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Christian relics/urban legends


The Shroud of Turin: All sides of the issue:

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Conflilcting quotations:

bullet"The Shroud of Turin is a genuine artifact of a first century Roman crucifixion of an adult Jewish male...The Shroud of Turin is not the artifice of a forger." Jack Kilmon 1
bullet"It's senseless that this travesty is still being played out to the public, since it was in fact settled 600 years ago, but I guess if enough lies are propagated long enough, the truth will ultimately become the disenchanted myth." Bruce Monson expressing skepticism that the Shroud of Turin dates to the 1st century CE. 2

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Photograph of the Shroud of Turin by Giuseppe Enrie (1931)

Shroud of Turin 3

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What is the shroud?

The Shroud of Turin is a piece of linen cloth 1.1 meters wide and 4.36 meters long (approximately 43 inches by 14.3 feet). The linen was "spun with a Z twist, and woven in a three to one (herringbone) twill." 4 It bears the negative image of the front and back of a naked man with beard, long hair and a mustache, bearing wounds on his body, most of which are consistent with having been flogged and later crucified. Many devout Christians believe that this shroud was the actual fabric used to wrap Jesus after his crucifixion circa 30 CE.

Most investigators assume that there are only two possible explanations about the nature of the Shroud:

bulletThat it is the actual burial shroud of Jesus, having survived from the 1st century CE, or

bulletThat it is a forgery, intended to deceive the faithful.

Only rarely are two additional possibilities suggested:

bulletThat it is a religious artwork;  a type of painting, devoutly created to portray what the shroud might have looked like.

bulletThat it is the burial shroud of a crucified man other than Jesus, which has survived from the 1st century CE.

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The Shroud has an app:

The Shroud 2.0 app by Haltadefinizione can be downloaded from iTunes. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. It comes in two versions: one is free; the other has a nominal cost and supplies additional in-depth material. See:

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Topics covered in this section:

bulletIntroduction to the shroud:
bulletWhat do people believe the shroud to be?
bulletHistory of the shroud.
bulletWhat is on the linen?.

bulletAnalysis of the shroud:
bullet 1. First impressions of the shroud

bullet 2. A more detailed analysis of the linen

bulletHow the shroud might have been created in medieval times
bulletDating methods:
bulletCarbon-14 dating according to most scientists

bulletCarbon-14 dating according to many conservative Christians

bullet 2004: Dating by measuring the Vanillin content of the shroud: Part 1  Part 2

bullet Dating by "mechanical and thermal measurement." Status of the Shroud according to the Vatican." (Being written)

bulletThe shroud and the Bible text:
bullet Additional information: Conclustions and books about the Shroud of Turin:
bullet Part 1.

bullet Part 2.

bullet Web sites that discuss the shroud
bullet Developments from 1988 to the present time

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  1. Joe Nickell, "Blooming 'Shroud' Claims," Skeptical Inquirer magazine, 1999-NOV/DEC issue, Page 22-23.
  2. Bruce Monson, "Oh what a tangled web we weave," Review of Ian Wilson, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real." Review is online at:
  3. Giuseppe Enrie, Shroud of Turin [Public domain], 1931 at: via Wikimedia Commons
  4. "The Holy Shroud," at: (No longer available online)
  5. Barry Karr, "Review of Evidence Confirms Shroud of Turin Is a Forgery," Religious News Service, at:

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Home page >  World religions > Christianity > Christian history.... > here

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Copyright © 1999 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-NOV-18
Latest update: 2016-DEC-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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