Here, from his widely read column:
Er, not so much. News today is that archaelogists have found a burial cloth from the time of Jesus, and its weave is significantly different from that of the Shroud of Turin. Do a Google News search, and see that the headlines are all trumpeting that this discovery probably disproves the authenticity of the Turin cloth. Really? Might Jesus have been buried in a different kind of cloth? Was there only one style of burial shroud in first-century Jerusalem? If this is the first cloth of its kind yet discovered, how do they know what is normative for that time and place? (This is a point made by the National Geographic article to which I’ve linked.)
To be sure, my faith doesn’t stand or fall based on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, but I am fascinated by it. To me, the most interesting fact about it is that the image of the man is three dimensional, suggesting it could not have been painted on, but rather came from a burst of energy emanating from the body.
In other Shroud of Turin news, a Vatican researcher has claimed (rather grandly) to have discovered the "death certificate" of Jesus of Nazareth, written into the Shroud. Excerpt:
The letters, barely visible to the naked eye, were first spotted during an examination of the shroud in 1978, and others have since come to light.
Some scholars have suggested that the writing is from a reliquary attached to the cloth in medieval times. But Dr Frale said that the text could not have been written by a medieval Christian because it did not refer to Jesus as Christ but as "the Nazarene". This would have been "heretical" in the Middle Ages since it defined Jesus as "only a man" rather than the Son of God.
Like the image of the man himself the letters are in reverse and only make sense in negative photographs. Dr Frale told La Repubblica that under Jewish burial practices current at the time of Christ in a Roman colony such as Palestine, a body buried after a death sentence could only be returned to the family after a year in a common grave.
A death certificate was therefore glued to the burial shroud to identify it for later retrieval, and was usually stuck to the cloth around the face. This had apparently been done in the case of Jesus even though he was buried not in a common grave but in the tomb offered by Joseph of Arimathea.
Here’s a link to a photo of the Shroud on which researcher Barbara Frale has highlighted what she believes are the letters.