Walter C. McCrone Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud, Chicago, Microscope Publications, 1996, 341 pp., 11 colour plates plus 68 black and white photos and text figures throughout text. U.S. price $36.00 plus $3.50 postage and packing. Can be ordered from the McCrone Research Institute 2820 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60616-3292, USA on quotation of Visa/MasterCard details.
Reviewed by the Editor
It is a matter of some relief that in the last Newsletter that I gave Professor Harry Gove's book Relic, Icon or Hoax? a mainly very warm and positive review, even though it was adverse to the Shroud's authenticity. For one of the great difficulties raised by Dr. Walter McCrone's Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud is that if anyone reviews it as a Very Bad Book, then this will simply be lumped in with all the other abuse that its author tells us he has received from Shroudies over the years. A problem being that some of this abuse does not make for good company.
Thus on p.289 McCrone reproduces near full-page (and one can only feel with questionable wisdom), an anonymous handwritten postcard that he received apparently a couple of years ago. This begins ''Old Man Walter C. McCrone is an incompetent Senile Old Fart who belongs in the Nut House.' Thankfully the handwriting was rather more legible than mine, and in no way do I condone its sentiments, but what has to be said is that in putting together Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud McCrone has hardly done himself any favours.
For on the face of it McCrone ought to hold all the aces. As a microanalyst of international repute he is the man who more than any other should be able to explain how an artist produced the Shroud back in the Middle Ages. It was as long ago as 1980 he predicted that the carbon dating would date the Shroud to the mid fourteenth century, and in 1988 his prediction was proved to be uncannily accurate. If there is anyone in the world qualified to write a book with the definitive answer to the Shroud mystery, it ought to be Walter McCrone.
This said, Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud - which McCrone went to a lot of trouble to self-publish - has to be accounted the Shroud book disappointment of the decade. In fact (and this is possibly one reason why no major publishing house took it under its wing), it does not 'read' as a book at all. Instead it is largely a collection of unedited letters, even including in full the one that I first wrote to him in 1974, and (similarly in full), his reply, that put together make reading in any sequential, following-the- author's train-of-thought way absolutely impossible.
With regard to the well-known McCrone findings concerning the iron oxide 'pigment', these, along with the equally familiar quotes from Victorian England art writer Sir Charles Locke Eastlake are all repeated with all the same familiar old vigour, and with virtually nothing fresh added. While I had fully expected him to have perhaps interestingly developed the possible parallel between the Shroud's image and the Simone Martini 'grisaille ' paintings from the Palace of the Popes at Avignon reported back in Newsletter no.30 (Dec/Jan 1992), in the event he barely begins properly to follow this idea through.
As for the authorities with whom McCrone has linked himself, he might profitably have entered into some fascinating discussions on how the Shroud may have been painted with leading art history specialists from art galleries around the world, particularly given his long association with London's Courtauld Institute of Art. As it is, aside from specially solicited quotes from a couple of minor American art conservators, instead he gives ten pages to a most ignorant diatribe from Miami geologist and born-again sceptic Dr. Steven Shafersman whose main qualifications he quotes as 'fighting pseudoscience (creationists, UFOs, bigfoot, psychics, astrology, von Daniken, etc.)'. Unsurprisingly we learn from Shafersman that it was while watching a TV programme that he came to the view that Dr. Max Frei had 'faked' his findings, though, as he admits. he 'can't prove' this. Is this really the best that McCrone can do?
By far the oddest feature of McCrone's book, however, is the, by any standards, totally disproportionate amount of space that he has devoted to reproducing correspondence between himself and the late Father Peter Rinaldi. Surely a scientist wanting to make a serious case that the Shroud is the work of a mediaeval artist would want his main focus to be on science, and to present himself discussing this with other scientists or with experts in the art of the Middle Ages, instead of with a Catholic priest? After all, McCrone even claims the Shroud to have been conventionally painted with a paint brush. However, we are regaled with letter after letter to and from Fr. Rinaldi, the latter complete with Father Peter's characteristic pastoral flourishes: 'May this letter find you and Lucy in the best of health and spirits. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.' , etc. McCrone has even dedicated his book to 'the memory of 'Mr. Shroud' Peter M. Rinaldi, S.D.B.', and even includes Fr. Rinaldi's memorial photograph on the dedication page.
And if along the way we may puzzle where all this could be leading (if we are actually able to read the book sequentially, which as I freely admit, I found impossible), we do discover this at the very end. In his closing pages McCrone quotes now extracts from Rinaldi final communications to him in such a way that he tries to convey that at the end of his life, bowed down by the carbon dating result and by the sheer remorseless logic of McCrone's arguments, Fr. Rinaldi secretly lost his faith in the Shroud's authenticity.
Thus as McCrone says in his penultimate paragraph:
His [Rinaldi's] legacy (to me) gleaned from these last letters is that he was convinced the 'Shroud' is a painting but he held out against all my arguments because of his feeling that 'the simple faith of many good people may be somewhat shaken by this turn of events' and because many in the Church itself still need that assurance in a real Shroud. He knew 'I would understand' as he said in his (October 20, 1988) last letter to me.'
Now I knew, and was in close touch with, Fr. Peter Rinaldi to the very end of his life in February 1993, which was four years later than his apparently last letter to McCrone. And had he genuinely come to the view that the Shroud is a painting, as McCrone claims, then I have not the slightest doubt that he would have felt impelled to share this both with me and others of like mind. For Fr. Rinaldi to have kept up a sham of continued belief in the Shroud for over four years (not least, after having earlier 'confessed' to McCrone of all people!), is utterly and completely incompatible with everything that myself and others understood of him and his blazing honesty as both man and priest.
In which light for McCrone to try to give his book a triumphant ending by alleging that even 'Mr.Shroud' himself secretly lost his faith in the Shroud has to be the unworthiest of ploys. Had the book from every other point of view been a work of inestimable merit, this might have been allowed for as just wishful thinking. In the event, although along with Fr. Rinaldi in his lifetime I have always greatly respected Walter McCrone, despite our wide differences of views, I can now only feel the deepest sorrow for him that he should have so hugely mis-judged another man's mind.
And perhaps this, more than anything else, is McCrone's problem. Very notable is that nowhere throughout the many illustrations in his book does he include a single reproduction of the negative face that is the Shroud's very raison d'etre. Is this because if he had done so, that image, even in its very silence, would undermine all that he says? Successfully to argue that the Shroud is the work of an artist forger you have to be able to enter that artist forger's mind, to 'see' how he did it. And if you cannot do this (and although McCrone tries, he abysmally fails) , then holding back from a 'fake' judgement is the only honest course.
All of which causes me to reflect again on why McCrone should have chosen to quote so extensively from Fr. Rinaldi's letters in all their rich pastoral detail. Could it be because in the inner recesses of his heart the quiet logic of Fr. Rinaldi's words reached him more than his mind cared to admit? Although this is a point that I have put directly to him by letter, it is also one that so far he has chosen to ignore...
Mark Fellows, A Second Coming: The Holy Shroud in the 20th Century, The Remnant Press, St.Paul, Minnesota, 1996, 78 pp
On p.2 of this book we are informed of the Shroud's history 'In 370 Romans began depicting Christ as His face appeared on the Shroud.. Near the end of the sixth century the Shroud accompanied the army of Contantinople on military expeditions... Around 685 the Emperor Justinian ordered the minting of coins bearing the face of Christ as it appeared on the Shroud. Pope John VII (705-7) displayed an umbrella (a liturgical awning) with a mosaic of Christ's burial in the Shroud'.
If only it could all be that simple... Sadly, whether this author is dealing with the Shroud's history, or with the circumstances surrounding the carbon dating, his handling of the evidence and how to be fair to it leaves a great deal to be desired. He tries his best to retail the ideas of Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard and the Catholic Counter-Reformation faction, which is why he wrongly interprets the umbrella in question as having once belonged to Pope John VII. (It did not. It dated from several centuries later and was an embroidery, not a mosaic).
All these limitations aside, this is a book which is well-meaning and expresses some religious sentiments with which many of those who still believe in the Shroud's authenticity will find a common bond. But in general the book has simply nothing new to contribute to the subject, and much that is erroneous.
Italia Nostra [publishers] La Capella della Sindone, produced in collaboration with Umberto Allemandi & c and La Stampa, 1997. Large format 64 page booklet with 32 pp. colour plates and black and white photos throughout the rest.
One frustration for those who attended the Nice Symposium, even though a special visit to Turin was laid on for them, complete with audience with Cardinal Saldarini, was that they were only able to gain a distant glimpse of the recent fire damage to the famous Shroud Chapel (also known as the Royal or Guarini Chapel). This was because the Chapel and its environs have been very firmly sealed up for safety and forensic purposes.
However a most revealing inside view of at least something of the extent of the fire damage has been provided by the publication of this most attractive booklet about the Chapel and its history. Of very considerable interest in their own right are the booklet's fine colour reproductions of several old lithographs, paintings and prints of the immediate environs of Turin Cathedral during the 18th and 19th centuries, as preserved in the City's archives, the Archivio Storico della Citt di Torino. There are also excellent modern-day colour photographs of the Chapel, Cathedral and Royal Palace shortly prior to the fire, most poignant among these fine trompe d'oeil frescoes of cherubs painted at the very summit of the Guarini dome, whose presence only became revealed during the cleaning and restoration work.
However, as the photos and accompanying text go on to reveal, not only were these frescoes irretrievably destroyed in the fire, this was far from the worst of it. Overhead views from inside the Guarini dome show a tangle of bent scaffolding covering the site of the Bertola altar, the exact present condition of which is nowhere photographically documented, while close-ups of the exterior and interior of the dome proper show this now to be just a shell, its windows bare and much priceless ornament lost. Extensive areas of interior stonework have clearly been shattered by the heat, and will need painstaking replacement. The final page in the colour photographs section, of two of the monuments to Dukes of Savoy that lined the Chapel's walls, show the statuary to be badly discoloured and with disfiguring breakages to limbs and other detail. Nearby woodwork, possibly of the fine balustrade that surrounded the Bertola altar, can be seen to be irretrievably ruined.
One incidental to the booklet deserves at least a passing comment. Despite the very high standard of printing, its one proper photograph of the Shroud itself, as reproduced in black-and-white on p.16, has most disfiguring technical blemish that runs the full length of the cloth, obliterating the wound in the side and only narrowly missing the face. The three dimensional image reproduced at the foot of the same page has suffered a very similar disfigurement. Which causes me to wonder: did this quite unmissable damage somehow escape all proof checking? Or is it another piece of sabotage by persons unknown?
Robert Babinet, "La Profession de Foi en Jsus-Christ des Derniers Templiers," La Pense Catholique 281, March-April 1996, pp.49-74.
Dan Scavone, Professor of History, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, USA
Babinet has produced a strong argument in favor of possession of the Turin Shroud by the Knights Templar during the "lost 150 years," 1205-1355. Thus Ian Wilson's hypothesis of this as first advanced some twenty years ago tends to be revived by a new and rather surprising set of arguments. Also the fears of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis of Troyes (1378-1395) are given a new cogency and credibility.
The d'Arcis Memorandum
The Bishop in his so-called Memorandum to anti-Pope Clement VII, dated by Ulysse Chevalier to late-1389, said that he feared that the showings of the reputed shroud of Christ being held in Lirey would be a danger to souls because the object was involved in a horrendous scandal that would throw the entire Church into opprobrium. It was a scandal that he could not put into writing but must reveal only in person. According to Babinet, this was that of the Templars in the first decades of the 14th century. When arrested and put on trial many Templar brethren confessed to worshipping an idol in the form of a bearded head of a man, also to denying Christ, spitting on the cross, and kissing one another in rather private places. The bishop of Troyes thus had good reasons for interrupting the veneration of the Lirey relic. It had the Templar heresy behind it.
When interrogated on 9 November 1307 the high-ranking Templar Hugues de Pairaud, Visitor of France described the Templar "idol"(la tte), as having four feet, two in front on the side of the face, and two behind. It would thus have been the Shroud of Lirey, or so Bishop d'Arcis thought. The claim of Bishop d'Arcis to be privy to some scandal has been dismissed by most sindonophiles as idle and bravado, especially since nothing seems ever to have come of it. So Babinet has done a service to remind us of it.
Like most sindonophiles, I had looked at the Memorandum in terms of the questions of the anonymous artist, of the dubious inquest held by d'Arcis' predecessor, Bishop Henri de Poitiers, and of d'Arcis' own hidden desire to possess the relic. Here are some lines from my paper published in 1993: "The Turin Shroud from 1200 to 1400," in W. J. Cherf, Ed, Alpha to Omega: Studies in Honor of George John Szemler (Chicago: Ares 1993) 187-225.
But nearly everyone who looks into the matter of the Memorandum has agreed that there is a hidden agenda, that something is going on that has been left unspoken. Bishop d'Arcis had no documents before him from the time of Bishop Henri; he did not name the artist; he promises the Pope that he is ready to divulge a level of scandal that he cannot put in writing; he himself has been accused of wanting the cloth for gain for himself (the King also wanted the right of disposition of the cloth).
The Memorandum itself, in all its copies, is undated and unsigned, and Nicolas Camusat, collector of documents pertaining to the Bishops of Troyes, does not know of it in his treatment of Bishop d'Arcis [pp. 217-228]. It may be counted as a significant mystery that Chifflet in 1624 [101f] seems to know and paraphrase Bishop d'Arcis's Memorandum, while his friend, the Troyes archivist Camuzat, writing in 1610, makes no reference to the Memorandum, even in his ample treatment of Geoffrey I's vow and founding of the Lirey Collegiale [quoted by Chifflet p.97f]. One wonders if the Memorandum ever reached Avignon for the Pope does not quote it or refer to it. On his part, the Pope "knows the facts"; yet he wavers in his pronouncements, first granting Geoffrey carte blanche, then limiting the mode of display, finally encouraging pilgrimages and omitting mention of his earlier cautionary concerns. What, indeed, might be his hidden agenda?
Clement's second Bull, of June, 1390, may help clear up at least one aspect of the mystery: it warns anyone, no matter what his status, not to usurp the gifts of the faithful to the Lirey church. Recall that in his Memorandum Bishop d'Arcis had shrugged off the notion that he coveted the cloth for his own gain. Recall, too, that the Memorandum alludes again and again to the avarice of the Lirey canons: Bishop d'Arcis could be telling us more about himself than about the canons.
Difficulties at the Cathedral
These concerns, we may now say, were not for nothing. Since the beginning of construction of the Cathedral at Troyes in the time of Bishop Garnier de Trainel (c. 1200), the bishops and chapter had been eager to acquire relics as attractions to pilgrims and their donatives. Garnier went as one of the crusader chaplains on the Fourth Crusade and was named as the distributor of relics by the leaders. In this post, for almost a year he arranged for a rich selection of relics to be shipped home to Troyes [Riant, p. 40f], chief of which was the body of St. Helen of Athyra. "The clergy at Troyes, aware of the potential financial gain to be made from the possession of a relic of great popular appeal, did their best to promote the cult of the saint." [Murray, pp. 16f.] For the next two centuries every possible source of revenue was tapped for the completion of the Troyes Cathedral.
Trouble upon trouble, around Christmas, 1389 the nave of the unfinished Cathedral collapsed. So crippling was this setback that for sixty years afterwards no major effort could be launched toward completion of the building. No doubt to the chagrin of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, who personally contributed much to the fabric of the Cathedral, the records of Troyes show that 1389 was the only year in which income did not exceed expenses for the project [Murray, p. 22]. In the following year a large rose window fell out, and the 1390s were marked by continued declining support of construction. The shoddy work that led to these mishaps may be laid at the door of Bishop d'Arcis himself and caused him guilt, since "symptoms of structural distress had already been observed in the 1380s" [Murray, p. 54]. The costs of building and rebuilding Troyes Cathedral in the 14th century may provide the keys to many a mystery.
Babinet notes that scandal there was. The charges against the Templars were admitted by significant numbers of the brethren between the morning of the mass arrest of the French Templars (13 October 1307) and the Order's abolition at Vienne (3 April 1312). But some testified that they had neither seen nor heard of la tte. The various descriptions given teach us that there must have been copies in their different chapters. Recall the copy on the Templecombe lid. Court scribes reported diverse depositions rendered by the brethren: A bearded head called Savior; a bearded head on gilded or silvered wood; an image painted on a piece of wood; a hideous head of a mauf, (demon); a head with three faces; a skull. Pairaud swore that, though he even held and adored the idol in the Montpellier chapter (where he left it), he did so only with lip service, not in his heart. Pairaud also said he was kissed by novices on the lower dorsal spine, on the navel and on the mouth, and then he ordered them to deny Christ and the cross thrice and to spit on the cross and on the image of Christ. Babinet feels that, since he must have known the full-body image, his testimony before the inquisitors about la tte only was deliberately deceptive.
Many, like Jacques de Molay, last Templar Master, admitted to the charges, then recanted. Others firmly defended the Order against its accusers (both paid informers and expelled Templars) throughout. Pierre de Bologne insisted that a proper oath was given by novices, of obedience, chastity, poverty and defense of the Holy Land; then of reverence for the crucified Lord, loyalty to the Roman Church and to the King. Withal, it was scandal enough.
While finally returning to an agreement with Ian Wilson's initial hypothesis of Templar possession of the Lirey Shroud, Babinet feebly picks at Wilson's important and properly cautious notice that there was a Charnay among the Templar leadership in 1314. Babinet next draws attention to the Hamburg MS reproducing "the Secret Rule of the Chosen Brethren." It was copied by Matthieu de Tramlay in 1205, year of the letter of Theodore Angelus of Epirus to Pope Innocent III complaining of the sack of Constantinople which resulted in the capital's shroud had been removed to Athens by French Crusaders. Articles 11-14 of the Secrets of the Chosen Brethren are powerful indictments of the Order. They refer to obscene kisses; to the heresy of denial of the divinity of Jesus, "son of Mary" (for the Divine Christ is "not born, not crucified, not risen"); and to spitting on the cross "as the beast of the Apocalypse." These rituals of reception were accompanied by oaths sworn under pain of death to guard the Order's great secrets. Finally (Article 21), the text denounces the "synagogue of the Antichrist," term symbolizing the Catholic Church.
A Gnostic-Manichaeist belief, Babinet remarks, always existed in Christian history, and most recently reappeared among the Cathars "dont on dit que certains d'entre eux se rfugirent au Temple." Here Babinet offers no source for the critical statement that Cathars had contaminated the Order of the Knights Templar. Rather he depends on the resonances between Cathar ideas and Templar practices. In fact, he says, the visible image of crucified Jesus on the folded cloth did not prove the resurrection nor favor his divinity. The brute fact of the linen, without thorough examination, denied the divine hypostasy of the body of the crucified and conformed to the Cathar and Templar belief in a Jesus who was human and not divine.
The Head or Idol is not mentioned in the Secret Rule. It is suggested, however, in the original Rule of the Templars approved by the Lateran Council of 1139, also copied by Matthieu de Tramlay in 1205. Art. 17 began, "The figure of Baphomet is taken out of its chest." The "mystery of the true Baphomet" taught to neophytes in Art. 18 is not divulged, except that they took part in "things that must be hidden from clerics admitted to the order."
The statement that the original 1139 Rule already contained a reference to the "Baphomet," was a surprise to the reviewer. If it is truly there, then idol worship and deviousness might have been charged against the Templars from the inception of the Order. But there is no hint of such before 1307 and the depositions given by the brothers.
How could the Temple--favorite of the Church--arrive at such heresy, Babinet asks? Was it that the succession of military defeats and the abandonment of the Holy Land ruined their reputation as warriors and removed their raison d'etre? Babinet supposes that their moral decline was aggravated by their secretive detention of the relic. If the Templars were induced to venerate such a relic despite exposing themselves to sacrilege because it was stolen and had to remain hidden, it had to be the most superior of Christian relics. But in this Babinet suggests a late falling from grace, not one that might have begun early and appeared in their original Rule in 1139.
Transfer to Templars
Babinet seems to urge a Templar acquisition, not as early as 1139, but later, in 1205, via Othon de la Roche, Duke of Athens, who sent the relic to Besanon's Archbishop Amede de Tramelay (1192-1219). This latter was related to Bernard de Tramelay, fourth Templar Master (1152-53) and may have been related to Matthieu de Tramlay, copyist of the Hamburg MS in 1205. This provides Babinet with one intimation of how the Idol/Shroud may have come into the possession of the Templars. (This may be a good opportunity to note that if the Shroud resided with the Templars soon after it departed the Byzantine capital, then the Cathars could not have revered it as their precious treasure at Montsegur in 1244.)
Surely, for the period 1205-1355 we are reduced to hypotheses. But Babinet agrees essentially with Wilson: A century and a half and not one clear reference to the most prestigious relic of Christ. Then the letter of Theodore of Epirus to Innocent III claims reparations for the theft committed by Christians. Who but the Templars could guarantee its safety, when the emperor of Constantinople could not protect it from the crusaders, much less from the Moslems encroaching on his frontiers?
Transfer to Geoffrey I de Charny
Babinet rejects the Smyrna campaign of 1346 and Geoffrey's marriage to Jeanne de Vergy of Besanon as occasions for Geoffrey's obtaining the Shroud. No official act transmitted the Shroud to Geoffrey, whether by inheritance or gift. Babinet says that only a reputed sacrilegious possession of the Shroud explains the absence of clarity and evidence. In November 1314 among an assembly of Burgundian nobles met to resist certain demands of the king of France was one Jean, sire de Charny, said by genealogist Anselme to be probably the father of Geoffrey I. Four years earlier 16 Feb 1310, the Templar brother Milo de Charny, in his role as priest of Langres, gave evidence before Clement V's pontifical commission defending the order. Since1179 the town of Langres was attached to the duchy of Burgundy. By their double relationship, patronymic and regional, Jean de Charny and Milo, Templar priest, will have been members of the same Burgundian house. Can Milo be the relation who hid the Shroud (la tte), bequeathing it to Geoffrey I after the abolition of the Order by the Bull 'Vox clamantis' 3 Apr 1312?
Several royal endowments by two French kings are recorded between June 1343 and July 1356 for the construction of a meagre wooden church at Lirey. Bishop d'Arcis attests to the pilgrimages on a large-scale in honor of the Shroud of Lirey. Since (Babinet) the first ostensions were held in the last months of 1356, there was a gap of thirteen years during which no one spoke of the relic. It was as if the secret of its existence had to be imperatively guarded.
Babinet returns in his summation to the outrageous charges against the Templars. First Hugues de Pairaud's oath of 9 November 1307 is important. He saw, held, felt, and adored, an idol representing a head with 4 feet. He said he delivered it to the commander of the Templars at Montpellier. An object clearly described by an eyewitness must have a real existence in a real place. The reader is reminded that in 1305, in the region of Montpellier, where la tte was attested, the first rumors touching the Templars appeared. A certain Esquieu de Floyran, native of Beziers, revealed to the king of France the sensational deviations of the Templars. Even torture or the threat of it could not evoke a pure fantasy and one consistent among the brethren. The denial of Christ and adoration of an idol are precise facts, recognized by the brothers themselves and supported in the secret rules.
The head of a man adored by the Templars, so similar to the Mandylion/Shroud of Christ, was stolen from Constantinople by the Crusaders and then disappeared from Athens. Othon, duke of Athens, never returned it but in the chteau de Ray at Rigney, near Besanon, is a small wooden chest whose dimensions would be right for the Shroud folded in 96 layers . Bergeret (CIELT Rome Symposium 1993) thought it was the chest used to transport the Shroud from Athens to France. Babinet has earlier agreed with French scholar Jean Longnon (Journ. des savants, Jan-Mar 1973, 61-80) that Othon was never wed to Isabel/Elisabeth de Ray, but rather to Isabel/Elisabeth de Chappes. This would indicate that his title, seigneur de Ray, was paternally and not maritally inherited. It also signals that Jeanne de Vergy, second wife of Geoffrey I de Charny, was not descendent of Othon de la Roche, Duke of Athens and onetime possessor of the Shroud.
Dunod de Charnage traced the Shroud to archbishop Amede de Tramelay. Babinet's interpretation is that, fearing to retain it, Amede turned it over to the Templars, an order independent and secret, created for the protection of the holy places.
The possession by the Templars is the only explanation plausible and coherent for the 150 years from 1205 to 1355. Oddly and unnecessarily, Babinet exonerates the Templars of heresy. Nor had they lost faith in Christ. The irregularities took place in some houses and not in others. Certainly the Order had aged badly, stultified for no longer fighting the infidels. But the brothers remained courageous; their last battle was not to reveal that the head of a man was the Shroud of Christ and where they found it.
N. Camuzat, Promptuarium Sacrarum Antiquitatem Tricassinae Diocesis (Troyes 1610).
J.J. Chifflet, De Linteis Sepulchralibus Christi Servatoris Crisis Historica (Antwerp 1624).
E. Riant, Depouilles religieuses enleves Constantinople au XIIIe sicle par les Latins et des documents historiques de leur transport en Occident (Paris 1875).
S. Murray, Building Troyes Cathedral (Indianapolis 1987).
Approfondimento Sindone 66 page journal, publication address C.P. 85, 54027 Pontremoli (MS) fax (0187) 830870; e-mail email@example.com
This is a new publication on the Shroud scene, well- produced, albeit modestly, with articles in both Italian and English depending on the language of the author. Its initiator is Dr. Antonio Lombatti of the Centro Studi Medievali, Pontremoli, Italy, whose letter expressing doubts on the Bollone/Balossino 'coins over the eyes' claims was published in Newsletter no.45, pp.36-8. Of the intention behind Approfondimento Sindone Dr. Lombatti writes: 'Its target is to balance the factiousness of Sindon and Collegamento pro Sindone', neither of which have ever 'given space to those who have different opinions on the Shroud from theirs... The review is a challenge to those scholars who keep on thinking that the Shroud is authentic and to those who think that it is a fake.. Every article has to be highly scientific, with many quotations and footnotes.'
In this spirit, the very first article that Lombatti includes is a very well- balanced one by Dr. Robert Hedges, director of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, as this part of the former Oxford Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art is now known. Entitled 'A note concerning the application of radiocarbon dating to the Turin Shroud'. Hedges carefully considers the various ways the Shroud date might have been shifted by 1300 years. He remarks that the degree of contamination required to shift this 'is very large (such a shift would require the addition of about 50% more material of 'modern' carbon, and this quantity, or indeed any amount above a few per cent, can be totally ruled out.' This clearly represents Hedges' stance on the Garza-Valds hypothesis, as he understands this so far.
Of the Kouznetsov hypothesis that the carbon atoms of the Shroud's cellulose were exchanged or carboxylated with those from a hot carbon dioxide atmosphere, as might have been generated during the 1532 fire at Chambry, Hedges goes on:
The scientific grounds for this proposal are, in my view, quite dubious, but nevertheless have been published in a scientific journal, together with experimental evidence that such an effect is possible, and so do require careful consideration. At least three experiments have been carried out to test the possibility, with one published so far, and none has been able to find any such effect. Experiments we carried out at Oxford put an upper limit to any possible change of the date of about 5 years. The issue is important, not just for the Shroud dating ... but because if such a process did occur during combustion events, it could spoil the accuracy of many other archaeological dates. The care with which radiocarbon laboratories have responded to even the outside chance that some additional process might feasibly affect the date, demonstrates the level of vigilance which is felt necessary to ensure that radiocarbon dates are accurate.
Also included in this publication is an article by Dorothy Crispino 'The Shroud at Besanon' which very authoritatively weighs in the balance (and finds wanting), theories that the Shroud may have been at Besanon before its emergence in Lirey in the mid-1950s. Dr. Walter McCrone has an article 'Red ochre and vermilion on Shroud tapes?' in which he reiterates his long-familiar arguments that the Shroud is the work of a mediaeval artist. Lombatti himself has an article 'La Sindone e Geoffroi de Charny' which looks very exhaustively at what is known of Geoffrey de Charny's career that might shed light on his acquisition of the Shroud. The final article 'The State of Research into the Authenticity of the Shroud' is by Niccolo Caldaro, Professor of Anthropology at San Francisco State University and Director of San Francisco's Art Conservation Service. This reviews the problems bedevilling Shroud research, but sheds little new light.
All in all, a most welcome and open-minded newcomer to the Shroud publications scene.
Mario Moroni, Francesco Barbesino Apologia di un falsario, un'indagine sulla Santa Sindone di Torino, Milan, 1997, 93 pp, plus 32 pp. colour and black & white photographs
Mario Moroni is a regular speaker at Shroud conferences, his chief specialty being the clues to the Shroud's history evident from early coins. Francesco Barbesino is an industrial engineering chemist from Milan Polytechnic. In this slim but well-produced paperback the authors cover many familiar aspects of the Shroud, but add to this their own research reconstructing the fire of 1532, and the heat effects the Shroud would have suffered from this. They also include discussion and photographs of the two Pontius Pilate coins they and others claim to see laid on the eyes of the man of the Shroud, the first bearing a lituus, an augur's wand, the second a simpulum, or small ladle as used for libations.