A little context on this famous myth:
The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion.
Some contend that the shroud is the actual cloth placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus, while others contend that the artefact was created in the Middle Ages, as indicated by carbon dating which placed the artifact between 1260 and 1390.
Now, the JREF claims that this particular myth is absolutely debunked. I completely agree that the shroud has not, and will never, be proven to be a genuine holy item - how could one prove that it was used on Jesus of Nazareth at all?
On the other hand, the way the myth is debunked is, in my view, flaky, weak and unconvincing. Here in short are the claims, after each my doubts:
- The cloth itself could not date from the correct period or from that area of the world, simply because that particular weave of cloth was not made then or there.
I cannot find any good source to verify this. In any case I don't see how we can easily make such assertion (it could be an uncommon type with few examples left).
- Wrapping of a body in that size and shape of cloth was not done in Palestine at that period. Such wrapping disagrees with the biblical description as well.
This is completely irrelevant - either the cloth is from that place and time or it isn't. It could have been an unusual choice.
- The representation of the face of Christ on this cloth and in all paintings and sculptures is and always has been a formalized guess. This version matches the “accepted” one. We know nothing about Christ's actual appearance.
This is also totally irrelevant - the fact that Jesus has been depicted as a hippy guy with a beard does not rule out or confirm anything about his appearance (if he existed).
- Carbon dating of the fabric, done in three independent labs, showed that the linen fabric was woven about the year 1350.
True, but there are claims that the results might have been obtained by medieval repairs instead that from an original part of the cloth. The areas that have been cut off were the worst kept in order not to destroy important parts of the cloth.
- The “bloodstains” are not only red in color (they could not be, after that period of time), but they were shown by chemical analysis to be paint of the composition used in the fourteenth century.
I cannot find any real affirmative confirmation of this claim - I can only find claims that someone made paint of the same color as the shroud, but no confirmation that "chemical analysis" has been performed on the shroud at all. Wikipedia, for what is worth, has a totally different story on the matter.
- The bishop of Troyes (Lirey) knew who the artist was who painted the cloth and when and how he did it, and so reported to Pope Clement VII. The document still exists and has been shown to be unquestionably authentic.
This is shaky evidence - it's hearsay.
The question is the following:
is the JREF correct when they affirm that
Definitive tests prove absolutely that it is a forgery?