The Turin Shroud, reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, was carbon dated in 1988 to having been made between 1260 and 1390 AD. So it is too young to be the burial cloth of Jesus. This has not stopped religious cranks from trying to prove the cloth is older than that. One method they use to prove this is from the existence of the Shroud in historical records before that time. The other is seeing if the way the Shroud was made matches what we know about how things were made in first century Palestine. But sadly for them, we can prove that they are just fantasists.

The existence of the Shroud is not even mentioned in early Christian writings and what is mentioned in the gospel is certainly not what is now the Turin Shroud. For centuries after the Christian faith inflicted itself on the world nobody said that the Shroud still existed. Here is a quote: The provenance of the Shroud is very shaky because the earliest written record about it is the reference to the origin of the image from Bishop D'Arcis who wrote a letter to Pope Clement VII that the picture on the Shroud is a forgery and that the forger has confessed that it was a painted picture.  Quote from: The Shroud of Turin!! Is it Genuine or is it a Forgery? Dr Johnson C Philip, Dr Saneesh Cherian, Edited by Gregory Anderson. Creative Commons. Copyright Philip Communication. First Edition 2014.
In The Holy Shroud and Four Visions it is falsely explained that to mention the Shroud would have led to antichrists tracking it down and burning it. That is no excuse. It would be if somebody said they would burn the cloth if they could get it. But nobody did. The believers could have spoken of the cloth but they did not have to say where it was.
The silliest excuse has to be the one that since the Church forbade images of the suffering or dead Christ the Shroud could not even be spoken about. If people kept the Shroud and did not burn it then they could and would have mentioned the Shroud because they were rebels anyway. The ban means that there was no Shroud for to forbid its veneration would have been to blatantly insult God who had preserved the miraculous image. The Church would not have dared disparage or hide away such a precious relic whose existence by the power of God would show that Jesus did not want all the images to be nice. And a Church that went to a lot of trouble to track down the alleged true cross would have been delighted to have the Shroud. The Church loathed Islam when it appeared so it would have used the Shroud to the best of its ability to close up the Muslims who were saying that Jesus never died on the cross.

In 436 AD, in the Basilica of Blachernes, the Shroud of Constantinople was displayed and remained so for a long time. It is thought that this was what is now known as the Turin Shroud. This is because it is thought that the eastern tradition that Jesus was lame arose from the man on the Shroud having one leg shorter than the other. This is only a conjecture. The man on the cloth was pulled everywhere so a dislocated limb would not have been taken as an indication that Jesus had a limp. If Jesus had had a limp we would be reading in the scriptures that his enemies were mocking it because he claimed to be a healer but could do nothing about his limp. If they had the Shroud they would have realised that they could not go by this when the back image is two inches taller than the front one. The back image has legs that look bent so the Shroud could not have made people think Jesus was crippled.

That Shroud would have been a picture of a glorious and rising Jesus for the Eastern Church avoided images of a suffering Jesus because it overstressed the resurrection. Only in the tenth century, did the Roman Church decide to have images of the dead Lord during his crucifixion (page 8, The Holy Shroud and Four Visions).

A cloth with the visage of Jesus on it seems to have been put on show above a gate in Edessa after 177 AD. Ian Wilson admits that it is only the later versions of the story that say it was a Shroud-like image of the whole body (page 308, The Blood and the Shroud). The image was accompanied by a forged letter from Jesus so that does not say much for the image being real. Wilson believes that this was what is now the Turin Shroud but which was folded so that only the face was seen which was why the early versions of its story do not mention it holding a complete image. Ian Wilson makes the claim that the Mandylion was the Shroud folded up displaying only the face.  That is challenged by the fact that the Mandylion was often washed and that area of the Shroud shows no signs of that treatment. Surely enough care would have been taken of the real blood-stained Shroud to prevent the need for washing? Who would dare wash the cloth of Christ when it could be damaged? The poker holes in the cloth proved that it was not invulnerable. The sun and the elements would have destroyed and faded the face but the face is the best and clearest part of the image. Wilson only says the things he says because he wants to prove the Shroud existed as the Mandylion in the first millennium.

A Georgian manuscript dating from the third century says that Joseph of Arimathea wiped blood off the head of the dead Jesus with a headband and caught the blood from the side in a big sheet (page 311, The Blood and the Shroud). Wilson says it seems to indicate knowledge of a Shroud plastered with blood. This is wrong and desperation. There would have been no blood left to print on the Shroud from the side or the head. It refutes the Shroud. This manuscript denies the existence of the Turin Shroud. There is no evidence of this wiping on the Turin Shroud.
Wilson says that the cloth of Edessa which he thinks is the Turin Shroud came out of the closet about 544 AD. It did not look like the work of an artist (page 312, The Blood and the Shroud). A 569 AD hymn in honour of the image on the cloth said that it was not made by an artist. Does that confirm that this cloth was not painted? No it only confirms that it could have been thought that the image was not the work of a human artist. It could have been painted by a supernatural agent such as maybe God.

The Acts of Thaddeus were written before 600 AD. They speak of a cloth that Jesus wiped his face on and which was doubled in four (page 312, The Blood and the Shroud) making Wilson think this is the Turin Shroud which was folded so that only the face was visible in the picture and which was initially known as the Cloth of Edessa. But Jesus did not wipe his face on the Shroud for he was dead or unconscious. And if the cloth were doubled in four it would show more than the face but the side wound and the arms and the stomach. Nobody would hide the rest of the image when they showed so much. The face print must have been made near the top edge of a towel leaving three quarters of it blank. They folded the cloth to hide the blank.

Wilson stupidly argues on page 313 of The Blood and the Shroud that the Edessa cloth was not destroyed in 723 AD when the Iconoclasts burned sacred images to avert idolatry, as all scholars thought, for it was not a painting. But it was still an image and the Iconoclasts would have thought that it was a satanic hoax for it implied that Iconoclasm was wrong. The image would have inspired icons to be made based on it which was another reason why they had to destroy it and would have got more worship than any of the icons. In 730, John of Damascus stated that Jesus printed his living and glorious face on the cloth of Edessa (page 313, The Blood and the Shroud) so the image was not a bloody one and only showed the face. In 944 AD, the cloth came to Constantinople and it was seen that it had sweat marks from the ordeal of Jesus on the Garden of Gethsemane which were as big as drops of blood and blood and water from the side of Jesus (pages 314-5, The Blood and the Shroud). But this simply say that Jesus wiped himself and was wiped with it. He must have put his face on it later. The sweat of the garden would have been gone by the time Jesus got the side wound. Also, you cannot see water marks in reference to the side on the Turin Shroud. The cloth was not it.

An ivory image from 1100 AD is supposed to have been inspired by the Shroud. (See it in photo 34 b of The Blood and the Shroud). But in the ivory image, Jesus has his head up high and is wearing a loincloth and his side wound is hidden under the arm and the cloth has embroidery on it and is not long enough to detect the Turin Shroud. An 1192 AD picture that shows Jesus lying naked on the Shroud in the position of the Turin man with no thumbs showing does not have him with a long enough beard and there are no wounds only blood on the head. There is no sense in Wilson speculating that these pictures verify the Shroud for there were so many pictures that some of them had to have elements that coincide with it. They are simply not close enough.

Wilson says that nobody knows where the Turin Shroud went in 1204 AD when it vanished (page 322, The Blood and the Shroud). The Church claimed that there was a burial cloth of Jesus in existence because Innocent III got a letter about it in 1205.

Gervase of Tilbury wrote in 1211 that the Edessa cloth bore a print that Jesus deliberately made in it and that it was beautiful. So, the image on the cloth was that of a living Jesus (page 212, Holy Faces, Secret Places). The Turin cloth depicts what would have looked like a dead Jesus to those people who did not have our modern knowledge. And it is far from pretty. There is no deliberate mark on it. The Turin Shroud is not the cloth of Edessa.

Tradition suggested that the Shroud was printed. In fact, this may have given the forger the idea to print the image on.

In Romanus Pontifex in 1506, Pope Julius II authorised the Mass of the Holy Shroud apparently meaning the one later known as the Turin Shroud.

It came to Turin in 1578.

There is no evidence at all for the Edessa cloth and the Turin Shroud being identical.
The documentary evidence is that people who talked about the Shroud were not always talking about the same one. There were countless opportunities to get rid of a Shroud and pass off a better one as it.  

NOTE:  The 1205 letter to the pope of the time saying that the shroud had been carted off to Athens is not real and shroud.com counsels that it be ignored.

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