Shroud of Turin could be real, new research claims

File image: The Holy Shroud, a 14 foot-long linen revered by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, is shown at the Cathedral of Turin, Italy. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, file)

March 29, 2013 12:32:30 PM PDT
New research may disprove the claims of people who have said the Shroud of Turin is an elaborate fake.

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth believed to bear Jesus Christ's imprint as he was being prepared for burial.

This weekend, for the first time in 40 years, billions of people will be getting a rare televised glimpse at one of the world's greatest unsolved mysteries, the Shroud of Turin.

Millions believe the shroud contains an image of Jesus. Rarely on display, the shroud will be on TV and in the palm of your hand.

On the heels of Good Friday, new life is being breathed into the Shroud of Turin.

Just this week, a new app launched, taking the shroud worldwide and into the digital age for the first time, all while new research says the shroud could very well be the real thing.

"When you consider that there are no substances on the cloth that were conceivably used by an artist, and the fact that the blood on the cloth is human blood, it would suggest that the cloth is probably authentic," said Russ Breault, president of Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc.

The 14-foot long linen cloth is believed to have covered Jesus Christ's crucified body 2,000 years ago.

The fabric is covered in blood stains, dirt and water marks, and displays an actual imprint of a man's face.

"There was no portrait made of Jesus," said Breault, "so really the shroud still remains the best single thing that we have."

Non-believers know the cloth as the "fraud of Turin." Over the past century, scientists have used methods such as carbon dating to test the authenticity of the fabric, most recently determining it to be a medieval forgery.

But, in a new book, scientists at Padua University in northern Italy say they have unraveled that claim. Still, it's not just seeing, it's believing that makes the difference.

"The shroud can never replace faith," Breault said. "I don't think we can ever know for sure whether the shroud is absolutely authentic ... because we don't have the DNA of Jesus to match it up with something that we might extract from the shroud itself."