Colorado Springs, Colo., May 23, 2008 / 03:01 am America/Denver (CNA).
A physics professor has persuaded an Oxford laboratory to revisit the question of the age of the Shroud of Turin, the reputed burial shroud of Jesus Christ. The professor argues that carbon monoxide contaminating the shroud could have distorted its radiocarbon dating results by more than 1,000 years.
In 1988 and 1989 scientists at three laboratories drew on the results of radiocarbon dating to conclude that the shroud was a medieval forgery. They dated its creation to between 1260 and 1390 AD.
The Denver Post reports that John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has hypothesized that even minimal contamination of the shroud by environmental carbon monoxide could have skewed the dating by 1,300 years.
Professor Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, has agreed to test Jackson’s hypothesis. Ramsey said that other forensic and historical evidence indicates the shroud is much older than radiocarbon dating results initially indicated.
"Science still has much to tell us about the shroud," said Jackson, a devout Catholic who heads the Colorado Springs-based Shroud of Turin Center. "If we are dealing with the burial cloth of Christ, it is the witness to the birth of Christianity. But my faith doesn't depend on that outcome," he told the Denver Post.