Is the Shroud of Turin the Burial Shroud of Jesus?

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The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that depicts the image of a buried man and is believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Its existence has been known from at least the 14th century, and has been treated by some as a religious relic. The shroud has been the subject of ongoing controversy and its authenticity is disputed. But a handful of biblical historians and scientists point out that evidence suggests it is not a medieval work of art nor a clever forgery. For a perspective similar to that of Dr. Ben Witherington from historian Dr. Craig Evans, and the shroud’s official photographer Barrie Schwortz, see this video.

Even if it proves to be an authentic first century burial shroud, whether it is the actual shroud of Jesus remains a mystery and is likely impossible to confirm. For this reason, as it stands, the shroud has no clear apologetic value. However, as a curious object that we can learn from and test against the Gospel accounts and other historical data, the shroud continues to be an object of interest.

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Dr. Witherington joined the Asbury Seminary faculty in 1995. A prolific author, Dr. Witherington has written more than 40 books and six commentaries. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament and the Institute for Biblical Research. In his leisure time, Dr. Witherington appreciates both music and sports. It is hard to say which sound he prefers: the sophisticated sonance of jazz sensation Pat Metheny or the incessant tomahawk chant of the Atlanta Braves faithful. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he is a dedicated Tar Heels basketball and football fan. He and his wife, Ann, have two children.