Techno-Science and the Shroud
The latest National Catholic Register has an article by Fr. Dwight Longenecker on the history of the shroud’s “techno-scientific” era: Pia to now.
A reader who tipped me off to this article wrote, “I wouldn’t put it this way. In my opinion, there is a lot to doubt about the existing carbon 14 dating and any conclusions….”
I wouldn’t put it this way, either. The article is well written but some statements are in need of some serious editing. Can you spot the issues here?
The shroud lay virtually unknown for 1,900 years and would have been dismissed as a grubby medieval forgery if it hadn’t been for the advances of modern technoscience.
Shroud believers suggested that the fire that nearly destroyed the shroud in 1532 could have affected the carbon-14 dating, and closer examination revealed that the area from which the linen was taken for testing was not only the area handled by those displaying the shroud over the centuries, but it had been repaired by almost invisible interweaving in the 14th century.
Then, in 2012, an Italian academic who had been studying the mystery of the shroud for years released what seems to be the best theory to explain the shroud’s image. Giulio Fanti, an Italian professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, reports that the only technique to come close to reproducing the image on the shroud is ultraviolet radiation.
This blog has extensively covered the writings of Fr. Longenecker.