Shroud of Turin Dated…

Shroud of Turin Dated… January 7, 2014

to the time of Christ.  That’s because  it is the face of Christ, imprinted on the shroud in which he was buried.  The atheism of the gaps loves to come up with ways to try to avoid this, but in fact, there is a) a reasonable account for how it could have been formed (though I don’t leave out the possibility that it is just flat miraculous) and a perfectly reasonable account of how it got from Jerusalem on Easter morning to France in the 1340s.

For some, the notion that there is a naturalistic explanation for the Shroud deprives it of a divine origin.  Me: I find myself thinking, “Out of all the millions of people who have lived and died, it seems like more than luck that only Jesus of Nazareth should have his image preserved.”

And I can’t help but think that atheists of the gaps sense rather the same connection, since they spend so much time attempting the hopeless task of writing it off as what it obviously is not: a “medieval forgery”.

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  • The Deuce

    “…there is a) a reasonable account for how it could have been formed (though I don’t leave out the possibility that it is just flat miraculous)”

    I personally go with “flat out miraculous” because:

    1) Assuming that it’s even possible for a Maillard reaction to produce a distinct and high-resolution image of a body on a cloth, which is highly dubious, the diffusion theory still cannot account for the presence of Jesus’ hair in the image, even in principle.

    2) The diffusion theory is premised on accepting that the Shroud is indeed Jesus’ burial cloth. But, once that premise is granted, it seems far too fortuitous that the only example of such “natural” image-formation we have ever observed happened to the one guy in all of history who was seen by many to have bodily risen from the dead. It seems far more plausible to me (in an Occam’s razor sort of way!) to conclude that the miraculous-seeming image formation was part of the resurrection-miracle – more plausible, in any event, than postulating the existence of a never-observed image-formation process that happens all the time but that we just never noticed or reproduced.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      A miracle will entrain physical events. Those physical events will have natural sequences. The birth of a baby is a miracle. That does not relieve our parents of some participation in it.

      • SteveP

        Amen, Amen!

      • The Deuce

        I agree. What I mean is, I think the most plausible conclusion is that the image is a physical product caused by Jesus’ resurrection rather than his death (perhaps something like the cloth collapse theory, or perhaps the image was created by God as a deliberate miracle in and of itself, in the process of the resurrection).

      • If the birth of a baby is a miracle, then anything is a miracle (the birth of a fly or the working of my computer).

        • said she

          If the birth of a baby is NOT a miracle, then please demonstrate how you can make it happen on your own.

          • Well, I cannot even make it rain.

            • Catholic Fast Food Worker

              Mr. Hernan Cortez, kidding, I’m Mexican-Italian & tell that joke to all my Hernan friends, what do you have against miracles? Don’t be bitter, man! Live life to its fullest, live life with Joy in the Light of Faith of our Christ Jesus. Life is short, friend. Watch this EWTN video on the Shroud of Jesus by a Jewish scientist.
              Tell me what you think, Hernan, mi amigo.

      • Catholic Fast Food Worker

        Ye Olde, On EWTN, a Jewish Scientist Barrie Schwortz, defends the Shroud of Jesus in the midst of Evangelical Protestants.
        Title: EWTN Live 2013 Barrie Schwortz- Shroud of Turin
        Please tell me what you think of it.

    • One thing the Maillard reaction is known to produce: deliciousness.

      If God chose the same process to create a memorial of his Son’s death and resurrection, it would be a fitting addition to the Maillard effect’s manifold natural perfections.

  • AquinasMan

    The clincher, for me, is that someone concocting a fake would not have done so as a “negative” image, since the whole concept of “negative imagery” would not be discovered for many centuries later. A hoaxer, hoping to convince the most people, would have created a positive image, not a negative.

    Additionally, it’s not conceivable that such a fantastic artistic process would have been limited to a crucified agitator. We would have seen images of departed “divine” Roman Emperors (or leaders of other empires later in history) memorialized in the same way.

    • The Deuce

      And it’s not just that it’s a negative. By itself, the image appears to be made of some faintly perceptible orangeish smudges. It’s only in contrast-enhanced monochrome negative that the details really come out.

      It’s also a 3D topography map. In other words, the “lighting” on it isn’t perspective-based like a painting. Rather, the parts of Jesus that would be closest to you looking straight on (and hence closest to the cloth) are the brightest (in negative), and the parts further away are darker. It produces a granular 3D image with the hue is mapped to elevation.

      The image is also a mere 200-600 nanometers deep throughout the cloth, about the thickness of a single cell wall. It wasn’t painted, or burned in, because both methods would produce a deeper image (and also because the image isn’t made of paint and has no directionality).

      And there are a number of other notable features about it. Those are just some of the notably notable ones.

      You often see skeptics trying to figure out how such features could’ve been “forged” with Medieval technology, but that’s misguided. Those things *couldn’t* have been forged, because you couldn’t even *see* any them prior to the last century.

      What the skeptic *actually* needs to show is how a Medieval forger could have set out to forge a faintly smudged cloth… and ended up with a highly-detailed full-body topography map only 200-600nm deep and viewable only in photographic negative purely by accident. That’s a tall order.

      • “That’s a tall order.”

        And what it’s our (we, catholics living in 2014) more credible/logical explanation of all that, including the 3D topography map?

        Tell me if I miss some alternative , and tell me which one do you prefer (only, please, don’t just tell me you prefer to mix them) :

        1. The shroud is authentic, it wrapped the body of the dead Jesus and the image was naturally formed (naturally = according to what know about physical phenomena, the “printing” could have happened with any dead body)

        2. Idem, but the image was produced by means of some unkown-to-us cuasi-supernatural-but-yet-physical (say, photographic) process, always related to the “geometry” of the thing (say, some unkown form of energy, rays or special chemical reaction, due to some special property-power of Jesus’ body, or perhaps by the resurrection process itself)

        3. Idem, but the image was drawn directly by God (as some people believe about the image of Gudalupe), it’s a miracle that is given to us as a sign and gift

        If 1: then an atheist should have nothing to object (unless he is nut enough to disbelieve in Jesus’ existence). But, then, all those strange 3D features are still without explanation, and they are no more believable than a forgery.

        If 3: then I don’t quite get the sense of the gift; a sign… in negative? further, would the “physical realism” of the thing make sense here? further, would the miracle really require that the shroud wrapped Jesus’ body? I don’t see why.

        I won’t go into option 2.

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to argue against the authenticiy, I would love to see it (not only for curiosity, but also for devotion), what I can’t quite swallow is the triumphalism about it, the disdain for the atheists’ objections. Some atheists need to believe that th shroud is a forgery, and some catholics need to believe that the Virgin spoke in Medgujorge. (Some/most) atheists have their superstitions and intellectual inconsistencies, as well as (some/most) catholic have. I’m more worried about the later.

  • Someone I know used to say: The real miracle is that Jesus softens my heart of stone.

    The Shroud might display the veritable image of Jesus of Nazareth in the tomb, and it would merely be interesting. An encounter with Him happens or can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. If the Shroud helps that to happen, bless the Shroud. If not, pass on…

    • SteveP


    • chezami

      That is the healthiest attitude to it. I believe the Shroud to be genuine as I believe Oswald to have shot JFK: because it’s the best synthesis of the evidence. I don’t believe in it as I believe in Jesus Christ, which is a faith that, while based on evidence, is also a matter of personal encounter. Atheism *needs* the Shroud to be fake. I don’t care if it’s genuine or not and my faith does not stand or fall with it. I’m just persuaded it is the real thing. I can rest easy either way. An atheist is driven by the haunting need to explain it away.

      • I believe that best synthesis is called the vera causa. One arrives at the most probable cause.

        I came across the term while reading Stephen C. Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt – which incidentally changed somewhat my attitude towards Intelligent Design as the most probable explanation for certain phenomena in evolution.

  • DEBUNKED! Of course you have to believe that science is the only definitive way to verify and accurately date antiquities.

    Shroud Of Turin Reproduced; Italian Group Says Relic Is Man-Made …

    • The Deuce

      An article from 2011 couldn’t possibly have debunked research from 2013.

      • Stu

        Sometimes the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google doesn’t quite work out.

        • The Deuce

          I think what he meant was, science is the only definitive way to build a time machine, so you can go back in time and write an article debunking new research two years before it’s published.

          • Stu

            Oh…well then…that’s different. I wonder if he has a talking dog that wears glasses too.

      • Another time traveler!

    • Stu

      You are serious?

    • Money without God?

    • chezami

      Ah yes! Faith literature written to reinforce Unit Cohesion. Don’t let reality get in the way of your atheist dogma, True Believer!

      • Faith is a requirement for those whose beliefs aren’t rationally justified by the evidence.

        I’m sure an omnipotent God could have foreseen the science that demonstrably proves that the shroud didn’t come from the time period suggested and could have provided evidences that are infallible thus eliminating the need for faith.

        What ambiguous evidences exist for Christians to hold dearly to the fragile faith.

        • AnsonEddy

          Confused, huh? It’s okay it happens. Let me help you out a little: When Mark says above that the truth claims of Christianity neither rise nor fall on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, what he means is “the truth claims of Christianity neither rise nor fall on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin”. He’s a professional writer so sometimes he gets carried away on the flowery verbiage.

          • Stu

            +1 and I salute you.

            That was funny.

        • chezami

          It’s as if all I have to do is provide the proper Pavlovian acoustic stimulus (“Something something FAITH something something”) and the intellect worshipping atheist launches into pre-recorded speech, unencumbered by the thought process or any actual use of the intellect. Do you even know *how* to read, Cash?

        • What could the term “rationally justified” possibly mean? If something’s justified then it is, ipso facto, rational. Can something be “irrationally justified”?

          • Mariana Baca

            Something could be rational but not justified, if you had only pieces of a rationalization. Conversely, something could be justified by things other than reason, like emotions or testimonies, without being proven by reason.

        • Sigroli

          And the belief that there is no God *is* “rationally justified by the evidence?”

          Present me with that evidence (scientific and empirical, of course) and I will pay your mortgage for the next year. If you cannot provide that evidence, you will pay my rent for the next year.

          Fair enough?

      • Catholic Fast Food Worker

        Hey, chezami or Mark Shea, did you know a Jewish Scientist (Dr. Barrie Schwortz) advocates the validity of the Shroud of Jesus to Evangelical Protestants? He, a modern Jew, himself doesn’t believe in Jesus as divine, but based on his many years of research studies, firmly supports the idea of the Shroud as the real deal. He was interviewed by Fr. Pacwa on EWTN:
        Title: EWTN Live- Barrie Schwortz- Shroud of Turin 2013
        I bet you & your audience will enjoy this EWTN video.

        • Catholic Fast Food Worker

          Sorry, it’s Fr. Pacwa’s show (I watch it every Wed.), but the substitute interviewer is (as usual) Fr. Wolfe, one of Mother Angelica’s friars, very humble man. Both Fr. Pacwa & Fr. Wolfe rock.

          • Stu


            Are you a “Catholic” who works with Fast Food or do you work with “Catholic Fast Food”? 🙂

        • chezami

          Hadn’t heard of him, but I think any person of common sense ought to come to similar conclusions just as any person of common sense should conclude that Booth killed Lincoln. It’s not a matter of supernatural faith to think the Shroud is Jesus’, but of obvious evidence. Only atheists, blinded by a credulous faith in the lamest skepticism, seem to me to be unable to get this.

    • Candy

      Did you read the article? ‘They failed with lasers’, but that’s neither here nor there; It’s artsy; A priest once said it was fake; Created between 1260 and 1390, etc.

      This is skepticism? This is science?

      It’s circular reasoning and not even common sense.

      Read it again. The contradictions are amazing.

      I challenge them to reproduce it using red ochre and other materials they claim were used in the 14th century.

      We can’t explain it, hence it’s fake doesn’t work for me. But then again, i’m not the one who needs proof either way.

  • Stu


    I you are in the Norfolk, VA area on 08 April, then take note that Mr. Bryan Walsh of the Shroud of Turin Research Project will be presenting on this topic as part of the local “Debate Club” series for men. Exact location is still TBD, but more can be found here:

  • norman

    a fantastic new thriller on the “Shroud of Turin” is out that is a lot like “DaVinci Code”. Check out “The Linen God” on Amazon.

  • Francis Phillips

    Our late parish priest had a great devotion to the Holy Shroud and thus our church has a full-length facsimile of it. He used to preach about the medical accuracy of the wounds on the Shroud during Lent , and especially on Good Friday: the evidence on the back and buttocks for the peculiarly vicious form of Roman flagellation, the broken nose (blow from a soldier), the marks on the wrists (not the palms) where the nails went in, the clots formed from the crown of Thorns, the distending of the rib-cage as Christ gasped for breath, etc; a moving testament to the torments Christ suffered for us. If you ever come to the UK, I would be happy to take you over to our church to see it.

  • Sarx Discuss

    That makes this the world’s first selfie!

  • Art Deco

    See John Heller’s 1983 book on the subject. The Medieval carbon date was always incongruent with various other characteristics of the cloth (how it was woven, residues thereupon from the manufacture, &c).

    The Skeptical Inquirer has had repeated bouts of apoplexy about the Shroud for nearly 20 years. I would expect another episode.

  • Still a sceptic.

    Wow! I didn’t realise Jesus was such an ugly dude!

  • Justan American

    The burial shroud exhibited in Turin,Italy is the burial shroud of a real man who lived 800 years ago. The image was created by chance because of different natural processes happening at the same time in an enclosed place,his funerary.
    The royal house of Savoy knew who he was. Is it just accidental they exhibited this cloth on 4 May for a very long time? No. This date was significant in the life of this man. If the royal house knew who he was then certainly the Vatican knows too.
    After all he was a nephew of a Pope. Of course nobody notices the broken cheek and nose he received when he fell off his horse face first,mortally wounded, or the sword that was placed in his hand when they entombed him. Oh, by the way. They have his sword too..

    • chezami

      Like you know.

      • InFormed98

        And you do?