The Shroud represents the most extraordinary of mysteries. Not only because it is difficult to escape the touching drama of that face. Even if we deny its identification with the cloth that wrapped the body of Jesus of Nazareth, after the crucifixion, the mystery of the object itself remains, which is an exceptional enigma for science.
“The professor. Bruno Barberis, a mathematician from the University of Turin, recalled how, to date, the process that caused the formation of the image still remains unknown and requires further studies, both theoretical and experimental; therefore the Shroud imprint must still be considered a substantially unreproducible image “.
It is one of the many food for thought of the book (just released) “New light on the Shroud (history, science, spirituality” (Ares)) edited by Emanuela Marinelli.
That it is “irreproducible”, an image that certainly dates back many centuries, at least demonstrates that its mysterious author was (centuries ago) in possession of knowledge and tools (or powers) that no man could have at that time, since we do not even have them today (and for this reason the Shroud still remains “irreproducible”).
This rational observation would be enough to make us reflect seriously on such an exceptional find and on the possibility that it is not a human artifact, but is the product of an extraordinary and inexplicable event.
Which would remain totally valid even if it were really proved that it is an object manufactured in the Middle Ages (between 1260 and 1390 AD) as it was ruled by the old Carbon14 tests of 1988.
Of course, since then, science and technology have made great strides: doubts about that dating were already strong in 1988, but over the years the belief has grown that true dating is to be carried back to the time of Jesus.
It is the seventh chapter of the book that updates us on thirty years of research, discoveries and new studies “that have remained in the shadow of the world fame gained by the unfortunate radiocarbon verdict of 13 October 1988”.
These are studies that substantially refute that response: “in 2019 the statistical analysis of the raw data of the radiocarbon test definitively denied the validity of that result” writes Marinelli “as the samples used were uneven and not representative of the entire sheet. It is remarkable that the publication of the results of this new research took place precisely in Archaeometry, a journal of the University of Oxford, where one of the three laboratories that dated the Shroud in 1988 is located “.
On 23 May 2019, a conference entitled “The dating of the Holy Shroud: everything to be redone” was held at the University of Catania, which was attended by the four authors of the essay published on Archaeometry and other important Shroud scholars.
Here are the conclusions reached: “We no longer have any doubts, the strong heterogeneity of the data leads us to affirm that the dating expressed in Nature is not the correct one … a new campaign of multidisciplinary studies is desirable” to collect data “to be made available to scholars, so that they can work and compare themselves on certain and reliable data. A new dating is therefore necessary “.
But already in recent years – as I said – in-depth investigations have been made in various disciplinary fields that have led to ancient dating. The book (whose chapters are signed by various authors) is a mine of news: “Three new analyzes, conducted by engineer Giulio Fanti, associate professor of Mechanical and Thermal Measurements at the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Padua, date the Shroud at the time of Christ “.
But it is all the data of the Shroud that leads to the years of Jesus. The rarity of the precious fabric that comes from the East, the large quantity of pollen typical of the Middle Eastern area with aloe and myrrh, the aragonite characteristic of the caves of Jerusalem, other genetic traces that confirm the same geographical origin, “the traces of blood transferred from a body that has suffered precisely the torments described by the Gospels”.
In fact, the man whose image the Shroud reproduces (not through pigment) is of the age and physical characteristics of Jesus of Nazareth and suffered not only the same Roman crucifixion, but exactly the same very particular accessory tortures described in the Gospels. .
It is completely rational to think of the Shroud as the mysterious and extraordinary relic of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus (therefore of his divinity) because it is science that leads to these conclusions.
In fact, forensic medicine tells us that the sheet certainly wrapped the corpse of a man, then tells us that this corpse was not enclosed in the cloth for more than 36-40 hours because there is no trace of putrefaction and finally the study of blood clots tells us that that body came out of the bandage without any physical movement, as if it were possible for it to pass through the cloth (exactly the mysterious physical characteristic that the body of Jesus acquired after the resurrection, as the Gospels tell us).
Science also tells us (about the surprising three-dimensionality of the image) that it is “due to dehydration and oxidation of the superficial flax fibrils, which appears projected by a photoradiant effect, an indication of an inexplicable phenomenon probably connected to the resurrection”.