The age-old debate over the Shroud of Turin is being resurrected this Easter — thanks to the attention of a new pope, the creation of a “Shroud 2.0″ app, and a new book that claims the cloth dates back to Jesus’ time.
The claim immediately faced a wave of criticism, including a harsh statement from Turin’s archbishop that some say has driven a stake into the book’s heart.
The newly published Italian-language book — “Il Mistero Della Sindone,” or “The Mystery of the Shroud” — recycles some of those claims, adds in some fresh results from single-fiber tests, and makes the argument that the shroud shows the difficult-to-reproduce image of a man who lived sometime between 280 B.C. and the year 220.
Throw in a Papal audience with the cloth and a new iphone app and the publicity engine is in full churn.
The new book appears to use some new but dubious testing methods to date the fabric back to year 33. But the best testing was done in 1988 via mass spectrometry, which gave a date range between 1260 and 1390. This is considered the accepted age of the piece produced by an artist, not by a divine act.
An Archbishop is quoted as even dubious of the authenticity of the fibers used in the new study included in a book conveniently promoted during the Resurrection season.
Yes, the Shroud is strictly a matter of faith over science and reason. So, don’t expect this ratty old piece to go away anytime soon.