The Shroud of Turin
A number of years ago I became fascinated by the Shroud of Turin and read a few books and a number of articles on the shroud. Samples were taken and the experts at the time determined that the cloth dated back to the Middle Ages and thus could not be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. So it receded from my attention as well as many others. But as I recall, the evidence not including the Carbon 14 tests, was quite compelling as to its probably being the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. There are many sources where you can read about the shroud and I will not attempt to recap or summarize, mainly because my recollection is from many years past. However, if you haven’t opened the lid on this fascinating subject I would strongly encourage you to do so. Who knows, it could be the piece of the puzzle that persuades you to accept this Jesus guy, the forgiveness of sin and the salvation he offers. Eternal life with the creator of the universe in a pretty good deal if you ask me.
So there has been a new study of the shroud by some Italian scientists that contradict the Carbon 14 findings of the 1980s and bring the probable date of the cloth and the image to the time of Christ plus/minus 200 or so years.
Here are some links and snippets I’ve accumulated over that past few days (love the Internet) that may whet your appetite, not only on the shroud, but an appetite for the man in the cloth … Jesus of Nazareth.
And a video:
And a comment from one of the new researchers:
We know that the carbon dating of the cloth has come under great scrutiny because they violated the sampling protocol agreed to in 1985. They were supposed to cut three different samples from three different locations on the cloth. Instead they cut only one sample from an area they were warned to avoid–the outside corner edge–where it had been held and handled hundreds of times and an area most susceptible to contamination and possible repair. Chemist Ray Rogers determined in a peer reviewed scientific journal article in 2005 that it was indeed subjected to some kind of medieval reweave. The sample has become highly questionable and many feel the 1988 carbon date is therefore inconclusive.
The new dating research published today by Giulio Fanti will be presented to peer review. If others validate his process and procedures and can validate his work, this may become a critical moment for the Shroud striking a final death blow to the 1988 carbon dating described as a “shoddy affair” by Harry Gove, inventor of the AMS method of carbon dating.
That Pope Francis introduced the Shroud during a special one-hour televised exhibition yesterday on Holy Saturday is also highly significant. The exhibition was originally called for by former Pope Benedict XVI as his “last act of love to the world.” Francis, who has a masters degree in chemistry, may decide to open the Shroud up to a new round of testing, something all Shroud researchers have been hoping for decades.
A fine line has always existed between the Shroud as a holy object of veneration and an artifact subjected to scientific scrutiny.
As science continues to affirm the possible authenticity of the Shroud, perhaps science and faith can finally be on the same page again as they were with great thinkers like Saint Thomas Aquinas who saw science and theology as two sides of the same coin—one explored the physical world and the other the realm of spirit. Did they come together on an ancient piece of linen? Maybe so. Perhaps the message of the Shroud is what Jesus said to Doubting Thomas after the resurrection, “Stop doubting and believe!” Perhaps through the Shroud we too are given the same opportunity Jesus gave to Thomas.
Curiosity is a wonderful thing. Turn yours loose on this incredibly fascinating historical artifact.
Don Johnson April 2013