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  • Shroud of Turin

    by Anthony Parente

    The Shroud of Turin is one of the most revered and one of the most controversial symbols in the Christian community. The Shroud, which has been stored in the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Turin Italy since 1578, is believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The Shroud bears the image of a sunken-eyed man who has lacerations, bruises, blood stains, and a stigmatism. All of these are consistent with the marks on the body of Jesus Christ. Like many relics and symbols to date there is always debate as to the validity of the item.

    Since the 19th century people have been trying to determine whether or not this is truly the Shroud that Jesus was wrapped in. Many believed that this cloth was manufactured during Medieval times using various paints and pigments to create the image of Jesus. So the debate began. It wasn't until 1988 that people thought they finally uncovered the truth.

    In 1988 three separate laboratories from three different countries were given a small sample of the cloth to test. Each laboratory performed carbon-14 dating to find out how old the cloth was. Each test determined that the cloth was made sometime during the 13th or 14th century. With all three tests reporting the same findings it was concluded that the cloth could not have been the one used to wrap the body of Jesus.

    Since that time many have questioned the accuracy of the test and the potential for contamination, which would cause the carbon dating to give an inaccurate reading. Recent tests add to the controversy and refute the findings done by carbon dating. Close analysis of pollen and images of plants taken from the Shroud show that the cloth dates back to at least the 8th century BC. The same pollen samples were also noted on the Sudarium of Oviedo, which many believe to be the burial face cloth of Jesus. What strengthens the claim is that this particular pollen comes from a thistle that can only be found in Jerusalem and it generally blossoms only around spring time. These two characteristics make it possible for the cloth to be in fact the Shroud that Jesus was buried in.

    These findings prove that science can and will be able to uncover the answer. After all isn't science a series of experiments and steps that lead you to either prove to disprove a particular theory or notion. Once you are unable to discredit an experiment you have finally reached your solution.

    Until science can provide us with a definite answer we can all draw our own conclusions whether or not the image on the Shroud is that of Jesus Christ.


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