Relics of the Christ
Religious relics, defined as “either portions of or objects connected with the body of a saint or other holy person,” are among the most revered items in the world. Christian relics such as the Holy Grail, the True Cross, and the Lance of Longinus are also the source of limitless controversy. Such items have incited people to bloodshed and, some say, have been a source of miracles. Relics inspire fear and hope among the faithful and yet are a perennial target for skeptics, both secular and Christian. To research the authenticity of numerous Christian relics, Joe Nickell takes a scientific approach to a field of study all too often tainted by premature conclusions. In this volume, Nickell investigates such renowned relics as the Shroud of Turin, the multiple heads of John the Baptist, and the supposedly incorruptible corpses of saints, first examining the available evidence and documented history of each item. From accounts of true believers to the testimony of the relics’ alleged fabricators, Nickell then presents all sides of each story, allowing the evidence to speak for itself. For each relic, Nickell evaluates both the corroborating and contradictory bodies of evidence and explores whether the relic and attributed miracles can be reconstructed. In addition to his own experiments, Nickell presents findings from the world’s top scientists and historians regarding these controversial objects of reverence and ire, explaining the circumstances under which each case was examined. Radiocarbon dating and tests to determine the validity of substances such as blood or patina indicate a variety of possible origins. Nickell even reveals some of the techniques used to create archaeological forgeries and explains how investigators have exposed them. Each relic is a mystery to be solved; guided by the maxim, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” Nickell seeks only the truth.
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9 Photograph of Christ
10 The Sudarium of Oviedo
11 Blood of Jesus
12 The James Ossuary
8 The Shroud of Turin
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Page 111 - And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.
Page 14 - He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah?
Page 15 - And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men ; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha : and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha. he revived, and stood up on his feet.
Page 15 - And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul : so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Page 111 - Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
Page 99 - And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.