Chemist Makes His Own Shroud Of Turin Medieval Style

Luigi Garlaschelli shows how the Shroud of Turin effect can be created with means available in the Middle Ages.

The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side.

Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business.

But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth.

Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. A mask was used for the face.

The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries.

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • anti_supernaturalist

    Commentary on Pope Benedict XVI’s kneeling before Shroud of Turin (2 May 2010)

    a very xian psychology of misperception

    What’s wrong with the face on the cloth? — the Shroud of Turin meets our expectations

    Consider the iconography of SoT — an image which “looks like” Jesus. Really? No one has any idea what Jesus looked like. No physical descriptions appear in canonic xian texts. Descriptions appearing in gnostic texts lack any historical authenticity, are contradictory, and are designed to inspire awe — Christ as a shape-shifting immaterial being who walks through closed doors.

    What pops up to your mind’s eye as a visual representation of Jesus/Christ? I see the well-trimmed beard of an almost middle aged caucasian with flowing locks who may (at the movies) even have aryan-blue eyes — dear white Jesus of Sunday school fame.

    Yet it has not always been so. An early image painted in the Catacombs shows Christ “the good shepherd” as a beardless youthful Roman with “the lost lamb” draped around his neck. The beardless youth also appears carved on xian sarcophagi along with lambs.

    To our eyes a beardless youth cannot be an icon of Jesus Christ. He is a shock, a failure to meet our expectations.

    In fact a youthful icon of Jesus/Christ must be defended and explained by art historians. The icon’s youth expresses symbolic meaning of joy, of life restored, of aging reversed. A broken, bleeding crucified “man of sorrows” Jesus must be seen as a post-resurrection Christ who emerges from the grave as the “new Adam” restored to beauty and strength.

    What about Jesus’ iconic beard? Roman men, old and young, shaved. Only Greek philosophers and barbarians beyond the pale of Rome grew beards. Beards got their cultural boost when barbarians destroyed the western empire and began to rule in its dismembered remnants (ca. 500CE).

    We retain a medieval iconography for what Jesus Christ looked like. He had to display his solid physicality and his right of kingship. A well-maintained and trimmed beard had already come to mean “manly authority”. Christ could not be a beardless lad. Jesus had to follow fashion.

    Medieval images seared into our memories belong to cultural conditioning which we accept from our earliest brainwashers — home, school, media, art. Countless repetitions of religious icons never allow these stereotyped memories to disappear.

    To de-deify them requires de-conditioning oneself. No one in the West succeeds fully. Not everyone tries. Some who do try are destroyed by authoritarian schools, authoritarian clerics, authoritarian parents.

    To see Jesus Christ in the SoT is a conditioned reflex that can defy our best efforts to secularize every image we were taught was “holy”. SoT meets an expectation created in millions through more than a thousand years of conditioning. That’s what’s so wrong with SoT — it meets our every expectation.


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