Shroud of Turin
This year is the 29th anniversary of the C14 dating of the Shroud of Turin that identified the most famous relic in Christendom as a fake. But since then, despite many attempts, no one has been able to determine who the forger was or how it might have been done. Rageh Omaar sets out to find out exactly what it is about the image that has defied imitation and explores new evidence that challenges the verdict on the Shroud.
With unique access to the Shroud itself and those closest to it, Rageh goes on his own journey of discovery. He also visits the leader of the 1978 US investigation that was given access to the cloth for a week, Dr John Jackson, who reveals the results from the data collected and a lifetime of research.
Two other Shrouds of Christ have existed at different times down the centuries. One is the Shroud of Constantinople, described as having an image of Christ and stolen by the Crusaders in 1204. The Turin Shroud appeared 150 years later in the family of one of those Crusaders. The other is the Shroud of Jerusalem that wrapped Jesus’ body. With the help of a team of international scholars Rageh explores new evidence that links the Turin Shroud to both locations and times. Could they be one and the same? But if they are, where does that leave the Carbon 14 test?
New information about the behaviour of C14 in the atmosphere exists which was unknown 20 years ago when the Shroud was dated. A new hypothesis has come forward that could explain how genuinely old linen could produce a much younger date in certain conditions.
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 mid plane 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 psihopatologie of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus.