Robert A. Rucker, MS (nuclear), July 12, 2022
There are multiple evidences that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ. However, in 1988 samples from the corner of the Shroud were carbon dated to 1260-1390 AD (two-sigma). The “carbon dating problem” is how the Shroud of Turin could be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus yet the corner of the Shroud carbon date to 1260-1390 AD. This problem can be solved by understanding the assumptions in carbon dating and understanding how measurement errors can affect experimental results. Carbon dating indicates three things are true at the 1988 sample location on the Shroud: the date, slope, and range/distribution of the subsample dates. A fourth item is the carbon date obtained for the Sudarium of Oviedo, which is believed to be Jesus’ face cloth (John 20:7) and thus related to the Shroud. The correct explanation for the carbon dating of the Shroud is required to be consistent with these four things. The neutron absorption hypothesis proposes that neutrons emitted from the body were absorbed in nitrogen in the cloth to form new C-14 in the fibers, thus shifting the carbon date forward. This is the only hypothesis that satisfies all four requirements. The assumption that the Shroud dates to 1260-1390 only satisfies the first of these four requirements.