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Shroud of Turin an Easy Forgery?

Some average guy who was perplexed by the Shroud of Turin (admittedly skeptical that is) and was enthralled with reading Chesterton's "Father Brown" stories in all of their paradox, turned the theories of Shroud theorists on their heads. Rather than asking how the imprint was placed on the cloth, Nathan Wilson posited that in reality the image is the original color of the cloth, and everything around it has been lightened through sun-bleaching. He set out to prove his hypothesis, and came up with some results that are truly interesting.

The original article by Wilson himself chronicling his experiment can be found in Books & Culture magazine. Additionally, the Discovery Channel picked up the story and provides a nice summary. Additionally, Wilson has his own web site, ShadowShroud.com highlighting his theory.

As a big believer in the authenticity of the Shroud, Wilson's test is damning. I am interested in hearing more commentary on his hypothesis. What Wilson doesn't really get into is that his hypothetical Crusader forgers would have to be a couple of really talented and really entrepreneurial fellows. Theoretically, there should be some evidence of the Shroud's display in a famous Church during the medieval period. There is none, only that it turned up in France during the fourteenth century under the ownership of Geoffrey de Charnay, whose ancestors were Knights Templars. It didn't seem to provide the excitement that such medieval forgers would need to generate to make it worth their time. Additionally, they didn't sell it to the Church. Why not? More fascinating questions about this amazing relic that will spur debate until the Lord returns and tells us about its authenticity.

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Comments (2)

Ah, the shroud, one of those parts of pious legend that I neither really deny nor accept. I’m open to its mystery, but also skeptical of all the efforts both prove or disprove its authenticity. Three thoughts:

I find it most incredulous that the shroud should have been held under wraps until 1357, a time, furthermore, rife with forgeries of relics. Still, that in itself is conclusive of nothing.

The 1988 C-14 testing of the shroud’s fiber was supposed to be scientific proof that the shroud was a forgery. In fact, it was more proof that careless scientists produce junk science. The sample tested was from a Medieval reweave, and so naturally it produced a medieval date. More than this though, the cloth may with all likelihood completely updatable using the C-14 method. The 1532 fire that the shroud survived would have saturated the cloth micro-fine carbon particles that would radically skew any test results.

Now the latest discovery is all very bright and skeptical (in the most Scewtapian sense). So it has been demonstrated that the natural process of the sun’s radiation can produce an image in cloth. Once again, all hail science. So, how does this disprove that the radiation from a resurrecting God-man didn’t produce an image on cloth? The supernatural would still be able to use the laws of nature.

Xon:

Now the latest discovery is all very bright and skeptical (in the most Scewtapian sense). So it has been demonstrated that the natural process of the sun’s radiation can produce an image in cloth. Once again, all hail science. So, how does this disprove that the radiation from a resurrecting God-man didn’t produce an image on cloth? The supernatural would still be able to use the laws of nature.

Yes, mcmlxix, but Wilson himself is quick to point out that he hasn't "proved" the Shroud to be a fake. But, he does say that his experiment might very well take away one of the major elements of the Shroud apologia, the claim that "nobody knows how this could have been faked." Wilson appears to show (though more tests are needed) exactly how it could have been faked by a medieval. Does that mean it was faked? Not necessarily. It just means thet Shroud believers can't continue to say that it couldn't have been.

And Wilson is hardly a "all hail science" kind of guy. He would stand with you against modern scientism.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 8, 2005 7:31 PM.

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