by Viviane Hewitt in Rome
THE controversial Shroud of Turin, which many still believe was Christ's burial-cloth, is to undergo a much more extensive examination later this year, a leading expert said this week.
Professor Lambert° Coppini, a specialist in topographic anatomy at Bologna University, announced the plans following a seminar with other Shroud experts in northern Italy. He denounced dating tests in Oxford, Zurich and Tuscon, Arizona a year ago as superficial, invalid and manipulated. The tests dated the Shroud as of 14th century origin.
Professor Coppini explained that the Carbon 14 tests used did nothing to explain other proofs that the Shroud dated back much further than the 14th century. Such proofs include the alleged presence on the Shroud of embossed gold images, situated over the eyes of the imprinted figure, of coins minted by Pontius Pilate in AD 29.
The seminar also heard how the Shroud image coincided in numerous ways with iconic depictions of the face of Christ painted centuries later, suggesting that artists had copied from the linen. More than six icons made between the 6th and 13th centuries revealed up to 250 close similarities with the Shroud image.
This compares to the internationally-agreed 60 points of similarity required before scientists judge that any two images have the same origin. Experts at the seminar claimed this evidence proves that the Shroud might have been in circulation long before the official date provided by Carbon 14 laboratories a year ago.