In the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in Turin, they keep the famous shroud, which bears the image of a man. It arrived in Turin in 1578 at the behest of the Duke of Savoy after he had moved his ducal capital there from Chambéry in France.

In 1389, the Bishop of Troyes had written to the Pope to complain about the relic, which he said had been made “falsely and fraudulently” during the time of his predecessor. He said that the controversy at the time had caused the shroud to be withdrawn from public view for 35 years, and he was clearly angered that it was in public again.

Turin ShroudIn 1988, the Vatican allowed samples to be taken for radiocarbon dating, and sure enough, the three independent institutes all came out with the same date range for the cloth, 1325, plus or minus 65 years. That matches well enough with the first documented mention of the shroud, in 1357, and the Bishop’s 1389 letter to the Pope.

Nonetheless, there are still people who claim that the shroud is “genuine” (that is, miraculous). They say that the image could never have been concocted by an artist, and that the linen of the cloth shows Middle-Eastern orgins, it must have existed before 1357, and, anyway, the carbon dating must have been wrong.

For once, mainstream Christian churches and I are in agreement. It’s bullshit.


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