The Shroud of Turin is a rectangular linen cloth 14.3ft long by 3.7 ft wide and woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill. What makes it unique is the faint, brownish front and back image of a naked man. It is believed by many to be the the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. If so it would be a artifact of the most important miraculous event described in the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, thus if it is authentic it would be the most important artifact of human history.
The current dispute over it age begins with the carbon 14 dating done a small section on the shroud in 1988 that dated it to 1260 - 1390 AD. However there have been questions raised about the accuracy of this date on several grounds. The first was the fact the all four samples were taken from the same portion of the cloth. This is a problem because it violated standard procedure for such dating which normally requires taking sample from different locations to avoid one area of contamination affecting the results. To make maters worst the section used was near a repair making contamination a real possibility. Including the fact that the shroud has been handled and even kissed over the centuries only males maters worst for the carbon 14 dating.
Using infra-red light, spectroscopy and multiparametric mechanical tests on fibers taken from the shroud during the 1988 study Professor Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua and other scientists discovered that the fibers were compatible with those from the time of the death, burial and resurrection Jesus Christ in about 30 AD. Combining the results from different tests tests, produces a date of 220 B.C.- 280 AD. The conclusion is the Shroud of Turin is not a medieval forgery but is from a time range consistent with it be authentic
The question that needs to be answered in determining if the Shroud of Turin is authentic is to determine whether or not it is consistent with Biblical account. To do so requires checking all four gospels to see what they say.
Matthew 27:59 (KJB) And when Joseph had taken the body,
he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Mark 15:46 (KJB) And he bought fine linen, and took him
down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a
sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone
unto the door of the sepulchre.
Luke 23:53 (KJB) And he took it down, and wrapped it in
linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone,
wherein never man before was laid.
Luke 24:12 (KJB) Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre;
and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves,
and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
John 19:40 (KJB) Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in
linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
John 20:5-7 (KJB)
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying;
yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre,
and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen
clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
Matthew refers to Jesus' body be rapped in a linen cloth while Luke and John refer to linen clothes, with Mark simply referring to linen. John also refers to "the napkin, that was about his head." John's account is often used again the Shroud of Turin being authentic because it refers to cloths and with the napkin requires at least three cloth's to be present. However when you include Matthew which indicates the Jesus Christ's body was wrapped in a linen cloth then an answer presents itself. The best way to reconcile these accounts is that the was one main large cloth in which the body was wrapped and one or more smaller long ones use to bind the rapping together. This possibility is supported by the fact that along one side if the shroud is a strip a little shorter than the rest of the cloth (see the to of the above image) that was sewn on that seems to have originally been part of the cloth that was cut off and later sewn back on. If the main part of the Shroud of Turin were the main rappings and this strip were used to bind the bundle then what we have in the shroud would fit the description of the linen clothes thus making the Shroud of Turin consistent with the Gospel account. You may be asking about "the napkin, that was about his head."
A linen cloth known as the Sudarium of Oviedo is a bloodstained cloth about 33" X 21". It is currently located at the Cathedral of San Salvador in
So the Shroud of Turin along wit the sewn on strip and the Sudarium of Oviedo are a perfect match to the Biblical description of burial cloths of Jesus Christ. Add to this the fact that that Shroud of Turin contains pollen that shows it was once in Jerusalem, and the consistency of the height of the shroud image with the finished burial place in the with the new dating of the Shroud of Turin to around the 1st century the best conclusion is that they are in fact the burial cloths of Jesus Christ. As such they stand as empirical evidence for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin and his resurrection not only validates his sacrifice but gives the Christian hope of resurrection which is a comforting hope while burying a Christian loved one. Accepting Jesus Christ's payment for your sin is an act of faith an while our faith in Jesus Christ does not rely on physical evidence the existence of such evidence, like evince for God creating the universe helps strengthen that faith.
http://tinyurl.com/shroud-NYT - actually a link to the telegraph.co.uk
------ Charles Creager Jr.