Updated: Aug 30, 2019
A new study refutes the 1980s theory that the Shroud was the burial cloth of a medieval personage, re-opening up the possibility that it may originate from the time of Christ.
Originally believed to be the cloth that covered Jesus’ body after he was pulled down from the cross, the Shroud of Turin has fueled imaginations for centuries. Imprinted with the image of a reclining man from both the front and the back, for centuries, pilgrims have traveled to the Turin cathedral to see a linen cloth that they believed showed image of Jesus after his crucifixion.
Then in 1988, radio carbon dating of the cloth suggested that the linen was made between 1260 and 1390, leading researchers to postulate that the Shroud may have instead covered the body of Knights’ Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, after he was tortured and then burned at the stake by France’s King Philip in the early 1300s.
Since then, the Vatican has inexplicably kept the test results under lock and key until a team of researchers sued the Vatican in 2017 for access to the results via the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). Only then were given the original test data, which included hundreds of unpublished pages from the earlier study.
After careful analysis, the team concluded that the test was conducted solely on one edge of the cloth, which happened to be the most handled part of the Shroud. Moreover, the edge that was tested was exposed to a fire in 1532, which may have added contaminates to the linen. Additionally, the frayed edges of the shroud were repaired or rewoven by nuns during the Middle Ages. Any of these factors may have given a false medieval date for the Shroud's age.
It was also suggested that the tests performed in the 1980s did not utilize strict scientific guidelines and that the dates provided by three different labs were not the same, as was originally reported, but different, which should have invalidated the results.
Until the Vatican approves another test of the Shroud (and they have refused all requests for additional testing to date), researchers will have to wait for a final determination of its date… and whose visage it shows: a Templar Grand Master or Jesus himself?