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The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection Hardcover – April 3, 2012

3.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Some people will dismiss [THE SIGN]. Some people will be intrigued by it. And some people may change their attitudes on one thing or another by it."
-Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School, as told to CBS “Sunday Morning”


"A fresh insight into the Easter story." --Financial Times

"Thorough, well-researched and fair-minded... Persuasive... much more than just an addition to the canon of Shroud literature."
-Irish Times

About the Author

Thomas de Wesselow is an art historian experienced at tackling “unsolvable” problems. He studied art history at Edinburgh University and at the Courtauld in London, where he worked successfully on the Guidoriccio Problem, one of the great mysteries of Italian art. Later, he became a Scholar at the British School in Rome, researching an even more complex puzzle, the so-called Assisi Problem. In 2002, he was appointed a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at King’s College, Cambridge University. Since 2007 he has been researching the Shroud full-time. He lives in Cambridge.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525953655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525953654
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Preordered and delivered to my Kindle Fire the day of its release (4/3), I couldn't put it down any free moment I have had this past week until I finished it today. It is an elegant, learned, fascinating read which succeeds, I think, in establishing that, from an art historian's point of view, the Shroud of Turin cannot be a medievally produced piece of art. His cataloguing of the shroud's unusual characteristics and review of the history of its evaluation by scientists and art historians is also engaging and convincing. His treatment of the carbon dating of the shroud is less thorough, in my estimation, but his evaluation of the technique itself as malleable and imprecise is valid, it seems.

He has obviously immersed himself in current New Testament scholarship, and points to and quite deftly handles many fascinating issues scholars raise and address, eg. the inconsistency of the Easter morning reports, the accounts' clearly illustrating the political debates in the early Church of who saw what first, and where, and when. His total failure, however, lies in his attempt to address NT scholar and English bishop N. T Wright's initially quoted challenge to explain the resurrection in a way that explains all its historical results (betrayers turning into defiant martyrs, the meteoric rise of Christianity around the Mediterranean basin in such a short time, and the continued existence of Christianity) without resorting to the two basic foundations of Christianity's twin claim on what its belief in Jesus' resurrection is based: discovery of an empty (corpseless) tomb and convincing appearances.

Here is where learned and engaging and convincing gives way to preposterous and untenable.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Having already read far too many religious-relic, "truth revealed" books, I approached this one with caution. In the end though, I was pleasantly surprised. This one is well written, comprehensive, logical, and thought provoking.
Does it prove without doubt that the shroud is authentic? Not really. I'm not sure this will ever be possible. But what it does do is a good job of discrediting the debunkers, as well as making an equally credible albeit largely circumstantial case for that there are too many coincidences for the shroud to be fake.
Perhaps what I enjoyed the most though was de Wesselow's non-judgmentally scientific professional attitude. Indeed, this book is worth reading even if all you're interested in is an overview of the kind of infighting, bad science, and biased claims these investigations provoke.
Steven Paglierani
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Format: Hardcover
My full (now i have finished reading it) review first: the positives. A well written, imaginative, well-argued book from a fresh perspective tackling a "hobby" interest of mine: the turin shroud. A very entertaining book - not as wow! wierd! sensationalist as some of the papers suggest. I'm a history channel addict, what can i say! Thomas de-wesslow's rumination - that what sparked christianity was the resurrection as seen in a cloth - is an oddball claim, BUT he pieces together evidence from an artist's point of view. I wanted to not believe it - it sounds plainly daft. But reader, he makes a cogent, convincing argument and having now researched "animism" in Graham Harvey's excellent book on the topic, i'm impelled to believe him. It isnt one of "those" fantastical books on the turin shroud...although his belief that it was the cloth of Jesus and not a fake is still bothering me. And this perhaps is the book's biggest problem - his positivistic arguments sway me but do not convince me. this is after all an unprovable claim - unless more tests are allowed.

As a side note, can i say how disappointed i am to see the author charles freeman leaving his "review" of the book on this site as well as the uk site? i say review - it does read like a plug for his books/soapbox for his own theory! What i find very odd is that he is leaving comments all over the place on different sites, and has even taken to task anyone who leaves a vaguely positive review (i am of course expecting it..). Write a negative review of course, but do not bully others please who disagree with you. This is a book review site not a place for internet trolls. It ill-behoves an author like you. I wonder if he has a personal dislike of the author? Having said that - and if indeed it is the real charles freeman - i will take mr freeman's comments on the book on board. They do not however change my mind on this book: if you have an open mind, i highly recommend this book
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had the misfortune of purchasing this book without doing my homework. Although Thomas de Wesselow is obviously convinced of his "discovery" they are not worth the rather large amounts of paper it is printed on.

As I read the Preface to the book my eyebrows raised when he stated matter of factly that, "scholars have avoided discussing," the Shroud of Turin! Really? What is his definition of a scholar? It just got "better" from there.

The author who is an "ART" historian, after many many words, and even more reinterpretation of the New Testament makes his case that Jesus was not really resurrected, but that the Shroud of Turin is not a medieval forgery, or "hoax" as he puts it but actually the burial cloth of Jesus. Here's where his brilliance shines above everyone elses... The shroud that was discovered in the tomb (wait for it!) made the backward idiots of 33 AD believe that TA DA! Jesus had resurrected, because they saw his picture! I'm not joking that's his conclusion. The shroud is "the real founder of Christianity" not, "Peter or Paul or even Jesus, but the Shroud." And here is even more PROOF that this theory is correct which I found on my own! The page in which he begins his conclusion is 333!

Well, de Wesselow got one thing right about the lack of scholars discussing the Shroud if you refer it to his own case.

Don't get me wrong I'm sure there will be droves of people drooling all over themselves that they now how even more evidence that Christianity is garbage, but, apart from this lot, and the Da Vinci Code nuts, I'm afraid this book isn't worth the seven years he wasted on his frankly, stupid ideas.

Before all the nutty people and atheists start commenting and attacking me or my review, yes! I am a Christian. So, you don't have to speculate.
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