Thanks to newly acquired evidence, there may finally be enough proof to determine once and for all if the Shroud of Turin is in fact the relic that Christians have praised it to be for millennia. The Shroud, which is believed to have been the actual cloth used to wrap Jesus Christ's body after his crucifixion, has been the subject of great theological and scientific debate since it was first exhibited publicly in France in 1357.
Now, with the help of new blood-analysis technology, scientists have learned that the blood found on the Shroud shows chemical traces of certain hormones and chemicals that are most commonly generated by the bodies of torture victims – suggesting that the man who found his final (or temporary) resting place within the linen cloth had likely been brutally tortured, perhaps by crucifixion.
The debate surrounding the true origins of the Shroud of Turin is one of both theological and historical significance, and it has resulted in a centuries-long hotbed of debate, discovery, and conspiracy. However, the proof continues to pile up, bringing believers and non-believers alike closer to the truth about the Shroud.
Thanks to recent blood analysis experiments that were conducted by the Instituo Officia dei Materiali in Trieste and the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, Italy, by a man named Elvio Carlino, it has been found that the blood stains on the Shroud contain highly peculiar biological nanoparticles that have traces of key chemicals found exclusively in the bodies of torture victims. Professor Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua, who also analyzed these findings, pointed out how "the blood contained high levels of substances called creatinine and ferritin, found in patients who suffer forceful traumas like torture."
This analysis also found that the particles date back to the same approximate time of Jesus's death, and therefore could not have been fabricated later on, as many skeptics have suggested. Fanti emphasized this point by noting that these specific particles "cannot be artifacts made over the centuries on the fabric of the Shroud," and that it could not have been manipulated during the Middle Ages.
The Shroud of Turin, which is currently being kept on display at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, is something of a modern theological mystery – and though many Christians are steadfast in their belief of its authenticity, the Church as a whole continues to neither confirm nor deny its feelings on the subject of whether or not it is the fabric that was used to wrap Jesus between the time of his crucifixion and eventual resurrection.
Over the years – thanks to modern technological advancements in biochemistry, forensics, and carbon dating – there has been a large array of tests performed on the linen fabric that makes up the Shroud, leading only to greater debate and theories around the evidence that are presented.
One of the most controversial findings presented by modern-day science has been the radiocarbon dating test conducted in 1988, which determined that a particular corner piece of the Shroud actually only dated back to the Middle Ages, not nearly far back enough to have been associated with Jesus. However, many theologians and scientists alike have questioned the quality, and therefore the validity, of the test itself, believing that the results are flawed.
The religious significance of this particular cloth may be lost on those who aren't well-versed in Christian theology; however, to those who are immersed in the church, the Shroud of Turin is one of the most striking pieces of evidence in support of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection.
In the Bible, it is said that after Jesus was taken down from the cross, he was wrapped within a 14 ft 5 in × 3 ft 7 in linen cloth that bears a striking resemblance to the acclaimed Shroud of Turin. Additionally, the blood stains found across the cloth appear to be consistent with the wounds that Jesus would have endured during his crucifixion.
Despite the fact that a number of different churches claim to hold their own pieces of Jesus's burial cloth, the Shroud of Turin remains the most greatly contested and most highly regarded of them all.