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.