The Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is a centuries old linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man. A man that millions believe to be Jesus of Nazareth. Is it really the cloth that wrapped his crucified body, or is it simply a medieval forgery, a hoax perpetrated by some clever artist? 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.
The image on the Shroud of Turin is very subtle. The closer you get, the less distinct it becomes. One of the best ways to look at the Shroud image is on a photographic negative. There, the light and dark values are reversed and the image appears more realistic and natural.
The Shroud is a linen cloth woven in a 3-over-1 herringbone pattern, and measures 14’3″ x 3’7″. These dimensions correlate with ancient measurements of 2 cubits x 8 cubits – consistent with loom technology of the period. The finer weave of 3-over-1 herringbone is consistent with the New Testament statement that the “sindon” (or shroud) was purchased by Joseph of Arimathea, who was a wealthy man. Also, Leviticus 19:19 speaks of the mixing of linen and cotton, but prohibits linen and wool or the mixing of vegetable and animal. In 1969, Dr. Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology in Belgium noted that there are traces of cotton (identified as Gossipium herbaceum) in the linen of the Shroud.
In June 2002, the Shroud was sent to a team of experts for restoration. One of them was Swiss textile historian Mechthild Flury-Lemberg. She was surprised to find a peculiar stitching pattern in the seam of one long side of the Shroud, where a three-inch wide strip of the same original fabric was sewn onto a larger segment. The stitching pattern, which she says was the work of a professional, is quite similar to the hem of a cloth found in the tombs of the Jewish fortress of Masada. The Masada cloth dates to between 40 BC and 73 AD. This kind of stitch has never been found in Medieval Europe.
Several studies have challenged the validity of the 1988 Carbon-14 tests done at Oxford, Zurich and Arizona Labs, which stated the shroud was made in the medieval ages.
The shroud was badly damaged in a church fire in 1532 AD. Nuns patched burn holes and stitched the shroud to a reinforcing cloth that is now known as the Holland cloth.” This probably occurred in 1534.
No one knows for sure how the images were created. The images are scorch-like, yet not created by heat, and are a purely surface phenomenon limited to the crowns of the top fibers. The Shroud is clearly not a painting; no evidence of pigments or media was found. The blood was on the Cloth before the image (an unlikely way for an artist to work). There is no outline, no binders to hold paint, no evidence that paint, dye, ink, or chalk created the images, and there are no brush strokes. According to world-renowned artist Isabel Piczek, the images have no style that would fit into any period of art history. The images show perfect photo-negativity and 3-dimensionality. It is not a Vaporgraph or natural result of vapors.
The blood on the Shroud is real, human male blood of the type AB (typed by Dr. Baima Ballone in Turin and confirmed in the U.S.). This blood type is rare (about 3% of the world population), with the frequency varying from one region to another. Blood chemist Dr. Alan Adler (University of Western Connecticut) and the late Dr. John Heller (New England Institute of Medicine) found a high concentration of the pigment bilirubin, consistent with someone dying under great stress or trauma and making the color more red than normal ancient blood. Drs. Victor and Nancy Tryon of the University of Texas Health Science Center found X & Y chromosomes representing male blood and “degraded DNA” (approximately 700 base pairs) “consistent with the supposition of ancient blood.”
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