The Turin Shroud could be Christ’s death cloth after all, sensational new evidence shows.
Sceptics previously scoffed at such claims and insisted the religious relic said to show the face and body of Jesus was nothing but a clever forgery.
And when radiocarbon dating appeared to show the shroud was from the Middle Ages, it seemed to prove the doubters right.
But new research suggests that carbon dating gave a false reading.
The previous sample could have been contaminated by repairs made to the linen following a fire in 1532.
Professor Giulio Fanti, of Italy’s Padua University, measured radiation given off by fibres of the shroud, which is kept in a climate-controlled case in Turin Cathedral.
He says his tests show the cloth was made between 300BC and AD400. Jesus was crucified in about AD35, within a few years of the middle date of the two extremes.
It does not prove that the image on the shroud IS of Jesus, but it adds considerable weight to other supporting evidence.
Prof Fanti, who is publishing a book about his findings, says: “I must separate the scientific aspects from the religious ones.
“From a religious point of view, I am sure the shroud is authentic and that it is the most important relic of Christianity.
“From a scientific point of view, both my researches and the studies performed by students with me lead to a confirmation of the authenticity of the shroud, even if no sure proof has been evidenced.”
The shroud is just over 14ft long and almost 4ft wide.
It bears the ghostly image of a bearded, naked man with his hands folded across his privates.
His body has wounds corresponding to those of Jesus’s crucifixion as described in The Bible and there are reddish-brown stains that look like dried blood.
The first mentions of the shroud are in the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
They state that a rich Jew, Joseph of Arimathea, wrapped Jesus’s dead body in a burial cloth before placing it in a rock tomb.
A cloth, thought by some to be the shroud, was held by the Roman emperors in Constantinople until that city was captured in 1204 by Crusaders from Western Europe.
Then, 150 years later, there are accounts of it being held in the French town of Lirey by a knight, Geoffrey de Charny, who was killed at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.
In about 1390 the shroud was denounced as a fake by Bishop Pierre d’Arcis of Troyes, who said its forger had admitted it was a clever painting.
It seemed the case was closed — but a major problem remained.
Modern science has shown that however the image on the cloth was created — and to this day no one is sure how — it was NOT with paint.
In 1453 the shroud was donated by one of de Charny’s descendants to the Dukes of Savoy, who ruled independent land in what is now Italy and France.
It was stored in a specially built chapel, but in 1532 was damaged in a fire after a piece of molten silver burned through it.
Nuns known as the Poor Clares repaired it and in 1578 the shroud was moved to the Dukes’ capital of Turin for further restoration.
The haunting image on the Turin Shroud is extremely faint and only became an international sensation in 1898 after it was photographed for the first time.
Lawyer Secondo Pia was a keen amateur snapper, well known in Turin as a pioneer of what was then a new technology. When he developed his photo of the shroud, he was shocked to find the negative plate gave a positive image.
This was hugely significant as it suggested the shroud was in some way itself a negative. Christians came to believe the image on the shroud was created by a short but very powerful burst of light, perhaps some form of radiation, from the body of Jesus during the Resurrection.
Non-believers accused Pia of doctoring his photo, but a later picture by a professional photographer produced the same result.
The shroud’s credibility suffered a hammer blow in 1988 when it was subjected to radiocarbon dating by experts at Oxford University, Arizona University and the Swiss Federal Institute Of Technology.
All three teams reported with 95 per cent certainty that the cloth dated to between 1260 and 1390. That coincided with about the time the shroud is first mentioned for certain in historical records.
The evidence seemed conclusive — the shroud was a fake.
But doubts emerged after it was pointed out that the small sample of cloth used in the carbon dating could have been contaminated by one of the shroud’s repairs.
As the Irish Sun reported four years ago, even one of the radiocarbon dating experts came to believe their testing had been faulty.
Ray Rogers, a chemist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, recorded a dramatic video shortly before his death from cancer in 2005.
In the video he says: “I don’t believe in miracles that defy the laws of nature.
“After the 1988 investigation I’d given up on the shroud, but now I am coming to the conclusion that it has a very good chance of being the piece of cloth that was used to bury the historic Jesus.”
Now the new findings from Professor Fanti may make believers of many more people.
Categorized in: Belief
This post was written by hackya