For good reason, many of us look at relics and historic religious artifacts with great skepticism. The Shroud of Turin, which many Christians assert to be the burial cloth of Jesus, should be viewed with the same critical eye…and it has been. Arguments against the relic contend it surfaced in the mid 13th century or later, possibly created by some artist, perhaps Leonardo De Vinci; radiocarbon dating performed in 1988 concluded the Shroud was not old enough to be relevant in the discussion of Jesus of Nazareth; and the color of the blood stains is too bright for an artifact that is 2000 years old.
With these conclusions, why does the Shroud continue to receive attention? Honest investigation into the history and analysis of the Shroud reveal a fascinating mystery that cannot be so easily dismissed. The Shroud should not be relied on as a foundation for Christian faith, but it continues to draw our attention. There are valid concerns, challenging questions, and competing positions to be considered, and they must be approached with a skeptical eye and objective study.
Research conducted in a wide range of fields all appear to suggest something significant in the Shroud and not some forgery or medieval artistic work. These fields include:
- The Sudarium
- Carbon Dating
The Shroud of Turin is a historical anomaly, a scientific puzzle, a Christian relic, and a crime scene that piques our curiosities and demands our attention.
This week’s post is the first in a series that dives deeper into the study of the Shroud. Each week, we will explore a new field of study that informs our understanding of the Shroud, culminating with my lecture at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church on March 21st. Your comments on these posts will help shape that presentation, and serve as a starting point for attendees to discuss and explore further following the lecture. Thank you for your input!