A new book, “A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin.” by Raymond N Rogers, a researcher who has spent more than four decades studying the Shroud of Turin says a 1988 test concluding the linen cloth with the image of a tortured man dates back only to the medieval era was faulty.
Rogers was the head of the chemistry experiments for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), the team of twenty-four researchers that performed the first ever in-depth scientific examination of the controversial relic in 1978. He was a professional chemist for fifty-two years and spent thirty-five years as a research chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, until his retirement in 1988.
A rigorous and empirical scientist, Rogers spent years working on the Shroud as a member of the STURP team. He continued his research after the STURP project concluded, but set his studies aside in frustration as unqualified “experts” presented what he considered poor quality and non-scientific “evidence” for the authenticity of the Shroud in the popular media. In the end however, new data came to light that prompted his return to Shroud research.
In a review, the WND noted that in the “The 1988 C-14 Datingof the Shroud of Turin: A Stunning Expose,” Joseph Marino contends carbon-14 dating picked up material that was used to repair the shroud after a fire in the 16th century.
The conclusion of many was it was nothing more than a medieval forgery.
Marino researched the possibility that the C-14 dating had been done on a portion of the material that had been repaired, not a sample from
A chemist who previously was involved in shroud research, Raymond Rogers of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, described such ideas as coming from the “lunatic fringe.”
Rogers argues the C-14 fibers were not “representative of the main cloth, thus invalidating the results.”
His analysis ultimately found that the tests done on the shroud “sample” was a combination of first century and 16th century fibers.
Marino said his book points to irrefutable proof that politics – along with personal agendas – was behind the C-14 dating of the shroud.
“We can continue to hope that the Catholic Church will in the near future allow some new testing, so that we can learn all we can about this enigmatic cloth and the person who was wrapped in it,” he said.
Rod Dreher at the American Conservative cited a video in which scientists claimed “that their study has shown that the image on the shroud is not static, but actually depicts a slight oscillation.”
“It is, they say, like (a) stroboscopic photograph, showing slight movement of the figure as intense bursts of energy emanate from his body.”
The scientists use photogrammetry, “the science of making distance measurements of surfaces depicted on photographs.”
Dreher explained the movement is slight but apparent
“If the image is in fact a glimpse of the moment of Christ’s Resurrection, then it is more like a kind of video of the first seconds of the Resurrection, depicting an oscillating movement of Christ,” he said.
“If the image really is Jesus of Nazareth at the moment of Resurrection, then the first thing Jesus did with his hand after returning to life was to make the hand configuration very similar to that Orthodox priests use when they bless — a hand position of great antiquity, derived in part from Greco-Roman hand gestures signifying particular meaning,” wrote Dreher.
Professor Giulio Fanti of Italy’s University of Padua created a 3D model of the image.
“We believe that we have the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth,” said Fanti, who teaches mechanical and thermal measurements and is a Shroud researcher. “This statue is the three-dimensional representation in actual size of the Man of the Shroud, created following the precise measurements taken from the cloth in which the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion.”
Through the study and three-dimensional projection of the figure, Fanti was also able to count the numerous wounds on the body of the man of the Shroud.
“On the Shroud, I counted 370 wounds from the flagellation, without taking into account the wounds on his sides, which the Shroud doesn’t show because it only enveloped the back and front of the body. We can therefore hypothesize a total of at least 600 blows,” he said. “In addition, the three-dimensional reconstruction has made it possible to discover that at the moment of his death, the man of the Shroud sagged down towards the right, because his right shoulder was dislocated so seriously as to injure the nerves.”
He concluded: “Therefore, we believe that we finally have the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth. From now on, He may no longer be depicted without taking this work into account.”
Also, researchers from the Institute of Crystallography found chemicals in the stains on the Shroud indicating the stains were blood. Researchers also learned that the blood belonged to someone who suffered from extreme injury and pain.
“The blood serum tells us that before dying the person was suffering,” said Elvio Carlino, a researcher from the Institute of Crystallography. “This means that the Turin Shroud is not fake. … It is certainly the funeral fabric that wrapped a tortured man.”
Rogers, a chemist with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and a member of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project, found in his study that after a fire in 1532 nearly destroyed the shroud, French Poor Clare nuns repaired it by adding 16 burn patches. The nuns stitched a reinforcing cloth to the back of the shroud that is known as the Holland cloth.
The nuns were able to repair the edges of the shroud by expertly reweaving with cotton much of the damage the fire did to the original linen cloth.
Rogers was able to detect under a microscope the reweaving, because the cotton had been dyed to match the linen. The fibers could be distinguished in the reweaving at the edges of the shroud, because linen is resistant to dye, while cotton is not.
Rogers’ paper made an impact on the Shroud of Turin research community worldwide, because immediately after the results of the 1988 radiocarbon dating were made public, he was a leading voice asserting the shroud was a medieval forgery.
A study from the Italian Society of Statistics found problems with the claim it was a medieval forgery.
The article from three Italian university-based statisticians and a professor of statistics from the London School of Economics was published in Italian in the magazine of the Italian Statistical Society.
They explained at the time that the 1988 radiocarbon tests failed to take into consideration pollution on the shroud, both from plant life from the many locations it had traveled and from centuries of contact with human hands. They point out that even Nobel Prize chemist Willard Frank Libby, the creator of the carbon-14 dating method, had warned such factors could contaminate the results.