Nicholas Allen continues to push his theory (it has been demonstrated in many ways that the image cannot be a photograph).

AN international television documentary on the controversial Shroud of Turin, which has just been completed, features the work of a Nelson Mandela Bay academic who has been researching the ancient relic for more than a decade.

The Shroud is purported to be the cloth in which the body of Jesus Christ was buried.

Professor Nicholas Allen‘s research resulted in a book in which he explained how the shroud, which appears to carry the imprinted form of Christ, was actually “the first photograph”.

Pioneer Studios from Hammersmith in London filmed the documentary on the mystery behind one of the Catholic Church‘s most important relics, and it will be aired by the Discovery Channel.

The Shroud of Turin was proved to be a 13th or 14th century forgery by carbon dating techniques in 1988 – but that scientific conclusion hasn‘t altogether dispelled the firm belief among many Christians that it is a holy relic.

Allen, formerly dean of the faculty of arts and design at the then Port Elizabeth Technikon, is a sculptor and art historian.

“The documentary is intended to offer a more balanced appraisal of the Shroud‘s import. Apparently another recent documentary was aired in the USA and gave the impression that the shroud was a miracle, so the Discovery Channel decided to commission Pioneer Studios to make a more objective documentary to counter this,” said Allen.

A number of researchers and historians were interviewed for the documentary, mostly Americans.

“I was asked to reconstruct my own experiments from the early 1990s and was also interviewed. My interview took place in the UK at a venue just outside Oxford. For this, I reconstructed a camera obscura, a screen for suspending the shroud and a gibbet for suspending a fibre-glass corpse.”

Allen started his research on the Shroud of Turin out of a passion for history and out of curiosity.

He said he chose his avenue of research because “nobody was looking at how a forgery was made. I started to find out how they did it.

“I started to look at it as a phenomenon and the obvious conclusion it was a photograph.

“Most of my research was based on published work by other researchers. I saw the Shroud of Turin for the first time at the new Millennium exhibition in 2000 in Italy.”

Allen‘s research was published as a thesis, and later in 1998, he published a book The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens: Testament to a Lost Technology.

Allen believes the Shroud of Turin is physical evidence that people understood at least the rudiments of primitive photography about five centuries before its accepted discovery in 1799 by Thomas Wedgewood.

In 1988, carbon dating was done by three institutions which came up with exactly the same conclusion that the linen of the shroud was grown between 1260 and 1390.

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