Within a complex of chapels, cathedrals, and palaces in Turin, Italy, there's an airtight case made of bulletproof glass. The temperature and chemical composition of the air inside this case is carefully monitored and controlled. The contents are a pair of sliding aluminum runners on which rests a piece of linen cloth about 14' x 3' in size. On this cloth is an image of one of the most influential people of all time: Jesus Christ - or maybe not.
The Shroud of Turin is supposedly Jesus Christ's burial shroud, the one he was wrapped in after he perished. However, despite years of debate, testing, and analysis, no one can quite agree on whether or not the shroud is real.
Some scientific authorities claim the shroud could not date earlier than the Middle Ages, while others say those results are tainted. There is a constant rebuttal of evidence suggesting the Shroud of Turin's authenticity, while many also challenge proof suggesting it to be a fake. The integrity of the shroud is so dubious even the Vatican refuses to take a definitive position.
The Blood On The Shroud Is Real And Came From A Distressed Man
For a long time, the "paint theory" claimed the blood on the shroud was painted on, a clever imitation. But thanks to advances in microscopy and blood testing, researchers have confirmed it as real human blood and found its type (AB).
Furthermore, analysis of the blood revealed an unusual amount of creatinine, which indicates the source experienced distress before the blood was emitted. In addition, a particular interaction between creatinine and ferritin indicated the person went through prolonged mistreatment consistent with the story of Jesus's passing.Is this important?
The Shroud Is A Photo Negative And Shows A Human Face
One of the most mystifying qualities of the shroud is the strange image of a man's face imprinted on it. This was first discovered in 1898 when Secondo Pia took a photo of the shroud and, as he developed it, a negative image of a man's face appeared. The world was astonished, and there is still no clear consensus on how this photonegative image got imprinted on the shroud.
There are many theories: some believe it was painted on, or lactic acid from sweat imprinted the image. Still, others think the shroud is a primitive photograph that uses silver nitrate to create the impression. This mystery remains one of the strongest indicators of the shroud's possible authenticity.Is this important?
Carbon Dating Originally Found The Shroud Dates To Medieval Times
The shroud underwent carbon dating and, in 1988, a team of scientists took a portion of the shroud and dated it between 1260 and 1390 CE, well after the life of Christ. However, there are those who say the lab had taken a patch that had gotten replaced when a fire affected the original shroud in the Middle Ages.
The doubters have retorted, saying during the carbon-dating process, the team noted the weave of the sample matched the rest of the shroud perfectly.Is this important?
A 2013 Test Refuted The Original Carbon Dating
University of Padua Professor Giulio Fanti was the leader of a 2013 investigation that used infrared spectroscopy to ascertain the shroud's exact date of origin. He argued that not enough was known about how the shroud was conserved during its first few centuries, so the results could have become tainted. Fanti's test placed the shroud's creation between 300 BCE and 400 CE, meaning it could well be legitimate.
However, one of the members of the original carbon-dating team fired back, stating Fanti's methods are new, untested, and not reliably used by the archaeological community.Is this important?