The Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin full image

The Shroud of Turin is a fourteen foot by five foot ancient linen cloth that bears the image of a prone, naked, crucified man. The image is most certainly that of Jesus although die-hard skeptics adamantly reject that conclusion. The man’s wounds are consistent with the biblical accounts of Jesus’s death ordeal; flogging, crown of thorns, nail holes in wrists and feet and spear jab in the right side. Additionally, the head and upper back wounds closely correlate with a second Jesus burial cloth. This cloth, known as the Sudarium of Oviedo (it is housed in Oviedo, Spain), was wrapped around His head to prevent spillage of blood and lymph fluids prior to removal from the cross. The Sudarium is the cloth “that had covered his head” which is referred to in John’s gospel.

The denial of authenticity is based primarily on the results of a 1988 radiocarbon test which dated the cloth to 1260-1390, indicating it couldn’t possibly be Jesus’s. Supporters of authenticity argue against the test, citing sloppy sampling methods, violation of protocol and suspicion in general. In the spirited debate, a critical piece of information went unnoticed. A linen cloth that has been exposed to atomic radiation cannot be accurately carbon dated. It will always date younger than it really is. Thus, the carbon dating debacle doesn’t deny the authenticity of the cloth. It confirms that the body it once enshrouded vanished in a flux of atomic radiation, similar to the rainbow body effect that is found in the Buddhist tradition. It should be noted that the Sudarium, which would also have been exposed to radiation as was everything else in the tomb, dates to 700 A.D. even though it is widely accepted as a first century relic.

The Shroud of Turin scan
The Shroud of Turin

The image on the cloth is the result of accelerated aging of the image area compared to the non-image area. Something of an atomic nature bombarded the atomic substrate of the cloth, breaking the normally stable carbon to carbon bonds, making them more reactive and susceptible to aging. The radiation effect was so powerful that the image of a Roman coin placed over Jesus’s right eye can be seen using high resolution photography. It is a 29 A.D. minting of a Pontius Pilate coin.

There are numerous other tests to confirm that Jesus’s body radiated away. One can find them at the Shroud web site, shroud.com, or read Devins’ books for a good summary. The point is, Jesus did not bodily rise from the dead. His body dematerialized into its atomic parts. And, in that regard, it can safely be said that the body that appeared outside the tomb on the first Easter Sunday was a different body than the one laid to rest on the first Good Friday. The Easter Sunday body may have been an apparition. Or it could have been a recreated body. But, it was not the same body. And, that changes everything.