently Ian Wilson has gotten in on the
act, with "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's
Most Sacred Relic is Real" (1999).

I would suggest this is evidence of warped thinking by many
Evangelical apologists. Evangelicals tend to steer far away from
most relics (the true cross, the holy grail, etc.) with two glaring
exceptions: the Shroud of Turin and Noah's Ark. Why the difference?
Why is the Shroud viewed so differently than the Cross or the Chalice?

On Apr 21, 2008, at 1:21 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr. wrote:

> I'm going by memory, so cannot justify the point. The claim was
> that the tested fibers came from a patch that repaired damage from
> a fire, not from the original shroud material. I consider the
> argument suspect, for this should have been obviously avoided by
> anyone collecting the material to be tested.

Yes, this is one of the more plausible arguments put forth against
the Shroud radiocarbon dates. If the cloth was actually from a
patch, it says nothing about the date of the original material. But
the Shroud was known to have been patched so it is unlikely that the
textile experts who carefully selected samples would have mistaken
the original cloth for the patch. This and other arguments against
the dates have been examined and rejected [H.E. Gove, "Dating the
Turin Shroud--An Assessment", Radiocarbon 32:1 87-92 (Nov 1, 1990).]

> My basic argument is that the shroud does not represent the
> separate winding and face covering noted in John 20:6f. See also
> 19:39f. So it must be a fake, however dated by radiocarbon.
> Dave (ASA)

Yes, the shroud is very different from what John describes, and it is
strange that so many people ignore this.

FYI, the best theory I've heard of the shroud was proposed by an art
historian a few years before the shroud was dated. His date was off
by about 200 years, but he presented an intriguing case that it was
neither real nor a fake:

"The Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth on which appear the imprints of
the front and back of a crucified man, can be historically traced to
ca. 1354 A.D. Many believe it to be a true relic of the Passion of
Christ. Many others regard it as a fake. This paper suggests a third
alternative, that it is an icon dating from the 11th century. If
future scientific tests, of which radiocarbon dating will be the most
important, support this theory, the Shroud of Turin may well be
recognized as one of the masterpieces of Christian art."

[W.S.A Dale, "The Shroud of Turin: Relic or Icon?", Nuclear
Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B29 (1987) 187-192.]

Kirk

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Received on Mon Apr 21 18:40:35 2008

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