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A Most Anticipated Book of Spring 2015: About the Shroud of Turin

February 4, 2015 11 comments

It isn’t available until the middle of March

imagePublishers Weekly has picked a fiction book about the Shroud of Turin as one of The Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2015The book is The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell by Ian Caldwell.

It is available in Hardcover, Various EBook Formats, including Kindle, and as an Audiobook. 

Here is what some of the journals have to say:

  • “A superior religious thriller, notable for its existential and spiritual profundity . . . An intelligent and deeply contemplative writing style, along with more than a few bombshell plot twists, set this one above the pack, but it’s the insightful character development that makes this redemptive story so moving.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Captivating . . . This thriller is, at its heart, a story of sacrifice, forgiveness, and redemption. Peppered with references to real-life people, places, and events, the narrative rings true, taking the reader on an emotional journey nearly two thousand years in the making.”Library Journal (starred review)
  • “A brilliant work . . . Extraordinarily erudite . . . Caldwell makes intriguing literature from complex theology.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Here motives are nuanced shadows that are as hard to grasp for Alex as they are for readers. It is this very elusiveness, juxtaposed against a strong sense of place, that intrigues, making this the best kind of page-turner, one about which you also have to think.”Booklist(starred review)

And some famous authors:

  • “It’s been ten years since Ian Caldwell co-wrote The Rule of Four. The Fifth Gospel was more than worth the wait. For those who might compare it to The Da Vinci Code, don’t. This marvelous book stands alone and will become the very high standard for any novel in this genre. Masterfully plotted and extraordinarily researched, and written in a voice that never rings false, The Fifth Gospel is that rare story: erudite and a page-turner, literary but compulsively readable. It will change the way you look at organized religion, humanity, and perhaps yourself.” —David Baldacci
  • The Fifth Gospel is nothing short of groundbreaking—a literary feast wrapped around an intriguing murder mystery. Caldwell writes with precision and passion as he takes us on an emotional journey deep into the workings of the Vatican and deeper into the hearts and souls of the men and women who have devoted their lives to the Church. The Fifth Gospel is a cathedral where skeptics and believers alike may enter and all will leave transformed.” —Nelson DeMille

The storyline extracted from Publishers Weekly:

. . .  the story revolves around two brothers: Alex Andreou, a married Greek Catholic priest who’s estranged from his wife and lives with his five-year-old son; and Simon Andreou, a Roman Catholic priest who works as a diplomat. Both brothers are involved with a controversial museum exhibit involving the Shroud of Turin. Dr. Ugolino Nogara claims that he has proven that the carbon tests dating the shroud to the medieval period are wrong, and that it is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. When the exhibit’s curator is found murdered and Simon is arrested, Alex sets out to find the truth—and becomes entangled in a grand-scale conspiracy that could resurrect a “poisonous ancient hatred.” An intelligent and deeply contemplative writing style, along with more than a few bombshell plot twists, set this one above the pack . . .

Okay. I pre-ordered it. It isn’t available from Simon and Schuster until the middle of March. I ordered the audiobook and the synchronized Kindle version which lets me read some, listen some while I walk the dog, read for awhile . . . you get the idea.  When it is released it will suddenly appear, as though by magic, on my iPhone and my Kindle reader.  

Categories: Books Tags: ,

Oh, oh, the Wells Fargo Wagon is a coming . . .

January 18, 2015 2 comments

imageJohn Klotz writes about his book on his blog, Living Free. I’ve pretty much copied everything he writes there by organizing it in to two parts. Part One is intended to get you to buy it; you may have read all these testimonial before. Part Two tells you how to order.

I haven’t seen the four color, hardcover edition.  It is on the way. This means I’ll have more to say when it arrives. Wells Fargo maybe? Postal, UPS, FedEx?  (I have read the book, however, an ebook version).

So without further comment, now, here is the text from John’s blog:

Part One:

It’s here. It has finally arrived. The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turn and the Apocalypse of Selfishness is now available in a hard copy four color edition published by CreateSpace and in multiple E-Book formats.

Read some of the reviews:

Barrie Schwortz
Editor, shroud.com
Documenting Photographer, 1978 Scientific Examination of the Shroud

"Meticulously researched, thoughtfully written and handcrafted with love and respect for the subject matter, this book is a must read for anyone fascinated by the Shroud of Turin and what it might mean to the world."

Daniel Porter
Editor, shroudstory.com

"It is the best book ever written about the Shroud. Actually, it is not just about the Shroud. The Coming of the Quantum Christ is about what the Shroud is about. It is about the confluence of streams of human understanding that meet in the study of the Shroud. Religion converging with science is one. Our history meeting our future is another. This book makes us think."

David Rolfe
Independent Movie Producer
Winner, BAFTA Award for The Silent Witness

"John Klotz brings a lawyer’s mind to an analysis of the Shroud and what, if genuine, it might mean for us. His assembly of the evidence for authenticity is meticulous and he relays it in an unfolding chronicle which also reveals the twists, turns and human frailties that have bedeviled the Shroud’s reputation and left it in limbo to anyone who has never taken the time and trouble to dig a little deeper. It is far reaching in its scope and conclusions. Hold on to your hats.”

Joe Marino
Author, Wrapped Up in the Shroud

"John Klotz has made a most impressive case for the argument that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth of Jesus. He thoroughly summarizes the history of the Shroud, including the politics involved in the controversial 1988 C-14 dating, as well as the scientific evidence that has been gathered since the late 19th century, including how the latest cutting-edge theory of quantum mechanics applies to the cloth. Heavily footnoted and lavishly illustrated with both color and black & white photos, this book should be in the collection of anyone interested in the Shroud, whether a novice or a trained scientist."

Annette Cloutiér
Author, Praey to God: A Tasteful Trip Through Faith

"Rarely does a book centered on one specific subject, in this case the Shroud of Turin, mirror a true integration of life. John Klotz’s genius in writing The Coming of the Quantum Christ is that he carefully and freely managed to integrate the whole of our current society and wrap it around the Shroud of Turin. The result of which The Coming of the Quantum Christ is the most exhilarating book ever written thus far on the investigations and the implications of the Shroud of Turin vis à visthe human condition. It is a clear and concise literary masterpiece, a must read for everyone interested or even just curious about the Shroud of Turin, Christ, and Life itself."

Part Two:

If you wish to order The Coming of the Quantum Christ:

CreateSpace

A hard copy full color version can be ordered from CreateSpace:

https://www.createspace.com/5049060

Smashwords

There are eight different formats that you can download on Smashwords and actually read a free sample.

Epub can be read by Nook and Adobe Digital Editions.  Mobi can be read by Kindle.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/509210


Book: The Physical Death and Resurrection: A Surgeon’s View

January 16, 2015 9 comments

Beginning with the Shroud of Turin, Dr. Norberto explores the scientific evidence
that links the Shroud to Jesus.

imageI was not acquainted with this book even though it came out in July, last year.  I just received an eblast this morning from Amazon to let me know The Physical Death and Resurrection: A Surgeon’s View by Dr. Jose J. Norberto  was now available in a Kindle edition and that I could buy the Kindle version for only $2.99 if I also bought the paperback version for $11.71 at the same time.

Why would I do that? I can buy the Kindle, alone, for $8.99.

The book has 30 reviews (surprisingly, 29 five star reviews and 1 four star review). You can read them here.

Here are two editorial reviews:

  1. "Dr. Jose Norberto, an accomplished cardiovascular surgeon, has written an interesting treatise on the crucification of Jesus Crist from a physician surgeon perspective. Readers will find his observations thought-provoking. His unique insights into the aspect of the unbelievable trauma to the human body of Jesus, as reported in Scripture, and his thoughts about the resurrection, are worth the reader’s consideration and attention." -G.B. Snider, MD, FACP
  2. "Scientists and physicians may feel troubled by the concept of faith and be reluctant to accept religion. Dr. Norberto has embraced the mysteries of faith and launched a medical investigation into certain biblical teachings. The Physical Death and Resurrection takes you on a scientific journey to the time of Christ. Beginning with the Shroud of Turin, Dr. Norberto explores the scientific evidence that links the Shroud to Jesus. In the second section, Dr. Norberto presents an intriguing scientific explanation of the crucifixion and the resurrection. The presentation is thoroughly researched and well written, offering its readers the historical and scientific evidence to support the resurrection." -Margaret S. Sawyer, M.D

About the Author from Amazon:

Dr. Jose J. Norberto grew up in the Dominican Republic, where he received his medical degree magna cum laude at the University of Santo Domingo. He completed his surgical training in the United States, receiving multiple awards for scientific research and medical excellence. Dr. Norberto is a cardiothoracic surgeon and the director of cardiac surgery at Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio. He enjoys spending time with his two daughters as well as practicing clarinet and saxophone.

Categories: Books Tags:

Six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist?

January 10, 2015 9 comments

Just in time for Easter and the 2015 Shroud Exposition

John the Baptist is an artifact?

imageIf, like half the world, you have been watching CNN during the last couple of days, you may have seen a frequent ad for an upcoming series of shows starting in March.  The ad, in a quick succession of screens says:  Faith, Fact, Forgery and Finding Jesus March 2015.

Google produces little information except a nearly empty page from Carmel Communications saying:

Finding Jesus: Faith, FACTS, Forgery, a CNN relics series – coming to television on March 1, 2015; a 6- week series.

More information coming soon!

Amazon tells us about a soon to be released book called, Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.: Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels by David Gibson (Author), Michael McKinley (Author). It will be available sometime around February 24th in Hardcover, Kindle, Audio CD and Downloadable Audio. The description reads:

As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "Finding Jesus"FINDING JESUS explores six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist, that give us the most direct evidence about the life and world of Jesus. The book and attendant CNN series provide a dramatic way to retell "the greatest story ever told" while introducing a broad audience to the history, the latest controversies, and newest forensic science involved in sorting out facts from the fiction of would-be forgers and deceivers. The book and the show draw on experts from all over the world. Beyond the faithful, the book will also appeal to the skeptical and to curious readers of history and archaeology, while it takes viewers of the primetime TV series deeper into the story.

I blogged about this last April writing then:

BREAKING: Jon Creamer of Televisual Media UK tells us about an upcoming six-part series on Jesus:

Nutopia is to make a ‘forensic’ drama doc about the life of Jesus in a six-part commission for CNN called Jesus Code.

Jesus Code will look at “forensics, biblical archaeology and forgery, exploring their connection to the real life of Jesus by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.”

The show will use drama reconstruction and interviews with scholars to re-examine six objects connected to the Biblical Jesus.

Executive Producer, Ben Goold (The Story of US, Mankind, The British) said “These are compelling and astonishing stories of relics such as the Turin Shroud and the True Cross that not only capture the imagination, but also offer real revelations about one of the most important figures in human history.”

Jesus Code will be produced by Nutopia in association with Paperny Entertainment. Filming will start in October in Europe, the US, North Africa and Middle East.  Executive Producers are Ben Goold for Nutopia and Lynne Kirby for Paperny Entertainment and it will be distributed internationally by DRG.

Jesus Code forms part of CNN’s new documentary strand in the ET 9pm primetime line-up.

Rodney Ho of The Atlanta Journal Constitution gives the story a bit more punch with a bit less detail as part of a story on 9 p.m. time slot that Larry King occupied for a quarter century and Piers Morgan attempted to fill. The story is mostly about the big guns CNN is bringing into the hour:Mike Rowe (‘formerly of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs’), Lisa Ling (formerly of “Our America with Lisa Ling”) and John Walsh (formerly of Fox’s ‘America’s Most Wanted”). And the icing on the cake:

Finally, how could the most famous man in history have left almost no trace behind? Bringing the most compelling artifacts together for the first time, The Jesus Code will take viewers on a thrilling high-stakes journey through forensics, biblical archeology and forgery in history, exploring the evidence of Jesus’ existence by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.

Let’s see, six relics?  (1) Shroud of Turin, (2) True Cross, (3) Holy Grail ???, (4) Veronica’s Veil ???, (5) Seamless Garment ???, (6) ???.

Can you guess what the other three artifacts will be?

Categories: Books, History, Video Tags: ,

And from Hong Kong

November 19, 2014 3 comments

Angelo Paratico has a nice quick synopsis of the modern day study of the shroud in Beyond Thirty-Nine, a blog he co-authors from Hong Kong. The posting is called  The Turin’s Shroud – a Mystery hidden into a Riddle.

clip_image001In Hong Kong we have one of the world’s great experts in the science of Sindonology, which is the study of the Shroud of Turin, known as Sindone in Italian. A Hong Kong resident since 1970, William Meacham, is an archeologist and a professor at HKU. He has many books published under his name and in particular there is one which is often cited by sindonologists: The Rape of the Shroud published in 2005.

In 1978 a special commission received permission to investigate scientifically this mysterious fabric, which appeared out of nowhere in Lirey, France, in the year 1353. This commission was called STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project). It started well, but soon descended into a factional war between bickering scientists and reluctant cardinals. Being these the basis, it is not surprising that the results, instead of clearing the waters, made them even murkier.

The book of Prof. Meacham is an highly scientific and well researched work, as he was one of the experts summoned to Italy and involved in the dating project of the Shroud, but was later sidelined by a group of people with a narrow view of what they were examining and, perhaps, lacking the necessary expertise. . . .

[ . . . ]

The validity of the C14 radiocarbon dating was put in doubt from the very beginning, and for a number of good reasons. We’ll limit ourselves to the most basic ones, noting only that it is hard to believe how scientists could act so clumsily. . . .

They found that where the image appeared there were no traces of pigments or colors, and it was certainly not obtained by heating or printing. . . .

Did anyone tell Charles and Colin? Be right back

Here is some show off trivia:

This relict had remained a property of the royal house of Italy, the Savoy, until 1983 when it was finally bequeathed to the Vatican by the last king of Italy, Umberto II, in his testament. Curiously this donation had been challenged, because what did belong to the last king should have been taken over by the republican government of Italy in 1946 but this matter is still taking dust in the Italian Parliament, as more pressing matters concerning the economy are at hand.

Categories: Books, Other Blogs Tags:

Maybe Friar Ockham was wrong

November 16, 2014 1 comment

The obvious question to ask about Ockham’s razor is: why?
On what basis are we justified to think that, as a matter of general practice,
the simplest hypothesis is the most likely one to be true?

imageThis past week I was reading an excerpt-as-an-article in Salon. It was taken from Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart by  Lex Bayer (left) and John Figdor (right). Salon packaged the excerpt as The new atheist commandments: Science, philosophy and principles to replace religion. Therein, the authors argue that “Atheism need not be reactionary — it can offer constructive rules to live by.”

“Stand back, Moses: Here’s our shot,” Bayer and Figdor say in the Salon lead.

Bumptious pompousity, if not part of stand up comedy, is reactionary; I guess they don’t get it. Or maybe they are just being flip. Anyway, it was a turn off. I thought about powering down the laptop for the night but the next sentence caught my attention:

We begin by suggesting a framework of secular belief. It begins with the simple question, How can I justify any of my beliefs?

I had to read on.

[W] e quickly realize that every belief is based on other preexisting beliefs. . . .

. . . Instead of presuming source beliefs are beliefs based on faith, let’s instead regard them as the starting assumptions for a logical proof. We can put forth a set of core assumptions and then develop a broader system of belief based on those assumptions. If the resulting system fails to create a cohesive and comprehensive system of belief, then we can start over. The initial assumptions can then be reformulated until a set is found that does lead to a consistent, meaningful “theorem of life.”

One method is . . .

to favor simplicity. This is called Ockham’s razor, after the fourteenth-century philosopher and theologian William of Ockham. The “razor” refers to any principle that helps narrow possibilities. This principle states that the answer that requires the fewest assumptions while explaining all of the facts is most likely to be correct.

But the authors caution us about this:

If we apply the razor to our search for source beliefs, it follows that a system of beliefs that requires fewer source beliefs has a greater likelihood of being valid. In other words, the fewer leaps of faith (unjustifiable source beliefs) required in order to create a system of belief, the less faith we need and the more confident we can be in the outcome.

Of course, it’s possible to misuse this concept—typically by ignoring the requirement to explain all the facts. For example, the hypothesis that height alone determines a person’s weight is a lot simpler than the notion that the complex interplay of a few dozen genes, diet, and exercise does so. But the simpler explanation fails to explain all the facts—namely, the stunning range of actual variation we see in real-life height-to-weight ratios. The five-foot-five sumo wrestler who weighs a hundred pounds more than the six-foot-nine basketball player presents an instant (and fatal) problem for the simpler answer. Thus, simpler is better so long as it explains all the facts.

Not being able to justify is not parsimonious unless you can be certain that you have all the facts. It’s not just not explaining all the facts. It’s knowing what the facts are that can be the problem. 

How often do we invoke Ockham’s Razor in this blog? In just the first half of this month we have have encountered:

  • Charles Freeman responding to John Green: 

    I still cannot see why you think the Shroud is outside the ordinary as a physical object other than that it was kept rather than being thrown away as we know most linens were after their colours had faded. Still please go on with your researches. You are certainly not into Occam Razor country!

  • John Klotz reacting to Charles Freeman:

    Amid all the tumult an debate, I think that applying Occam’s razor, the simplest solution, requiring the fewest assumptions is that the Shroud is what it purports to be, the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

  • Colin Berry addressing Charles Freeman:

    It’s the subtlety of the TS image , both as-is, and the way it responds to modern technology that should have told you the TS was no ordinary image, certainly not painted. Flaked-off paint? The onus is on you to deal with Occam’s Razor.

  • And Colin Berry addressing the lack of directionality in the images:

    Is it any wonder that some see the subject itself as the source of radiant energy, wavelength usually unspecified, albeit with handy orthogonal projection and ability to ‘scorch’ linen across air gaps, provided (a) they don’t exceed 3.7cm and (b) Occams’s razor is kept in its protective sheath.

  • Two and a half years ago I posted the following:


Taking Ockham’s Razor to Ockham’s Razor

imageThere is a whole lot of wisdom in a brief paper by Massimo Pigliucci over at Rationally Speaking:

. . . Philosophers often refer to this as the principle of economy, while scientists tend to call it parsimony. Skeptics invoke it every time they wish to dismiss out of hand claims of unusual phenomena (after all, to invoke the “unusual” is by definition unparsimonious, so there).

. . . The obvious question to ask about Ockham’s razor is: why? On what basis are we justified to think that, as a matter of general practice, the simplest hypothesis is the most likely one to be true? Setting aside the surprisingly difficult task of operationally defining “simpler” in the context of scientific hypotheses (it can be done, but only in certain domains, and it ain’t straightforward), there doesn’t seem to be any particular logical or metaphysical reason to believe that the universe is a simple as it could be.

What proof is there that the philosopher Franciscan friar William of Ockham (1288-1348) was right? How much science has been decided by taking leap of faith in Ockham?

Both sides in the Shroud of Turin debate invoke Ockham  as a weapon of choice, it seems, in every debate.

A MUST READ: Razoring Ockham’s razor

Categories: Books, News & Views Tags: ,

Utter hogwash

November 12, 2014 6 comments

imageIt has been mentioned at least twice in comments to postings in this blog. So here is a good article by Greg Carey (pictured) that appears in the Huffington Post:

Just this week another Jesus hoax has appeared in the media. Media producer Simcha Jacobovici has collaborated with a professor named Barrie Wilson on a book called, "The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text That Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene." I don’t wish to be rude, and I will freely admit I haven’t read the book yet, but the entire premise is utter hogwash.

[ . . . ]

We might begin with the book’s title. "The Lost Gospel" suggests the discovery of a new literary source, one that is either recently discovered or has been largely neglected. Instead, the "lost gospel" is actually an ancient Jewish (perhaps Christian) novel we call "Joseph and Aseneth." It’s well known, and it’s received quite a bit of scholarly attention. Joseph and Aseneth is included in the standard collections of ancient Jewish literature that all biblical scholars consult. This month’s Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, the most significant gathering of biblical scholars in the world, will include two papers devoted to the story. Just type "Aseneth" into your Amazon search window, and you’ll find quite a few books devoted to the story, including monographs by leading scholars.

Unfortunately, Jacobovici and Wilson describe the text as "Gathering dust in the British Library" and suggest they have "uncovered" it. Unfortunately, the media has bought into that narrative. . . . In fact, Duke University professor Mark Goodacre created his Joseph and Aseneth home page in 1999 — quite a bit before its recent "uncovering."

The new book’s subtitle reveals a second problem: "decoding." The authors claim this ancient novel carries a secret meaning. Joseph and Aseneth makes perfect sense without decoding.

[ . . . ]

It is always bad form to attack a theory by condemning its proponents, but Simcha Jacobovichi is a notorious peddler of misleading theories. He promoted an ossuary as containing the bones of Jesus’ brother James, a theory that has been disconfirmed. He also developed a documentary that claimed to unveil the Jesus family tomb, also refuted by experts, and even claims to have uncovered the nails used in Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s a shame that the media ever pays attention to him, at least when he’s talking about Jesus.

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