Mystery in History The Shroud of Turin Part 2

About the famous holy relic the Shroud of Turin, mystery and history of the shroud's veneration.


The Event: The Veneration of the Shroud of Turin

This answer to the mystery poses several difficulties. To start with, close examination by experts has failed to reveal any traces of paint on the cloth. Furthermore, the imprint on the cloth is a negative image, and many of its anatomically realistic details were not even discernible until the shroud was photographed and a positive image was thereby created. It hardly seems possible that a medieval artist could have had such a sophisticated knowledge of anatomy, or that he would have gone to all the trouble to paint a negative image hundreds of years before the invention of photography. The imprint on the cloth also includes a number of details contrary to the rigid conventions of medieval Christian art. For one thing, Christ is nude; for another, the wounds are in his wrists--where experts now know the Romans drove the nails--rather than, as conventionally depicted, in the hands. Lastly, recent tests have revealed certain pollen fossils imbedded in the cloth which could have come only from plants that grew exclusively in Palestine during the time of Christ. (Carbon 14 tests have not been conducted on the shroud, although the possibility has been discussed in recent years.) It hardly seems likely that a forger would have painted the imprint on a genuine Palestinian burial cloth of the 1st century.

Since crucifixion was such a common means of execution during Christ's time, some have asked, why couldn't the shroud be the burial cloth of a contemporary who met death in a manner similar to that of Jesus?

The problem with this explanation is that the Romans had refined the tortures of crucifixion to the point that they had an endless variety of methods. But the details on the shroud of Turin exactly match the description of the crucifixion that has come down to us in the Gospels. The body also appears to have been handled in a way consistent with Palestinian Jewish burial practices of the period. It has been estimated that the odds against another man having been tortured, killed, and buried in the identical way as Jesus are 225 billion to 1.

If the shroud is authentic, why was it not discovered until 13 centuries after Christ's death?

No one has a conclusive answer to this one, but many sindonologists (sindon is the Greek word for shroud) believe that the shroud of Turin is the same as the "Image of Edessa" that was venerated for centuries in the Byzantine Empire. The Image of Edessa disappeared from Constantinople after it was sacked during the fourth Crusade, and may have made its way to France as part of the booty of a Crusader.

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