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The Shroud Was the Resurrection: The Body Theft, the Shroud in the Tomb, and the Image that Inspired a Myth

John Loken

Verlag: Falcon Books, 2006
ISBN 10: 0964889749 / ISBN 13: 9780964889743
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Titel: The Shroud Was the Resurrection: The Body ...

Verlag: Falcon Books

Erscheinungsdatum: 2006

Zustand: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 20 days. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 9780964889743-3

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Inhaltsangabe: This book, written by an agnostic, builds upon four reasonable assumptions: that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus; that his image on it formed by some natural, not supernatural, process; that the body was dead; and that no resurrection occurred.

Three crucial and closely related historical questions are then explored at great length. First, what is the best natural explanation for the empty tomb of Jesus? It is a removal of the body by the Jerusalem authorities to prevent worship of the tomb or a violent rally at the site. Second, why was the shroud (and a smaller cloth, the soudarion) then found in the empty tomb? Again, the best explanation is a body theft by the authorities, whose accomplices easily removed the shroud from the body and left it behind in the tomb. Third and last, what effect would that life-size image of Jesus have had on the minds of his grieving followers who first beheld it? The effect is seen as potentially enormous. Coupled with their knowledge of the empty tomb and their ignorance of the body theft, that ghostly, peaceful, and seemingly supernatural shroud image may have been what inspired those followers with their belief in Jesus' resurrection. In support of this, many details of the shroud image of Jesus are shown to match details in the earliest or most reliable accounts of his resurrection appearances.

This new, shroud-based theory of the reputed resurrection of Jesus accords well with the image-worship that is such a common feature in the history of religions. It also partially supports each of the main groups in the resurrection debate: agnostics and other non-Christians; conservative Christian believers in the empty tomb and bodily resurrection accounts; and liberal Christians who understand the resurrection of Jesus as symbolic, yet still wonder if something more physical was seen on that first Easter morning.

If Matthew's account of the guards is basically true, it reveals that only the day after Joseph of Arimathea had honorably entombed Jesus' body did the Jewish authorities request permission from Pilate to have guards posted at the tomb: "Now the next day ... the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate...." (27:62). This sequence of events strongly suggests to me a cause-and-effect relationship, though Matthew does not say so and such a connection has not yet been drawn by New Testament scholars, to the best of my knowledge.

If the guards were a fictional element, added by Matthew merely in order to defend Christians against a later allegation of having stolen the body of Jesus (not possible with guards watching the tomb), as many liberal scholars today believe, why would Matthew leave them off-duty until the second day? Their introduction into the scene on the second day makes far more sense as being based on historical reality - they actually were requested and posted at the tomb on that second day, and Matthew reports this detail correctly. In that case, the Jewish priests must have had strong motives to visit the Roman governor, Pilate, on that second day, the Jewish Sabbath. The timing thus strongly suggests that Joseph's honorable entombment of Jesus' body the previous day was what prompted the guard request on the Sabbath. If so, the guards would not have been requested by the Jewish authorities as protection against a body theft by the disciples (as the priests claim in Matthew's account). Rather, they would have been requested (and perhaps bribed) in order to facilitate a body removal from that honorable tomb by the underlings of those same Jewish authorities. The irony runs deep here.

So does the absurdity. Matthew describes the chief priests, supposedly aware that Jesus had predicted, "After three days I will rise again," then requesting Pilate "that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead...." (27:64). But why request this guard unit only "until the third day"? Once the guards had left the tomb area on that third day, the disciples could come that night and still pull off their alleged scheme (or even on the fourth, fifth, or some later night, since the exact timing would have been far less important than the missing body in concocting any resurrection fraud). That passage thus makes no logical sense. It was apparently composed by Matthew because, though he knew of the request for guards, he did not know the exact terms arranged between the priests and Pilate, but did know that the guards subsequently left the tomb area on the third day. Matthew was also obsessed with a three-day time frame due to his resurrection belief. His insertion of "until the third day" here was an obvious mistake, due to his confusion about the facts and his sincere attempt to harmonize his limited knowledge with his resurrection belief.

By the time that Matthew was written, c. 80, the famous "third day" resurrection of Jesus had generated a legend among Christians of repeated prophesies made by Jesus himself of rising from the dead on "the third day." Alas, in all the twenty-one letters of the New Testament, most of them written before Matthew, a "third day" resurrection prophesy is mentioned only once, by Paul in I Corinthians 15:5, and even there it is not declared a prophesy by Jesus himself, but only "according to the scriptures." The unnamed scriptures in question are apparently two passages, Jonah 1:17 and Hosea 6:2, relating an individual's survival of danger and a nation's recovery from pains on or after a third day (a stock term for "short time" in biblical language).... --From pp. 16-18 of the first chapter, The Authorities Steal the Body of Jesus

Über den Autor: The author has degrees in history and literature, and has studied religion extensively.

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