This is the catch-22 that sindonologists fail to appreciate: For the shroud to be the shroud, it more or less has to look the way it looks.
Furthermore, the shroud is in no way unique in appearance among its object type.
"It doesn't look like any known work of art," they say.
The implication is that its creation was somehow miraculous, perhaps caused by a sudden burst of cosmic energy as the cloth came into contact with the dead body of Jesus.
And then there is the Shroud of Turin, seemingly produced by blood, blood plasma and sweat absorbed from Jesus' dead body at the time of entombment (see box, p. Several reputed examples of each of these holy-iconcloths have surfaced over the centuries.
At least three dozen cloths have been identified as Veronica's Veil, the Holy Shroud, and the like.
It was also a time when the material remains of Jesus' Passion were very much in vogue, when St. Chapelle solely to enshrine the Crown of Thorns (which had recently been stolen from Constantinopole).But the more important point is this: The Shroud of Turin is not and never was a "work of art" in the conventional sense of that term.And in fact, were it in any way to look like a work of art-something made by human hands-this would imme-diately disqualify it from being what it is supposed to be: an acheiropoietos.Among the earliest acheiropoietai is the Column of the Flagellation, in Jerusalem.This relic (the column) appears for the first time in fifth-century historical sources, which describe its location in the Church of Holy Sion; but it is only in the sixth century that pilgrims began to see the image of Jesus' hands and chest impressed into its stone surface, left there, presumably, as Jesus was bound in place for the flagellation.