The Turin Shroud At Credibility Corner

The Shroud of Turin once again is out of sight, but certainly not out of mind. The celebrated cloth was returned to its sealed, silver casket last month, but not before it had been viewed by an estimated 3.3 million pilgrims and scrutinized by an international team of scientists. Many Christians who formerly ignored the shroud as a Catholic relic or harmless hoax await results of the scientific tests with more than casual expectancy.

Tests results aren’t due for another six months to two years, but the scientists intend to prove whether the fourteen-by-three-foot piece of twilled linen is in fact, the burial sheet of the crucified Christ (see book review, p. 32).

Kenneth Stevenson, IBM computer technician and spokesman thirty American scientists who studied the shroud, expressed his opinion: “The historical and scientific evidence indicates to me that the shroud is authentic.”

Raised in a Catholic church and converted by Protestant friends in 1970, Stevenson says the tests can’t prove 100 per cent that the shroud is Christ’s burial sheet. “But whether it is art work or for real, the shroud will always be the most accurate portrayal of the suffering Christ that the world has ever seen,” he said. “It’s medically, scripturally, historically, and culturally accurate. And at this point I defy anyone to show me evidence to the contrary.”

Archbishop Anastasio Ballastrero of Turin prompted the recent public display of the shroud—its first in forty-five years—in observance of the 400th year the shroud has rested in Turin. For more than six weeks, devout pilgrims and curious tourists jammed this otherwise ordinary Italian automobile manufacturing town. At least twenty Catholic cardinals viewed the ...

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