Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Turin Shroud

What does the Turin Shroud look like?
The long length of cloth comprises of an unusual herringbone flaxen twill material, 14 feet 3 inches in length and 3 feet 7 inches wide. It shows two full length images, one on the front and one on the back, of a naked man with a beard, moustache and shoulder length hair. These images show lacerations that are consistent with flogging. There are small puncture holes in the forehead consistent with a crown of thorns having been placed there. Also shown is a knife wound to his side. His wrist, and his feet are pierced consistent with crucifixion. He has his hands folded over his groin. It is now housed in the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in the town of Turin, Italy. What is surprising is that the images of the front and back are different sizes. Why this is not mentioned is extraordinar and adds weight to the theory that the two images, of the front and back of the male human form are photographs. 

Earliest reports
It is stated in St. John’s Gospel Ch. 20: v 5-7 that after Jesus died and was removed from the cross, Mary Magdelene went to the tomb, presumably to wash and anoint the body with herbs and spices. A long cloth, to wrap the body was folded and Jesus had risen from the tomb and was in the surrounding garden. Mary mistook him for the gardener. In the year 544, there was report of a facial image upon a cloth in Edessa, Mesopotamia. Ian Wilson, an autor and researcher believes this was the earliest mention of the Turin Shroud which was folded to only allow the facial image to show.  On 16th August 944, Romanus Lacapenus attacked Edessa and took all valuable relics to Constantinople. In 1204, when the Crusaders, which included the Order of the Knights Templar, sacked Constantinople, they would have taken valuables, such as the Shroud, into their possession. These knights were very eager to provide pilgrimage relics for the massive Cathedrals that were being built throughout France and England in the twelfth and thirteenth century.
Most recent reports
In July 2017, Elvin Carlino, of the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, Italy, discovered within the blood on the cloth nano particles that are not seen in normal blood and demonstrate 'great suffering'. Professor Guilin Fanti, of Padua University, stated these nanoparticles showed suffering 'to the point of death'. 

Documented sightings
The Templar Knights were an exceedingly wealthy military order and King Philip the Fair owed them a very large sum of money. Philip drew up charges against the Order and insisted Pope Clement V condemned, arrested and tortured them. In 1307, Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Templar, and his closest associate, Geoffrey de Charnay, were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and accused of heresy and a number of serious offences. Both men signed a confession under torture and then retracted it.

It has been suggested that the torture of Jacques de Molay included crucifixion and a cloth that was used for his shroud became the Shroud of Turin as we know it today. The image upon the shroud looks very much like a portrait of De Molay on mediaeval wood cuts and it has been suggested that the shroud is the earliest known photograph. The Templars, of course, spent long periods in the Muslim world, and the Muslims invented photography in the eleventh century. De Molay and de Charnay were imprisoned together and eventually burned alive on 18th March 1314 on an island, Isle de la Cite, in the Seine River in Paris. During the time between torture and their death, there was a period of imprisonment when the photographs could have been taken to show the horrendous degree of cruelty that the Roman Catholic Church were capable of. 

In 1357 this shroud was in the possession of the de Charney family and was displayed at a church at Liray in France.  In 1418 it was in the possession of Count Otto de la Roche and housed in Montfort Castle. Otto was married to Margaret who was the great grand-daughter of the executed friend of Geoffrey de Charnay, the accused Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay. In the Musée National du Moyen Âge, in Paris, France, the coat of arms of the de Charnay family depicts him and his wife with the image of the Turin Shroud. Geoffrey de Charnay’s grandson, also named Geoffrey, died in the Battle of Poitiers and his widow sold the shroud in 1453 to Louise of Savoy. This family became custodians until the twentieth century when it was given to the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The suspected forgeries of Leonardo
Sceptics have suggested the cloth presently in Turin was painted by Leonardo da Vinci at the turn of the sixteenth century, because, strangely, the face on the cloth bears a striking resemblance to his self-portraits. The Turin Shroud could not possibly be a painting, however, as it is far too anatomically correct and no paint has been found. Copious quantities of blood on the cloth have been analysed as type AB. Leonardo was friendly with the royal family of Turin and it has been said that after Leonardo saw the face on the Shroud that it influenced his own self-portraits. It has also been suggested that Leonardo experimented with early photography and that some have suggested it could be a photograph of Leonardo. 

Modern research
Recent dating investigations: Thousands of hours of detailed study have been put into trying to identify the date of this cloth. It is consistent with fabric found at Masada, a first century fortress near the Dead Sea, and the weaving pattern is similar to high quality, first century textiles found in Syria. Radio Carbon dating in 1988 suggested the cloth dates from 1260-1390 but due to extensive handling of the cloth throughout its existence, contamination with bacteria and pollen could have taken place, rendering this date inaccurate. It is interesting that after the fall of Rome and throughout the dark and middle ages, whenever the crucified Christ was shown pictorially that the nail wounds were shown to be placed in the palms. In reality, this would have been an unlikely place for the nails, as the weight of the body would have caused the nails to rip through the hand. The image on the Turin Shroud shows the radius and ulna bones in the wrist were nailed to the cross to prevent tearing. Analysis in 2005 suggested the piece of cloth that was radio carbon dated in 1988 was contaminated with repairs that took place after fire and water damage.  

The best explanation
The best explanation I have heard is that the image on the shroud is that of an early photograph. This explains why the image is a different size on the front of the shroud and on the back. But who would want to photograph a crucified man, when and where need to be answered. Some say the shroud of the crucified man is that of Jacques de Molay. Research by Wendy Stokes 

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