We are not advocating this relic or that it has anything to do with Christianity nor are we jumping on its bandwagon and saying that there is something mystical about this piece of cloth. We feel that the Roman Catholic Church has invented the ‘history’ of this shroud, as that organization is well known for having many false relics passed off as authentic.
Two main reasons come to mind as to why they would perpetuate this hoax. First, the officials know that their doctrines and practices are false and drive many people away from their churches so they needed something to keep ‘the faithful’ in their pews.
Second, they know that the secular world offers more fun, excitement than their church can so they invented this history to make their church seem more interesting and attractive, much like, as the legend goes, their earlier priests ‘Christianized’ pagan holidays in order to make their form of Christianity appear attractive to the unbelieving world.
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. This web site will keep you abreast of current research, provide you with accurate data from the previous research and let you interact with the researchers themselves. We believe that if you have access to the facts, you can make up your own mind about the Shroud.
New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which went on display Saturday in a special TV appearance introduced by the Pope, dates the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments dating it only to the Middle Ages.
Pope Francis sent a special video message to the televised event in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, which coincided with Holy Saturday, when Catholics mark the period between Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Vatican, tiptoeing carefully, has never claimed that the 14-foot linen cloth was, as some believers claim, used to cover Christ after he was taken from the cross 2,000 years ago…
But Cesare Nosiglia, the Archbishop of Turin and “pontifical custodian of the shroud,” said the special display on Holy Saturday “means that it represents a very important testimony to the Passion and the resurrection of the Lord,”
Many experts have stood by a 1988 carbon-14 dating of scraps of the cloth carried out by labs in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona that dated it from 1260 to 1390, which, of course, would rule out its used during the time of Christ.
The new test, by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy, used the same fibers from the 1988 tests but disputes the findings. The new examination dates the shroud to between 300 BC and 400 AD, which would put it in the era of Christ.
The folded Shroud was heavily damaged in a fire of 1532 and the burn marks remain prominent.
There is enough uncertainty about the Shroud’s origins to convince some that it is the actual burial shroud of Christ. The mystery is deepened by the claim that no artefact has ever been the subject of so much research. However, when the scope of this research is considered, it is obvious that many areas of its history and the iconography of its images have not been fully explored.
For example, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), which examined the Shroud in 1978, when it was still owned by the Savoy family, did not have a single expert in the history of relic cults, techniques of ancient weaving or the iconography of medieval painting on its team. No one appears to have investigated the kinds of loom, ancient or medieval, on which a cloth of this size may have been woven. Nor has anyone closely examined the many early depictions and descriptions of the Shroud that illustrate features now lost…
Few researchers have grasped that the Shroud looked very different in the 16th and 17th centuries from the object we see today…
No one has found any significant evidence of the Shroud’s existence before 1355, when it appeared in a chapel at Lirey, in the diocese of Troyes, supposedly advertised there as the burial shroud of Christ. Such sudden appearances of cults were common in a Europe recovering from the trauma of the Black Death. They caused a great deal of frustration for a Church hierarchy anxious to preserve its own status.
The bishop of Troyes, Henry of Poitiers, whose responsibility it was to monitor such claims in his diocese, investigated the shrine and reported that, not only were the images painted on the cloth, but that he had actually tracked down the painter. After this clerical onslaught, the Shroud was hidden away for more than 30 years. Yet the Church accepted that it was not a deliberate forgery and in January 1390 the (anti-)pope Clement VII allowed its renewed exposure in Lirey.
This suggests that the Shroud may have been credited with unrecorded miracles, thereby acquiring the spiritual status to make it worthy of veneration. Doubtless aware of the earlier claims by the Lirey clergy, Clement insisted that it was publicly announced before each exposition that this was NOT the burial shroud of Christ.
This new emphasis on the blood of Christ is a development of the 14th century and it is important to see whether the Shroud reflects this iconography. If one compares the Holkham head of Christ, taken from another crucifixion scene in the Bible, with the head on the Shroud, it is almost as if they came from the same template. Again one can see how the blood flowing along the arms of the man on the Shroud echo those of the crucified Christ in the Holkham Bible.
The Shroud of Turin has long been a source of reverence and intrigue. Considered one of the most important Christian relics, many believe it to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ, due to the faint image visible on its surface that appears to show a naked man bearing wounds consistent with crucifixion.
While some consider it a miracle, others search for a more scientific explanation for its existence, and researchers from the Politecnico di Torino have come up with a theory that they believe might provide some answers. They say that it’s possible that neutron emissions from an earthquake around the time of Jesus’ death could have created the image, as well as affected radiocarbon levels that suggested the shroud was a forgery from medieval times, reports LiveScience.
“Hypotheses and experimental confirmations that oxidative phenomena generated by earthquakes can provide 3D images on the linen clothes have recently been proposed by de Liso . Moreover, a further effect of neutron irradiation could have provided a wrong radiocarbon dating due to an increment in C146nuclei in the linen fibres.”
The scientists linked the earthquake with Jesus’ death by citing Greek historian Thallos’ account of the day Christ died, the gospel of Matthew, and the narrative of Joseph of Arimathea, as well as with the work of Dante Alighieri, writing, “Moreover, if we assign the image imprinted on the Shroud to the Man who died during the Passover of 33 a.d., there are at least three documents in the literature attesting the occurrence of disastrous earthquakes during that event.”
Some are interpreting these findings as a testament to the Shroud’s authenticity, as it claims the medieval radiocarbon dating done by Oxford University in 1988 is erroneous.
When you select an area of the Shroud to examine in the above Master Photograph, point and click directly on that specific part of the image. You will be shown two, side by side closeups of the area you have chosen. One as it normally appears to the eye, and the other of the same area as it appears on a photographic negative.
Remember, images on a negative are normally flipped left to right. With the exception of the facial image of the Shroud, the negative images included here have not been flipped left to right. This allows for easier visual comparison. The negative images have been enhanced digitally to increase contrast. Below each set of closeups is a small Reference Icon highlighting the area you are currently viewing. Click on the Reference Icon to return to the Master Photograph and choose another area to examine.
In June-July 2002, a major restoration of the Shroud of Turin was undertaken by its owners. All thirty of the patches sewn into the cloth in 1534 by the Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire were removed. This allows the first unrestricted view of the actual holes burned into the cloth by the fire. It appears that some of the most seriously charred areas surrounding the burn holes were also removed during the restoration, most likely to allow the Shroud to be properly resewn to the new backing cloth.
The original backing cloth (known as the Holland Cloth) that was added at the same time as the patches, was also removed and replaced with a new, lighter colored cloth, which can now be seen through the burn holes. Although the creases and wrinkles that had been previously evident on the Shroud are not visible in this photograph, I am assured by those who have seen the restored cloth that they are in fact, still there. These are critical because they can help determine how the cloth was folded over the centuries and constitute an important clue for historians.
Is the Shroud real? Probably.
The Shroud of Turin may be the real burial cloth of Jesus. The carbon dating, once seemingly proving it was a medieval fake, is now widely thought of as suspect and meaningless. Even the famous Atheist Richard Dawkins admits it is controversial. Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, thinks more testing is needed. So do many other scientists and archeologists.
This is because there are significant scientific and non-religious reasons to doubt the validity of the tests. Chemical analysis, all nicely peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that samples tested are chemically unlike the whole cloth. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair. Recent robust statistical studies add weight to this theory.
Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature when the carbon dating results were published, recently wrote: “It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever.” If we wish to be scientific we must admit we do not know how old the cloth is. But if the newer thread is about half of what was tested – and some evidence suggests that – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.
No one has a good idea how front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth. Yes, it is possible to create images that look similar. But no one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud. Again, this is all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Skeptics believe that the shroud of Turin is just another religious relic invented to beef up the pilgrimage business or impress infidels. (Another equally famous painting, also claimed to have miraculously appeared on a cloth, cropped up in Mexico in the 16th century, “Our Lady of Guadalupe.”) The case for the forged shroud is made most forcefully by Joe Nickell in his Inquest On The Shroud Of Turin, which was written in collaboration with a panel of scientific and technical experts. The author claims that historical, iconographic, pathological, physical, and chemical evidence points to its inauthenticity. The shroud is a 14th century painting, not a 2000-year-old cloth with Jesus’s image.
McCrone’s theory is that “a male model was daubed with paint and wrapped in the sheet to create the shadowy figure of Jesus.” The model was covered in red ochre, “a pigment found in earth and widely used in Italy during the Middle Ages, and pressed his forehead, cheekbones and other parts of his head and body on to the linen to create the image that exists today. Vermilion paint, made from mercuric sulphide, was then splashed onto the image’s wrists, feet and body to represent blood.”
McCrone analyzed the shroud and found traces of chemicals that were used in “two common artist’s pigments of the 14th century, red ochre and vermilion, with a collagen (gelatin) tempera binder” (McCrone 1998). He makes his complete case that the shroud is a medieval painting in Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin (March 1999). For his work, McCrone was awarded the American Chemical Society’s Award in Analytical Chemistry in 2000…
Dr. Raymond Rogers, a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, claims that the part of the cloth tested and dated at around 1350 was not part of the original shroud. According to Rogers, the labs that dated the cloth to the 14th century tested a patch made to repair damage done by fire. How does he know this, since the patch was destroyed in the testing? According to shroud investigator Joe Nickell, Rogers “relied on two little threads allegedly left over from the sampling” and the word of “pro-authenticity researchers who guessed that the carbon-14 sample came from a ‘rewoven area’ of repair.” According to Nickell, P.E. Damon’s 1989 article published in Nature claims that “textile experts specifically made efforts to select a site for taking the radiocarbon sample that was away from patches and seams…
Dr. Rogers estimates the actual date of the shroud to be between about 1,000 BCE. and 1700 CE. Still, all the evidence points toward the medieval forgery hypothesis. As Nickell notes, “no examples of its complex herringbone weave are known from the time of Jesus when, in any case, burial cloths tended to be of plain weave” (1998: 35). “In addition, Jewish burial practice utilized—and the Gospel of John specifically describes for Jesus—multiple burial wrappings with a separate cloth over the face.”..
Of course, the cloth might be 3,000 or 2,000 years old, as Rogers speculates, but the image on the cloth could date from a much later period. No matter what date is correct for either the cloth or the image, the date cannot prove to any degree of reasonable probability that the cloth is the shroud Jesus was wrapped in and that the image is somehow miraculous. To believe that will always be a matter of faith, not scientific proof…
In short, what we have here is speculation built on speculation. A possible physical event possibly causes a nuclear event that possibly causes an image of a body on a cloth wrapped around the body and possibly infuses the cloth with misleading amounts of carbon-14 isotopes. No mention is made of how this alleged nuclear event transformed body parts into paint, however. Nor is any mention made that if Carpinteri’s speculations were true, no carbon-14 dating is reliable because some earthquake at some point in time could have resulted in misleading amounts of carbon-14 isotopes.
Over the 117 years since a photographic negative of the linen unexpectedly revealed the image of a tortured body, ranks of physicists and chemists have weighed in on the fabric’s age and the image’s composition. Forensic pathologists, microbiologists, and botanists have analyzed its bloodstains, along with specks of dirt and pollen on its surface. Statisticians have combed through mountains of data.
The sum result is a standoff, with researchers unable to dismiss the shroud entirely as a forgery, or prove that it is authentic. “It is unlikely science will provide a full solution to the many riddles posed by the shroud,” Italian physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro, a leading expert on the phenomenon, told National Geographic. “A leap of faith over questions without clear answers is necessary—either the ‘faith’ of skeptics, or the faith of believers.”…
Scientific inquiry into the shroud began in 1898, with the startling image captured by Italian amateur photographer Secondo Pia. Under normal conditions, only the vague sepia blur of a human body appears on the fabric. But when Pia examined the reverse negative of his photographic plate in the darkroom, he discovered the detailed likeness of a bearded man with visible wounds on his body.
For seven decades, indirect analyses of the image were conducted by researchers, most aimed at determining whether it had been painted onto the linen or produced through contact with a human corpse. It wasn’t until 1969 that scientists were allowed to examine the fabric directly, with the task of advising on preservation techniques and future testing. This set the scene for the establishment of the U.S.-led Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), which was granted an unprecedented five days of continuous access to the shroud itself in 1978…
In 1988, the Vatican authorized carbon-14 dating of the shroud. Small samples from a corner of its fabric were sent to labs at the University of Oxford’s Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (RAU), the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. All three found that the shroud material dated to the years between 1260 and 1390, more than a millennium after the life and death of the historical Jesus.
The labs assessed the reliability of their estimate at 95 percent. To make the case even more convincing, the dates closely coincided with the first documented appearance of the Shroud of Turin in 1353.
In its quest to establish a religion to gain power and wealth, the Church forgery mill did not limit itself to mere writings but for centuries cranked out thousands of phony “relics” of its “Lord,” “Apostles” and “Saints.” Although true believers keep attempting to prove otherwise, through one implausible theory after another, the Shroud of Turin is counted among this group of frauds:
There were at least 26 “authentic” burial shrouds scattered throughout the abbeys of Europe, of which the Shroud of Turin is just one…. The Shroud of Turin is one of the many relics manufactured for profit during the Middle Ages. Shortly after the Shroud emerged it was declared a fake by the bishop who discovered the artist. This is verified by recent scientific investigation which found paint in the image areas. The Shroud of Turin is also not consistent with Gospel accounts of Jesus’ burial, which clearly refer to multiple cloths and a separate napkin over his face.
Mythicist Barbara G. Walker, author of Man Made God, likewise comments on the holy relic mill:
About the beginning of the 9th century, bones, teeth, hair, garments, and other relics of fictitious saints were conveniently “found” all over Europe and Asia and triumphantly installed in the reliquaries of every church, until all Catholic Europe was falling to its knees before what Calvin called its anthill of bones…. St. Luke was touted as one of the ancient world’s most prolific artists, to judge from the numerous portraits of the Virgin, painted by him, that appeared in many churches. Some still remain, despite ample proof that all such portraits were actually painted during the Middle Ages.
And Dr. George A. Wells states:
About 1200, Constantinople was so crammed with relics that one may speak of a veritable industry with its own factories. Blinzler (a Catholic New Testament scholar) lists, as examples: letters in Jesus’ own hand, the gold brought to the baby Jesus by the wise men, the twelve baskets of bread collected after the miraculous feeding of the 5000, the throne of David, the trumpets of Jericho, the axe with which Noah made the Ark, and so on…
At one point, a number of churches claimed the one foreskin of Jesus, and there were enough splinters of the “True Cross” that Calvin said the amount of wood would make “a full load for a good ship.” The list of absurdities and frauds goes on, and, as Pope Leo X was depicted as exclaiming, the Christ fable has been enormously profitable for the Church.
As concerns the so-called blood purportedly on the shroud, CSICOP says:
BLOOD. The Associated Press reported claims that the shroud bears type AB blood stains. Perhaps this erroneous information has its origin in other fake shrouds of Jesus, since the Shroud of Turin’s stains are not only suspiciously red (unlike genuine blood that blackens with age) but they failed batteries of tests by internationally known forensic experts. The “blood” has been definitively proved to be composed of red ocher and vermilion tempera paint.”…
The conclusion here is that the pollen does not only grow in the “Holy Land” and that other arguments are metaphysical, not scientific.
In addition, where these researchers came up with the “eighth century” date one can only guess, but even if said date were correct, such would no more “prove” that the shroud was “authentic” in the sense that it was the “original burial cloth of Jesus,” than does the spurious argument used by other apologists that the remains of a first century boat found in the Sea of Galilee provide evidence that Jesus existed. The latter argument runs thus: “Here is a boat from the first century A.D. found in the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples would have ridden in a boat like this.” This line of argumentation is fallacious and unscientific….
However, the shroud’s appearance has been reproduced faithfully enough without any divine intervention, such as a supernatural flash of light. This latter idea posits a burst of ultraviolet light/energy from Christ’s flesh upon his resurrection, a notion refuted by the presence on the shroud of the beard and hair, unless they too possessed supernatural radiation.
In any event, a team of Italian scientists led by chemist Luigi Garlaschelli reproduced the shroud effect in 2009:
“The result obtained clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure.”… [The] team used a linen woven with the same technique as the shroud and artificially aged by heating it in an oven and washing it with water. The cloth was then placed on a student, who wore a mask to reproduce the face, and rubbed with red ochre, a well known pigment at the time….