Research on the shroud joins science with faith
Staff Writer

Feb.26, 2004

With the beginning of Lent, the faithful will have a chance to study and reflect on one of the most mysterious objects in history — the Shroud of Turin from Italy, which some say contains the image of a male corpse that has been flogged and crucified.

Dr. John Jackson, who serves as the co-director of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado along with his wife, Rebecca, will give a presentation on his viewpoints on the shroud, which is an ancient burial cloth of linen measuring approximately 14 feet by 3 feet.

The presentation, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin, Where Science Meets Faith," is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the 1,200-seat auditorium of WorldView Community Church, 6941 Columbia Road in Olmsted Falls.

For many years, people also have thought the image on the cloth corroborates the gospel accounts of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jackson, who led an international scientific research team to Turin to study the shroud in 1978, said his presentation will focus on three points, including the significance of the shroud if it were authentic; the scientific issues of authenticity; and the benefits of taking an excursion into Jesus' tomb if the shroud is indeed his historical burial cloth.

"I think the shroud is where science and faith actually meet," Jackson said. "It's taken me many years to realize that, but having done so, I want to explore that synergism as best as I can."

He added, "I'm not going to require people to agree with what I'm going to say. But I'll certainly give my viewpoints, and the reasons for those. The program will give people the opportunity to decide for themselves about the importance of the shroud."

Jackson, who has spoken throughout the world on the shroud, also said that it continues to be studied because the item has the potential to provide insight into religious questions that often have only intangible answers.

"If the shroud is authentic, it could help make faith reasonable," said Jackson, who has a Ph.D. in physics and is working toward a master's degree in theology.

"It would be the closest physical object to the death and resurrection of Christ, so we're talking about something here that could be a physical witness to the various origins of Christianity."

Christian Community School in Eaton Township is sponsoring Jackson's presentation, and event organizer David Onysko answers confidently when asked what he thinks the shroud represents.

"My personal opinion is that there is no doubt that it is Jesus Christ (on the shroud)," said Onysko, who has been researching the identity of the item's image for more than 20 years. "I believe the dead body radiated at some point, and it flashed on the cloth."

Onysko also has traveled around the world lecturing on the shroud.

"I give the historical, scientific and theological evidence on why the man in the shroud is possibly Jesus Christ. I give the audience the data and research, and I let them come to their own conclusions."

A 5:30 p.m. dinner at WorldView Church will precede Jackson's presentation. Cost for the dinner is $50 per plate, and that includes admission to the shroud presentation. Tables of eight also are being sold for $400 each.

Those not attending the dinner can buy a $10 ticket for the presentation. Tickets are available through Family Christian Bookstore, Living Words, Rainbow Family Book Center and The Word bookstores.

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