Re: The Shroud of Turin
Fri, 19 Nov 1999 12:25:06 -0500

Dear Bill,

As per your suggestion, here's the notes from my lecture on the Shroud of
Turin. The context of this discussion was an application of radiocarbon
dating during the chapter on nuclear chemistry, so this is very brief. As
I didn't have time to study or present many details, I focussed on a few of
the ones I see as important. I personally don't think it's the burial
cloth of Jesus, but I wanted to leave it up to the students to form their
own opinions.

Is the Shroud of Turin really the burial cloth of Jesus Christ?

No--Our earliest record of the cloth states it's a forgery, painting
(Bishop d'Arcis, 1389)
Yes--But the image is medically correct for a victim of Roman crucifixion
(e.g. Nail holes in wrists, not palms).
Yes--Also, chemical analysis of the red tints shows that they are due to
blood, not paints or dyes. And the cloth contains primate (human?) DNA.
No--But whose DNA? It could be a contamination from people handling the
Yes--Pollen embedded in the cloth is from plants only present in Israel in
the springtime (A. Danin and U. Baruch, XVI Botanical Congress, 1999)
No--The burial practice of the Jews in Jesus' time was to wrap the body in
cloth, not lay the cloth on the body (John 19:40)
No--Carbon-14 dating by three different labs indicate the cloth is about
600 years old (Nature, Feb. 16, 1989)
Yes--But the carbon-14 date may be wrong due to:
-sampling error
-bacteria contamination
"Science can never authenticate this cloth, because there's no lab test for
Christ-ness." Alan Adler, chemist (Time, Apr. 20, 1998)

Thank you all for your input and references.

God bless,