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The Digital Syndonological Lexicon: A new initiative with the Polish Syndonological Center

Krzysztof Pilarczyk

Jagiellonian University, Krakow


Digital syndonological lexicon – Polish research and publishing project



Project research area


Interest in the Shroud of Turin, a canvas with an image of a man's body, seen from the front and back, with traces of torture similar to those inflicted on Jesus and described in the New Testament gospels, has also found a place in world science since the 20th century. They intensified especially after the words of Pope John Paul II uttered in 1998 in the Cathedral of Turin, where the Shroud is kept. Facing the dilemma of whether we are dealing with the burial shroud of Jesus or with a medieval forgery, so brilliant that the science of the 21st century can neither falsify nor confirm this thesis, the Pope decided that the resolution of this issue is not "in the special competence of Church". On the other hand, it can be undertaken by scientists, since "it is not a matter of faith", but it should become an object of study undertaken "without prejudices that would lead to false results; (…) to act with inner freedom and caring respect, both from the point of view of scientific methodology and the sensitivity of believers.” The papal challenge includes syndonological research conducted for over a hundred years, focusing mainly on the Shroud of Turin, but also on the sudarion from Oviedo, the veil from Manoppello, the tunic from Argenteuil and the tilma from Guadalupe. They have also been synthetically included in the lexicon.



Organization of syndonological research


Currently, in many places around the world there are research centers that deal with syndonological issues. Undoubtedly, the leading role in this respect is played by the International Syndonology Center in Turin. The American, Spanish and Italian centers were also joined in 2017 by the Polish one - the Polish Syndonological Center based in Krakow, which is a branch of the Turin center. It was there that the idea of ​​developing a Syndonological Lexicon was born, which would summarize over a hundred years of research achievements on the Shroud of Turin and other artefacts related to it. To a large extent, this decision of the Polish team was influenced by the latest experience gathered in 2017-2020 (four semesters), when an inter-university syndonology seminar was conducted, organized in cooperation with the Krakow universities of the Jagiellonian University, the AGH University of Science and Technology, the Pontifical University of John Paul II and the University of Gdańsk, which was attended by all members of the editorial board of the future lexicon. They were joined by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

A year after the end of the series of seminars (2021), work was launched on the Digital Syndonological Lexicon in the form of an e-book in Polish and English, created online at the Krakow publishing house Księgarnia Akademicka. Entries were entered into it, which became publicly available at the Internet address of the Księgarnia Akademicka

They can be supplemented and updated on a regular basis.


Here there is the complete information about the initiative (link).


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