Another Jesus Survived the Cross Legend: Another Tomb, of Course

imageAs reported yesterday in the Huffington Post. The article is by Ryan Grenoble:

It’s one of the world’s most ancient stories, familiar to millions across the globe: after escaping Jerusalem, Jesus Christ journeyed to Shingo, Japan, where he worked as a rice farmer, had a family, and ultimately died at the ripe old age of 106. OK . . . maybe that’s a slight variation on the classic script.

Most Christians dismiss this ‘Japanese Jesus’ legend as blasphemy, but the BBC reports the tale has its fair share of believers, too.

Paper Chase: distinctive features of the Shroud that have yet to be explained and their correlation with Historical Jesus research.

imageThis is a quote to whet your appetite.

"The Shroud of Turin is virtually ignored in “Historical Jesus” research. Why? In this paper, I will seek to provide an explanation for this curious lack of interest and examine ways in which “Historical Jesus” research and Sindonology might complement each other. Since the 1988 radiocarbon dating test, there has been a general assumption, particularly within the scientific community, that the Shroud is of medieval origin. The 1988 test results have largely been regarded as “decisive proof that the Turin Shroud is a forgery.” Recent studies, however, indicate that those results are in need of reevaluation. This paper will identify a number of distinctive features of the Shroud that have yet to be explained and will correlate these features with Historical Jesus research."

The quote is from a paper, The Shroud and the "Historical Jesus": Challenging the Disciplinary Divide by Simon Joseph, Ph.D.  Simon Joseph is an Adjunct Professor of Religion at California Lutheran University (more on the author: Simon Joseph’s CV) . This paper recently appeared on Barrie’s site.

What if Joseph of Arimathaea’s laundry-mark was found on the shroud

imageToday, August 29, 2012, Friends in Christ (Primitive Quakers) reproduced “My Lord and My God,” an article from a 2004 issue of a Quaker publication The Call . It offers an interesting and not unexpected perspective:

That is how things stand in what can only be considered a fascinating endeavour of religious archaeology. But what if it could be taken further? What if the archaeological equivalent of, say, Joseph of Arimathaea’s laundry-mark was found on the shroud, or a provenance for the Oviedo kerchief in the handwriting of the apostle Peter? Would that confer any kind of legitimacy on the current holder of either relic? Would either suddenly acquire miraculous properties? Would either prove what the Bible says about the death and resurrection of Jesus?

All of the above would be claimed – make no mistake about it – but the answer to the above questions is certainly “No”. Would there be, notwithstanding, and increase in religious fervour, attracting new devotees to the relics? Almost certainly yes!

Canticle to the Holy Face by St. Therese

imageYesterday, August 28, 2012, Carmel, Garden of God blog reprinted “Canticle to the Holy Face” – poem by St. Therese based on the Shroud of Turin. Go have a look:

The Holy Face of Jesus

(after the Holy Shroud of Turin)

This image is a reproduction of the drawing by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face

(Celine Martin) sister of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Canticle to the Holy Face

Dear Jesus! ‘tis Thy Holy Face

Is here the start that guides my way;

They countenance, so full of grace,

Is heaven on earth, for me, to-day.

. . .

Mr. Prolific’s Latest: “An exceptional article by Yannick Clément”

Yannick has another article for us The Holy Shroud Guild:


Was this page removed because it was just too political?

imageIt happens every now and then that someone removes a webpage or changes the content of a webpage and we want to see it as it once was. Well, there is some hope with the Wayback Machine. See the Web Archiving Blog.

An example come from a reader of this blog:

Was it you that one time said that it’s possible to get access to an old link, even if it’s been removed?  For some reason, one of the links that Bro. Bruno’s group had up has been removed.  It’s:

Was this page removed because it was just too political?  Too controversial? To unconfirmed? It may seem that way.

Well here is how to try and get it:

Enter the URL*/#

Where * is a timestamp in the form YYYYMMDDhhmmss and # is the URL in the form Timestamp is when the page was crawled and archived. Since you can’t possibly know it, use an asterisk and you will be given a selection to choose from. Click on the one you want, which is usually the oldest one.

So I tried it as follows:*/

imageI got a page that looked like this. It tells me that the page has been crawled 37 times and the last time was May 18, 2011. I clicked on May 18 and got the page with the following URL:

Standing Ovations All Around

imageTwo comments from blog posting, “Barrie Schwortz Announces Latest Changes to the Shroud of Turin Website (STERA, Inc.)” warrant special attention:

1. The first is from Thibault Heimburger:

Congratulations to you , Kelly Kearse, for your very beautiful and comprehensive review of the immunology of the blood.

I have learned many things, especially the details of Bollone’s studies which unfortunately are not available in English (or French).

It’s exactly the kind of balanced and honest paper we need.
I fully agree with your conclusion.

Thanks again and bravo !

2. The second is from Ron, a frequent and thoughtful participant in the blog:

MAN! You’ve got to hand it to Barrie, he is TIRELESS! Awesome update and sure worth the wait.

A huge THANK-YOU to our good friend Barrie Schwortz and anyone else involved in keeping the place to go for Shroud studies.

And that hardly covers it. I’m just reading The Shroud and the "Historical Jesus": Challenging the Disciplinary Divide by Simon Joseph. Fantastic! I’ll be up all night delving into this wonderful update.

Freethought or Cafeteria Thinking?

Here is how Ronald Bruce Meyer celebrated yesterday on his Freethought Almanac with extraordinary cafeteria thinking. Maybe that is what Freethought means: pick out fact you like and ignore the rest:

imageToday, August 25, but in 1978, the famous “Shroud of Turin,” venerated by Catholics as the burial cloth of the crucified Jesus, went on public display for the first time in 45 years. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia is parsimonious in its credulity: “…the claim is made that it is the actual ‘clean linen cloth’ in which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:59).” In 1988, a team of experts from three universities each independently tested and dated the cloth to around 1350. Joe Nickell, who collaborated with scientific and technical experts on his Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (2nd Ed., 1992) and Walter McCrone, a microchemist, in his Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin (1999), both demonstrate that the shroud is a medieval fake. In his article on the shroud from the Skeptic’s Dictionary , Robert Todd Carroll sums up: “Even if it is established beyond any reasonable doubt that the shroud originated in Jerusalem and was used to wrap up the body of Jesus, so what? Would that prove Jesus rose from the dead? I don’t think so. To believe anyone rose from the dead can’t be based on physical evidence, because resurrection is a physical impossibility.”

Barrie Schwortz Announces Latest Changes to the Shroud of Turin Website (STERA, Inc.)

Here is the latest update from STERA. I have edited out links to the Private Subscriber Page and to email addresses. Those links are available to subscribers and individual recipients. You really should subscribe to updates.


The Shroud of Turin Website


The Shroud of Turin Website

Long Overdue (and rather large) Update Finally Online

August 26, 2012


Dear . . .

Just a short note to let you know that a long overdue update is now available online. Rather than listing everything new in this e-mail, just go to to the Home Page and click on the Latest Update date link to see the details.

This update is actually the largest single update in the history of! So grab your reading glasses and pack a nice lunch! This update should keep you busy for a long time! And don’t forget to visit the Private Subscribers Page for exclusive offers not available to the general public.

You received this e-mail because you signed up as a subscriber to the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List.  As always, unsubscribing from this list is simple.  Just click on the SafeUnsubscribe link at the bottom of each e-mail and your name will be permanently removed immediately.  If you need to update your personal information or your e-mail address, just click on the Update Profile/Email Address link at the bottom of each e-mail and follow the instructions provided.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can contact me directly by e-mail at the address listed at the end of this letter.  Please be patient as I receive large volumes of mail.  Although I do my best to answer most of the letters I receive, a response is not always possible.  Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Warmest regards,

Barrie Schwortz

Editor & Founder, Shroud of Turin Website
President, STERA, Inc.

Quick Links…


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As Mysterious as the Shroud of Turin

imageWe are always looking for metaphors to describe the mysterious qualities of the shroud. Well, here is an interesting turn around from William Tate in the American Thinker:

Gallup’s monthly unemployment survey of 30,000 adults is arguably the most comprehensive research done on the nation’s jobless situation, other than the Bureau of Labor Statistics study of 60,000 households.  Gallup publishes its research without seasonal adjustments. The BLS’s version applies adjustments in an alchemic formula that’s more mysterious than the Shroud of Turin.

Please keep her away from the Shroud of Turin


A do-it-yourself restoration project took place a couple of weeks ago at the the church of Santuario de Misericordia in Borja, Spain, when an elderly woman reportedly took it upon herself to repair a fresco by 19th century Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez. Replacing nearly all of Martinez’s original brushstrokes, the woman’s reimagination of Christ went horribly awry when she turned the detailed figure into what appears to be a featureless monster. (Sourced paragraph from Huffington Post)

The Independent reports:

The third photograph shows the image transformed beyond recognition, with a childlike reworking of Jesus’ face, broad brush strokes removing any subtlety from the clothing and thick layers of red and brown paint covering several key details, including the crown of thorns.

Despite the terrible results, the restoration, which was completed without permission, is not thought to have been malicious; rather the work of an enthusiastic, if somewhat misguided, amateur who lived near to the church and simply wanted to repair the ageing artwork.

Please keep her away from the Shroud of Turin.

Scholarly Incompetence or Dishonesty?

imageStephen Jones doesn’t pull his punches in what is now Part 6 of his marvelous [C]ritique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey,"

So, as previously observed, either Freeman has not read Wilson’s book thoroughly (which would be scholarly incompetence) or he has read the above, but is concealing it from his readers (which would be scholarly dishonesty).

And what was it that was above? This:

"For westerners, the most familiar example of the genre will probably be the famous Veronica cloth. This is popularly associated with the story of a woman called Veronica wiping Jesus’s face with her veil as he struggled with his cross through Jerusalem’s streets on his way to be crucified. According to the story, Jesus’s ‘Likeness’ became miraculously imprinted on Veronica’s veil. Dozens of medieval and Renaissance artists depicted the scene, and thousands of Roman Catholic churches have it included among their ‘Stations of the Cross’, leading many to suppose the story must be in the gospels … In fact the story in this form dates no earlier than the late Middle Ages, seeming to have been invented to spice up ‘miracle play’ dramatizations of the Passion story. In a twelfth-century version" there was no woman called Veronica, though at that time the canons of St Peter’s, Rome were already keeping under close guard a cloth that was supposed to be the Vera Icon or ‘True Likeness’ of Jesus. Reputedly this likeness was imprinted not during Jesus’s carrying of the cross but when he wiped his face after the ‘bloody sweat’ in the Garden of Gethsemane. A popular attraction for pilgrimages to Rome during the Middle Ages, this cloth can be traced historically no earlier than the eleventh century. It seems to have been an official ‘copy’ for the western world of something that was altogether older and more mysterious being preserved at that time in the Byzantine east, in Constantinople." (Wilson, 2010, pp.110-111).

And, part 7 is promised. This may turn into a book of sorts.

Shroud of Turin Bargain of the Day: In Home & Kitchen, No Less

With savings of $905.00, who can complain that it isn’t eligible for Amazon Prime, meaning you will need to pay $4.00 for shipping. At these prices, only $595.00 while supplies last, you can buy several of these 6 foot long cloths.  Remember when Amazon sold books?


The Shroud of Turin in Twitter

imageThe Shroud of Turin has a way of working itself into the news. There were thousands upon thousands of tweets about Representative Kevin Yoder’s skinny dipping that also mentioned the Shroud. Here is one:

Congressman Yoder apologizes for skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee. At least he didn’t towel off with the Shroud of Turin.

You can easily imagine the others, or not. At least the Shroud of Turin is getting some attention.

Can our consciousness operate independent of time and space?

imageA MUST READ: Michael Redux: Quantum mechanics, consciousness and love by my friend and this blog’s regular reader and frequent commenter John Klotz:

The question of whether human consciousness is a distinct phenomenon that survives death, is at the core of most religious belief. Now, it is becoming a scientific issue as well. Science is dealing with two related phenomena: the existence of human consciousness and the nature of existence of all matter at the quantum level. Science in attempting to explain human consciousness is science attempting to define the soul. Is our consciousness a discreet process that may operate independent of space and time? Or,  is it only an accumulation of sensations that ends when the individual dies and the brain is  rendered inert and decaying? Can  our consciousness operate independent of time and space? Is there any scientific basis for eternal life? Is the Resurrection real?

AND A MUST WATCH VIDEO: John directs us to a helpful presentation:

Two scientists, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff have advanced a theory that answers some of those questions and indicates, that contrary to the militant atheism now rampant in our culture and science, survival of consciousness after death is an attainable scientific proposition. Hameroff appeared on “Through the Worm Hole,” a scientific series of the Discover Channel hosted by Morgan Freeman. You can view his presentation at

(That is the six minute version of the presentation. There is a longer version that runs 43 minutes at YouTube)

Now go read John’s complete essay Michael Redux: Quantum mechanics, consciousness and love

Mark Balma Completes Frescos Based on Shroud of Turin

imageYou may recall that back in May I posted Ray Downing working with fresco artist Mark Balma. Ray Downing now writes:

I just received an email from fresco artist Mark Balma, whom you mentioned on your blog on May 18.

He has completed the three panels depicting the Transfiguration. Have a look.

Here is why this may be important (from the Post Review in Minneapolis)

Balma is currently working with computer graphics artist Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth to design the image of Christ.
Those familiar with the Shroud of Turin might know of Downing.
In March of 2010, the History Channel released a two-hour documentary about the shroud, a 14-foot length of cloth believed to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus.
A face, believed to be that of Jesus, is imprinted on the shroud. Using the fabric and the aid of computer imaging, Downing produced a three-dimensional image that Balma will use to create the “most historically accurate” rendering of Christ ever produced, Welty said.

Another Review of Thomas de Wesselow’s “The Sign”

Günther Simmermacher has an interesting review of Thomas de Wesselow’s “The Sign” in The Southern Cross: Southern Africa’s Catholic Weekly:

imageCatholics in particular will also disagree with De Wesselow’s categorical but thinly supported assertion that James the Just, first bishop of Jerusalem, was born of Mary, or that the story of Peter’s presence (and death) in Rome is “dubious”.

The author frequently overextends himself. For example, he casually insists that “Jesus is likely to have had a wife”, as was customary in his culture. He concedes that celibates existed in Jesus’ time, “but there is no evidence that Jesus was one of them”. Other, one might respond, than every credible literary reference to Jesus, none of which mentions a wife or even a romantic liaison.

[ . . . ]

The idea that the core of the Christian faith is predicated on a series of shroud parades is bizarre and unconvincing; it makes for entertaining conjecture, but fails to add to serious scholarship.

And yet, if the Turin Shroud is indeed the genuine burial cloth of Christ, then it might well have been used as one means of evangelisation after the first Pentecost, perhaps even in some of the ways which de Wesselow describes.

It is an intriguing thought.

An Interview with Mark Antonacci

Rhonda Brackett interviews Mark Antonacci (about 70 minutes) on August 15. From the shows site:

imageMark Antonacci is an attorney who, for more than thirty years, has studied all aspects of the evidence and its relevance regarding the Shroud of Turin.  He gave a keynote address at the international conference held in Frascati, Italy in conjunction with the Shroud’s last exhibition in 2010 in which he presented a series of scientific tests and experiments to be conducted on the Shroud and its samples.  He is the founder and president of The Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, a non-profit corporation that funds scientific research relating to the Shroud.  He is the author of The Resurrection of the Shroud (New York: M. Evans and Co., 2000) and is writing another book on this subject.

And now the Sudarium of Oviedo: The Novel

imageFROM THE I CAN HARDLY NOT WAIT DEPARTMENT: Comic books, now this. It is called Immortal Surrender: The Curse of the Templar, Book II by Claire Ashgrove. It should be available on September 25, 2012. This sample is from the author’s website:

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

[ . . . ]

“How’s it feel to prove the existence of Christ?”

The wavering masculine voice invaded Noelle Keane’s laboratory as a door clicked shut. She looked over her shoulder to greet aging archaeologist Gabriel San Lucee with a smile. “Morning, Gabriel.” She turned back to the cloth.

Thirty-three inches of fragile cloth swathed the laboratory table. Laid out with less care than anyone had given the delicate weave in centuries, it bore dark stains in the wrinkled center, telltale marks of its original insignificance. But though it had once been little more than a scrap meant for the trash, millions revered it. Now the flimsy piece of material would gain more respect and attract thousands of devotees. All in the name of a mythical being who no one could prove existed.

Noelle ran her gloved hand across the rough surface, smoothing out wrinkles that would never see an iron. In her other hand, she held a typed printout of her carbon-dated findings. The evidence was there, and yet all it proved was that the Sudarium of Oviedo covered a body in the approximate year 33.

Not what body. Not which month. Not even where it had been used. Supposition laid claim to all those things. Scientific fact, however, verified only its age. That and the blood type AB. All the rest of the findings—such as pollen type and traces of myrrh that had been verified in the midnineties—could relate to any number of ancient funerary practices in Palestine.

She folded it into a loose square, small enough to fit into the airtight canister that protected it.

“You didn’t answer my question.” Pulling on gloves, Gabriel joined her at the table and leaned a hip on the edge. He extended a wrinkled hand toward the metal container. “May I hold it?”
She passed him the canister. “I haven’t proved Christ existed. Until they dig up his bones, that won’t happen. And even if they do dig up his bones, barring your God suddenly appearing to tell us otherwise, we can’t prove the bones are Jesus Christ’s.”

[ . . . ]

Truthfully, she already knew what brought him here today. Gabriel had been part of the team of scientists that dated the Shroud of Turin in the eighties. He’d want to see this supposed counterpart.

“Well, yes and no.” He slung a leather satchel that had seen better days over his shoulder and set it on the table.

“Yes, I wanted to see the Sudarium. But I needed to talk to you as well.”

“Make it quick. I’ve got a flight to catch. That little baby has to be back in the Cámara Santa tonight. If it’s not, Father Phanuel will have a coronary.” She shrugged out of her lab coat, hung it on the wall, and went to the mirror to tighten her ponytail. “He’s convinced someone’s going to steal it.”

[ . . . ]

Slowly turning, Noelle dropped her gaze to the gnarled cane resting against Gabriel’s left leg. He’d devoted his life to proving the Shroud of Turin was legitimate. Now he was almost eighty, and all he had to show for his research was a shroud that dated from the thirteenth century and a crippled leg. . . .

Some Advice for Colin Berry

imageDear Colin,

The reason your Shroud of Turin blog is not getting the traffic you want has little or nothing to do with me. The allegation that I am “pirating” your material and thus costing you hits, responses and search engine ranking is, well, preposterous. You write:

. . . but for Shroudie news aggregation sites, one in particular, there would be far more hits and perhaps responses, here on my own site to my own original content. It’s the copying-and-pasting of most of one’s work – sometimes within minutes of posting – that I object to most. Visitors to those other sites then feel, probably correctly, that they have been supplied with the gist, and then  feel no incentive to visit one’s site. This pirating of others’ content (let’s not mince our words – it IS pirating) then impacts unfavourably, disastrously even, on one’s ranking in search engines under general search labels like “shroud of turin” since the inter-site linking and CLICKS that one needs to register with the Google and other algorithms simply does not occur. I see Google has just announced that sites that pirate music etc will now find themselves de-ranked.  I sincerely hope the same will apply in due course to ALL sites whose standard MO is the pirating of  large chunks of others’ content – often graphics an’ all -  with what can only be described as indecent haste.

I suspect that if your looked at the problem “scientifically,” you would discover that things are quite different than you imagine. You might discover that Google has counted 970,218 inbound links for this blog. Your blog has 449 and most of your external inbound links come from here. It took time and perseverance. We could try an experiment. I could ignore you completely: no so-called pirating and no links to you whatsoever. Now, how many hits are you going to get? Will getting a good search engine ranking take longer? I don’t know. Probably.

I have never complained to anyone about pirating my material. And no one has ever complained to me, before. In blogging, we all tend to appreciate quoting and linking to each other even as we disagree on substance. I know, it is frustrating, at times. I understand that. But, the reason your blog is not getting the traffic you want has little or nothing to do with me.

What you call pirating, is how a lot of blogging is done, but it is not called pirating. I actually use tools from Google provided exactly for the purpose that you object to: fair use quoting. And just what is fair use? Check out “Blog It!” in Google Chrome. Read guideline provided by your and my blogging host, WordPress. Go look at most of the political blogs. They quote extensively. Or the sports blogs. Or the religious blogs. Or the science blogs. They all do it. Better yet, go look at the most successful Atheism  blog on the internet, “Pharyngula: Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal,” by PZ Myers. PZ does it. Pharyngula is a blog with wonderful science that I enjoy and a perspective on religion that I find primitive — well I would think that, wouldn’t I.  As long as one quotes accurately, includes or invites commentary (fair use) and provides links (good netiquette) it is acceptable, ethical blogging. That is the widely accepted model.

Interestingly, just three days ago, PZ put up a posting about how he became successful at blogging. Because I really do want you to be a success with your blog, Colin (you may not believe it), I am shamelessly “pirating” material from PZ and reproducing it here. He writes:

imageI’ve been at it for about ten years, with my share of controversy, and none of it really contributes to long-term growth: not Expelled, not the cracker, not every little sudden surge from Reddit and Fark and Digg. Those give little bursts of attention from people who weren’t interested in your blog in the first place; they visit to see the source of all the commotion, and then they leave.

What makes a blog grow is 1) regular updates, 2) consistent themes, 3) maintaining the attention of other blogs out there, 4) cultivation of an interactive readership that adds value to your blog, and 5) time (slow steady growth is best, and it can’t by definition happen overnight). Probably also good writing, but I wouldn’t know much about that, and I’ve also seen some gloriously well-written blogs that idle along with light traffic because they ignore my top 5 suggestions.

PZ is right about this. And, by the way, that really is a cartoon of him that I pirated from his blog.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” There is some wisdom in that, particularly so when the object of discussion is to arrive at the truth. I really do want to see your blog thrive. The reason your blog is not getting the traffic you want has little or nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with giving it some time and working hard at it. Don’t try to plant link-only comments in my blog, as you did, then accuse me of denying others information. That won’t cut it on my blog or any blog. If you want to accuse me of pirating your work, write to me, directly. Give me the specifics and I will consider removing the content and explaining why.

Take PZ’s advice. Hang in there. In time, you will get the traffic. And if you want to quote me a bit or a lot, go for it, please. Quote me completely. (Actually, you do it quite a bit, hmm.) A link would be nice. You don’t need to refer to me as the “other site,” as you do. My blog has a name and links just as yours, Casting a critical eye at that Shroud of Turin, does.

Also, go to the dashboard settings for your blog. Turn on some of the publicity settings. Make sure you are feeding Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Stumble, etc. The reason your blog is not getting the traffic you want has little or nothing to do with me.

Good blogging,


The Shroud of Turin Spectacular: A podcast for Atheists, Agnostics and Whoever

This is an interesting podcast from an ex-Catholic, who states: “Despite the irreverent title, in this episode I do my best to take a fair and even affectionate look at the Shroud of Turin.” It runs about 38 minutes:

New Biblical Documentary of Biblical Proportions

Speaking of the face of Jesus (see the last posting, the picture in it is from the History Channel’s “The Real Face of Jesus?”) I found this story in the Wall Street Journal interesting:


imageMALIBU, CALIF. – The king of reality television, Mark Burnett, is taking on God and the Bible. Specifically focusing on Genesis through Revelation, Burnett is working in conjunction with The History Channel to create a 10-hour scripted drama using live-action and computer generated imagery.

“This project is, in every sense of the word, epic,” said Burnett.

Although the biblical series won’t appear on The History Channel’s schedule until March 2013, it is already slated to air in five-parts.

“160 million people go to church and talk about the Bible, but I want to really look at what’s in it,” said Burnett.

The executive producer developed the series with his wife, Roma Downey, who will also star as the Virgin Mary. Although they are still casting, Burnett told the Journal that he’s culling actors from “Game of Thrones,” “Sex and the City” and “The Borgias.”

This is not the first time the History Channel has put forth a religious series. Last year, the network featured “The Real Face of Jesus?”, a documentary that followed graphic experts as they recreated Jesus’ face using technology and the Shroud of Turin, a holy relic.

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