[Above: Electron micrograph of pollen grains of Gundelia tournefortii, which grows only in Israel, Jordan and Syria, yet is by far the most common pollen species found on the Shroud of Turin, Flora of the Shroud of Turin, Prof. Avinoam Danin]
Swank is welcome to his opinion, even though, as we saw in part #1, it is based on a failure to consider all the evidence, compounded by a lack of logic.
And as we shall see, the evidence overwhelmingly points to that "bearded face" on "that particular cloth," the Shroud of Turin, did "belong to Jesus of Nazareth"!
- Pollen on the Shroud from plants native only to the Middle East and Turkey (this part #5);
- Plants on the Shroud native to in and around Israel (part #6);
- Dirt on the feet of the man on the Shroud matches Jerusalem's tombs (part #7);
- Bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin are real blood (part #8);
- Bloodstains on the Shroud are type AB, contain DNA and are anatomically perfect (part #9);
- The Shroud's blood and pollen closely matches the Sudarium of Oviedo's (part #10 - hereafter on my The Shroud of Turin blog);
- Coin images minted by Pontius Pilate between 29 and 32 AD cover the eyes of the man on Shroud;
- A second face on the Shroud;
- Pre-14th century art based on the Shroud;
- Other pre-14th century historical evidence of the Shroud;
- The Edessa link between the Shroud and Jesus;
- Consistency between the Bible and the Shroud; and
- Failure of all alternative explanations of the Shroud.
Why I am spending so much time on this (apart from the fact that I find it fascinating!), is that if the Shroud of Turin really is the very burial sheet of Jesus (which on all the evidence, it is), then it is further proof that Christianity is true and Naturalism is false!
Here now is the evidence on 1. above, that pollen on the Shroud is from plants native only to the Middle East and Turkey.
The late "Dr. Max Frei, a noted Swiss criminologist" who was "a botanist by training," in 1973 took samples of "dust particles" from the Shroud and "under the microscope" he "identified ...
fragments from hairs and fibers of plants, spores from bacteria and nonflowering plants such as mosses and fungi, and pollen grains from flowering plants." And, "Frei realized that identification of the plants from which the pollen on the Shroud had been derived could lead to important deductions about the geographical regions in which the Shroud had been." In particular, since "the Shroud had never been outside the western Mediterranean region in which it is known to have been kept since the fourteenth century," any pollen found on the Shroud that is unique to "other regions" then "the identification of such regions" would provide "important pointers to the Shroud's early history" (my emphasis):
"A few weeks before the Shroud was shown on television in 1973, three experts had been invited by Monsignor Caramello to study the photographs of the Shroud taken by Judica-Cordiglia in 1969 and to give their opinion on whether the photographs were true pictures of the structure of the linen and the markings on it. One of these was Dr. Max Frei, a noted Swiss criminologist, chosen because he had published an article on the faking of photographs in 1955. ... Frei has established an international reputation for himself by the analysis of microscopic substances. From 1948 until his retirement in 1972, Frei was head of the Zurich Police Scientific Laboratory and worked on the analysis of many important crimes and accidents ... It was on October 4, 1973, during his work notarizing the photographs of the Shroud taken by Cordiglia in 1969, that Frei noticed that the surface of the cloth was covered with minute dust particles. He therefore asked for permission to remove some of the particles for analysis, and Cardinal Pellegrino gave his permission. On the night of November 23, with the Shroud still hanging vertically in the frame used for the television exposition, Frei took his samples from the bottom zone to the left and right, and from the side strip. His method was absurdly simple: He pressed small pieces of clean adhesive tape onto the surface of the linen, then sealed these into plastic envelopes and put them into the modest satchel that he carries constantly with him. ... Back in his laboratory in Zurich, Frei surveyed the dust he had collected under the microscope. His trained eye immediately identified mineral particles, fragments from hairs and fibers of plants, spores from bacteria and nonflowering plants such as mosses and fungi, and pollen grains from flowering plants-all consistent with the sort of microscopic debris the Shroud could be expected to have accumulated over the centuries. Being chiefly a botanist by training, Frei found the pollen to be of the greatest interest. As he was aware, pollen grains have an extremely resistant outer wall, the exine. Although so small as to be virtually invisible to the naked eye, these grains can and do retain their physical characteristics for literally hundreds of millions of years, being immune to almost any form of destruction. As Frei was also aware, when viewed under the electron microscope pollen grains vary so considerably in physical characteristics that, thanks to careful classification of the different types over the years, it is possible to identify with certainty the precise genus of plant from which any grain has been derived. Frei realized that identification of the plants from which the pollen on the Shroud had been derived could lead to important deductions about the geographical regions in which the Shroud had been. On the one hand, it might confirm that the Shroud had never been outside the western Mediterranean region in which it is known to have been kept since the fourteenth century. On the other, it might reveal that the Shroud had at some stage been in other regions, the identification of such regions obviously providing important pointers to the Shroud's early history." (Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, 1978, pp.61-62)
Eventually, "Frei had a breakthrough" in identifying three "desert varieties of Tamarix, Suaeda and Artemisia" which are "halophytes, plants common to the desert regions around the Jordan Valley and ... the Dead Sea" and "are of great diagnostic value" since such "desert plants are missing in all the other countries where the Shroud is believed to have been exposed to the open air":
"During 1974 and 1975 ... Frei carefully examined each pollen grain he had removed from the Shroud, and cross-matched it against his files of known varieties. It was an incredibly delicate task. Each grain has a different appearance according to the aspect from which it is viewed, there being an equator and poles just like the earth, and the manipulation of such minute samples requires great dexterity even with special instruments.... One of the complications of the method is that many plants are common to virtually all areas in which the Shroud might have been kept in the course of its history. Another complication is that plants that originally had one specific regional derivation are today found all over the globe. A typical example of this is the famous cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani). Frei actually found pollen from this on the Shroud, theoretically most valuable evidence for the Shroud's provenance in Palestine. But it cannot be regarded as specific. The same species of cedar has been planted in parks and gardens throughout the whole Mediterranean area during the last few centuries. Fortunately, Frei had a breakthrough. As he analyzed the grains one by one, he came upon some that he could identify with certainty and that he realized had to be significant. They were from typical halophytes, plants common to the desert regions around the Jordan Valley and unique in one respect: They are specifically adapted to live in a soil with a high content of sodium chloride, such as is found almost exclusively around the Dead Sea. Among these were desert varieties of Tamarix, Suaeda, and Artemisia. In Frei's own words: `These plants are of great diagnostic value for our geographical studies as identical desert plants are missing in all the other countries where the Shroud is believed to have been exposed to the open air. Consequently, a forgery, produced somewhere in France during the Middle Ages, in a country lacking these typical halophytes, could not contain such characteristic pollen grains from the desert regions of Palestine.' [Frei, M., Report to film producer David Rolfe, January 1977]" (Wilson, 1978, pp.62-63. Emphasis original)
It is highly significant that in the Flora of Israel online database, the genus Tamarix has five species: T. aphylla, T. chinensis, T. jordanis, T. nilotica and T. tetragyna; the genus Suaeda has six species: S. aegyptiaca, S. asphaltica, S. monoica, S. palaestina, S. splendens and S. vera; and the genus Artemisia also has five species: A. arborescens, A. jordanica, A. judaica, A. monosperma and A. sieberi!
In fact, as at 1981, of the "forty-nine different plants" that Frei identified the pollen of on the Shroud, "thirty-three" (i.e. 67%) "of these plants grow only in Palestine, the southern steppes of Turkey, or the area of Istanbul" and yet "The Shroud has never left Europe since its appearance in Lirey in 1357" (my emphasis):
"In 1973, Max Frei, a Swiss criminologist, was asked to authenticate the photographs taken of the Shroud in 1969. Frei, a botanist by training, noticed pollen spores on the cloth and received permission to sample them. Over the next few months, Frei laboriously separated the different spores, photographed them, and matched them to their plants by reference to botanical texts and catalogues. Frei identified spores from forty-nine different plants. Some of these plants grow in Europe, hardly a surprise since the Shroud has often been exposed to the open air in France and Italy, and would have picked up local air-borne pollen spores. But thirty-three of these plants grow only in Palestine, the southern steppes of Turkey, or the area of Istanbul. The Shroud has never left Europe since its appearance in Lirey in 1357. Frei's meticulous work strongly indicates that the Shroud was exposed to the open air in Palestine and Turkey at some point in its history-just as Wilson's Mandylion-Shroud theory suggests. Frei indicated that the overlay of the pollen grains convinced him that the Shroud has a first-century origin, although this cannot be absolutely proven by the pollen analysis." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, 1981, p.26).
Indeed, "before his death in early 1983, "Frei managed to identify pollens from no fewer than fifty-eight varieties of plant," and of these, a "substantial number of pollens derive from steppe plants most commonly found in eastern Turkey" and "seven plants characteristic of Near Eastern rocky hills" which means "that the Shroud has been in a region typical of, if not identical with, the terrain in which the historical Jesus moved," "in the very region it has to have been if it wrapped the body of Jesus" (my emphasis):
"In 1973, when the Shroud was brought out for a brief examination by a predominantly Italian group of scientists, Swiss criminologist Dr. Max Frei dabbed strips of sticky tape onto the cloth's surface in an endeavor to obtain samples of its dust, dust that he anticipated would include pollen grains. The special interest of pollen grains is that they have an exceptionally hard outer shell, the exine, which can last literally millions of years. What is very important is that this shell differs markedly in appearance according to the type of plant it has come from, enabling anyone analyzing pollen dust on, say, a murder suspect's clothing, to tell in what type of surroundings the garment has been worn. As recognized by Dr. Max Frei, this technique has a special value in respect of the Shroud. If the Shroud really was forged in France in the fourteenth century, then identification of exclusively French and Italian pollens would effectively confirm this. If, however, pollen grains from quite different regions were discovered, then these could be a powerful aid to understanding the cloth's earlier origins. Handling pollens for microscopic examination is a delicate and time-consuming business, but, from the samples he took in 1973 and a further batch in 1978, Frei managed to identify pollens from no fewer than fifty-eight varieties of plant, before his death in early 1983. The varieties of plant told their own striking story of the markedly differing geographical regions with which the Shroud had historically been associated, as is quite evident from the chart ... Careful study of the table reveals, as might be expected, a substantial number of plant species that grow widely in France, Italy, and the general Mediterranean area. If pollens of these species alone had been found, there would be no justification for believing the Shroud to have been kept anywhere other than the places it is known to have been since the 1350s. In the case of one pollen, Oryza sativa, or rice, it is even possible, with some confidence, to name the specific town, Vercelli, where the Shroud is historically known to have been exhibited in 1494 and 1560, is Europe's principal rice-growing center. But as is also evident from the list, a similarly substantial number of pollens derive from steppe plants most commonly found in eastern Turkey. Two, Atraphaxis spinosa and Prunus spartioides, are virtually specific to this, while a further group, but most notably Epimedium pubigerum, suggest some historical association with Istanbul, the former Constantinople. ... Desert plants, most notably halophytes, specially adapted to grow in the exceptionally salty soil around the Dead Sea, also feature prominently in the list, along with no fewer than seven plants characteristic of Near Eastern rocky hills and other high places. It is obvious that the Shroud has been in a region typical of, if not identical with, the terrain in which the historical Jesus moved. But by far the greatest significance of the table is the preponderance of plants typical of, and in some cases effectively exclusive to, the environs of Jerusalem. The European representation is outweighed, the only reasonable inference being that it was somewhere in the Jerusalem region that the Shroud received its most prolonged exposure to the open air, pollens of course having less opportunity to migrate to the cloth as it hung in European churches or lay locked in their reliquaries. As Frei argued, the Shroud therefore must have once been in the very region it has to have been if it wrapped the body of Jesus: the land we today call Israel." (Wilson, I., "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, 1986, pp.38,43)
That is, "at some time in its history, the Shroud was exposed to the open air in Palestine and Turkey-precisely where it should have been if it and the Mandylion cloth are, in fact, one and the same" and "It is certainly doubtful that a medieval forger could have known, let alone produced, a cloth with just the right pollen spread" (my emphasis):
"Pollen Perhaps the most significant work on the identification and origin of pollen on the Shroud was done by the late Dr. Max Frei, who founded the scientific department of the Zurich Police and whose doctoral thesis was on the flora of Sicily. Dr. Frei was present with STURP during the 1978 studies, primarily because he had previously identified key pollens that definitely placed the Shroud in both Palestine and Turkey at some time in the past. Though many pollens on the Shroud could be attributed to those areas, such as in the famous cedars of Lebanon, Frei only selected those pollens that are still unique to each specific area. In my [Stevenson's] opinion, the significance of the pollens cannot be overestimated. For example, certain desert halophytes that he found on the Shroud led Dr. Frei to say: `These plants are of great diagnostic value for our geographical studies as identical plants are missing in all other countries where the Shroud has been exposed to the open air. Consequently a forgery, produced somewhere in France during the Middle Ages, in a country lacking these typical halophytes, could not contain such characteristic pollen grains from the desert regions of Palestine.' [Frei, M., Report to film producer David Rolfe, January 1977] The pollen analysis confirmed in scientific detail the history that Ian Wilson had developed from scattered references and artistic comparisons. According to Wilson, at some time in its history, the Shroud was exposed to the open air in Palestine and Turkey-precisely where it should have been if it and the Mandylion cloth are, in fact, one and the same. It is certainly doubtful that a medieval forger could have known, let alone produced, a cloth with just the right pollen spread." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, 1990, p.63. Emphasis original).
After his death, Frei's "entire collection of Shroud sticky tapes, along with his unpublished manuscript, passed to the United States" with "Shroud researcher Paul Maloney, then acting as the collection's custodian" and "at a meeting at the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia," even Shroud arch-critic "Dr Walter McCrone ... acknowledged that quantities of pollen grains ... were undeniably present on these tapes":
"Unruffled, Frei kept up a friendly correspondence with me, making clear that his work with the tiny pollen grains demanded much time and patience, and that, when his researches were complete, he had every intention of publishing them in the form of a fully definitive scientific report. Sadly, however, he was never able to achieve this; in January 1983 he died of a sudden heart attack. Five and a half years later ... his entire collection of Shroud sticky tapes, along with his unpublished manuscript, passed to the United States ... On 23 July 1988 examples from this tape collection were formally viewed on video-linked microscopes at a meeting at the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia. At this meeting Dr Walter McCrone, who was specially invited to attend, acknowledged that quantities of pollen grains, whatever their age and geographical derivation, were undeniably present on these tapes. The Shroud researcher Paul Maloney, then acting as the collection's custodian, later reported on the preliminary statistical analysis that he had personally conducted: `Eighty-eight pollen grains were counted in approximately 2 square centimetres on a dorsal `sidestrip' tape ... A hundred and sixty-three grains Were counted on the same size area on a tape from the left arm, but an astounding circa 300 grains were counted on a tape taken from near the face in a comparative size area. [Maloney, P., "The Current Status of Pollen research and Prospects for the Future," at "Symposium Scientifique International sur le Linceul de Turin," Paris, 7-8 September 1989]" (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, 2000, p.82).
Later, "the care of Frei's sticky tape collection fell to Shroud researcher Dr Alan Whanger" who has introduced one of Israel's leading botanists, Prof. Avinoam Danin, to the Shroud and he has confirmed the presence on the Shroud of pollen from "Gundelia tournefortii" and "Zygophyllum dumosum," the former's "distribution is distinctively Middle Eastern" and the latter being "an endemic [unique to] plant of Jordan, Israel and Simai" which is "near proof positive that the Shroud must have been in the land of Israel at some time in its history" and "was evidence hugely supportive of the cloth's authenticity" (my emphasis):
"As a further complication, and partly as a result of Paul Maloney's indisposition, the care of Frei's sticky tape collection fell to Shroud researcher Dr Alan Whanger. ... Judith and I were also introduced to the computer-linked microscope in which Alan Whanger has invested in order to study these tapes. For demonstration purposes one of Frei's Shroud tapes was placed under the microscope, and the Whangers and Philip Dayvault encouraged me to explore its non-lead areas for the pollen grains it bore. For me the immediate surprise was to find just what a complete universe of such debris can exist on one insignificant-looking piece of sticky tape. It was possible to travel across the tape for what seemed miles, viewing it both through the microscope and on the linked computer-screen. ...Then at last there appeared a circular-shaped pollen grain, quite unmistakable, and large as pollen grains go. As was immediately revealed by cross-comparison with images of pollen grains stored in the Whanger computer, this was Gundelia tournefortii, a plant that Max Frei had already identified on the Shroud, and which Danin had reported as present on the Shroud in abundance pollenwise, and also in image form. Since Gundelia's pollen is normally insect-borne, Dr Uri Baruch, an Israel Antiquities Authority palynologist, had seriously doubted Danin's claims, having had personal experience of collecting all too few grains of this type during field trips to various sites in the Judaean Mountains and Judaean Desert. Because of this scepticism Baruch, like ourselves, had visited Whanger's basement some eighteen months earlier. From this he satisfied himself that Gundelia pollen grains are numerous on the Frei tapes, and therefore that whole flowers from Jerusalem's environs must have been directly laid on the Shroud's surface. In which regard, the highly significant feature of Gundelia tournefortii, as both Danin and Baruch emphasise, [Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis MO, 1999] is that, exactly as in the case of Zygophyllum dumosum, it does not grow in Europe. Its distribution is distinctively Middle Eastern, extending from western Turkey through Israel, Syria and northern Iraq and Iran, with just some spillage into the southernmost fringes of the former Soviet Union. Whatever might be the truth concerning the plant images, therefore, in this basement room in North Carolina I was looking at near proof positive that the Shroud must have been in the land of Israel at some time in its history. It was evidence hugely supportive of the cloth's authenticity, and thereby rendered as so much waste paper all the unworthy allegations against Dr Max Frei." (Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, pp.82,88).
What's more, "Gundelia ... comprised nearly one-third of the pollens found and `logged' on the Frei sticky tapes" and "an extraordinary 44 per cent of all those so far classified," which means that "Holy Land or Middle Eastern pollens ... represent in fact a quite disproportionately huge amount" of those on the Shroud. And finally, being not "wind-pollinated" someone would have to have "deliberately laid flowering Gundelia tournefortii plants on" the Shroud and since it only flowers "between March and May," this had to be "the very period of the year within which Jesus' Passover-linked crucifixion occurred" (my emphasis)!:
"Yet, in the case of Gundelia, even this finding was far from all. For, as Whanger's and Danin's quantitative study of the pollen representation has revealed, among the by no means exhaustive 313 pollen grains that they had analysed as part of their programme, no fewer than ninety-one were identifiable as Gundelia; the plant comprised nearly one-third of the pollens found and `logged' on the Frei sticky tapes, and an extraordinary 44 per cent of all those so far classified. One immediate corollary of this is that very far from Holy Land or Middle Eastern pollens being an insignificant proportion of all those present on the Shroud, they represent in fact a quite disproportionately huge amount. It is as if the six hundred years that the Shroud has definitely been in Europe have counted for very little in terms of pollen representation. In the same context another important fact concerning Gundelia tournefortii is that it is insect-rather than wind-pollinated. In the case of many plants this has meant that they are not represented on the Shroud. For instance, the mainly insect-pollinated olive, though widespread both in the Near East and in western Europe, has furnished not a single specimen in the Frei collection. This is because it would have required an insect to have been on an olive tree just before landing on the Shroud during one of its open-air expositions; a very rare chance indeed. So for Gundelia pollen to be so strongly represented has to mean either that a whole swarm of insects flew from Gundelia plants to land on the Shroud - highly unlikely - or that at some time some person or persons unknown deliberately laid flowering Gundelia tournefortii plants on it. ... But it is quite definite that whoever did this has to have done so somewhere within the Middle Eastern geographical area where the plant is known to grow, an area specifically including Jerusalem. They also have to have done so at a time of the year when Gundelia is known to bloom, and therefore produce pollen, a time that botanists quite independent of Danin [Kupicha, F.K., "Gundelia," in Davis, P.H., "Flora of Turkey," Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, Vol 5, 1984, pp.325-326] can narrow to between March and May. So is it mere coincidence that this was the very period of the year within which Jesus' Passover-linked crucifixion occurred?" (Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, pp.88-90)
So, if the 14th century forgery theory that, in the words of the `unbiased', `objective,' late Professor Edward Hall (the Oxford nuclear physicist who radiocarbon-dated the Shroud to 1260-1390 AD), that "Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it," was correct, then the forger would have to have "been wise enough to order a cloth from Palestine" and "then specified that the cloth must be exposed to open air in the areas of both Turkey and Istanbul," not to mention Israel, "to ensure the proper pollen spread " even though "the existence of pollen," (i.e. in the sense of "microgametophytes (pollen grains)" which "come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and surface markings characteristic of the species"), "would not be discovered for at least another six hundred years" (my emphasis):
"With all these things in mind, how do we link the cloth of Edessa with the Shroud of Turin? One of the most incontrovertible pieces of supportive evidence for Wilson's theory is the pollen analysis of Max Frei ... It is especially convincing in that it strongly suggests both longevity and authenticity. After all, it is possible, though not very likely, that a forger could have been wise enough to order a cloth from Palestine, even that he might have ordered an `old' cloth from Palestine. But to suppose he could have ordered a cloth woven in the Middle East and then specified that the cloth must be exposed to open air in the areas of both Turkey and Istanbul to ensure the proper pollen spread boggles the imagination. Anyway, the existence of pollen would not be discovered for at least another six hundred years. Moreover, the historical path of the Shroud would not be reconstructed for nearly eight hundred years. Religious relics were forged frequently with no such sensitivity to detail. Many churches claimed ownership of the same relic, and in the case of the Shroud itself, notoriously poor copies were held in esteem in various places. To imagine that with this relic and only this relic there was sudden inspiration of heretofore unrecognized and unheralded genius is truly clutching at straws." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1990, pp.77-78. Emphasis original).
Therefore, in the light of this pollen evidence alone (and remember it is only one out of many lines of evidence), it is not "people" who "continue to fight for the authenticity of the shroud" who are, in Prof. Hall's, words, "like the Flat Earth Society," but rather those like Prof. Hall, who "continue to fight" against "the authenticity of the shroud"!
Continued in part #6 with "Plants on the Shroud native to in and around Israel."
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
Exodus 40:33-38. 33Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work. 34Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out-until the day it lifted. 38So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.