SCIENCE and DIVINITY – Evidence for The Shroud of Turin



The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be the piece of cloth which wrapped the body of Jesus in the tomb, debate has continued for centuries as to its authenticity.  Science continues to build a composite picture of the man in the shroud and has determined beyond doubt that this cloth  uniquely woven, wrapped the body of a male of Jewish ethnicity, blood group AB, who died as a result of severe trauma. Minerals found in the area around the walls of Jerusalem are also found on the shroud. The subject was buried in accordance with 1st century Jewish funerary rites with coins of the era covering his eyes, the body prepared using aromatic oils and floral tributes associated uniquely with the area of Jerusalem. 

The shroud is said to have been brought to Europe by the Templars.The firstjesus-0172 images of the face on the shroud were taken when an amateur photographer developed the photographs he had taken in the cathedral; the negative image clearly showed an image of a face. No trace of forgery or scientific explanation has been found.  In 1988 the Catholic church gave permission for radio carbon dating, the findings, later shown to be flawed, stated that the cloth was a medieval forgery, testing the faith of many believers.  A new examination, the results  of 15 years of research, dates the shroud to between 300 BC and 400 AD, which would put it in the era of Christ. Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, and Saverio Gaeta, a journalis, used infra-red light and spectroscopy (the measurement of radiation intensity through wavelengths) in the test.

TEXTILE VERIFICATION: Sue Benford and Joseph Marino using expert knowledge of textiles and ancient weaving, proved that an additional piece of cotton material had been added to the original linen shroud by Medieval nuns. These skilled needlewomen, mended the shroud in 1534 following a fire in the cathedral. The specimen tested had been taken from a corner of the later cloth and not from the original, invalidating the test.


The cloth is  consistent with fabrics from first-century Israel, but not with medieval Europe. Linen is made from flax fibres twisted and spun into thread by hand on spindles.  In the spinning process the fibres can be twisted clockwise (Z) or counter clockwise (S) Because the structure of the flax fibre has a natural tendency to twist itself in an S twist this is the more usual process. The yarn of the shroud has been spun in a Z twist
 (clockwise) and is of very high quality. It is evenly spun, woven in a herringbone twill, an unusual weave for the time. The resulting cloth is very fine with a density of 35 threads per centimetre, or about 89 threads per inch. The finer weave  is consistent with the New Testament statement that the “sindon” (or shroud) was purchased by Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man. (The finest surviving Egyptian mummy fabrics are 30 threads per centimetre (75 threads per inch)

BLOOD GROUPING:  The blood on the shroud has now been repeatedly confirmed to be human, blood type AB , a group shared by only 3% of the world population. Drs. Victor and Nancy Tryon of the University of Texas Health Science Center found X & Y chromosomes representing male blood. DNA analysis has shown it to be that of a male of Eastern Jewish ethnicity.

HAEMATOLOGY: Blood chemist Dr. Alan Adler (University of Western Connecticut) and the late Dr. John Heller (New England Institute of Medicine) found a high concentration of the pigment bilirubin, consistent with someone dying under great stress or trauma.  In 2017 Atomic resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Wide Angle X-ray Scanning Microscopy was used by  Italian scientists (Carlino, Elvio, Liberato De Caro, Cinzia Giannini, Giulio Fanti)  to investigate the nanoscale properties of a pristine fibre taken from the Shroud.  The fibre is covered with creatinine nanoparticles 20-100 nm in size embedding small (2-6 nm) nanoparticles made of defective ferrihydrite typical of biologic ferritin cores.  New biologic evidence of  ‘rhabdomyolysis’  is not typical of the blood serum of a healthy human being. This rare condition is due to direct or indirect muscle injury resulting from the death of muscle fibres and release of their contents into the bloodstream. High levels of creatinine in the blood are observed in the case of severe trauma,  in fatal accidents or as a consequence of torture. 

TIME AND PLACE:  Botanical  evidence supporting  the geographical location of the shroud being in or near Jerusalem is now unequivocal. There are several funerary bouquets on the shroud itself along with many small fruits of the Pistacia lentiscus, commonly used in Hebrew burial ceremony. Alan and Mary Whanger used Polarizing Image Overlay Technique to identify images of flowers and thorns on the shroud. These included   Ziziphus spina-christi  seen around the head, correlating to the biblical ‘crown of thorns’  a historical  description unique to the death of Jesus.  Professor Avinoam Danin (Hebrew University Jerusalem) later confirmed their findings.  Of the 28 plants found, 27 grow in close proximity to Jerusalem along the roadside or in fields and the 28th in the Dead Sea region.  All would have been available in Jerusalem markets.  Half of the plants are only found in the Middle East, with one growing only in Israel, Jordan or Sinai.  Professor Danin noted the partially opened flower of a Capparis aegyptia, which opens progressively during the day, the degree of opening demonstrated that this flower was picked between 3 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The weeks between the months of March and April are the only time of year in which eight of the plants identified on the Shroud flower, correlating to the time of the Jewish Passover and the crucifixion.  Danin concluded:  “The distribution of such a gathering of plants (esp. Gundelia tournefortii L., Zygophyllum dumosum Boiss., Cistus creticus L., and Capparis aegyptia Lam.) indicates that the only place where people could have put fresh flowers of this assemblage onto the Shroud is the area between Jerusalem and Hebron”.

MINERALOGY: Dr Joseph Kohlbeck  identified travertine aragonite crystals in the area of the nose, knees and feet on the shroud, using optical crystallography.  Aragonite has a spectral signature  similar to the limestone samples found in ancient Jerusalem tombs. The presence of Calcium Carbonate (limestone dust) on the Cloth was noted by Dr. Eugenia Nitowski (Utah archaeologist) in her studies of the cave tombs of Jerusalem.  Travertine is especially found in the area of the Damascus Gate, Golgotha, the place where Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified,  located outside the city walls on the road to Damascus.

LEPTON COIN: In 1980, Francis Filas, S.J., of Loyola University in Chicago and Michael Marx, an expert in classical coins, detected patterns on coins placed over the eyes, a practice approved by rabbinical law to ensure the eyes of the deceased person remained closed. The coin on the right eye was identified as a lituus lepton, minted between 29 and 32CE by Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor of Judea who passed sentence on Jesus.  The letters UCAI  (from TIBERIOU CAISARUS) where seen on the coin, however the misspelling of the Greek  KAISAROS seemed to eliminate this finding until several Lituus Lepton coins of the same period were found with the same misspelling. On the left eye, a coin with a distinctive sheaf of barley design was identified as a Juolia lepton struck in 29CE in honour of Tiberius Caesar’s wife Julia. The lepton was the smallest denomination in use during this period, referred to in the bible as ‘the widow’s mite’ in reference to the teaching Jesus gave as he observed the wealthy putting large sums of money into the temple treasury.  A widow put in two small coins and Jesus said to his disciples: “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

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The Turin Shroud – Evidence for Crucifixion






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