A Bad Photocopy

Just like Jesus rolling aside the rock and walking from his tomb, it seems that the myth of the Shroud of Turin being The Son of God’s hunky-dory, true-blue winding sheet has risen once more from its grave. People, please, this one’s BUSTED! Carbon dating of the shroud, something for which the Shroudies were clamouring for decades, has placed the fabric unequivocally around 1260 – 1390 AD, a period that coincides with an artist’s confession of having forged the image as part of a faith-healing scheme (this admission is recorded in the Catholic Church’s own documents). Since relics of this kind were not at all uncommon at that time in history, it’s not remotely surprising that the science places the shroud there. Indeed, if you accept that the Bible is telling the truth, then it also contradicts the appearance of the shroud: John 19:40 claims that Jesus was wrapped in strips of linen rather than a whole sheet. John also says that the body had been anointed with large quantities of aloes and myrrh, no single trace of which has ever been found in the Turin Shroud.*

Unsurprisingly, no matter how much scientific and logical illumination is brought to bear on the shroud, there are still people who, for reasons that are impossible to fathom†, cling to the belief that the Shroud of Turin just has to be the genuine burial cloth of Jesus Christ.


Enter John and Rebecca Jackson who have somehow convinced Oxford University to re-examine the carbon-dating data from the 1988 test. Among other things they assert that the major portion of the cloth scrutinized at that time was not from the ‘original’ shroud, but from Medieval repairs made in the 14th century. Of course.

In an effort to aid their new investigations, John and Rebecca have enlisted the help of a styrofoam dummy they have dubbed ‘Roger’, who serves as a stand-in for Jesus. Roger, wrapped in a cloth similar to the shroud, is, I gather, supposed to help the Jacksons understand how bloodstains might have behaved on a real body prepared in this manner. It seems to me that Roger also makes for good photographic copy; a physical form that can be offered up in ‘evidence’ by the indiscriminating news purveyors, for a body that was never there. After all, the shroud image has been so widely propagated that it does have a certain ho-hum factor. It’s even made appearances on t-shirts.

Since Roger has now become a surrogate Christ, I propose that we start up a new religious movement that is based on actual concrete (well, polystyrene, anyway) evidence! Rogerism! Henceforth, Roger is inducted into Sainthood in The Church of The Tetherd Cow, to sit proudly at The Cow’s Right Hoof and dispense his foam-packing-nuggets of wisdom to all who seek.

Well, it makes at least as much sense as this person, who attempts to draw comparisons between the Face on the Turin Shroud and the Cydonia ‘Face’ on Mars, for reasons that I can’t even begin to fathom.

I’ll leave you to reflect on the astonishing similarity:



*Joe Nickell ‘Inquest on the Shroud of Turin’ (Prometheus 1998)

†As I’ve said before on The Cow: this desperate need for proof of Christ’s divinity would apparently demonstrate an absence of Faith. And unless I’m wrong, that’s the whole point of accepting the Word of God at face value. I await, as always, any correction of my misunderstanding on this matter.

Thanks to Pil for the heads-up on Woger!