Tuesday, April 06, 2004


Maybe so, says a Swedish textile company:
Swedish textiles expert Dr Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, who discovered the seam at the back of the cloth during a restoration project, says: "There have been attempts to date the shroud from looking at the age of the material, but the style of sewing is the biggest clue.

"It belongs firmly to a style seen in the first century AD or before."

Her findings are being hailed as the most significant since 1988, when scientists controversially carbon-dated the 14ft-long cloth to medieval times, more than 1,000 years after Jesus died.

Yet experts now say the team unwittingly used cloth that had been added during a 16th-century restoration and it could have been contaminated from handling.

That the actual fabric may date from the first century, of course, does not mean that the relic is genuine. It's the sort of thing that people want to believe is true, especially as it would give us some idea of what Jesus looks like. (Did you notice the face of Jesus in "The Passion" is straight off the Shroud?)

The first problem the Shroud runs into, however, is Scripture itself:
And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. (John 20:6-7)

Apparently, then, the face of Jesus was covered by a separate cloth than the rest of the body, which is different than the body cloth of the Shroud.

Could the Shroud be genuine. I suppose it's impossible to prove the negative at this point. But I think the burden of proof still rests squarely on its defenders. Number me with the skeptics.

[Link via LRC]

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