A fascinating, well written, excitingly illustrated (particularly in print) summary of the stories of the apostles appears in the March 2012 edition of National Geographic. It is by Andrew Todhunter with photographs by Lynn Johnson. It is the months’ featured article, the cover story. Don’t miss it:
Not all scientists are eager to press too hard on holy relics. Giorgio Filippi, an archaeologist employed by the Vatican, told me he had opposed the recent analysis and dating of Paul’s relics in Rome, announced by the pope in 2009. “Curiosity does not justify the research. If the sarcophagus was empty or if you found two men or a woman, what would you hypothesize? Why do you want to open St. Paul’s tomb? I didn’t want to be present in this operation.” The subsequent investigation, through a finger-size hole drilled in the sarcophagus, produced a bone fragment the size of a lentil, grains of red incense, a piece of purple linen with gold sequins, and threads of blue fabric. Independent laboratory analysis, the church claimed, revealed that they dated to the first or second century. Not conclusive, but better news for the faithful than if they had hailed from the fourth century. The first-century date would mean the bones could be those of St. Paul. Until science advances to the point that testing can reveal fine details such as that the person was short, bald, and from Tarsus—Paul’s presumed birthplace on the Turkish coast—we’re not likely to get much closer to the truth.
Link: The Apostles – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine
This is another example on how honestly the Catholic Church is facing the issue of relics during the last 150 years. They want to know through historical,scientific research whether some relics are true or not and then tell the world. At this moment, the cult to the huge number of them that were considerd in the past, has been abandonned. Regarding the Shroud,in Spain many copies that in the past were considered to be the true ones were forgotten one century or more years ago. Now they reappear again but making clear that they are copies.
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