Reason 21: The Shroud of Turin Physical Evidence of Jesus Resurrection
Is there any physical evidence Jesus even existed? Yes, beside the archeological evidence found in Jerusalem confirming the testimony of scripture. One of the most amazing and controversial pieces of evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin is rectangular cloth measuring 4.4 × 1.1 m (14.3 × 3.7 ft), the cloth is woven in a 3 to 1 Herringbone twill. On this cloth is an image of man both the front and back, he appears to be been crucified, his arms and legs are pierced, along with his side. His front and back appear to be whipped, and his head appears to have the wounds from piercings of thorns.
The question asked by is this Jesus’ burial cloth or is it just an artist’s forgery? Critics argue that this was created in the middle ages and is just a forgery. They say carbon dating has proven it has been dated to the 12th century, therefore
it is a forgery.
The Shroud of Turin is housed in the Cathedral of Turin since is was given by the descendants of Savoy to the Holy See in 1983.
The History of the Shroud
How the cloth found it way to Europe has been the subject of debate, this is one of main reason it authenticity is questioned because its origin is in question. Scripture clearly tells us of a burial cloth used in the tomb of Jesus.
(52) This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
(53) Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.(54) It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.(55) The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.
(59) And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud (60) and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
(46) And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
The origin of the Shroud before its appearance in Europe can be demonstrated in historical documents. For example the Hungarian Pray Manuscript dated to 1192, a show a shroud just like the Shroud of Turin, Jesus is pictured laying naked in a cloth, arms and legs crossed, there are identical marking too the Shroud of Turin. This gives credit to the argument, the Shroud was taken from Constantinople by Crusaders of the 4th Crusade, bridging the gap in time, 1204 to 1356 when the Shroud’s whereabouts were questioned. Following the 4th Crusade, after the troops from Venice and France looted and burned Constantinople a letter of protest was sent to Pope Innocent III, in the letter they say they say a linen cloth of Christ was stolen saying:
“Most sacred of all, the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before his resurrection”
According to history, the Shroud was first brought from Edessa to Constantinople in AD 944; history records Gregory the archdeacon of Hagia Sophia Cathedral describing a full body image on the linen cloth from the tomb of Christ in a sermon.
Before it was in Constantinople the shroud was in Edessa. King Abgar of Edessa, an Armenian King (13-50 AD) according to legend converted to Christianity when Jude Thaddeus one of the 70 Apostles took the cloth to him after he requested Jesus come and visit him. King Abgar had leprosy and heard about Jesus and the healings taking place in Jerusalem. Thaddeus came from Jerusalem with the cloth; he was healed when he rubbed his face in the cloth. He commanded all pagan idols be burned. According to tradition, Thaddeus and Bartholomew died in Armenia after they left Jerusalem (Matthew 10:3). Thaddeus died in A.D. 43 and Bartholomew in A.D. 66.
What about Carbon Dating?
There are several answers to the dating of the Shroud of Turin to the 13th century.
- The Shroud of Turin was damaged in 1532 in a fire, molten silver put holes in it, water to put out the fire could have contaminated the Shroud as mold and bacteria from a wet cloth would affect the Carbon 14 Data. The Poor Clare Nuns tried to repair it by patching the holes; this could have also impacted the Carbon 14 dating. Where the sample was taken from is also important.
- Carbon Monoxide from the burning could have also infused fresh Carbon 14 into the sample contaminating the sample.
On the contrary the evidence for the Shroud of Turin is utterly amazing.
The 3 to 1 Herringbone Weave of the Cloth
According to textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg of Hamburg, a seam in the cloth corresponds to a fabric found at the fortress of Masada near the Dead Sea, which dated to the 1st century. The weaving pattern, 3:1 twill, is consistent with first-century Syrian design, according to the appraisal of Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology in Belgium. Flury-Lemberg stated, "The linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin does not display any weaving or sewing techniques which would speak against its origin as a high-quality product of the textile workers of the first century."
The Image is an exact negative…it was not known until 1898..after it was photographed by Secondo Pia. Pia was accused of creating the image since it was so amazing.
Limestone from Jerusalem
Joseph Kohlbeck from the Hercules Aerospace Company in Utah and Richard Levi-Setti of the Enrico Fermi Institute examined some dirt particles from the Shroud surface. The dirt was found to be travertine aragonite limestone. Using a high-resolution microprobe, Levi-Setti and Kolbeck compared the spectra of samples taken from the Shroud with samples of limestone from ancient Jerusalem tombs. The chemical signatures of the Shroud samples and the tomb limestone were found identical except for minute fragments of cellulose linen fiber that could not be separated from the Shroud samples.
Pollen and Flowers
In 1997 Avinoam Danin, a botanist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reported that he had identified Chrysanthemum coronarium (now called Glebionis coronaria), Cistus creticus and Zygophyllum whose pressed image on the shroud was first noticed by Alan Whanger in 1985 on the photographs of the shroud taken in 1931. He reported that the outlines of the flowering plants would point to March or April and the environs of Jerusalem. In a separate report in 1978 Danin and Uri Baruch reported on the pollen grains on the cloth samples, stating that they were appropriate to the spring in Israel. Max Frei, a Swiss police criminologist who initially obtained pollen from the shroud during the STURP investigation stated that of the 58 different types of pollens found, 45 were from the Jerusalem area, while 6 were from the eastern Middle East, with one pollen species growing exclusively in İstanbul, and two found in Edessa, Turkey. Mark Antonacci argues that the pollen evidence and flower images are inherently interwoven and strengthen each other.
In 2008 Avinoam Danin reported analysis based on the ultraviolet photographs of Miller and Pellicori taken in 1978. Danin reported five new species of flower, which also bloom in March and April and stated that a comparison of the 1931 black and white photographs and the 1978 ultraviolet images indicate that the flower images are genuine and not the artifact of a specific method of photography.
Forensics, beyond anything the Middle ages could know
Blood not paint
Working independently, forensic pathologist Pier Luigi Baima Bollone concurred with Heller and Adler's findings and identified the blood as the AB blood group. Subsequently, STURP sent flecks from the shroud to the laboratory devoted to the study of ancient blood at the State University of New York (SUNY), Binghamton. Dr. Andrew Merriwether at SUNY stated that it is almost certain that the flecks are blood, but that no definitive statements can be made about its nature or provenance, i.e., whether it is male or from the Near East. He also stated that no blood typing could be confirmed, as the DNA was badly fragmented.
Both digital image processing and analog techniques have been applied to the shroud images.
In 1976 Pete Schumacher, John Jackson and Eric Jumper analyzed a photograph of the shroud image using a VP8 Image Analyzer, which was developed for NASA to create 3D images of the moon. They found that, unlike any photograph they had analyzed, the shroud image has the property of decoding into a 3-dimensional image, when the darker parts of the image are interpreted to be those features of the man that were closest to the shroud and the lighter areas of the image those features that were farthest. The researchers could not replicate the effect when they attempted to transfer similar images using techniques of block print, engravings, a hot statue, and bas-relief.
However optical physicist and former STURP member John Dee German has since noted that it is not difficult to make a photograph which has 3D qualities. If the object being photographed is lighted from the front, and a non-reflective "fog" of some sort exists between the camera and the object, then less light will reach and reflect back from the portions of the object that are farther from the lens, thus creating a contrast which is dependent on distance.
Shroud researcher Colin Berry has observed that the scorch marks and holes in the shroud also produced clear 3D images under the VP8 analysis. He deduced from this that the shroud image was produced by light scorching, and has produced 3D images from scorches using appropriate software.
Pilate Coins in the Eye
NASA researchers Jackson, Jumper, and Stephenson report detecting the impressions of coins placed on both eyes after a digital study in 1978. They saw a two-lepton coin on the right eyelid dating from 29-30, and a one-lepton coin on the left eyebrow minted in 29. The existence of the coin images is rejected by most scientists.
In 2004, in an article in Journal of Optics A, Fanti and Maggiolo reported finding a faint second face on the backside of the cloth, after the 2002 restoration.
The front image of the Turin Shroud, 1.95 m long, is not directly compatible with the back image, 2.02 m long.