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Shroud Of Turin Research Grows

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Brilliant fake or precious artifact?  These were the questions Russ Breault, President and founder of The Shroud Education Project, aimed to uncover last Wed. at “Shroud Encounter!”

Breault has participated in many symposiums on the Shroud and attended its exhibitions in 1998, 2000, and 2010. He has presented “Shroud Encounter!” at hundreds of churches and universities including Duke and Auburn.

The Shroud of Turin is a 14 foot ancient flaxen cloth that bears an anterior and posterior image of a man that many claim is Jesus. Not only is the image of the man mysterious but more mysterious is how the image came to be. In an attempt to uncover scientific evidence about the shroud a team of 40 American scientists were allowed five days to examine and test the cloth; the examination of the Shroud was named the Shroud of Turin Research Project.

Other than the image, there are several distinct markings on the cloth. First of which is the eight distinct burn marks that can be traced to a fire in 1532. To keep the ancient cloth intact an additional layer was sewn on. Near the wrists and forehead of the image, there are blood-like marks that differ from the image in color and composition. After testing by STURP, the marks were conclusive in finding blood components and human DNA.

STURP conducted a carbon dating test in 1988. The results were shocking. Tests showed that the cloth actually was only 700 years old. This carbon-14 test is refuted by many including Breault. The sample taken from the cloth for the dating, which was the top left corner of the cloth, was the worst possible place to examine, explained Breault.

The image on the cloth was also tested for composition and there was conclusive evidence that the image was not painted on. The image can only be seen from one side, unlike the blood that penetrates the reverse side of the fabric.

“I liked the scientific evidence,” said Kerry Murphy ’13. Murphy, an art history major, found it interesting that there was evidence to disprove the shroud as a painting.

The shroud was often shown in antiquity and that area was prone to being handled, therefore this corner, like the burn marks, needed repairs. This information has created a convincing argument, and to some, invalidated the testing in 1988.  Breault also included multiple biblical references in the presentation: John 20:1-9; Mark 15:46; Matthew 27:59, all of which depict the crucified Jesus being wrapped in a burial cloth.

“I found the biblical references convincing,” said Corinne Burda, ’14.

Breault’s presentation was rather unbiased and provided a large amount of data about the Shroud of Turin. In the end it is up to the individual to determine the authenticity of the shroud; whether this is the face of Jesus or a hoax. In closing, Breault said that the most convincing evidence one can have is faith.