Thursday, October 8, 2009

An image

The Shroud of Turin is the one religious relic that has intrigued me over the years, not as an object of reverence, but because of the possibility it could be authentic. Might there be an actual image of Jesus as well as evidence for His execution and possibly even the resurrection which had been preserved until a time when science could authenticate it? I should have known better — controversy about this sort of thing never ends and there is never enough evidence to erase all doubt. Nevertheless, the seemingly inexplicable nature of the image, the things a medieval artist would have been unlikely to know like the wounds on the wrists rather than the palms and the similarity to actual Roman methods of crucifixion, made the possibilities of the Shroud extremely interesting.

Now new doubts have been raised by an Italian scientist, financed by atheists, who claims to have replicated the image using techniques available in the Middle Ages. And the controversy continues:
.... The Shroud of Turin is considered by many to bear an image of the face of Jesus Christ. Made of herring bone linen, the shroud is nearly four feet by 14 feet and bears faint brown discolorations forming the negative image of a crucified man.

The shroud’s positive image, revealed by modern photography, shows the outline of a bearded man. While skeptics contend that the shroud is a medieval forgery, scientists have been unable to explain how the image appeared on the cloth.

Garlaschelli and his team, who were funded by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics, created their image by placing the linen over a volunteer before rubbing it with a pigment called ochre with traces of acid.

The linen was then “aged” by heating it in an oven and washing it with water. Reuters reports that the team then added blood stains, burn holes and water stains to finalize their product. ....
But scientists who have spent a great deal of time examining the Shroud immediately raised questions about this attempt to replicate it.
[Dr. John] Jackson led a team of 30 researchers in 1978 who determined that the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained. He explained to CNA that based off the Reuters report as well as photos of Garlaschelli’s shroud on the internet, it appeared that it doesn’t exactly match the Shroud of Turin.

Dr. Jackson first questioned the technique used by Garlaschelli’s team, taking issue with the method of adding blood after aging the cloth. Jackson explained that he has conducted "two independent observations that argue that the blood features on the shroud" show "that the blood was on it first, then the body image came second." ....

Another area concern for the scientists is the three dimensionality of the shroud.

Propp explained that while Garlaschelli’s cloth does have some aspects of light and dark to create a three-dimensional perspective, "it’s nowhere near as sophisticated as the shroud" and that "it misses out on the accuracy and subtleties that are in the actual image."

Dr. Jackson from the Turin Shroud Center also touched on the same point, saying, "The shroud’s image intensity varies with" the distances in between the cloth and the body. While he admitted that the images of Garlaschelli’s shroud on the internet look authentic, when taken from a 3-D perspective, "it’s really rather grotesque."

"The hands are embedded into the body and the legs have unnatural looking lumps and bumps," he explained. ....

One English-speaking expert explained that the blood used on the Shroud of Turin is not whole blood. "They didn't just go out and kill a goat and paint the blood on the cloth. The blood chemistry is very specific," he said explaining that the blood is from "actual wounds."

He added that most of the blood on the shroud flowed after death. "The side wound and the blood that puddles across the small of the back are post-mortem blood flows," he said, adding that blood flowing after death "shows a clear separation of blood and serum." ....

The Catholic Church has not taken an official position on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. [more]
Thanks to Gene Edward Veith for the reference.

Experts question scientist’s claim of reproducing Shroud of Turin

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