Relics of the Christ

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<ul><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 1/230</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 2/230</p><p>RELICSOFTHECHRIST</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 3/230</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 4/230</p><p>ELICSFTHE</p><p>CHRIST</p><p>THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY</p><p>Joe Nickell</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 5/230</p><p>Publication of this volume was made possible in part</p><p>by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.</p><p>Copyright 2007 by The University Press of Kentucky</p><p>Scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth,</p><p>serving Bellarmine University, Berea College, Centre</p><p>College of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University,</p><p>The Filson Historical Society, Georgetown College,</p><p>entucky Historical Society, Kentucky State University,</p><p>orehead State University, Murray State University,</p><p>orthern Kentucky University, Transylvania University,</p><p>niversity of Kentucky, University of Louisville,</p><p>and Western Kentucky University.</p><p>All rights reserved.</p><p>Editorial and Sales Offices: The University Press of Kentucky</p><p>663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40508-4008</p><p></p><p>1 10 09 08 07 5 4 3 2 1</p><p>ibrary of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data</p><p>ickell, Joe.</p><p>Relics of the Christ / Joe Nickell.</p><p>p. cm.</p><p>Includes bibliographical references and index.</p><p>ISBN-13: 978-0-8131-2425-4 (hardcover : alk. paper)</p><p>ISBN-10: 0-8131-2425-5 (hardcover : alk. paper)</p><p>1. Jesus ChristRelics. 2. Relics. 3. Religious articles. I. Title.</p><p>BT465.N53 2006</p><p>232.96'6dc22</p><p>2006029341</p><p>This book is printed on acid-free recycled paper meeting</p><p>the requirements of the American National Standard</p><p>or Permanence in Paper for Printed Library Materials.</p><p>anufactured in the United States of America.</p><p>Member of the Association of</p><p>American University Presses</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 6/230</p><p>List of Illustrations ix</p><p>Acknowledgments xiii</p><p>Introduction: The Life of Jesus 1</p><p>The Christ 1The Nazarene 5</p><p>The Mythologized Jesus 8</p><p>The Physical Evidence 11</p><p>1. The Cult of Relics 13</p><p>The Origin of Relics 13</p><p>The Veneration of Relics 16</p><p>The Dispensation of Relics 18Authentication 21</p><p>2. Christian Relics 26</p><p>Nativity and Infancy 26</p><p>Life and Ministry 31</p><p>Disciples 33</p><p>Later Saints 40</p><p>3. The Holy Grail 50</p><p>Grail Legends 50</p><p>Historical Evidence 53</p><p>Contents</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 7/230</p><p>CONTENTSvi</p><p>he Grail as Relic 56</p><p>he Da Vinci Hoax 60</p><p>4. Self-Portraits of Jesus 67he Likeness of Jesus 67</p><p>he Image of Edessa 69</p><p>Veronicas Veil 71</p><p>5. The True Cross 77</p><p>Visions of Constantine and Helena 77</p><p>he Holy Cross 82</p><p>he Titulus 86Fragments and Nails 90</p><p>6. Other Crucifixion Relics 96</p><p>Relics of the Trial and Scourging 96</p><p>he Crown of Thorns 100</p><p>he Holy Garments 103</p><p>he Lance of Longinus 106</p><p>7. Holy Shrouds 111</p><p>esus Jewish Burial 111</p><p>oly Winding Sheets 114</p><p>Shroud of Constantinople 117</p><p>Shrouds in Art and Liturgy 120</p><p>8. The Shroud of Turin 122</p><p>he Affair at Lirey 122A Confessed Forger 128</p><p>ourney of the Holy Shroud 130</p><p>A Linen Cloth 134</p><p>9. Photograph of Christ 139</p><p>mage on the Shroud 139</p><p>he Imprinting 142</p><p>edical Evidence 147A Work of Art 150</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 8/230</p><p>CONTENTS vii</p><p>10. The Sudarium of Oviedo 154</p><p>Companion Relic 154</p><p>istorical Record 156ogus Science 159</p><p>Carbon Dating 164</p><p>11. Blood of Jesus 167</p><p>oly Blood 167</p><p>Blood on the Shroud 174</p><p>Blood on the Sudarium 177</p><p>12. The James Ossuary 180</p><p>ackground 180</p><p>Provenance 184</p><p>Further Suspicions 186</p><p>he Verdict 189</p><p>Conclusion 191</p><p>References 193Index 201</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 9/230</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 10/230</p><p>llustrations</p><p>The Annunciation 3</p><p>The Holy Family 7</p><p>Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead 10</p><p>Relic collection at the Church of Maria Ausiliatrice 14</p><p>Relic chapel in the Church of Maria Ausiliatrice 17</p><p>Reliquary of the reputed blood of Christ 21</p><p>Reputed relic of St. Augustine 22</p><p>Ten Commandments being given to Moses 23</p><p>Basilica of St. Eustorgio in Milan 28</p><p>Depiction of the Magi at Basilica of St. Eustorgio 28</p><p>St. Marks Basilica in Venice 38</p><p>Crypt supposedly holding relics of St. Mark 38Lunette depicting St. Mark , the Virgin, and Christ 39</p><p>St. Januarius holding vials of his own blood 45</p><p>Gilded bust of St. Januarius 48</p><p>Luigi Garlaschelli and the Pozzuoli Stone 48</p><p>Suit of cups in the tarot deck 51</p><p>Knights Templar 54</p><p>Statue of Faith holding the Holy Grail 57The Antioch chalice 59</p><p>Cover of The Da Vinci Code 61</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 11/230</p><p>ILLUSTRATIONSx</p><p>Statue of Leonardo da Vinci 62</p><p>Purported relics of Mary Magdalene 64</p><p>Face of Christ imprinted on cloth 69Veronica offers her veil to Jesus 72</p><p>Veronica displays her veil 72</p><p>Veronica engraving on linen 74</p><p>Jesus dies on a cross 78</p><p>Byzantine cross 79</p><p>Crusaders capturing Jerusalem 84</p><p>View of Golgotha 85Cover of The Quest for the True Cross 88</p><p>Embossed token of the True Cross 93</p><p>Collection of relics from Constantinople 99</p><p>Jesus with the Crown of Thorns 101</p><p>Cover of The Spear of Destiny 110</p><p>Burial of Jesus 113</p><p>Holy Shroud of Besanon, France 117</p><p>Crusaders desecrating a church in Constantinople 119</p><p>Container of the Shroud of Turin 123</p><p>useum of the Shroud in Turin 123</p><p>Shroud of Turin carried aloft by angels 124</p><p>Cathedral of St. John the Baptist 132</p><p>Walter C. McCrone 133</p><p>Photographs of the Shroud of Turin 141</p><p>Detail from photoreproduction of the shroud 144</p><p>Negative photo of the face on the shroud 146</p><p>Negative photo of experimental image 147</p><p>Cover of The Oviedo Cloth 157</p><p>ap of Spain 158</p><p>Sketch of the Oviedo cloth 161</p><p>Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges 171</p><p>Painting in Bruges depicting the Holy Blood 171Lighted cross at Church of Maria Ausiliatrice 172</p><p>The James ossuary 181</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 12/230</p><p>ILLUSTRATIONS xi</p><p>Ossuaries at Royal Ontario Museum 182</p><p>The James ossuarys inscription 183</p><p>Ossuary exhibition at Royal Ontario Museum 186Drawing of rosettes on James ossuary 187</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 13/230</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 14/230</p><p>am grateful for the assistance of many people, including all my col-</p><p>leagues at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York, notably,</p><p>Paul Kurtz, chairman, and Barry Karr, executive director, for their</p><p>continued support. So, too, the entire staff of Skeptical Inquirer ma -</p><p>azine, in which some portions of this book appeared.</p><p>Specifically, I want to thank Timothy Binga, director of CFI Li-</p><p>braries, for research assistance; Thomas Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry,</p><p>or help in various ways; and Paul E. Loynes for word processing.</p><p>I appreciate all the efforts of the staff at the University Press of</p><p>Kentucky, especially Gena Henry for her continuing interest in this</p><p>book.</p><p>any others assisted in various ways, especially my Italian col-leagues and friends, including Paola de Gobbi, Francesco Chiminello,</p><p>and Matteo Fillippini (in Venice); Massimo Polidoro (in Milan); Ste-</p><p>ano Bagnasco, Andrea Ferrero, Claudio Pastore, Beatrice Mautino,</p><p>and Mario Tomatis (in Turin); and Luigi Garlaschelli (who accompa-</p><p>ied me to Naples).</p><p>And, of course, once again I am grateful for the encouragement</p><p>and assistance of friends and family, especially the love of my life,Diana Harris; our beautiful daughter, Cherette Roycroft; my son-in-</p><p>law, Randy Roycroft; and my grandsons, Chase and Tyner.</p><p>Acknowledgments</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 15/230</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 16/230</p><p>The Life of Jesus</p><p>The founder of Christianity, the religious movement that helped</p><p>shape the course of Western civilization, was an itinerant, wonder-</p><p>orking, Palestinian rabbi from Nazareth named Yeshua (in He-</p><p>brew), today known as Jesus (from the Greek form of that name). He</p><p>as been viewed in quite different ways. As portrayed in the Chris-</p><p>tian Gospels, he was the Messiah, or Christ (from the Greek anoint-</p><p>ed); scholars have attempted to understand him as a historical</p><p>gure, sometimes called the Nazarene; and some have even seen him</p><p>as largely or even completely fictitious, the product of an evolving</p><p>ythology. This chapter treats each of these views in turn and then</p><p>sets the tone for the remainder of the book, which investigates the</p><p>eputed relics of Jesus and his family and followers, examining howthey contribute to an understanding of what is necessarily a story of</p><p>a story.</p><p>T e C rist</p><p>The primary source of information about the life of Jesus is the four</p><p>GospelsMatthew, Mark, Luke, and Johnsupplemented by other</p><p>Christian texts, including apocryphal Gospels, and scant non-Christianritings. Three of the four GospelsMatthew, Mark, and Lukeare</p><p>known as the synoptic Gospels (from the Greek synoptikos, with</p><p>one eye) because of their similarities. Matthew appears first in the</p><p>NTRODUCTION</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 17/230</p><p>RELICSOFTHE CHRIST2</p><p>canon, although it is now believed that Mark was written earlier</p><p>Asimov 1969, 108). Matthew addresses a Jewish audience, Luke a</p><p>largely Gentile one, and both appear to have used Mark as a source,possibly in an earlier form. Johns Gospel is an independent produc-</p><p>tion, reporting sayings of Jesus in the form of discourses that differ</p><p>rom the accounts of the other three (Encyclopaedia Britannica</p><p>1960, s.v. Jesus Christ).</p><p>arks Gospel says almost nothing about the origins of Jesus.</p><p>atthew (1:116) and Luke (3:2338) provide genealogies, but they</p><p>are contradictory as to the father of Joseph, Jesus father, as was sup-posed (Luke 3:23). Lukes questioning of the identity of Jesus father</p><p>ay acknowledge the evangelists acceptance of the virgin birth, or</p><p>t might be an early scribes insertion (Asimov 1969, 275). The forth-</p><p>coming birth was announced by an angel that appeared to either Jo-</p><p>seph (Matthew 1:2024) or Mary (Luke 1:2638); see figure I.1. Only</p><p>atthew (2:13) tells of wise men (Magi) from the east who are led</p><p>by a star to worship Jesus, born in Bethlehem, as King of the</p><p>Jews. Only Luke (2:818) relates how an angel told shepherds of the</p><p>birth, prompting them to visit the manger where the infant lay, there</p><p>aving been no room . . . in the inn.</p><p>Again, only Luke (2:4050) tells the story of twelve-year-old Je-</p><p>sus visiting the temple in Jerusalem and astonishing his elders with</p><p>is brilliance. Luke (2:52) then skips over the early years by stating,</p><p>And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God</p><p>and man. Next, all four Gospels relate Jesus baptism by John the</p><p>Baptist, a historical figure mentioned by Josephus. In Mark (1:911),</p><p>the Spirit of God enters Jesus on this occasion; in Matthew (3:1415),</p><p>owever, the Holy Spirit had already entered Jesus when he was con-</p><p>ceived, so the focus is on John the Baptist recognizing that Jesus is</p><p>the Messiah.</p><p>Following a period of fasting and soul-searchingdramatized by</p><p>atthew (4:111) as a series of temptations by the devilJesus be-ins his ministry of teaching and working miracles. Rejected by his</p><p>ellow Nazarenes for daring to compare himself with the prophets</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 18/230</p><p>INTRODUCTION 3</p><p>Elijah and Elisha, he states: A prophet is not without honour, but in</p><p>is own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house</p><p>Mark 6:4). He proceeds to nearby Galilee, and, writes Matthew (4:17),</p><p>From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the</p><p>kingdom of heaven is at hand. At the shore of the Lake of Gen-</p><p>esaret (later known as the Sea of Galilee), Jesus sees two fishermen,</p><p>Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, casting a net, and he says, Fol-</p><p>low me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).</p><p>The multitudes begin to gather and to follow him, and he deliv-</p><p>ers what came to be known as the Sermon on the Mount. This isactually less a sermon than a collection of representative sayings,</p><p>hich typically express Old Testament teachings (Asimov 1969,</p><p>Figure I.1. The Annunciation of Jesus birth is related in the Gospel of Luke</p><p>(mid-nineteenth-century illustration by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld).</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 19/230</p><p>RELICSOFTHE CHRIST4</p><p>165). For example, Jesus says, Blessed are the meek: for they shall</p><p>nherit the earth (Matthew 5:5); this follows Psalms 37:11, But the</p><p>eek shall inherit the earth.Jesus often taught through parables, such as that of the sower:</p><p>ehold a sower went forth to sow. And when he sowed, some seeds</p><p>fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some</p><p>fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith</p><p>they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the</p><p>sun was up they were scorched; and because they had no root, they</p><p>withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung</p><p>up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and broughtforth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.</p><p>(Matthew 13:38)</p><p>When his disciples were puzzled, he explained that he was referring</p><p>to Gods word being received and understood to varying degrees, and</p><p>e elaborated (Matthew 13:1823).</p><p>In addition to performing healing cures, such as cleansing lepers</p><p>Luke 17:1119), Jesus demonstrated miraculous powers, includingcalming a storm (Mark 4:3539), multiplying five loaves and two</p><p>shes to feed five thousand (Luke 9:1017), walking on water (Mat-</p><p>thew 14:2527), changing water to wine (John 2:111), and raising</p><p>Lazarus from the dead (John 11:3844), among others.</p><p>Jesus ministry lasted only some three years. Jewish religious lead-</p><p>ers began to fear a rebellion, saying of Jesus, If we let him thus alone,</p><p>all men will believe in him: and the Romans shall come and take awayboth our place and nation (John 11:48). Caiaphas, the high priest, sup-</p><p>posedly stated, it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the</p><p>people, and that the whole nation perish not (John 11:50).</p><p>The four Gospels all begin their account of Jesus final week</p><p>ith his triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a colt, his path</p><p>strewn by palm branchesan event now celebrated by Christians as</p><p>Palm Sunday. The rest occurs in quick succession, with the Gospels</p><p>differing only in the details: Jesus gathers his twelve disciples for a</p><p>Last Supper; is betrayed by Judas, who leads armed men to arrest Je-</p><p>sus as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane; is tried twice (once</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Relics of the Christ</p><p> 20/230</p><p>INTRODUCTION 5</p><p>before the Jewish priesthood and again before Pontius Pilate, the Ro-</p><p>an procurator); and is then scourged, crucified, and buried in a</p><p>tomb.The central tenet of Christianitythat Jesus was resurrected</p><p>rom the deadis then related by the four evangelists, with Johns</p><p>Gospel giving the greatest detail. The tomb is discovered empty with</p><p>the burial linens lying about, and Jesus subsequently makes several</p><p>appearances to his followers. Then, according to Mark (16:19) and</p><p>Luke (24:51), Jesus ascends into heaven.</p><p>The Nazarene</p><p>Those seeking the historical Jesus have little to work from. The Gos-</p><p>pels were composed some seventy to a hundred years after Jesus</p><p>birth (Ward 1987, 14), creating difficulties from the outset. Mark,</p><p>hose Gospel was probably the earliest and certainly the shortest,</p><p>seems to have known nothing of the birth or childhood of Jesus, and</p><p>either does John. Luke says that Jesus was born during a census, andthe only one historically known occurred in A.D. 6 and 7a date too</p><p>late to accord with the other events (baptism, crucifixion) in Jesus</p><p>life (Craveri 1967, 33). Matthew asserts that Jesus...</p></li></ul>