Davor Aslanovski’s posting on his blog is a must read: Is sindonology a relic cult?
I will not discuss the rest of [Freeman’s] article for several reasons:
1.) It offers the only thing that (scientifically orthodox) history can, at present, offer on the topic: yet another autopsy of a joke that had already been done to death. So there’s very little to add to it.
2.) In comparison to Andrea Nicolotti‘s autopsy, Freeman’s is incomparably less exhaustive. In comparison to mine, it is much more general. In comparison to Yannick Clement’s, much more anodyne. In comparison to those of Professors Cameron, Gramaglia, or Brock, Robin Cormack or Hans Belting, it is substantiated by far less of an academic career. So, all in all, as these autopsies go, this is not even a particularly remarkable one.
3.) By Freeman’s own testimony, the article was written primarily because Thomas de Wesselow gave Wilson’s theories ‘an imprimatur of a brilliant Cambridge art historian.’ And if you go on de Wesselow’s site, you’ll find that the two gentlemen seem to be enjoying their own private little war. So it’s probably best to stay out of that.
There is this:
The leaders of this ‘cult’ do not seem to have any problem with the fact that their obsessive followers hurl personal insults on their opponents, that they dub the entire academic establishment ‘evil sycophants,’ and think that ‘there is a deeper, darker dimension’ to the academic rejection of Wilson’s theories.
Just read these few lines:
‘Freeman and his anti-Christian ilk don’t realise that in so doing they are acting out their part in Christs’ Play. In “The Parable of the Weeds” (Mt 13:24-30) He whose image is on the Shroud told us that He allows these weeds to “grow … until the harvest” at which time (if they don’t repent) He “will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds … and bind them in bundles to be burned.’
Does this sound like a Christian relic cult? Have you ever visited a Christian church where a relic was exposed for veneration and heard anything like what you hear in ‘sindonological’ circles? Are personal insults, hate talk, and disrespectful qualifications the usual signs of the veneration of relics? And are the sick that flock to them usually encouraged to obsess about the intricacies of their historical provenance?
And there is this:
. . . Today, the lifestyle that Wilson has pioneered looks more like this: you wake up in the morning (or perhaps in the middle of the night), turn your computer on and go see whether there’s anything new on Dan Porter’s blog. There is! Some academic Antichrist, whom you have been warned about both in the Gospel according to Matthew and in the Apocalypse of John, is disagreeing that quiffs of hair are crucial to portraiture. You put on your shining armour and battle this dragon. You write something short and astute . . .
And this conclusion:
But, lest this post become endless and I myself turn this madness into a lifestyle, let’s leave it at this. ‘Sindonology’ is definitely not a relic cult. It is what I have called it several months ago – a heresy. Primarily a scientific one, but not exclusively. Because it doesn’t just paint the wrong picture of what science is, it also paints the wrong picture of what Christianity is.
Perhaps Davor Aslanovski is right if this is a warning. But it isn’t quite time to tie us to the stakes. This blog tries to give a voice to everyone in order that ‘sindonology’ not become a cult or a heresy. Just look at everything that gets questioned and examined here. That means we have to be open to the views of a fundamentalist who makes parables of parables (a misuse of scripture, to some). That doesn’t mean we all condone the insult. Some do. I don’t. The meaning of the parable, as Luther and many have argued is about tolerance. It is used by Jones to mean the opposite. Jones has taken it on the chin, here, in this blog.
And so has Ian Wilson. But it isn’t just from Freeman or Aslanovski but also from Yannick Clement who strongly accepts the very same chemical story that Thomas de Wesselow accepts. And Yannick takes it on the chin from fellow ‘sindonologists.’
If one could limit the shroud to academia only, it won’t be studied much at all. I’m pleased that the amateurs – who are not heretics – are pulling in some people from academia.
And now some of us will put on our shining armor.