Monday, February 13, 2006

The Shroud of Turin

It may have slipped past many peoples' attention that the English version of "Torino," where the XX Winter Olympics are currently being played out, is "Turin." Due to NBC's unusual choice to broadcast the name of the city in its native tongue, I've heard of many people (myself included) that did not realize until recently just exactly where these games were in Italy.

But the word "Turin" for many Catholics -- and other Christians -- immediately brings to mind the famous Shroud that is kept there. It's a Shroud that many contend bears the image of Jesus Christ as he was after he was taken down from the cross.

Not the least of those convinced is Barrie Schwortz, who nearly 30 years ago was THE official photographer of the Shroud. Since those days, he's had a great interest in it, and has become convinced that it is what it's always been thought to be -- the twist in Schwortz's case is that he remains Jewish.

I've posted a news story that was published in The Criterion two years ago that centers around an interview with Schwortz. His main contention is that the famous carbon-dating that supposedly debunked the myth of the Shroud was not valid:

Originally, seven samples from different parts of the shroud were to be given to seven different labs, which were also supposed to do a chemical analysis.

At the last moment, the plan was changed. One sample would be taken and split three ways to three labs. Each lab neglected to do a chemical analysis. The reason given was “expediency.”

“Well,” Schwortz said, “when you have, potentially, the most important relic of Christianity, and you, for expediency, change the test that could make or break its authenticity, that’s not good judgment
in my opinion.”

It turns out that the sample the carbondaters chose was enormously bad—it was an area of the cloth damaged by years of handling and which showed up as being drastically different than the rest of the shroud in ultra-violet photography.
Fascinating stuff. You can even check out a website that he runs as a way to bring the latest in Shroud news and data to the public:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One does not need chemical analysis or carbon dating to question the authenticity of the Shroud. The best argument against it is that the details of the image presuppose a four Gospel canon.