March 30th, 2012
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Resurrection was an optical illusion: Cambridge Art historian

turin-shroudCambridge: The new sensational theory by the Cambridge Art historian Thomas de Wesselow is out to rock the basic belief of Christianity – that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Mr Wesselow who is based in King’s College, Cambridge, is convinced the Turin Shroud is real, however he believes that the Resurrection was an optical illusion.

According to him in the mind of a person 2,000 years ago, the image on the Shroud would have been astonishing – far beyond their normal experiences and truly unsettling. It would be nothing but natural for the Apostles to believe that the optical illusion was a miracle. The image on the cloth fooled the Apostles into believing Christ had come back to life.

‘They saw the image on the cloth as the living double of Jesus,’ he said. In his explanation of his theory he states, ‘back then images had a psychological presence, they were seen as part of a separate plain of existence, as having a life of their own.’

If one puts themselves in the shoes of the apostles and goes through the same experience of  ‘Going into the tomb three days after the crucifixion, in the half-light, and seeing that image emerging from the burial cloth,’ it would be easier to understand what they felt.

In the New Testament, after the Romans crucified Jesus, he was buried in a tomb, but God raised him from the dead and he appeared to many people over a span of forty days before his ascension to Heaven. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, the third day after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion.

However the debate regarding the authenticity of the resurrection has been raged on for decades. A 1988 radiocarbon dating test had put the age of the shroud at between 1260 and 1390. De Wesselow in his book however claims to prove the botched sampling of the cloth and the last-minute abandonment of agreed procedures mean that the carbon dating test was seriously flawed. He believes the Shroud was looted as bounty by French knights and the Crusaders who sacked Constantinople in 1204.

He is convinced modern analysis proves the Shroud is genuine; that pollens lifted from cloth fibres indicate that it was once in Israel; a seam used in the weave of the linen is identical to one found only on a first-century cloth from Judea; the wound-marks are composed of real blood; and an alternative, peer-reviewed test of the age of the linen found that it was over 1300 years old. He contends that the negative quality of the image also explains why, in the Gospels, the disciples are at first unable to recognize the Risen Jesus

And he says his version of the Resurrection can be interpreted from Saint Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15-50 passages in the Bible in which the Apostle says unequivocally that ‘resurrection is not about flesh and blood’.


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