A reader writes:
Did anyone like the CNN program on the Shroud of Turin? I got the sense from authenticists that it was too skeptical and from skeptics that is was too authenticist.
He may have a point. Compare, for instance, Barrie Schwortz on the CNN Shroud of Turin Program with Crocumentaries by Joe Nickell. (That wasn’t fair, was it?)’
Disappointing. This is, I believe, the most appropriate way to start my review of the recent CNN documentary on the Shroud of Turin. After 25 years of reading books, watching films and writing books and articles on this presumed relic of Christ, I am still surprised to listen to the very same popular quackery and pseudoscience passed off as rock solid scholarly researches….
However, the way CNN has cut interviews, structured short clips, advanced reconstructions of Jesus’ passion, crucifixion and resurrection, and how these were woven with some Turin Shroud images, simply strives to convey the message that the relic is the real deal. To be clearer: when the narrator talks about crucifixion, there is a short video with Jesus nailed to a cross and then the presumed marks of crucifixion on the Shroud are shown. Again, Joseph of Arimathea covers Jesus’ body with a linen cloth while we see the Turin Shroud. And this, of course, makes a deep impression on those who don’t have a precise opinion on the controversy, letting them believe it is the genuine burial shroud of Jesus.
The film begins by saying that “more than 1000 years after Jesus’ death, the cloth appeared in France”. Wouldn’t it be enough to understand that the relic is just one among the thousand forgeries of the Middle Ages? In that time, believers were not surprised to find 4 heads of John the Baptist (however, when the French monks of Amiens were told by pilgrims that they had already seen John’s head in another church, they replied they had the Baptist’s head as a child), six full bodies of Mary Magdalene and enough pieces of the True Cross to build a huge ship. The burial shrouds of Jesus number around 40. All of them were authentic, of course. The most famous shrouds were those of Aachen, Halberstadt, Hannover and Mainz (Germany), Arles, Besançon, Cadouin, Aix-en-Provence, Bayonne, Cahors, Paris, Reims, Annecy, Soissons, Carcassonne and Compiègne (France), Yohnannavank (Armenia), Constantinople, Enxobregas (Portugal), Saint John in Lateran (Rome), Einsiedeln (Switzerland).
Want more? Barrie provided a list of links at shroud.com:
- Link to CNN website where you can watch the full episode online: Finding Jesus: The Shroud of Turin
- A Brief Review of the Recent CNN Documentary and Further Comments on the Medieval Photograph Theory by Barrie Schwortz
- Is The Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph? A Critical Examination of the Theory by Barrie Schwortz – From the Sindone 2000 Shroud Conference, Orvieto, Italy
- CNN Jesus Series Premiers with the Shroud – A review by Robert K. Wilcox, author of "Shroud" (1977) and "The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery" (2010)
- Revisiting the Shroud of Turin – After CNN – Link to the blog of biblical scholarDr. Simon J. Joseph, a recent contributor to Shroud.com who also posted the link on the STERA, Inc. Facebook page
- Shroud of Turin Blog – Dan Porter’s excellent blog that includes viewer’s comments and links to many other online reviews of the documentary
- Finding Jesus – CNN on Facebook – CNN’s Facebook page with comments from viewers and participants in the program