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The Shroud of Turin is an intriguing and stimulating subject for college audiences. Yes the Shroud has religious implications, but so do the Dead Sea Scrolls and most every archaeological discovery made in Israel. They are fascinating artifacts and can be studied objectively without becoming an overt platform for the Christian faith.

Who can argue that Jesus was the most prominent figure in western history and was responsible for reshaping the ancient world? Yet because of inordinate fears of church and state separation, he is barely a footnote in today's public schools and state universities. By researching the Shroud, students are exposed to an intriguing presentation of the historical Jesus and are also drawn into an array of disciplines that have been employed over the years to unravel the Shroud's great mystery.

Numerous avenues of scientific and historical research...

Optical sciences, chemistry, particle analysis, blood chemistry, medical forensics, physics, botany, numismatics, archaeology, carbon dating, and other disciplines are involved in revealing the Shroud's many secrets. Is the Shroud just a clever painting? What is the cause of the image? What are the chemical components of the blood stains? Could the image be that of a real human being?

History also provides clues derived from ancient art techniques, the role of icons in ancient Christianity, textile analysis, Jewish burial practices, and the Roman use of crucifixion. Could the Shroud have a first century origin? What do these avenues of research indicate?

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