See also http://www.shroudstory.com/
There have been several in-depth studies of the Shroud by scientists from various disciplines using the best tools of the trade in recent times.
All the evidence points to the image being caused by a quick burst of light/radiation, kind of like the way a photographic image is produced on film. The image on the Shroud is a photographic negative; it coloration is on the outer fibrils of the fiber, and is not a dye in the fiber itself.
The blood stains are of real blood.
The cloth is a herring-bone twill used in ancient Israel.
Pollen from the cloth can be traced to plants from the Middle East.
The image is of a man 6.0, 180 lbs. or so, crowned with thorns, crucified with nails, and beaten by whips so badly as to have virtually no skin on his back.
C-14 dating places it at around 1300 AD--three separate tests. But critics of this study point out that there was a fire in the building where the Shroud was housed around that time, which even damaged some of the cloth. This could have affected the C dating. Bacterial plaque on the Shroud would have absorbed smoke, and that could have affected results as well.
Christian faith is not based on the Shroud, of course, but it is possible that it provides a witness to the skeptical people of this age that Jesus really did live, and that his resurrection is a real historical event.
What do you think about the Shroud?
Superb web site! Thanks, Phil.
I remember when I sawn an exhibit at some museum somewhere about the Shroud. I was just a little kid, and I already believed in the resurrection. But when I saw the artifacts (not the originals) and read about it, I just felt so much more strongly confirmed in my faith. It seems to me that this is one of the things that miracles and relics do; confirm and solidify the faith that has already been given.
I do believe the Shroud is a kind of wake-up call for materialistic, modern intellectuals. Many of them don't even believe that Jesus lived, much less rose from the dead.
The shroud is quite interesting but it would be difficult to say for sure who was wrapped in it. I would make a very poor Catholic as I don't ascribe much value to objects - people and ideas, yes - but things are just things. I understand the power of symbols but I get a bit queezy about worshiping finger bones and such. If that's being sacriligeous then I apologize. Don't mean to be.
No problem at all, Brad. In fact, it gives me an opportunity to say that the Catholic Church doesn't really ask Catholics to believe in apparations, relics, and the like. You can be a perfectly good Catholic and not believe, for example, in the message of Fatima, which the Church has found to be worthy of belief. Hence, we make a distinction between Tradition, with a large T, which includes doctrines which define the faith, and traditions with a small t, which includes things like the Shroud, miracles, apparitions, etc. Christian faith has never depended on these kinds of thing.
Quite right, too, that it's impossible to prove the identity of the person wrapped in the Shroud. Only, the crucifixion of Jesus is particularly unique in his being crowned with thorns. There is also that intriguig issue of the image being something akin to a photographic negative. How to explain this has baffled the best of scientist. One hypothesis is that his resurrection could account for it--a short burst of high energy. Most interesting, I believe.
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