Israeli archaeologists Joe Zias and Amos Kloner announced earlier this year that they believe the Shroud of Turin—purportedly the burial cloth of Jesus—is a forgery, saying no other fabrics have survived as intact for 2,000 years. They noted that Jewish burial customs at the time of Christ make a shroud covering the entire body unlikely (as indicated in John 20:6-7).

But Hebrew University botany professor Avinoam Danin has identified images of 28 plant species —all from Israel—on the shroud. Danin, an authority on Israeli plant life, is working with Duke University emeritus professor Alan Whanger.

Whanger told CT he has identified the images of a nail, hammer, broom, a ring of thorns, and a sponge on the shroud, a 14-foot-long piece of linen. "By Jewish custom, anything with the life's blood on it was buried with the body," he says. Whanger believes the images were created in an explosion of light that occurred at the resurrection of Jesus.

He is convinced that carbon tests of shroud fibers in 1988 were in error when they appeared to show the garment was of medieval European origin.

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