After my conversations with Bill, the Christian Wordview Examiner, about Jesus, I found it interesting to see that someone claims to have proven that the Shroud of Turin belonged to Jesus. It’s amazing how in our desire to believe in and to seek proof of God, we humans can see things that possibly aren’t there.
For those Jews who know little or nothing about the shroud, it represents one of the most venerated relics in the world. The Shroud of Turin is the linen that some believe wrapped the body of Jesus after he was crucified. Many say the face of Jesus is “burned” on the cloth. (See for yourself…just look at the photo.)
An Italian expert from the Vatican Secret Archives, Barbara Frale, author of The shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, says she has proven this piece of cloth was use used for that purpose. She knows this as truth, because she says it contains the remains of Jesus death certificate.
In 1978, a group of experts found letters around the face purportedly displayed on the shroud. (That “face” has been under contention for years.) Frale decoded the letters, which she says appear in three languages—Greek, Latin and Aramaic. According to her book, and in a video (see below to watch), she says, the words spell out the name “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Of course, her claim immediately was contested by scholars who said that radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 showed the shroud itself to be a medieval forgery. She contests this, arguing that scholars first noticed that there was writing on the shroud in 1978, but when the radiocarbon tests a decade later suggested that the shroud was a forgery, historians lost interest in the script. (Well, if the shroud wasn’t real, why wouldn’t they have dismissed the letters also?)
To prove her hypothesis, Frale turned to a group of paleographers. Without telling them where the letters originated, they confirm the letters were written in the first century during the time of Jesus.
Other scientist and experts understandably have been skeptical, calling Frale’s finding the results of “imagination and computer software.” (Read the full Telegraph.uk.co story here.)
Personally, I wonder if Jesus’ body—or any body—wouldn’t have had to have been wrapped in that shroud for a year or more for those letters and words to leave that type of chemical reaction on the shroud—if it’s real at all. I can’t imagine it would have happened in just three days, the time Jesus was said to have remained in the tomb before his resurrection. So, if Frale is right, it seems to me her argument brings into question the resurrection itself. But I’m no scientist; I’m sure she would have an explanation.
As for the face on the shroud, I know that true believers in its authenticity think Jesus’ energy burned itself onto that cloth (or something like that) in that short amount of time.
What does any of this have to do with Judaism? Not much really. Except that Jesus was a Jew, and the majority of the world sees him as the son of God and revolved a whole religion around him. That makes him, and things related to him, interesting to me.
I guess this news story about the shroud made me think about the power of belief…the need to believe. As Jews, about what beliefs do we feel so strongly that we would believe them no matter what? Or, on a personal level, is there something I (or you) say I see that isn’t really there? Hmmmm. That’s worth considering.
Here’s a more important question: Do Jews need proof to believe in God? It seems to me that a lot of Christians need to believe in that shroud as proof of Jesus’ existence, and those people see Jesus as not only the son of God but as God in the flesh. Frale’s gone to a lot of effort to prove it, that’s for sure. Most Jews—at least the more observant, spiritual or religiously inclined ones—don’t feel the need for proof. Rather, they see proof of God’s existence in their lives every day. They don’t need an old piece of material with a face on it to prove God exists—at least I don’t.