If you're familiar with the Shroud of Turin, you know the primary debate surrounding the relic: Either it was created as a forgery by medieval sources or the image present on it was imprinted from a burst of light that miraculously occurred during Jesus Christ's resurrection.
The shroud features an image of a bearded man (i.e. Jesus) whose body appears to have wounds from nails in his hands and feed -- the same locations that some believe were affected when Jesus was nailed to the cross.
While the debate has gone back and forth for years, Italian researchers are now saying that the cloth may, indeed, be authentic. These experts, according to the Daily Mail, claim that the criticisms waged against the shroud may not stand.
The Huffington Post has more:
...researchers from Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development believe their findings undermine previous theories that the shroud was faked in the medieval period...
Last year scientists were able to replicate marks on the cloth using highly advanced ultraviolet techniques that weren't available 2,000 years ago -- or during the medieval times, for that matter. [...]
Since the shroud and "all its facets" still cannot be replicated using today's top-notch technology, researchers suggest it is impossible that the original image could have been created in either period.
For years, skeptics have said that the 14 foot by 3 foot sheet dates back to medieval times, which would clearly debunk it as the actual burial cloth used to cover Jesus following his crucifixion. The image, researchers say, may have come about as a result of the electromagnetic energy that was expended during Christ's resurrection experience.
"The results show a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin" the scientists behind a new study report.
The researchers, though, were careful not to definitively endorse a God-centric explanation for the imagery. But despite their hesitation to claim that the cloth did, indeed, belong to Jesus, the team does conclude that no UV energy source, to date, could create such an image.
"When one talks about a flash of light being able to colour a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things such as miracles," said Professor Paolo Di Lazzaro, the author's lead academic. "But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes. We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate."
Radiocarbon tests from 1988 showed the shroud dating back to between 1260 and 1390, which corroborated critics claims. But these tests were disputed and seen as incorrectly impacted by damage the cloth sustained by a fire in the Middle Ages.
Also, another cloth found in Jerusalem recently, is said to have come from the time of the crucifixion. This new cloth's design and weave differ greatly from the Shroud of Turin, leading critics to say that these elements corroborate their forgery claims. The twill weave in the shroud was purportedly not introduced until more than 1,000 years after Jesus lived.
The debate, of course, is far from over. The Shroud of Turin will likely continue to be a source of scientific inquiry for years to come.
(H/T: Daily Mail)