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Shroud of Turin

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Shroud of Turin.jpg

The Shroud of Turin is the piece of cloth that Jesus Christ was allegedly buried in. This woven piece of burial cloth is made of one large piece of linen. Its measurements are fourteen feet by three and a half feet. There are images that have been uncovered on the cloth that indicate that the man who was wrapped in it was crucified and whipped. The evidence that has been uncovered leads to insinuations that it was in fact the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. No results have been found that validate the authenticity of the cloth, but the majority of the evidence aim toward the actuality that Jesus was once buried in it.

Images have been located on the cloth through ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, lasermicroprobe Raman analyses, thermography, microchemical testing, and pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry. The images on the shroud show ventral and dorsal images of the crucified man who laid in the Shroud. The color of the shroud at this point is a caramel looking color due to chemical reactions over time, altering the hue of the linen cloth. The Shroud is coated in starch fractions and saccharides that form a thin layer that show the images of the man. The carbohydrate coating on the cloth show the image. The areas in which the image is hard to make out are due to a lack of carbohydrate coating. The images on the Shroud are said to be negative due to pictures that result in negative create a positive image.

Besides the images on the cloth, other evidences are present on the Shroud. Although it is potentially up to two thousand years old, bloodstains can be found on the Shroud. Although they are not visible to the naked eye, they have been found through serum albumin tests that prove the presence of blood on certain areas of the linen cloth. The test tracks for hemoglobin which would be due to bloodstains from the man wrapped in it. [1]


History

X-Ray view of the Shroud of Turin

The first instance of this shroud being found was within the millenium after Jesus' death. In 544, the cloth was discovered within the city of Edessa, Greece. The cloth had been hidden within a wall in the city. [2] It was cleverly preserved by being hidden above a gate within the wall. When the cloth was found, little suspicions arose about the history of the cloth. Once it was under proper inspection, people realized the blood stains that were on it and the image of a man was shown. It wasn't long before much evidence led to the fact that it once covered Jesus Christ Himself.[3]


Four hundred years later, the cloth was sent from the Greek city of Edessa to a city in Constinople known as Byzantine. The cloth was not taken easily though. Emperor Romanus I of Constantinople ordered his armies to obtain possession of the Shroud by any means necessary. After stealing the cloth, they transferred it to their capital city of Byzantine. By this time, the observations of the cloth had the capabilities of being much more accurate and in depth. Through much studies, a clear image was able to be viewed of the man that was once in the cloth. The blood and sweat stains were now easily seen as well.[4]


The Shroud of Turin remained in possession of the people of Constinople until 1204. After this point, it is unknown where the Shroud went. At this time, it is documented that the capital city of Byzantine, Constantinople, was raided by Crusaders. The Fourth Crusade is said to be the source of this plundering. On April 13, 1204, knights from France and Venice raided the city and stole many important valuables, including the Shroud. Shroud expert Ian Wilson states that, "Although a crusader describes seeing a cloth with a figure of Jesus on it, he reports that after the city was captured, neither the Greeks nor the French crusaders knew what happened to it." It was not until about a hundred years later that a cloth showed up that is supposedly the same cloth.[5]


Although the location of the travelling shroud directly after this point is unknown, many speculations are evident. Theodore Ducas Anglelos wrote a letter to the Pope, Innocent III, regarding the Shroud. "The Venetians partitioned the treasure of gold, silver and ivory, while the French did the same with the relics of saints and the most sacred of all, the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after His death and before the resurrection." According to his account, the people of Venice did, in fact, take possession of the Shroud.[6]


In 1207, Nicholas d'Orrante claims to have seen the Shroud that covered Jesus Christ. Not only him, but the abbot of Casole and the Papal legate in Athens recorded seing the burial cloths with their own eyes. [7]


In 1356, a French knight claimed to have possession of the lost burial cloths. Geoffrey de Charney descended directly from a Crusader in the Fourth Crusade, the notorious crusade that ransacked the city of Byzantine. De Charney's possession of the cloth could clarify the location of the shroud during the time its location was unknown. This implies that the shroud was kept a secret within the Crusaders and was eventually passed down in generations to Geoffrey de Charney. He announced that he had the shroud of Jesus Christ to the public once he got it. [8]


Shortly after, Geoffrey was killed in battle. On August 4, 1389, the Shroud was taken out of possessions of the de Charneys and was seized by his widowed wife, Jeanne de Vergy, who sent it to one of Troyes' churches. After this, the shroud was sent back and forth between churches and was studied in many different locations. From this time on, all locations of the Shroud have been documented. The cloth has made its way to nearly all parts of the world. Today, studies continue to be done to determine the authenticity of the shroud.[9]


Radiocarbon Dating

Facial area of the Shroud of Turin


The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin has been debated since centuries since its original discovery. No conclusions have been made to confirm whether its real or a fake. The cloth has detailed images that appear to be a man who was crucified and whipped. There are images of the man's front and back the strongly resemble what would match up with Jesus' profile.


The point of radiocarbon dating would be to determine the age of the Shroud. In October of 1987, radiocarbon dating began in three different laboratories in Arizona, Oxford, and Zurich. From then on, radiocarbon dating of the cloth continued to take place in different places. One year later on Paril 21, 1988, the Turin Cathedral removed a sample of the Shroud. Small pieces were removed for observations due to the fact that not the entire cloth is necessary for radiocarbon dating. If small samples are cut from the Shroud, they can be moved to different locations to preserve time and effort.


The dating created results that were accumulatively sent to the British Museum Research Laboratory to further analyze the results and make a conclusion from it. The three locations of testing supplied various results in different trials. Most of the studies showed that it was from about 600 to 2,000 years old.


After analyzing the data, the British Museum Research Laboratory concluded a 95% confidence estimation that it was made during mediaeval times from about year 1260 to 1390. These results clearly conflict with the Biblical account of when Jesus died, over one thousand years before this time.[10]

Bible about shroud

Arguing against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is the Bible’s complete lack of evidence for such a burial shroud.The Bible mentions a whole piece of linen that was used to take Jesus’ body from the cross. This linen was probably also used to transport the body to Joseph of Arimathea’s nearby tomb. At the tomb hasty preparations for burial were made; these would have included washing the body and rewrapping it. Luke 24:12 mentions “the strips of linen.” These same strips (plural) are mentioned twice in John 20:5-6 . And John 20:7 says there was a “cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.” This description of the actual burial clothes—“strips” of linen, rather than one large piece; and a separate cloth to cover the head—seems to negate the claim that the Shroud of Turin is the burial shroud of Christ.[11]

References

  1. Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin Multiple authors, 1989, Macmillan Magazines Ltd.
  2. History of the Shroud of Turin Daniel R. Porter, 2004, Shroud of Turin Story
  3. Sugar Coated Shroud of Turin Unknown Author, Unknown Date, Shroud of Turin For Journalists
  4. Sugar Coated Shroud of Turin Unknown Author, Unknown Date, Shroud of Turin For Journalists
  5. Case File: Shroud of Christ? Unknown Author, 2004, Educational Broadcasting Corporation
  6. Sugar Coated Shroud of Turin Unknown Author, Unknown Date, Shroud of Turin For Journalists
  7. Sugar Coated Shroud of Turin Unknown Author, Unknown Date, Shroud of Turin For Journalists
  8. Sugar Coated Shroud of Turin Unknown Author, Unknown Date, Shroud of Turin For Journalists
  9. Highlights of the Undisputed History Ian Wilson, 1996, Shroud.com.
  10. Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin Multiple authors, 1989, Macmillan Magazines Ltd.
  11. Is the Shroud of Turin authentic?