There is no record of the shroud during the first centuries of the Christian era, it is first mentioned in the 14th century, having been found in the Diocese of Troyes. Originally, the shroud was believed a forgery, even by the Church. The pope set up an inquiry to formally examine it and from their findings it was soon believed authentic.
Some tests, conducted by three prestigious laboratories in Switzerland, England, and the United States, found the shroud to contain spores and evidence pointing to the medieval era, a period long after the death of Christ. However, spores and evidence of Palestine were also found on the shroud (plant life, coins dating to the era were placed on the body's eyes and reproduced on the shroud) indicating the shroud was much older and had been in Palestine. The medieval evidence is circumstantial to the shroud being exposed to the contaminations of where it has been.
The Shroud and the Gospel Accounts:
The Gospel writers say that the body of Jesus, after being taken from the stake by Joseph of Arimathea, was wrapped in clean fine linen. (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56) The apostle John adds: Nicodemus also came bringing a roll of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds of it. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it up with bandages with the spices, just the way the Jews have the custom of preparing for burial. John 19:39-42.
The Jews customarily washed the dead and then used oils and spices to anoint the body. (Matthew 26:12; Acts 9:37) On the morning following the Sabbath, women friends of Jesus intended to complete the preparation of his body, which had already been laid in a tomb. However, when they arrived with their spices the body of Jesus was not in the tomb! (Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-3).
What did Peter find when he came shortly afterward and entered the tomb? The eyewitness John reported: He viewed the linen clothes lying (Vulgate), also the cloth that had been upon his head not lying with the cloth but separately rolled up in one place. (John 20:6,7).
The Christian writers of the third and fourth centuries, many of whom wrote about a host of miracles in connection with numerous relics, did not mention the existence of a shroud containing the image of Jesus. What happened to it at this time, if it did exist, is unknown.
Currently science is unable to explain the Shroud or date it. The push for it to be a medieval forgery has become bogged down with modern science, which has revealed that the shroud imprint is not merely a natural photographic negative but also can be scanned and rendered into an accurate 3D reproduction of the body. Also, the coins imprinted into the shroud had been placed over the body's eyes - they are found to correspond to the region and era where died. To create such a thing is far beyond medieval skill, let alone modern science.
The Vatican venerates the shroud as authentic.
AnswerHistory of the Shroud of Turin
Historical documentation shows that prior to 1355 A.D. the Shroud was displayed in the cities of Jerusalem, Edessa (500) and Constantinople (1092). Also, King Louis VII of France venerated the Shroud in Constantinople in 1147. We also know that during August 1203, Robert de Clari, a French crusader, reported seeing the Shroud in Constantinople.
The next historical citing place of the Shroud is France, in that it passed to the possession of the De Charny family of Lirey. Probably the Shroud was obtained during the Crusades and brought to Europe. The Shroud was later given to House of Savoy, and subsequently moved to Cathedral of Turin on Sept. 14, 1578.
Artistic imitations of the Shroud were displayed during the medieval period in Chambery, France; Lierre, Belgium; and Acireale, Sicily. Pierre D'Arcis's letter to the anti-pope, Clement VII, is not considered a reliable assessment of the Shroud's authenticity. In addition, do we know that he was assessing the Shroud in question, or was it one of the imitations?
Comparison of expectations with the Shroud of Turin
The next points concern the discussion of a comparison of expectations with the Shroud. First, it is assumed by some that burial spices of the kinds used have not been detected. However, traces have been found (see below). Also, Dr. Max Frei of the University of Zurich and founder of the Zurich Criminal Police's Scientific Service found, among other things, pollen from halophytes, which are adapted to a high salt content region such as is almost exclusively found around the Dead Sea.
In addition, the blood stains and body imprints on the Shroud are very consistent with the ancient Roman method of whipping and crucifixion. The Shroud reveals over 120 wound sites. Such an image could not have been painted because, first, medieval artists did not possess the skills of painting detailed human anatomy, as is clearly seen from the period's art. Second, unlike most artists' depictions of Christ being nailed in the hands, the victim of crucifixion in the Shroud was nailed in the wrist between the radius and ulna so that he could hang securely on the cross. This fact about Roman crucifixion methods was not known to medieval artists. Also, the nails at the wrist would have penetrated a nerve and caused the thumbs to snap into the palm. Accordingly, the thumbs of the man in the Shroud are hidden due to this nailing.
When one conducts a serious and open-minded study of the Shroud, he will see that the Shroud is completely consistent with what we would expect from someone crucified by Roman methods in the time of Christ. The consistent facts are too numerous to be discussed here.
Regarding scientific analysis, the STURP team stated the following: "We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientist in the future, the problem remains unsolved."
It is a fact that the blood stains are consistent with a body lying horizontal, while the hair fall is consistent with a body upright or risen. Rather than such facts contradicting the authenticity of the Shroud, they reveal something significant, a significance not seen by the skeptic.
Blood stains or paint?
Dr. John Jackson of the STURP team produced a three-dimensional picture from the Shroud. A regular two-dimensional image, such as that of a painting or a photograph, will only produce a badly contorted image in the VP-8 screen. However, when actual depth is shown by less light the VP-8 produces a three-dimensional picture. This evidence confirms that the Shroud is not like a painting.
Contrary to some claims, the STURP team determined that the stains were human blood of the AB group. This finding has been corroborated by others: Professor Pierluigi Baima Bollone, Professor of Medicine at the University of Turin, reported in 1978 that the blood stains were indeed human blood with traces of aloes and myrrh and belonging to the group AB. World renowned French geneticist Professor Jerome Lejeune also concluded that the blood sample he obtained was human hemoglobin.
Furthermore, Dr. Alan Adler, an expert on porphyrins, and Dr. John Heller, MD, studied the blood flecks on the STURP sampling tapes [Heller and Adler, Applied Optics 19, (16) 1980]. They converted the heme into its parent porphyrin, and interpreted the spectra taken of blood spots by Gilbert and Gilbert. Adler and Heller concluded that the blood flecks are real blood. In addition to that, the x-ray-fluorescence spectra taken by STURP showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood.
The 1988 test sample was not representative of the whole. It was taken from a patched area of the Shroud. The Shroud may have been patched during the Middle Ages, but we know of documentation of patching that took place during the 16th century. The patched-in material was colored with alizarin dye extracted from Madder plant roots. Very few scholars today, if any, think that the earlier 1988 carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin, reported in the journal "Nature", is correct.
Robert Villarreal and a team of scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated conclusively that the 1988 carbon dating is invalid. Villarreal states:
"[T]he age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case."
The Shroud of Turin has conclusively been proven to be a
Early history of the Shroud The cloth now known as the
Shroud of Turin first appeared about 1355 at a little church in
Liry, in north-central France. Its owner, a soldier of fortune
named Geoffroy de Charney, claimed it as the authentic shroud of
Christ, although he was never to explain how he acquired such a
According to a later bishop's report, written in 1389 by Pierre
D'Arcis to the Avignon pope, Clement VII, the shroud was being used
as part of a faith-healing scam:
"The case, Holy Father. stands thus. Some time since in this diocese of Troyes the dean of a certain collegiate church, to wit, that of Lirey, falsely and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but only of gain, procured for his church a certain cloth cunningly painted, upon which by a clever sleight of hand was depicted the twofold image of one man, that is to say, the back and the front, he falsely declaring and pretending that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb, and upon which the whole likeness of the Saviour had remained thus impressed together with the wounds which He bore. . . And further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked, certain men being hired to represent themselves as healed at the moment of the exhibition of the shroud."
D'Arcis continued, speaking of a predecessor who conducted the
investigation and uncovered the forger: "Eventually, after
diligent inquiry and examination, he discovered the fraud and how
the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested
by the artist who had painted it, to wit that it was a work of
human skill and not miraculously wrought or bestowed."
Comparison of the Shroud with expectation First of all,
the Shroud of Turin is inconsistent with John 19:39-40, 20:5-7,
which specifically state that the body was 'wound' with linen
clothes and a large quantity of burial spices ( myrrh and aloes).
Still another cloth (the napkin) covered his face and head. In
contrast, the Shroud of Turin represents a single, draped cloth
without any trace of the burial spices.
Some shroud advocates suggested the image was produced by simple
contact with bloody sweat or burial ointments. That is disproved by
a lack of wraparound distortions. Also, not all imaged areas would
have been touched by a simple draped cloth, so some sort of
projection was then proposed. Others began to suggest that the
image was 'scorched' by a miraculous burst of radiant energy at the
time of Jesus' resurrection. However, the actual scorches from the
1532 fire [which damaged the Shroud] exhibit strong reddish
fluorescence, whereas the shroud images do not fluoresce."
Scientific analysis ln 1969 the Archbishop of Turin
appointed a commission to examine the shroud. The commission
included internationally known forensic serologists who
unsuccessively used microscopic, chemical, biological and
instrumental tests to validate the blood. Experts discovered
reddish granules that would not even dissolve in reagents that
dissolve blood, and one investigator found traces of what appeared
to be paint. An art expert concluded that the image had been
produced by an artistic printing technique.
Further examinations were conducted in 1978 by the Shroud of
Turin Research Project (STURP), a group whose leaders were on the
Executive Council of the Holy Shroud guild, a Catholic organisation
that advocated the cause of the supposed relic.
STURP pathologist Robert Bucklin claimed the images were
anatomically correct, yet a footprint on the cloth is inconsistent
with the position of the leg, the hair falls as for a person
standing rather lying down, and the physique is unnaturally
elongated (similar to figures in Gothic art).
Microanalyst Walter C. McCrone examined tape-lifted samples from
the shroud and identified the supposed blood as tempera paint
containing red ochre and vermilion along with traces of rose
In 1988, three laboratories (at Oxford, Zurich, and the
University of Arizona) used accelerator mass spectrometry to
carbon-date samples of the linen. The results all stated that the
linen was produced around 1250-1390 CE.
(Source: Joe Nickell, "Science Versus Shroud Science", Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?, pages 265-274 - with citations.)