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The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino, Sacra Sindone [ˈsaːkra ˈsindone] or Santa Sindone), a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man, is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, although three radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 dated a sample of the cloth to the Middle Ages. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.Pope John Paul II called the Shroud “a mirror of the Gospel”.
The origins of the shroud and its images are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians and researchers. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to “prove” that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. In 1988, a radiocarbon dating test dated a corner piece of the shroud from the Middle Ages, between the years 1260 and 1390, which is consistent with the shroud’s first known exhibition in France in 1357.Over the last decade, some articles have highlighted concerns about this datation.Aspects of the 1988 test continue to be debated, but challenges to the dating result have been refuted in scientific analyses.[sources 1] According to Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in 2011, “there are various hypotheses as to why the dates might not be correct, but none of them stack up.”
The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color, and this negative image was first observed in 1898 on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified. Despite numerous investigations and tests, the status of the Shroud of Turin remains murky, and the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain puzzling. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial.