Wilson the Exoheretic. What? Yes, Exoheretic.
Put on your waders. The water isn’t deep here but you will need to do some sloshing through a bit of Isaac Asimov to see the point. So, according to Davor Aslanovski in his blog Deum Videre, Ian Wilson is an exoheretic. The list of scholars who are taken in, says Davor, is extensive:
‘Of all the exoheretics, Velikovsky has come closest to discomfiting the science he has attacked, and has most successfully forced science to take him seriously. (Wilson has not exactly discomfited the world of Late Antique and Byzantine studies, but his heresy has been accepted by a number of scholars – Pierluigi Baima Bollone, Daniel Raffard de Brienne, Werner Bulst, Massimo Centini, Linda Cooper, Karlheimer Dietz, Maurus Green, Mark Guscin, Robert Drews, Andre-Marie Dubarle, Barbara Frale, Emanuela Marinelli, Heinrich Pfeiffer, Ilaria Ramelli, Daniel Scavone, Maria Grazia Siliato, Eugene Csocsan de Várallja, Gino Zaninotto, Thomas de Wesselow. And, as opposed to the largely forgotten Velikovskianism, this is still alive and kicking.) Why is that? Well -
Heresy? “ . . . it is a heresy nevertheless. . . . “
Wilson is one of those who choose to believe that the undeniably enigmatic Turin Shroud bears a miraculously created image of Jesus Christ. And this may very well be right. But there is no evidence for it. To begin with, the relic has no known history prior to the 14th century. And there is no mention of an image-bearing cloth anywhere in the New Testament, the Early Christian (whether orthodox or heretical) writings, or any other source before the appearance of the highly unreliable Abgar legends. And even in the latter the cloth is not a 14-foot burial shroud, bearing an image with the marks of the Passion. But what if…? What if this is the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ? How can one not wonder? Herein lies the major difference between every other scientific heresy and what we have here. We are not dealing with just a scientific heresy – a veritable pseudoscience has been created. Sindonology. The study of one single relic, isolated from everything else, conducted outside the world of orthodox academia, and often with deep disrespect and distrust for what the orthodox scientists have to say. And when any orthodox scientist reads the endless on-line discussions of these ‘sindonologists’, the papers presented at their conferences, and the occasional publications that they produce, he will invariably notice one thing: these people veritably despise the academic world. And this warrants some attention and an attempt to understand why this is so. I propose this answer: The average ‘sindonologist’ has come to the (accurate) conclusion that the image in the Shroud is like no other in the history of human art, and that it, at least for the time being, escapes scientific explanation; he has, through various experiences in his life, become fed up (and rightly so) with the skepticism, rationalism, agnosticism, and the general disbelief that permeate the academic world today; he has done some research and has found a number of things in various scientific disciplines (in at least some of which he has no expertise of his own) that could conceivably be used to prove that the relic is authentic; he has most probably always had a healthy passion for mysteries; and he is, more often than not, passionate about his religion as well. Through a combination of these factors, he continues to been drawn to this enigmatic object. He is often aware that experts have refuted some of his claims, but refuses to change his mind – because these experts are generally not very inspiring to him. Their skepticism, rationalism, and agnosticism, mentioned above, is in fact repulsive to him, and, to a great degree in deliberate opposition to them, he chooses to believe. He chooses a wonderfully mysterious fantasy over the dreary, cheerless reality. And who can possibly blame him? I certainly don’t. But it is a heresy nevertheless. And, as such, it can teach us a lot.)