A professor from the University of Padua has released a new book claiming that the Shroud of Turin—the linen robe in which Jesus was allegedly buried—does actually date back to the time of Christ.
The book is the latest contribution to a centuries-old debate about the origin and function of the cloth. Believers who revere the shroud claim it was used to bury Christ and believe it carries an imprint of His face and body. Meanwhile, skeptics dismiss it as a medieval artistic forgery.
In 1988, scientists used carbon dating to place the cloth somewhere in the 13th or 14th century. But in his new book, The Mystery of the Shroud, professor Giulio Fanti aims to debunk that conclusion, saying those testing methods were contaminated. He dates the shroud as being from in the first century, meaning it’s old enough to have been used to bury Jesus.
But doubters point out that the threads Fanti used for his testing are of dubious origin since the shroud was inaccessible after 1988. “If the samples cannot be legally certified as unquestionably authentic, they are inadmissible as evidence,” wrote critic Joe Nickell, a senior fellow at the Center for Inquiry.
In addition to the questions surrounding the cloth and Fanti’s new book, the shroud is scheduled to make two interesting technological debuts this weekend. Today it was released as an app: Shroud 2.0 allows users to see the relic up close via high-res images on their iPhone or iPad.
Then tomorrow, Italy’s state television will broadcast a showing of the cloth nationwide, reported The Guardian. Archbishop of Turin Cesare Nosiglia said he hoped the show would bring “positivity” and “hope.”