Some of you may ask, ‘what is the Shroud of Turin?’
It’s a 14 ft. long burial cloth with the image of a man on the linen who suffered a violent death by crucifixion. Many believe the image is that of Jesus Christ embedded on the cloth by the vast energy released at the moment of his resurrection. Others regard it as an elaborate forgery.
Last year I rented the documentary from Netflix on Jesus And The Shroud of Turin; I’d become acquainted with the shroud years ago through the avid interest of a friend, but like many, I thought it was a hoax. However, after watching this film and reviving my curiosity, I’m rethinking my position. Whether or nor the film and new evidence that has come to light makes a believer of you, the history of the shroud is fascinating. (*Image on the Shroud as it appears in a photographic negative)
For instance, The Knights Templar, the religious order that existed for two centuries during the Crusades in the Middle Ages, took care of the cloth for more than a hundred years and kept it from falling into the hands of heretical groups that might have destroyed it. Anything having to do with these Knights interests me.
(Ancient Mosaic of Jesus Christ in the old church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey–image from istock)
There are many online sites devoted to the history and ongoing research of the Shroud. The main one seems to be: http://www.shroud.com/
To quote from The Shroud Website: ‘Modern science has completed hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research on the Shroud. It is, in fact, the single most studied artifact in human history, and we know more about it today than we ever have before. And yet, the controversy still rages…we believe that if you have access to the facts, you can make up your own mind about the Shroud.’
From Wikipedia: The image on the shroud is much clearer in a black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color. The striking negative image was first observed on the evening of May 28, 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited in the Turin Cathedral. According to Pia, he almost dropped and broke the photographic plate from the shock of seeing an image of a person on it.’ ***I thought this negative image that showed up in the photograph is one of the most remarkable aspects of the shroud.
This shroud site says, ‘New Information: A team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has confirmed that the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin is wrong. See the Fact Check and Carbon Dating Tabs at Shroud of Turin Blog.
That the original carbon dating may be wrong is an extremely important development because it had placed the shroud in the Middle Ages. Now, it seems the cloth may actually date back to the time of Christ.
To quote the Shroud of Turin Blog: “Is it real?
Scientifically, we don’t know the age of the Shroud of Turin. However, we do know it is at least twice as old as the now discredited carbon 14 date. As for the images, we have no idea how they are formed. But they were not made by any known artistic method.
The Atheist, the skeptic, the rationalist must accept the scientific facts just as any Christian should. To deny that the shroud is authentic requires a leap of faith. So does affirmation. But the evidence suggests that it is a late-Second Temple era burial shroud of a crucifixion victim. From that, much can be inferred.”
(*The garden tomb in Jerusalem where many believe Jesus was buried. Image from istock.)
Mita Jain is quoted on the blog as saying, “There has been a lot of debate about whether this was actually the cloth, in which Jesus was buried, or if it was someone else or perhaps if it’s just a hoax. Carbon 14 dating was done to verify the time of the linen cloth, and it was found that the cloth was from Middle Ages, ie about 1300 years after Jesus’s death. This dampened the believers’ spirit. But a follow up research, proved that the sample cloth chosen initially was a bad one because the cloth had been repaired in Middle Ages. The cloth also survived fire, and hence could have radiocarbon content indicating towards wrong age. Some people still believe that Turin’s shroud is a proof of Jesus’s sacrifice for the mankind. The others do not. I believe that it doesn’t matter whether the shroud is actual or not. Even if it’s not real, if it can bring some kindness and peace to today’s human race, then there is no harm believing in it. If it can bring out goodness in today’s world, then there is no harm worshipping it. The power of belief and faith can do wonders. After all, isn’t this what religion is all about?”~Mita Jain
(*Medieval painting of Jesus Christ in the Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, England. Image from istock)
In conclusion, all I can say is that the shroud is amazing. I got goosebumps looking at that picture. I believe it may be real, but as a Christian my faith is not dependent on the shroud being genuine.
This link takes you to a page where you can click on any part of the image of the shroud and it will allow you a closer examination. http://www.shroud.com/examine.htm
*Breaking News on May 2nd 2010
In an article released by the Associated Press, Pope Benedict is quoted as saying: “This is a burial cloth that wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus,” Benedict said. He said the relic — one of the most important in Christianity — should be seen as a photographic document of the “darkest mystery of faith” — that of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.~