The Sudarium provides strong, independent evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. If the Shroud is a fake, then the Sudarium must also be so. This makes the job of any potential forger close to impossible. The two cloths authenticate and validate each other and together they provide a strong case for being the original burial cloths of Jesus.
— Arif Khan
The current issue of The Review of Religions, an international magazine published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, carries an article by Arif Khan, The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin. The Review is an international magazine published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. It has been in print since 1902. The current cover of the print edition is pictured.
Here is what the article says about the carbon dating of the shroud:
Section 3 – Dating the Shroud & the Sudarium
The fact that the Shroud and the Sudarium were together at one time not only authenticates the Sudarium but also crucially proves the authenticity of the Shroud itself.
Ever since the carbon dating results hit the world’s media on October 13, 1988, stating the Shroud dated from 1260 – 1390 CE, there has been a major debate concerning the Shroud’s age.
Several scholars have written about why the carbon dating result for the Shroud is incorrect, the most convincing being by Raymond Rogers. He argues that it is possible that it dated from the 1st Century.
The link between the Sudarium and the Shroud however, casts major doubt over the accuracy of the carbon dating result. The Sudarium is known to have existed hundreds of years prior to the 1260 – 1390 dating result attributed to the Shroud. There is documented evidence, surviving to this day in the Capitular Archives of the cathedral in Oviedo, of the Sudarium being seen by King Alfonso VI and several others on March 14, 1075. The ark containing the cloth was officially opened on this day, and the event recorded. Even in 1075, it is stated that the ark had been in the church for a long time.
References to a Sudarium exist from as early as the Gospels themselves, but proving the Sudarium of Oviedo was the same Sudarium is difficult. The existence of the cloth in 1075, however, is something attested to and officially recorded.
Given the proof that the Sudarium and the Shroud covered the same body, and the proof that the Sudarium was definitely in existence in 1075, the carbon dating results of the Shroud of Turin have again been thrown in to doubt.
Despite this strong evidence, it is not possible to definitively prove that both the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin dated from the 1st Century. However, it is possible to conclude that given the proven connection between the cloths, the carbon dating result for the Shroud of Turin is incorrect.
Once the carbon dating result for the Shroud is discarded, the case for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin outweighs claims that it is some form of fake. The strong similarities between the Sudarium and the Shroud, mean the Sudarium now has a high probability of also being authentic.
BUT, BUT, BUT: Here is a part of the article many of this blog’s readership will find uncomfortable:
A key reason for this magazine taking an interest in the Shroud of Turin is that several scholars have argued it proves Jesusas survived the crucifixion, thus validating the belief and teaching of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. There are Shroud researchers who have reached this exact same conclusion based upon their study of the Shroud of Turin. Those that have argued this viewpoint draw attention to the large amounts of blood on the Shroud, and highlight that it would take an active heart to produce this. Others have stated that for an even formation of the image, the body would need to have been at a constant temperature, again requiring a living body. However, the scholars that hold this view concerning the Shroud are in a minority, and this is un-surprising given that it is a Catholic relic and the vast majority of those who have taken an interest in researching it come from a Christian background. Does the Sudarium shed any light on the question of Jesusas surviving the crucifixion?
The endnote 21, above, is a link address to another article by Arif Khan published in 2010 in the same magazine. Therein we find him writing about Holger Kersten and Elmar Gruber’s, “The Jesus Conspiracy” and Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas’, “The Second Messiah.”
Just yesterday, while unaware of this article, I invited Helmut Felzmann from the Shroud Science Group to write a guest posting. Dr. Felzmann, whose religious perspective is very different, believes that the shroud demonstrates that Jesus survived the crucifixion. I warned him that this is a tough crowd. (Did I say I think the idea is very difficult to accept? Anyway, I want my friend Helmut to have a chance to make his case. Call me biased and balanced, I guess.)
So what do you think? Any chance that Jesus survived the cross?