This shrouded season

Easter must be upon us. Why? The media is dragging out new Shroud of Turin stories!

A couple of beauts:

The Huffington Post brings us the review of a new book by historian Thomas de Wesselow -- "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection." -- that claims that the Shroud is real, and that the picture on it (but not an encounter with the Risen Christ) was what convinced the disciples that Jesus had returned from death.

Now I don't consider the Twelve bright or sophisticated, but I doubt that a picture on a dirty, bloody piece of cloth would convince me to risk my life proclaiming the Messiah.

On the other side of the mountain of faith, there's that bunch of perennial optimists -- Italian Scientists! -- who (again) claim the Shroud is real:
The scientists set out to "identify the physical and chemical processes capable of generating a colour similar to that of the image on the Shroud." They concluded that the exact shade, texture and depth of the imprints on the cloth could only be produced with the aid of ultraviolet lasers – technology that was clearly not available in medieval times. 
Ooh! Ultraviolet lasers! Jesus! What is your frequency? (Dan Rather fans will get the reference)

I am touched that so many are intersted in the Shroud of Turin. I have been fascinated by it since around 1980, and have read books on both sides of the controversy. While I am still puzzled by some of the Shroud's features -- which seem incongruent with what I know of medieval art -- the radiocarbon dating does seem to place its creation roundabouts 1320, plus or minus 70 years. Until I hear a persuasive theory about why the Carbon 14 dating is off, I'll lean in the direction of skepticism.

Personally,  I doubt that Jesus left incontrovertible evidence of his body. How he looked is irrelevant to what he taught and who he is. To me, his words, his example and his eternal presence are more than enough.