© Stephen E. Jones
Shroud of Turin
Image. It bears the front and back, head to head, faint image of a naked man. The image is a photographic negative, three-dimensional, non-directional and extremely superficial. There is no paint, dye, stain or pigment on the cloth which forms the image.
Bloodstains. The bloodstains are real human blood, with intact clots and serum haloes visible only under ultraviolet light. The blood was on the cloth before the image was formed. The wounds and bloodflows are anatomically accurate, distinguishing between arterial and venous blood.
Other marks. Other marks include sets of burns parallel to the image from a fire in 1532 and water stains from dousing that fire. Also parallel to the image are four L-shaped groups of smaller `poker holes'.
Matches the Gospels. The man has been beaten, flogged, crowned with thorns, crucified and speared in the side, matching the Gospels' description of the suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ (Mt 27:27-60; Mk 15:16-46; Lk 22:63-23:54; Jn 19:16-42), and indeed His resurrection (Mt 27:61-28:6; Mk 15:47-16:8; Lk 23:55-24:7; Jn 20:1-9)!
History. The Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France in the 1350s, under the ownership of French knight Geoffroy I de Charny (c. 1300-56) and his wife Jeanne de Vergy (c. 1332-1428). In 1453 their granddaughter, Marguerite de Charny (c.1390–1460), transferred the Shroud to the House of Savoy. In 1983, ex-king Umberto II of Savoy (1904–83), bequeathed the Shroud to the Pope and his successors.
Authenticity is overwhelming. There is overwhelming historical and artistic evidence of the Shroud's existence back to the first century.
Sudarium of Oviedo. Bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo, which has been in Spain since the 7th century, match perfectly those on the head of the Shroud.
Anti-authenticity has failed. The three main items of evidence against the Shroud's authenticity: the 1389 memorandum of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis claiming the Shroud was a 14th century painting; the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud's linen to 1290-1360; and the claim that the Shroud man has anatomical errors; have all been discredited. Shroud anti-authenticist theories contradict each other.
Conclusion. The Shroud of Turin is the most studied artifact ever, yet it has passed all its tests with flying colours. Philip Ball, a former editor of Nature, has admitted, "the shroud is a remarkable artefact ... It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made" (my emphasis here and below) and "despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever ... the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling" Prof. Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Director of the Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory and, as "C.R. Bronk," was a signatory to the 1989 Nature paper which claimed that the Shroud was "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" has conceded that, "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow..." Barrie Schwortz, the owner of the world's largest Shroud pro-authenticity website, Shroud.com, is a non-Christian Jew. So strong is the evidence for the Shroud's authenticity that a non-Christian agnostic art historian, Thomas de Wesselow, was compelled by it to accept that the Shroud is authentic.
Epilogue. Another agnostic, Yves Delage, Professor of Zoology at the Sorbonne, who was one of the first scientists to accept, on the basis of the scientific evidence, that the Shroud was authentic, pointed out in 1902 to his `free-thinking' colleagues who refused to accept his evidence:
"If, instead of Christ, there were a question of some person like a Sargon, an Achilles or one of the Pharaohs, no one would have thought of making any objection".That is, if it was anyone other than Jesus, the evidence would be readily accepted that the Shroud was His, "but because of the unique position that Jesus holds, such evidence is not enough". That is, they don't want the Shroud to be authentic because that would make Jesus authentic. But those who do that are unwittingly acting out their part in Jesus' "Parable of the Pounds" in Luke 19:11-27, where the King's rebellious subjects "hated him" and declared, "We do not want this man to reign over us" (verse 14). But then read in verse 27 what Jesus warned He will do, when He returns, to those "enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them"!
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5. "Barrie Schwortz," 2013, TEDx ViaDellaConciliazione, 19th April.
6. Stanford, P., 2012, "Mystery solved? Turin Shroud linked to Resurrection of Christ," The Telegraph, 24 March. [return]
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• Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, p.8.
• de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, pp.14, 16-17, 178-181, 191-192.
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• Wilson, I., 1991 "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, pp.159-169.
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• Wuenschel, E.A. 1954, "Self-Portrait of Christ: The Holy Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Esopus NY, Third printing, 1961, pp.51-52.
Created: 21 January, 2015. Updated: 26 January, 2015.