For centuries belief that the Shroud of Turin really bears the likeness of the crucified Jesus Christ was a
matter of faith alone. Then in 1898 it was photographed and the negative image revealed a wealth of detail. Was
this the image of Jesus?
If the Turin Shroud is genuine, what does it tell us about Jesus and the origins of Christianity? Although many
believe that it would provide vital proof of the truth of the religion, others argue that it would undermine some
of its central tenets.
As part of their research for a television documentary dealing with scientific controversies concerning the
Turin Shroud, Temple of Mysteries is examining various issues.
Chronology of the Shroud
The Turin Shroud's origins and history before the middle of the 14th century are controversial. This presents a
chronology of the main events of the Shroud's known history.
How authentic is the Shroud?
The Turin Shroud bears the image, front and back, of a crucified man, supposedly imprinted on the cloth when the
victim was placed in the shroud for internment. With wounds corresponding exactly to those suffered by Jesus,
either it really is his burial shroud or it was faked with the intention
of passing it off as such.
Theories on the Shroud
For some, the Shroud image is simply the result of a miracle. This view is even taken by some scientists who
have studied the Shroud. A variant of this theory is that the image is paranormal, perhaps imprinted on the cloth
by psychic means, by the collective will of the pilgrims who came to meditate upon it.
Dating the Shroud
When historians, scientists and other specialists first began to look seriously at the Turin Shroud at the
beginning of the 20th century, the big question they wanted to answer was: how old is the Shroud?
The Missing Centuries
One of the major problems for believers is that there
is no evidence that the Shroud existed before the second half of the 14th century, the earliest documentary
reference being from 1389. As a cloth bearing the miraculous image of Jesus, and impregnated with his
redemptive blood, should have been the most famous relic in Christendom, this absence is hard to
The Pollen Controversy
One of the most widely-discussed aspects of the Shroud mystery is the claim of Swiss criminologist Max Frei
that, by analysing samples of pollen collected from the cloth, that he could determine, if not the age of the
relic, then at least where it had been kept during its history.
DNA on the Shroud
Although the process that formed the image of the man on the Shroud remains a mystery, it has always been
apparent that the blood was added separately to the cloth. But is it real blood? And could recent developments in
genetic science be used to find out anything about the man in the Shroud?
The Shroud and the Templars
One of the most controversial - and undoubtedly romantic - of all the ideas about the Turin Shroud's history
involves the Knights Templar.
Destruction of the Shroud?
The most recent mystery about the Shroud was its near destruction in a fire that engulfed Turin Cathedral on the
night of 11-12 April 1997.
Faking the Shroud
Although some people believe that Leonardo da Vinci was responsible for faking the Shroud of Turin, it is
British investigators Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince who have presented not only a full theory as to when, where
and why he did it, but also demonstrated how. But how could a genius like da Vinci, in the 15th century, really
have created an image that only works in photographic negative?
Want to Know
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examines the Turin Shroud