The Turin Shroud Is A Medieval Prop Made For Plays, Says Expert
British scholar Charles Freeman says the Turin Shroud was a medieval prop. He analysed the cloth a...
Looking through historical texts, he found no mention of the shroud before 1355 - somewhat odd for an item of such apparent religious significance.
He then notes that the artefact was acquired by the House of Savoy - one of the oldest royal familes in the world - and turned into a ‘high-prestige relic’ in 1453, reports The Guardian.
But following this he found that depictions of the shroud, including an engraving by artist Anotonio Tempesta in 1613, were different from the shroud we know today.
They focused on features that are no longer easy to spot, including the Crown of Thorns and long hair on Christ’s neck.
In addition, it is no longer easy to see that the figure in the shroud was once covered in blood and marks from where he had been struck.
‘Astonishingly, few researchers appear to have grasped that the shroud looked very different in the 16th and 17th centuries from the object we see today,’ Freeman writes.
This leads him to believe that the shroud was mostly likely just a prop used in medieval Easter rituals.
He believed it was used in a ceremony called the ‘Quem Quaeritis?’ or ‘whom do you seek?’
This ceremony involved re-enacting gospel accounts of the resurrection.
‘They would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,’ Freeman says.
The shroud is set to be exhibited next year in Turin for the first time in five years, with two million people expected to visit it.
JESUS NEVER EXISTED, CLAIMS EXPERT
Writer Michael Paulkovich has claimed that there is little evidence for a person known as Jesus existing in history.
Jesus is thought to have lived from about 7BC to 33AD in the Roman Empire.
However Paulkovich says he found little to no mention of the supposed messiah in 126 texts written in the first to third centuries.
Only one mention of Jesus was present, in a book by Roman historian Josephus Flavius, but he says this was added by later editors.
He says this is surprising despite the ‘alleged worldwide fame’ of Jesus. This has led him to believe that Jesus was a 'mythical character'.
WHAT IS THE TURIN SHROUD?
The linen cloth, believed by some to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, has captivated the imagination of historians, church chiefs, sceptics and Catholics for more than 500 years.
There are no definite historical records concerning the shroud prior to the 14th century. Although there are numerous reports of Jesus' burial shroud, or an image of his head, of unknown origin, being venerated in various locations before the 14th century.
But there is no historical evidence that these refer to the shroud currently at Turin Cathedral. A burial cloth, which some historians maintain was the Shroud, was owned by the Byzantine emperors but disappeared during the Sack of Constantinople in 1204.
Historical records seem to indicate that a shroud bearing an image of a crucified man existed in the small town of Lirey around the years 1353 to 1357. It was in the possession of a French Knight, Geoffroi de Charny, who died at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.
However the correspondence of this shroud with the shroud in Turin, and its very origin has been debated by scholars and lay authors, with claims of forgery attributed to artists born a century apart. Some contend that the Lirey shroud was the work of a confessed forger and murderer.
The history of the shroud from the 15th century is well recorded. In 1532, the shroud suffered damage from a fire in a chapel of Chambéry, capital of the Savoy region, where it was stored.
A drop of molten silver from the reliquary produced a symmetrically placed mark through the layers of the folded cloth. Poor Clare Nuns attempted to repair this damage with patches.
In 1578 Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy ordered the cloth to be brought from Chambéry to Turin and it has remained at Turin ever since.
The shroud has had many notorious admirers. It even obsessed Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who wanted to steal it so he could use it in a black magic ceremony.
In May 2010, five years after he became Pope, Benedict authorised a public viewing of the Shroud - the first since 2000.
VIDEO: The Shroud and the Carbon Dating Debate