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Happy Easter from Discovery

imageIt must be the day before Easter. Rossella Lorentz just three hours ago posted an article called Fact-Checking the Bible. It is pretty tame. In fact, this who media season leading up to Easter has been fairly quiet. Here are some samples. The Shroud of Turin gets mentioned in a sort of different way:

Camels:

  . . . according to newly published research by Tel Aviv University based on radiocarbon dating and evidence unearthed in excavations, camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until the 10th century BC — several centuries after the time they appear in the Bible.

Adam and Eve: 

The fossil record indicates that humans did not appear suddenly, but evolved gradually over the course of six million years.

. . . they weren’t the only man and woman alive at the time, or the only people to have present-day offspring.

The Great Flood:

[A] 3,700-year-old clay tablet, consisting of 60 lines in cuneiform, has been dubbed a prototype of Noah’s ark described in the Bible.

The tablet contains a detailed construction manual for building an ark with palm-fiber ropes, wooden ribs and coated in hot bitumen to make it waterproof. It also contains the first description of the ark’s shape — surprisingly, it’s a massive round vessel.

We can skip over Exodus, the birth of Jesus, the question of whether or not Judas betrayed Jesus and jump right into the Crucifixion of Jesus: 

Described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in writings by Paul the Apostle, Jesus’ death by crucifixion at the direction of Pontius Pilate has also been questioned. The main argument is that there is no first-hand witness for Jesus’s crucifixion.

As for physical evidence, a heated ongoing debate surrounds the Shroud of Turin, the piece of linen that that some believe to have been wrapped around Jesus’ body after the crucifixion and others debunk as a medieval fake following radiocarbon tests. The Vatican itself remains neutral on the issue.

Gosh, I’m not upset by any of this. I think I agree with most of it.  The Bible is not a history book, after all. But at least I think Jesus was crucified. I think the vast majority of biblical scholars and historians of the first century think so. And I don’t think the shroud can prove anything here.

Funny, they forgot to cover the Resurrection.

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