the resurrection as “so much more than a conjuring trick with bones”

former Anglican Bishop of Durham. Philip Davies

imageAn interview with Professor Fanti had been mentioned in the comments, with a link. It was just revised yesterday. It needs to be mentioned at the posting level, something I just realized this morning from a series of emails that I’m seeing in my inbox.  It needs to be read by everyone and I have been remiss in not featuring it. Here is some of the introduction. Click on the title to read the full paper:

Professor Giulio Fanti discusses the controversies in the realm of Shroud studies

Louis C. de Figueiredo

It is no secret that the realm of Shroud studies is a minefield. It is evident in books, websites, newsletters and blogs. Apparently the matter also reached the ears of Pope Benedict XVI, prompting him to request cooperation in a message read out to the people attending a Shroud conference in the US in 2005.

There seem to be very few signs of any change for the better. On the contrary, there has been an increase in the number of people entering the field to indulge in vicious personal attacks and character assassination, driving out qualified scholars willing to discuss the topic, in fact forcing them to leave in disgust.

Anyone who has kept abreast with the news will notice that Pope Francis can be blunt-spoken, even more than his Bavarian predecessor, and does not shrink from criticising what he judges to be wrong. At the rates things are going, whether he will pay any attention at all to petitions addressed to him regarding future tests on the Shroud will remain to be seen.

Fortunately, there are scholars and scientists who have steered clear of the infighting and favouritism and have made important contributions to the study of the Turin Shroud. Among them are American attorney, political activist and op-ed contributor John Klotz, who recently launched his meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated book The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness. Klotz asks the important question, “If indeed the Shroud is Christ’s and, if science is deciphering its revelation, what is it telling us?” It is a question that Professor Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua — who agreed to discuss the relic and granted the following interview – has been seeking to answer for the past seventeen years.

Some of Professor Fanti’s findings have been contested, particularly part of the data published in his last Shroud book which did not appear in a paper published later. In this case he leaves it to readers to judge for themselves and is working on the rest of the material he has gathered that is expected to be published in more peer-reviewed journals.

There is something that seems to indicate that there can be a tell-tale sign demonstrating not only that the Turin Shroud did indeed wrap the body of Jesus in the sepulchre but also that the Resurrection was an historical event, exactly what sceptics would like to see. It will have to be demonstrated beyond doubt that the image formation was near-instantaneous, if not instantaneous, a task that can be easily handled by both Professor Giulio Fanti and Dr. Paolo di Lazzaro, Chief of Research at ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development and Applications of Radiation.

At the time that Louis first linked to the paper, Hugh Farey commented. And this comment belongs at the posting level as well.

Thanks, Louis. So the Resurrection “had to be” not quite instantaneous because Jesus “must have taken a few seconds” to power up. Perhaps you are correct. The God I believe in does not have to take any time at all. He may have allowed himself to revive over 36 hours, individual cells reawakening in succession until he simply got up as from a bed, or he may have vanished in an instant, the space he occupied being as instantly filled with air, or left as a vacuum, or he may have exploded in a burst of radiation, which was just enough to have an effect on the Shroud. He may have caused the dead of Jerusalem to do any of the same, and then sent them all back to their graves, or he may have made the people of Jerusalem think they had seen their forebears when in fact they had remained peacefully in their ossuaries. He may have reconstituted himself instantly, and sat in the garden for the rest of the night waiting for Mary Magdalene to turn up, or he may have not reappeared until just before she arrived. Somewhere along the way he provided clothes for himself. Perhaps while he was still in the tomb, perhaps after he re-materialised.

He may have done any, all or none of these things. That’s who God is. From a scientific point of view, none of them is open to inquiry. I do not know what the Resurrection was scientifically, or how long it took. Nor does anybody else, nor does it matter. In 1984 the Anglican Bishop of Durham attempted to explain this in describing the resurrection as “so much more than a conjuring trick with bones” and a few years ago Pope Benedict showed a similar lack of enthusiasm for “the mere resussitation of a corpse.” Frankly, in the opinion of most modern theologians, all as orthodox as the Pope, the measurable, physical events of the morning of the first day of the week after the crucifixion are trivial compared to the meaning of the Resurrection and the effect it had on the disciples, whatever actually occurred.

And Louis commented back:

Hugh, I fully agree with what you said and now we are speaking the same language. I believe in the Resurrection because it had to happen, not only because it explains the growth of the Jesus movement, that became the Church, but also due to the question of existence. As I have stated more than once, even if the Shroud is “proved” to be authentic it will still not answer many questions, but this is for another article.

Meanwhile, you will be my “scientific advisor”, though you are anti-authenticity and I am in the opposite camp, but keep an open mind as the Church does. The Church also calls some qualified devil’s advocate when it comes to a canonisation process. Who knows, perhaps Rome will call you when needed!

And now. Read the entire interview.  Offer your opinion.