The Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin first came to the attention of the public in 1355, when it was exhibited at the Church of St. Mary in Lirey, France. It had been given to the church by a French knight, Geoffroy de Charny, who probably acquired it in Constantinople.

Its supporters claim that this fourteen-foot piece of cloth bearing the image of a naked man was the funeral shroud of Christ. They argue that only supernatural means could have created such an image.

Skeptics dismiss the shroud as a medieval forgery, arguing that: 1) there was a flourishing trade in false relics during the middle ages; 2) a medieval forger could definitely have created such an image (researchers have offered a variety of theories to explain how it might have been done); and 3) the man's body is oddly proportioned (his head is too large), which suggests the image is a painting.


Throughout its history, the shroud has been a subject of controversy. Soon after it was discovered, a report to Pope Clement argued that the shroud was merely a painting, and that it was being falsely displayed as a true relic in order to solicit donations to the church. As a consequence, Pope Clement declared the relic a fraud.

In 1453 the shroud was acquired by de Charny's granddaughter who eventually sold it to the Duke of Savoy. The Savoys exhibited it for many decades, claiming that it was the holy shroud that had covered Christ as he lay in the tomb. In 1532 it was almost destroyed in a fire. The shroud still displays burn marks from this incident.

Throughout the twentieth century researchers dueled back and forth over the shroud's authenticity. In 1982 a group calling itself the Shroud of Turin Research Project declared it to be genuine after studying samples lifted from the cloth using tape. However, radiocarbon tests performed later during the 1980s dated the shroud to approximately the fourteenth century, indicating that the relic was a fake. Nevertheless, shroud supporters found many reasons to dispute the radiocarbon testing, and so the debate raged on and likely will for the foreseeable future.

Recent news about the shroud

Aug 22, 2002: The Vatican admitted it had secretly been allowing a scientist to perform tests on the shroud for the past few months. The scientist was trying to get a more accurate reading of the exact age of the shroud's fibers, following criticism of 1988 tests of the age of the fibers.

Apr 18, 2004: A second face was discovered on the backside of the shroud.

January 31, 2005: New tests suggested that the shroud may be older than previously thought. Tests done in 1988 had apparently (mistakenly) analyzed patches woven into the shroud following the fire in 1532. Raymond Rogers has published a paper in Thermochimica Acta stating that the shroud itself appears to be far older, between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

March 2005: Nathan Wilson published an article suggesting that the shroud could have easily been created by a medieval forger if the forger painted a figure of a man on a piece of glass, placed the glass over a linen shroud, and left this setup out in the sun for a couple of days. The sun would bleach the linen, but leave behind a photo-negative image of the figure painted on the glass.
Shroud of Turin Haiku (Submitted by Hoax Museum visitors)
Image burnt onto old cloth.
Jesus, is that you?
(by AB)


By looking at the shroud itself, it is obvious that it is a pressing of a sort, done on a flat surface. A cloth wrapped over or around a body wouldn't create an image like that. Why would a body leave an imprint such as this anyway, even when oiled? Just try it, oil a person and wrap or cover them in a linen sheet. You get a mess unless you heat it, of course, which is what the forgers did.

Paint it in oil, heat it, and there you have it.
Posted by Albert  in  Finland  on  Mon Jan 30, 2012  at  02:39 AM
If you check most recent news about Shroud of Turin you would see that now scientists have concluded that the Shroud isn't a forgery and that it cannot be forged.
Check facts and update your data.
Posted by Marko Ivančičević  in  Croatia  on  Sat Apr 06, 2013  at  01:09 AM
Re: Marko - quote please! I don't believe a word of it. For centuries any real scientist involved with this thing has concluded it's a fraud, and a pretty obvious one at that, and now all of a sudden they decide that not only wasn't it forged, but it cannot be forged? Come off it, mate, you Papists are far too gullible, and far too dismissive of human ingeniuity when it comes to making a quick buck of people who listen to itinerant monks but don't read the Bible themselves.
Posted by Richard Bos  in  the Netherlands  on  Wed Jun 12, 2013  at  08:45 AM
The picture on the shroud doesn't match the Biblical description of burial procedures. For example, the cloth was wound around the body, and a separate cloth covered the head.
Posted by Tim  on  Thu Feb 20, 2014  at  03:43 PM

The Shroud of Turin analyses are a lot more complex than many of the commenters think:

Posted by Tracy  in  United States  on  Wed Mar 25, 2015  at  05:38 PM
According to the Gospel of John, Christ was buried in accordance with Jewish Law. Christ's body would have been washed with spices and wrapped in strips of linen. That was The Jewish burial law. The man on the shroud reveals dirt to his face; torso, knees and feet. Also vinegar, scourge Mark wounds and both living and post mortem blood.
If unwashed. The living blood would have completely dried to leave no distinctive marks. It is impossible for dried blood to transfer to cloth in such detail.
If washed. All living blood would have been removed to leave a little post mortem pooled blood consisting of blood and serum. There would be no dirt or vinegar.
The forger has added too many details to correspond with the scriptures of the crucifixion.
Posted by Maureen Rees  in  West London  on  Wed Oct 11, 2017  at  03:36 PM
Proof of the inauthenticity of the so-called shroud:
1) A local bishop knew the artist and wrote Pope Clement telling him the shroud was a forgery and used in a scam. The Pope declared it fake.
2) The bodily proportions of the figure on the cloth are way off
3) Jews did not bury people in shrouds but the bodies were bound in strips of cloth with a separate cloth to cover the faces

Posted by David M.  in  Texas  on  Tue Mar 06, 2018  at  09:19 AM