More Information on the Book ‘Finding Jesus’


Chapter 6 is about the Shroud and the Sudarium
The first segment on CNN will be about the Shroud

The book that accompanies the CNN series on Jesus will be available in four formats on February 24, 2015.

  • Hardcover for $20.24
  • Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook for $12.99
  • Audio CD for $22.19
  • Audible for download to portable devices for $20.99 

The hardcover edition, published by St. Martin Press, is 256 pages (6.3 x 9.5 inches).

The audio editions, published by Macmillan, are narrated by Peter Larkin and run 6.5 hours.

Most vendors are accepting pre-orders now.

The Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Introduction: Who is Jesus?
  • 1. John the Baptist: Rival Messiah, Bones of Contention
  • 2. The James Ossuary: The Hand of God or the Crime of the Century?
  • 3. Mary Magdalene: Prostitute, Apostle, Saint—or Jesus’s Wife?
  • 4. The Gospel of Judas: Christianity’s Ultimate Whodunit
  • 5. The True Cross: Enough to Fill a Ship
  • 6. The Shroud and the Sudarium: Jesus of History, Jesus of Mystery
  • Acknowledgments
  • Bibliography

Some editorial reviews (from Amazon):

"A fascinating, provocative and informative entry into the life of Jesus. Finding Jesus uses controversies over recent archeological and literary finds, as well over some long-argued-over tales and relics, to provide readers with solid scholarship and thoughtful insights into the life of the man whose life, death and resurrection continues to enthrall and inspire." — James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus a Pilgrimage

"Holy doubt is an essential element of faith, yet we are tantalized by stories that give historical insights in support of the foundations of our faith. Finding Jesus explores six artifacts that are windows into early Christianity and our desire to know what happened. These windows let us see that faith is deeper than history, but knowing these complex stories can sustain us as we grapple with today’s questions. Finding Jesus’ stories reveal our very human and complex hunger to understand mystery and our past." – Sister Simone Campbell, author of A Nun on the Bus

"For more than two millennia, few people have captured the imaginations of human beings like Jesus Christ. Whether you are spiritual or skeptical, ‘Finding Jesus’ will help you experience the life of One who changed the world. Part anthology and part theology, this book is about what Jesus meant to those who knew him and what he means to those who claim to know him today. Let ‘Finding Jesus’ lead you on a journey of faith and facts–you won’t be sorry!" —Jonathan Merritt, author of Jesus Is Better than You Imagined

"Finding Jesus is for the curious: folks who are thrilled by spiritual quests and desire to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the history of our faith. You won’t regret following Gibson’s and McKinley’s path through twists and turns of the Gospels — and at the end of that path is the One who makes this greatest of stories make perfect sense." – Joshua DuBois, author of The President’s Devotional

"In a mix of engaging scholarship and gripping storytelling, Gibson and McKinley offer a page-turner for a wide audience." —Kirkus.

About the authors (from Amazon):

DAVID GIBSON is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker who specializes in covering the Catholic Church. He appears frequently on network and cable television as a commentator on religious affairs and is a frequent commentator on NPR. He has written and co-written three prior books and also writes for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Boston Magazine, and Fortune among others.

MICHAEL MCKINLEY is an award-winning author, filmmaker, journalist and screenwriter. He has written several books, and wrote and co-produced the CBC TV documentary film "Sacred Ballot", as well as several documentaries for CNN Presents.

9 thoughts on “More Information on the Book ‘Finding Jesus’”

  1. What some sensationalists have been saying has apparently influenced the contents of this series.
    Why should the possibility of John the Baptizer playing the role of rival messiah have been considered? There were a number of doomsday preachers like him in the Judaean desert, belonging to small, isolated, baptismal sects, and he was the prominent one, having lost his life for attacking Herod. What did he teach that could be compared to Jesus’ teachings?
    The Mandaeans claim him as one of their prominent members, although their Book of John dates to the seventh century, probably having been written in order to ensure safety during the Arab conquest. There is evidence of Indian (Hindu) and Iranian (Zoroastrian) influence in the beliefs.
    One Shroud paper even claimed that both Jesus and John were Mandaeans!
    (click on

    The owner of the James ossuary was known for forging artifacts, sometimes with the help of the Copt Marcos Ghattas, living in Egypt, who did not appear at the trial. Its provenance is unknown and, in my view, it is certain that while one hand wrote “James, son of Joseph”, another one inscribed “brother of Jesus”. The owner was acquitted at the trial and the court, like the Israel Antiquities Authority, did not recognise the entire inscription as genuine:
    Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ, taken to Toronto to see the ossuary after he had accepted the Aramaic inscription as correct, also pointed out that the artefact did not necessarily hold the remains of James the Just, Paul’s “the brother of the Lord”, first Jewish Christian bishop of Jerusalem. Professor Amos Kloner, who was Jersusalem District Archaeologist for a number of years, also dismissed the claims.

    As for Mary Magdalene, the topic rose to prominence because of the so-called Jesus Family Tomb (Talpiot). The late Professor François Bovon of Harvard was led into a trap and had his words twisted and Father Fitzmyer also pointed out how the meaning of ancient documents was distorted:

    The Gospel of Judas says exactly the opposite of what the documentary claims.

    1. “There were a number of doomsday preachers like him in the Judaean desert, belonging to small, isolated, baptismal sects, and he was the prominent one…”

      Name one or two for us, why don’t you? “Brian” doesn’t count…..

      1. Banus. Check Josephus, Vita 2:

        And when I was about sixteen years old, I had a mind to make trim of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: – The first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all; so I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties, and went through them all. Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when I was informed that one, whose name was Banus, lived in the desert, and used no other clothing than grew upon trees, and had no other food than what grew of its own accord, and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years. So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees, which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.

        His characteristic is very similar to John the Baptist.

        1. For Louis and O.K. — From Josephus I get that Banus was an ascetic who lived in the desert. Period. Louis said “there were a number of doomsday preachers like John in the Judean desert belonging to baptismal sects.” NO, that is not what comes out of Josephus. Please, give good examples instead of what seems to be great exaggerations.

    2. Nabber:
      Some of the sects, drawing on long-held beliefs, are mentioned here:
      (Click on
      The main point was to stress the difference between Jesus and John the Baptizer, nothing to do with baptism. The article also points out how exactly Jesus approached the ritual.
      You should know that water as a means of purification is an universal symbol. Have you seen photographs of Hindus bathing in the Ganges, at Varanasi? Have you studied the origin of Essene beliefs?

  2. For Louis and O.K. — From Josephus I get that Banus was an ascetic who lived in the desert. Period. Louis said “there were a number of doomsday preachers like John in the Judean desert belonging to baptismal sects.” NO, that is not what comes out of Josephus. Please, give good examples instead of what seems to be great exaggerations.

    Nabber, I don’t know what the problem is. There were number of ascetic preachers living in the desert -John the Baptist and Banus were two of them but there were probably more. It implicates nothing.

    1. Louis, for goodness sake, you cannot post on this blog and throw in details that seemingly make John just “one of the gang”, and somehow expect qualifiers like “probably” to cut it. 1. No, there were not “a number” of people like John; “probably” doesn’t count when you’re making statements like that. 2. No, there weren’t lots of “doomsday preachers”, there is nothing stating that Banus was a doomsday preacher, and just being an Essence doesn’t make him one. 3. No, you have no record of other “baptismal sects” besides John and Jesus (His disciples doing so in His Name), which clearly the Gospel of John states. There is no record of Banus being a baptizer, which again, his being an Essene doesn’t make him one. Now I hope you get “what the problem is.” Don’t generalize, don’t exaggerate.

  3. Hi Nabber
    O.K. has understood, you haven’t. If you dig deeply into the research being done by biblical scholars you will realise that early Judaism was much more divided than hitherto believed. Many people and sects not mentioned in the Bible have been found. Have you read the pseudepigrapha?
    I must stress that you are going off the point. The argument started because the CNN series has as one of its contents the possibility of John the Baptizer as a rival messiah. This is pure rubbish. Obviously it has been included because what sensationalists and secret orders have been claiming has been heard, it is material that raises eyebrows, it draws people to the TV set
    Money is made with documentaries and books which have sceptics and fundamentalists at the extremes. I am sorry to have to say that whoever is looking for serious research has to look elsewhere, documentaries can be a form of entertainment.
    The concept of Messiah in Christianity is different from what was expected in early Judaism. I think you know that Jesus assumed more than just a messianic role. If you wish to go deeper read “The One Who Is To Come” by one of the greatest biblical scholars, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ, now retired. The book is expected to guide scholars for decades.
    Or, if you wish to take a short cut, just read the responses to questions 7 and 8 on the topic of “Messiah” in the following interview with him:

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