imageJoe Lunceford has provided us with a mixed review of the History Channel’s Jesus: The Lost Forty Days over at The Bible and Interpretation. He writes:

Perhaps the weakest link in the chain of evidence presented was its reliance upon the genuineness of the Shroud of Turin. One of the participants in the program conceded that by carbon 10 (sic, it is 14) dating, the shroud was dated between 1260 and 1390 CE. By using a work of art that apparently depicted the shroud, he argued for the much earlier existence of the shroud, although the actual difference between the time of the work of art and the shroud was less than a century. A great deal of the argument rested on the genuineness of the shroud. Take that away and much of the argument crumbles.

Actually, the significance of that work of art, a drawing in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript is very significant when fully understood in its historical context. And there is considerably more evidence that the carbon 14 dating is wrong. Perhaps the show could have been a bit stronger on this point. He continues:

Several careless statements or depictions also marred the presentation. For example, Mary Magdalene was said to have gone to Jesus’ tomb alone. This depends upon which Gospel one reads. . . .

Agree, but that really was not the point, here. And . . .

. . . Identification of the “disciple whom Jesus loved” as John and the author of the gospel raises serious questions, in my judgment. For John to have referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” would be extremely arrogant. I think this is one of the strongest arguments that John, son of Zebedee, was not the author of the Fourth Gospel.

Or, frankly, someone else altogether (my favorite theory). This is not what the show was about, however.

Further, presenting a picture of Thomas placing his finger in Jesus’ wounds is something else which is not supported by the canonical gospels.

Agreed. As I read it, Jesus called Thomas’ bluff.

Having said all this, the computer imaging was fascinating, though I am not sure how much it proves; the discussions were thought provoking at many points.

Very fascinating. Proves? Nothing. What it might infer? Much!

One participant raised the issue as to what constituted resurrection, i.e., whether it included bodily resuscitation or a different type of body. I would have liked to have heard this pursued at more length. I would also have been more interested in the “lost thirty years” between Jesus’ infancy and his earthly ministry, which is a total blank spot in the canonical gospels except for Jesus’ being taken to the temple when he was twelve years old.

Good subjects for a couple of different documentaries, I suppose.