Ignorance or Bigotry or PZ Myer-ism

William Skyvington, an Australian expatriate in France writes in his blog Antipods:

During the present days of journalistic lassitude, another terrifying monster has emerged in the French press: the Shroud of Turin, alleged to have been wrapped around the sacred body of Jesus.

Serious historians have known for ages that this medieval cloth, with its curious symmetrical stains, is no doubt a clever piece of skulduggery that could have been produced by myriad techniques, known and unknown. Meanwhile, it’s utterly ridiculous to imagine that this cloth might have received some kind of photographic imprint of the crucified body of a certain Jesus of Nazareth. One would have to be crazy to accept such tripe. But there exist indeed hordes of crazy individuals—known as Roman Catholics—who are prepared to believe in such bullshit. And lazy journalists, in this empty season, can easily tune in to such folk to create superficial media buzz. [Emphasis his in terms of color and italics]


And what serious historians is this blogger referring to? Names? And are historians who think otherwise (Scavone, Wilson, Cahill, Habermas) perhaps not serious? Roman Catholics? What about Anglicans, Evangelicals, Protestants, and, yes, Jews who think it is real? I’ve met Agnostics and Atheists who think it is possibly real. Do these others simply believe the “bullshit” without being “prepared.”

Skyvington calls himself a journalist. See: Antipodes: What can we talk about in 2011?

5 thoughts on “Ignorance or Bigotry or PZ Myer-ism”

  1. Among historians, I think it is worth mentioning french historian Emmanuel Poulle who published in 2006 and 2009 two of the most important articles on the Turin Shroud in renowned peer-reviewed journals : Revue d’Histoire de l’Eglise de France and Revue d’Histoire Ecclesiastique( http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18512573 and http://www.rhe.eu.com/pages/rhe195.asp )

    I know it is written in French but I cannot explain why he is (almost?) never mentioned by historians such as Scavone.

  2. These days, there are multifarious ways of reacting to wonderful manifestations (of which there are many) in the world around us. Because of my scientific and technological background, I’m inspired primarily by scientific and technological manifestations. But the antiquated manifestations of religion concern and interest me greatly, too, because they’re synonymous with what might be termed our humanity.

    In the region of France where I live, not far away from Chambéry, people are aware of the early days of the alleged shroud of Jesus. It so happens that the ecclesiastic historian Ulysse Chevalier wrote about this strange object in several interesting French-language articles (which can be downloaded today from the Gallica database). Chevalier’s articles constitute, to my mind, a splendid presentation of the legendary background of the discovery and context of this object. Today, personally, I would not wish to waste too much time talking emptily with anybody who has not examined closely these comments of the great regional historian Ulysse Chevalier, who happens to be my constant reference in everything that concerns the ancient history of my adoptive home in the Dauphiné.

    As for more recent analyses of this cloth, I have nothing to add to what has already been exposed abundantly.

    For everything concerning allegedly “miraculous” manifestations of certain facets of Humanity (as interesting as they are), I recommend strongly the reading of books by Richard Dawkins, who is a brilliant and serious dispeller of bullshit.

    As for me, I must state “graciously” that I have nothing more to add to any eventual debate about the so-called Shroud of Turin… which bores me infinitely. Shit, read some fucking Dawkins!

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