She suggested that it was written by low-ranking Roman officials or mortuary clerks on a scroll or piece of papyrus to identify Christ’s corpse. Such a document would have enabled the relatives of a dead person to retrieve a body from a communal morgue, she suggested.
It would have been attached to the corpse with a flour-based glue and the ink could have seeped through into the cloth below, leaving a faint imprint.
Scholars first noticed that there was writing on the shroud in 1978 but when the radiocarbon tests a decade later suggested that the shroud was a forgery, historians lost interest in the script, Dr Frale said.
She claimed she had been able to decipher a jumble of phrases written in three languages, including the Greek words (I)esou(s) Nnazarennos, or Jesus the Nazarene, and (T)iber(iou), which she interprets as Tiberius, the Roman emperor at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.
The text also mentions that the man who was wrapped in the shroud had been condemned to death, she believes. The hidden text was in effect the “burial certificate” for Jesus Christ, Dr Frale said.