Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery

On Sunday, March 1st at 9pm, CNN will premiere their six-week series, Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery.

A description of the series says:

In Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery Part, we discover fascinating new insights into the historical Jesus, utilizing the latest state-of-the-art scientific techniques and archaeological research. Part documentary exploring the marvellous and mysterious artifacts emanating from the world of the Bible, the series is also a thrilling and emotional drama, examining the Gospel characters and stories connected to these artifacts – the baptism, the betrayal, the Passion, the Resurrection and after.

Along the way we investigate the value and authenticity of six objects which could shed new light on Jesus – the Shroud of Turin, relics venerated as part of the True Cross, the Gospel of Judas, relics believed to be of John the Baptist, and the Gospel of Mary.

Watch the trailer below:

Categories: CNN

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6 replies

  1. I thought the opening piece on the Shroud of Turin was quite biased on the side of it being a forgery. The program only briefly touched on the reason why many people contest the carbon dating performed in 1988. At the very least, the show should have discussed chemist Raymond Rogers (who died in 2005). Rogers uncovered cotton fibers in the tested sample but not from samples taken from the main part of the shroud during the 1973 examination. Rogers also found that the sample used for radiocarbon dating contained alizarin dye (utilized by re-weavers), whereas no dye of any form was found on any part of the original Shroud cloth. Whiting therefore reasoned that the carbon dated samples were from repair fabric used in the reweaving at a later date.

    Additionally, Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature, the acclaimed, peer-reviewed, international scientific journal that published the carbon dating results, wrote an interesting piece in Nature Online. He is writing as a scientist only: ” It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling.”

    Lastly, floral spores have been discovered on the Shroud that are of species found only in Israel, specifically Jerusalem. Israeli Professors, Dr. Avinoam Danin, a botanist with the Hebrew University of Jersalem who has published nine books on the flora of the Middle East. And Dr.Uri Baruch, a palynologist (a branch of science dealing with pollen and spores), and an authority on Israeli antiquities.

    They were introduced to the Shroud by Dr. Alan and Mary Whanger who originally discovered the evidence of flower images on the Shroud. The Whangers also now possess all the pollen collected by Max Frei. Baruch examined the pollen from these samples whereas Danin examined the flower images. Both are now convinced of the Shroud’s origination in Israel. Prof. Avinoam Danin (Botanist, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) – “Danin…has confirmed that of the hundreds of floral patterns on the sheet [i.e. Shroud], 28 are of flower species that still grown in Israel, 70 percent of them in a 10-square kilometer area between Jerusalem and Jericho. At least one of them, Zygophyllum (Dumosum), a kind of desert tumbleweed (actually a shrub), grows only in Israel and parts of neighboring Jordan and Sinai, as it did 2,000 years ago in the time of Jesus….Most of the floral images were clustered around the head of a bearded man who appeared to have been whipped and crowned with thorns and crucified. The positioning would have been consistent with the Jewish burial practice then of banking fresh flowers around the head of the deceased. Also consistent, Danin said, was the fact that a majority of the identified species were also used medicinally as a kind of preservative of the body….Danin said that the preponderance of botanical evidence – the presence of the exclusive Zygophyllum, along with the so many other species indigenous to the Holy Land, plus forensic evidence that the flowers were picked in the spring, at the time of the Passover and Crucifixion – convinces him that the shroud dates from the first century AD. (Danin says the reporter misquoted him as to any indication of a date and that what the evidence points to is that the Shroud must have originated in Jerusalem. The pollen does not indicate when, except that it was in the spring.)

    “Some 96 percent of the 28 flower species identified on the shroud grow between Jerusalem and the Qumran Caves. Add the southern Dead Sea area to the equation and 100 percent of the species can be found, said Danin.”

    “I can’t say for certain that it was Jesus’ shroud. But this evidence backs up the possibility that it is genuine, and there is no doubt that it comes from the Land of Israel.”

    The significance of both the pollen and flower images is profound. The evidence of the pollen grains of Gundelia Tournefortii causes Danin to believe that “They became part of the Shroud at one event-when in Jerusalem”. In fact, they found that 40 % of the total number of pollen found on the Shroud is from this one type of plant. The pollen content is so high it can only mean that G. Tournefortii must have been physically laid down on the Shroud. Dr. Danin has also found images of four leaves of the plant Zygophylum Dumosum which also indicates that the plant must have been physically laid on the Shroud. And it’s only found in Israel! The notion that the Shroud originated in Israel and was used in an actual burial ceremony now has strong new evidence.

    I find it very curious that none of this was discussed. It’s apparent to me that CNN approached this piece with the predisposed belief the Shroud is a forgery of some sort and can’t be scientifically connected to the time of Jesus or to Israel.

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