Renowned researcher Dr. John Jackson reveals his findings about the Shroud of Turin at SMG talk

Story and Photos by

Jerry Circelli

Correspondent

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Dr. John Jackson shared his knowledge and some theories about the Shroud of Turin recently with more than 1,000 people gathered at St. Maria Goretti Church in Arlington. Jackson headed a 1978 team of international scientists to study the Shroud. Visitors were able to hear Jackson’s talk and view an exhibition of the Shroud. The actual Shroud of Turin rests at Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Torino, Italy. The Church has not declared its authenticity.

Every time Louis Juarez looks at a photograph of the Shroud of Turin, he sees more than the figure of man on a mysterious linen cloth. Juarez sees an end and a beginning, desperation and hope, death and life eternal.

“I see our Lord’s Resurrection, that’s what I see,” said Juarez. “That’s what’s so incredible about the Shroud. We know that God raised Jesus. When we look at the Shroud, we see Him in a form when He was dead, but we are also seeing the transformation from a dead body to a glorified body. Right at the time of that transformation is when this image was formed.”

A parishioner at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Arlington, Juarez has been studying the Shroud for more than 30 years. Always eager to share his knowledge about the cloth with others, Juarez recently assembled a traveling Shroud exhibit. It includes a backlit display, photographs, and a life-size print of the Shroud, as well as historical perspectives, theories on the formation of the image, and details about what can be seen on the linen.

All these were on view Nov. 23 at Saint Maria Goretti Church, in Arlington, when Juarez also arranged for a visit from Dr. John Jackson — the physicist who led a 40-person team of international scientists to examine the Shroud of Turin in 1978. Proof that the Shroud continues to intrigue the faithful, Jackson’s discussion attracted more than 1,000 area Christians to St. Maria Goretti.

For nearly a week in 1978, Jackson and his research team were granted access to the cloth and conducted exhaustive examinations. Now as director of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, Jackson is dedicated to continuing research on the Shroud, publishing his findings, and educating the public on scientific data and forensic evidence about the cloth.

“It is not my intention to try to compel you or convince you of the Shroud’s authenticity,” Jackson told his standing-room-only audience. “I feel that my job is to present you with information and concepts about the Shroud that come from our research. But I’m not going to tell you how you need to evaluate that. That’s your business. I will tell you what I think, and you can take it from there.”

Jackson began his discussion with a reference to Scripture that describes apostles John and Peter running to the tomb of Jesus after being told by Mary Magdalene that the entrance stone had been moved and the Lord’s body was no longer there. Upon reaching the tomb, the disciples discovered no body, but did see the burial cloths.

“John said he saw and he believed,” said Jackson.

“John didn’t say he saw and therefore you must believe. He’s giving a witness,” Jackson said. He’s also saying he ‘saw’ — an act of science, making observations with his eyes in this case of the Shroud. And he ‘believed’ — an act of faith and act of religion.

“Here, at the tomb of Christ, science and religion are being blended together,” Jackson said. The researcher added that contrary to popular secular belief, science and religion are not in contradiction to each other.

“In Scripture, we see that they can be united. Science can serve faith,” Jackson said.

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Louis Juarez, a biochemist who worked 34 years for the Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, is convinced about the autheniticity of the Shroud. “Who could do this, except God?” Juarez said.

Through scientific research, it was discovered that:

  • The Shroud itself is actually a negative image. The best way to view it, therefore, is on a photographic negative from a picture taken of the Shroud. In the photographic negative, the light and dark values are reversed and a natural looking image appears.
  • A 3-dimentional image of the Shroud emerges from a special 3-D mapping device when it analyzes a photograph of the Shroud. There is still no definitive explanation for this resulting imagery. It does, however, provide additional proof to other scientific studies that the Shroud is not a painting or photograph. Scientists determined that this detailed 3-D imagery could not be derived from paintings and photographs.
  • Blood depicted on the Shroud was determined to be real. The Shroud shows evidence of a crown of thorns, a laceration on the side of the body, wrist and foot wounds, and scourge marks on the back.

Other findings support the authenticity of the Shroud, including many that reject the accuracy of radiocarbon dating that tied its origin to the 14th century. Many researchers claim that the radiocarbon test sample was taken from a corner of the linen that was repaired centuries later. Jackson’s Shroud Center of Colorado also theorized that contamination from natural atmospheric carbon monoxide made the radiocarbon findings inaccurate.

Jackson’s Turin Shroud Center of Colorado also maintains that the Shroud was present in Constantinople in the 10th and 11th centuries, well before the time assessed by the radiocarbon dating. Researchers from the center also found that the Shroud has many first century Jewish characteristics.

In addition, Jackson advanced a theory that the Shroud could have a connection with the Triduum, involving Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. He said that based on customs that later evolved in the Christian Church throughout the world, the Shroud could likely have been used as a tablecloth during the Last Supper of Jesus and the 12 Apostles. The practice of placing a linen cloth under the Eucharist might be symbolic of the cloth use during the Last Supper. The significance of the cloth on Good Friday is evident, if it was indeed used to wrap the body of Jesus after He died, and its ties with the Resurrection could be manifested in the image created on the cloth.

Jackson and the Shroud Center of Colorado have also developed one of the most fascinating hypotheses on how the Shroud was formed, and one that underscores the death and Resurrection narratives in the Bible.

Named the “Radiation Fall-Through Hypothesis,” it suggests that the body wrapped in the Shroud became instantaneously radiant and mechanically transparent, with no resistance to the cloth. This could have allowed the Shroud cloth to collapse and fall through the radiant body space under the influence of gravity. The irradiated cloth aged and the image later developed.

Jackson left his audience with facts and hypotheses to ponder and predicted, “I think that as time goes on, the Shroud is going to be something that is going to be more and more important to Christianity and the Church.”

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Louis Juarez, right, is owner of the local Shroud of Turin Exhibit and helped organize the talk with Dr. John Jackson, an authority on the Shroud. He discusses the cloth with St. Maria Goretti parishioner Paul Viveros.

Barbara Peznowski, a Saint Maria Goretti parishioner, left the talk doing a lot of thinking about the Shroud, especially its possible use at the table setting of the Last Supper. She vowed to learn more about the Shroud and was impressed to hear Jackson’s presentation that included both science and Scripture. “That man knew his stuff, definitely,” Peznowski said.

Paul Viveros, another local parishioner, said he valued hearing about the Shroud from Jackson, especially since the presenter was actually one of the scientists on the 1978 international research team. “I was hopeful before we came that the Shroud was real,” said Viveros. “And after I saw how much scientific research has gone into this, I feel that very objectively Dr. Jackson is proving it to be authentic.”

Viveros added, “Some people believe the Shroud is real because of faith, but it is nice to see what some deem as proof.”

On Sunday, the day after Jackson’s discussion, Viveros returned to the site of the exhibit after Mass at Saint Maria Goretti. He talked at length with Juarez, owner and organizer of the local display, and plans to meet with him again to continue to learn more about the Shroud.

Casting a hard look at the Shroud of Turin life-size print rolled out on a table as part of the exhibit, Viveros said, “Once you see this, you become fascinated by it. And you ask yourself, ‘Is that the face of Jesus imprinted on this burial cloth?’”

For more information about Louis Juarez’s local Shroud exhibit, visit www.Shroudexhibit.com. For more information on Dr. John Jackson and the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, visit www.Shroudofturin.com.

Shroud-Dr.-Jackson-Button.jpgDr. John Jackson, the physicist who led a 40-person team of international scientists to examine the Shroud of Turin in 1978, addressed a crowd of more than 1,000 at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington Nov. 23. Jackson and his research team were granted access to the cloth and conducted exhaustive examinations. Now as director of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, Jackson is dedicated to continuing research on the Shroud, publishing his findings, and educating the public on scientific data and forensic evidence about the cloth. The Church has not authenticated the Shroud.

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