Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Further Setbacks for Shroud Enthusiasts

With the next public exhibition announced for 10 April - 23 May 2010 by Benedict XVI in June 2008 with more than half a million registered visitors, two events have further discredited the Shroud of Turin as the burial cloth of Jesus. Luigi Garlaschelli from CICAP, a member organisation of ECSO, created a full-body image of the shroud using techniques available in medieval times. Also, excavations of a real burial cloth in Jesusalem dated to the first century is completely unlike the Shroud of Turin.

Joe Nickell and Walter Sanford had already shown that a facial image very like the one on the Shroud could be created using painting material available in medieval times. Joe Nickell rubbed red ochre on linen stretched over a bas relief to create an image like the one on the Shroud, while Walter Sanford painted directly on linen. Luigi now used a full human body complemented by a bas relief for the face to create a full body image. One of the objections of the past had been that the image on the real Shroud could not be explained by pigments alone. It had been conjectured, for example by Joe Nickell, that the areas with paint degraded more quickly because the paint acted as a catalyst to make these areas more yellow than others, contributing more to the image colouring that the remaining pigment. Luigi was able to artificially age the shroud and confirm this hypothesis. This refutes the claim yet again that such an image could be not have created by a medieval artist with techniques available to him.

Another piece of counter evidence came from an unexpected quarter. The archeologist Shimon Gibsom from the W. F. Albright Institute discovered the remains of a shroud in a burial cave. Carbon dating yieded a date between 1-50 C.E. The shroud differs markedly from the Shroud of Turin. Textile historian Orit Shamir showed that the newly found shroud is made of a simple two-way weave, quite unlike the complex weave of the Turin cloth with a herringbone pattern. Shimon Gibson has pointed out that this is the first find of its kind among more that 1000 burial places of the area and time. This finding futher underlines how implausible the hypothesis is that claims that the Turin Shroud is the burial cloth of Christ.

This new evidence futher vindicates the stance of skeptics, the first of whom was a bishop: Henri de Poitiers. His successor Pierre d'Arcis reported that the cloth had been "cunningly painted" and that the artist had confessed to creating the Shroud. In 1988, the Shroud was dated by three independent labs to the 14th century, confirming the bishop's report. In the early 80s, microanalyst Walter McCrone showed that the image areas have traces of red ochre, while vermillon was detected in "blood" areas.

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