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Shroud of Turin
Shroud of Turin
Millions of words have been written about the remarkable cloth preserved at Turin. More recently, most of these writings dealt with one basic question, was it the actual winding sheet of the crucified Christ, bearing an imprint of His body? Or was the whole thing a gigantic hoax? A fantastic forgery of the Middle Ages? Erudite men have lined up on both sides of that compelling query. Some of the facts about the Holy Shroud have something to do with the presence of human blood and other strong evidences of its authenticity, it intensified man’s curiosity. The researcher himself was also puzzled and came up with this study. In the words of John Walsh, “the facts here have always been available in newspapers, books, documents and human memory, but they have been difficult to gather. I have sought them, off and on, for four years, finally visiting Europe in the search. But I have not set them down here in any effort to convince. Indeed, the reader must come to his own conclusion.”(Walsh 1963, p: 1.) Being open minded to both parties the pros and cons plays an important part in conducting this research paper, as what authors Pickenett and Prince said “ Undertaking this study with a completely open mind, being equally ready to affirm that the shroud was absurd fraud, or to recognize its authenticity, but gradually forced to agree, on every single point that its markings were exact.”(Picknett & Prince 2000, p:5.). Thus, it was a test for scientist and experts to show how these evidences support the possibilities of its authenticity.
Statement of the problem
The purpose of this paper is twofold. It aims to excavate some of the evidences that supports the authenticity of the Holy Shroud of Turin specially for the skeptics, secondly is to furnish some brief and clear explanations to the evidences gathered. To achieve the said purpose the researcher formulated these questions:
1. What is Holy Shroud of Turin all about? its significance?
2. What is the history of the Shroud? Where does it come from?
3. What makes the Holy Shroud of Turin authentic?
Significance of the Study
If the Shroud was just an old piece of linen, something of little value then continued research would be a waste of time and effort. But because the potential meaning of the Shroud was so enormous, it compels continued focus until this “riddle of the ages” is finally solved. It’s like a puzzle with lost pieces or a mystery with missing clues. It beckons not just the researcher but all of us to press on until all the pieces are found and its mystery is revealed. Yet it was the mystery that makes it a captivating topic for study. This paper was limited to a study of cross section materials. No actual interviews with the scientists and the researcher didn’t go to Turin, Italy to examine the Shroud himself. Being systematic and following the right steps are musts in term paper writing. The researcher gathered all information needed and noted the source. Had read printed materials and had taken all essential information and evidences.
Discussion of the problem
For starters & the unfamiliar a picture of the shroud would be most appropriate. Examinations have been conducted along numbers of different lines, like history, anatomy, chemistry, medicine, photography and art history to prove its authenticity. In the year 1988 the Holy Shroud was subjected to Radio Carbon14 dating proclaiming it as a forgery. But there are other facts & evidences which makes the Holy Shroud authentic.
Problem One: What is the Holy Shroud of Turin all about?
The first public exposition of the Shroud that the researcher could remember was the one held in 1998 of April through June for two months at the Turin Cathedral it was a memorable event and a lot of pilgrims came to see it as televised on CNN. This led to the researcher’s interest to focus on this subject matter. The first impression that the researcher got was this is the actual cloth that wrapped our Savior. Simply that’s it with no further descriptions. “The most sacred and priceless piece of cloth on earth is a rectangular piece of ancient linen cloth 14ft. 3inches long & 3 ft 7 inches wide, kept in great care in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Duomo San Giovanni) in Turin, Italy. Why is it so sacred and priceless? Because it is believed to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus which has a miraculous imprint of His full body with all the wound marks and body contour registered on the it as a faint sepia colored image. This cloth shows how Jesus looked, what types of wound he received at the crucifixion, and it proclaims the resurrection of Jesus in great power.” (Encyclopedia Britannica CD, 99.) Looking at the image alone one can see that the man was tortured and suffered a lot. These was justified in the words of Picknett and Prince, they stated that “down at the center of the cloth, taking up just 13ft of its total length , are two images showing the front and back of a naked, well proportioned man, “hinged” at the head. The cloth is believed to be a winding sheet, which means the corpse would have been laid on one half, and his front covered over with the other. The man is bearded, with very long hair hanging down the shoulders at the back, and stopping at shoulder length at the front. The hands are crossed modestly over the loins. The sole of one foot, dreadfully darkened with what appears to be blood, is clearly outlined on the image of the back.
The eye is drawn unmercifully to dark lines and splotches on the body apparently blood from several atrocious wounds. There are small pierced wounds on the head, and a round one on the visible wrist as if a nail had been driven through it. There is a wound as if from a large stab in the chest, blood from which also runs across the small of the back, and there are small flows of blood on the front of both feet and much more on the sole of one foot. Some believe that the face appears to be swollen and contused, and over hundred scourge marks have been counted on the back, wounds that also curl around the front of the body and legs. Obviously, judging by these horrific marks the man on the Shroud was or was supposed to be Jesus Christ.” (Picknett & Prince 2000, p:22-23.) ” It is a length of pale biscuit-colored linen, 14 ft, 3inches by 3 feet 7 inches with an additional 3 ½ inches strip on its left hand side. It bears various folds and blemishes accrued throughout its long life. Most conspicuous are the marks of fire in 1532, which burned through places, notably through the shoulders of the image. The burn holes (fourteen large ones and eight small ones) have been repaired with patches of the altar cloth, blackened areas still clearly visible around them. (A backing Holland cloth was added, and is still there today.) There are other isolated burns from specks of molten silver from the same fire.” (Picknett & Prince 2000, p:21-22.) John Walsh said while seeing the Shroud, “before them was a long narrow piece of cloth that had once been white but now had the tone of old ivory. It was about fourteen feet length and less than four feet wide. From one end to the other it presented a bewilderingly mottled appearance: a series of large and small patches, darkened areas, discoloration and brownish stains: though vague and diffused, they gave an irresistible of a human body.” (Walsh 1963, p:7.) Based from other sources the researcher gathered stated “that the Shroud of Turin is an ancient yellow linen cloth which bears the faded image of a bearded man covered with bloodstains which correspond to the wounds of crucifixion. The Shroud has been kept in Turin, Italy for over 400 years but has ha history that can be traced to the sixth century legends and a folklore going all the way back to the first century. Millions believe it to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus, National Geographic called it “one of the most perplexing enigmas of modern times.” Time magazine called it “Riddle of the Ages.” The Shroud is a fascinating blend of ancient history, sacred art, modern science and religious tradition.” (Multimedia World History CD, 95.)
On the other hand, “the Turin Shroud, a piece of linen cloth roughly 1 by 4 meters, covered the body of Jesus after His death. It bears the faint image of a human shape that becomes quite vivid in a photographic negative. Details show the marks of torture and crucifixion.” (Reader’s Digest Almanac of the Uncanny, 95.) All in all instead of a vague outline of a bearded man, there was a massively detailed photograph of a terribly wounded, terribly real body. The descriptions from the references gathered were all similar. For sure this image, this torn and tortured man could be no other than Jesus himself. The power of the Shroud is never to be underestimated.
Problem Two: What is the History of the Shroud? Where did it come from?
It is a must to look at the known history of the Shroud to pick up from a often biased and selective story where the most awesome relic in Christendom could possibly begun its career. Had it actually originated in a cold tomb in first-century Palestine? “The history of the Shroud of Turin can be best studied by dividing it into two specific categories. The general consensus of even the most doubting researches is to accept a “1350” date as the beginning of the “undisputed” or documented history of the Shroud of Turin. This also happens to coincide with the approximate date determined by the 1988 carbon dating of the cloth. Although there is a significant amount of evidence supporting the Shroud’s existence prior to the mid 1300’s, much more of it is, in fact, “circumstantial” and remains mostly unproven.” (Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD, 95.) In the words of Walsh “from the tomb to Turin is a tortuous journey. Upholders of the relic’s authenticity assert that it is the same burial cloth that was venerated by pilgrims in Jerusalem during the seventh century, and later taken to the Imperial Palace Chapel at Constantinople (now Turkey). When the Crusaders sacked that city in 1204, this Shroud along with other treasures disappeared. Around 1350, a French nobleman, Geoffroy de Charny donated a Shroud to a Church in the village of Lirey, near Troyes in north-eastern France. Where he obtain it is unknown, but believers insist it is the one that had been missing. A century later, one of Geoffroy’s offspring, Lady Marguerite, gave it to the House of Savoy. The family’s head, 71 years old ex King Umberto II, became the relic’s owner. It is a pedigree as full of holes, as fondly stuck together by tradition, as that of many formed relic.” (Walsh 1963, p: 75).
The same hold’s true on the CD ROM reference, “the Shroud surfaced during the Crusades when Pilgrims to the Near East brought back religious souvenirs. A linen Shroud that had been taken to Constantinople from Jerusalem was reported missing when Constantinople was sacked by the Crusades in 1204. In the 1350’s a Frenchman, named Geoffroi de Charny began displaying a shroud that he said came from the East. The bishop of Troyes, condemned it as a painted fake. The Charny family gave the Shroud to the Counts of Savoy. It has remained with them ever since and is now housed under the strictest security in Turin Cathedral.” (Encarta Encyclopedia CD, 96.) The Shroud only surfaced in 1357. If it were genuine, where was it before that? If it had existed, it would have been the most prized relic in Christendom; how could it have remained anonymous and unmentioned for well over a thousand years? This is what they categorized as the circumstantial history. This information that the researcher got from the internet tells the public that “in 1203, a French soldier with the Crusaders camped in Constantinople (who were responsible for the sack of the city the following year) noted that a church there exhibited every Friday the cloth in which Christ was buried, and “his figure could be plainly seen there” It is likely that this cloth and the Turin Shroud are the same, especially in view of the pollen evidence and the fact that these are the only known “Shrouds of Christ” with a body imprint.” (www.shroud2000.com). One of the essential highlights of the Holy Shroud of Turin was the Fire of 1532 which was also believed to have altered the age when it was subjected to Carbon dating. “During the Shroud’s long history, there was no lack of opportunity for restoration. In 1532, for instance, a fire broke out in the ducal palace chapel at Chambery, capital of Savoy, where the Shroud then reposed. Snatched from a silver casket that had begun to melt, the cloth was signed in places burned and stained by water used to fight the fire. Nuns of the order of Saint Clare patched the relic with fine linen and reinforced with strong canvas sewn to its back.” (Walsh 1963,p:79) “On December 4, 1532 fire broke out in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambery, seriously damaging all its furnishings and fittings. Because the Shroud was protected by four locks, canon Philibert Lambert and two Franciscan summon the help of a blacksmith to open the grille. By the time they succeed Marguerite of Austria’s Shroud casket reliquary as made to her orders by Lievin van Lathan has become melted beyond repair by the heat. But the Shroud folded inside is preserved by being scorched and holed by a drop of molten silver that fell on one corner.” (Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD, 95.)
The researcher’s curiosity about how the fire could have altered the date was justified. “The fire is important, not only because it caused to the cloth, but also it is constantly cited as evidences for some theory or another about how the image was formed, and it is regularly quoted as the reason for the “freak” carbon dating results. More recently there have been claims that the chemical in the linen interfered with the carbon dating results, making the cloth appear much younger than it was.” (Encyclopedia Britannica CD, 99.) “Last August 26 up to October 22, 2000 an eight weeks public exhibit of the Shroud is scheduled to commemorate the JUBILEE Anniversary of the birth of Jesus. It will mark the fifth such exposition of the Shroud since it was first photograph in 1898 and modern science took an interest in the cloth.” (www.shroud2000.com)
Problem Three: What makes the Shroud Authentic?
Part of the Shroud’s appeal to the believers was apparently something between a miraculous and a earthly object, a souvenir left by Jesus that was opened to the scrutiny of the twenty-first century. Science must take its steps and it was a necessity in order to provide answers to this most intriguing and beguiling relic of Christendom. The researcher was convinced that it is ge
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