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Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino) is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of Shroud of Turina man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. There is no consensus yet on exactly how the image was created, and it is believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth.  Radiocarbon dating placing its origins in the Medieval period but still this Radiocarbon date is still has need a lot of proof to authenticate itself.

           The image is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color. The negative image was first observed in 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited in the Turin Cathedral. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy.

The origins of the shroud and its image are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians and researchers. Scientific and popular publications have presented diverse arguments for both authenticity and possible methods of forgery. A variety of scientific theories regarding the shroud have since been proposed, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. More recently, Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI have both described the Shroud of Turin as “an icon”.
In 1978, a detailed examination carried out by a team of American scientists, called the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), found no reliable evidence of how the image was produced. In 1988 a radiocarbon dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud. The laboratories at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology concurred that the samples they tested dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. The validity and the interpretation of the 1988 tests are still contested by some statisticians, chemists and historians. According to professor Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in 2011, "There are various hypotheses as to why the dates might not be correct, but none of them stack up." Till date the Shroud of Turin Radiocarbon date is not authentic.

According to former Nature editor Philip Ball, "it's fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling". The shroud continues to remain one of the most studied and controversial objects in human history.

Description:
       The shroud is rectangular, measuring approximately 4.4 × 1.1 m (14.3 × 3.7 ft). The cloth is woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill composed of flax fibrils. Its most distinctive characteristic is the faint, brownish image of a front and back view of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin. The two views are aligned along the midplane of the body and point in opposite directions. The front and back views of the head nearly meet at the middle of the cloth.

  • Reddish brown stains that have been said to include whole blood are found on the cloth, showing various wounds that, according to proponents, correlate with the yellowish image, the pathophysiology of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus. However forensic tests conducted on the shroud in the late 70s describe the apparent bloodstains as tempera paint tinted red with hematite, and deny the presence of blood but still it’s been clear that they were not painting’s  but blood on various research by the STURP team.

    Markings on the cloth have been interpreted as follows:

 

  •  Front image of the Shroud. The image of the face on the right is a negative.
  • one wrist bears a large, round wound, apparently from piercing (the second wrist is hidden by the folding of the hands)
  •  upward gouge in the side penetrating into the thoracic cavity. Proponents say this was a post-mortem event and there are separate components of red blood cells and serum draining from the lesion
  •  small punctures around the forehead and scalp
  •  scores of linear wounds on the torso and legs. Proponents aver that the wounds are consistent with the distinctive dumbbell wounds of a Roman flagrum.
  •  swelling of the face from severe beatings
  •  streams of blood down both arms. Proponents state that the blood drippings from the main flow occurred in response to gravity at an angle that would occur during crucifixion.
  •  large puncture wounds in the feet as if pierced by a single spike

The details of the image on the shroud are not easily distinguishable by the naked eye, and were first observed after the advent of photography. In May 1898 amateur Italian photographer Secondo Pia was allowed to photograph the shroud and he took the first photograph of the shroud on the evening of May 28, 1898. Pia was startled by the visible image of the negative plate in his darkroom. Negatives of the image give the appearance of a positive image, which implies that the shroud image is itself effectively a negative of some kind. Pia was at first accused of doctoring his photographs, but was vindicated in 1931 when a professional photographer, Giuseppe Enrie, also photographed the shroud and his findings supported Pia's. In 1978 Miller and Pellicori took ultraviolet photographs of the shroud.

The image of the "Man of the Shroud" has a beard, moustache, and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle. He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 1.70 m, or roughly 5 ft 7 in, to 1.88 m, or 6 ft 2 in). The shroud was damaged in a fire in 1532 in the chapel in Chambery, France. There are some burn holes and scorched areas down both sides of the linen, caused by contact with molten silver during the fire that burned through it in places while it was folded. Fourteen large triangular patches and eight smaller ones were sewn onto the cloth by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage.

The Historical Trail:

            Was the Shroud image the original image upon which all Byzantine icons were based? The icon pictured here is the Sinai Icon from the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula. It was created around 550 AD and has numerous "points of congruence" to the Shroud image. It curiously was crafted only 25 years after the Image of Edessa was discovered in 525AD. The field of Iconography suggests that the Shroud Image was the "Image not made by hands" from which all icons drew their inspiration. Was that inspiration what we know today as The Shroud of Turin?

 

Fast forward to France in the Middle Ages for now because that is where the fully documented and continuous history of the Shroud begins. But there is more to the story on the Shroud's probable history. We'll get to that later.

 

In 1353: The Shroud's fully documented history began in Western Europe when it was revealed by Geoffrey DeCharney in Lirey, France.

 

In 1452: DeCharney's granddaughter sold the cloth to the Duke of Savoy in exchange for two castles. It remained in the Savoy family until 1982 when it was officially willed to the Catholic church although it had custodial care of the Shroud for centuries.

 

In 1532: The burial linen was severely damaged by fire in Chambery, France. Thought to be arson the very security measures in place to protect it from theft thwarted the Shroud's rescue until it was too late to prevent severe damage. Theories about the fire somehow altering the carbon date of the cloth have proven to be erroneous. More on that later.

 

In 1534: The Shroud was repaired by the Poor Claire Nuns who were skilled in making textile repairs. The holes from the fire were patched and the entire cloth was attached to a backing cloth for support. This repair now looms large as the carbon dating tests of 1988 are called into question as having dated a medieval reweave rather than the original cloth of the Shroud. This now is the most credible explanation as to what the labs dated and why they were wrong.

 

In 1578: The cloth was moved to Turin, Italy for safe keeping and remains there until this day. It is kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and is only brought out for public display on rare occasions. The next public exhibition will be held in 2020.

 

The history of the Shroud prior to 1353 is not fully documented, but a significant historical trail allows for the following reconstruction of the cloth's early history.

 

In 70AD: Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Empire. The "Legend of King Abgar" suggests the Shroud was taken to Edessa (now Urfa, Turkey) sometime prior to this date. The King was miraculously healed of leprosy after gazing upon a mysterious image and converted to Christianity. The first church outside the Holy Land was reported to have been built in Edessa in the early second century. Later that century persecutions would sweep the Roman Empire. The mysterious cloth would be hidden away inside the fortified wall surrounding the city and forgotten for 300 years.

 

In 525: A severe flood destroyed most of Edessa. During the rebuilding of the walls, a metal box containing the mysterious cloth was rediscovered. By this time the Emporer Constantine had declared Christianity to be the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire (330AD). It was safe to reveal the image without fear of the persecutions. It became known throughout the Byzantine world as "The Image of Edessa" and later was called the "Mandylion". It was described as "The true likeness of Christ, not made by human hands."

 

In 944: The Byzantine Imperial Army invaded Edessa for the express reason of retrieving the cloth from the city which had fallen to Islam. In exchange for gold and 200 prisoners of war, the cloth was delivered to the army without a fight. It was taken to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and presented to the Emperor. August 16th of 944, with great ceremony, the cloth was draped over the Emperor's throne and crowned with his crown. The sermon that night was delivered by Gregory the Arch Deacon of the Hagia Sophia, the great cathedral. In that sermon he points to both the face and side wound of the image declaring it to be that of Christ.

 

In 1204: Constantinople was invaded by the Fourth Crusade. After laying siege to the city for two years, they finally breached the walls and ended up burning down nearly half the city. In the carnage nearly everything of value was stolen. All the silver and gold were taken by the Venetians who had funded the campaign but the French desired the "relics of the saints" and, according to a letter to the pope written in 1205, "Most holy of all, the cloth in which our Lord was wrapped after his death and before the resurrection". The Mandylion as it was then known had disappeared and most likely in the hands of the French.

 

In 1204 to 1353: One of several gaps in the history of the Shroud, evidence suggests it was secretly kept by the Knights Templars for safe keeping. The Templars offered protection for items of great value. They had castles all over France and Europe and specialized in offering safe passage to pilgrims making their way to he Holy Land. They would a small army of "warrior monks" to accompany the pilgrims on their trek by land or sea. Such protection came at a price and the Templars became wealthy with land, castles and gold. They had the means to keep the safe the booty stolen from Constantinople.

 

In 1307: It was in this year that the King of France conspired with the Pope to bring down the Templars. They had become too rich and too powerful. The King had borrowed heavily from them to finance his war with England. It was decided that the Pope would issue a decree to have all Templars arrested and their property confiscated. It was Friday the 13th, 1307 when over 15,000 Templars were arrested in France on the same day and thrown into prisons. As part of the French Inquisition, the Catholic Church's crusade against heresy, they were all made to confess under torture to various heresies. One of those heresies was that they "worshiped" a mysterious image.

 

Two leaders of the Templars, Geoffrey DeCharney and Jacques DeMolay were burned at the stake for their "heresy".

 

In 1353: The Shroud is revealed in public for the first time at a small collegiate church in Lirey, France. Who owns it? None other than Geoffrey DeCharney. A coincidence? Not likely. Although how the Shroud came into his hands is not completely known, he was obviously a descendant to the Geoffrey DeCharney who was burned at the stake less than 50 years prior.

 

It is from this point that the history of the Shroud is without dispute. Did the Templars have it? We can only speculate. Was it the same cloth as the Mandylion that disappeared in 1204? It sure sounds like it from descriptions. Was it the same cloth that was revealed in 525 and heralded as the "True Likeness of Christ"? Was it the same image that was delivered to King Abgar in the First Century which brought about his healing of leprosy?

 

We cannot answer these questions with certainty but only with probability. The pollen trail confirms this same historical trail. The evidence from Iconography also confirms it. Other evidence indicates its origin in Israel, its manufacture in the Middle East, and its correlation with other Jewish burial shrouds and burial practices.

Material chemical analysis:

                   In 1898: The Shroud was photographed for the first time by Secondo Pia. These first pictures led to the discovery that the image on the cloth is actually a negative. In other words, the image becomes positive only when the light values are reversed in a photographic negative. This discovery startled the scientific community and stimulated worldwide interest.

 

In 1931: Guisseppe Enrie photographed the Shroud again with more advanced film technology confirming that the Shroud is indeed a negative image. Copies of Enrie's photos were circulated throughout the world prompting more scientific inquiry and interest.

 

In 1950: Dr. Pierre Barbet, a prominent French Surgeon, published his landmark book, A Doctor at Calvary documenting 15 years of medical research on the Shroud image. He described the physiology and pathology of the man on the Shroud as "anatomically perfect".

 

In 1973: Max Frei, a noted Swiss criminologist, was given permission to take dust samples from the Shroud which contained pollen. He discovered 22 pollen species from plants that are unique to areas around Constantinople and Edessa, and 7 pollen species from plants common mostly to the Middle East. The pollen trail confirmed the historical trail.

 

In 1975: Air Force scientists John Jackson and Eric Jumper, using a sophisticated image enhancement analyzer (VP-8) designed for the space program, discovered the Shroud image contained encoded 3-D data not found in ordinary reflected light photographs. This discovery indicated that the cloth must have wrapped a real human figure at the time the image was formed.

 

In 1978: The Shroud was on public exhibit for the first time since 1933 and was displayed for six weeks. Over 3 million people passed through the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to view it behind bullet proof glass. At the close of the exhibition, 40 scientists comprising the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), mostly from the United States, analyzed the Shroud for five continuous days (122 hours) working in shifts around the clock.

 

In 1980: In June, National Geographic magazine published a landmark article on the Shroud further propelling the cloth into a science superstar calling it "One of the most perplexing enigmas of modern times".

 

In 1980: This same year, microscopist Walter McCrone who was not part of the Shroud Project was given several fibers to analyze. After finding iron oxide particles and a single particle of vermillion paint, he broke ranks with the Shroud scientists who had agreed to make all findings public the following year. McCrone proposed that the Shroud was a painting of red ochre paint created from iron oxide particles suspended in a thin binder solution. However McCrone's findings in no way agreed with any of the highly sophisticated tests conducted by two dozen other scientists. McCrone jumped the gun for the sake of getting his own publicity. His claims have all been dismissed.

 

In 1981: After three years analyzing the data The Shroud of Turn Research Project (STURP) made their findings public at an international conference in New London, CT. All the scientists agreed upon the following statement: "We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and give a positive test for serum albumin."

 

In 1988: The Shroud was carbon dated by three laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona. They indcated a date range from between 1260 to 1390 making the cloth only about 700 years old. This earth shattering news seemed to contradict the conclusions of STURP which gave support to the Shroud's possible authenticity. This new data posed a great dilemma for proponents of the Shroud and further complicates an explanation for the Shroud's existence.

 

The Shroud cannot be explained in a medieval context because it demonstrates medical knowledge and artistic expertise unknown until centuries later. If it was not made by an artist then what is it? Was it a custom crucifixion performed to mimic that of Jesus? Knowledge of Roman crucifixion practices was totally unknown in the Middle Ages. There are dozens of reasons why a medieval date doesn't fit the evidence.

 

In 1997: Noted Israeli Botanist and a professor at Hebrew University, Avinoam Danin confirmed Dr. Alan Whanger's discovery of flower images on the Shroud. He also verified that several pollen were from plants that grow only around Jerusalem.

 

In 2000: Shroud researchers Joseph Marino and Sue Benford present a landmark paper at an international conference in Ovieto, Italy. Their paper would present initial evidence that the area of the Shroud cut for carbon dating in 1988 was actually a medieval reweave. See Latest News for more details.

 

In 2002: The Shroud was secretly restored amidst much controversy. All the burns and patches were removed. The shroud was attached to a new backing cloth as well. Most researchers feel the restoration was unnecessary and that much important data will be lost to future researchers. See Latest News for more details.

 

In 2004: Redeeming what may have been lost during the restoration, textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg revealed that the seam on the Shroud that runs the entire length known as the side strip is typical of burial Shrouds found in Masada. This further supports the Shroud's ancient origin. See Latest News for more details.

 

In 2004: Another result of the restoration was the discovery of the Shroud's double face image. Italian scientists, Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolio of Padova University were able to analyze scans of the backside of the Shroud after it was removed from the backing cloth. This had never been done before. The previous backing cloth had been attached since 1534 as part of the restoration following the fire of 1532. Examining the scans revealed faint superficial images of the face and hands. The image occurs only on the top surface of the fibers, similar to the front side of the Shroud but there is no coloring of the threads in between. This enhances the mystery of image formation and makes it that much more difficult to ascribe the Shroud to the work of an artist. See Latest News for more details.

 

In 2004: Thermal Chemist, Dr. Raymond Rogers, retired Fellow with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory proves using samples from the area cut for carbon 14 dating and samples from the main body of the Shroud that the sample cut in 1988 for C-14 dating was in fact a medieval reweave confirming Marino and Benford's hypothesis presented in 2000. Rogers also determined the evidence of a madder root dye used to blend in the color of newer threads with the more yellowed threads of the original Shroud. He also found cotton in the C-14 sample but not from the main body of the Shroud indicating both cotton and flax were used in the repair. Lastly and most importantly, he found that 37% of the vanillin remained intact in the lignon from the C-14 fibers whereas the vanillin content from the main body of the Shroud had decayed to 0%, similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Not only does this new evidence show that the carbon dating tests were severely flawed by dating an erroneous sample, but that the evidence also shows the main body of the Shroud is much older as indicated by the lack of vanillin. This critical research is precisely the kind of micro-chemical analysis the carbon dating labs were supposed to do in 1988, prior to taking the sample according to the original protocol, but failed to follow.

 

The carbon dating tests of 1988 have been thoroughly and completely invalidated by good science rather than the shoddy and arrogant effort demonstrated by the carbon labs in 1988. The cloud has been lifted.

More on the 1978 Shroud Project and what was determined:

Team Scientists Represented:

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • New England Institute of Medicine
  • Sandia Laboratories
  • U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Santa Barbara Research Institute
  • Nuclear Technologies Corp.
  • Colorado State University

Tests performed in 1978 include:

  • Particle analysis
  • Chemical analysis
  • Blood analysis
  • Photo microscopy
  • Spectroscopy
  • X-ray radiography
  • Infra-red thermography
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometry
  •  Scanning photography from infra-red to ultra violet
  • And others

Primary Test Results:

X-Ray Fluorescence:

  • Result: No detectable difference in elemental composition between image and non-image areas.
  • Conclusion: No inorganic pigments present.

X-Radiography:

  • Result: No density discontinuities associated with body image.
  • Conclusion: No substances manually applied to cloth.

Photoelectric Spectrophotometry:

  • Result: No spectral characteristics of stains, dyes or pigments were detected in image or non-image areas.
  • Conclusion: No typical artistic substances are on the cloth.

Ultraviolet Fluorescence:

  • Result: No evidence of aromatic dyes or amino acids.
  • Conclusion: No collagen binder as would be used with paint.

Evidence from Dirt:

  • Result: Microscopic dirt particles found solely on the dorsal foot imprint.
  • Conclusion: Can be explained only by the folding of a barefoot man in the Shroud.

 

Image Characteristics:

  • Purely superficial -- penetrates only top 3 micro fibrils
  • Yellowing of image is uniform in intensity
  • No capillary action apparent
  • Fibrils not cemented to each other
  • No substances between threads
  • No directionality to image
  • No Outline to image

STURP findings, published in 1981, contain the following results:

  • "No pigments, paints, dyes, or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray fluorescence and microchemistry preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image."
  • "It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with the body, which explains certain features such as the scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image...there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image..."
  • "We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and give a positive test for serum albumin."

Image Formation Theory

Much of the science involved in Shroud research is in the area of image formation theory. If Shroud were an obvious work of art, the subject would be irrelevant and even ludicrous. But it is precisely because the cause of the image still remains a mystery after years of diligent research that leads some to investigate other non-artistic causes of the image.

Let’s summarize what we know about the image:

  • There is no significant trace of paint, pigment, dye, ink or stain.
  • The image is purely superficial penetrating only the top two microfibrils.
  • No directionality to the image as with brush strokes.
  • No outline to the image as would be necessary for it to be a work of art.
  • No cementing of fibrils as would occur with the application of any liquid substance.
  • Uniform intensity on both front and back images... artistically impossible.
  • No variations in density...another artistic impossibility.
  • No particles between the threads.
  • Not the result of any kind of powder rubbing.
  • No capillary action.
  • No liquids used to create image except for the blood images.
  • No paint binder. Every art medium requires a solution to suspend the pigments.

Are there paint particles on the Shroud? Yes. But they do not constitute the image. They are randomly distributed over the cloth. Why? Because over the course of hundreds of years, painted copies of the shroud or the face of Christ have been touched to the cloth thereby giving it greater value. What’s a baseball card signed by Babe Ruth worth? Same idea. Without question, particles from these paintings dislodged and fell onto the Shroud. Does that mean the Shroud is a painting? Obviously not. Unfortunately, a few people still try to make headlines by rehashing old theories.

What about the blood? It’s blood. AB Positive and evidence for human DNA. The blood tests positive for the following components: Hemoglobin Heme Porphyrins Serum albumin Bile Bilirubin

The blood stains show the separation of blood and serum and also show where blood would have spurted from an artery or dribbled from a vein depending on the wound. The blood flows show the influence of gravity as if the body was alive and upright yet also shows post-mortem blood flows from when the body was lying down on the back. Evidence of rigor mortis is also visible. As gruesome as all this seems, it all represents medical knowledge totally unknown in the Middle Ages.

To declare cavalierly that the Shroud is the work of some medieval artist is to totally ignore nearly everything we know about the cloth. That is simply not a scientifically satisfactory answer. This is why many question the validity of the C-14 dating tests and is also why we continue to search for new clues as to how this incredible image may have been formed.

The image shows up because something caused the rapid dehydration and oxidation of the linen fibrils immediately surrounding a body. What caused it? Direct contact with a corpse only explains the blood images. Another process is at work to account for the image. Heat? Light? Radiation? A combination of the three? Dr. Gus Accetta’s experiments on emitted radiation may be an important clue.

The one remaining question is the age of the cloth. Unfortunately the botched carbon dating tests reveal nothing credible as determined by Chemist Ray Rogers.

Additional Facts From STURP and other Researchers:

Textile Analysis:

  • No similar material found from Medieval times.
  • Threads hand woven - pre 12th Century
  • Unique manufacture indicates a Middle East origin
  • The cloth measures exactly 2 x 8 Syrian cubits, a Middle East measurement.

Particle Analysis:

  • Travertine Aragonite limestone particles indigenous to caves surrounding Jerusalem
  • Outside pollen are mineral coated whereas inside pollen are uncoated
  • Suggests placement in damp tomb or cave

3-D Encoding:

The image density corresponds to a mathematical gradient related to distance between body and cloth. “Confirmation that the Shroud covered a body shape at the time of image formation.” -Dr. John Jackson

The Blood: 

  • “The blood is, in fact, real blood.” -Dr. John Heller Confirmed by presence of heme, porphyrins,bile pigments and serum albumin. Confirmed also by spectrographic analysis.
  • “The blood marks seen on the shroud are consistent with a contact transfer to the cloth of blood clot exudates that would have resulted from major wounds inflicted on a man who died in the position of crucifixion.” -Dr. Al Alder -Dr. Gil Lavoie
  • “The stains have a central hollowness which probably results from the physical separation of red blood cells from serum.” -Dr. Robert Bucklin
  • “The remarkably fine detailing of the scourge marks revealed by ultraviolet fluorescence would be impossible to obtain by any other means than direct contact between a body and the linen.” -Dr. Sam Pellicori

The Wounds are consistent with the Gospel account of Christ’s ordeal:

Front image of the Shroud

  • Crown of thorns
  • Bruising of face
  • Shoulder abrasions
  • Knee abrasions
  • Scourge marks
  • Nail wounds in wrist & feet
  • Wound in side
  • Legs not broken

Iconography:

  • Uncanny comparisons to Ancient Icons.
  • Evidence indicates the Shroud was the model upon which Byzantine icons were based beginning in the 6th Century.
  • “The peculiarities are so distinctive and prevalent that it seems doubtful they could be mere imagination or coincidence.” -Ian Wilson

Recent developments:

A team of graphic artists tried to recreate the real face of the man depicted on the cloth in a special two-hour documentary on the History Channel broadcast for the first time in March 2010. The image was made by taking the image of the Turin Shroud and transforming it onto a 3D form to compose and inspire a CGI image of a detailed face.

In November 2011, F. Curciarello et al. published a paper that analyzed the abrupt changes in the yellowed fibril density values on the Shroud image. They concluded that the rapid changes in the body image intensity are not anomalies in the manufacturing process of the linen but that they can be explained with the presence of aromas or burial ointments.However, their work leaves the existence of an energy source for the image an open question.

In his 2012 book The Sign, art historian Thomas de Wesselow has written that he has come to view the shroud as genuine.  In the book he argues that the image on the Shroud—which he sees as most likely the result of a Maillard reaction—caused the disciples to believe that Jesus had resurrected, but he does not support the historicity of the resurrection itself.

In 2013, Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta, a former Vatican journalist, published a book in which they dated the shroud to between 280 BC and 220 AD. Fanti and his colleagues conducted a variety of mechanical and chemical tests on fibers from the shroud to obtain their date. In 2013 Fanti published a paper explaining that he had invented and calibrated these tests himself, and that they derived an origin for the tested fibers of 400AD, but with an error margin of 400 years due to the unknown influences of temperature and humidity on the samples during their lives.  Cesare Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin and Custodian of the Holy Shroud, responded that "as it is not possible to be certain that the analyzed material was taken from the fabric of the Shroud, the Holy See and the Papal Custodian declare that no serious value can be recognized to the results of such experiments."

On Holy Saturday (30 March) 2013, images of the shroud were streamed on various websites as well as on television for the first time in 40 years.  Roberto Gottardo of the diocese of Turin stated that for the first time ever they had released high definition images of the shroud that can be used on tablet computers and can be magnified to show details not visible to the naked eye. As this rare exposition took place, Pope Francis issued a carefully worded statement which urged the faithful to contemplate the shroud with awe, but "stopped firmly short of asserting its authenticity", as his predecessors had done before him.  The statement generated considerable comment.

In 2013, new peer-reviewed articles were published in favor of the hypothesis that the Turin shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. One followed a “Minimal Facts approach” to determine which hypothesis relating to the image formation process “is the most likely”. Another analysed the wounds seemingly evident on the image in the shroud and compared them to the wounds which the gospels state were inflicted on Jesus. Another regression analysis by Riani et al. concluded that the validity of the 1988 radiocarbon dating test is questionable.

Sources: 

  • Wikipedia.org
  • shrouduniversity.com
  • shroud2000.com

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