Shroud of Turin conference draws believers to St. Louis


Shroud of Turin conference draws experts and believers to debate if it is Jesus’ burial shroud


A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake.

The shroud, which bears the faint image of a blood-covered man, is believed by some to be Christ’s burial cloth.

Raymond Rogers says his research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988 radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the shroud to repair fire damage.

It was this material that was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the original shroud cloth, he argues.

“The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic,” said Mr Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US.
He says he was originally dubious of untested claims that the 1988 sample was taken from a re-weave.

“It was embarrassing to have to agree with them,” Mr Rogers told the BBC News website.

The 4m-long linen sheet was damaged in several fires since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, including a church blaze in 1532.

It is said to have been restored by nuns who patched the holes and stitched the shroud to a reinforcing material known as the Holland cloth.

“[The radiocarbon sample] has obvious painting medium, a dye and a mordant that doesn’t show anywhere else,” Mr Rogers explained.

“This stuff was manipulated - it was coloured on purpose.”

In the study, he analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests with other samples from the famous cloth.

In addition to the discovery of dye, microchemical tests - which use tiny quantities of materials - provided a way to date the shroud.

These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud.

Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical compound found in plant material such as flax. Levels of vanillin in material such as linen fall over time.

‘Older date’

“The fact that vanillin cannot be detected in the lignin on shroud fibres, Dead Sea scrolls linen and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old,” Mr Rogers writes.


Sue Benford and Joe Marina, from Ohio, suspected the 1988 sample was from a damaged section of the linen shroud repaired in the 16th century after being damaged in a fire.

Rogers said: “I was irritated and determined to prove Sue and Joe wrong.”

However, when he came to examine threads taken in 1978 - luckily from the same section as the 1988 sample - he found cotton in them.

He said: "The cotton fibres were fairly heavily coated with dye, suggesting they were changed to match the linen during a repair.

"I concluded that area of the shroud was manipulated by someone with great skill.

"Sue and Joe were right. The worst possible sample for carbon dating was taken.

“It consisted of different materials than were used in the shroud itself, so the age we produced was inaccurate.”

In the video, made shortly before he died of cancer in March 2005, he said: “I came very close to proving the shroud was used to bury the historic Jesus.”


Experiments conducted by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy have dated the shroud to ancient times, a few centuries before and after the life of Christ.

Many Catholics believe that the 14ft-long linen cloth, which bears the imprint of the face and body of a bearded man, was used to bury Christ’s body when he was lifted down from the cross after being crucified 2,000 years ago.

The analysis is published in a new book, “Il Mistero della Sindone” or The Mystery of the Shroud, by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, and Saverio Gaeta, a journalist.

The tests will revive the debate about the true origins of one of Christianity’s most prized but mysterious relics and are likely to be hotly contested by sceptics.

Scientists, including Prof Fanti, used infra-red light and spectroscopy – the measurement of radiation intensity through wavelengths – to analyse fibres from the shroud, which is kept in a special climate-controlled case in Turin.

The tests dated the age of the shroud to between 300 BC and 400AD.

The experiments were carried out on fibres taken from the Shroud during a previous study, in 1988, when they were subjected to carbon-14 dating.

Those tests, conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona, appeared to back up the theory that the shroud was a clever medieval fake, suggesting that it dated from 1260 to 1390.

But those results were in turn disputed on the basis that they may have been skewed by contamination by fibres from cloth that was used to repair the relic when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages.

Mr Fanti, a Catholic, said his results were the fruit of 15 years of research.

He said the carbon-14 dating tests carried out in 1988 were “false” because of laboratory contamination.

So there is serious evidence that the radio carbon samples were taken from a repair and not the original cloth.

This leaves the door open to an older dating that would correspond to other methods of dating like the vanillin and the forensic evidence such as flowers, coins from the era (one previously unknown till the Shroud showed it) and the 3D quality of the image.


Is the Shroud real? Probably.

The Shroud of Turin may be the real burial cloth of Jesus. The carbon dating, once seemingly proving it was a medieval fake, is now widely thought of as suspect and meaningless. Even the famous Atheist Richard Dawkins admits it is controversial. Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, thinks more testing is needed. So do many other scientists and archeologists. This is because there are significant scientific and non-religious reasons to doubt the validity of the tests. Chemical analysis, all nicely peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that samples tested are chemically unlike the whole cloth. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair. Recent robust statistical studies add weight to this theory. Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature when the carbon dating results were published, recently wrote: “It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever.” If we wish to be scientific we must admit we do not know how old the cloth is. But if the newer thread is about half of what was tested – and some evidence suggests that – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.

No one has a good idea how front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth. Yes, it is possible to create images that look similar. But no one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud. Again, this is all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

An interesting view from an Anglican


Five articles that conclude the material used to date the Shroud in 1988 were flawed.


Interesting! God Bless, Memaw


Thanks for the link RGCheek. Devoted shroudies like myself are always on the lookout for more information. :thumbsup:


If anyone’s interested here’s a link to a very long, far-ranging, well-sourced debate on the shroud evidence, including the so-called invisible patch.


Debate? I think debate is where you have two or more opposing views getting equal time to show their evidence and make their case.

The link to the site you post is a self declared ‘skeptics’ site (meaning it is secular and dismisses claims of the supernatural before any evidence is even reviewed.) These guys were dismissing Rodgers work on the patch issue without so much as mentioning the lack of vanillin in the lignin whatsoever. The one poster ‘Jabba’ was posting in defense of the authenticity of the Shroud but somehow felt the need to jettison the supernatural element of it. I personally don’t think a supernatural event is necessarily what is reflected in the evidence but I see no need to dismiss it at the start either.

No, I think if I want to read that kind of ‘debate’ I can just get it from the source and go to some atheist and/or neoMarxist site myself.

Thanks but no thanks.


Anyone was free to participate in that debate and anyone who did participate was given as much time and space as they needed. In the case of “Jabba” (who was just one of several supporters), weeks and months would sometimes pass between his responses and he would sometimes just show back up and begin arguing for a position he’d already conceded or argue endlessly about the format of the debate. To be honest, I was impressed by the anti-authenticity sides’ patience and forbearance with his shenanigans.

In any case, I think that debate addressed all of the pertinent material evidence from both sides. I’m not sure how anyone can present or refute the “supernatural element” you referenced and, as you state, reference to the supernatural shouldn’t even be necessary.


If any of you can read in Spanish there is an amazing paper on the Turin shroud written by father Jorge Loring, a Spanish priest who dedicated years to do a serious and scientifically analysis of the shroud and all the arguments against and in favor of the Turin shroud, called “LA sabana Santa” which includes a detailed description of all thevtest after C14 and very well detailed explanations of why the C14 gave the dates it did. The publications are under
And if you google Jorge lorin Turin shroud the PDF that contains the entire paper comes out. It is the third that comes out if you Google that. Unfortunately I don’t think it was translated to English but if any of you can read it is truly an amazing work regarding the shroud.


When 80% of the participants are ‘skeptics’ on a site set up for ‘skeptics’ one cannot expect or get a fair and balanced discussion of Anything much less the Shroud of Turin.

IF it is a discussion you want to get into, be my guest. It is not something I enjoy doing, hurling pearls before swine.


Again, nothing in that site’s rules prohibited anyone from joining that debate and presenting whatever evidence they wanted. If shroud supporters failed to make their case or if their numbers were under-represented, it wasn’t because that site is set up unfairly.


*It’s a debate that divides people the world over: Is the Turin shroud a genuine relic or just an elaborate fake?
According to one expert the answer is very much the latter, and he is baffled that no one has noticed irregularities before.
He says that aside from radiocarbon dating in 1988 showing it originates from the 14th century, there is evidence that it has been altered over time and that it was used specifically during medieval Easter rituals.

Whether it is real or not, numerous scientists/artists and others have been baffled by the Turin shroud and how it was actually produced. However, it now seems by this ‘expert’ that in the 14th century they did have the technology to do so. :rolleyes:

*No one knows for sure how the images were created. The images are scorch-like, yet not created by heat, and are a purely surface phenomenon limited to the crowns of the top fibers. The Shroud is clearly not a painting; no evidence of pigments or media was found. The blood was on the Cloth before the image (an unlikely way for an artist to work). There is no outline, no binders to hold paint, no evidence that paint, dye, ink, or chalk created the images, and there are no brush strokes. According to world-renowned artist Isabel Piczek, the images have no style that would fit into any period of art history. The images show perfect photo-negativity and 3-dimensionality. It is not a Vaporgraph or natural result of vapors.

Note: some microscopic particles of paint exist on the Shroud, but these do not constitute the image. During the Middle Ages, a practice called the “sanctification of paintings” permitted about 50 artists to paint replicas of the Shroud and then lay their paintings over the Shroud to “sanctify” them. This permitted contact transfer of particles, which then migrated around the cloth with the folding and rolling of the Shroud when it was opened for exhibit and closed again afterwards.*


Unless Jesus’s hair and blood was white, then the shroud is not a photo-negative.

The picture on the left is how the image actually appears and the one on the right is the photographic negative of that image.

If the actual image as it appears on the shroud (the one on the left) was a true negative, then Jesus’s hair and blood would appear to be white, not dark.


I would love to have a nice copy of the shroud to hang on a wall… not life size maybe but large enough to see details clearly. Just a print of some sort. Eh I probably couldn’t afford it anyway.
Even if the shroud itself would turn out to be a hoax, for me it is a stunning reminder of the Passion of our Lord. That renders it as authentic as it needs to be for me.


No evidence, but lots of wishful thinking. Multiple textile experts including those who were present when the samples were taken confirmed that the samples were from the original cloth and not a repair.


The people present at the time were unaware of the repair and so had no objections to make.

There are other tests that confirm the Shroud is older than 600 years old, such as the lignin vanillin tests.

All that you simply ignore due to a flawed RC sampling.

How convenient. :smiley:


Lol, no, a photographic negative produces what looks like a photographic negative of a 3d person. No one ever thought that that would happen.

So if the Shroud is a fake, the 14th century faker would have had to have had an advanced knowledge of imagery that was not achieved till the late 19th century and then put that image into the Shroud to fool people 600 years later.

Nothing could be more silly.

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