The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ

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Are there inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin?

Barbara Frale, a Vatican researcher caused quite a stir in late November 2009. In her new book The Shroud of Jesus Nazarene, Frale suggests having found lettering on the Shroud that she believes is Jesus' death certificate. It reads (with some reconstruction for missing parts):

Jesus Nazarene. Found [guilty of inciting the people to revolt]. Put to death in the year 16 of Tiberius. Taken down at the ninth hour.

Most Shroud researchers have problems with this. For one thing, Frale's conclusions are based on the studies done by French researchers Marion and Courage that was published in the late 1990's and was rejected at the time. This work used the 1931 Giuseppe Enrie photographs on high resolution orthochromatic film with angular lighting. They are great photographs, visually, but they are completely useless for detail identification.

Orthochromatic film only records black and white and interpolates for a limited range of gray by forming grain patterns. It can be thought of like large pixels or halftone dots but made up of different shapes or clumps of silver.  It would be impossible to capture the high degree of detail needed for such an inscription. It is not hard to imagine that this is classic pareidolia, the tendency to see patterns in random data.

See:  Coins and Plants and Flowers

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