(Turin) The Shroud of Turin is a relic and therefore an object of worship for believers. According to Catholic tradition, it is the linen cloth in which Jesus' body was wrapped after his death on the cross and in which he was placed in the grave by Joseph of Arimathea. The Gospel narrated that on the third day an angel was standing by the open grave, though it was guarded by soldiers. Christ was resurrected with his body. Only his shroud was found in the empty grave.
The linen cloth with the outlines of a wounded mann have fascinated people ever since and still poses a big mystery to science. Those who are far from the Church find it particularly difficult to deal with it. They can not escape the fascination of the cloth. But they can’t accept a supernatural origin. Since then, there have been many abstruse theories, such as the most recent theory aired in some of the major media, that the representation on the cloth was caused by a major earthquake.
Giulio Fanti, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Padua has just released together with Malfi Pierandrea a new book on the Turin grave cloth. The title is: La Shroud: primo secolo dopo Cristo ( The Shroud First Century After Christ.! , Edizioni Segno, 425 pages, 20 euros). "Thanks to a project at the University of Padua, it was possible to develop on the basis of mechanical and opto-chemical analyzes, alternative dating methods for the grave Shroud of Turin. The results of these analyzes showed datings which are all compatible with each other and the year 33 result in a fluctuation of a mean of 250 years after Christ " Vatican Insider conducted an interview with Professor Giulio Fanti.
Why the exclamation mark in the title?
Fanti: In itself it’s an absurdity, because my dating could be wrong. However, I have intentionally set in response to what happened after the radiocarbon dating of 1988, when the scientists who participated in a published "final" result, which should no longer be debatable to some extent. But from a scientific point of view there is offered nothing that would not be debatable. And so it was, too. They were wrong. The scientists then could be photographed in front of a blackboard where they had written the result of their radiocarbon dating, which was provided with an exclamation mark. In response to this photo, I have now set as an exclamation mark in the title of our book: a small provocation.
The radiocarbon dating from 1988 decreed that the grave cloth came from the Middle Ages. You say that's not true. But could not be wrong and your new dating?
Fanti: We know that the radiocarbon dating from 1988 is wrong. This was verified by a series of articles in international journals. The former dating left some aspects out of consideration, as well as the phenomenon of fire. According to the analysis of 1978 and 1988, the grave cloth was exposed to the monoterpene thymol, a very strong bactericide, however, the C-14 content changes, especially on old textiles. From a chemical point of view, therefore, you know: the grave cloth of a C-14 analysis should now again be subjected to the action of thymol would be reflected on the dating. I say this not to criticize what was done back then. However, the grave cloth may thus have rejuvenated in the course of twenty or thirty years. In light of what has happened in these recent decades: Who can tell us that the grave cloth was not stored in the first millennium with any preservative which has had significant impact? Today we know in any case that the radiocarbon date for the grave cloth poses systemic problems, because of the natural decay process is theoretically constant, but may have been changed by external events, of which we have no knowledge. Therefore, we have developed these alternative datings. I was able to systematize various methods scientifically and confirm this with what the American chemist Ray Rogers had established several years ago by an analysis: the grave cloth is older than the Middle Ages. I present in the book, three independent methods, but the results all agree with each other. All date the grave cloth much earlier than the radiocarbon analysis, and well before the Middle Ages, namely the first Century after Christ. Today, we have thus five different dating methods: the radiocarbon method, my three and those of Rogers. Also, we could have been wrong. But four different independent methods, reach the same result, but then speak a clear language. As long as these results are not refuted, and I can not imagine how this should be possible, these results have scientific validity. So that has first Century after Christ the greatest probability as emergence period for the Turin grave cloth. This dating corresponds exactly to the time Jesus of Nazareth lived in Palestine. We now await the reactions from the rest of the science world. So far we received only affirmative and affirmative responses, but no refutation.
But who is the man depicted on the grave cloth?
Fanti: If we stay in a scientific context, we can not give him a name. However it is interesting that all the indications - and there are a total of hundreds - at a certain point it affirms a certain person and describes him. For example, to simply pick out a sign: The Romans crucified thousands of people, which is why the man of the grave cloth could be one of those many. But this is not so, because the crucifixion of the man on the shroud was special, and it is hard to imagine that other crucifixions have just taken place, as they have already described in the first century: it is the head wounds of a crown of thorns, the crucifixion was a punishment in itself, in the case of Jesus, however, there was the punishment of flagellation, because Pontius Pilate wanted to punish him really hard to release him, but instead it was a double punishment. The man of the linen cloth also has the wounds of a hard-flagellation. This double punishment was unusual for the Romans, as illogical as the higher punishment was the death penalty anyway. Like these there are many other clues. In order not to believe, a man must in view of the evidence and facts in abundance muster all his will already.
How can the representation of man have arisen on the linen cloth?
Fanti: Since there is still no way to repeat the process, the formation can not be explained with scientific clarity. At the current state of knowledge it seems to have been a burst of energy that came from the inside of the wrapped body.This energy was probably electrical and developed a special phenomenon, the coronal discharge is called (a myriad of micro-discharges between electrodes of a very high potential). While there are scientifically significant difficulties to imagine the environment in which this phenomenon could take place (very strong earthquake or lightning), everything is explained exactly from the perspective of the Catholic religion. The Resurrection, with the consequent exit from the shroud, which was mechanically transparent. This is not the "fantasy" of any slight believing fideists, but supported by plentiful scientific evidence. On one hand we have the testimony of eyewitnesses and a contemporary written document. And we have the grave Shroud of Turin as well. The results are compatible and are also scientifically sound matches.
What evidence do you mean in particular?
Fanti: For example, the human blood, liquefied again in the shroud, as this was exposed to the humid atmosphere of the tomb. A phenomenon that is called fibrinolysis and has left the marks on the linen fabric without the slightest trace of blurring, which would, however, have been self-evident and inevitable if the wrapped corpse physically moved and would have been unwrapped from the linen cloth. There are two different layers of the grave cloth around the man's body recognizable: one that was more tightly wound during the emergence of the blood, a flatter, which goes back to the energy discharge through which the only “photograph" that Jesus left us about Himself and His painful Passion.
Introduction / Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
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