The Shroud of Truth
“No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment; else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse” (Mark Ch 2 v21).
The Turin Shroud
This, to me, is an interesting verse in relation to the controversial topic of the Turin Shroud; the cloth presumed to have been the linen that Jesus Christ was wrapped in after the crucifixion.
The shroud bears the image of a human face, believed by many, to be an impression of Jesus Christ’s face left after the burial.
It simulated the negative film of a camera, which was actually how it was discovered, when a photographic image, taken in Seconda Pia in 1898 was processed.
The shroud has passed from France in the mid-thirteen hundreds, (after having been displayed in the Lirey), to the hands of the Dukes of Savoy, and finally came to rest in Turin in 1578. It was then placed in the royal chapel of the Turin Cathedral in 1694, where it was designated a shrine.
Scientists have admitted that they do not know how the image was created, nor are they able to duplicate it. Some scientists have claimed that the shroud was a remarkable ‘painting’. Although this was not consistent with the 3-dimensional properties of the facial image, and does not relate to any other art from the proposed time. It appears more in context with a radiation burn of a face through the material.
Sceptics have doubted the date of the shroud, believing that it dates from after Christ to a later period, but still many claim that this is an extraordinary cloth, considering the lack of technology to create this image.
From close examination of the shroud, there is evidence of broken down red blood cells, containing high concentrations of the blood product, bilirubin. This would suggest that the man who was wrapped in this garment sustained significant trauma. He most likely would have been jaundiced (yellow-skin discoloration) due to haemolysis and blood loss, which could have corresponded with a history of flogging and crucifixion.
In 1978 a sample from the bottom left corner of the shroud was removed and carbon dated.
A scientific paper published in 1989 explained that the fibres of the cloth were placed in an accelerated mass spectrometer in independent scientific institutes of Arizona, Oxford and Zurich, and the results were interesting.
They discovered that the sample of cloth they had tested dated back only as far as the 12th-13th centuries, which smeared the authenticity of the shroud as an ‘elaborate fake’.
This was the paper published at the time:
What the paper did not take into account was the area from which they had taken the sample of the cloth fibres.
Also, there was new evidence, after considering the historical re-weaving capability introduced by the French to repair valuable cloth using newer fibres intertwined with the old. It could have been possible that the Turin shroud was subjected to this re-weaving process in the houses of Savoy in the 16th century.
Recently, the initial examination of the shroud has come into question, when a non-scientific believing couple looked closer at the shroud, and proposed a theory with regard to these cloth fibres.
Sue Benford and Joe Marino hypothesised that the shroud could have been re-woven (especially as it was damaged by fire in 1536) with newer material, which would have subsequently interfered with the carbon dating.
The hypothesis was tested and found to be true. The original fibres of the shroud had been interwoven with cotton that had been dyed, to conceal the damaged area.
This was viewed under the microscope by several textile experts who agreed that this garment had been rewoven.
This new discovery warranted scientists for a repeat carbon dating. However; the shroud has been preserved in phenol since then, which will interfere with the dating, as it contains more recent carbon atoms. This obstacle can be overcome by the fact that the burnt areas of the shroud will have had the surrounding carbon atoms placed into a condition of stasis, whereby the particles would remain relatively unaltered, even with the addition of chemicals. There are sections of the burnt shroud, which are waiting to be tested to reconfirm the date of the shroud.
For scientists the quest for the truth continues.
For me, the authenticity has already been proven.
Adding our own thoughts and wisdom will not add to our faith, it will detract from it. We have added our material through the division of the churches and alteration of our traditions.
It is important that instead of 'renewing' the Christian faith and ‘patching’ our own ideas into it, we learn to value, preserve and live life as God intended.
If we attempt to add to Him, then we are the ones who will be at risk of ‘tearing’ away completely.
The creation cannot fathom the Creator.
Nothing can be added or taken away from Him.
"You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart or understand the workings of the human mind; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out his mind or comprehend his thought? No, my brothers, do not anger the Lord our God". (Judith Ch 8 v 14).
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