Religion

Weighing evidence

Some of the findings of efforts to authenticate or debunk the Shroud of Turin, which allegedly covered the body of Jesus after his crucifixion:

Supporting evidence

A 1978 research team found that the shroud was not painted, stained or dyed and concluded that the bloodstains were real.

The cloth appears to be an authentic burial cloth that conforms to first century Jewish customs. A textile expert in 2002 identified the stitching as the same seen in a Jewish settlement in A.D. 74 and said that the weave was common in the first century but not the Middle Ages.

Crease marks in the shroud suggest that it may be the same shroud exhibited in Constantinople in the early 1200s. Descriptions of the Constantinople shroud indicate that it was folded in a way consistent with the folds in the Turin shroud.

A Hungarian manuscript written in the 1190s contains illustrations of a shroud similar in appearance to the Turin shroud, including distinct burn holes that appear on the Shroud of Turin.

The man in the image has crucifixion wounds on the wrists, which is historically accurate. If the cloth were a medieval forgery, one might expect the wounds to be on the palms, as crucifixion was depicted in the Middle Ages.

Discrediting evidence

Radiocarbon dating by three separate labs placed the creation of the Shroud between 1260 and 1390.

An unbroken chain of custody dates the shroud to the 1300s in France -- a time frame that matches the radiocarbon dating.

Relic-viewing was a lucrative business in the Middle Ages, and pilgrims would have paid to view Christ's "burial cloth."

Medieval artists could have created the shroud by painting a model with red ochre, wrapping him in linen or using similar techniques.

Particles of paint found on the shroud suggest to some that paint was used to form the image.

Some say the blood tests were inconclusive; so-called blood stains could be traces of red ochre or iron oxide pigments from paint brushed onto the cloth by an artist.

The face and body are unnaturally elongated, typical of the artistic style of the Middle Ages.

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