This talk explores the tension between scientific fact and religious faith in the identification and verification of a sacred relic. Many catholic cathedrals and churches can claim some relic associated with Christ. The sanctity of the religious institution is enhanced by proximity of the relic to the time and place of Christ’s life. However, the source and history of many of these relics are often cloaked in mystery due to the scanty historical record. One of the most famous is the treasured Shroud of the Cathedral of Turin. In the 1970’s, authorities overseeing the Shroud enlisted a team of scientists to examine and presumably to verify its source and history. Some of the conclusions drawn from that study, and the absence or presence of scientific evidence for those conclusions, has led to perhaps the quintessential conflict between acceptance of the validity and veracity of the scientific method on the one hand, and religious belief and faith on the other.
Simultaneous Arabic translation will be provided.
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