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Shroud of Turin Report

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Prepared by Halbert Katzen, J.D.
[Upated 04/30/2008]

Shroud of Turin Summary

The Shroud of Turin Report is distinct from all the other UBtheNEWS reports. Typically, reports reflect The Urantia Book’s unique quality of credibility; they demonstrate how new discoveries and scientific advances increasingly support the history in The Urantia Book. In this case, given the broader context of all the reports published on UBtheNEWS, if anything, The Urantia Book gives more credibility to the authenticity of Shroud of Turin than the other way around.

The Urantia Book says the angels performed a time-accelerated elemental disintegration of Jesus’ body. This has intriguing correlations with the image found on the Shroud of Turin. The authors explain that Jesus’ resurrected body was like that of angel's, that his physical body still lay in the tomb after the resurrection, and that the angels were given permission, upon request of an archangel,  to cause the accelerated dissolution of his physical remains. This permission was requested and granted so that they would not have to witness the decay of Jesus' body. The correlations have primarily to do with the superficial nature of the image and current theories about corona discharge and nuclear medicine  imaging. Additionally, there are intriguing correlations related to the Sudarium of Oviedo, a face napkin said to have covered Jesus’ face as part of the burial process.

Shroud of Turin Review

The Shroud of Turin Report is unlike any of the other reports posted on UBtheNEWS.com. Therefore, some context for appreciating why this report is being prepared and how it is distinct from other reports is necessary.

The primary objective of the UBtheNEWS project is to document, and inform people about, the numerous ways in which new discoveries and scientific advances increasingly support The Urantia Book's account of planetary history.1 Its unique quality of credibility is based on how the sciences are increasingly corroborating information in The Urantia Book— information that was inconsistent with the opinions held by the majority of scholars, or was simply not addressed by scholarship, when The Urantia Book was first published in 1955.

Nonetheless, the goal is not to try to prove anything regarding the purported superhuman origins of The Urantia Book. (No one claims to have written The Urantia Book; the text asserts angelic authorship.) Whatever unique quality of credibility it may have, the UBtheNEWS project is not claiming that this pattern proves anything about its origins or about any of the other information that is provided within its pages. The goal is simply to inspire interest in The Urantia Book.2

Even though scientific investigation of The Shroud of Turin Report, occurring after 1955, provides correlations to statements made in The Urantia Book about what happened to Jesus’ body, these correlations do not significantly add to its credibility; the correlations are not corroborations. Given the broader context of all the reports published on UBtheNEWS, if anything, The Urantia Book gives more credibility to the Shroud of Turin (TS) than the other way around. (“TS” will be used to designate the Shroud of Turn, or Turin Shroud, because it is commonly used in the scientific literature that will be referenced in this report.)

The Urantia Book is probably the only document in the world that gives specific details about how the resurrection occurred and what exactly become of Jesus’ body. In this regard, I expect the Christian community generally, and especially those people who have been intrigued by the TS, will find this information extremely interesting.

This report does not extensively review the large volume of scientific literature that has developed regarding the authenticity of the TS. The evidence refuting the authenticity of the TS is largely ignored because this report is only about intriguing correlations that exist between the TS and The Urantia Book; no attempt is being made in this report to be “scholarly” or “persuasive.” Readers are simply invited to enjoy this report for what it is, within the context of its own self-imposed limitations and qualifications.

 

Organization of the Shroud of Turin Review

Unique Challenges Related to the Shroud of Turin Report: Various challenges particularly related to this report are briefly addressed. They include the presentation of material from The Urantia Book, the TS’s authenticity, credibility issues, and standards for making correlation between the TS and The Urantia Book.

Quotes from The Urantia Book: A selection of quotes related to this topic will be provided in order to give the reader an opportunity to get a general sense of how The Urantia Book tells the story, the types of details it provides, and the manner in which it presents the information.

Dating the Shroud of Turin: This report provides a brief presentation of the carbon dating issue. Then, the significance of a lesser-known but closely related relic, the Sudarium of Oviedo (SO), is examined, followed by a discussion about how these two relics relate to statements made in The Urantia Book.

The Image: A brief review is given of some of the most intriguing and scientifically difficult-to-explain aspects of the TS image. As well, a couple of the more current theories are reviewed that seem to provide some important clues regarding what occurred. These aspects of the image are correlated with statements made in The Urantia Book. Lastly, the section provides a list of some of the least controversial aspects of the TS that relate to statements made in The Urantia Book.

Conclusion: Some statements from The Urantia Book are considered that reflect on the counter-intuitive wisdom associated with allowing such relics to be left behind. “Counter-intuitive” with respect to statements made in The Urantia Book about the importance of Jesus’ not leaving relics behind. “Allowing” in the sense that, presumably, the cloths could have been removed along with the body.

(In comparison to other UBtheNEWS reports, this reports presents a number of unique challenges. For a review of these issues, see the footnote below.)3

 

Quotes from the Urantia Book

It is not possible to provide quotes from The Urantia Book that relate to the TS without touching on some theological and cosmological aspects of The Urantia Book. In an effort to not get overly side tracked with these aspects of the book, which are very involved and detailed subject areas, a few general statements will be made to help the reader better understand the quoted material.

Readers should be aware that no attempt is being made to use theological and cosmological terminology the way theological and cosmological terms are used in The Urantia Book. Rather, the more common “dictionary” definitions of words are going to be used so that those readers who are not familiar with The Urantia Book will not need a lesson on the specific and unique ways that The Urantia Book uses such terminology.

The Urantia Book describes various orders of angels and other celestial beings in great detail, providing a comprehensive picture of universe administration and organization. These descriptions especially focus on the various worlds that we go to when, after death, we are resurrected and begin an adventure of progressive spiritual development, leading to spiritual perfection to the “geographic” presence/location of God.

While the following several paragraphs on Urantia Book theology and cosmology will no doubt raise more questions than provide answers, they also will hopefully provide readers a basis for understanding, more or less, the selections from The Urantia Book that are included as part of the Shroud of Turin Report.

Though The Urantia Book does support the reality of the existence of a trinity aspect of the eternal God, Jesus is not considered to be the Son of the Trinity. Rather, The Urantia Book asserts that when the infinite and eternal God chose to create life in the realms of time and space, an order of perfect children was established to express this creative aspect of Creator Prerogatives. This order of children, known in The Urantia Book as “Creator Sons,” each have assigned to them a segment of the universe, not unlike the way a nation may be divided into states. Each of these Creator Sons, who are “governors” and creators of their section of the universe (called a Local Universe), reflect a unique quality and expression of the combined nature of the Universal Father and the Eternal Son. As a prism refracts light into a rainbow of colors, it could be said that time-space reality refracts the white light of the eternal God into a spectrum of colors, and that the Creator Sons express the perfect personification of the creative potentials inherent in the association of the Universal Father and the Eternal Son. According to The Urantia Book this is why Jesus stated that “he who has seen me has seen the Father” and why he has become confused with the Eternal Son.

The name Michael is used to designate Jesus in his status before incarnating on this planet and after his resurrection. The name of our Local Universe is Nebadon. The most senior “angel” in the administration of Nebadon (after Michael) is known as Gabriel. So, with regard to the spiritual beings that are involved in the spiritual administration of Nebadon, Gabriel was left in charge when Michael incarnated as Jesus. The incarnation process is a “once in an eternity” event, which, among other things, is designed to provide a pattern-expression of the nature of God’s love and inspire us in our attempts to attain divine perfection. Additionally, the incarnation experience is said to compliment Michael’s existentially perfect nature with an experiential counterpart. The acquirement of this experiential counterpart to his existential nature is what provides the basis for the teaching that after the resurrection “all power in heaven and earth” was placed in his hands.

That being said, people unfamiliar with The Urantia Book should be more or less prepared to reasonably understand the following selections related to Jesus’ burial and the fate of his physical body:

In the meantime, Joseph of Arimathea, accompanied by Nicodemus, had gone to Pilate and asked that the body of Jesus be turned over to them for proper burial. It was not uncommon for friends of crucified persons to offer bribes to the Roman authorities for the privilege of gaining possession of such bodies. Joseph went before Pilate with a large sum of money, in case it became necessary to pay for permission to remove Jesus’ body to a private burial tomb. But Pilate would not take money for this. When he heard the request, he quickly signed the order which authorized Joseph to proceed to Golgotha and take immediate and full possession of the Master’s body.4

A crucified person could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery; there was a strict law against such a procedure. Joseph and Nicodemus knew this law, and on the way out to Golgotha they had decided to bury Jesus in Joseph's new family tomb, hewn out of solid rock, located a short distance north of Golgotha and across the road leading to Samaria. No one had ever lain in this tomb, and they thought it appropriate that the Master should rest there. . . .

 

At about half past four o’clock the burial procession of Jesus of Nazareth started from Golgotha for Joseph’s tomb across the way. The body was wrapped in a linen sheet as the four men carried it, followed by the faithful women watchers from Galilee. The mortals who bore the material body of Jesus to the tomb were: Joseph, Nicodemus, John, and the Roman centurion.

They carried the body into the tomb, a chamber about ten feet square, where they hurriedly prepared it for burial. The Jews did not really bury their dead; they actually embalmed them. Joseph and Nicodemus had brought with them large quantities of myrrh and aloes, and they now wrapped the body with bandages saturated with these solutions. When the embalming was completed, they tied a napkin about the face, wrapped the body in a linen sheet, and reverently placed it on a shelf in the tomb.

After placing the body in the tomb, the centurion signaled for his soldiers to help roll the doorstone up before the entrance to the tomb. . . .

While all this was going on, the women were hiding near at hand so that they saw it all and observed where the Master had been laid. They thus secreted themselves because it was not permissible for women to associate with men at such a time. These women did not think Jesus had been properly prepared for burial, and they agreed among themselves to go back to the home of Joseph, rest over the Sabbath, make ready spices and ointments, and return on Sunday morning properly to prepare the Master’s body for the death rest. The women who thus tarried by the tomb on this Friday evening were: Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Clopas, Martha another sister of Jesus’ mother, and Rebecca of Sepphoris.5

After the resurrected Jesus emerged from his burial tomb, the body of flesh in which he had lived and wrought on earth for almost thirty-six years was still lying there in the sepulchre niche, undisturbed and wrapped in the linen sheet, just as it had been laid to rest by Joseph and his associates on Friday afternoon. Neither was the stone before the entrance of the tomb in any way disturbed; the seal of Pilate was still unbroken; the soldiers were still on guard. The temple guards had been on continuous duty; the Roman guard had been changed at midnight. None of these watchers suspected that the object of their vigil had risen to a new and higher form of existence, and that the body which they were guarding was now a discarded outer covering which had no further connection with the delivered and resurrected morontia6 personality of Jesus.7

His material or physical body was not a part of the resurrected personality. When Jesus came forth from the tomb, his body of flesh remained undisturbed in the sepulchre. He emerged from the burial tomb without moving the stones before the entrance and without disturbing the seals of Pilate.8

THE MATERIAL BODY OF JESUS

At ten minutes past three o’clock,  . . . the chief of archangels—the angels of the resurrection—approached Gabriel and asked for the mortal body of Jesus. Said the chief of the archangels: “We may not participate in the morontia resurrection of the bestowal experience of Michael our sovereign, but we would have his mortal remains put in our custody for immediate dissolution. We do not propose to employ our technique of dematerialization; we merely wish to invoke the process of accelerated time. It is enough that we have seen the Sovereign live and die on Urantia; the hosts of heaven would be spared the memory of enduring the sight of the slow decay of the human form of the Creator and Upholder of a universe. In the name of the celestial intelligences of all Nebadon, I ask for a mandate giving me the custody of the mortal body of Jesus of Nazareth and empowering us to proceed with its immediate dissolution.

. . . the archangel spokesman for the celestial hosts was given permission to make such disposition of the physical remains of Jesus as he might determine.

After the chief of archangels had been granted this request, he summoned to his assistance many of his fellows, together with a numerous host of the representatives of all orders of celestial personalities, and then, with the aid of the Urantia midwayers [an order of beings who are energetically right between mortals and angels], proceeded to take possession of Jesus' physical body. This body of death was a purely material creation; it was physical and literal; it could not be removed from the tomb as the morontia form of the resurrection had been able to escape the sealed sepulchre. By the aid of certain morontia auxiliary personalities, the morontia form can be made at one time as of the spirit so that it can become indifferent to ordinary matter, while at another time it can become discernible and contactable to material beings, such as the mortals of the realm.

As they made ready to remove the body of Jesus from the tomb preparatory to according it the dignified and reverent disposal of near-instantaneous dissolution, it was assigned the secondary Urantia midwayers to roll away the stones from the entrance of the tomb. The larger of these two stones was a huge circular affair, much like a millstone, and it moved in a groove chiseled out of the rock, so that it could be rolled back and forth to open or close the tomb. When the watching Jewish guards and the Roman soldiers, in the dim light of the morning, saw this huge stone begin to roll away from the entrance of the tomb, apparently of its own accord—without any visible means to account for such motion—they were seized with fear and panic, and they fled in haste from the scene. The Jews fled to their homes, afterward going back to report these doings to their captain at the temple. The Romans fled to the fortress of Antonia and reported what they had seen to the centurion as soon as he arrived on duty.

The Jewish leaders began the sordid business of supposedly getting rid of Jesus by offering bribes to the traitorous Judas, and now, when confronted with this embarrassing situation, instead of thinking of punishing the guards who deserted their post, they resorted to bribing these guards and the Roman soldiers. They paid each of these twenty men a sum of money and instructed them to say to all: “While we slept during the nighttime, his disciples came upon us and took away the body.” And the Jewish leaders made solemn promises to the soldiers to defend them before Pilate in case it should ever come to the governor's knowledge that they had accepted a bribe.

The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus has been based on the fact of the “empty tomb.” It was indeed a fact that the tomb was empty, but this is not the truth of the resurrection. The tomb was truly empty when the first believers arrived, and this fact, associated with that of the undoubted resurrection of the Master, led to the formulation of a belief which was not true: the teaching that the material and mortal body of Jesus was raised from the grave. Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts. Although individual facts may be materially true, it does not follow that the association of a group of facts must necessarily lead to truthful spiritual conclusions.

The tomb of Joseph was empty, not because the body of Jesus had been rehabilitated or resurrected, but because the celestial hosts had been granted their request to afford it a special and unique dissolution, a return of the “dust to dust,” without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.

The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous.9

A little before three o'clock this Sunday morning, when the first signs of day began to appear in the east, five of the women started out for the tomb of Jesus. They had prepared an abundance of special embalming lotions, and they carried many linen bandages with them. It was their purpose more thoroughly to give the body of Jesus its death anointing and more carefully to wrap it up with the new bandages.

The women who went on this mission of anointing Jesus’ body were: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the Alpheus twins, Salome the mother of the Zebedee brothers, Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Susanna the daughter of Ezra of Alexandria.

It was about half past three o’clock when the five women, laden with their ointments, arrived before the empty tomb. As they passed out of the Damascus gate, they encountered a number of soldiers fleeing into the city more or less panic-stricken, and this caused them to pause for a few minutes; but when nothing more developed, they resumed their journey.

They were greatly surprised to see the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, inasmuch as they had said among themselves on the way out, “Who will help us roll away the stone?” They set down their burdens and began to look upon one another in fear and with great amazement. While they stood there, atremble with fear, Mary Magdalene ventured around the smaller stone and dared to enter the open sepulchre. This tomb of Joseph was in his garden on the hillside on the eastern side of the road, and it also faced toward the east. By this hour there was just enough of the dawn of a new day to enable Mary to look back to the place where the Master’s body had lain and to discern that it was gone. In the recess of stone where they had laid Jesus, Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body. The covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.

After Mary had tarried in the doorway of the tomb for a few moments (she did not see distinctly when she first entered the tomb), she saw that Jesus’ body was gone and in its place only these grave cloths, and she uttered a cry of alarm and anguish. All the women were exceedingly nervous; they had been on edge ever since meeting the panicky soldiers at the city gate, and when Mary uttered this scream of anguish, they were terror-stricken and fled in great haste. And they did not stop until they had run all the way to the Damascus gate. By this time Joanna was conscience-stricken that they had deserted Mary; she rallied her companions, and they started back for the tomb.

As they drew near the sepulchre, the frightened Magdalene, who was even more terrorized when she failed to find her sisters waiting when she came out of the tomb, now rushed up to them, excitedly exclaiming: “He is not there—they have taken him away!” And she led them back to the tomb, and they all entered and saw that it was empty.

All five of the women then sat down on the stone near the entrance and talked over the situation. It had not yet occurred to them that Jesus had been resurrected. They had been by themselves over the Sabbath, and they conjectured that the body had been moved to another resting place. But when they pondered such a solution of their dilemma, they were at a loss to account for the orderly arrangement of the grave cloths; how could the body have been removed since the very bandages in which it was wrapped were left in position and apparently intact on the burial shelf?

As these women sat there in the early hours of the dawn of this new day, they looked to one side and observed a silent and motionless stranger. For a moment they were again frightened, but Mary Magdalene, rushing toward him and addressing him as if she thought he might be the caretaker of the garden, said, “Where have you taken the Master? Where have they laid him? Tell us that we may go and get him.” When the stranger did not answer Mary, she began to weep. Then spoke Jesus to them, saying, “Whom do you seek?” Mary said: “We seek for Jesus who was laid to rest in Joseph's tomb, but he is gone. Do you know where they have taken him?” Then said Jesus: “Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee, that he would die, but that he would rise again?” These words startled the women, but the Master was so changed that they did not yet recognize him with his back turned to the dim light. And as they pondered his words, he addressed the Magdalene with a familiar voice, saying, “Mary.” And when she heard that word of well-known sympathy and affectionate greeting, she knew it was the voice of the Master, and she rushed to kneel at his feet while she exclaimed, “My Lord, and my Master!” And all of the other women recognized that it was the Master who stood before them in glorified form, and they quickly knelt before him.

. . .

As Mary sought to embrace his feet, Jesus said: “Touch me not, Mary, for I am not as you knew me in the flesh. In this form will I tarry with you for a season before I ascend to the Father. But go, all of you, now and tell my apostles—and Peter—that I have risen, and that you have talked with me.”

After these women had recovered from the shock of their amazement, they hastened back to the city and to the home of Elijah Mark, where they related to the ten apostles all that had happened to them; but the apostles were not inclined to believe them. They thought at first that the women had seen a vision, but when Mary Magdalene repeated the words which Jesus had spoken to them, and when Peter heard his name, he rushed out of the upper chamber, followed closely by John, in great haste to reach the tomb and see these things for himself.

The women repeated the story of talking with Jesus to the other apostles, but they would not believe; and they would not go to find out for themselves as had Peter and John.

PETER AND JOHN AT THE TOMB    

As the two apostles raced for Golgotha and the tomb of Joseph, Peter's thoughts alternated between fear and hope; he feared to meet the Master, but his hope was aroused by the story that Jesus had sent special word to him. He was half persuaded that Jesus was really alive; he recalled the promise to rise on the third day. Strange to relate, this promise had not occurred to him since the crucifixion until this moment as he hurried north through Jerusalem. As John hastened out of the city, a strange ecstasy of joy and hope welled up in his soul. He was half convinced that the women really had seen the risen Master.

John, being younger than Peter, outran him and arrived first at the tomb. John tarried at the door, viewing the tomb, and it was just as Mary had described it. Very soon Simon Peter rushed up and, entering, saw the same empty tomb with the grave cloths so peculiarly arranged. And when Peter had come out, John also went in and saw it all for himself, and then they sat down on the stone to ponder the meaning of what they had seen and heard. And while they sat there, they turned over in their minds all that had been told them about Jesus, but they could not clearly perceive what had happened.

Peter at first suggested that the grave had been rifled, that enemies had stolen the body, perhaps bribed the guards. But John reasoned that the grave would hardly have been left so orderly if the body had been stolen, and he also raised the question as to how the bandages happened to be left behind, and so apparently intact. And again they both went back into the tomb more closely to examine the grave cloths. As they came out of the tomb the second time, they found Mary Magdalene returned and weeping before the entrance. Mary had gone to the apostles believing that Jesus had risen from the grave, but when they all refused to believe her report, she became downcast and despairing. She longed to go back near the tomb, where she thought she had heard the familiar voice of Jesus.

As Mary lingered after Peter and John had gone, the Master again appeared to her, saying: "Be not doubting; have the courage to believe what you have seen and heard. Go back to my apostles and again tell them that I have risen, that I will appear to them, and that presently I will go before them into Galilee as I promised."

Mary hurried back to the Mark home and told the apostles she had again talked with Jesus, but they would not believe her. But when Peter and John returned, they ceased to ridicule and became filled with fear and apprehension.10

All this day Peter characteristically vacillated emotionally between faith and doubt concerning the Master's resurrection. Peter could not get away from the sight of the grave cloths resting there in the tomb as if the body of Jesus had just evaporated from within.11

When the apostles refused to believe the report of the five women who represented that they had seen Jesus and talked with him, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb, and the others went back to Joseph's house, where they related their experiences to his daughter and the other women. And the women believed their report. Shortly after six o’clock the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea and the four women who had seen Jesus went over to the home of Nicodemus, where they related all these happenings to Joseph, Nicodemus, David Zebedee, and the other men there assembled. Nicodemus and the others doubted their story, doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead; they conjectured that the Jews had removed the body. Joseph and David were disposed to believe the report, so much so that they hurried out to inspect the tomb, and they found everything just as the women had described. And they were the last to so view the sepulchre, for the high priest sent the captain of the temple guards to the tomb at half past seven o’clock to remove the grave cloths. The captain wrapped them all up in the linen sheet and threw them over a near-by cliff.12

 

Dating the Shroud of Turin

The Carbon Dating Issue

Many people are under the impression that the Shroud of Turin was definitively classified as a hoax because of carbon dating tests that were performed in 1988. Scholarly opinion on the subject, however, is anything but a settled matter. Numerous issues have been raised that call into question the reasonableness of using these results to date the Shroud. Aside from other types of tests that place put the age at around 2000 years ago, the accuracy of the carbon dating is questionable for a number of reasons.

There are numerous theories about why the radiocarbon dating should not be used to determine the age of the Shroud. Because in depth coverage of these issues is readily available on the Internet, readers are encouraged to go to the Raw Data section for links to various articles that argue against drawing conclusions about the TS based on the radiocarbon dating results. The Raw Data section also includes a selection of material from the site www.Shroud.com wherein it sequentially lists all the related facts that do not tend to be in dispute regarding the TS. This sequence has been edited down to include only events related to the radiocarbon dating.

The validity of the controversy surrounding the radiocarbon dating of the TS is a generally accepted proposition. The validity of this controversy is evidenced by the following quote from the Wikipedia page dedicated to this topic:

Various tests have been performed on the Shroud, yet the debates about its origin continue. Radiocarbon dating in 1988 by three independent teams of scientists yielded results published in Nature indicating that the Shroud was made during the Middle Ages, approximately 1300 years after Jesus lived. Follow-up analysis published in 2005, however, indicated that the sample dated by the teams was taken from an area of the Shroud that was not a part of the original cloth. This analysis itself is questioned by skeptics such as Joe Nickell, who reason that the conclusions of the author, Raymond Rogers, result from “starting with the desired conclusion and working backward to the evidence”. Former Nature editor Philip Ball has said that the idea that Rogers steered his study to a preconceived conclusion is “unfair” and Rogers “has a history of respectable work”. As of 2005, there is no universally accepted carbon dating result for the Shroud in the scientific literature.13

As recently as 2005, BBC News published a report that explains some of the most recent objections to the carbon dating results:

The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal.

A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the Shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.”

Raymond Rogers says his research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988 radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the Shroud to repair fire damage.

It was this material that was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the original Shroud cloth, he argues.

The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the Shroud relic,” said Mr. Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US.

He says he was originally dubious of untested claims that the 1988 sample was taken from a re-weave.

It was embarrassing to have to agree with them,” Mr. Rogers told the BBC News website.

Michael Minor, vice-president of the American Shroud of Turin Association for Research, commented: “This is the most significant news about the Shroud of Turin since the C-14 dating was announced in 1988.

The C-14 dating isn't being disputed. But [the new research] is saying that they dated the rewoven area.14

One of the more recent and comprehensive documents produced about the TS, Evidences For Testing Hypotheses About The Image Formation Of The Turin Shroud,was developed by the ShroudScience Group on Yahoo! and is the composite work of two dozen scholars and scientists   from around the world with a wide variety of excellent credentials. In the introduction to this document it states:

The TS has been radiocarbon-dated to 1260-1390 A.D. (Damon et al. 1989) but a great number of scientists believe that the method used to take the sample and the reliability of radiocarbon dating is not satisfactory because the linen underwent many vicissitudes (e.g., fires, restorations, water, exposure to candle smoke and the breath of visitors). For example, some researchers have proposed that the 1532 fire probably modified the quantity of radiocarbon in the TS, thus altering its dating, and others believe in the existence of a biological complex of fungi and bacteria covering the yarns of the TS in a patina (Moroni 1997, Garza Valdes 2001). Recently it was demonstrated that the 1988 sample is not representative of the whole TS (Adler 1999 and 2000, Marino 2000 and 2002, Rogers 2002 and 2005).15

Staying within the four corners of the TS, there are numerous problems with accepting the results of the carbon dating. Powerfully adding to the evidence that calls into the question the validity of the carbon dating performed on the TS is its relationship ship to the Sudarium of Oviedo.

The Sudarium of Oviedo

The Sudarium of Oviedo is a relic that is believed by some to be the face cloth used in connection with the burial of Jesus. Because of correlations that can be drawn between the bloodstains and blood type found on the TS and the SO, the carbon dating on the OS calls into question the validity of the carbon dating that was performed on the TS, even though it does not support a 2000-year-old date. An On Religion article by Terry Mattingly puts it this way:

What evidence links the Sudarium and the Turin Shroud?

Here's the bottom line: when you take a photo of the Sudarium and you lay it over a photo of the Shroud's face and head images, they match. It's amazing,” said Barrie Schwortz, the official photographer for the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project.

 

Each appears to have matching blood and serum stains from the mouth, nose, beard and hair of a man who was beaten, crowned with thorns and killed by asphyxiation, which is consistent with crucifixion. The blood on both appears to be type AB, although some disagree. The broken noses are both 8 centimeters in length.

According to Avinoam Danin, a Jewish botanist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Turin Shroud contains pollens from a thistle plant, the Gundelia tournefortii, which grows only in the Middle East. This would be a likely plant from which to create a cap of thorns. Pollens from this species are on the Sudarium, too. Both cloths contain myrrh and aloes.

Why does this matter? The Sudarium Christi has been venerated at the Cathedral of Oviedo in Spain since the sixth century or thereabouts. Researchers claim they have found documents tracing it to first-century Jerusalem. This is hard to explain if, as carbon-14 tests indicated, the Shroud was created between 1260 and 1390 A.D.

If these blood patterns came from contact with the same face, then that means those Medieval carbon dates for the Shroud are off by six or seven centuries and maybe more,” said Schwortz. “At that point, we have a whole new set of questions we have to ask.16

An article entitled The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin by Mark Guscin offers this additional information:

One of the relics held by the cathedral in the town of Oviedo, in the north of Spain, is a piece of cloth measuring approximately 84 x 53 cm. There is no image on this cloth. Only stains are visible to the naked eye, although more is visible under the microscope. The remarkable thing about this cloth is that both tradition and scientific studies claim that the cloth was used to cover and clean the face of Jesus after the crucifixion. We are going to present and look into these claims.

 

Such a cloth is known to have existed from the gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 6 and 7. These verses read as follows, “Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloth lying on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself.” John clearly differentiates between this smaller face cloth, the sudarium, and the larger linen that had wrapped the body.17

The Urantia Book also supports this claim that a face napkin was used in connection with Jesus burial:

When the embalming was completed, they tied a napkin about the face, wrapped the body in a linen sheet, and reverently placed it on a shelf in the tomb.18

Continuing again with the article:

The history of the sudarium is well documented, and much more straightforward than that of the Shroud. Most of the information comes from the twelfth century bishop of Oviedo, Pelagius (or Pelayo), whose historical works are the Book of the Testaments of Oviedo, and the Chronicon Regum Legionensium.

 

According to this history, the sudarium was in Palestine until shortly before the year 614, when Jerusalem was attacked and conquered by Chosroes II, who was king of Persia from 590 to 628. It was taken away to avoid destruction in the invasion, first to Alexandria by the presbyter Philip, then across the north of Africa when Chosroes conquered Alexandria in 616. The sudarium entered Spain at Cartagena, along with people who were fleeing from the Persians. The bishop of Ecija, Fulgentius, welcomed the refugees and the relics, and surrendered the chest, or ark, to Leandro, bishop of Seville. He took it to Seville, where it spent some years.

Saint Isidore was later bishop of Seville, and teacher of Saint Ildefonso, who was in turn appointed bishop of Toledo. When he left Seville to take up his post there, he took the chest with him. It stayed in Toledo until the year 718. It was then taken further north to avoid destruction at the hands of the Muslims, who conquered the majority of the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the eighth century. It was first kept in a cave that is now called Monsacro, ten kilometres from Oviedo. King Alfonso II had a special chapel built for the chest, called the "Cámara Santa", later incorporated into the cathedral.

The key date in the history of the sudarium is the 14th March 1075, when the chest was officially opened in the presence of King Alfonso VI, his sister Doña Urraca, and Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, better known as El Cid. A list was made of the relics that were in the chest, and which included the sudarium. In the year 1113, the chest was covered with silver plating, on which there is an inscription inviting all Christians to venerate this relic which contains the holy blood. The sudarium has been kept in the cathedral at Oviedo ever since.

. . .

The medical studies are not the only ones that have been carried out on the sudarium. Dr. Max Frei analyzed pollen samples taken from the cloth, and found species typical of Oviedo, Toledo, North Africa and Jerusalem. This confirms the historical route described earlier. There was nothing relating the cloth to Constantinople, France, Italy or any other country in Europe.

An international congress was held in Oviedo in 1994, where various papers were presented about the sudarium. Dr. Frei’s work with pollen was confirmed, and enlarged on. Species of pollen called “quercus caliprimus” were found, both of which are limited to the area of Palestine.

Residues of what is most probably myrrh and aloe have also been discovered, mentioned directly in the gospel of john, 19:39-40, “Nicodemus came as well...and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes...They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom.19

The Urantia Book also asserts the use of myrrh and aloe:

The Jews did not really bury their dead; they actually embalmed them. Joseph and Nicodemus had brought with them large quantities of myrrh and aloes, and they now wrapped the body with bandages saturated with these solutions.20

Returning now to the article by Mark Guscin:

Finally, the very fact that the cloth was kept at all is a sign of its authenticity, as it has no artistic or monetary value at all. All the studies carried out so far point in one direction, with nothing to suggest the contrary the sudarium was used to cover the head of the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth from when he was taken down from the cross until he was buried.

3: Coincidence with the Shroud

The sudarium alone has revealed sufficient information to suggest that it was in contact with the face of Jesus after the crucifixion. However, the really fascinating evidence comes to light when this cloth is compared to the Shroud of Turin.

The first and most obvious coincidence is that the blood on both cloths belongs to the same group, namely AB.

The length of the nose through which the pleural oedema fluid came onto the sudarium has been calculated at eight centimetres, just over three inches. This is exactly the same length as the nose on the image of the Shroud.

If the face of the image on the Shroud is placed over the stains on the sudarium, perhaps the most obvious coincidence is the exact fit of the stains with the beard on the face. As the sudarium was used to clean the man's face, it appears that it was simply placed on the face to absorb all the blood, but not used in any kind of wiping movement. [To not clean the face is consistent with Jewish traditions regarding the preparation of a body for burial that has undergone a violent death.]

A small stain is also visible proceeding from the right hand side of the man's mouth. This stain is hardly visible on the Shroud, but Dr. John Jackson, using the VP-8 and photo enhancements has confirmed its presence.

The thorn wounds on the nape of the neck also coincide perfectly with the bloodstains on the Shroud.

Dr. Alan Whanger applied the Polarized Image Overlay Technique to the sudarium, comparing it to the image and bloodstains on the Shroud. The frontal stains on the sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows fifty. The only possible conclusion is that the Oviedo sudarium covered the same face as the Turin Shroud.

. . .

5: Conclusions

The studies on the sudarium and the comparison of this cloth with the Shroud are just one of the many branches of science which point to both having covered the dead body of Jesus. The history of the Oviedo cloth is well documented, and the conclusions of this for the dating of the Shroud need no further comment.21

The cross-correlations between the TS, SO, and The Urantia Book’s references to both a face napkin and covering sheet being used for Jesus’ burial are altogether consistent, excepting for issues related to carbon dating. As well, all of these correlations are also consistent with the New Testament record. The lack of a formal historical record, particularly with respect to the TS, regarding the whereabouts of these cloths in the several hundreds of years following the times of Jesus is consistent with the necessity of keeping these artifacts secret. During the period immediately following the crucifixion, it would have been very dangerous to tout ownership of these relics. These conditions and the subsequently turbulent political times in that area support the belief that these relics are authentic.

 

The Image

Urantia Book Recap

A review of The Urantia Book’s statements about the fate of Jesus’ body provides the necessary context for appreciating how the various scientific studies regarding the TS image correlate with The Urantia Book:

Joseph and Nicodemus had brought with them large quantities of myrrh and aloes, and they now wrapped the body with bandages saturated with these solutions. When the embalming was completed, they tied a napkin about the face, wrapped the body in a linen sheet, and reverently placed it on a shelf in the tomb.22

Said the chief of the archangels: “We may not participate in the morontia resurrection of the bestowal experience of Michael our sovereign, but we would have his mortal remains put in our custody for immediate dissolution. We do not propose to employ our technique of dematerialization; we merely wish to invoke the process of accelerated time. . . . I ask for a mandate giving me the custody of the mortal body of Jesus of Nazareth and empowering us to proceed with its immediate dissolution.23

As they made ready to remove the body of Jesus from the tomb preparatory to according it the dignified and reverent disposal of near-instantaneous dissolution, it was assigned the secondary Urantia midwayers to roll away the stones from the entrance of the tomb.24

The tomb of Joseph was empty, not because the body of Jesus had been rehabilitated or resurrected, but because the celestial hosts had been granted their request to afford it a special and unique dissolution, a return of the “dust to dust,” without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.

The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous.25

In the recess of stone where they had laid Jesus, Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body. The covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.26

All five of the women then sat down on the stone near the entrance and talked over the situation. It had not yet occurred to them that Jesus had been resurrected. They had been by themselves over the Sabbath, and they conjectured that the body had been moved to another resting place. But when they pondered such a solution of their dilemma, they were at a loss to account for the orderly arrangement of the grave cloths; how could the body have been removed since the very bandages in which it was wrapped were left in position and apparently intact on the burial shelf?27

These statements raise as many questions as they provide answers. Setting aside for a moment the issues related to a “unique,” “accelerated” “dissolution”/“elemental disintegration” of the body by superhuman beings, we are first faced with questions regarding exactly when and where what occurred.

Apparently, rolling away the stone was necessary so that the dissolution could be performed outside the burial chamber. Does this imply that the bandages were removed with the body, that the dissolution did not fundamentally disturb the bandages, and then they were carried back to where the body was originally placed? If so, why? Twice The Urantia Book refers to the bandages as “apparently intact.” This is a document well know for its precise use of language. Is this done to suggest that all the TS, OS, bandages and body were all taken outside, that the issue of with removing the body from the bandages was somehow handled separately before dissolution of the body, and that then everything was placed back inside?

The TS is said to have a “double superficial” image on it. Could it be that the process of removing the body from the bandages created one image and then the dissolution created another?

Was the scene created in such a way so as to be difficult of explanation? Were things done intentionally by the angels to create an extra layer of mystery? Were they trying to keep us from becoming too opinionate about things that we have no real hope of explaining anyway?

Obviously, there is no direct science behind how an angelic intervention regarding the acceleration of dissolution of a body may leave an image. This report will not be so presumptuous as to attempt any such explanation. Readers will largely be left to their own “intuitive” sensibilities for correlating the information that follows with what The Urantia Book says about this process in relationship to the TS image. However, the conclusion of the report will provide some additional information from The Urantia Book regarding the issue of relics and how that plays into the subject of the TS.

With all of these questions and qualifications in mind, let us now turn our attention to scientific reports regarding the TS image that correlate with the information provided in The Urantia Book.

Fundamental Aspects of the Image

The Turin Shroud Center of Colorado has a website at www.Shroudofturin.com on which is posted an article called The Shroud and Modern Science – An Essay. This article highlights some of the key features of the Shroud that are generally compatible with the “corona discharge” hypothesis for image creation. Corona discharges electrical in nature and are directly related to the creation of photocopy images. Hopefully, readers will not consider it to be too much of stretch to suggest The Urantia Book’s statement, “The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous,” probably means that some type of electrical activity was associated with this process. After reviewing some of the highlights from The Shroud and Modern Science – An Essay, we will look more closely at the corona discharge hypothesis.

The scientific significance of Pia's [the first person to photograph the TS] discovery is twofold. First, the shading of the Shroud body image is like a negative, where shades of light and dark are reversed from the way they normally appear in ordinary visual experience. That is, we are used to seeing people with light highlights and dark shadows. But on the Shroud, this shading convention is reversed. The immediate question that arises from this result is how could the Shroud sensibly be the work of an artist or a craftsman. Such a person working in the Middle Ages or before would apparently have to work with an absolutely unfamiliar and unnatural shading structure before the advent of photography. The second significant aspect of Pia's discovery is that the information density (or correlation with anatomical subtleties of a human body) is exceedingly high, well surpassing that expected of normal artistic renditions of the human form. It is for this reason that the Shroud image has been compared to a photograph.28

 

 

x y
Figure 1: Normal Black and white
photograph of Shroud
Figure 2: Negative image of Shroud

 

This same article goes on to state:

On February 19, 1976 Jackson brought a photograph of the Shroud to the image analysis laboratory of Bill Mottern. The Shroud image was viewed with a device called a VP-8 Image Analyzer, an analogue computer that converts image intensity directly to vertical relief. Astonishingly, the relief image looked quite anatomically plausible, even down to the subtle details of the face. Figure 3 shows the VP-8 relief of the full frontal body image on the Shroud along with the Enrie negative photograph from which it was derived. It is interesting to see how the intensities of various image features in the Enrie photograph (e.g. face, chest, hands, etc.) have been interpreted by the VP-8 as corresponding levels of relief. Clearly, the overall 3-D structure of the VP-8 image resembles a realistic human form.

 

Shroud of Turin Shroud of Turin
Figure 3: Enrie Negative
Photograph of
Shroud Image
Figure 4: VP-8 conversion of
image intensities to three-
dimensional relief
(copyright 1997, TSC)

 

If we now consider the facial relief image, shown in Figure [5], we see (to within the resolution capabilities of theVP-8 system) that the entire three-dimensional facial structure of a normal human face is reproduced accurately. For example, we see that the nose is higher in elevation than the cheeks, which are both higher than the eye sockets, etc. We can also see that the relief structure of the lips is in proper three-dimensional relation to the nose and the cheeks. If we compare with Enrie's facial image, we can see precisely why the VP-8 relief has these characteristics. We see that the nose is plotted with the highest relief because it has the brightest intensity (See again Figure [5]). The cheeks are less bright and, consequently, they wind up with correspondingly less topographical relief than the nose.

a
Figure 5

It is important to recognize that the VP-8 relief was generated from a SINGLE function of relief versus intensity applied uniformly across the entire Shroud image. Thus, the 3-D intensity correlation is a fundamental characteristic of the image structure on the Shroud. The three dimensional characteristic is discussed in detail by Jackson et al.

. . . Moreover, we are unaware of any artistic examples in history where someone thought to intentionally encode the intensity structure of their artwork with three-dimensional meaning.29

Corona Discharge

A “corona discharge” is an “electrical discharge around object: a luminous discharge from the surface of an object that is highly charged electrically, caused by ionization of the surrounding gas.”30 It is also defined as “An electrical discharge characterized by a corona [A faint glow enveloping the high-field electrode in a corona discharge, often accompanied by streamers directed toward the low-field electrode.], occurring when one of two conducting surfaces (such as electrodes) of differing voltages has a pointed shape, resulting in a highly concentrated electric field at its tip that ionizes the air (or other gas) around it. Corona discharge can result in power loss in the transmission of electric power, and is used in photocopying machines and air-purification devices.”31

Wikipedia.com has a page dedicated to a discussion of corona discharges. In its presentation of the commercial applications of corona discharges it states, “Kirlian photography uses photons produced by the discharge to expose photographic film,” and that “Coronas can be used to generate charged surfaces, which is an effect used in electrostatic copying (photocopying).”32

Modern scientific interest in the Shroud can be said to have begun in 1898 when the Italian photographer, Secunda Pia, took the first photographs of the Shroud. During the normal course of making a photographic print, Pia noticed that the negative image on the Shroud looked very much like a photographic positive as can be seen in Figure [2, above]. This discovery raised scientific eyebrows and began a continuous and growing scientific interest in the Shroud until the present day.33

At the Third Dallas International Conference on the Shroud of Turin held in September of 2005, Giulio Fanti, Francesco Lattarulo, and Oswald Scheuermann presented a paper entitled Body Image Formation Hypotheses Based On Corona Discharge. Giulio Fanti is from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padua in Italy. Francesco Lattarulo is from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Polytechnic of Bari in Italy. The summary of their report reads as follows:

The present paper proposes two possible hypotheses of the body image formation of the Turin Shroud (TS) based on corona discharge (CD). An impression mechanism based on CD proves to be the most credible one after verifying that some characteristics of the TS image are not in full agreement with the hypothesis of a simple burst of light proposed by K. Moran and G. Fanti in 2002.

Theoretical and experimental results relative to plasma in the air are presented and discussed on the basis of a comparison with data relative to the TS both at macroscopic and microscopic levels. Even if the environmental hypotheses relative to CD can be refined, the experimental results obtained show no appreciable chemical-physical differences from the image features of the TS.34

One of the peculiar properties of the TS image is its superficiality; the image does not penetrate into the fibers of the cloth. Not only does this have relevance to the way a CD image gets produced, but also, without modern technology, it would have been exceedingly difficult for an artist to produce such an image.

Continuing from the Body Image Formation Hypotheses Based On Corona Discharge report:

Perhaps the greatest challenge for TS investigators is explaining how the body image was formed. Some researchers have hypothesized that an artist produced the image artificially by different means. However, G. Fanti et al. (2005) stated that, among other important facts, the image color resides only on the topmost fibers at the highest parts of the weave ; this color resides on the thin impurity layer of the outer surfaces of the fibers while the medullas cellulose of the fibers in the image areas is colorless. Furthermore, the frontal image, at least the part corresponding to the head, is doubly superficial. Presently, no tested artists’ works are able to show these peculiar characteristics.

A diffusion mechanism has been suggested by many researchers, such as R. Rogers (2002) who proposed that the body image is the result of a chemical reaction of the decomposition gases of the corpse with the linen cloth. However, this is inconsistent with some of the characteristics discussed by G. Fanti et al. (2005) who reported that the body image shows no evidence of putrefaction signs, in particular around the lips, and that there is no evidence of tissue breakdown (i.e. the formation of liquid decomposition products of a body).35

Note how these last comments regarding putrefaction are consistent with what The Urantia Book says about this issue, specifically, “a return of the “dust to dust,” without the intervention of the delays of time and without the operation of the ordinary and visible processes of mortal decay and material corruption.”36

The Urantia Book’s assertion that “The mortal remains of Jesus underwent the same natural process of elemental disintegration as characterizes all human bodies on earth except that, in point of time, this natural mode of dissolution was greatly accelerated, hastened to that point where it became well-nigh instantaneous,” is at least suggestive of some type of process involving electrical energy.37 “Elemental disintegration” presumably would involve some type of electrical discharge or application of electrical current in order to accelerate the dissolution of the body.

Nuclear Medicine

A paper was published in 2001, Nuclear Medicine And It’s Relevance To The Shroud Of Turin, by August D. Accetta MD, Kenneth Lyons MD, John Jackson PhD. This paper suggests as an hypothesis, “If indeed a corpse created the image we see on the Shroud, then the source for the
energy received by the cloth may be from the molecular bond energy and/or nuclear forces within
the body in some way interacting with the cloth. The closest practical tool we have to study this
today is nuclear medicine.”38

The introduction to this paper states:

The Turin Shroud bears an image of an apparent crucified man, chemically the result of some dehydrative, oxidative, and subsequent carbonyl conjugative process of cellulose, the origin of which is heretofore enigmatic. Many properties of the Shroud are however understood quite well. For example, it is clearly understood through the work of STURP and others that the Shroud did in fact wrap someone at some point in time and that it is not the product of some medieval artist.

The Shroud image suggests quite strongly the presence of many skeletal details e.g. carpal and metacarpal bones, some 22 teeth, eye sockets, left femur, left and possibly right thumbs flexed under the palms of the hands, as well as soft tissue and soft tissue injuries; all presumably originating from some form of radiation emitted from the body enshrouded. No scientific human model has been satisfactorily utilized to offer elucidation of the origin of this quality an image. Many have postulated image formation theories e.g. Pellicori-Germans “latent image” and Jackson et al direct contact experiments which he concluded had quite negative results and have effectively been ruled out. Others have suggested diffusion. Schwalbe and Rojers however, failed in the properties not limited to sharpness and clarity of the image. Later researchers such as Giles Carter and Thaddeus Trenn have studied radiation biology in a theoretical framework and have achieved promising results in terms of image superficiality and clarity.

 

The human radiation model seems to offer the greatest application to the Shroud image thus far.39

The conclusions states:

The human radiation model we used generated a number of characteristics which parallel the image on the Turin Shroud. It must be noted that these researchers in no way are claiming that they reproduced any of the exact characteristics of the Shroud image. Rather, those characteristics which are similar can potentially help to explain better those seen on the Shroud as well as point to the probable general origin of its image.40

This paper is not particularly lengthy; readers are encouraged to look through the original. The body of the paper shows numerous comparisons between nuclear imaging and the image on the TS, as well as correlations with the three-dimensional imaging aspects addressed right before the Corona Discharge section. For the sake of brevity, only a few of the examples are included in this report. The images and image commentary that appear in this section of the report are from the paper.

The paper states, “Third we demonstrated that the nature of the emitted radiation is such that it produces an image void of a sharp outline such as that on the Turin Shroud.”41
See Figures 6 and 7.

 

a a
Figure 6: Shroud Image Figure 7: Nuclear Image

 

Regarding lighting, the paper states, “Fourth we demonstrated that the resulting radiation image is void of any light focus such as the Shroud.”42

 

a a
Figure 8: Nuclear Image Figure 9: Shroud Image

 

Various aspects of physiology are similarly apparent. “Sixth, the fact that soft tissues, skeletal information, as well as pathology in these tissues, can all be imaged concomitantly using the nuclear medicine model, demonstrates the parallel to the Shroud where the same is observed.”43

 

a a
Figure 10: Nuclear Image
([N]otice metacarpal bones and
phalanges noted in both images.)
Figure 11: Shroud Image

 

One of the most striking similarities is demonstrated in Figures 12 and 13. “Ninth, isometric projection (V-P-8) of our generated images, yielded a striking similarity to the VP-8 image of the Shroud at the fall off of the left fingers. Knowing this is due to a 75-80% drop in signal intensity on our image, its relevance to the same phenomenon on the Shroud should not be overlooked and seriously considered to be a function of a similar effect i.e. a dosimetric sudden fall off of signal or radiation.”44

 

a a
Figure 12: Nuclear Image
(Note the dramatic falloff of the
proximal phalanges.)
Figure 13

 

The Nuclear Medicine and It’s Relevance to the Shroud of Turin paper ends with the following summary:

 

 

The radiation model described in this study characterized much of what we see in the Shroud image in terms of the behavior of radiation being emitted from a human source. We believe the nuclear medicine model is the best currently available to aid in our understanding of the Shroud image. We feel our results effectively demonstrated plausibly that the Shroud image resulted from an organized emission and/or organized collection of radiation from the body and/or cloth respectively.45

Again, whatever the “acceleration” of “elemental disintegration” means, it is reasonable to suspect that this might have something to do with some type of controlled excitation with and/or discharge of nuclear energy.

Additional Considerations Regarding The Image

Scientific issues related to the TS image are numerous and complex. It is hardly the scope of this report to attempt a comprehensive evaluation of how all of these aspects relate to the rather limited statements made in The Urantia Book regarding the fate of Jesus’ body. In an effort to bring some balance between limiting the length of this report and intriguing readers with the breadth of material associated with the subject, the following additional information with out comment.

In Evidences For Testing Hypothesis About The Image Formation Of The Turin Shroud, the previously mentioned report by the two-dozen scholars and scientists, their introduction concludes with the following paragraph:

“Some researchers interested in the TS scientific problems formed the ShroudScience Group on Yahoo to discuss these issues via the Internet. A first objective posed by them is that regarding the possible explanation of the body image formation. In order to deepen the discussion in accordance with the Scientific Method, all the scientists agreed to define a list of evidences of the TS upon which to base their further debate. This paper, still in progress, presents the list of evidences defined by the researchers, that are intended to be useful for future discussion.”46

In their “List of Facts and Observations” these researches categorize material as follows [text is bold as in the original]:

“The list is subdivided in four different types of evidences:
- Type A refers to unquestionable observations made on the TS numbered as “An” where n is the evidence number;
- Type B refers to confirmed observations or conclusions based on a proof made in reference to TS studies and are numbered as “Bn”;
- Type C refers to facts or observations that were evidenced by some researchers but that are not universally accepted and are numbered as “Cn”;
- Assuming a scenario that the TS is actually the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth it makes sense, to include the Scriptures in this discussion, not on a theological level, but describing some things that might have an impact on the TS; for this reason Type D refers to correspondences with those described in the holy texts and are numbered as “Dn”.

 

[Following are selected excerpts from this list. Because this report is focusing on the image formation  of TS, part material is left out, for the most part, that pertains to correlations regarding the TS being used in connection with someone who was scourged and crucified. The Urantia Book provides many details about these events that do correlate with the TS, but to address them would significantly lengthen the report without significantly increasing the level of intrigue.]

 

“A2) Direct microscopy showed that the image color resides only on the topmost fibers at the highest parts of the weave (Evans 1978; Pellicori 1981).
“A3) Phase-contrast photomicrographs show that there is a very thin coating on the outside of all superficial linen fibers on Shroud samples named "Ghost"; “Ghosts” are colored (carbohydrate) impurity layers pulled from a linen fiber by the adhesive of the sampling tape and they were found on background, light-scorch and image sticky tapes (Zugibe and Rogers 1978, Rogers 2002). “A4) Body image color resides on the thin impurity layer of outer surfaces of the fibers (Zugibe 1978, Heller 1981; Rogers 2002).”
“A8) The crystal structure of the cellulose of image fibers has not visibly changed with respect to that of the non- image fibers (scorches have) (Rogers 2002; Feller 1994).
“A9) The colored coating cannot be dissolved, bleached, or changed by standard chemical agents, but it can be decolorized by reduction with diimide (hydrazine/hydrogen peroxide in boiling pyridine); the residue from reduction is colorless linen fibers (Heller 1981, Rogers 2003).”
“A12) The image-formation mechanism did not char the blood (Rogers 1978-1981).
“A13) The image formed at a relatively low temperature (Rogers 1978-1981).
“A14) The 1978 quantitative x-ray-fluorescence-spectrometry analysis detected significant uniform amounts of calcium and strontium concentrations (a normal impurity in calcium minerals), and iron in the Shroud (Morris 1980, Rogers 2003, Adler 1998).
“A15) Microchemical tests with iodine and pyrolysis/mass spectrometry detected the presence of starch impurities on the surfaces of linen fibers from the TS (Rogers 2002, 2004).
“A16) The lignin that can be seen at the wall thickenings and/or growth nodes of the linen fibers of the TS does not give the standard test for vanillin (Rogers 2002, 2005).” [This fact seriously calls into question the validity of the carbon dating.]
“A24) The body image does not fluoresce in the visible under ultraviolet illumination (Gilbert 1980, Pellicori 1981).
“A25) The non-image area fluoresces with a maximum at about 435 nanometers (Pellicori 1981).”
“A43) The image of the dorsal side of the body does not penetrate the cloth any more deeply than the image of the ventral side of the body (Jumper 1984, Rogers 2005).”
“A45) The image-forming mechanism operated regardless of different body structures such as skin, hair, beard and perhaps nail (Antonacci 2000).”
“A52) The body image shows no evidences of putrefaction signs, in particular around the lips. There is no evidence for tissue breakdown (formation of liquid decomposition products of a body) (Bucklin 1982; Moran 2002).
“A53) No image formed under the blood stains (Heller 1981; Schwalbe 1982; Brillante 2002).
“A54) The front image shows hair that goes down to the shoulders (Fanti and Faraon 2000).
“A55) The image of the TS Man, appears as if he was scourged (Bucklin 1982, Ricci 1989).
“A56) The image of the TS Man, appears as if he was crucified: it appears with nail holes and corresponding blood at the wrists and top of the feet (Bucklin 1982, Ricci 1989).”
“A60) There is a class of particles on the TS ranging in color from red to orange that test as blood derived residues. They test positively for the presence of protein, hemin, bilirubin, and albumin; give positive hemochromagen and cyanmethemoglobin responses; after chemical generation display the characteristic fluorescence of porphyrins (Adler 1999).
“A61) The blood on the TS is not denatured. Therefore both the image-formation mechanism and the 1532 fire did not involve processes that would denature the blood (Rogers 2004).”
“A65) Blood spots are much more visible on the TS by transmitted light than by reflected light; this implies that the blood saturated the cloth and it is not a superficial image as the body imager is (Rogers 1978).”
“B9) Reflectance spectra, chemical tests, laser-microprobe Raman spectra, pyrolysis mass spectrometry, and x-ray fluorescence all show that the image is not painted with any of the expected, historically-documented pigments (Schwalbe 1982; Morris 1980; Heller 1981, Mottern 1979).”
“B11) The image fibers do not show any sign of capillary flow of a colored or reactive liquid (Evans 1978; Pellicori 1981).
“B12) Flakes of image color can be seen in other places where they fell off and stuck to the adhesive. The chemical properties of the coatings are the same as the image color on image fibers. All of the color is on the surfaces of the fibers (Rogers 2002; Heller 1981).
“B13) There are no pigments on the body image in a sufficient quantity to explain the presence of an image (Pellicori 1981).”
“B15) If a fiber is colored, it is uniformly colored around its cylindrical surface (Adler 1996, 1999); relatively long fibers show variation in color from non-image to image area (Fanti 2004).”
“B18) Where one of the image-yarn crosses over another, there is often no color on the lower one (Heller 1983, Rogers 2005).
“B19) The image of the dorsal side of the body shows fairly the same color density and distribution as the ventral (Jumper 1984).”
“B21) Up to now, all the attempts to reproduce a copy of the TS similar in all the detected characteristics has failed (Carreira 1998, Fanti 2004).”
“B23) The hair on the front image is soft and not matted as would be expected if it were soaked with a liquid (Fanti 2004).”
“B27) The body image has the normal tones of light and dark reversed with respect to a photograph, such that parts nearer to the cloth are darker (Jumper 1984, Craig 2004, Schneider 2004).
“B28) The luminance distribution of both the frontal and dorsal images has been correlated to the clearances between a three-dimensional surface of the body and a covering cloth (Quidor 1913, Sullivan 1973, Gastineau 1974, Jackson 1977, 1982, 1984, Fanti 2001, Moran 2002).
“B29) The luminance distribution of the body image can be correlated with a highly directional mapping function (Jackson 1977, 1982, 1984).
“B30) The body image shows non-directional light sources in the sense that there are no shadows, cast shadows, highlights, and reflected lights in or on the body image (Moran 2002; Craig 2003).”
“B32) In correspondence of image sections of cylindrical elements such as legs, the luminance levels variation approximates a sinusoidal law [smooth curving] (Fanti 2004).”
“B35) The body image indicates the absence of brush strokes (Lorre 1977).”
“B36) The frontal image, at least in correspondence to the head, is doubly superficial (Fanti and Maggiolo 2004).”
“B45) A body image is visible in areas of body-sheet non-contact zones, such as those between nose and cheek (Fanti 2004).”
“B52) The maintenance of the red bright color of the TS blood with time was observed, but the explanation of why the color is so red is not definitive (Brillante 2002).”
“C2) Body image characteristics can be referred to the hypothesized effect of a man became mechanically transparent that radiated a burst of energy (Jackson 1977, 1984, 1990).”
“C21) Images of the bones of the fingers, of the palms (metacarpals) and of the wrist are visible, and in particular a hidden thumb (Whanger 2000, Accetta 2001).”

 

“C29) A bioplastic coating was found around the TS linen fibers (Garza Valdes 2001).”47

 

Conclusion

As if all the questions and controversies surrounding the TS were not enough, The Urantia Book makes some statements that suggest a wisdom that would discourage leaving the TS and SO, as well as the bandages, behind. From the section FURTHER COUNSEL AND ADVICE:

6. To the end that you may not unnecessarily contribute to the creation of subsequent stereotyped systems of Urantia religious beliefs or other types of nonprogressive religious loyalties, we advise you still further: Leave no writings behind you on the planet. Refrain from all writing upon permanent materials; enjoin your associates to make no images or other likenesses of yourself in the flesh. See that nothing potentially idolatrous is left on the planet at the time of your departure.48

Oops.

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing Jesus did [while in the hills for forty days after his baptism], after thinking through the general plan of co-coordinating his program with John's movement, was to review in his mind the instructions of Immanuel [as quoted above]. Carefully he thought over the advice given him concerning his methods of labor, and that he was to leave no permanent writing on the planet. Never again did Jesus write on anything except sand. On his next visit to Nazareth, much to the sorrow of his brother Joseph, Jesus destroyed all of his writing that was preserved on the boards about the carpenter shop, and which hung upon the walls of the old home.49

If this was an intentional departure from the original plan, it would not be the first one, according to The Urantia Book. The Urantia Book says that Jesus wanted to teach more in terms of the family of God rather than the kingdom of Heaven, but that the people of that day simply could not handle the simplicity of such advanced truth. Jesus initially intended to not resort to miraculous manifestations to get his message across; in the end his sympathies for the afflicted attracted such merciful ministrations. Even the turning of the water into wine is portrayed as the result of yielding to the irresistible desire to make his mother happy.

The question needs to be asked, “Why would the angels leave these relics behind?” And not just leave them behind. They folded and placed them. And apparently the angels did something mysterious in relationship to the bandages because The Urantia Book, a book known for being both precise with language and internally consistent, twice refers to the bandages as “apparently intact” and also refers to them once as simply “intact.”

Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body. The covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.50

 

[T]hey [the women] conjectured that the body had been moved to another resting place. But when they pondered such a solution of their dilemma, they were at a loss to account for the orderly arrangement of the grave cloths; how could the body have been removed since the very bandages in which it was wrapped were left in position and apparently intact on the burial shelf?51

Very soon Simon Peter rushed up and, entering, saw the same empty tomb with the grave cloths so peculiarly arranged.52

Peter at first suggested that the grave had been rifled, that enemies had stolen the body, perhaps bribed the guards. But John reasoned that the grave would hardly have been left so orderly if the body had been stolen, and he also raised the question as to how the bandages happened to be left behind, and so apparently intact. And again they both went back into the tomb more closely to examine the grave cloths.53

Perhaps all of these mysteries are part of the plan. Perhaps the bandages were left apparently intact to make the whole scene impossible to explain. Perhaps the face napkin and burial cloth were folded and separated from each other to help make sure that the various pieces of cloth were distinguishable and more easily noticed so that 2000 years later we arouse our curiosity, to encourage interest and intrigue.

It is fair to conjecture that the willingness to be interested in these things has more spiritual value than simply being given answers.

Perhaps The Urantia Book does not give details about whether the Shroud was found, only that it was thrown over a cliff, so that this could be developed as a part of human culture. Perhaps “those on high” could foresee that it was going to take a few thousand years before humanity would be more prepared to appreciate some of the more advanced spiritual truths that fell on deaf ears during that time period.

For instance, The Urantia Book reveals that Jesus ordained women to go preach the gospel message. The social status of women was not advanced sufficiently advanced for this information to find its way into the New Testament. Today the world is a different. We have now matured sufficiently to handle a fuller presentation of the aspects of Jesus’ ministry that are consistent with the teaching that before God there is neither male nor female. 

To be sure, this report raises a lot more questions than it provides answers. But as the saying goes, “Some mysteries are meant to be lived, not solved.” “Be not discouraged; human evolution is still in progress, and the revelation of God to the world, in and through Jesus, shall not fail.”54

According to The Urantia Book, “Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.”55 And this really is the main point. The Shroud of Turin Report is offered primarily as a way to encourage consideration of the expanded and extremely detailed presentation of Jesus’ life that is found in The Urantia Book. Learning about the life of Jesus from The Urantia Book is infinitely more valuable than trying to solve and being opinionate about the mysteries related to Shroud of Turin.

 

Footnotes:

1 The word “Urantia,” denoting Earth, is a coined word in The Urantia Book, with the etymological meaning “(y)our place in the heavens.”

2 One naturally wonders whether a book that exhibits a pattern of being ahead of scientific discovery on a wide variety of issues might also be distinctly valuable with respect to what it says regarding theology, cosmology, and philosophy. Those of us who are developing the UBtheNEWS project, of course, think highly of these other aspects of the book and encourage consideration of the full text. This is not done with a “secret” goal of getting people to join something, do something, or buy something. (The Urantia Book can be read, or listened to, in its entirety for free online.) Rather, we trust that people will make use of it in ways that will be uplifting, both individually and collectively. UBtheNEWS an independent project by Urantia Book enthusiasts and is not beholden to any other Urantia Book related organization, notwithstanding that some of these groups work cooperatively with UBtheNEWS in various ways.

3 Unique Challenges Related to the Shroud of Turin Report

Presenting material for the Shroud of Turin Report presents a number of challenges . These challenges will be taken up in order and include:

  1. The presentation of quotes from The Urantia Book pertaining to the Jesus’ burial and what happened to his body,
  2. The authenticity issues surrounding the Shroud of Turin,
  3. The credibility issues associated with the interplay between the TS, The Urantia Book, and the UBtheNEWS project, and
  4. Drawing correlations between scientific issues related the TS and statements made in The Urantia Book regarding the pieces of cloth related to Jesus’ burial.

1) The presentation of quotes from The Urantia Book pertaining to the Jesus’ burial and what happened to his body.

Typically, when selecting quotes for UBtheNEWS reports, the intention is to keep the reports narrowly focused on a specific issue and to quote only those portions from The Urantia Book that are necessary for an appreciation of the correlation(s) to science and scholarship that are being addressed. Sometimes only a few sentences from The Urantia Book are necessary for inclusion in a report. In most cases, it is easy to avoid the inclusion of theological and spiritual aspects of The Urantia Book. Generally, it is not necessary to provide much, if any, context for the quoted material.

The approach used for other UBtheNEWS reports simply does not apply to this one. Only including those statements that are directly related to the burial clothes would leave readers with far too little information and context. On the other hand, giving the “whole story” would provide much more than is necessary. Striking the “right” balance for this report is an especially subjective endeavor; there is a lot of room for reasonable minds to differ. Readers are asked to keep this in mind. In order to present the intriguing aspects of this topic, enough information must be provided to give readers some appreciation of the extensive information in The Urantia Book regarding all that transpired in the lead up to and after the crucifixion of Jesus.

2) The authenticity issues surrounding the Shroud of Turin.

Normally, UBtheNEWS reports do not deal with subject matter as controversial as the TS. Extensive amounts of information are available on this subject and, of course, material from the largest website, www.Shroud.com, is heavily referenced. Due to the peculiar history of this artifact, many people have come to presume that the issue of authenticity was largely put to rest when several labs performed carbon dating analysis that placed the origin of the TS at around 1300 A.D. There are a number of problems related to the carbon dating of the TS. Some mention of these issues will be made to help readers appreciate the controversial nature of the carbon dating.

Adding to the carbon dating controversy is the issue of the Sudarium of Oviedo (SO), the napkin purported to have covered Jesus’ face. Substantial evidence suggests that the SO and the TS were used in connection with the same body. However, carbon dating done on the SO is inconsistent with the carbon dating done on the TS and with the time period during which Jesus lived.

Enough evidence will be provided to inform readers that there are significant issues that call into the question the validity of the carbon dating that has been performed with respect to both pieces of cloth. Because other researchers have written extensively about these issues, this report will seek to summarize, not re-present, this material. Of course, links will be provided for those individuals who wish to explore this aspect more deeply.

3) The credibility issues associated with the interplay between the TS, The Urantia Book, and the UBtheNEWS project.

The Shroud of Turin Report is the twelfth UBtheNEWS report. Other topics could have been written about at the time this report was being prepared that would have been consistent with the general theme of UBtheNEWS reports, the documentation of how science is catching up to The Urantia Book. Indeed, it is reasonable to assert that this report, on its own, does not add anything to the credibility of The Urantia Book. However, this report is presented as part of emerging pattern of corroborations. In this respect, the peculiar and intriguing aspects of the Shroud of Turin Report are bolstered by the larger context of the UBtheNEWS project. This can be thought of as a credibility feedback loop; the correlations between the TS and The Urantia Book lend credibility to the authenticity of both the TS and The Urantia Book. Taken on its own, this credibility feedback loop is rather marginal; taken in the broader context, it is at least intriguing. Given the purpose of the UBtheNEWS project and the degree to which it has already developed, the correlations may provide more credibility to the authenticity of TS than they do to enhance the credibility for the Urantia Book. This is, of course, an extremely subjective issue.

The last third of the Urantia Book is about the life and teachings of Jesus. This fact weighed heavily in favor of presenting the Shroud of Turin Report at this point in the development of the UBtheNEWS project. Progress in the field of astronomy has been greatly accelerated with the launch of the Hubble Telescope. Data from this and other advanced astronomical technologies are increasingly corroborating cosmological information found in the first third of The Urantia Book. Advances in the field of genetics and new anthropological discoveries are increasingly corroborating information in the second third of The Urantia Book, which covers the history of evolution of life on earth. (The Urantia Book asserts that evolution is one of God’s techniques for creation.) Finding ways in which science is catching up to The Urantia Book that relate to the last third of the book, The Life and Teachings of Jesus, is much more challenging. It is doubtful whether scientific developments will ever generate much with respect to this section by way of topics for UBtheNEWS.

Under the circumstances, it simply seemed like a good idea to present something that does relate to what The Urantia Book states about Jesus, especially because the TS is so intriguing by itself and all the more so when compared to what The Urantia Book says about Jesus burial and what happened to his body. The TS already has a number of intriguing scientific correlations to information provided in The Urantia Book. Over time, the intriguing quality of this report will likely be enhanced by additional research undertaken on TS.

Based on all these considerations, a determination was made to make the appropriate qualifications and present the material at this point.

4) Drawing correlations between scientific issues related the TS and statements made in The Urantia Book regarding the pieces of cloth related to Jesus’ burial.

It must be emphasized that the type of correlations being made in this report between what The Urantia Book says and various scientific studies that have developed in relation to the TS do not meet the standards that are used for any of the other UBtheNEWS reports. The standard for this report is much more speculative. Material presented in this report is offered because it is intriguing. Unlike other UBtheNEWS reports where correlations need to be corroborative, correlations here are drawn based on things being reasonably associated.

4 UB 188:0.3 (References to material from The Urantia Book are provided in the form just given. The first number indicates the chapter (referred to in The Urantia Book as “Papers”); the section number is given second; and the third number(s) reference(s) paragraph(s). A zero in the chapter position indicates the quote comes from the Forward. A zero in the section position indicates it comes from that chapter’s introductory remarks.

6Morontia is a term designating a vast level intervening between the material and the spiritual. It may designate personal or impersonal realities, living or nonliving energies. The warp of morontia is spiritual; its woof is physical.” UB 0:5.12

 

 

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