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The Shroud of Turin Could be Authentic

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Started: 3/31/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 862 times Debate No: 89021
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This debate is for Round 1 of the 2016 Spring Debate

As the Shroud of Turin is (possibly) an ancient historical artifact, absolute proof is impossible thus there will be shared burden of proof.

Pro will argue that the Shroud dates back to the time of Christ and thus could be authentic.

Con will argue that it is a forgery and thus could not be authentic.

5 rounds, 72 hr argument time, 10k characters.


10k Charaters per round, 3 rounds, 72 hrs per round, Decide Winner, voting open to all.

First Round - Rules and acceptance, no arguments
Second Round - Opening Arguments
Third & Fourth Rounds - Additional Arguments & Rebuttals
Fifth Round - Summary of Arguments and Closing Statement


Thank you Geogeer for participating in the tournament and setting up this debate. I look forward to an exciting exchange.
Debate Round No. 1


My thanks to Peepette.

Shroud of Turin

This round I will be focusing on the history of the Shroud. I am going to step backwards through time to reveal the shroud's footprints in history.

1. Western Europe

Historical facts that closer to the present are generally easier to confirm than those that are older. As such, the history of the Shroud in Western Europe from 1349, when the Shroud was recorded to be in the possession of Geoffroi de Charny, is undisputed [1].

2. Constantinople

So how do we know that the shroud existed long before its appearance in Western Europe. The first piece of evidence that I will present is the oldest surviving Hungarian text known as the Pray Codex. The Pray Codex has been reliably dated to between 1192 and 1195 AD [2].

Inside the manuscript there are 5 images. I'm going to focus on one of those images along with an image of the shroud:

The top pane shows the burial and the bottom pane Easter morning. 5 key points on this sketch:

1) The body of Jesus has only 4 visible fingers on each hand, just as on the shroud.
2) We an see that the shroud is long in that it wraps around the neck and shoulders of the man on the upper left.
3) Red crosses remain on the shroud artistically denoting Christ's blood.
4) The herringbone pattern of the cloth matches that of the Shroud.
5) L shape burn holes (below the extended arm of the leftmost woman in the bottom panel) consistent with burn marks that predate the larger burn marks created by in a fire in 1532. [3]

This is incontrovertible evidence of the existence of the Shroud in the late 12th century. But where was it in this time period?

In 1204, Robert de Clari, a French knight of the 4th Crusade, wrote that "the shroud wherein Our Lord was wrapped" [4] was kept in a Church in Constantinople and raised in a ceremony every Friday so that the wounds of the Lord could be seen. Constantinople (now Istanbul) being the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire and seat of Orthodox Christianity had frequent dealings with Hungary as both were fighting off Islamic expansion.

Constantinople was sacked later in 1204 by the French and Venetian Crusaders. In 1205 AD Theodore nephew of Emperor Isaac II wrote to Pope Innocent III requested that the Pope have the shroud returned to Constantinople. [5]

The Knights Templar was established by 9 French Knights in 1118 AD [6] as a military force to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. They would have been well aware of the existence of the Shroud. In 1287 AD a young Frenchman, Arnaut Sabbatier, described a Templar initiation rite:

He was "shown a long piece of linen on which was impressed the figure of a man and told to worship it, kissing the feet three times" [7] This is a veneration similar to what Catholics do at the Good Friday service when they kiss the feet of a crucifix. Veneration is a very Catholic thing to do to pay homage to Jesus, especially to his very burial cloth.

Finally in 1307, the Knights Templar were disbanded. Grand Master Jacque Molay (highest ranked Knight) and Sir Knight Geoffrey de Charny (Preceptor of Normandy for the Knights Templar) were executed together. [8] Geoffroi de Charny (who is known to possess the shroud in 1349) was highly suspected of being a relative of the executed Geffrey de Charny, and inherited the shroud for safe keeping.

Thus we have closed the loop from Western Europe back to Constantinople.

3. Edessa

In 944 Muslims besieged the town of Edessa. The Emperor of Constantinople exchanged a group of Muslim prisoners for the Image of Edessa - a cloth on which there was an image of Jesus. [9] On August 15, 944 the Image of Edessa arrived in Constantinople. The Eastern Orthodox Feast day of the Image is August 16. The sermon pronounced on the occasion of the arrival of the image has been preserved - which includes:

"He imprinted the reflection of His form on the linen" [10]

Thus the Image of Edessa was a full body image of the body of Christ.

In 787 (Seventh Ecumenical Council), bishops defended the veneration of images by teaching that Christ Himself provided an image for veneration - the Holy Image of Edessa. [11]

In the 6th century, the image of Edessa was found buried in the walls above one of the city gates [12]. It was written later in the 6th century that "Edessa was protected by a 'divinely wrought portrait (acheiropoietis) sent by Jesus to Abgar" and in the 730AD, "St. John Damascene - On Holy Images - describes the cloth as a himation, which is translated as an oblong cloth or grave cloth. This may be the first mention, among extant documents, of it being a grave cloth." [12]

The Legend of Abgar reports how the shroud came to Edessa:

"But when the Edessan Christians wrote their history in the 3rd century, they remembered that the Gospel originally came to them in the 1st century from a Jerusalem disciple named Addai and to a King Abgar V, a known historical figure contemporary with Christ. Eusebius included in his Ecclesiastical History a brief late 3rd century version, reporting a famous letter from Jesus still kept in the Edessan archives (Eusebius 1991: 43-47). But later in the 4th century (or possibly early in the 5th) a Syriac writer penned a much expanded text. Known as The Teaching of Addai (hereafter TA) one small passage has Abgar, who is corresponding with Jesus by way of a messenger Hanan, instructing him to make a picture of Jesus:

When Hanan the archivist saw that Jesus had spoken thus to him, he took and painted the portrait of Jesus with choice pigments, since he was the king’s artist, and brought it with him to his lord King Abgar. When King Abgar saw the portrait he received it with great joy and placed it with great honor in one of the buildings of his palaces.

Greek text, the anonymous Acts of Thaddaeus described this new way of understanding the picture’s origin. This document is another brief account of the Gospel coming to Edessa in the 1st century in the time of Abgar V. The king’s messenger, Ananais, was unable to paint Jesus, so:

And He [Jesus] knew as knowing the heart, and asked to wash Himself; and a towel was given Him; and when He washed Himself, He wiped His face with it. And His image having been imprinted upon the linen, He gave it to Ananias. [13]

The Greek words used for this linen were "rakos (piece of cloth) which was a tetradiplon, a word translated as “doubled in four," [13]

As you can see, folding the shroud in this manner would leave you an image of the face.

Edessa was an early convert to Christianity in first or second century during the Gnostic era. Embedded in the Gnostic Acts of Thomas is the Hymn of the Pearl. This is most often attributed to the Syrian Gnostic Bardaisan (152-222AD) at the royal court of Edessa. Supposedly some elements of it suggest a 1st century oral tradition [14]

In the Hymn Jesus speaks:

I saw my image on my burial garment like in a mirror.
Myself facing outward and myself facing inward.
As though divided, yet one likeness.
Two images, but one likeness of the King of Kings.

Now mirrors in the ancient world were rare being either beaten metal or calm pools of water. However they understood mirror images. A poetic description accurately detailing the shroud written by a man living in Edessa is highly corroborative.

Outward and inward facing - dorsal and ventral images on the shroud
And though divided, yet one likeness - two images of the same person
Two images, but one likeness of the King of Kings - Two images of Jesus Christ.

4. Jerusalem

All four Gospels mention the linen cloth that Jesus was wrapped in:

Matthew 27:59 - "And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth."
Mark 15:46 - "And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock."
Luke 23:53 - "And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid."
John 19:40 - "They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury."

The burial linens that wrapped the body were considered important enough to be mentioned by every Gospel writer. Now we can look at where they are next mentioned.

Luke 24:12 - "But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass."

John 20:4-8 - "And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed."

The other disciple here was John who was, according to records, the author the this Gospel. He saw the linens and believed. Given that burial cloths were ritually unclean to Jews, no more could possibly be said. However, he didn't believe on looking into the empty tomb; he believed when he saw the linens. It is not unreasonable to interpret this as a hidden message within the Gospel.

A historical lineage of the shroud from the resurrection onward has been established in this round. And while there is even more historical evidence, there are only 10,000 characters.

I look forward to my opponent's opening arguments.



Thank you Geogeer for an informative and compelling opening statement


Relic Cult

Enshrinement and veneration of relics of gods, individuals or personal property goes back to the ancient Greek as hero cults, and continued with various religions throughout history [3]. As Christianity swept Europe in the 700s churches acquired religious relic to become established and consecrated [2]. The collection of martyr’s, saint’s bones, their possessions along with items associated with Jesus and Biblical stories were common place [2]. No direct worship of the remains or object was permitted, but looked upon as an intermediary of God’s work, a talisman of sorts; played an intercessory role. Miracles were attributed to relics that elevated their monetary and spiritual value. Between the 7th and 14th centuries search, creation and display of such relics reached its apex and developed into a relic cult.

The collection and owing religious relics was prestigious. Emperor Charlemagne in the 700s had a large collection of religious relics which others in power and of wealth chose to emulate [1]. As churches were built throughout Europe, the relic business took off. Relic traders and forgers were commonplace. With such high demand, a plethora of “claimed to be religious relics” retuned with knights at the end of 4th crusade in Constantinople [2]. The authenticity and source of relics was dubious at best but, it was the position of the church to turn a blind eye on the matter due to income derived from these objects was on the line [2, 6, 7].

Pilgrimage Dollars

Churches that held the best relics became pilgrimage designations which further fueled competition, much like the commercial competition between Disney Land vs. Universal studios, Sea World or Bush Gardens. To become a pilgrimage destination of choice was big business. It not only did it fill the church coffers with donations, but it provided great economic support for the surrounding community through lodging, food and services rendered [2, 5, 6]. It was so profitable, relics were stolen from churches by competing churches to keep attendance and donations rolling [2, 4]; much like a museum turns over its exhibits to keep things fresh to bring in visitors [8]. There was such fierceness in competition for pilgrimage dollars it fueled multiple churches to claim to have the same relic. In the 11th century three churches claimed to have the head of John the Baptist along with several churches claiming to have Jesus’ baby teeth, foreskin from circumcision, wood pieces from the true cross and assorted other items [1, 3, 4, 5]. Donations to the size as much as a pilgrim could bear were encouraged. Stories circulated about those who failed to donate generously meeting with an unfortunate incident or illness.

Relics were often displayed in special gold and jeweled crusted containers (reliquaries) which were paid for by wealthy pilgrims [5]. Parades where held when new relics arrived [8]. Procession of relics were performed within churches and towns during religious days of observance and traveled with Monks and priest as a form of fund raisers who extolled their relevance toward famine or the sick. They collecting donations as they went with implied promise that what that ailed them would be relieved. Religious relics were a big money making business [1, 5, 7].









Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin is one of the more famous religious relics. It is believed by some to be the shroud that wrapped Jesus after his crucifixion. A claim of this nature is not possible due to the Jewish burial traditions of the time. As stated in the Bible John 19:40 [9] and Deuteronomy 21:22-23 9 [A]. A Jewish body was washed and applied with spices and aloe, hair trimmed, hand and feet were bound with strips of linen then dressed with cloths feet to neck. A large napkin like cloth (Sudarium)was applied to the head. Burial cloths were considered unclean and would not have been pick up or retrieved when the tomb of Jesus was found empty [10, 11].



11. ,


Delared a Fraud

It was housed in a chapel in Turin Italy until 1598. Its origins are sketchy. No evidence of providence precedes 1353 [12]. The clergy and owner Geoffroy de Charny of the Lirey chapel, of meager financial means, promoted and displayed the shroud which turned the site into a pilgrimage destination where souvenirs were sold [13].When this became known, area Bishop Henry of Poitiers was sent to investigate. He reported that it was a painting on cloth and the artist was located and confessed to its creation [14].




The Shroud was tucked away for years after this revelation. In 1378 Bishop Pierre d’Arcis stated in a letter to the Pope Urban V1 that Geoffroy falsely and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted,...... it was quite unlikely that the Holy Evangelists would have omitted to record an imprint on Christ’s burial linens, or that the fact should have remained hidden until the present time” [15]. In 1390, nephew Geoffroi II de Charney made a papal request to show the shroud. Pope Clement VII granted permission provided no claim be made that it were the “True Shroud” and threatened excommunication if this were to occur. Family members paraded the shroud throughout France until it becomes the property of the Dukes of Savoy in 1453-43.

In 1471 the Savoy family took the Shroud on tour through European cities propagandizing it as a precious religious relic, and of course made money selling souvenir etchings [16]. The Shroud suffered from fire damage in 1532 and was repaired by nuns.




Multiple scientific tests have been conducted on the Shroud. The most prominent was performed in 1988. The shroud underwent carbon dating by 3 different laboratories with a concurring result of its creation with 95% accuracy dating it between 1260 and 1390 [17] Peer review of the process of collection and techniques utilized has been peer reviewed [18].

The results have been contested with variations on a theme on why the carefully crafted testing procedure was flawed, plausible error hypothesis range from ancient radioactive blast, coronal discharge to earthquakes affecting the results. One being the sample was taken from the shroud area that was repaired in the 1532; this was proven an incorrect assumption [18, 19, 20]. Further scientific test will not be permitted by the Vatican.





Causality of Future Doubt

Until 2000 comparison to burial other burial shrouds of the 1st century was not possible due to disintegration of textiles from climatic conditions. A 1st century shroud was uncovered in a Jeruselem sealed tomb and its characteristics are very different than the Shroud of Turin. It has a simple 2 way weave in comparison to the complicated herringbone weave of the Turin piece [21] and it was wool layered with linen [22]. It is established that this was a tomb of a family of means.



Even if the Shroud can be proven to be of the 1st century, which is unlikely to occur due to no new samples provided, serious doubt will always remain. The Shroud of Turin as it being the true impression of the Biblical Jesus can never be absolute due to the common place occurrence of crucifixions during the Biblical era.

During the 1st century crucifixion was a repeated Roman practice of punishment for non-Romans for assorted crimes and sedition. Often crucified bodies were left to rot on the cross but, permission to remove the body was sometimes given [18,]. Archeological evidence and writings of Philo and Josephus of the 1st century bears this out [A].

Records of crucifixions in the Roman Empire date to the Punic War 218-201 BCE. Skeletons have been found in Greece dated 7BC and 2BC that were attached to wood with nails. 800 Jews were executed in 267 BC by Alexander Jannaeus [19]. Jehohanan ben Hagkol, the crucified (Jewish) from Giv’at Ha-Mivtar (Jerusalem), has been dated to the 1st century [20]. Iron nails used in crucifixions were expensive and were removed from the bodies, which accounts why to date, only one body with a nails still embedded has been found [21].

It is likely and expected if a Jewish family had a crucified love one, they would do whatever they could to obtain the body for a proper Jewish burial; Deuteronomy 21:22–23: “If a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, and you impale him on a stake, you must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is an affront to God: you shall not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”

Between the frequency in which cruxifictions occured and numbers of bodies resulting, the Shroud could be attributed to anyone.

Other possibilities on the purpose and rendering of the Shroud of Turin are in play and will be presented in forthcoming rounds.





Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to Peepette for her opening round arguments.

I'll start with rebuttals, then onto additional corroborative evidence of the Shroud's authenticity.



Pilgrimages and relics were and still are a part of the Catholic faith. In fact every Catholic altar has a relic embedded within it. [16] Why would Catholicism develop such a practice? I propose that it is because the existence of the shroud with the image on it was found in the tomb. This was the first Christian relic and established a special place within Catholicism for relics.

Con also argued that the sacking of Constantinople in the 4th Crusade created a whole new relic trade. Yet this too is actually an argument for the authenticity of the shroud. Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) "banned the hitherto thriving trade in relics". [17] Thus those now in possession of the shroud needed to keep it secret.

Money and Bishop D'Arcis

Con argues that pilgrimage sites reaped significant monetary benefit from pilgrims. Con then proceeds to argue Bishop Henri and his successor Bishop d'Arcis claimed the Shroud was a forgery. It is interesting to note that the Shroud's presence in Lirey was drawing pilgrims away from the Bishops' shrines in Poitiers - perhaps motivation?

Con further argues that in 1378 Bishop d'Arcis sent a letter to Pope Clement VII wherein it states that the Shroud is a forgery created by an unnamed artist who confessed to his predecessor Bishop Henri. The 2 copies of the D'Arcis letter are neither dated nor signed and are said to be "of such a faulty style that one could not attribute it to an episcopal pen". [18] Additionally, no copy of the letter has been found in Vatican archives or in archives of the Diocese of Troyes. [18]

The response from the Pope to Bishop d'Arcis in the Jan 6, 1390 letter threatens the Bishop with Excommunication if he does not allow exposition of the Linen. [18] Con also fails to note a correction made to the Jan 6 bull along with an additional bull on June 1 which grants new indulgences for pilgrimage and veneration of the Linen. Taken all together, "the fundamental thought behind the Bull of Jan. 6 was not so much concerned with the authenticity of the Shroud as it was with the mode of its exposition." [18]

Burial Shrouds & Jesus

Con notes that 1 other Shroud found in 1st century Jerusalem used a simple 2 way weave and was wool layered with linen. What Con fails to mention is that this tomb was atypical of Jewish burial customs. Molecular DNA analysis revealed that the dead man had leprosy and tuberculosis. [19] Additionally the tomb was sealed with only him in it instead of customary secondary burials in ossuaries. Even odder is that the clothes were made out of wool mixed with linen. This is forbidden by Deuteronomy 22:11

Thou shalt not wear a garment that is woven of woollen and linen together.

The Jews used looms that only ever wove flax [20] in order to produce Sindonic fabrics (pure linen with no wool) like the Shroud.

In the 1st Century AD Jewish fortress of Masada, fourteen twill weave textile fragments were discovered including several in a diamond twill weave, which is actually a more complex variation of the herringbone pattern. [19]

Other Shrouds in the region show large one or two piece burial shrouds.

2nd Century Qazone, Jordan

Con also argues that it is impossible to confirm this is Jesus' Shroud. I agree! That is why the debate is: The Shroud of Turin Could be Authentic. The burden of proof is only that it could be, not that it is. Yet can she find evidence of one crucifixion, other than Jesus', which would have the wounds attested to in the bible and which appear on the shroud.


Con rightly notes that multiple scientific tests have been conducted on the Shroud. In fact the Shroud is the most studied artifact in history. [21] Out of all of the scientific research conducted on the Shroud, Con notes only one piece of evidence, the 1988 Carbon dating tests.

First of all it should be noted that C14 dating has not been without questionable results. Probably the most extreme of which was a mummy and its bandages were both C14 tested. The results came back that the mummy was 800-1000 years older than the linens wrapping it. [22]

The above image provides the location of the C14 testing.

The Photo on the right shows the C14 samples in order. What is curious is that the C14 test samples age from one end of the sample to the other. Now this is either an amazing coincidence or a strong indicator of a non-uniformity in what was tested. It was proposed that this area had been mended and contained a combination of 1st Century fibers and more modern fibres.

Photos of the sample were given to textile experts for independent blinded analyses. The opinion given was that "the float was different on either side of the sample...due to each side of the pattern being woven independently" [23]

Chemist Ray Rogers published a paper wherein he concluded that:

Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud. [24]

Evidence of this is readily visible in samples from the adjacent Rae's fragment:

This thread goes from dark and tight at one end to light and fluffy at the other. Magnification also shows the end of the splice. Colour enhancing the photo shows:

This reveals the intertwining of two disparate materials with each other.

Only one of the 3 papers that con presented attempts to deal with this. There was no chemical or microscopal evidence presented. The paper was done by a textile expert who's argument
t was "the operation is indeed invisible on the front, still it is always clearly recognizable on the back". [25]

Michael Erlich, owner and president of "Without a Trace" (invisible mending company) remarked:

"Today, there is a modern, time-saving technique called “inweaving: that would be invisible from the surface, but easily recognizable from the back. However, the technique used in sixteenth century Europe called “French weaving” is an entirely different matter. French weaving involves a tedious thread-by-thread restoration that is, indeed, invisible. Sixteenth century owners of the Shroud certainly had enough material resources and weeks of time at their disposal to accomplish the task."

Additionally it was known at the time of sampling that there were anomalies.

"I was authorized to cut approximately 8 square centimetres of cloth from the Shroud...This was then reduced to about 7 cm because fibres of other origins had become mixed up with the original fabric" [26]

The Oxford sample contained "rogue fibers were cotton of 'a fine, dark yellow strand.' According to Peter South of the lab, 'It may have been used for repairs at some time in the past...'" [26]

We believe that the heavier, blended material may explain why the C-14 sample apparently weighed about twice as much as expected [26]

The problem is that there is that there is no way of being sure that one sample (even if tested multiple times at different laboratories) is still only one sample. No method is immune to processing grossly incorrect dates when unknown problems may exist with the sample at the collection site.. a combination of at least two independent dating techniques is indispensable for the highest level of confidence. [22]

I will leave this, there will be more opportunities for rebuttal.

New Arguments

Art History of the Shroud

The Vignon markings are 15 markings on the face of the Shroud that are appear on artwork of Jesus following the historical path of the Shroud detailed in Round 2.

"Beginning in the sixth century, eastern icons of Christ underwent a radical change and followed the form set forth by this relic" [27]

The Christ Pantocrator - St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai.

This is a 6th century image - which I noted in Round 2 is when the Image of Edessa was found. It was likely a gift to Emperor Justinian the Great who reigned between 527 and 565. [27]

In a court of law 45-60 points of congruence are enough to declare that the faces are the same. [27] Over 170 points on the face and 250 points including areas around the face have been identified. [27] Thus it is quite obvious, and legally submissible, that the Pantocrator's painter had seen the Shroud.

The gold solidus minted between 692 and 695 has 145 points of congruence: [27]

There are many additional examples [28], however artistic congruence with the shroud in the Eastern Empire has been firmly established.


In the previous round I noted the napkin that was wrapped around Christ's head in the Gospel of John. This cloth has been in Spain since 631 and is known as the Sudarium of Oviedo.[29] The Sudarium has:

- The same blood type found on the Shroud, AB
- The length of the nose on both cloths is the same - 8cm
- Pollen grains found on the cloth of Oviedo match pollen found on the Shroud.
- The blood (stain symmetry, type and other indicators) on the Sudarium matches the blood on the Shroud. [29]

There are also over 70 points of correlation between the Sudarium and the Shroud [29], thus it is highly likely that the two were in contact with the same person.


Banding is a pattern seen in the cloth and the result of sun bleaching the fibres.

Shaded bands had vanished by the 4th century. [23] The linen of the Shroud cannot be newer than he 4th Century.

I will delve into the science in round 4.



R1 Rebuttal: I’ll address in chronological order so as the development of the whole history of the Shroud is clear. It will address some of R2 statements, but not all, I'll address later (ran out of characters).

Edessa Portrait of Christ

In 3rd century Christianity was spreading, Priest and Monks were traveling from church to church in Europe and holy lands recording church histories, acts of saints and miracles. They copied archived manuscripts, each writer adding their own personal flair[1]

King Abgar V of Edessa (13-50 AD), supposedly the first Christian king and his letters with Jesus are purported by historians as a fabrication by Abgar VIII (117-212 AD) as a means to gain sacred prestige which would sure up his theo/political power on parallel to Constantine the Great. The 3rd person text with reference of the flood of 201 places the story’s creation during V111’s reign [1,11,14].

The story goes that Abgar VIII dictated it the story to the city’s archivist, which was recopied in the History of the Church, Eusebius of Caesarea 313 AD, Greek version., Syriac version 5thC [1,11].

The Original Story

(Greek) Abagar V writes a letter to Jesus acclaiming his healing powers and recognizes him as sent by God. Agar is ailing and asks Jesus to visit for the purpose of healing him. Jesus responds in a letter that it great that he believes in him with without seeing him, but declines the invite because he has Gods’ duties to attend, but will send a disciple in his place. After Christ’s death disciple Thaddeus visits Abgar, lays hands on the king and cures him as well as cures many in the town; Thaddeus then goes to preach to the citizenry [1,2,4,11]

(Syriac, Addi & Thadeaus same person) This story adds to the original. Hannan is the king’s emissary of the letters and states Hannan “by virtue of being the king's painter, he took and painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints” [3]

6th century the Greek Acts of Thaddeaus states Hannan/Ananias was unable to capture the likeness of Christ. “Knowing this, Jesus asked for a towel in which he wiped his face, leaving his image miraculously on the cloth” [4, 5]. (the towel was not 14ft) It wasn’t until the late 6th century when Evagrius Scholasticus, made the description of the cloth as “divinely wrought image, which the hands of men did not form” [5,6] and adds the historical siege of the Persians under King Chosroesin 544, where the portrait magically reappeared from a brick niche from which it was hidden since the death of Abgar V. in 50 AD; it miraculously saved the town from the attach[8,10,13]. The cloth had been hidden away for over 500 years. Since Edessa was prone to flooding [1], a damp environment, how would a cloth survive for so long? The Byzantine era image cult was in full swing which attributes to the sudden reappearance of the image [11,18].

The Acts of the Mari, late 6th century, tells the story, but uses the word linen, but is still called a facial imprint, and the linen is folded in 4. Several other Greek and Syrian historical writings of the period make reference that the portrait is painted on wood, each adding their own embellishments to the original story [5, 9, 15]. But there’s more! In the Bede De Locis Sanctis (Pilgrimage of Arculfus/Bishop Arculf, circa 670/680, Arculf reports that Jesus’ burial cloths are in the Holy Sepulcher which is 8ft long. The shroud is still in the tomb in the 7th C, but also in Edessa at the same time [12].

In 845 with the Chronicle of Patriarch Dionysius of Telmahre makes reference to the portrait painting as being used to pay Edessan taxes, in turn the payee commissions and artist to paint another with dulled paints [7]; so now there are 2 Considering the value of the original contributing to the fable of Abgar which is the city’s identity, and factoring the location was on the pilgrimage route, a copy was essential [1].

In a 10th C script, Hannan’s painting is on a “a square tablet”;Agapius of Mabbug’s Kitab al`Unwan [5]. The Greek Narratio De Imagine Edessena in 944 describes the Edessan cloth’s arrival in Constantinople [5]. It tells the story of Edessa and references the towel that Christ wiped his face. “on the 4th day in the middle week of Lent the Bishop alone was permitted to open the chest where the image was kept. He wiped the icon with an unused sponge that was soaked in water and gave the water that he squeezed out to all the people”Are there water marks on the shroud [17]? But later in the same document, another story is told how the cloth was imprinted with sweat and blood at Gethsemane [15, 17]. Surely, a 14ft cloth would not be used for this task. There are two different stories in the same document. The 10thC Epistula Abgari also has two different versions of the story; the Christ washes his face version and sweat/blood while on the cross [16].

The 11thC The Gregorious Referandious sermon; “Taking a linen cloth (Jesus) wiped his sweat that was running down his face like drops of blood in his agony,,,he imprinted the refection of his form on the linen. When he (Jesus) came down the mountain from praying he gave it to Thomas. (Gethsemane), again a living Christ. “ your image brought from Edessa. ….A complete form that with various beautiful colors representing the cheeks with the blooming red, it paints a bead with a flowery gold, the encircling of the lips with a blooming red , the eyebrows in a shinning black, the whole eye in beautiful colors, the ears and nose in a different way, overshaddowing the flanks of the imprint with a compound of qualities, and showing the chin and hair.”.. For these are the beauties that have colored the true imprint of Christ, because the form which they dipped was also embellish from drops from his side” [17].

Summary: The Edessa Mandylion story begins with King Abgar V, 50 AD, told by Abgar VIII. The 3rd C script only refers to letter exchanged between the king and Jesus; no mention of a portrait. The 5th C ver. adds Hannan painting a portrait with paints. By the 6th C Hanna can’t capture Christ’s likeness; a Jesus face towel imprint results. But others state that the image was painted on wood. Edessa is damp, yet the cloth survives for 500 years bricked up unseen until 544. In the late 6th C it’s still a facial imprint but folded 4 times. In the 7th C. the Shroud can be found in the Holy Sepulcher. By the 9th C. copies are made after the real one was taken for taxes, but returned later. With a turn in play again in the 10th C, the portrait is reported to be painted on a square tablet. In 944 it travels to Constantinople. The story of Edessa is told but, another tale is added that the cloth was at Gethsemane. (The passion was after Gethsemane. It would have been very troublesome to bring a 14ft burial shroud to wipe a face). Christ is still alive in all tales. Then a Bishop washes the image; is there water damage on the Shroud? In the 11th C there’s a reference to a whole form but only a description of a face with beautiful colors produced by sweat but, painted with blood from his side.

Conclusion: The Edessa ledged relates to a Jesus still living, so any image would not be of a dead person; certainly not a burial shroud. A 4 folded cloth does not appear until the 6th C, but even face towels get folded. Machinations of the story until the 10th C state a portrait through the Edessa myth but also adds a scene of prayer and Gethsemane; which is all contradictory to the original King Abgar story [23]. The Shroud and the Mandylion are not the same object. By 944 the Abgar ledged was known throughout the Byzantine world in various forms [8].

The Pray Codex as well as the Shroud is an antimension (holy table cloth) or a representation of one which was commonly used in Orthodox Church ceremonies during the Lenten Easter season which custom began in the 3rd C [4, 19, 20, 21] If you look at the pic you’ll see similarity in cloth weave pattern. Could this be a depiction of the shroud as well?

Constantinople Robert de Clari did say he saw a grave cloth in the Bucoleon Palace but what did he actually see (13)? After Constantinople the Mandylion went to King Louis IX Sainte-Chapell Chapel where it remained until its loss during the French Revolution of 1796 [22].


Christ was buried in a burial shroud. But look at John 19:39 & 40, cloths and mention of spices. There was a large quantity used [24]. Have shown up in chemical analysis of the Sshroud? Nope. Also, the Bible does take notice of the burial cloths after resurrection, but who picked them up and took them away? By Jewish custom they would not have due to being an unclean thing.

Other Claimants to the Shroud

Church of St. Bartholomew degli Armeni, Genoa

Vatican Museum when in San Silvestoro, Rome

Pope Innocent III had in procession and also claimed to be in the Church of the Apostles Peter & Paul [2]

























Debate Round No. 3


My thanks to Peepette.


Con's historical rebuttal was incredibly weak. The majority of her arguments are not actual rebuttals, but merely attempt cast aspersions on the evidence.


Con notes that in the Acts of Thaddeus where "Jesus asked for a towel in which he wiped his face, leaving his image miraculously on the cloth". Now this sounds very good except that it was already rebutted in Round 1.

The Greek words used were "rakos (piece of cloth) which was a tetradiplon, a word translated as “doubled in four," [13]

Along with the image:

Rakos is a very common word, but tetradiplon is very rare. This word has never been used except in reference to the Shroud. [13]

So the fact that the author is describing only seeing a face on cloth folded in eight is actually confirming that this was the shroud. Con confirms this by noting the Acts of Mari describes only the face of a cloth folded in 4.

Historian Daniel Scavone opines that the story is “made up after the fact, when the real history was forgotten, to explain the presence of the Christ-picture in Edessa”. What the TA may also suggest is that there was a distant memory in 4th century Edessa of a Christ picture coming to their city in an early evangelization, and if a lengthy history (like The TA) were to be written, contemporary readers might expect it to be included. However, because of persecution, it had to be hidden away and perhaps even lost, with only confused memories surviving by the 4th century. [13]

Con adds in a couple of throw away arguments about somebody commissioning an artist to produce a copy and a bishop noting that the Holy Sepulcher also claimed to have the shroud. Neither of those are actual arguments against this being the shroud.

In the Biblical account their is a story about Veronica's veil on which Christ wipes his face. It is quite possible if the writer doesn't know that there is more to the shroud to confuse the two. The fact that there are different stories just shows that people are delving to different sources to explain something that requires explaining. This is what happens in history. However, what is never in question is that there is a cloth bearing the image of Christ crucified that defies explanation.

This is why they think that the image was formed by sweat and blood. It wasn't paint. They knew what a painting looked like and the shroud isn't a painting, but it does have blood and it does have an image that is separate from the blood.

As for the bishop with the wet sponge, well I do know that with Catholicism that Holy Water is blessed at Easter with the Easter Candle. By pouring additional water into blessed water, makes that water blessed as well. This is similar to what is being said in your quote. The bishop, invokes a blessing on the water by wiping the icon with a wetted sponge. That water can now be removed from the sponge and used to bless the people.

As for there being water marks on the shroud - this simple ceremony from the bishop wouldn't have left water marks, and yes there are large water stains on the shroud. There are two theories for these water stains. The first is that they resulted from extinguishing the burns being suffered in the 1532 fire. There is evidence that the watermarks were made by condensation in the bottom of a burial jar in which the folded shroud may have been kept at some point kept. [30]

These water stains are actually proof that the shroud is not the work of an artist.

Finally the quote from the Gregoious Referandious sermon seems to me to be evidence of the shroud. It talks about the image being of two colours. Red where there were blood stains and different colour where the image was formed.

The entire essence of the argument is that because those who did not know the full history or science of the shroud interjected their opinions, conjecture or hearsay into their descriptions does not in any way invalidate the historicity of the shroud in these tales. On the contrary, it actually shows that the means of creating the shroud were so far removed from them that there was nothing even like it in existence.

In the end I believe that Con's further evidence only strengthens my position of the historicity of the Shroud.

Pray Codex

The Eastern Orthodox Church developed a tradition where an image of the Crucified Christ on a cloth is placed on the Altar. Yet this similar tradition did not evolve in the Western Church even before the schism. I find this to be actually more evidence in favour of the shroud being located in the Eastern Empire prior to the sacking of Constantinople.

Unfortunately with the resolution of the photo Con posted, I am unable to make out any weave detail on it. Yet I can see Jesus with arms crossed, just like they are on the shroud. What makes the Pray Codex irrefutable proof is 2 things:

1) the L shaped poker holes on the shroud that pre-exist the 1532 fire can be seen on the Lier Shroud Painted in 1516.

A blow up from the poker holes on the Pray Manuscript:

2) On both the Shroud and the Pray Manuscript Jesus is shown as being naked. Showing Jesus as being naked is virtually unheard of. Even on the little picture you provided Jesus has a cloth over his groin.


Con claims that after the sack of Constantinople the Mandylion went to King Louis IX. However, from Con's own source:

"The story that de Clari tells of the origins of the “touaile” is completely unrelated to the Image of Edessa, so much so that it is impossible to identify the two. It therefore seems unlikely that the “sancta toella” obtained by Louis IX was the Mandylion." [31]


Con notes that the Gospel of John notes cloths and spices.

Along the top edge of the shroud, there is a visible strip with pieces missing at each end. This is a second strip of cloth made from the same cloth that has been stitched back on with a stitching method only otherwise observed on textiles excavated from the first-century Jewish Fortress of Masada. [32]

Thus the Shroud is actual two pieces of cloth.

Myrrh - The properties that make up the image on the shroud are [33]:
1. Frucose
2. Galactose
3. Arabinose
4. Rhanmose
5. Xylose
6. Glucose
7. Gluceronic Acid

These are all the properties of Myrrh Resin. [33]

Finally I would argue it was Peter and John who took the burial cloths. But I noted in the first round that they would have kept it hidden as such things violated normal law. A miraculous sign is enough to consider breaking ceremonial customs over.

New Arguments

It isn't only History and Art history that are in favour of authenticity of the Shroud. The scientific reviews of the Shroud are also overwhelmingly pro authenticity.

The 1978 study of the Shroud by STURP concluded the following [34]:

- No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image.

- The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics. Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry.

- there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately.

- We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin.

The long and short of which is that the blood stains on the shroud are real blood containing an elevated bilirubin count which is consistent with a haemolytic process caused by torture. [35] It also notes that there is no known process which will recreate the shroud image, and there is nobody since 1978 who has replicated the shroud image. [36]

A sample of calcium was found in the foot area of the Shroud. It was Limestone and when compared to limestone found only in Jerusalem there was "an unusually close match, the only disparity being a slight organic variation readily explicable as due to minute pieces of flax that could not be separated from the Shroud's calcium." [37]

The shroud image is so faint that it cannot be seen up close [38]. This is why people called it sweat or divinely wrought. The image that I have been using in this debate is digitally colour enhanced. The Shroud is actually a negative. It's true features appear when you look at a negative of it.

The 1532 fire showed that the image is not paint.
- "If either inorganic pigments or natural organic stains or dyes were responsible for the shroud images, some evidence of their chemical alteration should be observable in and around the fire marks.

- Most inorganic pigments and natural organic dyes are water soluble...the colour should have run or migrated in areas where water stains are present. It did not. [39]

The image on the shroud is 200-800nm. It is as thin as a soap bubble and thinner than most bacteria. [40]

The best theory as to how the image was formed is a short burst of intense light. When the atomic bomb went off in Hiroshima, permanent images were formed:

A report was published showing that the image on the shroud could be reproduce using ultraviolet light. However, it would require 34 Trillion watts of power using a single UV laser. The highest power laser built today is no more than several billion watts.


The historical evidence stands and the scientific evidence greatly favours authenticity.



A start off with a two videos

Edessa: Pro dismisses the text translated by academics on Syriac and Greek languages. Also disregards and the chronology and embellishment of the Edessa story. There is no mention of4 folds untilThe Acts of the Mari, the 4th rendition of the story. Later text tell a continuously embellished or contradictory tale. Like a rumor in grammar school when it comes full circle it’s completely unrecognizable from the original. Pro:“throw away arguments : Disregarding pertinent material rather that debating on why it should be discounted proves its validity.

Pro:“The Greek wordsSemantics, It’s a moot point based on various versions of translations. There are larger issues to fry than wasting character counts on this.

Pro:“Historian Daniel Scavone opines that the story is “made up after the fact,Yes! Made up and embellished. Your #13 citation states “Edessan Church Father Ephrem in the 4th century show no knowledge of the picture, leading some scholars to believe there never was such an object in ancient Edessa.

Pro:“Veronica's veil : the writer doesn't know that there is more to the shroud to confuse the two.”Made up stories and confused people; more picking, choosing and disregarding. Furthermore, there is no biblical mention on Veronica; I checked [1]; another cult relic [2].

Pray Codex having a herringbone pattern? To interpret concentric pyramids to be herring bone is a stretch. The 1st panel Christ is on the cloth, no pattern. 2nd panel, there’s a drape fluidity on the figures in contrast to the rigidity of the patterned item. This patterned surface is akin to a sarcophagus and lid as depicted in similar art of the period. Tomb lids are all depicted at an angle, and take note of the ornate patterns.


I concede that other textiles of the 1st C have been found that have a Z pattern weave.

Pro:“Thou shalt not wear a garment that is woven of woollen and linen together”

Some disingenuousness with a presentation by Pro; it’s fascinating how the original pic descriptor was edited from “Figure 4 woolen burial shroud, in situ, Quazone, Jordon ca. second century C.E.”

Notice the burial cloth is wrapped around the body. Any body imprint made would be highly distorted. Matthew 27: 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Not draped. Also make note of the strips of cloth used to bind the body.

Your own citation #20 states burial shrouds could be made of wool and flax together:”…” .. because the dead are no longer subject to the Torah

C14 Testing: Most poignant of all tests, despite the pro-shroudies decrees to the contrary. It was conducted by 3 separate labs and peer reviewed. I haven’t seen any peer review by actual scientist to discredit it. Textile experts were present to ensure the sample was not taken from a repaired area [3].

Mummy: If it were tested by 3 independent labs with differing results and peer reviewed, we’d have something to debate.

Walter McCone is an awarded scientist in Analytical Chemistry conducted the tape lift test as part of the early STRUP team. His findings were tempera paint of the era was found. No blood was found. Blood stains are from hemoglobin from animal bones (marrow) rendered to create a gel to bind paint; think good chicken stock, it gels when done properly. Joe Nickell PhD scientist concurred. McCone was dismissed from STRUP for not meeting the pro-authenticity criteria of the group [4,5].

Raymond Rogers has been highly criticized on his garage radiocarbon testof the shroud to the 1st C due to his numerous pro-authenticity shroud articles prior to his tests in UFO, creationism, and astrology sites and magazines[6,7]; just a little bias?

DNA Testing done recently revealed DNA from different ethnic groups, plant matter and pollen from the Mediterranean, Asia and the Middle East. The shroud toured and was handled by many people; therefore contaminated [8,9,10].

Limestone found on the shroud has the same chemical make up as stone found in Bolivia, Kentucky, and Spain to name a few. Yes, also in Jerusalem; a lie of omission on where else this stone is found [11,12,13].

Chemicals attributed to Myrrh: The chemicals you listed are commonly found in many woods and grasses; palm plants, oats, rye grass, legumes and corn [14,15].

Relics: Your own citation #16 statesCare should be taken, however, to ensure the authenticity of such relics." Pope Innocent III did prohibit the sale new relics. The Crusaders did not follow the edict after pillaging Constantinople in 1204. The booty was sold throughout Europe. “Under these conditions many fraudulent relics could easily find a market in the West, for there was great rivalry in securing such treasures.” [16].The Pope did disapprove of the sacking but acquiesced because he believed the orthodox of the East were heretics and bringing Constantinople under Latin influence was the greater prize. Also the Pope granted indulgences (all sins forgiven) to those who fought in the crusades [17,18].

Burial Shrouds & Jesus

The first relic being the Shroud does not track since there is no evidence of anyone picking it up (no Jew would, unclean) Your conjecture that Peter or John picked it up, a big ­guess. Pro:“hidden message within the Gospel” Made up stories, confused people, guesses and hidden messages, what will it be next?

The tomb scene is described John 20:5-7 “He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.”

Pro:“Stitched Back Cloth”: Really! a man rises from the dead, imaginary people pick up all the strips of cloth and sew them on the shroud; a new height of absurdity!

Pro:“one crucifixion, other than Jesus', which would have the wounds attested to in the bible and which appear on the shroud” The two thieves beside Christ and Titus Flavius Josephus: "the soldiers out of rage and hatred, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest."[19] Seneca the Younger: "I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways:… others stretch out their arms on the gibbet." , Herodotus:They nailed him to a plank and hung him up ... this Artayctes who suffered death by crucifixion…"They crucified him with hands and feet stretched out and nailed to cross-pieces; cf. vii.33 [20].

Robert de Clari The Narratio explicitly states the Edessa Mandylion was placed within the Chapel of Pharos, not in Saint Mary of Blachernae where he claims to have seen it; thus heresy. You also have embellished on his statement “so that the wounds of the Lord could be seen” which is not stated in de Calari’s original text [21,22,23 p.61-65]. You contradicted your statement made in R1 regarding De Clari. In R4 now agreeing he knew not of what he saw.

Bishop D'Arcis

Your citation #1; a “Shroud of Turin” site article with no citations of original source material, where unscholarly assumptions are made without fully examining documentation. Pope Clement VII wrote on Jan. 6, 1390 4 Bulls pertaining to the Geoffroi de Charney II request to show the cloth. The Pope stated Charney could show the shroud without ceremonial fanfare and "in loud and intelligible voice" that "the Linen with the imprints is not the true Shroud of Christ but a copy and representation made in imitation of the Shroud of the same Lord Jesus Christ".As well as uses the phrase “pictura seu tabula(painted picture) [24 p.11,13,21,28,30]

This was due to Bishop D'Arcis’ letter and strong objection. The Pope threatened D’Arcis with excommunication if he interfered, providing Charney observed the rule Pope’s conditions. As you stated yourself,"the fundamental thought behind the Bull of Jan. 6 was not so much concerned with the authenticity of the Shroud as it was with the mode of its exposition”.


Pseudo historians who jump to conclusions omitting evidence against the shroud and icon fans don’t understand the development of art make pro-shroud assersion. Christian imagery began in the West which followed Roman sensibilities depicting Christ as a beardless ruler, sheppard of people and used symbolism. When Constantinople was established, Western influences played in depicting a bearded figure which was typical of persons living in the area. But also it moved from a reigning king and sheppard to a suffering Jesus; which had to do with the evangelization of Christianity. It had absolutely nothing to do with the shroud because it didn’t exist except in reference in the Bible [27,28,29].

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Debate Round No. 4


Thanks Peepette.

I would like to note that linking a video is not an argument. However, the reproduction has never been submitted for peer review as it doesn't have the same chemistry or physical properties of the Shroud.

Final Rebuttals


I already addressed Con's arguments. The 4 folds being noted are proof that we are dealing with the Shroud. That more detail was added to previous tales was also explained. That the Edessans allegedly "made up" facts about the Shroud in the 6th Century that accurately describe the Shroud are proof of the appearance of a Cloth bearing the image of Jesus that defied explanation. At most the argument is evidence of a period of unknown location, and not of forgery, yet the accurate description in the Hymn of the Pearl is strong evidence for an earlier (though possibly not continuous) knowledge of the Shroud in Edessa. One possible alternate location being Antioch [42].

I said that con's 2 arguments were throw aways because even if they are 100% true (somebody painted a "copy" and another claimant to the Shroud) has no actual bearing on whether this is the authentic Shroud.

Con attempts to discredit the fact that only one object in all of history has been recorded using the word tetradiplon - the Shroud.

I concede that Veronica's Veil is not in the Bible - my apologies, I shouldn't only go by memory. It is of little importance. If only the face was visible because the shroud was folded tetradiplon then it would seem that it was only a face cloth. Once again, a lack of knowledge is not a lack of proof.

Pray Codex

Con's entire argument is limited to the fact that the artist chose to only show certain elements in one frame and not the other. Con compares these:

The lid on the upper image is rectangular, whereas the shroud on the image below is folded creating a diagonal cut. So either this artist was incapable of drawing a rectangle or he was not drawing a sarcophagus lid. As noted in the Round 2 red crosses artistically denote Christ's blood - shown on the inside surface of the shroud. The hole marks on the shroud are not a pattern like on the angel's wings or the second woman's neck, but located in a specific place on roughly the same location of both sides of the shroud.

Like on the shroud, only 4 fingers visible on Jesus' hands whereas everyone else has thumbs. Finally the top image pattern is consistent whereas the bottom pattern zags in and back out, just like a herringbone weave - not at all alike.


Con insinuates disingenuosity with my shroud image from 2nd Century Jordan. Jordan was not part of Israel, so it didn't matter if the body was wrapped in wool. It merely shows the burial customs of the region at this time.

Con goes on to note that the dead are no longer subject to the mixing of fibres. However, she quotes Matthew. Matthew is the Gospel for the Jews - it is believed that it was originally written in Aramaic. [43] Matthew's noting of a clean linen cloth "ought to be therefore interpreted in a distinctive Jewish way, that is as ritual purity or cleanliness" [20] "
The usual word to mention burial shrouds in the Talmud (and in modern Hebrew as well) is takrik / takrikim or takrikin: in the whole Bible there's asingle occurrence of this word, in the Book of Esther (8:15) and it refers to a fine linen cloak (...i.e. a particularly valuable linen)" [20]
The Shroud was an expensive cloth. Such an expensive cloth would have been woven in a sindonic manner so that it could be used for any purpose. Joseph of Aramathea spared no expense.

Con claims that wrap does not mean drape.

Wrap: To arrange or fold (something) about as cover or protection [52]

A shroud folded over the body meets the definition as well as one tightly bound.

C14 Testing

It is sad that Con has resorted to using the pejorative term shroudies.

Con attempts to discredit my peer reviewed paper: Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the Shroud of Turin by claiming the author wasn't an actual scientist.

Ray Rogers:

- B.Sc. - University of Arizona 1950
- Explosive research expert and thermal analyst 1951-1988 - Los Alamos National Laboratories (one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world [45])
- 1987-1992 Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (equivalent rank of Lt. General) - received a Distinguished Service Award
- Over 40 peer reviewed papers
- Considered leading expert in thermal analysis.[44]

If a man who is top in his field, working for one of the most prestigious laboratories in the world, cannot be considered a scientist - who can?

What about the man Con calls a scientist:

Joe Nickell - Ph.D. in English [46]. 'Nuff said.

3 labs did the C14 testing, however they all really tested the same sample. There is no proof that this one sample was representative of the whole of the shroud: "the Chi Square test, which determines comparability of two or more disparate samples, should be lower than 6. The Chi Square test value for the Shroud is 6.4, meaning that the subsamples cannot be... from the same representative sample" thus the carbon testing fails a statistical homogeneity test between the samples.

This is consistent with the contamination theory. The testing labs have refused to publish the raw data [22] preventing independent peer review of the C14 tests!

Con argues that the test sample was analyzed by textile experts. Under what conditions? Did they use microscopes? Chemical tests? Nope. The sampling conditions were not documented. Only a simple visual inspection in poor lighting. Riggi (the man who cut the sample from the Shroud) wrote, "the poor visibility of the details of the cloth could make uncertain the observation and critical any technical precision intervention on the cloth".

Dissimilar material cut off the sample was previously noted - there was repair material present. I showed in the previous round the intertwined threads of dissimilar material. Rogers also obtained threads from the radiocarbon sample on which he chemically confirmed the presence of gum and dyes. [24]

Con quotes Dr. McCrone as her expert, yet his work was not peer reviewed because he only published in his own magazine. [48] McCrone was "asked if he had treated them (purported paint samples) chemically, his answer was "I didn't have to." ...When one one of his colleagues exclaimed, "Do you mean you just looked through your microscope and, without doing specific test for iron oxide, can proclaim it a painting?" McCrone confidently replied, "Yes." [47]

There is primate blood (i.e. human) on the shroud. [49]


The sale of relics has nothing to do with the authenticity of the shroud if you cannot show a creation method.

1st Century

Con states there is no evidence of anyone picking up the shroud. That all 4 gospels specifically made note of the shroud, is strong evidence of something special.

Con has no answer to the fact that the shroud has been verified as being 2 strips of the same cloth that were stitched back together using a technique only seen in 1st Century Israel - other than indignation.

Con also failed to provide recorded evidence of one other man scourged, crown of thorns, crucified and speared with a Roman Hasta. This crucifixion was unique.

Robert de Clari

My apologies - I don't know what happened... You are correct that it should say so that the form (not wounds) of Our Lord could clearly be seen. This is actually superior wording for my case.

That the Shroud was placed in the Chapel of Pharos when it arrived in Constantinople does not mean it could not have moved to a different church prior to the 4th Crusade.


From Con's paper:

Such diversity does not exclude a Medieval origin in Europe but it would be also compatible with the historic path followed by the Turin Shroud during its presumed journey from the Near East. And some plants were not yet present into Europe during the Medieval period. [51]


It isn't just Travertine Argonite Limestone, but the levels of iron and strontium, that made it a perfect match (except for the organics in the sample).


Con did not refute that myhrr could be present after I showed it could.

D'Arcis Letter

This was fully refuted. No signed copy. Con ignores that the Papal letter she was quoting from was corrected. And completely ignores that ADDITIONAL indulgences were granted to those who VENERATED the Shroud in a letter only 6 months later. [18]


Con fails to actually address this argument. First that the image of Christ is naked is virtually unheard of.

Next con completely ignores the Vignon marks. This 6th century the face of Jesus is deformed on the right side of the picture with large abnormal eyes and a crooked mouth. Nobody would incorporate this into their painting. Jesus, being God would be perfect - unless there was a pre-existing picture which showed him otherwise. That something can only be the Shroud.


I have shown strong historical evidence in literature and art of the shroud right back to Jerusalem. I have shown that the the cloth has 1st century Jewish stitching, that the banding patterns mean it cannot be newer than 4th Century AD.

There is no known means of reproducing the image of the shroud short of a ultra high power laser. And the science is strongly in favour of the shroud. The C14 tests cannot be peer reviewed due to the labs withholding the data and the samples they tested fail applicable statistical homogeneity standards. At best, they are weak evidence to the contrary.

Contrarily, Con's counter case has generally been to cast aspersions and insinuations.

As such I conclude that the debate resolution: The Shroud of Turin Could be Authentic has been positively upheld.




"5th round summary of arguments and closing statements." I guess we got off track.


With Christianity spreading and pilgrimages, people returned with souvenir relics. It was also profitable. But the proliferation of relics was so astounding that it developed into a relic cult. The first record of a relic is recorded in Constantinople. Helena, mother of Constantine in 327 traveled to Jerusalem and brought back the True Cross, but this is not chronicled until 350. Three hundred years after Christ death, things that should have long rotted or rusted suddenly are found in a cave on Golgotha or under a temple of Venus depending on which story version is read [1]. Theologian Erasmus made comment that many buildings could have been constructed from all the wood claimed to be from the true cross [2].

There are 30-40 known nails from the cross [3,4]. The Edessa Mandylion is claimed to be in St. Bartholomew of the Aremenians, Genoa and another Matilda Chapel of the Vatican Palace Both are paintings on canvas mounted on wood. Lastly, in reference to the tax collector story, a copy in the church of the Nestorians. All of these are portraits of a living Christ. These are not the Shroud a.k.a folded mandylion you are referring too, or are they? All claim providence from Edessa [5].

Shroud reproduction “submitted for peer review”, no citation provided; moot.


First,there was no cloth per the original story of Edessa. The story itself a fabrication; all else that follows is an elaboration. So no Edessa Mandylion a.k.a. Shroud ever existed.

Pro has not accounted for the continuously embellished of story, just dismissed material out of hand. As mentioned in previous rounds with citations for reference, additional embellishments can be found: “Life of Jacob of Galash, by Jacob of Serugh” 521, where Daniel and a monk went to Edessa and saw the portrait of the Messiah. But how can that be, it was wall up in a niche until 544? There are six or more alternative versions [6, 7, 8].

Four folds are meaningless; I did a load of laundry yesterday and folded several towels.

Pro:That the Edessans allegedly "made up" facts about the Shroud in the 6th Century…”defied explanation.” Let’s be realistic and factual, with the evidence of a tall tale, a made up story to explain a “defied explanation” makes no logical sense. The embellishmemts are due to the evengeligalizing of Catholicism together with the political climate of the time. Hymn of the Pearl was extrapolated from the bible. Now you present Antioch as an alternative location where the shroud was held? Grasping at straws. We can add this to the list of places which claim to have the Edessa Mandylion.

Tetradiplon: this word was used to describe all the other mandylions as well.

Pray Codex: How could a sarcophagus lid also be the shroud since a shroud is on the lid. The pic had labels and arrows, was it missed? Also ignored, the fluidity of draped figures and the shroud in panel 1 vs. the sarcophagus lid (which you claim is the shroud) in panel 2. Another page of the same Codex also features circles as a decorative element. A matching L shaped circle patterns on this pic can be discerned as well. A few other points,, the naked body of Christ in the Codex shows no injuries as the shroud does. In the Codex, where is Christ’s mustache and beard? Surely if the artist were so detailed to show burn holes the details of Christ’s injuries and facial hair would not be over looked. (close ups) , ,


Matthew is the Gospel: Merely pointing out inconsistencies in Pros argument and citations, which will stand.

Draped vs. wrapped: Semantics yet again, (Pre-debate we discussed avoiding this) Look at the 2nd century Jordon pic, is it not typical of a shroud wrap burial?

C14 Testing

Ray Rogers may have scientific credentials but is not above bias. His “Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the Shroud of Turin”which discredits the original C14 test results between 1260 and 1390 to his results of the shroud being from the 1st C has been highly criticized.

“ least 20 or more members of STURP examined the Shroud in various ways for

120 hours. Neither they nor any of their Italian colleagues observed that the radiocarbon site wasn’t part of the original cloth,”.. “Moreover, between 5,000 – 7,000 photographs of the Shroud were taken at this time in various wavelengths and magnifications, but no such photographs or microphotographs indicated such a repair.Rebutting Rogers assertion that the 1988 samples for C14 dating were taken from the repair done in 1532. Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, ancient textile expert present:There is no doubt that the Shroud does not contain any reweaving”. Professor Giuseppe Ghiberti, the Vatican Scientific Advisor:the samples had been removed in a corner area with no scorched holes and no medieval darns. I am astonished that a scholar such as Rogers has written so many inaccuracies in his article.” [ 9 ]. The editor from “Thermochimica Acta in which Rogers paper was published resigned shortly thereafter due to break down of appropriate peer review. [10]

There is an inherent problem citing from all pro-Shroud sites, there is no balance of information.

STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project, an organization totally composed of believers in the authenticity of the Shroud) and accepted the authenticity of the Shroud from the very beginning of their work in the middle 1970s. He accepts (Rogers)all the shoddy work that STURP passed off as science two and three decades ago. As is well known, STURP's analyses on image formation, identity of the blood, …. hopelessly incompetent and unscientific, despite their claims and posturing to be rigorously scientific. There is no real blood of any kind on the Shroud. Both the image and "blood" were applied by an artist. These facts were conclusively proved beyond even a shadow of doubt by microscopic chemist Walter McCrone, whose microscopic analysis revealed the presence of abundant iron oxide (red ocher) and cinnabar (vermilion) pigments on the Shroud. [11]

1st C Who Picked up the Shroud

Luke 9:2-5 Takenothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. Me thinks these are Christ words when he sent out the 12 to preach. On top of the shroud being an unclean thing that no self respecting Jew would touch, Christ told them to have nothing, therefore, no shroud was pick up and saved [12].

Stitched Back The absurdity of Pros premise remains.

Crown of thorns: No need to provide proof, it’s a fabricated object. Sufficient evidence to fact has been presented.

Robert de Clari: What he saw was heresy, which you concurred.

Pollen: The articles presented also stated pollen found was from Central Asia, India and China; as well as the Eastern United States. Many pollen samples from plants “were widely distributed throughout Europe before the age of Christ” and yes, a few did not fit within that category [13,14]. How about the US pollen, what can we extrapolate from that?

Limestone: My position stands

Myhrr:Its composition is not exclusive to myhrr, which is the point.

D'Arcis Letter: Your own cit.#18 states the unsigned copy is a draft, when/if the final copy was sent became part of the Pope’s personal memorandums therefore, not an official church document. Also, states there were various versions of the Bull but, “Clement VII contained perfectly consistent and univocal dispositions.Also, In the documents “imprints is always called a figura seu representacio Sudarii Domini Nostri Jhesu Christi (a figure or representation of the Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ).” The June 6th disposition did grant indulgences to visitors but still used the same phrase of description stated above, hence never acknowledging the shroud to be authentic. [15]. Then your citation moves on to make conjectures; another citation from a Shroud site. I presented citations to actual quotations from the Bulls without extrapolation.

(Ref:R4, Con # 24)

Art,Naked Christ:

Vignon Marks: If the two pics were similar we’d have a point of contention, eyes closed, eyes open. Does the shroud show a blown out pupil? ,

Summary: The story of Edessa is a contrivance. The original story told had no mention of a portrait of Christ. Later versions were riddled with embellishments. It’s lasted walled up for 500 years in dampness, yet survived. It's an unconvincing assumption that a towel to wipe a face, also fabled to have swabbed Christ’s face at Gethsemane was a 20 lb, 14ft cloth. Yet these stories describe a living Christ, not a dead one, as the shroud depicts. The thought that no one noticed or bothered to unfold the mandylion it until 944, after some 900 years from its original creation is assuming everyone down the line was an idiot. Although, there are multiple locations that claim to have the Edessa Mandylion which Pro contends is the Shroud of Turin. Furthermore, the cult of relics was instrumental in creating multiple false artifacts in an effort to obtain pilgrimage dollars, hence the multiples of anything of biblical reference. The Edessa Mandylion and the Shroud of Turin are not one in the same, but both man made creations.

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Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Geogeer 6 months ago
I was the one that reported the vote first. I believe this is the first time I've ever reported a vote in one of my debates. I will not win a tourney debate on a vote like that. However I do thank TheChristian for taking the time to read through such an arduous debate and vote.

Since the debate has ended in a draw, I have elected to have Peepette advance in the tourney.

Many thanks for an entertaining debate Peepette. It was very enjoyable.
Posted by whiteflame 6 months ago
>Reported vote: TheChristian// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: For starters, due to BoP, pro generally would be failing in the beginning. However, due to both my own research and that of pro's, I am inclined to believe him here. This could possible be true, as was the argument. Both used even sources and pro had better grammar and what appears to me to be more thought out arguments

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The vote is incredibly vague. The voter fails to specifically analyze points made by either debater, instead stating generalities about BoP, the research that the voter and Pro apparently did, and more thought out arguments. (2) The voter appears to be including bias as a large part of the reason for his vote, stating that because his personal research matches Pro's argument that he believes him. The voter is required to assess the debate based chiefly on what was said by the debaters, and not based on personal research on the topic.
Posted by TUF 6 months ago
The Christian voted using 7 point standards also, in a select winner system.
Posted by famousdebater 6 months ago
The vote will be removed.
Posted by SNP1 6 months ago
TheChristian, your vote does not meet ANY appropriate standard (I know I used to vote like that, but I don't anymore).

"However, due to both my own research and that of pro's, I am inclined to believe him here. "
What you already know is besides to point, and you need to explain WHY the arguments by Pro are more convincing than the arguments by Con. You do not do this at all.

"Both used even sources"
How so? How did you evaluate the quality of the sources? How did you evaluate how well the sources were used?

"pro had better grammar"
Point out some grammatical mistakes by Con.

"and what appears to me to be more thought out arguments"
How are they more thought out?

I have no problem with Pro winning this debate, but this vote is just horrible. It does not show any indication of having read the debate, it doesn't show any indication of evaluating the debate, etc.
This is absurd if this actually counts as a valid vote in the tournament.
Posted by Peepette 6 months ago
Thank you Tuff, any input even without points is appreciated.
Posted by Geogeer 6 months ago
Thanks Tuff, I realize it is a long difficult debate to do.

@thechristian you cannot include what you know personally in your vote. Your vote is definitely too generic for this debate.
Posted by TUF 6 months ago
I deeply apologize to you guys. I have attempted to read this debate three times, and each time struggled to get through it. It is currently my weekend, and with only 4 hours left, I am not sure I can get to this in time. I will do my best to find an opportunity to get to this before then, but I can't make any promises my RFD won't come until the voting period has already ended. I will give you an RFD though, regardless, just know that if I can't get on in the next 4 hours, it will not have physical points attached to it. This is the best I can do. The other two most active VU members have said they are not interested in the topic, and are unwilling to vote on it for various reasons.

I will make every effort to find a free second in the next few hours to vote, but I am afraid of rushing an RFD as it will not make for the most accurate decision for who made the best arguments.
Posted by Peepette 6 months ago
SNP1: The time you took to review the debate is appreciated, thank you.
Posted by Geogeer 6 months ago
Thanks for taking the time SNP1. The sources that are available online are limited. I could quote print books, but those couldn't be assessed and I've seen judges take poorly to it.
No votes have been placed for this debate.