Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fr. Maurus Green's "Enshrouded in Silence" is now webbed

Having read in an online back-issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud's newsletter, in the obituary by Ian Wilson of

[Above (click to enlarge): "The Vignon markings-how Byzantine artists created a living likeness from the Shroud image. (1) Transverse streak across forehead, (2) three-sided "square" between brows, (3) V shape at bridge of nose, (4) second V within marking 2, (5) raised right eyebrow, (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, (12) forked beard, (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair." (Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, 1978, p.82ff.)]

Fr. Maurus Green (1919-2001) that, "In just 24 pages he effectively set down the guidelines for all future research on the Shroud's history" (my emphasis):

"In the autumn of 1969, by which time he had moved to St. Mary's Priory, Warrington, Maurus published in the Ampleforth Journal his most seminal article on the Shroud `Enshrouded in Silence'. In just 24 pages he effectively set down the guidelines for all future research on the Shroud's history, this being the most scholarly UK based approach to the subject since the sceptical Jesuit Fr. Herbert Thurston's articles written more than forty years earlier." (Wilson, I., "Obituary - Fr. Maurus Green, OSB," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 56, December 2002)

I decided that that journal article was a must read!

However, it was in a lesser-known periodical called the Ampleforth Journal (published by Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire, England), which was not online. So I emailed the Abbey asking how I could obtain the article and a Fr. Anselm Cramer OSB, kindly scanned it and put it online. Here is the link within a full citation of the article:

Green, M., "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, Autumn 1969, pp.319-345.

Fr. Cramer gave me permission to post the above link to the article on this my The Shroud of Turin blog, although he cautions that it is a work-in-progress, requiring correction of a number of typos (which I am helping him find). [Fr. Cramer has since advised that he has "been right through the article and fixed a whole series of glitches. .... it is now in fairly good condition"].

Here are some quotes from the paper (or rather my own proof-read and corrected copy of it). I have deleted references (e.g. pictures) that are not yet in the webbed article.

The first quote is of the late Yves Delage (1854-1920), an agnostic Professor of Zoology and Anatomy at the Sorbonne, who in 1902, in a letter to the French Academy of Sciences, gave his "refutation of the forgery charge" that: 1) in the "fourteenth century ... there must ... have existed an artist-who has remained unknown-capable of executing a work hardly within the power of the greatest Renaissance painters"; 2) "While this is already very difficult to admit for an image painted as a positive, it becomes quite incredible in the case of a negative image"; 3) "Why should this forger have taken the trouble to realise a beauty not visible in his work" until the invention of photography "five centuries later"; and 4) "the forger has deliberately flouted the susceptibilities of his contemporaries. `The hands are pierced through the wrist and not through the palm ... against tradition" and "the nakedness of the image" would "shock their feelings or scandalise them" (my emphasis):

"In the light of subsequent discoveries, it is interesting to look again at Delage's refutation of the forgery charge . `As the shroud is authenticated since the fourteenth century, if the image is a faked painting, there must at this epoch, have existed an artist-who has remained unknown-capable of executing a work hardly within the power of the greatest Renaissance painters. While this is already very difficult to admit for an image painted as a positive, it becomes quite incredible in the case of a negative image, which lacks all aesthetic character in this form and assumes its value only when the lights and shades are reversed, while strictly respecting their contours and values. Such an operation would be almost impossible except by photography, an art unknown in the fourteenth century. The forger, while painting a negative, would have to know how to distribute light and shade so that after reversal they would give the figure which he attributed to Christ, and that with perfect precision; ... I add this argument whose force will be felt on reflection: Why should this forger have taken the trouble to realise a beauty not visible in his work and discernible only after reversal which was only later made possible?'- five centuries later! `He would be working for his contemporaries and not for the twentieth century and the Academy of Sciences.' Delage points out that in various ways the forger has deliberately flouted the susceptibilities of his contemporaries. `The hands are pierced through the wrist and not through the palm, in conformity with the anatomical requirements and against tradition.' Of the nakedness of the image, he writes, `the shroud destined to enflame the zeal of the faithful should not at the same time shock their feelings or scandalise them. This is so true that the loincloth has been added to certain copies'. [Delage, Y., "Communication to Academie des Sciences, Revue Scientifique, 31 May 1902]" (Green, M., "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, Autumn 1969, pp.319-345).

And here are some quotes where Fr. Green summarised the evidence, that French biologist/artist and colleague of Delage's, "Paul Vignon and his followers have noticed" namely "certain peculiarities of the Syro-Byzantine Christs which, when taken in conjunction with their generally accepted characteristics" such as a "long-haired Christ with the forked beard and staring eyes" as well as "forehead marks" which were "disfigurements" which "seem to pin-point their [common] origin" (my emphasis):

"Paul Vignon has made a detailed study of the Image, comparing every feature with the details of the mask of the Turin Shroud. Since the chief characteristic of the Mandylions is their lack of neck and shoulders, it is probable that they derived this peculiarity from the Image of Edessa. Otherwise, they belong to the same family as the typical Christs of the normal Byzantine icons. Their faces are of the same type, as can be seen from a comparison between them ... and the Early Portraits ... As we have seen, this type of Christ appeared in the sixth century with the Edessan Image as the most famous, and perhaps the earliest, of the miraculous Mandylions. Art historians associate this long-haired Christ with the forked beard and staring eyes with Syria rather than with Greece or Rome. None have been able to explain its origin nor its immediate acceptance as the true type as against the Greco-Roman Christ. Only Paul Vignon and his followers have noticed certain peculiarities of the Syro-Byzantine Christs which, when taken in conjunction with their generally accepted characteristics, seem to pin-point their origin. ... The forehead marks of these Christs, for instance, are real disfigurements, as if their artists had deliberately accentuated one Byzantine method of emphasising eyebrows till their portraits seem to be branded for identification purposes. Were they driven by some remote model that they could not escape?" (Green, Ibid.).

These "forehead marks" which were actually "disfigurements" are "also found on portraits of Apostles, Saints and Emperors", for example the Christian Roman "Emperors Constantine and Justinian":

"The forehead marks are also found on portraits of Apostles, Saints and Emperors, but are rarely given to lesser mortals. The best example is the mosaic in Sancta Sophia, Istanbul, which shows the Emperors Constantine and Justinian presenting their gifts, Constantinople and Sancta Sophia, to the Virgin and Child. Across their foreheads are strong horizontal lines surmounting three sides of a square, more emphatic even than the branding of the Christ of St Pontianus... whilst Jesus has a rounded mark beneath the line in keeping with his child's face. The iconographic evidence so far accumulated gives the impression that these marks are reserved for Christ and his close friends, just as Byzantine artists frequently give Apostles and Emperors the same cast of feature as the Christs depicted with them. This facial resemblance suggests a concern to express physically the spiritual likeness to Christ ..." (Green, Ibid.).

[Above: 8th century Pantocrator "Bust of Christ in the catacomb of Pontianus," National Gallery of Art, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis]

As "Vignon has highlighted" all these "strange anomalies or disfigurements," include not only "the wounds and bruises of the Man of the Shroud" but also "faults in the linen" are "to be found on the Turin Shroud" and with which "their artists felt compelled to adorn" the "hundreds of icons and Mandylions that strongly indicate the presence of the Shroud in the East from the sixth century" (my emphasis):

"If the archives of Edessa and Constantinople had not been so thoroughly destroyed or lost, we might be able to tie down this `icon-shroud' hypothesis with more documentary evidence. In default of this, Vignon has highlighted evidence of another kind-the hundreds of icons and Mandylions that strongly indicate the presence of the Shroud in the East from the sixth century. This is the earliest we can expect to hear of it in view of a long sequence of events and universal attitudes hostile to its disclosure and compelling its guardians to keep it a close secret: the Jewish horror of `impure' burial linens combined with the Jewish and Roman persecutions; the Christian shrinking from crucifixion and its detailed portrayal in art, an attitude that lasted many centuries; and the continuous quarrels about sacred images, both affecting and affected by the Christological controversies, from the earliest times to the final defeat of Iconoclasm. The late B. G. Sandhurst [pseudonym of Green's father] called these images of Christ `the Silent Witnesses' which steadfastly direct our attention to the Shroud. How do they do this? They point silently with the strange anomalies or disfigurements with which their artists felt compelled to adorn them. All these anomalies are to be found on the Turin Shroud ... where they were produced either by the wounds and bruises of the Man of the Shroud or by faults in the linen accentuated by the stains of the imprint." (Green, Ibid).

As Green pointed out, that "the Turin Shroud is the prototype of the Byzantine Christ and indeed the more remote origin of his traditional likeness in every school of art down to the present day" (my emphasis):

"None of the artists reproduce all the anomalies, but all feel bound to show some. This may have been due to the Byzantine canons of art, their books of instruction laying down strict rules of convention to be observed by religious artists. The Byzantine strait-jacket, though it did not rob artists of their individual inspiration, led to centuries of copying accepted models, of which Edessa was the most notable. In the first instance probably a very few artists actually saw the death mask of the Shroud but they seem to have reproduced its anomalies and mistakes so faithfully that subsequent artists felt bound to copy them. A careful study of the characteristics and anomalies common to the Mandylions ... Byzantine Christs ... and the Shroud ... will reveal what Vignon, Wuenschel and Sandhurst mean when they say that the Turin Shroud is the prototype of the Byzantine Christ and indeed the more remote origin of his traditional likeness in every school of art down to the present day." (Green, Ibid)

can be confirmed by "show[ing] a positive photograph of the Face of the Shroud to someone who has never seen it nor heard of the Shroud, and ask him whose image it is. He will get only one answer" - Jesus (my emphasis):

"A most striking confirmation of this theory can be experienced by the reader. Let him show a positive photograph of the Face of the Shroud to someone who has never seen it nor heard of the Shroud, and ask him whose image it is. He will get only one answer. The only explanation I can see for this recurrent phenomenon is that the ancient artists who copied the negative of the Shroud and gave us our traditional Christ, did their job so well that when the camera revealed the secret of its mysterious mask the resemblance was obvious. They did, up to a point, transpose negative details, e.g. the nose, so dark in the Shroud image, becomes of natural tone in the pictures. Other points, however, were not recognised, e.g. the dark-coloured closed eyelids are copied as wide open eyes; the drawing of the mouth is badly affected by the lack of understanding just where the lights and darks are inverted in the Shroud image." (Green, Ibid).

Green concluded that "we have already sufficient evidence to indicate beyond reasonable doubt that ... the Turin Shroud was in existence at least from the sixth century on, and by implication" (since there certainly was no Leonardo da Vinci or photography in the sixth century AD!) "dates therefrom back to the time of Christ" (my emphasis):

"Even without such identification I believe that we have already sufficient evidence to indicate beyond reasonable doubt that, whatever its whereabouts, the Turin Shroud was in existence at least from the sixth century on, and by implication dates therefrom back to the time of Christ. I submit that this would appear eminently acceptable to the ordinary canons of the history of art, were it not for the fact that the Shroud of Turin is so unusual a document. As was the case with Delage's medico-legal evidence, so it is, or has been, with the Shroud's historical and artistic claims. What he wrote of the reaction of his scientific colleagues in 1902, applies with equal force to the attitude prevailing in some circles today. `If they [the hypotheses that he had put before the Academy of Sciences] have not received from certain people the welcome they deserved, the sole reason is that there has been unfairly grafted on to this scientific question a religious issue which has excited men's minds and misled right reason. If not Christ but Sargon or Achilles or one of the Pharaohs had been involved, no one would have any objection. I consider Christ as an historical person, and I see no reason why people should be scandalised if there exists a material trace of his existence.' Perhaps Delage would allow us to add: Nor should we be surprised if strangely compelling artistic witnesses and certain documents urge us to look again at the baffling claims of that material trace." [Delage, Y., "Communication to Academie des Sciences, Revue Scientifique, 31 May 1902]" (Green, Ibid).

Note that some of these Vignon markings are not part of the body image at all but are just wrinkles and blemishes in the cloth (e.g. "(13) transverse line across throat" above). But artists from the sixth century onwards were dutifully copying these non-image, accidental blemishes found on the Shroud in their portraits of Christ.

And then note, as the late British paleontologist Professor Colin Patterson pointed out in a different context, that "in the law courts (where proof `beyond reasonable doubt' is required), cases of plagiarism or breach of copyright will be settled in the plaintiff's favour if it can be shown that ... whatever ... is supposed to have been copied contains errors present in the original (my emphasis):

"An interesting argument is that in the law courts (where proof `beyond reasonable doubt' is required), cases of plagiarism or breach of copyright will be settled in the plaintiff's favour if it can be shown that the text (or whatever) is supposed to have been copied contains errors present in the original. Similarly, in tracing the texts of ancient authors, the best evidence that two versions are copies one from another or from the same original is when both contain the same errors. A charming example is an intrusive colon within a phrase in two fourteenth-century texts of Euripides: one colon turned out to be a scrap of straw embedded in the paper, proving that the other text was a later copy." (Patterson, C., "Evolution," [1978], Cornell University Press: Ithaca NY, Second edition, 1999, p.117).

So there simply is no other reasonable explanation for why these "errors," i.e. those that are just wrinkles and blemishes in the linen of the Shroud of Turin, appear also in Christian art dating from at least the sixth century AD, other than that the Shroud of Turin was the original way back then from which they all, directly or indirectly, copied. That is because these accidental wrinkles and blemishes found on the linen of the Shroud of Turin are the exact equivalent of the "colon ... in two ... texts of Euripides: one colon turned out to be a scrap of straw embedded in the paper" (= blemishes in the Shroud's linen) "proving that the other text" (= portraits of Christ from the sixth century onwards) "was a later copy"!

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biol).
My other blog: CreationEvolutionDesign


"Before probing deeper into what might have had such a profound artistic influence in the sixth century, it is important to consider whether there is any way in which one could be more positive that the Shroud likeness had been at work. Fortunately, there is, in the form of some most unusual, and so far largely unrecognized research on the part of Frenchman Paul Vignon, the biologist colleague of Professor Yves Delage. In the 1930s Vignon turned his interest away from the scientific aspects of the Shroud, and began to study some of the post-sixth-century Byzantine portraits looked at earlier in this chapter, together with many similar pre-fourteenth-century portraits of Christ. He had noticed that in many of these portraits there were certain oddities, certain peculiarities to the Christ face. One painting to which he paid particular attention was the eighth-century Christ Pantocrator from the catacomb of St. Pontianus, Rome. On the forehead between the eyebrows of this work a starkly geometrical U shape had caught his eye. Artistically it did not seem to make sense. If it was intended to be a furrowed brow, it was depicted most unnaturally in comparison to the rest of the face. It, therefore, intrigued him greatly that when he turned to the equivalent point on the Shroud face, there was the same feature, equally as geometric, and equally as unnatural because it appeared to have nothing to do with the image itself. The significance of the Pontianus discovery was heightened when other Byzantine Christ portraits were found to exhibit the same marking. The eleventh-century Daphni Pantocrator, the tenth-century Sant'Angelo in Formis fresco, the tenth-century Hagia Sophia narthex mosaic, and an eleventh-century portable mosaic from Berlin are typical of many Byzantine works featuring the same peculiar shaped brow, generally more stylized, but still suggestive of the same derivation. Coincidence? Or could the Byzantine artist have been working from some blueprint likeness of Christ, faithfully reproducing this feature derived from the Shroud? Vignon, and after him the American scholar Edward Wuenschel, [Wuenschel, E.A., "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild," Esopus NY, 1954] began to search for other such peculiarities, and found some twenty in all, oddities originating from some accidental imperfection in the Shroud image or weave, and repeated time and again in paintings, frescoes, and mosaics of the Byzantine period, even though artistically they made no sense. By no means every work featured every peculiarity. Nor were the markings confined exclusively to front-facing portraits but were sometimes found three-quarter face. Occasionally some, such as the forehead markings, were given to saints, perhaps as a special mark of holiness. And some were seen reversed right to left, perhaps because of understanding of the reversing effect of an `impression.'" (Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, 1978, pp.83-84)

No comments: