|Publication Date||July 1, 1998|
This authoritative book about the controversial "shroud" of Turin, claimed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, presents overwhelming evidence that the cloth is actually the creation of a clever medieval artist.
From the earliest known document that mentions the shroud - a letter from a 14th-century Catholic bishop reporting that the artist had confessed - Joe Nickell traces the historical, iconographic, pathological, forensic, and physical and chemical investigations of the purported relic. He details the microchemical tests that revealed artists' pigments on the image and tempera paint in the areas claimed to be bloodstains.
Working with a panel of distinguished scientific and artistic experts, the author links the reported medieval confession and the scientific proof of pigments by demonstrating that the much-touted "photographically negative" image can actually be convincingly simulated by means of an artistic technique employed in the Middle Ages.
Inquest on the Shroud of Turin has all the elements of a good detective story as well as of an expertly presented judicial inquiry. Nickell notes the fact that few scientists with the requisite skills have examined the cloth (generally, those who did became skeptics). He concludes that this is one of the many suspicious circumstances in the cloth's known history of seven centuries.
The so-called "shroud" of Jesus can only be traced to about 1355, when it surfaced at Lirey, France. For the thirteen centuries from the reputed death of Jesus of Nazareth until that date, there is no evidence that his burial garments were preserved or that the "shroud" was in existence.
Even readers who do not believe in so-called holy relics will be fascinated by Nickell's methodical uncovering of the truth about the cloth. However, nothing in this book attacks the faith of Christians.