Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Easter Gift for All Believers: The Shroud is REAL !!

I was fortunate to catch a most recently-made documentary on the Shroud of Turin just in time for Easter.  Also, I hear the Shroud has gone multi-media for the first this weekend it was shown live-streaming on the web as well as being shown live on Italian television for everyone to see for themselves. Pope Francis, while not actually calling in a relic, has come out saying that ''the Shroud is an Icon for all to admire and feel closer to Jesus.''  This documentary was extremely methodical in it's new examination of the Shroud and in its unbiased approach to the many theories explaining the unusual manifestation on it.

The Shroud of Turin continues to spark intense theological debate. While one side believes that the cloth is nothing more than a medieval forgery, the other contends that the x-ray-like image imprinted on it was supernaturally created during Jesus Christ's resurrection. In the past, claims that it was the work of a renaissance artist, an optical print by camera obscura, or as mentioned, a legitimate, faith-inspired phenomenon have abounded. Without doubt, the cloth has confounded supporters and detractors, alike, for decades since it was first photographed and the negative print revealed a startlingly clear image. It is an image of a breaded man (i.e. Jesus) whose body appears to have wounds from nails in his hands and feet -- the pinpricks from thorns around his forehead and a spear wound to his chest.

Now, ''The Mystery of the Shroud'' a book that bolsters the documentary by examining new chemical and mechanical tests were were recently conducted on the shroud, seems to side with the latter assessment.  Journalist Saverio Gaeta and Giulio Fanti of Italy's University of Padua (professor of mechanical and thermal measurement) collaborated on the new book that maintains that Shroud of Turin dates back to the 1st Century and not to a later time period as some have contended. The Vatican Insider has more about the new books stunning claims. ''New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud of Turin can be dated back to the 1st Century AD. This makes it compatible with the tradition which claims that the cloth with the image of the crucified man imprinted on it is the very Jesus' body was wrapped in when he was taken off the cross.'' He said his tests backed up earlier results which claimed to have found traces of dust and pollen on the Shroud that could only have come from the Holy Land.

The article continued,''What's new about this book are Fanti's findings, which are to be published in a specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee. The research includes three new tests, two chemical ones and one mechanical one. The first two were carried out with an FT-IR system, so using infra-red light, and the other using Raman spectroscopy. The third was a multi-parametric mechanical test based on five different parameters. The machine used to examine the Shroud's fibres and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny fibres alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000BC and 2000AD. The analysis was carried out by professors who hail from various Italian higher education institutes. Amazingly, they all agree that the Shroud does, indeed, date back to the period of Jesus' purported death by crucifixion.

The Way I See It....the Shroud of Turin's original dating in 1988 was incorrect and the new FT-IR testing proved it. The previous carbon-14 tests were incorrect due to the fact that the shroud was repaired after a fire in the Middle Ages and that the new fabric used to fix it was sampled and thereby contaminated the first set of results finding the date was much later than many thought.

In his book, Mr Fanti said, after 15 years of research, that the imprint is so unique that it could have been caused by a blast of ''exceptional radiation'' perhaps at the moment of Jesus' reincarnation, although he stopped short of describing it as a miracle. The Vatican has never said whether it believes the shroud to be authentic or not, although the previous pope, Benedict XVI, once said that the enigmatic image imprinted on the cloth ''reminds us always of Christ's suffering.'' This certainly adds another chapter to the Greatest Story Ever Told.

NOTE: for the first time, an app has been created to enable people to explore the holy relic in detail on their smart phones and tablets. The app, sanctioned by the Catholic Church and called Shroud 2.0 , features high definition photographs of the cloth and enables users to see in close-up detail that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.

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