New Video Featuring Russ Breault

Russ Breault writes:

Here is a link to the first of two half-hour interview shows for Prophecy in the News.  The show can be seen on The Church Channel or on their website.  They posted this Youtube version today.

It was published yesterday. It runs for 28 minutes. Enjoy.

And More Still on the Roman Flagellum and Flagrum

imageYannick Clément writes:

. . . I have found an interesting document that has been posted online years ago by William Meacham concerning the Roman flagellum and flagrum.

It is interesting. It is an entry from the 1874 Dictionary of Roman and Greek Antiquities by Anthony Rich.

Roman Variety

clip_image001Yannick Clément writes by email:

Just like it is a historical fact that the Romans used various positions for crucifixion, it is also a historical fact that they used various types of things at the end of their flagrum. In the case of the Shroud man, the most important thing to note concerning his scourge marks is the fact that, beside a Roman flagrum, there is no other ancient type of whip (coming from Antiquity or Medieval time) that could have leave those types of dumbbell shape marks on almost every parts of his body… If someone can show me a whip that was used during Antiquity or Medieval time in Europe or outside the Roman empire during Antiquity that also had something round at the end of the leather tongues (like a metal ball or an animal bone), I would consider the scourge marks evidence differently. But so far, I have not come across anything of that nature to change my mind…

Goodness me, look what I’ve found

clip_image001. . .  writes Hugh Farey in a comment.


Description in French:

  • Fin Ier siècle après J-C.
    Provenance: Vayson-la-Romaine, France.
    Ancienne collection des années 1950.
    Plusieurs éléments de ce type étaient accrochés à l’extrémité de lanières en cuir, elles-mêmes attachées au bout d’un court manche en bois. Cet instrumen (FLAGRUM ou FLAGELLUM), servait a punir les légionnaires romains.
    TRES RARE et en très bon état de conservation !!! Belle patine "vert-bouteille".

Google Translation to English:

  • Late first century AD.
    Provenance:. Vayson-la-Romaine, France
    . Former collection 1950
    Several elements of this type were hung at the end of leather straps, attached themselves after a short handle wood. This instrumentation (flagrum or flagellum), used to punish the Roman legionaries.
    VERY RARE and in very good condition! Patina "green bottle".

This has followed a discussion in Dissent of the day: I’ll say one thing for Jones


The Dictionary Entry

Can doubts about the shroud strengthen Christian faith?

imageA reader sent me 1) a question, 2) a link to a Huffington Post article and 3) a Kindle book as a gift.

First the gift. It is Frank Schaeffer’s newest book, Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God. Yes, the gift will get your question published in the blog. I’d have published it anyway. Thanks. I may even read the book. It sounds interesting.

Who is Frank Schaeffer?  According to the New York Times:

To millions of evangelical Christians, the Schaeffer name is royal, and Frank is the reluctant, wayward, traitorous prince. His crime is not financial profligacy, like some pastors’ sons, but turning his back on Christian conservatives.

The generous reader pointed out these paragraphs in the HuffPo article written by Schaeffer:

. . .  I’ve never met an unequivocal atheist or religious believer. I’ve only met people of two, three or four or more minds–people just like me. Atheists sometimes pray and eloquent preachers secretly harbor doubts. The evangelist Billy Graham preached certain salvation and heaven guaranteed yet privately told my dad, a friend and fellow evangelist, that he feared death and had many doubts.

[. . . ]

Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian, you are that because of where and when you were born. If you are an atheist, you are that because of a book or two you read, or who your parents were and the century in which you were born. Don’t delude yourself: there are no good reasons for anything, just circumstances.

Don’t delude yourself: you may describe yourself to others by claiming a label of atheist, Jew, evangelical, gay or straight but you know that you are really lots more complicated than that, a gene-driven primate and something more. Want to be sure you have THE TRUTH about yourself and want to be consistent to that truth? Then prepare to go mad. Or prepare to turn off your brain and cling to some form or other of fundamentalism, be that religious or secular.

The question was simple and it was at least on the same continuum:

How much is study of the Shroud of Turin about dealing with our own uncertainties? I know you say your faith came first. You tell us that if the shroud were disproven, it wouldn’t change your faith. Are you sure?

I am a cradle Episcopalian. That much of Schaeffer’s thesis I must agree with. I’ve always had faith and I’ve always had my share of doubts. I like the integration of my fascination in the shroud with my faith. But one does not depend on the other, at least not too much so. But doubt can be a good thing with Christian faith and in the study of the shroud. It seems at times that doubts about this or that having to do with the shroud strengthens my Christian faith. And maybe it’s the other way around as well.

Thanks for the book and making me think about this question.

The Shroud as a Sunday School Tool

clip_image001About a week ago, Mary Kate Warner, wrote an article for Heart of the Matter Online An Ascension Discussion for Older Children that focused on the Shroud of Turin.

Heart of the Matter is a discussion blog focusing on Home Schooling from an Evangelical Christian point of view. For many of us, it is interesting to see, from a different perspective, this mistaken notion of worshipping things by, I guess, Catholics, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians:

Christians teaching in Youth Ministry will probably long be divided on whether seeing religious relics is helpful to people’s faith or whether it goes against God’s wishes.

For those who want nothing to do with items like the Shroud, they have well-taken points. The last thing God wants on planet Earth is idolatry, and He made sure many tempting objects were destroyed or hidden for man’s sake. The following items are not to be found, probably hidden by God to protect man’s inclination to worship “things:” the burial place of Moses, Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, the Cross of Christ, the Holy Sepulcher, and the resting places of any of the 12 disciples.

What the Christian community may need to wrestle with is the difference between worshipping relics and allowing them to increase faith— especially the faith of scientific skeptics—and help today’s generation understand God better.

John Jackson, lead Scientist of STURP says that with the study of the Shroud of Turin, “We may have a real opportunity where science and religion can come together most profoundly.”

Mary Kate Warner does suggest a shortened version of the History Channel’s The Real Face of Jesus.

Watching the documentary will give kids a wonderful chance to see a piece of Christian history embraced by both scientists and the most advanced of computer technologists.

Digital imagery specialist Ray Downing, Emmy winner for his 3-D depictions in Stealing Lincoln’s Body, created the face of Jesus in 3-D after months of labor.

“What you see on the Shroud of Turin is not a picture of a face. It’s a database of information.” The face he created looks nothing like the Shroud, which is “data packed into 2-D.” He unfolds that data in 3-D. Russ Breault, expert on the project, says, “It is possible that the shroud presents an opportunity for 21stcentury people across the world to see the resurrected Christ through photography and in a sense…place our hands into His nail wounds and be not faithless but believe.”

Here is a too long one minute trailer

imageMarty McKee from Virginia, perhaps because he was looking for something to do, had decided yesterday to write a review of the 1979 so-called documentary, In Search of the Historic Jesus. You can actually buy an old VHS tape while they last for $3.95. (Does old VHS tape dry out and crumble?) You can download the movie for more than that, if you don’t have a VHS player. Or you can skip the whole experience.  Marty seems to think you should.

Based in Park City, Utah, Sunn Classics produced and distributed big hits, such as THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY (which posited that, among other things, John Wilkes Booth’s death was faked by anti-Reconstruction government forces) and IN SEARCH OF NOAH’S ARK. Certainly it was that movie’s success and the then-trendy Shroud of Turin controversy that spurred the production of 1980’s IN SEARCH OF HISTORIC JESUS, a corny, cheap-looking laugh riot that nonetheless earned big box office.

imageJohn Rubinstein (CRAZY LIKE A FOX) portrays Jesus wearing a comically fake beard, who looks to a cloudy blue sky to receive marching orders from God (voiced by Peter Mark Richman!). He wanders about, placing his hands on the faces of lepers (wearing atrocious makeup), which makes their faces glow with cartoon animation. He calls for the resurrected Lazarus, who emerges from a cave looking fresh as the morning dew. He walks on water and makes storms go away just by placing his palms together. After his crucifixion, he appears to his disciples in an animated starburst like a sitcom genie.

Brad Crandall, whose deep voice is instantly recognizable as the narrator of the studio’s trailers and films, hosts this “documentary” with pomposity, dressed alternately in a three-piece suit or V-neck sweater and showing off impressions of the Shroud of Turin in his wood-paneled library. His “evidence” consists of passing off gospel and random musings as fact. One “expert” claims Jesus’ corpse released a burst of radiation to scorch the Shroud. . . .

Here is a too long one minute trailer: