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Posts Tagged ‘Finding Jesus’

John Klotz Delivers the Knockout

March 20, 2015 35 comments

imageOne may find argument with historical evidence of the shroud’s existence before Lirey. But to say there is no evidence is to be …, well, in my opinion, like the nut jobs  who go about saying there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed.

John Klotz, in a MUST READ essay, CNN’s Finding Jesus loses Him, makes it abundantly clear. By page 7 John is writing:

There is more: an eyewitness account of exhibitions of a linen shroud that is more than arguably the Shroud of Turin. The witness was a French knight who participated in a siege of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade which ended with the "Christian" knights looting Constantinople and stripping it of all its cherished relics that could be carried away. Among them was the linen cloth that was the Shroud of Turin.

This is how Gibson and McKinley described it their book Finding Jesus:

"In 1203, a Flemish knight named Robert de Clari, fighting with the Fourth Crusade then camped in Constantinople, noted that a church within the city’s Blachernae Palace put on a very special exhibition every Friday. On display wasn’t just the holy image of the face of Jesus, but the actual cloth in which Christ had been buried. In 1205 de Clari composed a more detailed account: ‘There was a Church which was call[ed] My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, where there was the shroud (syndoines) in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday, raised itself upright so that one could see the form (figure) of Our Lord on it, and no one either Greek or French, ever knew what became of this shroud (syndoines) when the city was taken [by the Crusaders].’" 10

What happened to the Shroud after Constantinople was looted by the French? Wilson has favored the idea that it came into possession of the Order of the Knights Templar in France. The Order was suppressed in 1307 by French King Philip the Fair. On March 19, 1314, its Grandmaster, Jacques deMolay along with the Order’s Master of Normandy Geoffrey de Charny were burned at the stake.11 That Geoffrey may have been related to the Geoffrey de Charny who was the documented owner of the Shroud in 1355.

However, Gibson and McKinley echo another view that has achieved some currency. One of the French knights who participated in the sack of Constantinople was Orthon de la Roche who performed outstanding service and was named the Lord of Athens. He later returned to France. Jeanne de Vergy was a descendant of Orthon. She became the second wife of the 1355 "owner" of the Shroud Geoffrey de Charny. Gibson and McKinley hypothesize that the Shroud was a part of her dowry when she married Geoffrey12

This is not a complete recitation of the reported history of the Shroud prior to 1532. When Professor Goodacre baldy states that there is NO evidence of the Shroud’s history before Lirey, he is simply wrong.

The KO is in the next paragraph:

In my opinion that is not his most egregious error. Perhaps it’s excusable as only his opinion. However, his statement that the critics of the carbon dating were engaged in special pleading is not just wrong but, in my opinion, reprehensible.

Some of us who are not, like John, skilled lawyers, need to remind ourselves what a special pleading is – to pull out that old definition from behind mind’s cobwebs. According to Wikipedia (I’m not a scholar, either) it is “a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception.”

I share your opinion, John. It is reprehensible.

Note:  The photograph, by an unknown photographer, is of Ingemar Johansson knocking out Floyd Patterson and becoming the boxing heavyweight world champion in 1959 is a press photograph taken before 1969 and is therefore in the public domain (Wikimedia Commons)

Did Anyone Like It?

March 15, 2015 10 comments

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?)’

Anyone else we haven’t considered? How about Antonio Lombatti (pictured); surely he has something to say? Yep: Bible Interpretation has just published an op-ed by him, The CNN Shroud of Turin. He writes:

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:

Categories: Television Tags: ,

Here We Go Again

March 12, 2015 53 comments

The Rev. James Martin, a Catholic priest, calls the relationship between
James and Jesus "very complicated."

Ben Witherington III offers the Protestant view that Jesus and James
were full brothers, with Jesus being the elder.


imageMichael McKinley for CNN writes about this coming Sunday’s Finding Jesus broadcast:

In November 2002, the world was captivated by the biggest archaeological discovery ever made relating to Jesus: a 2,000 year-old ossuary — or bone box — bearing the tantalizing inscription in Aramaic: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

If it was true, this was the first physical evidence ever found of Jesus’ existence. And yet, if this amazing ossuary was false, then it was one of the greatest forgeries in history.

Underlying the question of the authenticity of the ossuary is an even bigger theological problem: whether or not Jesus actually had any brothers. Though the debate’s origins are ancient, the answer still divides Catholics and Protestants.

Categories: Television Tags:

Crocumentaries

March 9, 2015 9 comments

imageJoe Nickell reacts to CNN’s “Finding Jesus”: Disingenuous Look at Turin “Shroud” over at the Center for Inquiry website:

… The first episode of the TV series (but curiously the last chapter of the book) was about the “Shroud” of Turin. Easter after Easter, this alleged burial cloth of Jesus is trotted out like a ghost story at Halloween, typically with the same shoddy standards.

This TV presentation was no exception. It was replete with pseudohistory and pseudoscience to such an extent that—if one is not to question the producers’ motives— one must accuse them of gross incompetence. To show why, this review necessarily focuses as much on what is left out as it does on what makes the cut. The program is thus revealed as an hour-long example of confirmation bias—by which one begins with the desired answer and works backward to the evidence, picking and choosing. The usual formula to such crocumentaries is to spend, say, half to two-thirds of the time building up the claim at hand, then bring in some skepticism—or “skepticism”— and finally attack the contrary points, so as to end on a note of mystery. The implication is that science cannot explain the image on the “shroud,” so it appears to be something beyond science. This is a type of faulty logic called an argument from ignorance.

Nickell is particularly upset with the inclusion of Nicholas Allen’s hypothesis in the show. So was just about everyone, it seems, but for different reasons. Nickell’s perspective is, well, a crock of something or other:

With his absurd “explanation” of the shroud’s image, Nicholas Allen has played into the hands of shroud propagandists. They use him to endorse the falsehood that the image is a photographic negative, then allow his farfetched notion to make skeptics look ridiculous in their desperation. The result is to make religion seem to trump science. Shroud activists are no doubt laughing all the way to the cathedral.

Note: Photograph of Joe Nickell is a press photo from www.joenickell.com

On David Gibson

March 8, 2015 2 comments

imageKate O’Hare, in the Catholic Channel of Patheos, discusses a conversation with David Gibson (pictured), one of the co-authors of “Finding Jesus,” the book on which the CNN TV series of the same name is based:

On the relics examined:

Some of them are not as claimed; some of them are probably forgeries. even; but some of them are the real deal. Some of them, all of them, open a window on history and onto the Gospels and what really happened.

Even if this piece of the True Cross isn’t the True Cross, what happened? How did these things migrate across centuries, why are they so important?

On why he’s a Catholic:

Honey, I don’t have enough time. That’s a whole other thing. I was raised Evangelical. My mom’s a Billy Graham Evangelical and very strong in her faith, but for me, I found a deeper tradition and a liturgical practice in the Catholic Church, like a number of Evangelicals have.

But again, not to diss anything else, there are so many aspects of conversion which are fascinating. Each conversion story stands on its own.

In the context of this book and this series, coming from a tradition where anything associated with relics was ridiculous or superstitious, to a tradition that reveres and venerates relics, and is also very strong on historical, Biblical research, there’s a common ground there that both sides can learn from the other on the value of looking for the Jesus of history.

Barrie Schwortz on the CNN Shroud of Turin Program

March 6, 2015 4 comments

“My first impression was that the program’s content was more superficial
than the image on the Shroud!”  — Barrie Schwortz


imageBarrie has joined the ranks of many who are reacting unfavorably to the first episode of Finding Jesus on CNN. He has posted A Brief Review of the Recent CNN Documentary and Further Comments on the Medieval Photograph Theory on the shroud.com website:

I personally hate to write reviews of television programs and usually leave them for others to do, but after weeks of media hype and the controversy created after this program aired, I felt compelled to write a brief review of CNN’s latest “docudrama” on the Shroud of Turin, which premiered Sunday, March 1, 2015, as the first episode in their six part “Finding Jesus” series….

On the experts:

It was also interesting to see who the producers considered to be Shroud “experts.” It was good to see a few familiar faces, like Dr. John Jackson and Mark Guscin, who both appear in the program and who are well known as credible Shroud scholars. (Although Russ Breault was originally interviewed for the program, his comments were not included in the final edited version). However, most of the other “experts” were unfamiliar to me and I could find no evidence that any of them ever actually studied the Shroud themselves. Unfortunately, that happens frequently in Shroud documentaries.

On the carbon dating of the shrouud:

Even more frustrating, when discussing the radiocarbon dating, absolutely no mention was made by anyone of the credible scientific data that exists indicating the single sample chosen for dating was anomalous and not necessarily representative of the entire Shroud. Although that theory is controversial and not accepted by everyone, it was in fact the first research to challenge the radiocarbon dating in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Simply ignoring it does a great disservice to those who dedicated themselves to doing credible scientific research on the Shroud and it certainly makes it more difficult for those who are not as well versed to understand what we truly know. Based on all the e-mails and calls I received, its absence was certainly obvious to most of the viewers of this website, since that was the question they asked me the most.

On the medieval photograph hypothesis:

But the most frustrating part of the program for me was the considerable time spent resurrecting the long ago discarded proto-photography theory presented by South African art historian Nicholas Allen, who claims the Shroud is a medieval photograph. In 2000, I presented a paper at the Sindone 2000 Shroud Conference in Orvieto, Italy, titled, “Is The Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph? A Critical Examination of the Theory” that addressed Allen’s conclusions directly and presented a side-by-side comparison of his results to the image on the Shroud (something Allen never did). I then pointed out the dramatic differences between the two images and you can see them for yourself at the above link.

In addition, Barrie has added a section to the Late Breaking News page for 2015. It reads:

Now that several days have passed and many people have had the opportunity to view the CNN documentary, it is time to look at some reviews of the program. In fact, I received so many letters and phone calls that rather than try and answer them all, I decided to write my own review of the documentary, which you will find linked below. In addition, I am providing a link to a relevant article that addresses certain issues raised in the program and links to other online sources with reviews you might find interesting. So let’s get started:

This is just a small sampling of the many comments posted on various blogs and websites. If you do a little searching, I’m sure you will find a lot more.

By the Numbers: The Shroud of Turin Episode of Finding Jesus

March 4, 2015 1 comment

imageAccording to Michael O’Connell in The Hollywood Reporter, CNN’s Jesus Series Tops Cable News on Sunday

Christianity remains a hot topic on TV, even for cable news. As other networks (NBC, Nat Geo) ready scripted outings about Jesus Christ timed to the upcoming Easter holiday, CNN got a jump on the religious rush this Sunday night with the premiere of its new doc series, Finding Jesus.

The one-hour debut of the program topped all of cable news last night, per early Nielsen ratings, averaging 1.14 million viewers. That topped Fox News Channel (634,000) and MSNBC (275,000) combined and now ranks as CNN’s second-biggest original series opening behind 2014’s The Sixties….

Finding Jesus also made a solid showing among adults 25-54, averaging 371,000 over FNC and MSNBC’s shared 111,000 viewers.

Categories: Press Coverage Tags: ,
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