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Book Review
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Excerpt: "The Shroud of Turin"

From: Sacred Places Europe, by Brad Olsen

From the time the shroud was in France numerous challenges to its authenticity have been made. The bishop in Troyes denounced it in 1389 as an artist's rendition and forbade priests from claiming it as the true shroud. Such pro and con views continued for hundreds of years. It was not until Church authorities allowed the shroud to be carbon dated by several independent authorities that a new opinion emerged. Both independent studies concluded that the cloth samples sent in were manufactured between 1260 and 1390. Such hard evidence forced the Church to accept the new test results and reverse its decision. Now the Catholic Church says the Shroud is a representation of the passion of Christ, but not the original burial shroud of Jesus.

The advent of photography in the 19th Century led to a new discovery regarding the portrait on the fabric. It appears to be a negative image and when reversed it reveals an image never before seen. The reversal of the Shroud offered a likeness of Christ, especially the face. A century of scientific research also concluded the following tantalizing tidbits: the Shroud is not a painting; traces of real blood appear in several different places; the blood stains involve gravity, suggesting a real death; the eyes are covered with coins, one of which has been identified as the "widow's mite" minted under Pontius Pilate; and finally, pollen embedded in the cloth has been extracted and can be dated to the 1st century Palestine, implying that the Shroud passed through the region of the eastern Mediterranean. Some of these details could not have been faked, say the die-hard believers. For example, how could people in the Middle Ages have anticipated 20th century image analyzers that show specific details, which would otherwise be undetectable?

Viewing the Shroud of Turin

Due to the immense popularity of the Shroud, it is not available to be viewed unless by special arrangement. Instead, the masses are directed to the Museum of the Turin Shroud (Via S. Domenico, 28), where an exact replica is on display.

Back to: Sacred Places Europe

In this review:
Sacred Places Europe: 108 Destinations, by Brad Olsen
Excerpt: "The Shroud of Turin"

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