Where are the records for the Shroud in Besançon?
The city's Cathedral of Saint Etienne was struck by lightning in 1349 and burned to the ground along with countless records in its archives. That may explain why there are no records before the 1350s. That is not proof, of course. It is not proof of anything. But it does offer an example of why a claim of a lack of any history before the 1350s is not a sound historical argument.
The claim that there are no records before 1350 is voiced often. Journalists often repeat this claim without any basis. This is one of the great misconceptions about the Shroud. Journalists, better than anyone, should know that the lack of evidence cannot be treated as evidence. The correct statement anyway should be that there are no extant records in Western Europe prior to 1350s. They should also know that in this era, frequently referred to as the dark ages, there are significant gaps in historical records. Just because a record does not exist for a particular object or to a particular date does not mean that object did not exist before that date.
The bridge over the gap is supported by three arguments in particular:
- Seven key observations about the Shroud of Turin that tie to ancient historical records.
- The Hungarian pray manuscript
- The circumstantial argument that supports the idea that the shroud was in Besançon