The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man who is alleged to be Jesus of Nazareth. The cloth itself is believed by some to be the burial shroud he was wrapped in when he was buried after the crucifixion. 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 images are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians, and other researchers. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to prove that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. In 1988, radiocarbon dating tests dated a corner piece of the shroud from the Middle Ages. Certain shroud researchers have challenged the dating, arguing the results were skewed by the introduction of material from the Middle Ages to the portion of the shroud used for radiocarbon dating.
The image of the “Man of the Shroud” has a beard, mustache, and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle. He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 1.70 to 1.88 m or 5 ft 7 in. to 6 ft 2 in). Reddish-brown stains 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.
Forensic doctors have interpreted markings on the cloth as follows:
1. One wrist bears a large, round wound, apparently from piercing (the second wrist is hidden by the folding of the hands)
2. Upward gouge in the side penetrating into the thoracic cavity.
3. Small punctures around the forehead and scalp
4. Scores of linear wounds on the torso and legs.
5. Swelling of the face
6. Streams of blood down both arms
The most prominent evangelical defender of the Shroud is Gary R. Habermas, a philosopher of religion at Liberty University who specializes in research on the resurrection of Jesus. Habermas makes a compelling case that the Shroud is not only compatible with Jewish burial practices but also that there are similarities between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s passion and the wounds of the man buried in the Shroud.
“The evidence reveals that the Shroud of Turin is probably the actual burial garment of Jesus,” Habermas says. “As such it provides much information concerning both the physical cause of Jesus’s death and also some exciting new evidence for his resurrection.” He concludes,
“The man of the shroud was not buried in the material for more than a few days, but neither was he unwrapped. Instead, an image on the cloth is clearly visible, probably caused by a burst of radiation from a dead body. True, we do not have absolute proof of the identity of the man of the shroud. Neither do we need it to demonstrate the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus (or for anything else in the Christian faith). But it appears to provide strong empirical corroboration for Jesus’s resurrection, and when combined with the historical evidence for this event I would submit that we have a twofold apologetic from both science and history.”
Blood Particles Show ‘the Turin Shroud is Not Fake’
A breakthrough discovery on the Shroud of Turin is leading some to believe it really is the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Researchers from the Institute of Crystallography said they found signs of blood from whoever could have been wrapped in the shroud.
“The Blood serum tells us that before dying the person was suffering,” Carlino told CBN News. “This means that the Turin Shroud is not fake… It is certainly the funeral fabric that wrapped a tortured man.”
Researchers there said these particles, called “nanoparticles,” were a “peculiar structure, size, and distribution,” said University of Padua professor Giulio Fanti. Tests on the nanoparticles reveal that they are not typical of the blood found in a healthy person. Instead, they show high levels of substances called creatinine and ferritin. Both are found in patients who suffer severe and forceful traumas like torture. “Hence, the presence of these biological nanoparticles found during our experiments point to a violent death for the man wrapped in the Turin Shroud.”
Fanti says the latest discovery debunks the age-old claim that someone simply painted on the image of the shroud. The characteristics of these nanoparticles “cannot be artifacts made over the centuries on the fabric of the Shroud,” he concluded.
The shroud is one of the most well-known relics associated with Christ, and researchers have poured over the haunting image of the crucified man who appears on it. Researchers say the latest discovery was made possible because of new technology.
“These findings could only be revealed by the methods recently developed in the field of electron microscopy,” said Carlino. He said the research marked the first study of “the nanoscale properties of a pristine fiber taken from the Turin Shroud.”
When it comes to the question of whether this is the actual burial shroud of Christ, Carlino says no one can know for sure. “The evidence that it is a man who was tortured was there. We cannot say who it is,” he says.
Features and Facts to Consider
The image of the man on the cloth. The image is not a stain. It is not painted on the shroud. It is not burned on in a conventional manner. Instead, it is an image seared onto the cloth with some technology that has yet to be explained. Not only can they not reproduce the image using medieval technologies, they can’t reproduce it with modern technology.
The 3-D capabilities of the image. The image of the man on the shroud can be read by 3-D imaging technology. Paintings fail this test.
Digital info on the Shroud of Turin in the form of Dark and light areas being proportional to distance and able to produce perfect 3D images on NASA VP8 instrument.
The Positive-Negative Image. The image is a photographic negative. That means when a traditional photograph is taken what should be the negative appears as a positive image. If it is a medieval painting how did they do that and why?
The anatomical accuracy. Not only is it an accurate image of a dead man but the image is distorted as it should be if it was lying over a real body and the body vanished from within it.
The historical accuracy to crucifixion. The wounds are all consistent not only with Roman crucifixion but the details of Jesus’ particular crucifixion like the crown of thorns, no broken bones the scourging and the wound in the side.
Scourging or whiplash marks on the body consistent with a flogging with a Roman flagrum, a short whip of leather with the ends tipped with bits of lead or other metal or bone pieces, which tore into flesh and muscle.
Presence of Roman coin from the time of Jesus placed over his eyes – this was a custom at the time of Jesus.
Piercing marks of a crown of thorns on the head as described in the bible.
Geographical accuracy. Pollen found on the Shroud from flowers of the variety of plants growing only in the Jerusalem Area. As well as from Turkey and the other places the shroud is supposed to have resided, confirms a historical trail from Jerusalem to Turin.
Soil particles similar to soil in Jerusalem, below the foot imprint on the Shroud and Travertine limestone particles from the cave tombs in Jerusalem all over the shroud.
The accuracy to Jewish burial customs. The shroud shows details perfectly consistent with first-century Jewish burial customs. There are even microscopic traces of the flower that would have been used in the burial flowers that grew locally and were known to be used for burial.
The blood and the image. The blood was on the shroud first. The image happened later. If it was painted (there is no evidence of paint anywhere) the two would be part of the same faked image
The type of cloth. The cloth is consistent with fabrics from first century Israel, but not with medieval Europe. The style of weave and materials used in the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin is an exact match of Shroud materials found in the Jewish Masada fort and dated from 40 BC to 73 AD.
The rare hand weaving of the Shroud cloth traced to be of first century Middle East origin. Similar burial shrouds from 1st century AD have been found in Masada, an ancient Jewish fortress, which confirms it to be a genuine Jewish burial cloth.
The age of the cloth. The 1987 carbon-14 tests are now believed to have been taken from an area of the cloth that was not simply patched in the middle ages but patched with a difficult to detect interweaving and the carbon-14 tests were therefore compromised. The latest technology and testing suggest a date for the shroud between 200 BC and AD 200.
Experiments conducted by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy have dated the shroud to ancient times, a few centuries before and after the life of Christ. Scientists, including Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, used infrared light and spectroscopy – the measurement of radiation intensity through wavelengths – to analyze fibers from the shroud, which is kept in a special climate-controlled case in Turin.
The only piece of evidence from the shroud which doesn’t match up is the 1987 carbon-14 testing. When considering evidence and you have nine items which fit with the known facts and fit with each other, but you have one piece of evidence which does not fit, it is common sense to challenge that one piece of evidence and reject it or try again to see why it doesn’t fit. Fanti’s research has proven that the 1987 tests were faulty.
The nails are driven through the wrists rather than the palm of the hand. The general belief now and in the Middle Ages was that the nails were driven through the palm of the hand. Skeletons from first century AD of crucified victims, discovered in the Jerusalem area have the nails through the wrist. Also, modern Science supports the fact that the weight of the body could not be held upright on the cross if the nails were driven through the palm of the hand.
- Taylor, R.E. and Bar-Yosef, Ofer. Radiocarbon Dating, Second Edition: An Archaeological Perspective. Left Coast Press, 2014, p. 165
- Meacham, William (1983). “The Authentication of the Turin Shroud, An Issue in Archeological Epistemology”
- Heller, John H. (1983). Report on the Shroud of Turin. Houghton Mifflin.
- Ruffin, Bernard (1999). The Shroud of Turin. Our Sunday Visitor. p. 14.
- CBNNEWS.COM 07-19-2017
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker, National Catholic Register, The Shroud of Turin and the Facts, 6-23-2017
- Nick Squires, Rome correspondent, Turin Shroud ‘is not a medieval forgery’, The Telegraph, 3-28-2013