In 1988, scientists used carbon dating on the Shroud with the result indicating that it was made between 1260 and 1390 AD and was not the winding sheet of Jesus Christ. Many who say that it was his Shroud hold that it proves that Jesus did not die on the cross and that his resurrection was a hoax. The dispute over the reliability of the tests still continues.

A quote is needed, "Radiocarbon dating is one of best available dating methodologies. The basic premise behind it is that cosmic rays generate an unstable isotope of Carbon (Carbon-14 or C14) in the upper atmosphere, which is eventually bonded to oxygen as carbon dioxide (CO2), and incorporated into living creatures during respiration or digestion of other living creatures. Carbon-14 is always decaying into the more stable Carbon-12 (C12) by a radioactive process, but as long as living things continue to breathe, they will maintain the ratio between C14 and C12 that is present in the atmosphere.

After they die, however, the C14 continues to decay but it is not replaced with new C14, and dead creatures over time will exhibit smaller and smaller ratios of C14 to C12. These ratios can be measured and used to estimate when the animal or plant died. The accuracy of radiocarbon dating is very high because its crucial parameters for dating are few and very well understood. The rate of decay for the Carbon-14 isotope is well known, and the atmospheric production of Carbon-14, though varying over the centuries, has been finely calibrated with a mass of tree-ring data."

Researcher Rogers tried another form of scientific dating to get around the result of the carbon dating.  In response to Rogers who says that there is no vanillin on the shroud which would only happen if it were much older than the carbon dating date:

“Rogers's case for an older Shroud depends far too much on the failure to detect vanillin on other parts of the Shroud. More than one event in the recorded history of the Shroud could have easily been responsible for a substantial loss of vanillin on the order of a few hours."

Believers desperately try to debunk science when it says the shroud is a makebelieve.  Nobody is able to say once and for all why the carbon dating may be wrong. The range of "explanations" include the notion that linen can give you a more recent carbon date than it should, that the cloth is dirty and full of bacteria which threw the dating off, that the samples were taken from a mended part that was indeed medieval and that the shroud's turbulent history changed it chemically. The explanations often contradict each other and are outright lies. Nobody tests for example the dirt and bacteria theory with anything similar to the shroud. The explanations are not evidence based and are speculative.

In 1983 it is claimed by Dr Garza-Valdes that an invisible coating could have been layered on the cloth that could have distorted the results of the tests. The bacteria that does this was indeed found on the cloth. He was backed up by Dr Stephen Mattingly who was a microbiologist but the pair earned mistrust by publishing no detailed reports on their findings. Experienced carbon-daters say that if the cloth had a lacquer great enough to throw the test out by several centuries it would be visible on the cloth.

It is a fact that the argument that the carbon dating which came up with a medieval age for the cloth is wrong for the cloth was contaminated is junk. There would need to be a hugely much more substantial pile of debris on the cloth for it to throw it off so far that it comes up as thirteen hundred years younger than what it is (page 49, Free Inquiry, Joe Nickell, Vol 18, No 2). The pieces tested were thoroughly cleaned (page 28, Looking for a Miracle). The cloth was nearly burned centuries before which some say could lead to misleading carbon dating. Some go as far as to say it gives another reason as to why why the carbon dating cannot be accurate. But experiments with cloth exposed to similar heat and smoke as the Shroud endured show that this claim is futile. Two independent labs using different pieces and using controls which were dated accurately came up with nearly the same dates. Some things cannot be dated accurately by carbon dating but cloth is different.

The fire that nearly destroyed the cloth in 1532 has been ruled out as the culprit that some think was making the test mislead. The portions of the cloth used in the carbon test were cleaned of soot and other contaminants (page 193, The Second Messiah). The test worked out in three labs that the flax used to make the Shroud had died between 1260 and 1390 AD. The other samples used were dated by the process according to the date they were known to have been made in.

The view that the Carbon 14 test was thrown off by the exposure of the cloth to steam when water was thrown on it to put out the flames that had caught and were threatening to engulf the cloth is pure fantasy. No tests of this kind would be any use if they were that easily upset.

Ian Wilson, top proponent of belief in the Shroud, himself has decisively refuted the suggestions that the carbon dating samples were taken from a part of the shroud that was rewoven in the Middle Ages as is the notion that the samples used did not come from the Shroud at all (page 90, The Shroud, The 2000 Year Old Mystery Solved). Pages 215 and 216 of The Blood and the Shroud demonstrate that the samples of the Shroud used in the tests do fit the Shroud despite the assertion of some to the contrary. There was a piece cut off and three bits of it were from the middle leaving the rest (Turin Shroud, page 11). If there was a switch it happened just seconds before the pieces were put in the machine. If anybody wanted to hope that this indeed happened it would be Wilson.
The Holger Kersten and Elmar Gruber theory that the pieces of the Shroud that were tested were not really from the Shroud has been thoroughly discredited not only by Wilson but also by other authors (page 195, The Second Messiah). They alleged that the Vatican wanted this hoax to take place because the Shroud proved that Jesus was still alive. The Vatican could not simply burn the Shroud for that would not stop people believing it was real.
The Vatican still treats the Shroud as a special relic and puts it on display. It would get the Shroud and make some alterations like sweat painted on to leave brush marks and put some paint on the blood if it wanted to discredit it and it was certainly able. These are the things the sceptics hope to find on the cloth. Even sceptics would have no wish to fake the carbon dating for the Shroud is strange but not paranormal and religiously speaking the man is not Jesus.
The best of the pro-Shroud believers teach that the samples were taken from a part of the cloth that was exposed to a lot of handling over the years. They also say the incense burned before the Shroud and the candle smoke would have had an effect. It is agreed that there had to have been 60% contamination to make the cloth seem more than a thousand years younger than what it was and it is agreed that such contamination would not be very obvious when the micro-organisms are transparent (page 96, The Shroud, The 2000 Year Old Mystery Solved). 

There are too many miracles with the shroud not just with the image.  There is There is the alleged bacterial coating that could have made the cloth look younger in the carbon 14 tests than it was for it was largely the bacteria that was tested rather than the cloth!  There is the coincidence of how the "bungled" carbon dating happened to coincide with the same medieval time period as when a bishop declared the shroud was made.  There are several other things such as the hair that looks like the man is not lying down and the neat blood stains! Too many things need outlandish explanations.

QUOTE: The most common way of explaining it away this date is via the claim that the piece of cloth that was cut away and sent for radiocarbon dating was not from the original cloth but that it was part of a patch that was added to the Shroud in the middle ages when repairs were undertaken on it. However, the sample was not taken by ignorant people or hastily. A large number of experts were involved, and to claim that they did not have the expertise to recognize additions/patches to the Shroud. In fact the official report written by the very people who took the sample made it clear that the sample was taken from the ‘main body’ of the Shroud, away from patches or from charred regions.


The sample dates (in years before present (bp) with likely error) from each laboratory were as follows:
Sample 1: Arizona (AA-3367): 591±30 bp, 690±35 bp, 606±41 bp and 701±33 bp.
Sample 1: Oxford (Ox-2575): 795±65 bp, 730±45 bp and 745±55 bp.
Sample 1: Zürich (ETH-2883): 733±61 bp, 722±56 bp, 635±57 bp, 639±45 bp and 679±51 bp
Sample 2: Arizona (AA-3368): 922±48 bp, 986±56 bp, 829±50 bp, 996±38 bp and 894±37 bp
Sample 2: Oxford (Ox-2574): 980±55 bp, 915±55 bp and 925±45 bp
Sample 2: Zürich (ETH-3884): 890±59 bp, 1,036±63 bp, 923±47 bp, 980±50 bp and 904±46 bp
Sample 3: Arizona (AA-3369): 1,838±47 bp, 2,041±43 bp, 1,960±55 bp, 1,983±37 bp and 2,137±46 bp
Sample 3: Oxford (Ox-2576): 1,955±70 bp, 1,975±55 bp and 1,990±50 bp
Sample 3: Zürich (ETH-3885): 1,984±50 bp, 1,886±48 bp and 1,954±50 bp
Sample 4: Arizona (AA-3370): 724±42 bp, 778±88 bp, 764±45 bp, 602±38 bp and 825±44 bp
Sample 4: Oxford (Ox-2589): 785±50 bp, 710±40 bp and 790±45 bp
Sample 4: Zürich (ETH-3882): 739±63 bp, 676±60 bp, 760±66 bp, 646±49 bp and 660±46 bp

This is an unprecedented number of samples, with one set from the Shroud and three control samples: the laboratories were not told which sample came from the Shroud and which from the control objects. Those from each sample are consistent, so they can be combined into means. Sample 1 therefore has a mean radiocarbon date of 691±31 bp, which calibrates to 1262-1312, 1353-1384 CE at 2σ (95% confidence); sample 2 has a mean of 937±16, which calibrates to 1026-1160 CE at 2σ; sample 3 has a mean of 1,964±20, with a calibration of 9 BCE – 78 CE at 2σ; and sample 4 has a mean of 724±20, with a calibrated range of 1263-1283 CE at 2σ.

What do these dates mean? Sample 1 was from the Shroud, sample 2 from linen from a Nubian tomb of the eleventh to twelfth centuries CE, sample 3 was linen from a mummy of the early second century CE and sample 4 was from threads removed from the cope of St Louis d’Anjou dated to 1290-1310 CE. There is therefore no question that the Shroud is not medieval; we can be 95% confident that the cloth was manufactured between 1262 and 1384 CE.

Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Roberts and Donaldson, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1870
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
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From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls, Walter Vandereycken and Ron van Deth, Athlone Press, London, 1996
Holy Faces, Secret Places, Ian Wilson, Corgi, London, 1992
Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1987
Jesus Lived in India, Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Miracles, Ronald A Knox, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1937
Sceptical Inquirer 9/10 2001 Vol 25, No 5, Article by Joe Nickell, CSIOCP, Amherst New York
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The Blood and The Shroud, Ian Wilson, Orion, London, 1999
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The DNA of God?, Leoncio A Garza-Valdes, Doubleday, 1999
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The Holy Shroud and the Visions of Maria Valtorta, Msgr Vincenzo Celli, Kolbe Publications Inc., Sheerbrooke, California, 1994
The Image on the Shroud, Nello Ballosino, St Paul’s, London, 1998
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten amd Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Relics, From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud, Joe Nickell, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal, Lynne Kelly, Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2004
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The Unauthorized Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Turin Shroud, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, BCA, London, 1994
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Lourdes etc
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