An extract on #turin
The origins of the shroud and its images are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians and researchers. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to prove 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, which is consistent with the shroud's first known exhibition in France in 1357. Articles published from 2000 to 2015 have highlighted concerns about this dating, and aspects of the 1988 test continue to be debated in some circles, but meaningful challenges to the dating result have so far been unsuccessful. According to Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in 2011, "there are various hypotheses as to why the dates might not be correct, but none of them stack up."
The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color, and this negative image was first observed in 1898 on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified. Despite numerous investigations and tests, the status of the Shroud of Turin remains murky, and the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain puzzling. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial.
The shroud is rectangular, measuring approximately 4.4 by 1.1 metres (14 ft 5 in 3 ft 7 in). The cloth is woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill composed of flax fibrils. Its most distinctive characteristic is the faint, brownish image of a front and back view of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin. The two views are aligned along the midplane of the body and point in opposite directions. The front and back views of the head nearly meet at the middle of the cloth.
The image of the "Man of the Shroud" has a beard, moustache, and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle. He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 1.70 to 1.88 m or 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 2 in). Reddish-brown stains are found on the cloth, showing various wounds that, according to proponents, correlate with the yellowish image, the pathophysiology of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus.
Forensic doctors have interpreted markings on the cloth as follows:
One wrist bears a large, round wound, apparently from piercing (the second wrist is hidden by the folding of the hands)
Upward gouge in the side penetrating into the thoracic cavity.
Small punctures around the forehead and scalp
Scores of linear wounds on the torso and legs.
Swelling of the face
Streams of blood down both arms
The details of the image on the shroud are not easily seen with the naked eye, but they can be more clearly revealed through photography. In May 1898 Italian photographer Secondo Pia was allowed to photograph the shroud. He took the first photograph of the shroud on 28 May 1898. Pia was startled by the visible image of the negative plate, implying that the shroud is effectively a negative of some kind. Pia was at first accused of doctoring his photographs, but he was vindicated in 1931 when another photographer, Giuseppe Enrie, photographed the shroud and obtained results similar to Pia's. In 1978, ultraviolet photographs were taken of the shroud.
The shroud was damaged in a fire in 1532 in the chapel in Chambery, France. There are some burn holes and scorched areas down both sides of the linen, caused by contact with molten silver during the fire that burned through it in places while it was folded. Fourteen large triangular patches and eight smaller ones were sewn onto the cloth by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage.