Skip to comments.Holy Shroud:The essence of religion meets human science
Posted on 03/28/2013 7:02:22 AM PDT by NYer
Gian Maria Zaccone *
Discussing the Shroud without the risk of misinterpretations and dashed expectations is a complex affair. The relic (which is preserved in the Northern Italian city of Turin) has been the focus of deep devotion and huge interest but is also at the centre of a heated debate. This debate is innate to the Shroud itself: the reference to the figure of Christ and his incarnation which is linked to the signum contradictionis.
As is the case with the oldest recorded images which aimed to depict the face of Jesus, true God and true man, the so-called acheiropoieta icons which are said to have come into existence miraculously and not created by a human painter the Shroud has been the focus of debates and disagreements ever since its discovery. In a way it is a faithful portrayal of the outcomes and legacies of the thousand-year old question of Christian iconography, spanning eras in which the relationship between religion and society and reason and faith has been through some really rough patches. The Shrouds religious essence and the form imprinted on the cloth which forms a link with the human sciences, make it exemplary.
The positions adopted in the modern and post modern world in relation to the Shroud, are certainly more complex and varied than in previous eras. Many consider it to be the most important relic marking Christs presence on Earth, it containing the real and unique effigy of the Saviour, made even more precious by his blood. Some go dangerously further than this, searching for physical traces of His glorious resurrection on the cloth.
Others underline the importance of an object which is undeniably linked to the Passion of Christ and therefore a unique object from a religious point of view; an object which has enormous pastoral and spiritual potential but is also able to attract the interest of scholars of all disciplines.
Others still, reject it as a more or less old fake which is of no interest whatsoever or, at best, could be worth displaying in a museum dedicated to historys great tricks.
The positions adopted in relation to the Shroud have necessarily been broken down into categories here but in reality they are easily interwoven, compared and contrasted, proving that the one thing that is certain about the Shroud is that no one is indifferent to it.
In this sense, the scientific research into the Shroud, begun at the start of the century, has contributed to making todays debate even more fascinating and more heated. This is because although most of this research has not led to any concrete conclusions about how the figure on the Shroud was formed, all studies seem to exclude the possibility of a man-made image, given that the Shroud has been dated back to the medieval period.
Until the end of the Nineteenth century, research into the Holy Shroud had focused above all on the historical and to some extent theological aspects of the relic, but the problem of its so-called authenticity which has been the main focus of scientific research was limited to scholarly debates which were not of much interest to the wider public.
Historically, it was the devotional aspect of the Shroud that emerged as most important, attracting the interest of ordinary people who travel for miles to attend solemn ostentations. It is not intellectual curiosity in the Shrouds origins, or their search for material grace that attracts the masses but their drive to search for something a face, a figure and their anxiousness to find out something that forms part of the deepest, innermost feelings of the human soul. Mgr. Ghiberti rightly underlined the fact that mans encounter with the Shroud (especially if he or she is a faithful) is pre-scientific. Surveys carried out on pilgrims who attended the ostensions which took place between 1978 and today reveal that very few of them were drawn to Turin because of the question of the Shrouds authenticity. So this is not a core part of their relationship with the relic. Instead, many were interested in the Shroud as a sign that becomes a mystery and speak of violence and injustice, an image of peace, a sign of suffering. But a suffering that goes beyond mere suffering: for believers, meditating on Christs death cannot be separated from the joy of Easter and vice versa: the Shroud therefore becomes a symbol of life and resurrection.
This is why the Holy Father and the Church in Turin wanted to give all the people of the world the chance to come face to face with the painful image imprinted on the Shroud, leaving the scientific question aside for once; the chance to set their eyes on "the one they have pierced (John, 19:37), on Holy Saturday, the day of great silence of which the Shroud is an icon. An icon which illustrates the deep reflections of Benedict XVI, who was among the pilgrims to visit the Shroud in 2010.
Whether you believe the shroud is the genuine article or not, you should still find it a most fascinating relic.
Rub your face with paint or colored powder and wrap a towel around your head, as like a shroud.
Unroll the towel. Look. Does it look like you appear when looking at yourself in a mirror or photograph?
I've seen this shroud. It is aMAZing!
Just the fact that this is a 3D representation of a dead body on a 2D piece of cloth should quiet the skeptics. But it hasn’t. And it won’t.
Skeptics will be skeptics - Thomas had to put his fingers in the wounds. The simple fact remains that no one knows how the image on the Shroud was made - and even with today’s advances in technology, that image cannot be duplicated.
Faith, of course, does not depend on proof; quite the opposite. But the mystery of the Shroud is fascinating, and inspiring.
Once when reading an article on the Shroud I had my four year old daughter look at it’s picture. I asked her “Who do you think this is?” “Jesus” she said and went back to playing.
Faith as a child...
Yep. I understand doubt. Every thinking person should be critical and discerning. However some people can be so inconsistent. They can reject christ’s resurrection or something like the shroud yet believe 9/11 was an inside job.
Thank for that story alone gives me faith in our future.
Relics are destructible and there are so many destroyers around.
Put it away.
Ping for later
You can now get Sindone2.0 (the Shroud in HD)
The cloth was woven in the Middle East in the 1st century
It came into contact with a man who was whipped, beaten, had puncture wounds consistent with a crown of thorns on his head, a side wound and puncture wounds on his wrist and legs consistent with Biblical story of the Crucifixion.
It was very unusual to whip a crucifixion victim and the story of Jesus was one of the few recorded instances in the historic record. The reason for this was because it caused a too speedy death with too little suffering
Interestingly, the puncture wounds on his arms go through his wrists and not hands which is contrary to long held assumptions but was consistent with forgotten historical facts on Roman Crucifixion.
The flower pollen was consistent with flowers used in Jewish Burial rites in the 1st Century . Some of the flowers were only present in Israel and the pollen documents an early spring time frame constant with Passover and Easter.
The blood is human blood from a person subjected to great trauma.
The image on the cloth is a 3-D Negative that cannot be duplicated by hand art.
No one can tell how the image was applied to the cloth.
The technique seems to be similar to the also unexplained image of the Virgin Mary given to Juan Diego at for Guadalupe.
A re-sewn section seems to have been used to bind the body and shroud.
Do the probability analysis
Your simplistic comment denigrates the scientists and scholars who have spent countless hours investigating the Shroud. It is the single most research object in science. In over 115 years, with an array of very sophisticated equipment, THEY have not been able to show it's not an true image. It is NOT a contact image and your idea that a shroud was "wrapped" like a towel is contrary to fact and 1st century Jewish burial customs. Learn the facts before you so blithely dismiss something so ignorantly when you literally don't know what you are talking about.
Shroud of Turin PING!
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There is no "re-sewn section". This is a theory put forward by a textile "expert," Dr. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, who was responsible for the disastrous 2002 restoration of the Shroud in which the Shroud, under her direction was vacuumed, washed, and stretched! There is a folded over section that has been sewn sometime in antiquity for strengthening when displayed horizontally.
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