We also have the Shroud of Turin

as proof that Jesus existed?

imageMaybe this explains why Crossan is sometimes not so popular with his fellow academics:

Numerous secular scholars have presented their own versions of the so-called “Historical Jesus” – and most of them are, as biblical scholar J.D. Crossan puts it, “an academic embarrassment”.

And this is the point of the article, Weighing up the evidence for the ‘Historical Jesus’ appearing in Heritage Daily:

From Crossan’s view of Jesus as the wise sage, to Robert Eisenman’s Jesus the revolutionary, and Bart Ehrman’s apocalyptic prophet, about the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence. But can even that be questioned?

The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith.

These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity – which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources – which they also fail to identify.

We also have the Shroud of Turin, which for 30 years now has had a very active website where scholars have reported and other scholars have questioned its authenticity. While its authenticity may never be verified scientifically, there is enough evidence to convince any court of law, were a case to be brought.

    And what should appear but a reader comment:

. . . We also have the Shroud of Turin, which for 30 years now has had a very active website where scholars have reported and other scholars have questioned its authenticity. While its authenticity may never be verified scientifically, there is enough evidence to convince any court of law, were a case to be brought.

And a response to the comment, of course:

. . . The shroud of Turin is confidently dated 1260 to 1390 AD. It’s not the only shroud attributed to Jesus’ resurrection and it can’t even convincingly be said to be that of Jesus.

There is nowhere near enough valid evidence to convince a court of law of it’s authenticity. In the first place, there’s no body, the forensic evidence shows otherwise, it’s history smacks of fakery, and it’s not unique. It would be thrown out as frivolous.

It never works to invoke the Turin Shroud to try to convince a skeptic until you can first prove the shroud is authentic, not just claim it is.

BTW:  In 2002, Crossan said in a Beliefnet Forum:

My best understanding is that the Shroud of Turin is a medieval relic-forgery. I wonder whether it was done from a crucified dead body or from a crucified living body. That is the rather horrible question once you accept it as a forgery.

12 thoughts on “We also have the Shroud of Turin”

  1. I received several books by J.D. Crossan for review years ago. He is becoming a thing of the past. Ignoring the after-effects of the Resurrection event, he believes that Jesus body was eaten by wild dogs, while continuing to be a believing Christian and asking the question, “What kind of manifestation of God was Jesus?”. His faith therefore remains intact.
    One big problem I at least could detect while reading his books and articles is that his approach led him to show interest in the so-called Jesus family tomb in the East Talpiot district of Jerusalem. It is a blind alley:

    and followed by:

    There will be more to write later this year on those parts of the biblical tradition that J.D. Crossan has ignored, after an article on the Shroud image formation process. Both will be online.

  2. “The earliest sources were eyewitnesses from which we get the greater part of the New Testament. But we can discount the eyewitnesses because they just embellished.”

    Did I understand this so-called scholar correctly or did I miss something?

  3. John Dominic Crossan is one of the more noted biblical scholars (so-called), who participated in the highly controversial Jesus Seminar discussions of the 80’s and 90’s. What were some of the Jesus Seminar’s conclusions? According to the seminar, “Jesus was a mortal man, born of two human parents who DID NOT perform nature miracles, NOR die as a substitute for sinners NOR rise bodily from the dead. Sightings of a risen Jesus were NOTHING MORE than the visionary experiences of some of his disciples rather than physical encounters” (Jesus Seminar-Wikipedia). Crossan and those of his kind are nothing more than ‘heretics’ who dismiss the historicity of the Bible and the veracity of Scripture. Serious Biblical scholars (and Sindonologists), should not waste their time debating historical revisionists who make outlandish, nonsensical claims and are purveyors in sensationalism!

  4. The conservative scholars are more in line with Catholic teachings of John Paul and the church as a whole..Scott is a major player on EWTN and he does not speak of anything even remotely inconsistant in what the church teaches…..hopefully Scott Hahn will recover soon…great speaker….great mind….
    It makes me upset whenever I see Crossan on TV held up as a Catholic expert……media darling a few years ago…glad I have not seen him lately .
    As far as ignoring the resurrection…not sure what kind of faith he has that has “remained intact”….this is a basic and important belief of any Christian (in my opinion)..he’s one of those “taking heads” that muddy the waters.

    1. It is always advisable to avoid extremes, keeping away from fundamentalism and extreme liberalism as well. One great New Testament scholar I had occasion to interview twice, once during the launching of his excellent guide “Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls” (Paulist Press), was Father Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ who was judged to be the scholar’s scholar in the United States before his retirement. It was published in a major daily in a different language and I hope to be able to post it soon.
      From what I could learn from him, biblical interpretation is a very difficult task, and he had also been judged as someone with “impeccable critical credentials”, also having been on the Pontifical Biblical Commission for a while. His opinion was therefore very important. He employed the historical-critical, whose shortcomings were pointed out by Benedict XVI in his book “Jesus of Nazareth”. It does indeed have its problems, although it is better than the “formesgeschichte”, form criticism, developed by German Protestant scholars around Bultmann. Father Fitzmyer’s exegesis was criticised by the biblical scholars at the John Paul the Great Catholic University, San Diego, California, a link to whom was given by me above and cited by Rick. The reason the scholars were critical was that their approach was different from the one adopted by the Jesuit professor. We therefore continue to see different approaches to biblical studies.
      J.D.Crossan seems to have interpreted the New Testament narratives in an allegorical way, against which Father Fitzmyer warned in the interview:
      But he does indeed have some faith, in the broad sense. It is something I have also observed in some practicing Christians, although they do not say it in public. It is very difficult to agree with the Irish-American J.D. Crossan and that is because he has ignored the depth of the post-Easter NT narratives, in keeping with his allegorical interpretation.

  5. At some risk of provoking my dear friend Louis, I see the main value of Crossan as the illumination he provided with his “Power of Parable”. His apparently permanent excursion into the Jesus Seminar territory has unfortunately over-shadowed this achievement and damaged his reputation as an authoritative Catholic writer irrevocably. Likewise Bart Ehrman’s “Did Jesus Exist?” is also a powerful work and provides strong evidence for the historical existence of Jesus as a person. Ehrman’s personal reaction against his evangelical background towards agnosticism, may only serve to underscore the significance of his insistence on the real historical existence of Jesus, supported by his considerable reputation as a NT scholar, as well as his non-biblical references. J P Meier’s “Marginal Jew” has the advantage of a minimalist approach to the question, and therefore leaves no question as to the value of his conclusion.

    Citing the late first-century dates of NT composition is a weak argument against their authenticity, and under-rates the value and strength of oral tradition in pre-literate societies. There is more literary and timely evidence for the existence of Jesus than there is for many other famous contemporary personalities whose existence is more readily taken for granted. The 1988 C-14 testing of the Shroud is an absolute mess and has no credibility for this writer.

    1. “Citing the late first-century dates of NT composition is a weak argument against their authenticity, and under-rates the value and strength of oral tradition in pre-literate societies.”

      Well put. Gospel of Mark likely dates from circa 70 AD and less than 40 years from Jesus’s death is nothing in that context (ie. people who would have been circa 15 – 20 years old when Jesus died would have been circa 55- 60 years old in 70AD)

      Earliest letters from Paul date from the 50s and their content reiterate already well established knowledge and traditions around Jesus.

      Ex-biblical writings provide clear evidence of active Christian communities in the 50s – 60s AD.

      From what I can tell, the view that Jesus never existed is a very marginal viewpoint. These writings come from a period very close to Jesus’s lifetime.

  6. Hello David
    Good to see you back on the scene. There is no point disagreeing with what you wrote. You have correctly pointed that the oral tradition has not been stressed, it has been ignored. The Jesus Movement, to become the Church later, was moved by the oral tradition. Without it there would be no Christianity. Unfortunately only a part of the oral tradition was put down in writing, in our gospels.

  7. Is it possible to infer from the description of hematohydrosis,
    made by St. Luke (he was a doctor of that time, probably “soaked
    in Hellenistic culture”, as I highlighted in my recent post)
    that he saw the Shroud?
    If this was a real thing, here then we would be facing a different thing
    from the oral tradition …
    Traditions report that Luke was a companion of Paul.
    He was a physician and therefore someone learned
    in Hellenistic literary and scientific culture.
    But … where is the evidence related?

    Perhaps we only know that Saint Luke presented Lord Jesus’ divine
    deeds for salvation to fulfill what the Greek philosophy and human
    wisdom were unable to fulfill…
    — — — *** — — —
    Here what I have found
    under the address:

    >Luke, the author of the New Testament books of Luke and Acts,
    by profession, was a physician. His writings manifest an intimate
    acquaintance with the technical language of the Greek medical
    schools of Asia Minor. For example, of the four gospel writers,
    only Dr. Luke referred to Jesus’ ordeal as “agony” (agonia).
    >It is because of this agony over things to come that we learn
    during His prayer “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood
    falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Only Luke referred to
    Jesus’ sweat (idros), a much used term in medical language,
    and only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat as consisting of
    great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos)—a medical
    condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus
    (Hobart, 1882, pp. 80-84). The Greek term thromboi
    (from which we get thrombus, thrombin, et al.) refers
    to clots of blood (Nicoll, n.d., 1:631; Vincent, 1887, 1:425).
    >Bible scholar Richard Lenski commented on the use of this term:
    “‘As clots,’ thromboi, means that the blood mingled with the sweat
    and thickened the globules so that they fell to the ground in little
    clots and did not merely stain the skin” (1961, p. 1077). …
    — —
    >St. Luke was a physician and sensitive to medical and scientific observation.
    >He had completed his medical studies at Tarsus and was considered
    highly educated …

    So, we know that Saint Luke was a physician,
    but we know nothing about his practice of medicine…
    and his possible medical observations about the Shroud …
    — — —
    Here another link:

    >After many investigations, including DNA analyses
    (which linked the remains to someone of Syriac origin;
    St. Luke was born in Antioch), C-14 dating, and measurements
    of the lead sarcophagus, which actually matched the dimensions
    to the milimeter of St. Luke’s tomb in Thebes, it was determined
    that there was significant scientific evidence that these remains
    belonged to St. Luke. To honor the Metropolitan’s request,
    the Archbishop of Padua gave the Church in Thebes a rib
    from St. Luke, and the one closest to his heart. …

    near the same words under:

    >…The skeleton was determined to be that of an elderly man of strong build.
    In 2001, a tooth found in the coffin was judged to be consistent with the DNA
    of Syrians living near the area of Antioch dating from 72-416 A.D.
    >The skull in Prague perfectly fit the neck bone of the skelton.
    >The tooth found in the coffin in Padua was also found to fit the jawbone of the skull.
    But …
    I see that everything is just “twisting and turning”
    on the same things …

    I believe that relying only on vague historical evidence and no new
    analyses on the Shroud (…and on the spanish relic = Sudarium of Oviedo),
    we can not come out by the enigma of the ancient sheet with the Face of Jesus …

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