SHROUD OF TURIN
The Shroud of Turin, is a length of linen cloth bearing the negative image of a man, claimed by some to be the depiction of Jesus of Nazareth and the fabric is the burial shroud in which he was wrapped after crucifixion. The existence of the shroud was first securely attested in 1389 or 1390 when a local bishop wrote that an unnamed artist had confessed that it was a forgery. Radiocarbon dating of a sample of the fabric is consistent with this date of origin.
The artifact is kept in the Cathedral of Turin, which is located next to a complex of buildings composed of the Royal Palace of Turin, the Chapel of the Holy Shroud (located inside the Royal Palace and formerly connected to the Cathedral), and the Palazzo Chiablese in Turin, Piedmont, northern Italy.
The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Pope John Paul II called the Shroud “a mirror of the Gospel”. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to prove, contrary to the scientific consensus, that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. In 1988, three radiocarbon dating tests dated a corner piece of the shroud from the Middle Ages, between the years 1260 and 1390. Some shroud researchers have challenged the dating, arguing the results were skewed by the introduction of material from the Middle Ages to the portion of the shroud used for radiocarbon dating. However, all of the hypotheses put forward to challenge the radiocarbon dating have been scientifically refuted, including the medieval repair hypothesis, the bio-contamination hypothesis and the carbon monoxide hypothesis.
The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative—first observed in 1898—than in its natural sepia color. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial.