The Shroud of Turin has always been a controversial topic among scientists and historians. Recognized by many as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion, it has long been dismissed as a well-crafted forgery by so-called experts. However, Italian researchers at the National Agency for New Technologies have been studying the shroud in detail for some time and have now released an official report saying that they believe the image that is emblazoned on the shroud was caused by an ultraviolet “flash of light.” Now, of course, the first thing that jumps into all of our minds when we hear an ultraviolet “flash of light” is that of a camera. The Italian researchers say that is sort of what they are talking about, although it would be much stronger than what we use to document our lives in photographs. After all, we don’t have images of ourselves burned into our clothes every time we get our pictures made. However, it is an interesting study that brings about a lot of questions.
For Christians, this is great news, because the simplest explanation for how this could have happened is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, a major tenant of the religion, and when he did so, there was a terrific blast of white light…ultraviolet light. In the Christian doctrine, this could have been an angel arriving in the tomb, or God Himself come to bring his Son home. Or maybe just the action of resurrecting from the dead causes such a light to happen as a by-product.
For non-Christians, it is preferred to stick to the science. Science does indicate that a intense burst of UV radiation directed right at a shroud of linen can indeed imprint it with the body inside. This is indisputable. However, the next question is what could have caused this to happen in this instance. Obviously, we are talking about pre-20th century technology. There was nothing at all that could have created the light needed except the sun itself or an explosion of some sort, the types that didn’t happen in those days because they did not possess the weapons or technology that we have now. Simply lighting a fire close to the body would not be nowhere near enough to create this effect. So, the real mystery for those that don’t believe in the legend of the Shroud of Turin is to figure out how this image, whoever it may be, got emblazoned on the shroud in the first place. We may never know the answer.
The University of Oxford did conduct a radiocarbon dating test on the shroud. It concluded that the cloth is from a year between 1260 and 1390. This dating obviously hinders the idea that the shroud is from Jesus Christ, but it still does not provide any explanation for how the shroud became imprinted to begin with. The dates Oxford came up with are consistent with the theory that the shroud was created in medieval times as a hoax, or at least a religious symbol.