MythVision – Andrea Nicolotti

Derek on MythVision interviews Andrea Nicolotti to argue the Shroud of Turin is a medieval fake.

So the first question I have for you is the simple obvious one that everyone wants to know, is this really the shroud that Jesus from the first century?

Yeah the response to that question is quite simple no it is not really. It is not the real burial shroud of Jesus Christ. And that is in fact the opinion not only of myself but most people who study it.

Nicolotti overstates the case that most people who study the shroud believe it is a fake. Joe Marino has compiled all the notable figures who have studied the shroud and their position on the shroud: … _Centuries

The list of skeptics is actually in the minority.

But that does not mean that it’s still not an important and interesting object to study.

Yes, it is an important and interesting object to study.

Question number two – how do we know this is not the shroud that Jesus from the first century?

There are three ways that we can answer that question. The first is from the historical record there is no testimony of the shroud that dates from before the middle ages. And in fact those that do exist from the middle ages say that the shroud is a fake it is not a real relic.

I covered the possible historical trail of the shroud at:

I covered the d’Arcis memo at:

So the second response that question involved the textile itself. The type or style of weave of the shroud is typical of the middle ages and does not exist back in antiquity at the time of Jesus Christ.

If a herringbone linen shroud was typical of the middle ages, then why couldn’t the 1988 C-14 scientists find one for a control sample? On what evidence does Nicolotti base his claim on?

We have several herringbone cloths dating back to and before the time of Christ:

Then finally there’s the scientific reason and that is that in 1988 the shroud was carbon dated and the results of the carbon dated verified what we already knew which is that the shroud derives from the medieval period.

I extensively covered the 1988 C-14 dating at:

A lot of the so-called scientists that make those objections about the carbon dating are really pseudos are really motivated by pseudoscience.

Ad hom argument.

No real scientific expert who has experience in the process of carbon dating has actually accepted the denials that are raised against the carbon dating of the shroud and in fact most the people that do make those objections come from Christian audiences who are motivated by different things than scientific reasons.

Of course no C-14 scientist is going to be critical of C-14 testing.

As for the generalization that objections come from Christian audiences, that is factually incorrect. As for their motivations, that is also an ad hom argument.

And in fact there was a scientist I believe in Leone France who used to believe in the shroud but then once he found the carbon dating results he then he realized that that was scientific proof that the Shroud of Turin cannot in fact be real.

More than that, several people on the STURP team believed in the 1988 C-14 dating when it was announced. But after it was discovered why the C-14 dating was flawed, they then rejected the C-14 results on scientific grounds.

So there are actually a lot of different shrouds that are attributed to being the real shroud of Jesus Christ.

Yes, many replicas of the TS has existed in history. Even many exist right now. But nobody is claiming any of those replicas are legit.

But the shroud of Turin is the one that has emerged to this very day. Ever since it came into the hands of the Savoy family the dynastic family who owned the relic in the 1400s and onward when did the practice of inventing shrouds begin.

This is an interesting point. Why would this be the case that the shroud was not being faked prior to the 1400s? Why would the TS be the first one? How would a medieval artist be so creative to come up with this idea first? And also be so ingenious to stupefy scientists after 600 years after he created it?

Because we know the church would I’m being funny a little but they’d have the toe bone of Peter and then the staff of Paul and like everywhere around the church they had relics.

Yes, the RCC has many relics. I also believe over 99.99% of them are fake.

So among the first relics of Jesus Christ that go back to the very beginnings of christianity there actually was no shroud there was of course relics regarded as pieces of the true cross as well as the crown of thorns but there was no shroud. In the earliest relics was in the fifth and sixth century so we started to see testimonies to cloth relics that were believed to be associated with Jesus Christ. Some of those were associated with with his death and others with other times but it was the fifth and sixth centuries when we start to see the first um eyewitness testimonies to the shroud.

Yes, we have testimonies of a shroud in the 5th and 6th centuries.

We don’t have any more traces of what those first shrouds were in the medieval period.

It is interesting the only surviving one is the Turin Shroud.

First ones probably arrived in the west during the crusades when there was a big traffic of relics coming from Constantinople in the holy lands. And among those relics that were transferred into the west would have been real relics but also some that were false or were fake.

Interesting that Nicolotti differentiated between real relics and fake relics.

So a really interesting case involves the shroud of cardone.

I’ve never heard of this and can’t find any info on this.

The question I have next who is this person on this cloth? And is it just a painting? Is it drawing? Or is it a real person who’s laying in the cloth that they created it from?

So I have to be a little bit cautious here because the Shroud of Turin is not open to study by people who are qualified to study.

He has to be cautious because he has no answer to these questions. If a medieval artist created it, shouldn’t this be easy to answer?

By what criteria is someone “qualified” to study the shroud? Is he implying the 1978 STURP team was not qualified?

The church actually keeps keeps it safeguarded and so you can’t actually study it directly.

True, you can’t study it directly, but you can study it indirectly.

We can look at the the those who have studied the shroud in 1978 largely american scientists and scholars who were granted access to study the shroud directly so what those scientists concluded in 1978 was not that the image on the shroud was painted on but that the image you see on the surface of the cloth is a a darkening or a yellowing of the cloth itself.

Yes, this is correct.

Therefore what I have to say about it is a conjectural only.

So it is possible that there was in fact a pigment on the surface of the cloth that would have painted the image on but that pigment is lost.

Yes, this is highly conjectural. In other words, there is no evidence left on the shroud that it was painted, yet he asserts it was painted.

Another possibility is that the the coloring of the cloth as a result of a chemical reaction of some sort or maybe even some sort of radiation or heat some sort of natural process of coloring the surface of the cloth. We need to actually do more studies in particular to look at the depth of the coloring on the cloth because they say that the coloring is actually very superficial.

Yes, more studies needs to be done because we don’t exactly know how the image was formed.

There have been attempts to try to replicate how the image would have adhered to the cloth involving a swabbing. There have been attempts to try and replicate what and how the image would have adhered to the cloth using as a model a living body and a bas-relief for the head both covered with the cloth and then rubbing the fabric with a kind of brush filled with some kind of pigment.

Yeah, Nickell tried to replicate the body image using bas-relief. I covered it at:

Yeah it would be an orthographic or sort of a perspective projection of the of a face on the surface of the cloth. If someone can do an experiment by actually you know putting some paint on their own face then pressing a cloth against it and what you would see is something very deformed not at all like what we see on this on the shot of Turin.

Correct, using a bas-relief would result in deformation of the face that we do not see on the TS. It would have to be some projection technique that was used on the shroud.

That the image in the shroud comes from some sort of miracle but that’s not something that can be verified by scientific means.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “miracle”, but it would be beyond today’s scientific knowledge.

It could also be that some sort of radiation like some sort of photographic process would have been responsible for forming the image on the surface of the cloth we can’t actually come to a firm conclusion about this because we don’t actually have direct access to the to the shroud in order to study it.

He goes back to the excuse of not having direct access to the shroud so we can’t say anything about it.

What we do know is like he said before, it was some sort of projection technique that was involved. There are only a few ways for this to happen and each can be assessed for their viability.

Some believers in the shroud argue that since it is not possible to replicate today a copy identical to the original. This means that it must be the result of a supernatural event, but this is really an absurd claim.

This is a common charge from skeptics. There are only two possible ways to explain something – either a naturalistic causation or a supernaturalistic causation. If there’s a viable naturalistic causation, by all means we should accept it. If not, then a supernatural causation cannot be ruled out.

It’s an impossible task to try to exactly replicate something from antiquity just like we can’t exactly replicate a stradivarius violin or an object from from ancient Egypt.

Nobody is claiming it has to be “exactly” replicated. But nobody has even attempted to replicate both the body image and blood stains. Why is this?

If you’re looking at a microscopic level you can’t actually fully exactly replicate something from the past we can only come to sort of general conclusions about what kind of process could have been used. But to try to require modern scholars to exactly replicate the means is impossible.

What he’s getting at is there’s no way to replicate the full body image that is the result of the discoloration of the surface of linen fibers in a half-tone pattern on the cloth.

It obviously is something commonly practiced that they were making relics and saw value in them just like today people stand in front of a statue of Mary.

Really? If it’s so obvious how a forger made it, why is there no viable explanation for it?

So my book I started writing my book from the point of view of the history of the shroud of Turin and not from a theological or artistic point of view.

One of the things I did is I translate a lot of the earliest texts that talk about the shroud and its appearance and all the conflicts that surrounded the shroud of Turin throughout its history. My book also deals with the selling the how the shroud was sold to the Savoy family the same family that became the first kings of Italy and how therefore the shroud was for them not only an object of devotion but was also a political object for them and their rule. I also wrote about how the court historians of the Savoy court the Savoy family the court historians made up um an ancient history for the shroud that didn’t actually actually exist in order to justify their claims about its importance.

Now I’m interested in reading his book and to see how he argues for this.

In recent decades there’s been a huge growth of interest in the shroud of Turin. When you when I was a kid it was it was talked about much less and even when I first started living in Turin just talked about much less.

Yes, there has been a resurrection of the shroud recently.

It’s not required to be a Catholic to also then believe in the authenticity of the shroud.

Yes, there are many non-Catholics that believe in its authenticity.

The church in this present moment today does not affirm definitively the authenticity of the shroud of Turin.

Right, the RCC has no official position on the TS.

Promoting the cult of the shroud of Turin.

I’m not sure if it’s a translation issue, but he keeps on referring to a “cult” with those involved with the TS. No, there’s no cult with the shroud. Fanatics? Yes. A cult? No.

Damage to the faithful who might wonder why you know there is such a heavy insistence on the um the authenticity of the shroud when there hasn’t really been studies enough studies to prove that that is in fact the case.

Myself, I’m not out to “prove” the TS is legit. But I do claim it is a more reasonable position than it being a fake.

There are plenty of people inside the church that don’t really hold the shroud of Turin to be authentic but do not say so publicly.

Yes, there are Christians who believe it is a fake. And there also Christians who say so publicly.

They’re really there’s been decades since there’s been any kind of serious scholarly study on the history of the shroud in fact it’s been about a century.

It is interesting there’s been a lack of any study on the shroud outside of scientific study.

Serious scholars kind of avoided studying things like the shroud of Turin that were the subject of such the you know this kind of cult religious cult attention.

Pejorative usage of cult again.

But also understanding what the actual facts are.

I agree we should understand what the actual facts are. This involves more than just listening and reading things from your own side, but studying deeply from all positions.