Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter

It's been cold and rainy here and I've spent most of the day in bed under the covers reading The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell. The novel deals with the Shroud of Turin, spinning a theory held by some that the reason there's no mention of the shroud before the middle ages is not that it's a medieval forgery but that it was taken to Edessa by one of the disciples and then made its way to Constantinople, later to be stolen by Catholic crusaders during the sack of that city in the fourth crusade and only then brought to Europe. But, the one thing these kinds of theories can't explain away is the date carbon testing has given the relic. As Mark Goodacre mentioned in a recent interview about the shroud ...

Vance Lipsey: Is there a better way to check the shroud than carbon dating? I've been told carbon dating is very inaccurate.

Goodacre: Actually, carbon dating is an excellent way to ascertain the date of an artifact. Many are disappointed, not surprisingly, that the shroud dated to between AD 1260 and 1390. I recall my own disappointment (but not surprise) on hearing the results back in 1988. But the scientists doing the carbon dating were not amateurs, and the samples were tested in three separate labs. Moreover, the carbon date cohered with other evidence that the shroud was a medieval forgery, like the fact that there is no evidence of its existence until the 14th century.

Cynthia Restivo: So I know the carbon dating was off, but wasn't it later shown that the piece of cloth used for the testing was a section that had been repaired after some fire damage or something? Which would explain why it dated different?

Goodacre: No, that's not been established. Those who defend the authenticity of the shroud often say the sample might have been taken from a part of the shroud that was repaired after it was damaged by fire in the 16th century. But this is special pleading. The scientists who took the sample knew what they were doing. Professor Christopher Ramsey noted that the unusual weave on the sample matched the weave on the rest of the shroud perfectly.

Strangely, both the people in the novel and people in real life seem not to care about the scientific evidence showing the shroud to be a fake. I don't understand that. But it's Easter and I'd rather think about what happened after Jesus left his burial shroud behind ....


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Hello Crystal --

I love that scene. There's a mystery about it... I can't figure out where the light is coming from; it's as though it comes into the tomb, and then has a movement of its own.

It's been a long time since I've connected with you! It's also been a while since I've either blogged or read other blogs -- I've missed it, often. Tonight I just popped into Blogger to see what it looked like these days -- and found a connection to your blog. Very nice!

Happy Easter, Crystal.


11:25 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

It's good to hear from you. I was just thinking about you the other day, remembering your cats that you had to let live outside because you had a new baby in the house and they could open doors (I think?). Now I have nine cats, semi-stray, and they're all outside ;)
I hope all is well with you and your family. Happy Easter!

11:54 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

Happy Easter, Crystal!
Greetings from the Holy Land.

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Sounds warm and cozy... hope you had a great Easter Crystal

7:51 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina,

Thanks, and Happy Passover to you :)

10:33 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Richard,

It was ok ... there was Easter chocolate too :)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Still have the cats! And there's another baby around now, so they're still living outside... which is what they prefer when the baby's around, because she heads straight for them when they're inside.

Life is pretty full these days, but I'll retire from the parish at the end of June. Will still continue as a deacon, and as a chaplain for Children's Hospital.

Will let you know if I start blogging again!


11:01 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

It sounds like a lot has been going on with you. Things are pretty much the same here, except for the arrival of so many stray cats ... I'm trying so hard not to love them ;)

Yes, please let me know if you start blogging again. Miss reading your posts.

12:56 AM  

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