Turin Shroud and Sudarium of Oviedo

Turin Shroud brief history

Dead body covered with a shroud. The Turin Shroud
Dead body covered with a shroud. The Turin Shroud

The Turin Shroud has been kept in Turin, Italy since 1578.
For centuries it has been surrounded in controversy, many believe that it was the cloth that was wrapped around the body of Jesus of Nazareth, after he had been crucified, others disagree.
One big problem is that there was a lot of money of be made from Christian relics being sold throughout the Medieval period. This led to fake relics being sold.

Scientific studies on the Turin Shroud

But recent scientific work on the Shroud has discovered some interesting facts.
It is a burial cloth of a man that has possibly been crucified in the first century and his image can still be seen on it.
When a small bit of the edge was cut away to scientifically date it, the Radiocarbon Dates only came out at between 1260 and 1390, but this may be due to various repairs and also being contaminated by observers touching it when it was on display unprotected throughout it’s history.
The 1988 Carbon-14 tests done at Oxford, Zurich and Arizona Labs used pieces of a sample cut from the lower left corner, an area of the cloth that was re-woven during the middle ages:

Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin.
The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.”

Dr. Ray Rogers [i]
Turin Shroud showing as it appears and then what it looks like as a photo negative.
Turin Shroud showing as it appears and then what it looks like as a photo negative. Photo credit: [ii]

There are sobering conclusions that can be drawn from observing the shroud:

Back in the 30s the military surgeon Pierre Barbet had noticed that all artistic depictions of Christ crucified, the nails were driven through the palms.
But on the shroud it could be seen that the nails were driven through the wrists of the hands.
In order to clarify the facts, Barbet drilled a nail through the hand of a corpse and attached some weight on it.
The anatomy of a human hand was not able to carry the weight – the weight ripped of.
Therefore, the man on the shroud had been nailed through the wrists.
But if you do so the median nerve will be injured, which led to a paralysis of the thumb.
That’s why you can only see 4 fingers on the shroud.”

Die Grabtücher [ii]
Jesus on a cross

The figure has been crucified:

  • with nails to the wrists
  • one nail through both feet
  • wounds from being whipped
  • head punctures (crown of thorns)
  • a large stab wound to chest side.

Sudarium of Oviedo

But the Shroud is not the only thing that has been found.

A piece of cloth 84 by 53 cm has been kept in the cathedral in Oviedo, northern Spain and is claimed to have been put upon the face of Jesus after his death.

It is a cloth that has been folded four times along one side and the blood has soaked through less and less on each layer.
The stains show that this person died in an upright position and that the cloth was put on at this time with his head touching his right shoulder.
The main stains come from the liquid in the lungs which show that the cause of death was from asphyxiation.
This liquid then dried on the cloth.
This points to death by crucifixion.
About an hour later when the body was taken down from the cross some of this liquid in the lungs escaped through the nose and onto the cloth, which again dried.
Then about three quarters of an hour later a third stain was left on the cloth when the body was carried to the tomb.
There are spots of blood left from small sharp points. (Left by a crown of thorns that was placed upon Jesus′ head?)
The Jews would want the face of a disfigured, dead person to be covered with a cloth (a sudarium) and Jesus was certainly cruelly beaten before being crucified.

Does the shroud and sudarium match?

The Turin Shroud and the Sudarium of Oviedo have interlocking evidence.
The blood on both comes from the same AB blood group.
When the Sudarium and the Shroud are put together, the stains around the beard on the face match.
The conclusion is that the Turin Shroud and the Sudarium of Oviedo were on the same body.

Christians do not have to rely upon these things for their faith in Jesus Christ, but they are an emotional reminder of the price Jesus, the Son of God, had to pay to bring us back to God.

And then let’s remember that He was not left in the grave – He was raised back to life, He appeared to more than 500 people and then He returned to heaven:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

References:
[i] Jan 20, 2005 paper in the professional journal ThermoChimica Acta by Dr. Ray Rogers, retired Fellow with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and lead chemist with the original science team STURP (the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project involving 33 scientists, 26 of them directly examining the Shroud for five days).
[ii] Volto Santo (opens in a new window)
Shroud of Turin (opens in a new window)
The Sudarium of Oviedo (opens in a new window)
Crucifixion image: thanks to GSP 100,000 Clipart CD

By Peter Reason

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