The Islamic Society of Central New York (ISCNY) has an interesting “Religious Education Blog.” Today, they have posted an article, Christianity Relics explained. Mention of the Shroud of Turin caught my attention.
Christianity relics are objects of importance referenced in the New Testament or Christian lore. They may exist in present times as debatably authentic ,eg the Shroud of Turin and the picture of Edessa. Christianity relics may be thought to exist or have existed at some specific point and are currently unlocated , for example the grail. Modern capacities like carbon dating have been applied to certain Christianity relics to help decide their authenticity. As an example, pieces of what’s potentially the most widely-known found Christianity relic, the Shroud of Turin, went through carbon dating in 1988. Results pointed to the fact that the pieces were from the Middle Ages and so the material was thus not sufficiently old to be a Christianity relic or the authentic burial shroud of Jesus Christ.
Critics of the carbon test nevertheless, mention that particles remaining on The Shroud of Turin from a fire which occurred in the 1500s in the chapel where it was kept could have tarnished the test results.
Unfortunately, that is not quite right. Few people think that is why the carbon dating may be wrong. As I write in the column to the right:
Chemical analysis, all nicely peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that what was tested was chemically unlike the whole cloth. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven in as part of a medieval repair. Robust statistical studies support this theory. With so much doubt we must consider the carbon dating invalid or suspect.
You can adopt any position you want about the authenticity of the Shroud. That’s fine. But it does help, particularly if we talking about education to stick to facts and peer-reviewed science.
That said, it is an interesting, well done blog.