The ‘True Crime’ of the Shroud of Turin

In 1988, carbon-dating tests initially labeled the Shroud of Turin as a 700-year-old forgery. However, recent advancements in 21st-century science have brought forth a different perspective. The credibility of the previous carbon tests, conducted by the British Museum and Oxford University, has been challenged and discredited. These tests were limited to a small fiber sample from a damaged edge of the shroud, repaired by Poor Clare nuns after a fire in 1532. Now, more sophisticated examinations, exploring the cloth’s pollen, bloodstains, and intricate three-dimensional imagery, are yielding compelling evidence suggesting a 1st-century origin linked to an enigmatic “nuclear event” beyond current technological replication.

Filmmaker Robert Orlando delves into the heart of the shroud’s contentious history and authenticity debate in his upcoming documentary, “The Shroud: Face to Face,” scheduled for release in November. His approach turns the subject into a modern-day “true crime” investigation, blending recreated scenes and captivating visual effects for an artistic touch.

The film features interviews with experts representing opposing views, such as American historian and Princeton Theological Seminary professor Dale Allison, Cheryl White from the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, and Mark Goodacre, a television director, New Testament scholar, and professor at Duke University’s Department of Religion.

Also appearing in the documentary are Father Andrew Dalton, a theology professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, who wrote the foreword for Orlando’s book, and Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer, a renowned scholar, author, and host of the popular EWTN television program. The film promises to engage viewers in a thought-provoking exploration of the Shroud of Turin’s mysteries and significance.

The Catholic News Agency reports:

Father Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, is among the experts featured in a new documentary, “The Shroud: Face to Face,” set for release in late 2023. Courtesy of Nexus Media

Father Spitzer hopes Orlando‘s work will introduce the Shroud of Turin to a “whole new audience” that’s unlikely to visit a shroud museum or read a scholarly book on the subject.

“This is the way, I think, to get the message out, and in a compelling way that doesn’t force people, that allows them to make a decision for themselves,“ said the host of EWTN‘s Father Spitzer’s Universe.

Orlando said he agreed to make the documentary since the shroud seemed to be “in the air” now, with new exhibits opening in Houston and Washington, D.C., among other locations.

But he also saw the film’s investigative process as part of a more personal quest for answers to life’s “big questions” after the recent death of his father.

“I was trying to combine the two,” Orlando explained. “I didn’t know where they were blended together, but it was the right project at the right time.”

The film’s intriguing discoveries include the majority of pollen fossils found on the shroud originating from northern Judea, not regions like France, where the cloth has been known for the past 700 years. This evidence suggests a much older origin for the shroud.

Father Spitzer, who has extensively researched the shroud, firmly believes in its authenticity. He supports the theory that a “low-temperature spontaneous nuclear degeneration” of every cell in the crucified man’s body resulted in a powerful burst of radiation, leaving behind physical evidence of the Resurrection.

Regarding the film’s conclusions, Orlando chose not to reveal them outright, preferring to let viewers embark on the investigative journey and make their own discoveries.


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