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Arguments against the Shroud's authenticity are prima facie, supported by carbon 14 dating and a prevailing view of the way things are in the world. On the other hand, the case for authenticity is a compelling preponderance of scientific and historic evidence. So daunting is the evidence that we can only wonder if, as  postmodernists suggest, "no such thing as objective truth exists, that historic reality is an inherently enigmatic and endlessly negotiable bundle of free-floating perceptions" (SEE NOTE BELOW). The alternative is to consider, as C. S. Lewis contends: rare exceptions to nature are possible. 
4  Until 1204 CE, when crusaders sacked Constantinople, there was in that city, a picture of Jesus on a piece of cloth. It had been moved there from the city of Edessa in 944 where it was discovered in the city walls in 544. Historians think that the Edessa Cloth, also known as the Mandylion, is what we now call the Shroud of Turin. MORE ON EDESSA
Since the eighth century, there has been in Oviedo, Spain, an ancient piece of linen known as the Sudarium. Blood stains and forensic analysis link it to the Shroud. MORE ABOUT THE SUDARIUM
Scholars have found an amazing connection between the Shroud and depictions of Christ. These depictions date back as far as the sixth century. MORE ON THE ART CONNECTION
12  If the Shroud is indeed the Edessa Cloth, as most Shroud scholars now believe, then what happened to it after the sack of Constantinople? MORE ON THE MISSING YEARS
13  The Shroud was displayed in Lirey, France in the 1350's. Later, moved to Chambery, France it was almost destroyed in a fire in 1532. It is now in Turin, Italy. Nothing in its later history has been more significant than a century of research since Secondo Pia's amazing discovery of its negative image properties in 1898. MORE ON THE SHROUD'S LATER HISTORY
The work of Dr. Avinoam Danin, a botany professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dr. Uri Baruch, a pollen specialist at the Israel Antiquities Authority is highly significant. Pollen grains and flower images show that the cloth was at one time in the Jerusalem environs as well as the Anatolia area of Turkey that includes the cities of Constantinople and Edessa. MORE ABOUT POLLEN AND FLOWERS

FEATURED

OPEN LETTER TO JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN
 WHO WROTE
. . .

" My best understanding is that the Shroud of Turin is a medieval relic-forgery. I wonder whether it was done from a crucified dead body or from a crucified living body. That is the rather horrible question once you accept it as a forgery. "

DEAR JOHN, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

A TIMELINE FOR THE SHROUD

FACT SHEET
 

The Shroud is an old, blood-stained piece of linen with traces of dirt. The historical  nature of the cloth, the peculiarities of the blood stains, and the particles of travertine aragonite limestone dirt that suggest an origin in Jerusalem, are all significant to understanding the Shroud's origins. MORE ABOUT THE CLOTH
11  Twentieth century forensic medicine tells us that the image on the Shroud is an anatomically correct picture of man in a state of rigor mortis who was tortured and crucified. The blood stains are realistic to the point that only modern-day pathologists would know how to explain them.MORE ON FORENSICS

14  It seems that there is something over the eyes. It is quite possible that coins were placed on the eyelids to keep the man's eyes closed. This was a common burial practice. There is some evidence that these may be coins that were struck about 30 CE.  MORE ON THE COINS

 

The image is actually a 3D encoded chart of the front and back of a man that also happens to have the important characteristics of a photographic negative. This unique dual quality may help theoretical physicists understand how the image was created. MORE ON 3D
3 The image is very faint and composed of discolored lengths of fibers that have been chemically altered (dehydrated, oxidized and conjugated). Scientists call the lengths of discolored fibers: pixels. Different shades of yellow in the image are achieved by the number of pixels in an area in very much the same way as half tone photographs are printed in newspapers. Pixels are only to be found in the topmost layers of the cloth. MORE ON THE PIXELS
5  Chemists and art scholars have ruled out the possibility that the Shroud is a painting or any other known form of art, including photography. MORE ON IT NOT BEING A WORK OF ART
6  Scientists, who have examined the evidence, seriously question results of 1988 carbon 14 tests that determined that the Shroud had a medieval origin. Contrary to popular belief, carbon 14 testing is not always right. Too many variables, including contamination, could have skewed the results. MORE ABOUT THE CARBON 14 TESTS
10  Scientist do not know how the image was created. Having ruled out a work of art, they also rule out most natural causes known to science at this time. MORE ON NATURAL CAUSE EXPLANATIONS
The quote referring to postmodernism is by Joseph J. Ellis from his book, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. The quote as used in his book has no bearing on the Shroud of Turin but serves as a simple, if not somewhat terse, definition of postmodernism thinking. A  more hopeful definition for postmodernism is provided by the Rev. Canon Frank Harron, II, a former vicar of Washington National Cathedral and now scholar-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Church - Wall Street in New York City:

"The postmodern understanding of the way we determine truth joyfully shares personal perspectives. Truth is not separate from the person. Authenticity is a criterion of validity. Diversity and complexity are welcomed, indeed required. Truth is now always from the standpoint of individuals. The truth we can know is always approximate, tentative, provisional, learned from ourselves and from one another. It is dynamic and can come from expected and unexpected places."

Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002 Daniel R. Porter. All Rights Reserved.

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