The pressing question for those who dismiss the Shroud of Turin as a fake and those who profess its authenticity is what elements of its existence can reasonably be proven. Although surprising to some, the fact is that very little about the shroud can be proven.
The Shroud of Turin is purportedly the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. The cloth measures about fourteen feet long and about three-and-a-half feet wide. Recently, a group of scholars reexamined the shroud, using the most modern methods, and found that an earlier carbon-14 dating, which placed the date of the shroud in the early Middle Ages, tested only a section of the cloth that was a later addition and may have overlooked the fact that some of the fibers actually date from the first century. Under certain lighting conditions, the shroud also seems to some to show the impression of the face of a grown man. Forensic tests on the shroud also suggest that it once covered the body of a man who had been brutally beaten on the head, face, and back and received some type of open wound in the side. Some believe that they can even detect marks from wounds in the hands. Despite early assertions that the shroud was a late pious or malevolent forgery, further testing has also shown that the shroud was not painted. The image preserved on the shroud was the result of a chemical reaction between the cloth and the bodily fluids of the man placed in it.
The shroud is certainly the burial cloth of a man who was brutally beaten before death, perhaps even a death by crucifixion. That is the single verifiable fact surrounding the shroud.
The shroud may likely be the same as the Shroud of Edessa-where legends place the beginnings of Christianity to the first century under Abgar V. The Shroud of Edessa was found under a pile of rocks or embedded in a cement wall in A.D. 544. The shroud was taken to Constantinople in August 944 and then subsequently taken to Europe after the sack of Constantinople in 1204-7. After the shroud’s removal from Edessa, dozens of individuals reported having seen the shroud, thereby passing on the shroud’s famous legacy. Eventually, the shroud was placed in the cathedral in Torino (Turin) Italy, for safekeeping.
Many fanciful stories have been pieced together to account for the shroud’s initial whereabouts and how it arrived in Edessa. The huge gaps in documenting the shroud’s whereabouts and the legends that have grown up about it have created enormous skepticism among Protestant scholars. Scholars have attacked the authenticity of the shroud from several angles, including the inability to account for its origins, the original carbon-14 dating, Roman and Jewish burial practices that seem to differ from how the shroud was used, and the simple fact that no one knew of it until the sixth century. On the other hand, defenders of the shroud have pointed out that it was likely used to cover the body of a crucified man, that legends of its existence abound-all preserving a similar tradition, and that stone fragments from the shroud are found also in the region of Jerusalem (travertine aragonite). Unfortunately, unless further information comes forward, the authenticity of the shroud can be neither proven nor disproven.
Living out a great season of my life, thanks to Jesus Christ, and two wonderful daughters, a great life's work. Loving this opportunity to share faith online... I'm a single Mom, convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, second-gen Italian, from the East coast originally. Love the fine arts, dance, frozen yogurt, temples, scriptures, writing, jazz, helping others reach their potential, king salmon, ....and not in that order. God is good. I feel it deeply when people have a misconception of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, His Son, that lessens or cheapens Them and blinds one's ability to feel His presence or to trust in an ultimately good eternal end to life's circumstances.