Faint Writing Seen on Shroud of Turin
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|Sat, 11-21-2009 - 1:07am|
Researcher: Faint Writing Seen on Shroud of Turin
Vatican researcher says faint writing on Shroud of Turin proves its authenticity
By ARIEL DAVID
The Associated Press
A Vatican researcher has rekindled the age-old debate over the Shroud of Turin, saying that faint writing on the linen proves it was the burial cloth of Jesus. Experts say the historian may be reading too much into the markings, and they stand by carbon-dating that points to the shroud being a medieval forgery.
Barbara Frale, a researcher at the Vatican archives, says in a new book that she used computer-enhanced images of the shroud to decipher faintly written words in Greek, Latin and Aramaic scattered across the cloth.
She asserts that the words include the name "(J)esu(s) Nazarene" — or Jesus of Nazareth — in Greek. That, she said, proves the text could not be of medieval origin because no Christian at the time, even a forger, would have mentioned Jesus without referring to his divinity. Failing to do so would risk being branded a heretic.
"Even someone intent on forging a relic would have had all the reasons to place the signs of divinity on this object," Frale said Friday. "Had we found 'Christ' or the 'Son of God' we could have considered it a hoax, or a devotional inscription."
The shroud bears the figure of a crucified man, complete with blood seeping from his hands and feet, and believers say Christ's image was recorded on the linen's fibers at the time of his resurrection.
The fragile artifact, owned by the Vatican, is kept locked in a protective chamber in a Turin cathedral and is rarely shown. Measuring 13 feet (four meters) long and three feet (one meter) wide, the shroud has suffered severe damage through the centuries, including from fire.
The Catholic Church makes no claims about the cloth's authenticity, but says it is a powerful symbol of Christ's suffering.
There has been strong debate about it in the scientific community.
Skeptics point out that radiocarbon dating conducted on the cloth in 1988 determined it was made in the 13th or 14th century.
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