(Tea Party 247) – For decades, the revered Shroud of Turin has been dismissed by many as a medieval-era hoax.
This has, however, been found to be itself a hoax, according to new research from scientists in France and Italy.
“Believers have long contended that the Shroud, which is preserved at the Turin cathedral in Italy, is truly the burial shroud of Jesus and that it bears the image of the resurrected Christ,” Life Site News explains.
“But after the Vatican allowed scientists to examine the Shroud in 1988, a controversial radiocarbon test suggested in an article published by the prestigious Nature journal that it dated merely to between the years 1260 and 1390. Researchers from the University of Arizona, Oxford University, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology contributed to the study.”
Since this time, many have charged that the Shroud was a fake or a hoax.
However, this charge has itself been questioned by a variety of experts and scientists for as long as it has been circulating.
They have long taken issue with the fact that three samples taken from the Shroud came from the same outer edge of fabric that was believed to have been sewn or woven onto the Shroud to repair it.
According to American chemist Raymond N. Rogers, that corner had been worn down by centuries of handling as it was put on display for the faithful.
In a new study published in Oxford University’s Archaeometry, a group of researchers armed with new analysis of data used in the earlier study reveals that the test samples collected in 1988 were invalid and were found to be heterogeneous.
In the Catholic publication L’Homme Nouveau, research team leader Tristan Casabianca explained that researchers have been asking since 1989 for raw data from the institutions that conducted the previous study, but to no avail.
Casabianca explained that was only after the British Museum, who had supervised the laboratories, acquiesced to a legal request that he was given access to hundreds of unpublished pages from the previous study, including raw data.
His team discovered that “the 1988 carbon 14 dating was unreliable.”
“The tested samples are obviously heterogeneous (many different dates), and there is no guarantee that all these samples, taken from one end of the sheet (Shroud), are representative of the whole fabric. It is therefore impossible to conclude that the Shroud of Turin dates from the Middle Ages,” Casabianca said.
So, these researchers are now calling for new studies of the Shroud to determine its true age.
In order for this to happen, however, the Vatican would have to grant access yet again to the Shroud.
“However, Church officials are reportedly reluctant to allow further testing of what has become the most studied and analyzed artifact in the world,” Life Site News notes.
The Shroud has been shown to possess, according to experts, mysterious characteristics unlike any similar remaining ancient fabric artifacts. For example, the approximately 14-foot linen cloth has linear, front-to-back and anatomically correct blood stains that reproduce the image of a crucified man. Those markings appear to record the Biblically-attested marks and wounds suffered by Jesus Christ during His passion and death.
The Shroud also displays 3-D “distance information” that resemble a topographical map of the Man of Suffering. In addition, it displays properties first discovered in 1898 resembling a negative photographic image that, upon viewing as a positive image, clearly shows the agonies suffered by the “man” depicted. The image on the Shroud does not penetrate the fabric but only sits on top.
Currently, donations are being sought to offer an exhibition of scientific findings about the Shroud at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Anyone who wants to know more about the Shroud can find further information at a site for Shroud evangelization, a collection of Shroud photography, and two new Shroud museums.