Shroud of Turin Looking More Genuine, Researcher Contends

Says Carbon-14 Tests Invalid; Oviedo Relic Lends Credibility, Too

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VALENCIA, Spain, APR. 12, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Carbon-14 tests that dated the Shroud of Turin to the Middle Ages were invalid, a researcher said today.

Jorge Manuel Rodríguez, vice president of the Centro Español de Sindonología, said that all scientific studies prove the invalidity of the carbon-14 dating of the holy Shroud of Turin. Many of the faithful believe the shroud to be Jesus´ burial linen mentioned in Gospel.

His announcement came in the wake of a Spanish TV report Wednesday on new research which shows that another shroud, venerated for 1,000 years in the Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain, is probably the cloth that covered Christ´s head after his crucifixion.

Rodríguez, also a professor of civil law at the University of Valencia, has been studying the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin for 24 years. He told ZENIT that, “according to scientific research carried out on this relic, it is far more probable that it belonged to Jesus Christ than to any other man.”

Likewise, Rodríguez maintains that “there are scientific proofs that show that the holy shroud is not a falsification, which explains why no one has been able to make a replica.”

The professor, who has given more than 500 lectures on the Shroud of Turin, acknowledged that “the majority of people think that it is a false relic, because of the enormous publicity given to the carbon-14 dating done in 1988, which concluded erroneously that the holy shroud dates from the Middle Ages.”

On the contrary, “subsequent rectifications published by the same scientists who carried out the analysis … acknowledged the invalidity of the application of the carbon-14 method, as the fabric was contaminated by the gases of the fire that the holy shroud was exposed to, and by organisms like lichens and mushrooms.”

The Centro Español here is studying the Shroud of Turin, the Oviedo shroud, and other relics attributed to Jesus Christ.

Rodríguez concluded that there is statistical evidence based on “rigorous studies of the characteristics of the cloth and its image, which shows a probability as low as 200-billion-to-1 that it is not an authentic relic of Christ.”

The last multidisciplinary study of the Shroud of Turin, carried out by NASA experts in 1978, indicated “the cloth shows an image that has tridimensional information, that is made without a single stroke, and that is not produced by contact either, but which resembles the imprint that would be produced by a hypothetical radiation emanating from the body,” Rodríguez said.

In fact, “no image is known with these features. We don´t even know how to reproduce them today. They, together with the imprint on the cloth, accurately describes Jesus´ stigmas as related in the Gospel, reinforcing the theory that the holy shroud belongs to Christ.”

Meanwhile, TV station “Antena 3” said that other research indicates that the relic in Oviedo, in northwest Spain, also has amazing points of coincidence with the Shroud of Turin.

For 12 years a multidisciplinary team of 40 scientists applied modern techniques, used in criminal investigations, on the Oviedo relic. The forensic experts discovered human bloodstains of the AB group, identical to those on the Shroud of Turin.

The blood belongs to a man who died crucified, after being brutally mistreated. The cloth also revealed traces of the crown of thorns, pollen remains of native Palestinian plants, and a host of details and coincidences, which indicate that the man of the Oviedo relic is the same one as the one of the Shroud of Turin.

The features of Christ´s face, which can be reconstructed from the relic, have nothing in common with those described recently by a British doctor in a BBC program. They do, however, coincide with the face on the Shroud of Turin.

The Goya Productions Program included statements of more than a dozen experts of several universities and research centers.

The experts said that the Shroud of Turin could not be dated in the 14th century, as carbon-14 tests indicated, since it covered the same body as the Oviedo relic, whose existence was documented several centuries earlier.

A more comprehensive version of the program will be on sale May 1 in domestic video. Copies may be obtained from Goya Producciones, C/Goya 19, 28001 Madrid, Spain. E-mail: goya-producciones@wanadoo.es.

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