- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Souvenir Press (April 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0285632019
- ISBN-13: 978-0285632011
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
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- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
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The Turin Shroud Is Genuine: The Irrefutable Evidence Updated Hardcover – April 1, 1994
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He interviewed several forensic scientists, who "argued that the body in the Shroud was absolutely dead by pre-seventeenth century standards but in a deep coma by present-day ones." (Pg. 69) He suggests, "There is one more deduction we may make from the blood-stains. The stains are perfectly clear. Had he been nailed with his back to the wood the marks would have been completely smudged by the wood. The same applies to the feet, which are clear enough to suggest they were not against the wood or against each other. He must have faced the cross." (Pg. 82)
He speculates, "When [Joseph and Nicodemus after the crucifixion] reached the tomb and stripped off the top of the cloth, it would have been clear that the body was unlike normal corpses... The body might also have coughed, or jerked a limb. What would they have done in that case? They would not have left it unguarded in the tomb... they decided to take it away... to tend it and await developments. The grave-linen would not be needed, so they left it in two piles ... That is how the mistake could have arisen... When Mary found the grave empty on Sunday morning, she reported to the disciples, 'They had taken the Lord out of his tomb...' If this is what she really said she must have meant Joseph and Nicodemus. St. John had not witnessed the interment... And when he saw those two piles on the Sunday morning, he assumed that they had come off the body, 'and saw and believed...'... The supernatural explanation was born. But the natural one is just as remarkable." (Pg. 134-135)
He suggests, "Jesus must have recovered consciousness soon after removal from the tomb... he may have passed through Emmaus. It is no surprise that Cleopas and the other disciple failed to recognize him at first: not only were they sure he had been dead for three weeks, but extreme suffering can radically alter appearances... The one certainty is that he did join them, and they were convinced he had conquered death and was with them again in the flesh... He left his disciples then. It was now up to them..." (Pg. 141-142)
He concludes, "The Shroud provides a simple, material explanation of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus... The most important information concerns Jesus' death... the Shroud shows how Jesus died, in his time, and recovered from death... Jesus being a full man on earth, and not a part of God, does not match up with Church doctrine, it is true. However... he really lived, laughed, and suffered as we do. He could not see God or receive Divine guidance, while on earth. He is our example of how to live on Earth." (Pg. 172-173)
This book will certainly not appeal to "orthodox" Shroud believers; but those interested in more esoteric interpretaions of Jesus (that are less "far out" than the "Da Vinci Code"-type conspiracy theories) may enjoy it.
In recent decades, this theory has been given a new lease on life (hopefully not much longer) by the additional factor of the Shroud of Turin. Rodney Hoare's book The Turin Shroud is Genuine represents one such attempt to support the old "swoon" theory using new evidence from the Shroud, which Hoare believes is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus. Other authors holding or promoting the view that "Jesus survived and the Shroud of Turin proves it" include H. Naber, H. Kersten, and H. Felzmann. But Hoare's book in its various versions or editions (1978, 1984, 1994, 1999) is probably the best known, certainly in the English-speaking world. That is partly due to its misleading title, which emphasizes the authenticity of the Shroud while not revealing the very dubious coma-resuscitation claims of the book. In any case, all such researchers as those listed above believe that some of the markings on the Shroud indicate that the man inside it was not dead but alive.
However, the problems with this swoon theory - that Jesus survived his crucifixion - are many and insurmountable. Due to limitations of space here, I'll focus on some of the Shroud-related evidence, skipping all the abundant historical evidence from the gospels and other ancient accounts of crucifixions. And so:
1. The vivid bloodstains on the Shroud are actually relatively minor ones, found in only a few areas, as would not have been the case if the body enveloped in the Shroud were alive, with its beating heart still pumping blood throughout the body - and out of its wounds, onto the cloth.
2. Rigor mortis (the "rigor of death") is evident in the body, as virtually all Shroud experts are agreed. For example, both legs are slightly bent, and one knee is raised slightly higher than the other. By far the best explanation for this posture is that the legs are frozen stiff in almost the same position they were in on the cross (one foot was nailed atop the other, therefore one knee raised higher), where rigor mortis set in soon after Jesus' death. Those preparing his body for burial, hurriedly, obviously did not feel the need to straighten his legs completely, but merely to separate the feet. If his leg muscles were relaxed as in (comatose) life, why would one knee be raised higher than the other, as it clearly is? Furthermore, the thighs and buttocks are not flattened as they would be in the case of living and relaxed muscles lying on a horizontal surface, with gravity pressing their soft mass against that surface. They are instead rounded, and by far the best explanation for that still-rounded shape, indeed the only explanation for it, is that death occurred and rigor mortis set in quickly (as it often does in cases of agonizing death) while the body was still hanging vertically on the cross.
3. Finally, the British medical experts cited by Hoare in support of his theory (pp. 66-70), who told him that the spear wound to the side/chest would not have been fatal, were previously unfamiliar with the Shroud. At his sudden request, they examined two photographs (positive and negative) of the Shroud, but only briefly, for about one hour, and apparently sometime in the 1960s or 1970s (Hoare oddly supplies no date). The photographs were only three feet high. Thus, the entire 14-foot length of the Shroud was reduced to three feet. The human figure on it would therefore have been barely one foot high (Hoare does not inform his readers of this fact), hardly an ideal size for discerning bodily details. Moreover, those scientists were from the East Midland Forensic Science Laboratory, surely respectable local experts but neither infallible nor world-renowned authorities. Hoare's account also reveals, though he himself does not fully appreciate it, that those police scientists looked upon the whole Shroud question with an attitude of mirth and mischief. This group presumably also rendered its collective judgment under the influence of a single leader or two (Norman Lee?). Furthermore, they looked at the crucial side/chest wound for only a few minutes. Hoare quotes one of them as saying about the spear thrust: "Put your hand where the point entered as on the Shroud photograph, and then lift your arms to the side in the crucifixion position, and it was too high to damage anything if the wound came from below." This statement is strange and incorrect, though it may sound clever and valid in the abstract. Actually, the moment one experiments, one discovers the truth: the skin over the lower ribs, where the entry wound clearly was, does not rise when the arms are raised into the crucifixion position. The material of a lab coat does rise, but Jesus was not wearing a lab coat, nor any other such garment. So the wound was, in fact, lower than those scientists speculated, and was thus perfectly located for a penetration of the heart by the spear. Those scientists seem also not to have considered any other cause of death for a crucifixion victim (asphyxia, heart attack). Hoare's account also unwittingly reveals that those forensic scientists assumed that the mysterious image was caused by body heat from a living body, since that was the only image-formation option known or believed by them to provide the necessary evenness of the full-body image. Thus firmly believing that heat from a living body was the cause of the image, those scientists, and Hoare with them, ignored the signs of rigor mortis, the signs that the spear wound would have been fatal, and other possible causes of death. If they could be located today (2008), some 30 years later, and asked to study the evidence at greater length, with better photographs, I feel certain that those several scientists would soberly conclude that the spear did indeed enter between the ribs at a place where its tip would have pierced the heart and killed the man were he still alive at that time. Can someone in the U.K. please locate those (retired?) pathologists soon and request their careful reconsideration of this matter?
4. As for the body image again, if it had been caused by body heat, and if the man enveloped in the Shroud were really alive and breathing at the time, his image would surely look different than it does. It would not exhibit such an even, uniform, photographic quality. The area under the nose, in particular, would exhibit more darkness/density due to the warm breath exiting the nostrils there. The fact that the precise imaging process has not yet been identified does not mean that we should accept, as the image's cause, a known imaging mechanism (body heat) which, however, does not agree with several aspects of the image in question here. If any shrouds of other crucifixion victims were extant, we might have some intriguing images to compare with that on the Turin Shroud and might be closer to ascertaining the precise process involved.
One could go on and on, but space is limited. Incidentally, the absolute deadness of the body seems to me also incompatible with the claim by conservative Christians that the image on the Shroud shows a resurrection in progress (that is, a coming-to-life). All that we see on the Shroud is a very dead body, though superficially it may look "alive" or even "resurrected."
With regard to a resurrection, Hoare deserves great credit for his skepticism toward the supernatural accounts related in the gospels. Unfortunately, he is almost alone in the Shroud field in that regard. The vast majority of experts and others in the field are conservative Christians who fervently believe in a bodily, supernatural resurrection of Jesus. Some misinterpret the evidence as much as Hoare did. This whole situation is unfortunate, but hopefully will soon change. The addition of non-Christian scientists to the field would surely provide more balance and represent a positive step forward.
I am not a Christian (though once I was), but I do believe that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus. I further believe that the body was dead, that its image was formed on the shroud by some perfectly natural though as yet undetermined process (biochemical? bioelectrical?), and that there was no resurrection. Alas, extremely few other people, if any, apparently share these four reasonable positions. May I sincerely request that some readers consider doing so?
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"Yes, the Shroud of Turin is real, but Christianity is NOT," should be the actual title.Read more