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Is the Shroud of Turin authentic?

Shroud of Turin

Question: "Is the Shroud of Turin authentic?"

Answer:
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that some believe to have been the cloth that Jesus Christ was buried in. Each of the three Synoptic Gospels mentions Jesus being wrapped in a cloth when He was taken down from the cross (Matthew 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53). The Shroud of Turin was “discovered,” or at least made public, in the 14th century AD. The Shroud of Turin is named for the city where it is kept, Turin, Italy.

Here is a webpage that contains some pictures / images of the Shroud of Turin: http://www.shroud.com/examine.htm. Upon examination, the Shroud of Turin appears to be that of a man who was crucified. There are markings in the hands and feet that are consistent with the wounds inflicted by crucifixion. There also appear to be wounds indicative of torture similar to what is described in the Gospels, around the head, back, and legs.

Is the Shroud of Turin truly the cloth Jesus Christ was buried in? There is much debate on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Some are absolutely convinced that it is the burial cloth of Christ. Others believe it to a fabrication or a work of art. There have been some dating tests that date the Shroud of Turin to the 10th century BC or later. Other tests have found pollen spores that are common to Israel and that could be dated to the 1st century AD. But there is no conclusive date either way.

Arguing against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is the Bible’s complete lack of evidence for such a burial shroud. As mentioned earlier, the Bible mentions a whole piece of linen that was used to take Jesus’ body from the cross. This linen was probably also used to transport the body to Joseph of Arimathea’s nearby tomb. At the tomb hasty preparations for burial were made; these would have included washing the body and rewrapping it. Luke 24:12 mentions “the strips of linen.” These same strips (plural) are mentioned twice in John 20:5–6. And John 20:7 says there was a “cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.” This description of the actual burial clothes—“strips” of linen, rather than one large piece; and a separate cloth to cover the head—seems to negate the claim that the Shroud of Turin is the burial shroud of Christ.

So, what are we to make of the Shroud of Turin? It might have been the burial shroud for some crucified man, but it is not likely to have any association with the death of Christ. Even if it were the authentic burial cloth of Christ, the Shroud of Turin is not to be worshipped or adored. Because of the doubtful nature of the Shroud of Turin, it cannot be used as proof for the resurrection of Christ. Our faith does not rely on the Shroud of Turin but on the written Word of God.

Recommended Resources: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll and Logos Bible Software.

While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.


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What did Jesus look like?



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Is the Shroud of Turin authentic?