Jeanna Bryner, the Managing Editor of LiveScience is reporting that the ‘Last Supper’ Papyrus May Be One of Oldest Christian Charms:
Inline image. Click to enlarge
A 1,500-year-old fragment of Greek papyrus with writing that refers to the biblical Last Supper and "manna from heaven" may be one of the oldest Christian amulets, say researchers.
The fragment was likely folded up and worn inside a locket or pendant as a sort of protective charm, according to Roberta Mazza, who spotted the papyrus while looking through thousands of papyri kept in the library vault at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
"This is an important and unexpected discovery as it’s one of the first recorded documents to use magic in the Christian context and the first charm ever found to refer to the Eucharist — the Last Supper — as the manna of the Old Testament," Mazza said in a statement. The fragment likely originated in a town in Egypt. [Proof of Jesus Christ?
The translated text from the article reads:
Fear you all who rule over the earth.
Know you nations and peoples that Christ is our God.
For he spoke and they came to being, he commanded and they were created; he put everything under our feet and delivered us from the wish of our enemies.
Our God prepared a sacred table in the desert for the people and gave manna of the new covenant to eat, the Lord’s immortal body and the blood of Christ poured for us in remission of sins.
Unrelatedly, the editor threw in a link to past LiveScience stories: Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated. The first one is Biblical Blankets. Guess what?
It is called The Jesus Code: Six Relics That Tell the Remarkable True Story of the Gospels. Of course, one of those relic is the Shroud of Turin. It is due out in February 2015, and you can pre-order it now at Amazon. The hardcover will sell for $20.24 and the Kindle edition for $12.99. There will also be an audio version which is a sure sign that the book is expected to be popular with high sales.
Here is what we can read at Amazon:
As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "The Jesus Code"
THE JESUS CODE explores six major artifacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and the Holy Grail, 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 appeal also to the skeptical and to curious readers of history and archaeology, while it takes viewers of the primetime TV series deeper into the story. With a fascinating, blockbuster subject, top-notch authors, and official CNN tie-in and support, we have tremendous opportunity to make THE JESUS CODE a bestseller and category classic.
As featured in the 6-part CNN SERIES "The Jesus Code"? What 6-part series? A bit of Googling and we find Entertainment Weekly informing us that:
Most provocatively, the network announced at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York City, The Jesus Code, a series which promises to take viewers on a “forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible” (cue jokes about CNN looking for a ratings miracle). Religious-themed programming has been considered hot since History stunned the industry with its ratings-shattering The Bible miniseries last year. 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.”
Back to Amazon. The authors are:
- 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.
What else? The hardcover will be 256 pages. The publisher is St. Martin’s Press (February 24, 2015). ISBN-10: 1250069106, ISBN-13: 978-1250069108
A new video, just published on August 8, 2014, seems to be a reading from a July posting, 10 Controversial Relics Associated With Jesus Christ, on the TopTenz blog. They are, according to the video: 1) The Holy Nails, 2) The Crown of Thorns, 3) The Shroud of Turin, 4) The Sudarium of Oviedo, 5) The Veil of Veronica, 6) The Blood of Christ, 7) The Holy Lance, 8) The Holy Prepuce, 9) The Image of Edessa, 10) The Holy Grail
Of course, I think number 3 and 9 are the same thing. And some even think number 10 is the same thing as well. This is not a carefully researched presentation.
Here is the transcript part for the shroud that begins at the 1:47 mark:
The Shroud of Turin is perhaps the most studied, popular and controversial relic in Christian history. Officially, the Catholic Church does not have a position as to whether the shroud is authentic or not. However, the Church does acknowledge its importance to the Catholic world. In fact, the Vatican has made arrangements for the public to view the relic. It was during the 14th century that the first documentation regarding the shroud appeared. Historical accounts show that it was passed down from one person to another until it was finally placed in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, in 1578. In 1988 the shroud underwent radiocarbon testing to determine its date of origin. To the dismay of many believers, the results showed that the shroud might have been made between 1260 and 1390. Three independent laboratories conducted the radiocarbon testing, and all of them arrived at the same conclusion, thus proving that the shroud is fake (although some experts argue that their results are inaccurate). Regardless, believers worldwide still venerate the iconic relic.
Hat tip to Joe Marino for spotting this.
Roberto Scalese of Boston.com (Boston Globe) tries his hand at defining a relic while writing, Why is a Vial of Pope John Paul II’s Blood Coming to Boston this Weekend?
For the uninitiated, relics are a big deal in Catholicism. According to the Catholic Education Resource Center, there are three classes of relics. First class relics are from the actual body of a saint. Like this vial of John Paul II’s blood. Then there are second class relics, which are objects used by a saint. Picture a frock or scepter. Third class relics were touched by a saint. The Shroud of Turin is probably the most famous third class relic, even if its authenticity is in doubt.
Saint Jesus? Which saint touched the shroud? Joseph of Arimathea? Or should it be what saint instead of which, implying many more?
According to Scalese, the John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C. puts it this way:
Here we need to pause for a moment. Perhaps in our technological age, the whole idea of relics may seem strange. Remember, all of us treasure things that have belonged to someone we love—a piece of clothing, another personal item, a lock of hair. Those “relics” remind us of the love we share with that person while he was still living and even after death. Our hearts are torn when we think about disposing of the very personal things of a deceased loved one. Even from an historical sense, at Ford’s Theater Museum for instance, we can see things that belonged to President Lincoln, including the blood-stained pillow on which he died. More importantly, we treasure the relics of saints, the holy instruments of God.
Didn’t we try our hand at this when the pope called the shroud an icon? To my way of thinking the shroud is a all-classes relic of Christ, plain and simple. So, too, the Sudarium of Oviedo is all-classes. So, too, a small cloth with the blood of Christ at the Basilica of the Holy Blood at Bruges in Belgium is such a relic. Of course, questions abound.