Monday, November 14, 2016
Is this the Lord?
A man's face and body imprint is mysteriously embedded into ancient fabric discovered more than 400 years ago. The man appears to have wounds on his head, and piercings on his wrists and feet consistent with crucifixion. Is this an elaborate hoax or could this be a true image of Jesus Christ?
It has to be the most scrutinized piece of fabric in the history of mankind. 'This yellowed, centuries-old listen cloth continues to baffle and mesmerize so many, fueling an intense controversy that seems to have no end.
It's the Shroud of Turin, an ancient linen cloth that bears the faded image of a bearded man covered with blood stains that correspond to the wounds of crucifixion.
Millions believe it's the actual burial shroud of Jesus.
Others raise skeptical eyebrows, and consider the whole thing a hoax - an elaborate one, to be sure. But they're convinced is not real.
One thing is certain: the shroud continues to confound scientists around the world.
National Geographic calls it one "of the most perplexing enigmas of modern time."
The shroud has been kept in Turin, in northern Italy, for more than 400 years, but rarely put on public display.
So it was big news when the Archdiocese of Thrin, custodian of the shroud, announced that the shroud will be on exhibit April 19 through June 24, 2015 in the Cathedral of Turin. The 67-day display will be the longest period of time that the 14-foot-by-4-foot linen has ever been available for public viewing.
You might want to get in line now. The last time the shroud was on display, in 2010, more than 2 million visitors flocked to Turin to view the revered cloth. These were people who wanted to see it with their own eyes and experience being as close as they'll ever get to a piece of cloth that may - or may not - carry the image of Christ.
Is the image a gift to mankind, a "photograph. of Jesus, preserved for more than 2,000 years? Or is it something else, something less holy altogether? That question has puzzled experts for hundreds of years. And there is no shortage of believers on either side of the mystery.
Discussions carry on today, even in the United States. In October, more than 150 attendees from around the world gathered in St. Louis for an international conference to educate themselves on the shroud. Experts lectured on everything from theology of the shroud to future research to how to use the shroud website.
There's a lot to discuss.
The shroud was owned by the Dukes of Savoy, the former ruling family of Italy, until the late 1980s and it's now the property of the Catholic Church.
It's been kept in Ruin since 1578, and is now stored in a custom built, temperature and humidity controlled case, which can be opened to display the cloth for public exhibitions. It's kept behind the altar in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, built specifically to house the shroud.
Scientists have completed hundreds of thousands of hours of intense research on the ancient cloth.
In 1978, a team of American scientists - called the Shroud of Turin Research Project - spent 120 hours subjecting the shroud to X-ray, fluorescence and chemical tests. But they found no reliable evidence of how the mysterious image was produced.
A decade later, radiocarbon dating tests conducted at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology indicated the cloth was less than 800 years old, produced in the Middle Ages, between approximately A.D. 1260 and 1390. It couldn't have been wrapped around Jesus, researchers announced.
But other experts, from chemists to historians, disputed the results. The research was compromised, they said — the tested fragment was actually a medieval piece of cloth added later to repair damage, which resulted in a false reading.
"The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties ttoothe main part of the shroud relic; Raymond Rogers, a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory its New Mexico, told the BBC News in 2005.
Besides, skeptics added, this ancient fabric — with its burn marks, water stains and holes — had been subjected to fires, contamination and other damage that skewed the test results.
Despite the intensive research and hundreds of papers, books and reports, the Shroud of Turin remains a murky mystery. But what a mystery.
At the recent international shroud conference in St. Louis, Russ Breault, president and founder of the Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., delivered the opening talk that focused on how the pattern of wounds seen on the shroud — markings consistent with a crown of thorns, a pierced wrist and what appear to be blood stains — match up with what the scriptures present as events that preceded the death of Christ.
But the bottom line, he says, is nobody really knows how the fascinating image appeared on the cloth.
"This is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the world,. Breauk told the Religion News Service before the conference. "It all comes down to possibility, and what that possibility represents." - Terri Finch Hamilton
FACTS ABOUT THE SHROUD OF TURIN
• The doth is hand-spun linen.
• The cloth was first put on display for the public in 1355 in France.
• The Shroud survived a serious fire in Chambery, France, in 1532. 1t was damaged, but remained intact.
• Scientists Who have studied the Shroud of Turin have determined the blood stains on the cloth are real and are from a human male with blood type AB.
• Scientists also believe the man's height Was 5-foot-11, and his weight was approximately 170 pounds.
• No one is really sure of how the image was created. Some skeptics believed at one time that it was an elaborate painting from medieval times, but that has been ruled out because there is no evidence of paint, ink, chalk or brush strokes.
• In 1898, the Shroud was photographed for the first time by Secondo Pia. 'The first pictures revealed that the image is actually a negative imprint. This baffled scientists.
• The Shroud officially was willed to the Catholic Church in 1982.
• The Shroud is permanently stored, a custom built case where temperature and humidity is controlled. The case is covered with bullet-proof glass.
Source: Unsolved Mysteries