What are the secrets of the Shroud of Turin?
The greatest question remains around how the Shroud was formed. But other questions abound. For example, the timing of the Roman Catholic Church’s release of the STURP findings. And not least, the darkest secret of all. How the Shroud itself undermines the Christian Gospel.
Image on the Shroud
The Shroud of Turin has been the favoured relic of the Roman Catholic Church for many years. It is a rectangular cloth, 4.4 m long by 1.1 m wide, in herringbone twill and made up of flax fibrils. It bears an almost indistinguishable sepia coloured frontal and rear human image on its length.
Details of the form became apparent after photographs were taken by an amateur Italian photographer Secondo Pia in May 1898. Pia was amazed by the clear image the negative plate revealed in his darkroom demonstrating that the image on the shroud was in fact formed in the negative.
Stains found on the cloth were reported to have contained whole blood and conform to the sort of wounds consistent with crucifixion. A vast number of linear wounds on the torso and legs are consistent with the method of Roman flagellation.
As with the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Christ, a wound in the side penetrates the thoracic cavity. That this occurred after the death of the victim is demonstrated by the separate components of red blood cells and serum draining from the lesion. There is a deep puncture in the wrist of the uppermost hand. The second wrist is covered. A wound on the ankles point to a single spike having pierced both. The face showed signs of having been severely beaten and small punctures on the forehead suggest that the victim was indeed Jesus Christ who was forced to wear a crown of thorns during the hours leading up to his crucifixion.
In 1978 tests by a team of American scientists known as STURP found no reliable evidence of forgery but were unable to explain the how the image might have been formed.
In 1988 the Roman Catholic Church agreed to a carbon dating test under strictly monitored conditions. Small samples of the shroud were submitted to three laboratories in England, USA and Switzerland. All three reached the same conclusion that the shroud could be dated between 1260AD and 1390AD and could therefore not be the the cloth on which Jesus Christ was laid.
Since this time, several articles from scholarly sources have stated that the samples used may not have been representative of the whole Shroud. “The nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remains deeply puzzling” – this according to Philip Ball, former Nature editor.
Release of STURP Findings
STURP has performed two investigations of the Shroud of Turin. The first was a general examination of the cloth and its image. Findings by the scientists involved were released on 13 October 1978.
Although the carbon dating tests could have been performed in less than a week, there was a six month delay by the Roman Catholic Church authorities in the release of the second STURP findings. The announcement finally came on October 13, 1988, exactly ten years after the initial report. Is it co-incidence that this date happened to be the anniversary of the attack on the Order of the Temple in France in 1307? If it was deliberate, what was the Church’s intention? Surely by suggesting a link between their relic and the Order of the Templars, they were not only agreeing that the shroud was a fake, but were implying the involvement of the Templars in its creation. Read Nimrod Twice Born.
Is the Shroud of Turin a Genuine Relic?
The Roman Catholic Church is wedded to its relics. Its very existence and validity is established upon relics and the Shroud of Turin is not only the best known, but the most influential relic of them all. It appears to establish the veracity of the resurrection of Christ as though the impossible took place in a moment in time, a flash of supernatural light imprinted the image of a corpse upon the cloth in which the body of Christ lay. Why then is the Church content to discredit this proof of the resurrection?
A relic is simply a bad facsimile of the real thing, like the keeping of a mouldy rose as a reminder of a wedding. For the disciples of Christ who approached the tomb of Jesus Christ on the third day and discovered that the stone was rolled away, the rolled-up grave clothes would not only have been repulsive, they would have been irrelevant. As Jews who had been brought up under the Hebraic law none would have touched a bloodied cloth pertaining to the dead. As believers in Christ, they were concerned for their Lord alone. When a loved one dies, who considers taking a garment he or she was wearing to remember them by?
Would the God who commanded that there should be no worship of images create an image of His Son? Faith believes in the unseen and needs no relic to bolster it. Devotion to relics and images act in direct contradiction to biblical faith and fall into the realm of magic.
So what of the Shroud of Turin? There is undeniable evidence that the shroud was the same cloth that found its way into the hands of King Abgar V of Edessa not long after Christ’s death. Its progress can be traced, not only by circumstantial evidence, but by the pollen grains caught in its fibres, from Edessa to Constantinople and across Europe. So, is this mysterious grave-cloth a fake – or is it genuine?
Nimrod Twice Born offers the answers to this question and a multitude of others. This novel unravels the conspiracy, which began at the foot of the cross, and reverberated down the centuries. Read it on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009BCB17O or buy it here