As part of the PR campaign for The Inquisitor’s Key, Jefferson (of the Jefferson-Bass team) writes:
Disappointed devotees – who’d counted on the C-14 tests to prove that the Shroud was 2,000 years old – suddenly scrambled to attack the testing. The fabric samples, they charged (and still insist), were cut from an “invisible” repair made in the 1500s.
Even more credulity-straining is one scientist’s assertion that the image was created, at the moment of Jesus’s resurrection, by an intense flash of radiation (a hypothesis later dismissed as impossible even by other scientists who believe in the Shroud’s authenticity).
Skeptics can sound equally absurd. Shortly after Dan Brown’s bestselling novel "The Da Vinci Code," a sensationalist book claimed that the man on the Shroud is actually Leonardo Da Vinci, posing for the world’s first primitive photograph (this despite the fact that Leonardo wasn’t yet born in 1357, when the Shroud debuted.)
But the Shroud’s mysterious image has a simple explanation, according to two credible investigators: professional skeptic Joe Nickell, and Dr. Emily Craig, a forensic anthropologist with years of experience as a medical illustrator.
[ . . . ]
By applying a faint dusting of red ochre (a pigment made from ferrous oxide – an artist’s version of rust) to the linen.
[ . . . ]
I don’t expect "The Inquisitor’s Key" to settle the centuries-old debate about the Shroud’s authenticity. And maybe that’s just as well. Maybe, by provoking thought and discussion about faith and science – about the miraculous and the mundane – the Shroud is doing exactly what its creator intended.