The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection Yes, it’s that time of year again when the gullible hand over their money [me included] and their brains to the latest theory to attempt to undermine Christianity.

I am a shroudie. I do not “believe” in the shroud. Just as I do not “believe” that the speed of light is constant. Just as I do not “believe” in the historicity of Jesus. I accept current understanding of the speed of light, and of Jesus as a historical person.

I believe in Jesus – I trust and entrust myself to him. I believe in the resurrection.

To use “belief” for historical or scientific concepts is to confuse categories of different types of knowledge and different ways of arriving at knowledge (epistemology).

I have followed shroud study (sindonolgy) for many years. I was fascinated by the 1988 carbon dating. I am interested in the contentions that the carbon dating is incorrect because of whatever process was involved in the formation of the shroud’s image, or because of the effect of water on the fibres, or because they didn’t test the actual shroud but a patch, or because they failed to adequately remove the accrued grime of centuries of handling of the shroud…

Thomas de Wesselow has brought out a new book The Sign (448 pages). Half of the book establishes the authenticity of the shroud; not based on first-hand research but gathering together the research of others (primarily of Ian Wilson).

The second half of the book is the result of an “epiphany”. De Wesselow is an art historian. He is an agnostic.

resurrection appearance according to de Wesselow

resurrection appearance
according to de Wesselow

The “epiphany” is described in Isaac-Newton-like manner, complete with sitting under an apple tree in Cambridge! The “epiphany” was (cynics will say, “how to make money from a popular book for the gullible”) that there was no “real” resurrection of Jesus; his body was in the tomb as expected on Easter Sunday; but in the dark of the tomb they managed to remove the shroud from Christ’s body and wounds (without this affecting/being evident on the image), and see the (extremely faint negative) image on it, and declare that Jesus is risen and alive!

The shroud, de Wesselow declares, is not evidence of Jesus’ resurrection – they all knew Jesus’ body was still back there in the full tomb. The shroud is Jesus’ resurrection. The shroud is Jesus risen!

The shroud is the origin of Christianity!

The image, he contends, is a purely natural phenomenon produced probably by a Maillard reaction as posited by Rogers and Arnoldi. We have no other example like it (Oh, sorry, I forget, there’s a 1981 handprint on a mattress, the “Jospice imprint”). It’s purely coincidence that the sole shroud-image was naturally caused by so-far-unrepeatable processes associated with a gruesome death of a very-good-story-telling peasant.

Someone would hold up the shroud with its image, and people would go, “No… I don’t see anything… Oh, yes… I see… that’s Jesus… look – that’s his head… see?!… yep, I’ll die for that!”

Resurrection – solved. Christianity – explained.

image source

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