Monday, December 08, 2014

For November

Shroud of Turin
In the Vatican is a sheet that is centuries old. It has an image of a body, front and back, of a man who had been crucified similar as Jesus. The image has faded over time and now can only clearly be seen through photographic imaging. Records of the shroud date back to the thirteenth century when the shroud had been saved from a fire. Some say it was Christ’s burial shroud, but carbon dating places the shroud to the time of the fire.

It matters little in terms of faith as to the shroud’s existence. Christians aren’t supposed to worship icons. The shroud has no special powers of healing or redemption. But the placebo effect would apply to it as it would to anything else.

Why would that image be on that shroud? Has somebody else in history been crucified the same way? Was it an art project of Leonardo Da Vinci or some such, keen to know about the historical event? If it were the actual burial shroud, why is the image there? As we don’t know for certain how the image got to be there, it is hard to know why. The image is not blood, so no DNA would be extracted. It seems instead to be a kind of photographic image setting technique. Experiments have been done to see how the image got there. One way involves having a freshly washed sheet of the first century next to dead skin. But it wasn’t tradition to have freshly washed sheets next to dead skin, but prized clean sheets that were dried. And that is why the effect is not seen generally in other burial shrouds.

If the shroud of Turin were real, it tells us something of the burial of Christ. It tells us that the burial was rushed and that the shroud used was washed and had not had time to dry prior to being used. Which is in line with what the Bible tells us about the event.

Some are keen to assert that the shroud is real as Christ’s burial shroud. They point out that the carbon dating was performed on a part of the shroud which had been patched up after the fire. They point to the weaving techniques which belong to the first century.
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