Biblical Archaeology Review 12:4, July/August 1986

New Evidence May Explain Image on Shroud of Turin

Chemical tests link shroud to Jerusalem

By Joseph A. KohlbeckEugenia L. Nitowski

Even the skeptics have been unable to explain how the image on the Shroud of Turin was created.

Moreover, modern science deepens, rather than allays, the mystery. If we knew less, we could assume more; we could suppose a host of easy answers—like painting. But the arsenals of modern science have done nothing but destroy the easy answers: Easy answers will not do. And still there is no explanation. The mystery remains.

We believe we may have now found a naturalistic explanation for the formation of the image of the crucified man on the Shroud of Turin. This explanation strongly suggests that the image was produced by the body of a crucified man in first-century Judea—and that this body had the characteristics reflected on the shroud.

We say “strongly suggests” because we cannot exclude all other possibilities. In scientific terms, we admittedly have not “proved” our case, but the evidence peculiarly points to this place and this time. Until evidence of another likely possibility is shown, we must rely on the evidence we have found.

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