New book reveals Shroud of Turin dates to crucifixion time

(Photo: Reuters / Juan Carlos Ulate)A woman penitent holds up a piece of cloth representing the Shroud of Turin as her participates in the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession on Good Friday in San Jose April 6, 2012. Thousands of Catholics participate in the event that remembers the suffering and death of Jesus.

Experiments by Italian scientists have concluded that the contentious Shroud of Turin, the artifact which many believe is the burial cloth of Jesus and others a forgery, dates back to the time of his crucifixion.

University of Padua engineer Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta have published the findings in a new book this week, the Vatican Insider section of La Stampa reports.

The book is entitled "Mystery of the Shroud" ("ll Mistero della Sindone").

The linen, which bears the full-body image of a crucified man, has indeed been a mystery for centuries.

(Photo: Wikipedia)The Shroud of Turin: modern photo of the face, positive left, negative right. Negative has been contrast enhanced.

No one has been able to determine how the X-ray style image got on the cloth. Furthermore, there is no agreement as to whether or not the person depicted there is Jesus.

Despite its cloudy past, the shroud has attracted thousands of visitors to the Turin Cathedral in Italy whenever it goes on display, which is a rare occurrence.

Owned by the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church has endorsed the shroud's authenticity in recent years.

Both Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican's official media outlets have made statements lending credence to the idea that the shroud is the cloth which wrapped Jesus as he lay in his tomb.

In the story of his crucifixion in the Bible, the Gospels note that Jesus was buried in a tomb and rapped in a cloth provided by the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.

Before leaving office, Benedict approved the showing of the Shroud of Turin on television at Easter weekend. It is the first time in 30 years that a viewing of the relic has been broadcast.

Pope Francis will provide a recorded introduction during the telecast.

However, its critics believe it is a hoax perpetrated during medieval times. Occasionally researchers have been allowed to study the relic in order to scientifically determine if it could possibly be the burial cloth of Jesus.

Carbon dating tests done in the 1980s appeared to show that the shroud was made between A.D. 1260 and 1390. Those results seemed to cast doubt on the cloth being from the time of Jesus's death in the first century.

However, studies done in 2004 refuted the earlier findings.

A study revealed that the material used for the carbon dating experiments was from a previously undetected rewoven area of the shroud and not from the original linen.

University of Padua experiments showed the date of the fibers studied is compatible with Jesus's crucifixion in A.D. 30.

Fanti and Gaeta report in their book that the findings are 95 percent certain.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News