It is the most highly revered and yet highly debated piece of cloth in history. Some say the Shroud of Turin is a testament to not only to the existence of Jesus Christ, but also that his crucifixion happened.
The shroud gets its name from the Turin Cathedral where thousands are said the visit each year to see the legendary item. The cloth shows the faint outline of a man who had been wrapped in it after death. The man appears to have wounds similar to what Christ would have suffered.
Though the Catholic Church has not made its sentiments known one way or another, the cloth has been the subject of much debate between skeptics and believers going back centuries.
Some scientific research has suggested that the material is from the Middle Ages.
Giulio Fanti is a professor of mechanical engineering at Padua University. He published a book last year titled "Il Mistero della Sindone" or "The Mystery of the Shroud" about his attempt to determine the age of the linen fabric. Fanti explained that he did so by measuring the degradation of cellulose in linen fibers. Fanti determined it was possible the cloth originated during the time period Christ is supposed to have been crucified.
I think the Holy Shroud of Turin is authentic. What are your thoughts?... http://t.co/9Rv0Uji6tG
— Mr. Science Teacher (@mrscienceteache) February 13, 2014
— Eric Vanden Eykel (@evandeneykel) February 12, 2014
Just recently however, a new and rather peculiar explanation for the Shroud of Turin has emerged: an earthquake.
A study claims that neuron emissions from an ancient earthquake that shook the city of Jerusalem could have caused the image. This is also alleged to explain the seemingly incorrect determination of the shroud's age through carbon dating.
Three different carbon dating processes traced the shroud back to the time between 1260 and 1390 A.D., more than a thousand years after Christ's death.
This would make the shroud an old hoax, but a hoax nonetheless. Skeptics also point out that this time period is when the holy item is first mentioned, which is treated as being more than just a coincidence.
When Fanti was asked about the earthquake theory, he said that he was not certain that neuron emissions were the only possible explanation for the Shroud of Turin. At the same time Fanti says that he remains confident that the 1980s carbon dating results are incorrect.
Image via Wikimedia Commons