Late addition (July 2019)
Please forgive this postscript, correction, “prescript”, correction, intrusion, added many years later – based on some 350 and more postings here and elsewhere.
That’s including some 7 years of my hands-on investigation into image-forming techniques, chosen to be credible with simple, indeed crude, medieval (14th century) technology etc etc.
(Oh, and yes, I accept the radiocarbon dating, despite it being restricted to a single non-random corner sample, making all the oh-so-dismissive, oh-so-derogatory statistics-based sniping totally irrelevant – a ranging shot being just that me dears- a single ranging shot, albeit subdivided into three for Arizona, Oxford and Zurich).
Sindonology (i.e. the “science” , read pseudoscience – of the so-called “Shroud ” of Turin) can be simply summed up. It’s a re-branding exercise, one designed to pretend that the prized Turin possession is not just J of A’s “fine linen”, described in the biblical account as used to transport a crucified body from cross to tomb.
Oh no, it goes further, much further, way way beyond the biblical account. How? By making out that it was the SAME linen as that described in the Gospel of John, deployed as final “burial clothes”. Thus the description “Shroud” for the Turin Linen, usually with the addition “burial shroud”. Why the elision of two different linens, deployed for entirely different purposes (transport first, then final interment)?
Go figure! Key words to consider are: authentic relic v manufactured medieval icon; mystique, peaceful death-repose, unlimited opportunity for proposing new and ever more improbable image-formation mechanisms etc. How much easier it is to attach the label “Holy” to Shroud if seen as final burial clothes, in final at-peace repose – prior to Resurrection- as distinct from a means of temporary swaying side-to-side transport in an improvised makeshift stretcher !
As I say, a rebranding exercise (transport to final burial shroud) and a very smart and subtle one at that . Not for nothing did that angry local Bishop of Troyes suddenly refer to a “sleight of hand” after allegedly accepting it when first displayed. Seems the script was altered, or as some might say, tampered with! It might also explain why there were two Lirey badges, not just one. Entire books could be written on which of the two came first… I think I know which, with its allusion (?) to the Veil of Veronica… yes, there are alternative views (the face above “SUAIRE” a visual link to the face-only display of the Linen as the “Image of Edessa” or as that on the then current “Shroud” per se.
Face shown (left) on mid- 14th century Machy Mould (recently discovered variant of the Lirey Pilgrim Badge) above the word “SUAIRE” (allegedly meaning “shroud”). Inset image on the right: one version among many of the fabled “Veil of Veronica” image. I say the two are related, and deliberately so, but this is not the time or place to go into detail.
No, NOT a resurrectional selfie, but instead a full size version of, wait for it, the legendary VEIL OF VERONICA , product of inital body contact – no air gaps- between body and fabric, but with one important difference. The Turin image was intended to look more realistic, less artistic.
How? By displaying a negative tone-reversed image implying IMPRINT (unless, that is, you’re a modern day sindonologist, in which case ‘resurrectional proto-photographic selfie” becomes the preferred, nay, vigorously proferred explanation assisted by unrestrained imagination, creation of endless pseudoscience etc etc, with resort to laser beams, corona discharges, nuclear physics, elementary particles, earthquakes etc etc – the list is seemingly endless!
Welcome to modern day sindonology.
Personally, I prefer no-nonsense feet-on-the-ground hypothesis-testing science, aided by lashings of, wait for it, plain down-to-earth common sense.
Start of original posting:
Don’t you just love those posts on The Other Site that start with: “A reader writes”, allowing someone to get in a few backbiting remarks behind a veil of anonymity? Here’s the latest in the genre:
“Does Colin Berry really think that people will agree with his pompous demands for pictures from Barrie Schwortz? Doesn’t Barrie own the pictures he took and those given to him? Aren’t they protected by copyright?”
The answer to whether Barrie Schwortz owns the pictures of the Shroud depends on the circumstances that led to him having privileged access. If he approached the custodians with a request to take pictures on which he would own the copyright, and the custodians agreed to that, all well and good. But it was my understanding that he was a member of the STURP consortium, a body of largely US-based and self-selected individuals, predominantly scientists, who asked for and obtained access to the Shroud for scientific investigation, and while I believe they sought and obtained funding for that investigation, aided by some individual benefactors, they presented themselves as a disinterested group , commercially speaking that is, seeking only to assess claims and counterclaims re authenticity. Photography was just one part of a wide-ranging investigation, so how come an archive of photographic material has ended up in private hands? Ah, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Barrie Schwortz set up STERA, the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Associatio0n, a non-profit making organization we are told that appeals for charitable donations of which he is the President. Its mission statement is to catalogue and gradually make available material to researchers and the media, although there are licensing fees where the latter are concerned. What’s more, BS and his STERA not only hold the copyright on photographs, and explicitly state that HD images will never be permitted to appear on the internet (hampering researchers like myself from publishing our views). They also have the copyright on the research findings of leading STURP scientists, now deceased, notably Alan D Adler and Raymond Rogers, such that Google books (for example) only give access to a limited number of pages, requiring one to shell out cash ($35 being typical) to read the full text of what these folk discovered some 30 or more years ago.
So STERA exists to promote research does it? Not from where I am standing it does not. Shortly after I posted my findings on the properties of scorch images (pseudo-negative characteristics, encoded 3D information), Dan Porter did a cover post on his site, which drew a highly patronising response from the President of STERA, stating that while he normally did not bother with blogs, he wanted me to know that scorching as a mechanism had been dismissed by STURP. The lack of uv fluorescence of the Shroud image meant it could not possibly be a scorch he said. Later he said that it was Alan D Adler’s hunch (and that’s all it was – a wild hunch, and an ill-informed one at that) re the bilirubin complex that had convinced him that the perennial red colour of Shroud blood could be neatly explained away, like Adler tried unconvincingly to explain so much away. Does that sound like the promoting of research to you?
I would not expect Barrie Schwortz to understand all the detailed chemical arguments and reasoning for rejecting much of Adler’s advocacy,anymore than I understand the technical side of commercial photography. Yes I know he said recently that while he went into Shroud research as a photographer he now regarded himself as a scientist, and we know he has a full programme of disseminating STURP findings., many of which I regard as wrong-headed and frankly misleading. Yet this self-styled scientist who owns the copyright on crucial research findings describes bilirubin as “an enzyme” and attempts to swat me down with an argument about fluorescence, a topic on which I suspect his knowledge is no better than that of bilirubin (which I, a PhD scientist, studied for 2 years and was in fact the first to suggest photoisomerism as a mechanism in photo-oxidation).
Dan Porter today calls me a “jerk” for speaking my mind on this copyright issue. Yes, charming isn’t it, not so say hypocritical, given his regular description of my plain speaking as “rudeness”. Well, I have news for Dan Porter and for his close associate Barrie Schwortz, whose appeal for funds on behalf of STERA appears prominently on Porter’s website. I shall go on speaking my mind when I see things that I do not like, ones that hamper me as a disinterested researcher, someone with no commercial or any other axe to grind. And believe me, there is a lot about STERA and its modus operandi I do not care for one little bit
You can call me all the playground names under the sun, Dan Porter, but you will not shut me up. And I will never, ever, post another comment on that name-calling, mud-slinging site of yours. Anything I have to say will be said here.
Update: Monday 23 July This comment has just appeared on The Other Site: