Skip to comments.Is the Turin Shroud genuine after all? From beyond the grave, a startling new claim
Posted on 04/10/2009 4:05:37 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY
To believers it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, miraculously marked with his image.
But the Turin shroud was widely dismissed as a hoax in 1988 when scientific tests found it could not be more than 1,000 years old.
Now one of the scientists who first studied 12 foot-long sheet has spoken - from beyond the grave - of how he came to believe that it could be genuine.
A video made shortly before Raymond Rogers died in 2005 has been discovered, in which the U.S. chemist reveals his own tests show the relic to be much older - dating back to between 1,300 and 3,000 years ago.
Dr Rogers said: 'I don't believe in miracles that defy the laws of nature. After the 1988 investigation I'd given up on the shroud.
'But now I am coming to the conclusion that it has a very good chance of being the piece of cloth that was used to bury the historic Jesus.'
He was on the 1978 team that carried out the first in-depth scientific study of the shroud, which examined its underside for the first time in 400 years. After the 1988 carbon dating Dr Rogers was adamant that the robe was nothing more than a medieval hoax.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
from the article:
The cloth is kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin and will be next publicly displayed in 2010.
Dr Rogers’s video will be broadcast tomorrow in The Turin Shroud: New Evidence at 8pm on the Discovery Channel.
That can't be explained (or duplicated) by modern technology!
Forget about the image. Date the fabric. If it was from linen grown, spun and woven in 14th Cent Europe, it can't be authentic. All this takes is someone who understands textiles. And don't take your sample from the repaired patched area! Get a woman who can spin, weave and have her take a sample and give it to the scientists who can place the date of production. Linen is from the flax plant.
If the fabric is 2000 years old, you've got your relic and the source is supernatural. To have fabric that old, saved so carefully, with a mysterious graphic...?
You can't fool us George Bush, with your fancy pontificatizing :)
You have to read the linked original article. That's exactly what Dr. Rogers said and did.
this is very, very interesting
Carbon dating is an iffy science. If you have an absolutely pure sample there’s still a certain margin of error, and all it would take is for the shroud to have gotten moldy or mildewed at any point in time, and the carbon test could be skewed by centuries.
Back in high school my brother’s friend took a piece of his recently-deceased dog and had it carbon dated. According to the report, the dog died 700-800 years ago. Its not as precise a measurement as most people think.
No fancy pontiferousness, strategeric or elsewise. “Ostracization” is actually a word, and was used correctly.
Reweaving has placed material from the medieval period into the original cloth. The sample for carbon dating was from the reweaving portion. Also, fires have deposited ‘carbon’ onto the entire cloth which must be screened for.
Good thing you are here to think up such simple theories that no one has thought of before.
I can’t go into it all but my suggestion is do some research and your questions will be answered.
It was discovered that the fabric samples they tested previously were taken from an area of the shroud that had been repaired during the Medieval period. The fabric they tested has a different consistency and weave...totally different from the rest of the shroud.
Twelve feet of beautifully preserved linen fabric is fascinating enough. People don't understand just how valuable fabric used to be, just a century ago. A yard of any fabric, wool in the age before machines was a staggering investment in labor and materials. When you read old wills, textiles were always mentioned as "heirlooms". Looms, weaving.
Linen is harvested by hand, pulling it up by the roots to make the fiber as long as possible. Then it must be rotted ("retted") to clean off the outer layer of fiber. Then it must be hackled, which means struck until it's soft, then combed. Finally, it's spun. The spinning wheel is a relatively modern invention, spinning in pre-medieval times was with a spindle that would look to someone like a top.
Now, to weaving--wide warps were rarer, more expensive, harder to manage. The wider the piece of fabric, the more likely it is to be either modern or a very valuable antique indeed. I've read that this length of fabric is wide (from selvedge edge to edge), and is pieced of wide sections. You need an expert to take a close look at those selvedges. Forget about the picture and claims of faith. It's right under your nose!
Remember Jesus' robe that was gambled? It had no seam, says the bible. If you know weaving, you know that it is possible to weave a garment with no seam. It is a huge undertaking, a lot of trouble. It involves having mulitiple layers of warp threads and carefully weaving "tube" shapes into the fabric.
The reason this was mentioned is that a seamless garment would be an item of high prestige, suitable for royalty.
The Bible has a lot to say about textiles, their meaning and just how much work was involved in creating a twelve-yard sheet of linen.
This is why I keep thinking it is a hoax. Surely they can't miss something so obvious. Then I read they've taken samples from the patched areas!! Well, a patch is something that could have been added on at any time. Patching was an art form, talented menders can conceal their repairs. Take samples from the selvedges.
There are more people on this earth that would love to disprove” this artifact than to prove it. Although I don’t question your expertise, your rationalizations are ridiculous.
But the Shroud interests me enough to follow the story.
I agree to an extent, but God (I believe) provides us with many evidences of his existence and “aides” to our faith but nothing so concrete as to make are belief irrefutable lest it is no longer be faith but fact.
I see what your argument is, but this has to be a VERY old hoax.....
.....AND the image is not ordinary.
I have a hard time believing it is a hoax because the image was not painted.
How on earth would a person create a hoax without painting the image using the technology of the day?
Not quite correct. The word comes from the old english word “lome” which meant looms as well as any other tools. Heirlooms did not mean looms so much as any tool (which were the most valuable things one could inherit) left by the deceased.
The rest of your post is accurate from my limited knowledge. My understanding is that weaving didn’t get less expensive till the 14th century, when Italian looms became common.
Beside the point, as far as the wills you see in the early years of US household history and New England, where most of the weaving took place. They heard "loom" and thought "that big clunky thing in the barn that makes cloth." And they referred to the coverlet as heirlooms. Days of the year for the housewife was cleaning out the linen closet, putting in tobacco to discourage the vermin, and refolding the contents to avoid wear along the folds. They were a large repository of household wealth. I'm thinking particularly of the overshot coverlets that weavers were hired to weave for a share of the wool and linen that a household produced and spun themselves. While "spinsters" were unmarried females in the homes, often the young men found themselves at the wheels throughout long winters.
The rest of your post is accurate from my limited knowledge. My understanding is that weaving didnt get less expensive till the 14th century, when Italian looms became common.
Well, gee, thanks. Weaving in Christ's time was a version of a frame loom , more like what you'd see the Navajos using for their fine rugs. There's lots of ancient Egyption art that shows these looms in great detail, and you can immediately see how unwieldy a very wide loom would be. This kind of loom provided most of the fabric for most of the population for many centuries to come. Garments are designed for Renaissance festivals today around the fact of the 18-inch wide loom in most feudal households.
Fabric did not truly become cheap and available until the world's cotton production increased, technology for ginning the cotton developed, and the British dominated the steam produced industry. Linen is still very expensive. Don't form a taste for linen sheets.
If you tour the museum in DC and look at the gowns of the First Ladies through the years, you'll notice something interesting. They're rotting right off the mannequins. Many of them are made of silk, which just rots. Likewise the old cotton and wool dresses, though not as badly as silk. But anything made of linen will look surprisingly new. It is resistant to decay. The Egyptians wrapped their mummies in linen that holds up for thousands of years.
Which is why the Shroud *might* be authentic.
Also, I believe the discovery channel show is a rerun, either that or I read a long writeup on it online months ago as the tale of Ray Rogers' end of life discovery had been mentally filed as old data.
The article here linked to a recent piece in the UK Mail on this. The Telegraph and the Sun there also have current articles on this. The latter included one interesting bit I either hadn't known or had forgotten. Apparently in 2002, 5 years after the Turin Cathedral fire and rescue, bugs were found within the case and the shroud was cleaned with a strong insecticide. Thus contaminating all of it with modern carbon atoms and obviating future carbon dating of new samples. However the church may have some small separate samples that might offer chances for testing, although the Sun didn't give any details on those samples and whatever technical problems they may add to the saga.
God works in mysterious ways and I've long believed He values FAITH and acts to preserve both the possibility and the need for it. Assuming for the sake of argument that the Shroud is Jesus's Shroud consider how both the impressions of the faithful and of people in general have evolved over time. The early reports of the Mandylion (which recently found Vatican records support being what we now call the Shroud) focused on the visible image, accepted it as a miracle and didn't consider the mechanics of the miracle because people then didn't consider such. They were enough impressed by it to change religious art of Jesus to match this image. The visible like positive image is known to be slowly fading, which means it used to be darker. As thought became more modern interest in it faded with that image until the new science of photography restored interest and faith in it. With STRP modern science analyzed it in many independent ways, nearly all of which supported the concept of it being real. The 3-D image analysis was as instantly striking as the first photograph had been. Historical fabric analysis, analysis of pollen on it, confirmation that there was blood and of a type common to that time and place and in a pattern fitting the story was strong for those who could follow it. Evidence that the image itself fit the crucifixion story anatomically in ways prior generations couldn't have understood, and proofs that it wasn't painted were strong to the scientifically oriented. For those less scientific the mere statement of the scientists that after ever they could think of they had no idea how it was produced strongly supported their faith. But when all this risked removing the need for faith up came the medieval carbon date, and all but the most faithful believed the god of science rather than the God of miracles. Continued efforts by those most faithful is removing the prior carbon test doubt, but events in the interim may block a carbon test from providing supporting evidence in its place. How very clever of Him!
I wonder what technicality will prevent DNA testing from matching the Shroud's blood with that of the Sudarium of Oviedo, which the faithful accept and which current knowledge leaves plausible as another of Jesus's burial cloths. Or will God allow a DNA match some day. Their blood types are known to match, AB. Although the Sudarium also has some carbon dating issues to overcome, a DNA match with it would force any forgery theories back to before either were documented to exist, at least before the early 600s. When most forgery theories aren't going to sound very plausible. Other than someone torturing and crucifying some one else as per the Bible account, wrapping that body to stain both and managing by unknown science to produce the image we now see.
“belied” = believed
It turns out that like most everything else about the Shroud, it isn't so easy to prove, Mamzelle.
It was dated in 1988... and the tests reported a creation date between 1260 and 1390 AD... but the dating has now been proved to have been made of a mixture of original shroud material and a patch that had been invisibly rewoven into the sample area in the 16th Century. The proportions of the Dyed COTTON patching material mixed with original FLAX shroud material, resulted in a bogus dating.
The fires have not had an appreciable affect on the Shroud material. There is no soot to be found from outside sources... and the chemical reaction of fire will not change the isotopic mix of the carbon atoms so it can't skew the ratio of C14 to C12 and C13.
When it comes right down to it, there doesn't seem to be any way to prove conclusively that it is or is not the image and bodily fluids of Jesus Christ.
So, those inclined to believe will have room for belief, and those who don't wish to believe can dismiss it. That is the way I prefer it too.
I agree, not even to the level of proof available that W won Florida in 2000. The best we can hope for is that objective efforts to disprove it fail to dissuade believers and that what evidence for it there is makes any alternative explanations suggested seem at least as implausible to non-believers. Faith can bridge the former and the latter permits faith to grow. Faith is good, but faith isn't always accurate. As illustrated by 53% of last fall's electorate.
Mamzelle, numerous textile experts, including some of the top experts in ancient textiles in the world such as Madame Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, of the have examined the shroud...
"Born in Hamburg in 1929, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg studied textile art at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg under Else Mögelin. From 1952 56 she studied archaeology and art history at the Universities of Munich and Kiel. These studies were succeeded by a training in textile conservation at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich under the tutorship of Sigrid Müller- Christensen.
In 1957 Mechthild Flury-Lemberg was asked by Michael Stettler, then director of the Bernisches Historisches Museum of Berne, to take care of its unique textile treasures. At the same time she worked with Felix Guicherd on weaving techniques at the Centre International dÉtudes des textiles Anciens (CIETA) in Lyons. From 1963 she was in charge of planning and preparing the textile department of the newly established Abegg Foundation.
In 1967 the Museum of the Abegg Foundation was opened and Mechthild Flury- Lemberg took charge of the textile department that includes a workshop where students fulfil their training by working with important textiles from all over the world. "
Professor Gilbert Raes, of the Ghent (Belgium) University's Institute of Textile Technology, another world recognized textile expert was allowed to cut a sample from the Shroud in the same corner that would later be sampled for the 1988 C14 tests.
Dr. Raes examined his sample under microscope and compared it to threads lifted from other parts of the Shroud. He discovered that in his sample, cotton was interwoven with Linen... something not found anywhere else on the Shroud.
M. Sue Benford is another textile expert. It was she, along with her husband, who proposed the medieval patching done by French Invisible Reweaving as the reason why the 1988 Carbon14 testing dates were out of step with all the other science and scholarship about the Shroud. Her hypothesis was proved to be correct when separate scientists found that the area tested incorporated COTTON interwoven into the original material and actually spliced to original Linen threads.
These textile experts are in agreement the cloth is NOT medieval.
The yarn was potash and sun bleached in hanks, something that was not done in France but was commonly done in the 1st Century. It was woven on a vertical hand loom and the the various vertical warp threads show variegation due to the technique of hank sun bleaching. Medieval cloth was bleached AFTER weaving using a Lye soak, washing out the lye, and then soaking in sour milk before being laying the completed cloth out in the sun on bushes, which resulted in a more homogenous tone to the color of the cloth.
To make the weaving easier, the yarn used on the Shroud was treated with a crude starch like substance. The complete cloth was then washed in soapwort (saponaria officinalis) to remove the starch, and then rinsed. Microscopic traces of both the starch and soapwort residues are still present on the main body threads of the Shroud. This residue is consistent with evaporation drying after the rinsing. In fact, it is in this residue (less than 100å thick, about 1/100th the thickness of a human hair) that the image on the Shroud has formed. All of this, especially the residues, is expected from first century methods of linen manufacturing described by the historian Pliny the Elder. It is NOT consistent with Medieval cloth making and weaving techniques.
However, NEITHER starch or soapwort is present on the Cotton repair threads of the C14 sample area. Instead, the cotton threads were found to have Madder root alizarin dyes and an Alum (Aluminum in concentrations as high as 2%) mordant that is NOT found anywhere on the main body Linen threads. The use of Alum as a mordant was something that was developed in the 15th Century. Gum Arabic was also found... used as an adhesive to glue the end-to-end inter-twisting splicing of the old to new threads. All of this is consistent with 16th Century repair techniques.
It should be noted that despite these physical and chemical findings by numerous scientists with peer-review and duplication of experiments that prove the C14 sample is both chemically and physically not the same as the main body of the Shroud, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, still claims that the Benford-Marino hypothesis is wrong because, ignoring the evidence, she "cannot find the patch," stating that a "darn repair" would be noticeable on the back of the Shroud."
The old to new material in the sample varied from 40% - 60% new to old material to 60% - 40% new to oldgiving rise to a statistical anomaly that had the sub-samples supposedly clipped from a homogenous main sample reporting dates that varied from 1260 to 1390, a red flag that should have alerted scientists that something was wrong with the sample.
Based on estimates of the ratios of New Cotton to Old Linen from observation of photomicrographs of the 1988 C14 test samples, using a historically-plausible date for reweaving of 1560, Ronald Hatfield of the radiocarbon dating firm Beta Analytic provided estimates that show that the original shroud Linen cloth might easily be 2000 years old. Harry Gove, the inventor of the C14 process used to date the Shroud concurred with that estimate. An unauthorized C14 test performed on a thread pulled from the center of the Shroud reported a creation date of 1st century, plus or minus 100 years.
Pollen from plants growing only in the Jerusalem area has been found on the Shroud as well as imbedded limestone dustTravertine Aragonitea type that is unique and found also only in the Jerusalem area near Golgotha... The limestone dust is found ONLY on the backside of the dorsal image where the cloth would have been laid against freshly hewn limestone.
As to your comments about the value of cloth in historic times, if you will recall you and I had a discussion several years ago on FR about the amount of labor that went into producing a cloth of this nature... and its relative value. The Bible states that Joseph of Arimathea purchased a fine Linen cloth for Jesus' burial... the cloth of the Shroud meets that criteria.
It lasted at least until the early 19th Century. If you will recall, in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, when Scrooge was shown the future , the Ghost of Christmases yet to come, the servants were stripping the bed of the hangings and linens... as they were among the most valuable things in his estate. Used clothing had such a market that there were streets in London dedicated to its reworking and sale. Cloth was something you just did not throw away like we do today.
Actually, it is apparently the other way around. The image color is consistent. The chemical, a melnoidin, that makes up the image "picture elements" does not fade or change with time... but the LINEN does darken with age, getting browner. As it ages it more-and-more approaches the color of the brownish melanoidin of the image. In the past, the brown image would have had much more contrast with the white linen. Today, the linen has aged to a yellowed ecru and the contrast is thought to be much lower.
Good thing Linen is almost impervious to attack from other biological sources.
The DNA on both the Shroud and the Sudarium are so damaged and polluted with other DNA that any matching is probably impossible.
So knowing what the residue consists of (say, X), and knowing what the cloth consists of (say Y), whatever would be not X or not Y would be what makes the image.
Is that not a known substance? Or is there nothing that is not X or not Y, but we see that the image does exist so it is a huge mystery? Or is it that there is so much "there" because of handling the cloth, displaying it to the elements, etc., that it cannot be "boiled down" to just what makes the image?
If you know...
A clear polysaccharide residue coats the outermost fibers of the cloth. In places, that residue has changed to a caramel-like substance through a Maillard reaction. Cooking is a Maillard reaction. That brown substance forms the images.
One possible modality of formation of the image has to do with the gases that are released from a newly dead body before the liquid putrefaction products start destroying organic substances around the body. These gases are extremely reactive chemically. Within a few hours, in an environment such as a tomb, a body starts to produce heavier amines in its tissues such as putrescine (1,4-diaminobutane), and cadaverine (1,5-diaminopentane). These exuded gases react with the polysaccharide layer on the cloth in a Maillard reaction and, in fact, does produce the color we see in the carbohydrate layer on the cloth. However, there is a problem. Whatever created the image on the Shroud acted only in a vertically collimated waywithin a very few degrees of strictureboth up and down with no horizontal component. Gases simply do not act like that.
The polysaccharide coating is fragile and can be broken off the fibers... so the more the Shroud is handled, the more of these coatings will be shattered.
There is more about the linen used to make the Shroud at this site:
I apologize for not knowing how to make it “linkable”, but if you copy and paste it into your browser, you can get there. There has been extensive research done on the fabric, and apparently the image could only have formed in this way on linen manufactured in the manner common in the first century, but not on linen made near medieval era. There are also extensive analyses on the site of pollens found on the Shroud, flower images found on it (perhaps as it was laid in the sunshine on bushes to dry), the Sudarium of Ovieto as relates to the Shroud (read the link, it is very interesting!) and some fine microscopic images of the linen. I think you will find the site quite informative! Happy Easter!
Hey, it is linkable, what do you know?!! :-)
Interesting. Awhile back I heard a theory that the image was made by energy moving through the cloth (as Christ was resurrected). I suppose they are assuming that the energy is what caused the reaction, energy that would have been contained to the form of the body and act in a more directed fashion, rather than a diffuse fashion like gases would be expected to behave.
It's all very fascinating, but the science sometimes gets over my head. Thanks!
Thanks for the ping. I wonder if the church will authorize another Carbon-14 test — this time using the original material instead of a patch.
Thanks for the ping!
Another great post! This would seem to clinch the argument, wouldn't it? Now, all they need would be to repeat it a couple of times, and the debate would be over -- or at least drastically recast!
Of course, from the Church's perspective, why end the debate too quickly? Why not let new ideas percolate and soak in slowly, so to speak?
For certain, the Shroud has a most interesting history, which will have left many different marks and deposits on it. Look at one section and it says: Medieval repairs, another section may say: sixth century Byzantine, still another: first century Jerusalem, who knows? Perhaps fully unraveling all the Shroud's mysteries could take as long as the Shroud's history itself?
I think that is the power of God, He gives us just enough to force us to have faith.
You said the science gets over your head and I agree fully. I have read some of the scientific articles and they lose me on the first word.
You are spot on with the value of woven cloth - the labour required to produce it was mind-boggling.
That is why rag-pickers could make a living at it - it was an early form of recycling, I suppose.
But I do not think it is a fake.
The KEY word is "unauthorized" and the results cannot be published although they are talked about among Shroud investigators. The Church did not authorize the C14 test on one of the threads taken in 1978 but it was done. The results strongly suggest that the main body is first century. With modern C14 small sample methodology and accuracy, a few 1 cm threads would be sufficient for numerous tests.
The hard part is warping the loom. Warping requires planning, measuring and mathematics. When you weave wool, you must starch the thread because wool is flexible and stretches and causes all kind of limpy, saggy, problems. But you starch linen because it won't stretch, is inflexible by its nature, and will break.
I keep saying this because a twelve-yard piece of linen fabric that survives two millenniums is completely miraculous without any graphic depictions. Understand that such a textile, without the graphic, is already miraculous.
Not twelve, Mamzelle, only four yards, it's 14 feet long.