Pollen Sheds New Light on the Shroud of Turin
Evidence not only suggests that the Shroud of Turin dates to the first century, but also places it in the Jerusalem area. The Shroud of Turin is a 13 foot long, three foot wide piece of cloth that many people believe was the burial cloth of Christ. It bears a negative image of what appears to be a man who was crucified. A small bit of the cloth was carbon dated in 1988, and the results led many to believe that the cloth came from the Middle Ages.
Now a botanist from Hebrew University has announced that he has identified pollen, taken from the shroud, of two important species that are found together only in the Jerusalem area. Pollen from the same two species was also identified on the Sudarium of Oviedo, a smaller cloth which has traditionally been considered the burial face cloth of Jesus. Both are stained with type AB blood. This cloth has been in Oviedo, Spain, since 760 AD and is documented back to the first century. Both cloths have pollen from a thistle which some have suggested was used to fashion Jesus' crown of thorns. The other pollen found on both cloths is from a common Jerusalem tumbleweed, an image of which also appears on the Shroud of Turin. Both plants bloom in Jerusalem around the time of the Passover.
While this intriguing evidence suggests that both cloths are authentic, we must be careful. The Christian faith does not rise and fall on such evidence. We stand on the Gospel of salvation through the forgiveness that Jesus won for us.