Six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist?

Just in time for Easter and the 2015 Shroud Exposition

John the Baptist is an artifact?

imageIf, like half the world, you have been watching CNN during the last couple of days, you may have seen a frequent ad for an upcoming series of shows starting in March.  The ad, in a quick succession of screens says:  Faith, Fact, Forgery and Finding Jesus March 2015.

Google produces little information except a nearly empty page from Carmel Communications saying:

Finding Jesus: Faith, FACTS, Forgery, a CNN relics series – coming to television on March 1, 2015; a 6- week series.

More information coming soon!

Amazon tells us about a soon to be released book called, Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery.: Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels by David Gibson (Author), Michael McKinley (Author). It will be available sometime around February 24th in Hardcover, Kindle, Audio CD and Downloadable Audio. The description reads:

As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "Finding Jesus"FINDING JESUS explores six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist, that give us the most direct evidence about the life and world of Jesus. The book and attendant CNN series provide a dramatic way to retell "the greatest story ever told" while introducing a broad audience to the history, the latest controversies, and newest forensic science involved in sorting out facts from the fiction of would-be forgers and deceivers. The book and the show draw on experts from all over the world. Beyond the faithful, the book will also appeal to the skeptical and to curious readers of history and archaeology, while it takes viewers of the primetime TV series deeper into the story.

I blogged about this last April writing then:

BREAKING: Jon Creamer of Televisual Media UK tells us about an upcoming six-part series on Jesus:

Nutopia is to make a ‘forensic’ drama doc about the life of Jesus in a six-part commission for CNN called Jesus Code.

Jesus Code will look at “forensics, biblical archaeology and forgery, exploring their connection to the real life of Jesus by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.”

The show will use drama reconstruction and interviews with scholars to re-examine six objects connected to the Biblical Jesus.

Executive Producer, Ben Goold (The Story of US, Mankind, The British) said “These are compelling and astonishing stories of relics such as the Turin Shroud and the True Cross that not only capture the imagination, but also offer real revelations about one of the most important figures in human history.”

Jesus Code will be produced by Nutopia in association with Paperny Entertainment. Filming will start in October in Europe, the US, North Africa and Middle East.  Executive Producers are Ben Goold for Nutopia and Lynne Kirby for Paperny Entertainment and it will be distributed internationally by DRG.

Jesus Code forms part of CNN’s new documentary strand in the ET 9pm primetime line-up.

Rodney Ho of The Atlanta Journal Constitution gives the story a bit more punch with a bit less detail as part of a story on 9 p.m. time slot that Larry King occupied for a quarter century and Piers Morgan attempted to fill. The story is mostly about the big guns CNN is bringing into the hour:Mike Rowe (‘formerly of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs’), Lisa Ling (formerly of “Our America with Lisa Ling”) and John Walsh (formerly of Fox’s ‘America’s Most Wanted”). And the icing on the cake:

Finally, how could the most famous man in history have left almost no trace behind? Bringing the most compelling artifacts together for the first time, The Jesus Code will take viewers on a thrilling high-stakes journey through forensics, biblical archeology and forgery in history, exploring the evidence of Jesus’ existence by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.

Let’s see, six relics?  (1) Shroud of Turin, (2) True Cross, (3) Holy Grail ???, (4) Veronica’s Veil ???, (5) Seamless Garment ???, (6) ???.

Can you guess what the other three artifacts will be?

9 thoughts on “Six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist?”

  1. The True Cross programme was the one I was consulted on and I gave them all the articles I had on the early legends of the Cross by the acknowledged academic experts. (Of course, there is no question of being paid a consultancy fee however much one helps!) When I suggested that it was unlikely that any relics of the Cross were authentic they told me that they were radiocarbon dating one that they thought might be. I told them to get in touch if they came up with a first century date as I would have to rewrite the first chapters of my Holy Bones. I have heard nothing more.
    I did get the idea that they really did believe that some of the relics were authentic and that the programmes would be slanted that way. They certainly did not want to hear further from me or the experts on these legends who think that they are legends and nothing more. They did not even acknowledge some other references I sent them later. But if you start with an agenda and neglect specialist opinion ( I do not mean myself but people who are specialists in these early Christian texts on relics) then what do you expect.

  2. The authors are probably Catholics and may have some interesting things to say in the book. In an increasingly sceptical Western world it may serve as a prop for faith. So far so good, the problem arises when just relics are used to sustain this faith. The parables of Jesus have a lot more to teach Christians and it is exactly in his words that deep faith should lie.

    The other problem relates to academics, particularly when what they write is taken as gospel truth. They are human, just as the authors of popular books are, and, talking from experience, that is, after interviews, reviews and other material, one can sometimes easily detect prejudices, distortions and even hatred in what they write.

    Some genuine artefacts have been found in Israel.Two of these are from the Second Temple period: one is an inscription indicating the way to the place of trumpeting and the other is an ossuary probably belonging to Nicanor, the Alexandrian, who built the “beautiful gate” mentioned in the New Testament (Acts) and also in the Talmud:
    Some people have questioned the existence of the Jerusalem Temple, both for religious and political reasons, and these artefacts constitute just one reason to show why they are wrong.

    Another problem is forgeries, used by agenda-driven documentary producers and some others. The James ossuary, with its partially forged inscription, is just one of them. In this case we do not need it to prove the existence of Jesus and James the Just, the “brother of the Lord”, the first of the twelve Jewish-Christian bishops of Jerusalem. Josephus mentions both Jesus and James in “Antiquities”.

  3. hmm..Catholics…prop for faith?…not sure the Catholc Church has stated these “relics” are real…as far as I know, they have the same position on them as the shroud…..we don’t need props….when I was in Rome, I remember the Vatican guide stated that they doubted it was a piece of the true cross… nice shot though!
    If this is the official position the the Church please send me a link….as far as a know…it is not

    1. Actually there has been quite a lot of testing, official and unofficial, of relics in Italy. One of my guides was up to date on them- they had found that one reason for the good state of preservation of the body of Santa Zita in Lucca for instance, were the large quantities of lead in her body from her long life as a servant in the kitchens with lead pipes.
      It does not seem to be a big issue whether a relic is genuine or not. The people of Lucca love their Volto Santo but they simply say the original, authentic, relic is no longer there because pilgrims took pieces off it in the Middle Ages but the present, medieval one is a good substitute! Never forget that many of these so-called relics are objects of veneration, not authentic, but venerated because there are miracles associated with them. A miracle can always give a sacred object that may not be original at all special status.
      My own feeling is that Italians live emotionally with relics but disregard the science. They are simply part of the fabric of life associated with communal festivals going back, usually, into the Middle Ages and that keeps it all going.
      So far as I can see the booking for the Shroud visits is not being organised by the Church but the local tourist authority. That says a lot but there are indeed wonderful things to see and do in Turin and the surrounding countryside so I wish the Piedmont Tourist Board luck in spreading their message outside the cathedral as well.

      1. Charles…not sure I understands what you mean by “Italians live emotionally with relics but disregard the science”
        As an Italian I can assure you that many Catholic scientists…….many who join the festivals and participate because of faith……
        As far as preservation and lead pipes…think that’s kinda a stretch….must have a lot of examples of this then……lead pipes have been around for years..

  4. To all who are reading this thread:
    Has anyone read any comment I made above saying that the book is the official position of the Catholic Church?
    Culture has a heavy influence when it come to relics. I have not seen the same devotion to the remains of the martyr Saint John Southworth at Westminster Cathedral, only much reverence at the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor at the (Church of England’s!) Westminster Abbey.
    My wish is that clerics in Rome read Ian Wilson’s “Holy Faces, Secret Places” dedicated to Pope John Paul II, where he asks for “glasnost” in Rome. They should forget about the cultural divide, with an Englishman asking mostly Italian clerics to throw the door open for research.

    1. no….but comments like: “authors, probably Catholic” and “serve a prop” think may insult Catholics even if it does not imply (and I think it does) that the Church is somehow involved.(we after, have the “relic” on Vatican grounds)…I felt the need to clarify that point..

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