Finding Jesus - A review of the CNN
Documentary on the Shroud of Turin
Sunday night CNN launched a new documentary series on the Christian faith titled "Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery". The first episode, "The Shroud of Turin" was, as the title implies, a re-examination of the highly venerated, highly questioned burial cloth of Jesus. The question is, of course, is the cloth authentic? Is it really the cloth of which the gospel writer Mark records:
... or is it a forgery? Based on the title, the producers want to draw a sharp line of demarcation between what is faith (that which science can neither affirm nor deny); what is fact, and what is unwarranted faith (that which science can attempt to either affirm or deny and if denied, declare a "forgery" or false). Based on the first episode, the producers want to remove any scientific basis for faith - even when such evidence is overwhelming. This is clearly the case because of the wealth of evidence that exists concerning the authenticity of the well studied, well researched Shroud that the producers chose to ignore. I say chose to ignore, because as producers of a documentary on the well known relic, they are responsible for being aware of such public domain information and should surely know about these evidences which contradict their theories. And if they don't know, they are not qualified to be doing a documentary on it. This first episode (and thus presumably the rest of the series) is clearly biased against evidence that confirms the veracity of Christian claims.
In an apparent effort to cover their bias, the documentary is overall respectful of the faith - providing a traditional retelling of the events leading up to the burial of Jesus. In my previous article Physical Evidence Jesus Existed I list 6 evidences of authenticity for the Shroud; 3 of which are not mentioned in the documentary, the others are either ignored or outright denied. Below is further exposition and clarification on some of those evidences, and the addition of new evidence from an effort to date the Shroud apart from Carbon dating. Obviously a documentary cannot be expected to present every piece of evidence, but certainly some of the well established evidences - especially those which contradicts your proposed theory - should be presented - if the goal is to present a fair and balanced piece of journalism. Of course if you're not interested in fair and balanced reporting, then liberal usage of the fallacy of suppressed evidence is a viable course, and the route which they have obviously chosen for this episode, and presumably the series.
So what is the theory that they resort to suppressing evidence to protect? The theory is not that the Shroud is a painting (even their expert1 states that's impossible); no they suggest it is a medieval photograph with blood hand-painted on it to depict the bleeding (since they are not claiming the photographer actually crucified a person to create the picture) and thus it is not the actual burial cloth of Jesus. The obvious problem with that theory is that any photographic means - modern or ancient camera obscura - would not leave blood stains on the shroud. To address that problem the expert advancing the Shroud-as-a-photograph theory, professor Nicolas Allen states this:
Problems with the "Shroud as a medieval photograph with-hand-painted blood" theory
Following are a number of inconsistencies and problems with Professor Allen's shroud theory:
The photo of a crew member "was not rendered with real height or depth."4 All other facial photos analyzed by the VP-8 yield the same distorted result. Only the 2 Dimensional photo image of the Shroud returns a true 3D result from the analyzer with true 3D dimensions. The image of the face on the Shroud is the only known 2D facial image that somehow has true 3D info encoded in it. "The Shroud is a very unique image - the only one of its kind in the whole world. Nothing else like it."5
The 3 dimensionality of the Shroud image and the fact that no other photographs from the carbon 14 determined time period (14th century) exist, make this theory of the Shroud as a medieval photograph laughable.
2. The Testimony of the blood stains
Additionally serum (the liquid component of blood) stains which were invisible to the naked eye, were revealed under ultraviolet florescent photography.
Thus professor Allen must explain:
These are questions professor Allen
either can't answer, or didn't consider. Either way the documentary
doesn't explore any of the evidence from the blood that professor
Allen claims was painted on by a medieval forger. Clearly neither he nor
the producers thought that one through.
- The nail is not in the palm of the hand
The CNN special didn't bother to mention that the dark splotches on the Shroud are due to damage from a fire in 1532 at the Chapel in the Alps where the Shroud was being stored. Subsequent to the fire, a repair was made in France with a technique called invisible re-weaving. Independent researchers Sue Benford and her husband Joe Marino examined photos from the 1978 STRP analysis. They noted the herringbone weave of the Shroud from where the sample was taken for Carbon 14 dating is misaligned. Based on this they suspected the sample given for Carbon dating was from a section of the Shroud repaired with 16th century cloth after the fire. It was mixed with the original cloth via a technique called French re-weaving - which is invisible to the naked eye.8 Thus the Shroud sample that was tested was a contaminated one, causing the carbon dating to be grossly inaccurate.
Ray Rogers was an original STRP team member who
had determined the Shroud contained no pigments, dyes or binding agents of any
type; and thus the Shroud was not painted or dyed. In an attempt to prove
Benford and Marino wrong, he re-examined the fibers and wound up concurring with
them that the sample contained two different fibers. He ordered a separate test
to determine if the test sample could be a composite. When the sample was tested, the thread turned out to be two
separate pieces woven together just as Benford and Marino predicted.9
5. Other techniques Date the Shroud to the time of Jesus
Giulio Fanti, a professor of engineering at University of Padua also suspected the Carbon 14 Dating was incorrect due to a contaminated sample. With approval from the Vatican (the guardian of the Shroud), he was supplied with a fiber which he hoped would be from a non-contaminated part of the Shroud to perform date testing. Using methods other than Carbon 14 dating, he dated the fiber. He used three different tests -a Load bearing test, and two tests using an infrared spectrometer and a laser. Fanti came up with an age of the linen cloth of 33 BC.10 This means the Shroud is old enough to be in existence when Jesus was crucified around 30 AD.
Author and Shroud research Michael Minor states:
And that date has been proved to be in error, skewed by a contaminated sample.
Near the end the documentary appears to offer a little hope for the faithful, throwing us a bone with mention of the Sudarium of Oveiedo, a separate cloth that covered the face of Jesus. (John 20.6-7) Mark Guscin, an authority on the Shroud, states the blood on the Sudarium matches the blood on the Shroud, and thus:
But this evidence is not much help, because they go on to state that carbon dating on the Sudarium is inconclusive, and the earliest record they have, places the Sudarium in Jerusalem 500 years after the death of Jesus, which makes it 700 years older than the Shroud, but not nearly close enough to the crucifixion (c. 30 AD) to draw conclusions about the authenticity of either one. So it's a bone to chew on, while the meat of the evidence above is kept hidden.
For those interested in the truth, there is plenty of evidence to easily draw the conclusion that the Shroud is genuine. For those interested in hiding the truth, they should know they will eventually be discovered, either in this world or the next, as Jesus says:
Duane Caldwell | posted 3/4/2015
1 Their expert, former USAF physicist of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado John P. Jackson, states,
Referenced from: Finding Jesus, Faith Fact Forgery, Episode 1 "The Shroud of Turin" CNN Documentary, 2015
This concurs with what original Shroud Researcher
and STRP member Ray Rogers determined.
9 Ray Rogers sent a sample to Bob
Villarreal of the Los Alamos Laboratory. Villarreal confirmed the sample
contained 2 separate threads held together by a mordant - a substance
used to set dyes. This provided proof positive the sample used for
Carbon dating was contaminated, containing both the original un-dyed
Linen fiber, and a dyed cotton fiber, woven together with French
re-weaving as Benford and Marino had proposed.
Finding Jesus - CNN Documentary "Finding Jesus, Faith Fact Forgery"