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Lawrence E. Schauf for the Prosecution: The Trial of the Shroud

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Lawrence E. Schauf, a STERA director and former federal prosecutor, has written an interesting article on the Shroud: “Trial of the Shroud of Turin, Is it an image of Christ? You decide.”

You must download this issue of the magazine as a PDF file for $3.95 in order to read it. It is worth it.

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: The Shroud of Turin is stolen from its home in Turin, Italy, and brought by the thief to the United States, where it’s recovered by the FBI. A grand jury charges the defendant with stealing an authentic and priceless relic, which is a felony. The defendant has pleaded not guilty, alleging the cloth is a mere curiosity—a worthless fraud.

After three weeks, the trial reaches closing arguments. Each side seeks to have the jurors recall the evidence most favorable to its position. The prosecution carries the heaviest legal burden, since it must establish the defendant’s guilt by establishing the authenticity of the Shroud “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Therefore, procedure dictates that the prosecution addresses the jury both first and last.

And so it goes for several well written, compelling and lavishly illustrated pages. The text (represented by the ellipses below) in support of each of these major points is important.

  • First, there is no possibility that the Shroud is “just a painting.” . . .
  • Second, there is no possibility whatsoever that the image on the Shroud is a scorch. . . .
  • Third, there is no possibility that the Shroud image is a rubbing of iron oxide. . . .
  • Fourth, there is no possibility that the Shroud is a medieval photograph. . . .
  • Lastly, there is also no possibility that the Shroud is medieval in origin, even though much of the world has been deceived into believing so. . . .

Schauf draws to a close on the last point above, the carbon dating:

Conclusion: There is overwhelming evidence that the sample used for the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin was anomalous and did not represent the main body of the Shroud cloth. The 1988 C-14 test results that declared the cloth was medieval in origin should be set aside due to their use of an invalid sample.

He draws to a close on the whole matter of authenticity:

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if the Shroud of Turin was anything other than the burial cloth and image of Jesus, no one would question its antiquity and authenticity. . . .

Did the prosecution make the case that the shroud is authentic? I’m not sure. There must be a legal term for it, when a juror casts his vote with the prosecution even though he doesn’t think the case was made. That is how I feel. I’ve got my own arguments. That is a problem with the shroud. I think of it as a wonderful problem, however.

Anyway, the article is a must read. Too bad it is behind a pay wall. You must download this issue of the magazine as a PDF file for $3.95  to read it. It is worth it.

BTW: Schauf is also working to produce a feature-length movie titled The Shroud.

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