Known as the Shroud of Turin, the burial cloth of Jesus has been housed in Turin, Italy since 1578. It is made of fine linen and measures 14 feet 3 inches long and 3 feet 7 inches wide. The dimensions correspond precisely to the measurement system of ancient Israel, with the Shroud being exactly 8 cubits by 2 cubits.
The Shroud bears the image of a man who was approximately 5 feet 11. He had a lean, muscular build and probably weighed about 175 pounds. He was bearded with shoulder length hair which was pulled back in a pony-tail. The image shows that he had been crucified and severely beaten. Microscopic analysis indicates that the man suffered at least 120 blows from a whip with two-tailed lashes. Each tail had a barbell-shaped metal tip to make the blows more severe. The man had abrasions over both shoulder blades which could have been caused by carrying the roughly 100 pound horizontal bar of a cross. Blood found on the Shroud has a high concentration of pigment bilirubin which is produced when an individual is subjected to great trauma. The man's thumbs were also pulled back into the palms of his hands, an indication of crucifixion. When a spike is driven through the median nerve of the wrist, the thumb jerks back in a reflex motion.
According to The Vatican Insider, new tests carried out in the University of Padua labs indicate that the Shroud dates back to the period when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. In addition, Dr. Alan Whanger of Duke University Medical Center, and his wife Mary, as well as other researchers, have produced evidence indicating that the Shroud was known to portions of the public between the time of Jesus and the mid-1300s. (Letter from Dr. Whanger.)
The Whangers have also developed an imaging technique for comparing the image in the Shroud to ancient icons, coins, and carvings. They determined that icons of Jesus from as early as the 6th century were based on the Shroud. According to the Whangers, a statue from the Middle East, dated to 31 A.D., is also based on the Shroud image. Of additional interest, the Whangers carefully examined images of what they believe to be coins over the man's eyes. Although some scientists remain skeptical, the Whangers determined that the coins were Roman, and date to 29 A.D. Moreover, the Whangers believe that they have found several other images in the Shroud, including a crucifixion nail, a Roman spear and a crown of thorns.
Throughout its "known" history, (as accepted by the academic establishment,) the Shroud has never been outside Europe. However, 28 species of pollen from Palestine have been identified within the fibers of the Shroud. Of these species, 20 grow in Jerusalem, and the remaining 8 grow within 12 miles of Jerusalem (in an area between Jerusalem and Jericho). These species of pollen come from flowers which bloom in March and April, the time of year during which Jesus was crucified. The flowers most likely were picked near the time of the crucifixion and placed on the Shroud.
Moreover, Dr. Joseph Kohlbeck of the Hercules Aerospace in Utah, with help from Dr. Richard Levi-Setti of the University of Chicago's Enrico Fermi Institute, compared dirt from the Shroud to travertine aragonite limestone found in the area of Jerusalem. There was a perfect chemical match. Remarkably, there are no places on earth, other than the Jerusalem locale, where aragonite is known to have the same exact chemical signature as that found in the dirt on the Shroud.
The Shroud is mentioned in the Gospels. Matthew 27:57-59 says, "When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth [or shroud]."
The Gospel of John also mentions the Shroud. "Then cometh Simon Peter following him [John], and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:6,7)
How the image was formed in the Shroud is a mystery. It could not have been formed through simple exposure to Jesus' body because there is no distortion in the image. For instance, cloth that has been contoured to a human nose will show a much broader nose than normal when the cloth is laid flat. The Shroud does not have this type of distortion. Moreover, there are no other shrouds known to exist which contain a discernible body image.
The image also could not have been painted. There are no pigments and no brush strokes to be found on the Shroud. And unlike a painting, the image has no outline. The edges of the limbs simply fade away. Further, a fire damaged the Shroud in 1532, and the flames would have made the paint crack had the image been painted. However, there are no signs of any cracked paint.
Some have theorized that the image was produced by Leonardo da Vinci through a primitive means of photography. However, da Vinci was born in 1452, some 100 years after the academic establishment contends that the Shroud originated. Further, there is no evidence that any other photographic negatives from that era of history were ever produced.
Importantly, even if photgraphic methods had been available, the Shroud is far more complex than a primitive photographic negative. A black and white photograph consists of varying amounts of reflected light. But as Shroud researchers have pointed out, the Shroud image is "dimensionally encoded", while a photographic negative is not. Images close to the fabric, such as the nose, appear dark, while those farther away, such as the recesses of the eyes, appear light. The researchers have also pointed out that there is no evidence of photo-sensitive chemicals on the cloth. If the Shroud were a photographic negative, there should be evidence of the presence or use of these types of chemicals.
Primitive photography or painting simply could not have produced the oddities of the Shroud. These oddities include: the incredible and accurate detail of bodily injury, pollen and dirt from Palestine, correct three-dimensional information, images of 1st century objects, the amazing similarity to ancient paintings and statues, "paint" which survived a fire without cracking, resemblance to a photographic negative, although the Shroud was produced before the development of photography, etc.
Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development (ENEA) conducted findings indicating that the Shroud's image can only be replicated by a high-energy excimer laser. See http://theshroudofturin.blogspot.com.
There is simply no plausible, "naturalistic" explanation for the origin of the image. In all likelihood, Jesus chose to leave an image of himself in the Shroud at the time of the Resurrection. His Resurrection most likey occurred with a burst of light, as His formerly dead body was transformed into the type of glorified, resurrection body, which all in Christ will someday receive.
The Apostle Paul wrote in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians:
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. ... But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body."
"All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds."
"There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory."
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."
"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As [is] the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
For those who wish to study the Shroud further, please see these excellent sites: