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|It is not a medieval fake|
|About the cloth|
|On the general aspect of the man|
|About the wounds|
|Interpretation of the conclusions|
The image is not a painting. It is not the work of man. Even today we are incapable of understanding how the image was formed, and just as incapable of reproducing this image.
The image is a photographic negative formed many centuries before the invention of photography
The image teems with medical details totally unknown in the Middle Ages.
The image is positively dated between the years 29 and 36 by means of details (e.g. the coin) which to be seen, need a microscope that was not invented until centuries later.
The image has three-dimensional properties which no other image in the world possesses.
It is inconceivable to conclude that it is a fake, produced in the Middle Ages. No man in the world could have created such an object. The hypotheses of a fake must be dismissed.
The cloth corresponds to a type made in the Middle East before the 8th century, probably intended for a Jew.
The beard, the long hair, the pony tail, are evocative of a Jew of the first centuries.
The skull is covered with small wounds that are caused by small jabs.
The face is marked with many blows.
The body bears traces of a severe flogging with a whip such as was used by the Romans in the first centuries.
In the right side of his chest, he has an open wound 4.5 x 1.5 cms (approx. two inches by half an inch). This wound is compatible with a post mortem spear thrust with the type of spear used by the Romans of the first century.
It is impossible to conclude to anything but the corpse is that of a Jew of the first centuries, who died by crucifixion after flogging. The imprint of a coin on the right eyelid, a coin formally identified as having been minted under Pontius Pilate, forces us to conclude that the death occurred between the years 29 and 36 of our era.
We must now go a bit further and accept to use the Gospels as a source of historical information. The period that runs from the death of Herod, to the end of the 50's was in Judea a period of underground rebellion against Roman occupation. There was really no armed conflict before the Roman repression which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Criminals were executed for sure, probably by crucifixion, but there was no massive campaign of executions. It seems unlikely that the bodies of common criminals would have been buried in such a large and valuable fabric. In particular, we have never heard of any criminal being the victim of the parody of crowning with a crown of thorns, yet this seems to be the only plausable explanation for the wounds all over the scalp. The only victim known to have worn a crown of thorns was Jesus Christ, executed by the Romans at the insistence of the Jews for having pretended he was the King of the Jews.
We have examined the photographic image on the Shroud in the light of the narative of the gospels, and everything matches up.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus of Nazareth, when he was about 30 years old, was arrested by the Romans at the request of the Jews, was beaten and whipped, crowned with thorns, carried his cross up to the place of crucifixion, was nailed onto it, and died on that cross about three hours later. After his death, before returning the body to the family, a soldier pierced his side with a spear, probably to make certain that Jesus was dead. None of the details that we know from the gospels is missing from the Shroud. Everything matches up perfectly. No other victim was known to have been subjected to crowning by a thorn crown. The probability that the body buried in the Shroud is not Jesus is minute. The possibility of another man being subjected to the same tortures around the same time, and his shroud being piously kept and passed on from generation to generation is just as minute.
And that is not all. At present nobody can give any satisfying explanation for the three following point :
If it had been any other man of the first century, subjected to the tortures described above, there would be no reason for his body to have had unusual powers, nor for his shroud to be the only one in the world to have posed these problems to science. The possibility that the shroud of any other man could present so many exceptional characteristics is minuscule. We are therefore forced to conclude that this is the Shroud of Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified under Pontius Pilate after being crowned with thorns, whipped, and after carrying his cross, and that his body mysteriously left its shroud, without leaving any trace of its departure, and without showing any sign of decomposition.
At this point two positions are possible depending on your Faith. Believers see in the Shroud the proof of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, son of God. For them the term Holy Shroud is henceforth valid. In front of it, they understand all the terrifying drama of he who delivered himself unto death for the redemption of mankind; and they prey.
Unbelievers find themselves faced with an overwhelming accumulation of evidence on the death of of Jesus of Nazareth, who called himself the son of God, and on the incredible disappearance of the body. Yet they do not go that last short distance that separates them from faith. This small study has been aimed at unbelievers too.
At the end of it, let us contemplate the importance of what we have seen and analysed. Then let us contemplate the conclusions that we have been able to draw, thanks to the work of all those eminent experts who have examined, tested and reported on the Holy Shroud.
Clearly the Shroud is not a fake, and for anyone to challenge its authenticity they would have to take up again all the points that we have examined, and for each and every one of them find alternative evidence of equal scientific validity.
Any person who wishes to uphold the theory that the shroud is a fake must before anything else:
¥ Be able to account for the photonegative on the Shroud
¥ Explain how the forger could produce such an image,
¥ Be able to reproduce an equivalent image with a three dimensional character
¥ Be capable of taking the body out of the shroud without leaving any trace of this abduction,
¥ Do all this on a cloth of the first centuries, of large dimension, with no trace of wool in it.
Once all these obligations are satisfied, his or her new theory on the counterfeiting of the Turin Shroud would make fascinating reading, and create real controversy and genuine debate. Until these obligations are satisfied however, only what we have seen to be already proved can be considered.