Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes, a San Antonio pediatrician, has an unusual hobby: archaeomicrobiology. Garza-Valdes's hobby would likely be of interest only to other scientists who work on the carbon dating of ancient textiles, if it weren't for his obsession with an artifact that obsesses many people of faith around the world: the Shroud of Turin. In The DNA of God?
, Garza-Valdes describes his lifelong interest in the Shroud, and his discovery that it has an organic "bioplastic coating" that has distorted many previous attempts to date the relic. The DNA of God?
suggests that the Shroud almost surely dates from the time of Jesus, and, further, reveals Garza-Valdes's shocking discoveries that the Shroud bears traces of blood that contain a man's DNA; wood that may come from the cross on Golgotha; and bacteria that produce vinegar (which may be traces of the vinegar offered to Jesus as he died on the cross). Garza-Valdes's potentially explosive revelations are delivered with absolute clarity and appealing humility. He says he has believed in the Shroud's authenticity since he was a boy, but, as a scientist, he refuses to "offer judgment on a matter for which there is no evidence, that is, whether the Shroud is without doubt the burial cloth of Jesus." Instead, he carefully describes what science has learned about the Shroud, reminds readers of elements of the gospel stories that mention physical substances he has found on the relic, and leaves us to make our own decisions. --Michael Joseph Gross
From the Inside Flap
In 1988, radiocarbon dating showed that the Shroud of Turin--long regarded as the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth--could not be from the time of Jesus but was of a more recent origin. What scientists did not know at that time, but what author Dr. Leoncio Garza-Valdes came to discover, is that bacteria produce an organic coating (what he calls a "bioplastic coating") over time on ancient textiles, textiles including the Shroud itself. This coating, which the author first discovered on Mayan artifacts, so distorts the carbon dating process that objects on which it is found (such as the Shroud) are actually significantly older than the data show. The scientific community has hailed Dr. Garza-Valdes's findings since this new knowledge is of significance for archaeologists around the world. For those interested in the mysterious history of the Shroud, it is again possible to regard this artifact as originating in the first century--and consequently as being the burial cloth of Jesus.
But Dr. Garza-Valdes's amazing discoveries did not end with this breakthrough. His examination of pieces of the Shroud under a microscope has revealed incredible clues consistent with the Scriptural accounts of the death of Jesus. Bacteria that produce acetic acid (vinegar) were isolated from the Shroud. Do they belong to the vinegar offered to Jesus before his death on the cross? Could human blood remnants that contain a man's DNA be traces of the blood of Jesus? Does it contain the DNA of God?The DNA of God?
is the fascinating story of this microbiologist's journey of discovery and of the earthshaking secrets he has revealed about the Shroud of Turin.