2013 Favs: New Tests Date the Shroud from the Time of Christ

New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which went on display Saturday (March 30) in a special TV appearance introduced by the pope, date the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments that dated it only to the Middle Ages.

… The new test, by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy, used the same fibers from the 1988 tests but disputes the earlier findings. The new examination dates the shroud to between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D., which would put it in the era of Christ.

… It determined that the earlier results may have been skewed by contamination from fibers used to repair the cloth when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages, the British newspaper reported. The cloth has been kept at the cathedral since 1578.

… The new tests also supported earlier results claiming to have found traces of dust and pollen on that shroud that could only have come from the Holy Land. (Read the rest here.)

(Doug Stanglin writes for USA Today.)

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  • Bill S

    “It determined that the earlier results may have been skewed by contamination from fibers used to repair the cloth when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages, the British newspaper reported. The cloth has been kept at the cathedral since 1578.”

    Oh boy. This is such a ruse. The artist who forged this confessed to it immediately. The 1988 carbon dating was not compromised by the repairs to the cloth. This is going to end in embarrassment when these Italian scientists are exposed as the frauds that they are.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, who is this artist and when did they confess?

      As for how it “ends,” I can’t predict.

      • Ohtobide

        “Owing mainly to the researches of Canon Ulysse Chevalier a series of documents was discovered which clearly proved that in 1389 the Bishop of Troyes appealed to Clement VII, the Avignon Pope then recognized in France, to put a stop to the scandals connected to the Shroud preserved at Lirey. It was, the Bishop declared, the work of an artist who some years before had confessed to having painted it but it was then being exhibited by the Canons of Lirey in such a way that the populace believed that it was the authentic shroud of Jesus Christ.”

        This is from the online Catholic Encyclopedia, which is about 100 years old now, but I think reliable about the state of knowledge 100 years ago.

        • Bill S

          Thank you. I tried to post the same information but was deleted. So far, the Church has not tried to say that this is a true relic. It is indeed a 14th century masterpiece of forgery.

          • Guest

            Except it has been established that the shroud isn’t painted. So, you’ll have to try again Bill.

    • grace w

      Bill so will you be embarrassed. You rave on absolute crap!

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      The real miracle was the invention of an entirely new artistic style that was never used before or since. Even a glance at other 14th century art is enough to make one scratch his head and wonder why anyone would forge a painting that would have looked all wrong to the medieval viewer. You can’t even see the image under normal conditions. And the figure is, like, you know, naked. The nail marks are in the wrists, and everyone “knew” they had been driven through the palms.

      There was at least one copy of the shroud painted, possibly more. This was common in those days. Even today one may find artists in the museums painting copies of older masterpieces.

      AD 1349. The
      cathedral at Besançon (where the looted Shroud had been hung after the hijacked crusade) was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground.
      Perhaps fearing for the safety of the Shroud, a copy was painted and
      when the Shroud of Besançon went on display again three years later in a
      rebuilt cathedral, it was this copy that was used. Everyone knew it
      was a painted copy.
      AD 1355. According to the “D’Arcis Memorandum”, written more than
      thirty years later, the first known expositions of the Shroud are held
      in Lirey at around this time. Large crowds of pilgrims are attracted and
      special souvenir medallions are struck. A unique surviving specimen can
      still be found today at the Cluny Museum in Paris. Reportedly, Bishop
      Henri refused to believe the Shroud could be genuine and ordered the
      expositions halted. The Shroud was then hidden away.

      Since this was roughly when the painted copy went on display at
      Besançon, it is possible that the Bishop of Troyes confused the original at Lirey with the copy at Besançon when
      famously said that an artist was known to have painted the Shroud.

      The painting of the Shroud continued on display at the Chapel of
      the Holy Shroud in Saint-Etienne (Besançon). It had become an important
      object of veneration in the seventeenth century, a period of conflict
      (Thirty Years War, annexations and withdrawals of France from this
      region) and yet another round of the plague. Indeed, the surrender of
      the city to French armed forces, in 1674, was conditioned upon a requirement to keep this relic at the Cathédrale Saint-Jean
      de Besançon. When the Revolution came, the Rationalists sent the Shroud
      of Besançon to Paris (27 Floréal, an II — or May 16, 1794, in real time),
      where they threw it in a rational fire.

  • pagansister

    And the testing goes on—-and on—and on! This may never be solved, but it gives folks something to wonder about and scientists something to continue to study.

  • Mick

    The scientific community and the custodian of the Shroud (Archbishop of Turin) are not taking the latest study seriously because the chain of custody of the sample used can’t be verified and the methods used to date it are not recognized as valid. Also, Fanti did not have his study peer-reviewed before having the book published.

  • Theodore Seeber

    “Why, since Christianity was a persecuted sect during much of the latter half of this time, would they do it?”

    It’s rare that I see anybody write a question that contains its own answer.

    A part and parcel of at least *some* of that persecution can be found in the pesudoigripha from the time, the New Testament writings that didn’t get into the Bible. I’m thinking precisely the story of Simon The Magi (aka Simon De Magus), who attempted, it is said, to duplicate the miracles of Christ, and finally died attempting to exceed the miracles of Christ. A bit of what we would call today a common stage magician, and a favorite of Emperors as he got more famous.

    Also, since Simon the Magi was the earliest recorded proponent of the “swoon theory of resurrection”- I could easily see two explanations for why somebody would forge the burial cloth of Christ during this time, one in support of the swoon theory (see, it’s all a hoax) and the other rejecting the swoon theory (see, we have the burial cloth of Christ and clearly his wounds were far too great for the swoon theory to be accurate).

    His death, it is said, was blamed on Sts. Peter and Paul, and led to their executions, so the time frame would be the same.

    He’s also mentioned in Acts Chapter 8, and the canon crime of Simony (paying for ordination and or certain positions in the Church) is named after him.

  • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

    If I understand correctly, if you take the results of the tests together (i.e. some of the tests ruled out some dates), then the only valid dates remaining are from 1 to 100 AD.

    • Jim

      33BC +/- 250years

  • Jim

    Yes it was compromised! A researcher found a strand of cotton thread, almost invisible, in the remaining piece of the Shroud sample. And it is not widely reported that the labs didn’t agree on a date, Oxford’s date was a 100 years later than the Tucson lab, and the margin of error not enough to cover the gap. Why such a difference in dating from samples from such a small area? When they announced the results, they just combined the results together, but that’s not kosher. In this recent set of tests, using three different methods, the results overlap – but the C14 tests, using basically the same method, give widely spaced results? Fishy!

    • Bill S

      All evidence points to the Shroud being created in 14th century France. That’s when it showed up, that’s when the Bishop exposed it in a letter to the Anti-Pope and that’s the age that the 1988 testing, which was far more scientific than the recent testing at Padua, indicates. People who try to provide the Shroud as proof of the resurrection are way out in left field.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Bill, I am not claiming that the Shroud is genuine. I honestly don’t know. However, you are far too biased. Almost every comment you make — and you make a LOT of comments — is in some way or aother a jibe against faith or the Church. Most of the time, you just repeat yourself with things you’ve read that were written by some Church-Christian-basher. You also say things with absolute certainty that are clearly open to conjecture. This is no exception.

      • Jeffrey Liss

        Sorry, this statement is simply false. “All evidence?” Hardly. In reality, the preponderance of the evidence favors authenticity. The cloth is consistent with 1st century, Jewish manufacture and use. The blood is real, human blood. The image cannot be reproduced by any known means — never mind one available to a medieval artist. Pollen and dirt on the cloth derive exclusively from the environs of Jerusalem. The body is anatomically correct, the wounds accurately depicted, and serum halos around some blood stains indicate clotted, post-mortem blood. The list (quite literally) goes on and on: http://www.acheiropoietos.info/proceedings/FantiListWeb.pdf

  • FW Ken

    Is Lirey the same as Turin?

    Actually, its been fun reading about this. Christians are open-minded, mostly in the “who knows” mode. We don’t need the shroud and seem to understand that this is not an object of faith. “Skeptics” are the absolutists here, but that’s often true.

  • Bill S

    “You also say things with absolute certainty that are clearly open to conjecture.”

    Sorry. I always mean IMO but I state it as a fact. I’ve done a lot of research because there are a lot of “yeah, but”s in changing my world view. I once viewed the Shroud as proof positive of my faith and feel that I have been duped as to its authenticity. I should not have relied on it so much.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You should not have relied on it at all. As I said in my earlier post on this subject, if you’ve come to know the Lord, you don’t need other proof. I would guess that the Holy Spirit is trying to talk to you Bill, and that you are not able to hear because of all the confusion and jumble in your heart.

  • http://www.pinocchios.net Sean Keohane

    Dear Rebecca, happy Easter! Glad to see your posts on the Shroud of Turin.
    Above is the link to the full exhibition, or ostentation, out of Turin on Holy Saturday. Not sure how long the link will work, and you will need Microsoft Silverlight on your computer to watch it. (Downloading that was not a problem for me, though I am often “technically challenged.”) Watching just the beginning, for the High Definition images of the Shroud itself, might be all one needs to do. Remarks from Pope Francis about 45 minutes in to the presentation. (Translation to his comments at http://www.shroud.com .)

    As for Dr Fanti’s recent tests (and new book) that have received international press, Mick’s comments above are correct. It doesn’t mean his results may not be correct, but unfortunately it probably means those results cannot be taken seriously scientifically. However, Dr Fanti is certainly reputed to be an honest man, and he has published in peer reviewed journals before, so one trusts he will do so again very soon.

    For FW Ken: Yes, the Shroud of Turin is the Shroud of Lirey (mid-fourteenth century) and the Shroud of Chambery and several other places! It is known to have traveled quite a bit before being taken to Turin, and has even moved about since then.

    For Bill: While it would be unwise to let one’s faith in Christianity depend on the Shroud of Turin, it wouldn’t be much better to let one’s thoughts about the Shroud of Turin to be too strongly influenced by the memorandum by Bishop Pierre d’Arcis to which the Catholic Encyclopedia refers. There were some Jesuits who thought a “cult” of the Shroud of Turin was an example of backward peasant superstition in a far more educated age (the late 19th century), and the Encyclopedia entry is a reflection of that. First of all, though there were communications between Anti-Pope Clement and d’Arcis, involving the canons of Lirey and the family that had built the church there and owned the Shroud at that time, it is not certain that the specific letter by Bishop d’Arcis was actually sent. Nor is his complaint the whole story; though the anti-pope ordered the Shroud be exhibited only as a “representation” of Christ’s true Shroud, and not as the genuine article– not too different from what current popes may say about it– he did not prohibit the showings, and he further commanded Bishop d’Arcis keep silent about the matter in the future.

    Secondly, the bishop’s information is not first hand; he writes about an enquiry under his predecessor, and that’s when there was supposed to be a “confession” by an artist. Though all parties in Bishop d’Arcis’ time seem to accept there was some controversy in the past about the Shroud, there is no surviving evidence of any such enquiry, nor any confession on record. D’Arcis evidently didn’t have any documentation, either, as he never mentions the supposed artist’s name. In the time of the predecessor, the only surviving documents we have show the old bishop praising the head of the family, Geoffrey de Charny; there’s no hint there was any funny business which has come down to us outside of Bishop d’Arcis’ complaints.
    Also, what exactly does the story of a “confession” mean? You are relying on Chevalier’s translation into English of a memorandum written in Latin, if memory serves. The only line about the confession suggests what, exactly, in the original Latin? That the Shroud was “painted” by an artist? We can see it wasn’t. That the Shroud was “crafted” by an artist? Maybe, but no “who” and no “how” is given. The Latin might not mean “the artist who made it,” but “AN artist who COPIED it,” proving to d’Arcis it could be re-produced. There certainly were copies of the Shroud in Turin– like the Shroud of Besancon– but when one looks at them, one immediately recognizes them simply as manmade copies.

    Many years ago, I set out to prove not only that the image on the Shroud was manmade, but who the 14th century artist who made it was. I started with the d’Arcis letter, as written up by Chevalier, which is where many people end. But it is itself a dead end. You may be interested in “The Sign” by art historian Thomas de Wesselow, published an Easter or so ago. He does not believe in the resurrection of Christ either, nor does he believe the Shroud would be proof of the resurrection. But he makes an expert case that no artist of the time could have (or would have had any reason to) make the image we know as the one on the Shroud of Turin.

  • http://www.pinocchios.net Sean Keohane

    Well, and now I am simply replying to myself on the Shroud! But as the Italian replay link above is no longer valid, here is a new Youtube link for those interested in the Holy Saturday ostentation:


    Hope everyone had a great “Quasimodo Sunday!”