Last Updated By Bill's Bible Basics :
February 16, 2017
In addition to reading and studying all of the information which is available in this section of the Bill's Bible Basics website regarding the Shroud of Turin, and the Sudarium of Oviedo, please also consider reading my article entitled "Faith and the Shroud of Turin
" in order to gain a full perspective regarding this issue.
By Mary Jo Anderson - WorldNetDaily
During the 10 weeks that the Shroud was recently on display in Turin, Italy, millions of people gazed at the tortured figure that some claim is Jesus of Nazareth.
Scientific debate over the authenticity of the Shroud continues. At the heart of the controversy is the validity of the carbon dating performed on samples snipped from the Shroud in April 1988. All three labs which tested the samples concurred: The Shroud was dated 1260-1390 AD.
Many in the academic and scientific community were stunned. Earlier scientific examinations, medical and historical studies had placed the Shroud in the first century. But additional evidence now calls into question the process of carbon dating on certain materials--textiles in particular.
A fascinating finding comes from Dr. Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes of the University of Texas. The author of The DNA of God, Garza-Valdes notes that a biopolymer coating manufactured by bacteria and fungus is notoriously difficult to clean, and compromises any accurate dating of the linen fibers that are coated with the material. Garza-Valdes claims the coating is present on the surface of the Shroud.
Researchers who point to the Shroud as an authentic artifact of the first century call into question a near religious fervor for the accuracy of carbon dating. Famous and often hilarious examples are cited that credibly argue that carbon dating may be among the least accurate methodologies for assessing the age of the Shroud.
Dr. Wolfli, head of the Swiss lab that participated in the carbon-14 dating on the Shroud, ran a C-14 test on his mother-in-law's 50-year-old tablecloth. The results of the C-14 test set the age of the textile at 350 years old! The University of Arizona lab dated a Viking horn as a "back to the future" anomaly: 2006 AD.
Other types of tests indicate the Shroud is the real thing. One example of microscopic testing that supports the Shroud as authentic is the 1978 sample of dirt taken from the foot region of the burial linen.
The dirt was analyzed at the Hercules Aerospace Laboratory in Salt Lake, Utah, where experts identified crystals of travertine argonite, a relatively rare form of calcite found near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
It is a stretch, say researchers, that a 13th century forger would have known to take the trouble to impregnate the linen with marble dust found near Golgotha in order to fool scientists six hundred years later.
Dating debates aside, some that would debunk the Shroud as a medieval fraud claim that it is a painted image--a claim that is quickly dispatched by simple investigations. The reddish oxide found on the Shroud is not paint, according to x-ray fluorescent analysis. Famous artists have attempted to paint in a manner that re-creates the 3-D effect seen on the Shroud, all to no avail. The linen has no brush strokes, no pigments.
Furthermore, forensic evidence confirms that the red stains are blood, type AB, and that this blood has elevated levels of bilirubin, presumably caused by the trauma of scourging. Drs. John Heller of the New England Institute and Alan Adler of Western Connecticut State ran a series of blood studies. Pathologists confirmed their work.
Another historical cloth, the Sudarium of Oviedo, known from the first century as being the face cloth of the entombed Christ, also contains bloodstains--type AB.
Modern medical investigations have yielded a vast amount of physiological information that was unknown in the Middle Ages. The medical studies on the image of the "Man of the Shroud" reveal a bloody and brutal death.
Careful review of the angles of the flow of blood from certain wounds indicates an impossible accuracy for a painted, flat image. Clearly, the image is derived from a real body. Enhanced magnifications of the wounds on the back uncover dumb-bell shaped pellet marks, consistent with the scourging whips used by Roman soldiers, wounds that fall in precise relationship to the contours of the body, over the shoulders and around the sides.
Most startling for a layman is the anatomical accuracy of the "disappearing thumbs." On the Shroud image, the victim lies with his hands crossed over the lower abdomen. The natural position would expose at least one thumb. However, when a spike is driven through the median nerve of the wrist, the thumb jerks back into the palm. French surgeon Pierre Barbet asks, "Could a forger have imagined this?"
The Sudarium. The Sudarium of Oviedo is reportedly the other linen cloth found in the tomb of Christ, as described in the Gospel of John. The relic has been in Spain since 631 A.D.
John 20:5-7 records, "' he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there and the cloth that had covered His head, not with the burial cloths, but rolled up in a separate place."
Unlike the Shroud, the Sudarium, which covered the face of Christ for a short time before the body was wrapped in the longer burial cloth, does not carry an image of a man. Instead, the cloth, held against a face of a man who had been beaten about the head, shows a distinct facial impression and pattern of stains. Measurements and calculations, digitized videos and other forensic evidence indicate that the Sudarium of Oviedo covered the same head whose image is found on the Shroud of Turin.
Part of Jewish burial custom was to cover the face of the dead, sparing the family further distress. The sudarium, from the Latin for "face cloth," would have been wrapped over the head of the crucified Christ, awaiting permission from Pontius Pilate to remove the body. Stains made at that time are from deep puncture wounds on the portion of the cloth covering the back of the head, consistent with those puncture marks found on the Shroud of Turin, theoretically made by the crown of thorns.
A separate set of stains was made when the crucified man was laid horizontally and lymph flowed out from the nostrils. The composition of the stains, say the Investigation Team from the Spanish Center for Sindology, is one part blood--type AB--and six parts pulmonary edema fluid. This fluid is significant, say researchers, because it indicates that the man died from asphyxiation, the cause of death for victims of crucifixion.
Recently, Dr. Alan Whanger, professor emeritus of Duke University, employed his Polarized Image Overlay Technique to study correlations between the Shroud and the Sudarium. Dr. Whanger found 70 points of correlation on the front of the sudarium and 50 on the back.
"The only reasonable conclusion," says Mark Guscin, author of The Oviedo Cloth, "is that the Sudarium of Oviedo covered the same head as that found on the Shroud of Turin." Guscin, a British scholar whose study is the only English-language book on the Sudarium, said, "This can be uncomfortable for scientists with a predetermined viewpoint; I mean, the evidence grows that this cloth and the Shroud covered the same tortured man."
The significance of the Sudarium to the Shroud, in addition to the forensic evidence, is that the history of the Sudarium is undisputed.
Juan Ignacio Moreno, a Spanish magistrate based in Burgos, Spain, asks the critical question. "The scientific and medical studies on the Sudarium prove that it was the covering for the same man whose image is [on] the Shroud of Turin. We know that the Sudarium has been in Spain since the 600s. How, then, can the radiocarbon dating claiming the Shroud is only from the 13th century be accurate?