Shroud of Turin lecture slated at Van Horn Shelter

Submitted by John C. Clark

The Shroud of Turin is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man who is alleged to be Jesus of Nazareth. The cloth itself is believed by some to be the burial shroud he was wrapped in when he was buried after crucifixion although three radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 dated a sample of the cloth to the Middle Ages. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  Pope John Paul II called the Shroud “a mirror of the Gospel”.

The origins of the shroud and its images are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians and other researchers. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to prove that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. In 1988, three radiocarbon dating tests dated a corner piece of the shroud from the Middle Ages, between the years 1260 and 1390, which is consistent with the shroud’s first known exhibition in France in 1357.  Certain shroud researchers have challenged the dating, arguing the results were skewed by the introduction of material from the Middle Ages to the portion of the shroud used for radiocarbon dating. However none of the hypotheses challenging the radiocarbon dating have been scientifically proven.

The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color, and this negative image was first observed in 1898 on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified. Despite numerous investigations and tests, the status of the Shroud of Turin remains murky, and the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain puzzling. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial.

The Van Horn Community Christian Shelter is pleased to have guest, Dr. Hector Zepeda from El Paso give a lecture on the Shroud.  Dr. Zepeda has extensively researched many articles and has himself photographed the Shroud.  He also has captured its unique properties on the negatives of the film.  The Lecture will be held at the Shelter on October 27, at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.  Refreshments and snacks will be served.  We hope everyone attends this very informative lecture.


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