Forensic Science Reveals Adorable Face of Jesus as Child From Turin Shroud

A rendering of Jesus's face at different ages based on the Shroud of Turin. Photo: Rome police.
A rendering of Jesus's face at different ages based on the Shroud of Turin. Photo: Rome police.

The Italian police, through the magic of forensic science, claim to have created a rendering of what Jesus Christ would have looked like as a child. The results are based on the Shroud of Turin, a mysterious cloth that some believe miraculously bears the visage of Jesus.

According to the Mirror, the image was actually generated in 2004, but is back in the news thanks to a documentary that will soon air on Italian television, detailing the steps used by the computer program to reverse the aging process by shrinking the jaw line, softening the eyes, and rounding out the face.

Luckily, the face of Jesus is considerably cuter than that of King Tut, recently recreated using digital scans and 3-D imaging of the Egyptian boy-king’s skull (see Autopsy Unmasks King Tut’s True Face, and It Isn’t Pretty), but maybe not quite as cute as what one forensic artist predicts the royal babies George and Charlotte will look like in a few years (see Goofy Unofficial Artist Portraits of Royal Baby Princess Charlotte).

A rendering of Jesus's face as a young boy based on the Shroud of Turin. Photo: Rome police.

A rendering of Jesus’s face as a young boy based on the Shroud of Turin.
Photo: Rome police.

The Italian police have previously used this process in reverse to age pictures of suspects, such as a 1959 photograph of mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, aged forward and used to capture the long-unseen criminal in 2006.

As captivating as the picture of Jesus as a child may be, the image is hardly definitive. Carbon dating places the burial cloth in the 13th century, but no one can determine how the ghostly image of a crucified man was created. The shroud itself is currently on display at the Turin cathedral through June 24 (see Mysterious Shroud of Turin Is on View for First Time in Five Years).

Though Pope Francis himself will pay a visit to the exhibition, which expects to attract millions, next month, the Catholic church has been careful not to commit one way or the other on the issue of the relic’s authenticity. “It is not a profession of faith because it is not an object of faith, nor of devotion, but it can help faith,” Cesare Nosiglia, the Archbishop of Turin recently told AFP.

The Shroud of Turin is on view at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, April 19–June 24, 2015. 


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