The Shroud of Turin – The Burial Cloth of Christ?
The Shroud of Turin is probably the most famous relic of the Christian world, but could it provide unique evidence to support the idea Jesus survived the Crucifixion?
The most authoritative website on the Shroud of Turin is Barrie Schwortz’s Shroud of Turin Website (www.shroud.com). Mr. Barrie Schwortz was the photographer responsible for photographing every square centimetre of the Shroud of Turin during the 1978 STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) scientific investigations.
The Shroud of Turin provides fascinating insight in to the events of the Crucifixion and for some researchers supports the thesis that Jesus survived the ordeal, first proposed by a Catholic author, Kurt Berna, in his book, Christ Did not Perish on the Cross, published in German in 1962, and in English in 1975. Later, In 1995, Holger Kersten, offering updated research, published the book, The Jesus Conspiracy: The Turin Shroud and the Truth about the Resurrection, in which he drew the same conclusion that Berna had drawn: that the markings and stains on the Shroud of Turin show not that the Man of the Shroud was dead, but that he was alive.
But wait – was the Shroud not exposed as a fake by radio carbon dating in 1988? Challenging new evidence has just come to light by chemical analysis of the samples taken for the carbon dating tests. The research paper by Raymond N Rogers claims to prove that the sample taken for the C14 test and an adjacent sample both show chemical characteristics that prove that they are from a rewoven part of the Shroud rather than the original cloth itself. This invalidates the C14 test as they were not carried out upon the actual original shroud cloth. This exciting new piece of research is examined in the section on Ray Rogers recent paper.
The Shroud of Turin – Carbon Dating
In October of 1987, Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero, of Turin, Italy, approved a list of three radiocarbon laboratories that would be allowed enough samples of the Shroud to carry out the test. These labs were: The Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s radiocarbon-dating facility at Zurich, and the University of Arizona’s facility at Tucson. The results was performed, and on October 13, 1988 in the British Museum’s Press Room, it was announced that the carbon dating had dated the Shroud to somewhere between the years 1260-1390. The conclusion was that the Shroud was a fake.
Invalid Dating Result
Current modern research shows the sample taken for the dating was not a part of the original cloth, but a rewoven area of the cloth. Thus the dating is invalid.
The Shroud of Turin – Ray Rogers’ 2005 Paper
On January 20th 2005 Raymond N Rogers had an article published in the chemistry journal “Thermochimica Acta”, Volume 425, Issues 1-2, pages 189 – 194. The paper was titled “Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of Turin”. In the abstract for the paper Roger made the bold statement:
“The radiocarbon sampling area was uniquely covered with a yellow-brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Prolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area couple with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the age of the shroud.”
Rogers’ findings extend further than simply declaring the sample taken for the C14 tests to not be from the actual cloth. In the process of carrying out his chemical analysis, in particular the analysis of the amount of vanillin lost from the lignin on the shroud, he was able to estimate that the Shroud of Turin was most likely between 1300 and 3000 years old, much older than the C14 tests suggested (click here for more details). In a recent TV documentary Barrie Schwortz noted:
“Amazingly when we look at the UV florescence photography of that area; the area where the samples were taken is dramatically different to the rest of the Shroud of Turin.“
The implications for this are huge. The single biggest obstacle for the scientific community in taking the Shroud of Turin seriously was the carbon 14 dating result of 1988. This result has now been declared null and void.
Ray Rogers [1927-2005]
Ray Rogers sadly passed away on March 8th 2005 after a long illness. Ray was the Director of the Chemical Research Group for STURP.
Did the Man of the Shroud Survive a Crucifixion?
The first person to theorize that the Shroud markings indicate that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixion was a Catholic man named Kurt Berna. The book was entitled ‘Christ did not perish on the cross’. It is clear that he considered himself to be a good Christian, who was only attempting to set the record straight. He saw his discovery as confirming Christian teachings, and he cited a verse from the Bible to support his belief that the Shroud of Turin shows that Jesus physically survived the crucifixion:
“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have.” (Bible, Luke 24:39)
Berna stated in his book:
“The Gospels were written in the first century, at a time when a person was considered dead if he had stopped breathing. But it was held by the Apostles and the early Church that the body of Jesus Christ in the tomb was imputrescible [incapable of decay]. We know, two thousand years later, that to be imputrescible a body needs blood circulation… And this is exactly the important scientific fact proved by the Holy Shroud: the body was imputrescible in the tomb—the scientific proof, in fact, for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with flesh and bones, as Jesus said in Luke 24:39…”.
The Shroud of Turin – The DNA of God
Just as important as the Shroud of Turin and intricately connected with the Shroud its surprising that the Ovideo cloth, or ‘Sudarium’, has had such little media coverage, and is far less well known.
The Ovideo cloth claims to be the sudarium (face-cloth) applied to Jesus after the crucifixion and covered his face whilst transporting him to his tomb. These details are known from studying blood flows on the cloth as well as studying its recorded history. Using image overlay techniques Dr Alan Whanger was able to show that the frontal stains on the Sudarium share 70 points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows 50. Thus there is very strong evidence that they both covered the same man at the same time. Both clothes also contain blood belonging to the rare AB blood group.
Interestingly the Sudarium has a documented history much before the C-14 date for the Shroud. In a recent TV documentary Mark Guscin, the leading English speaking expert on the topic, also states that some of the blood stains on the cloth are from the body “whilst its still alive”. In this same interview Guscin also reveals that by studying the folds its clear the cloth was pinned to one side and did not cover the full face in Jesus’ case.
The cloth was not wrapped entirely round the head because the right cheek was almost touching the right shoulder. This suggests that the sudarium was put into place while the body was still on the cross. The 2nd stain was made about 60mins later, when the body was taken down. The 3rd stain was made when the body was lifted from the ground about 45mins later.
The body was lying at the foot of the cross for about 45mins before being buried. The marks (not fingerprints) of the fingers that held the cloth to the nose are also visible.
Aloe & Myrrh
Felipe Monero, an expert in working with electronic microscopes, has found residues of what is most probably myrrh and aloes on the sudarium.