De Wesselow - an agnostic, originally a skeptic about the Shroud - has just published a provocative new book about in which he concludes it's genuine.Um, yeah. The "spark" that ignited a worldwide movement which has now lasted for two millennia was the deluded imagination of a handful of disappointed dreamers venerating a piece of cloth. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
He compared it to artwork depicting the Crucifixion created since the Middle Ages, referring to the Station of the Cross at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City: "If you look at the hands on the cross, the nails go through the center of the palms," he showed Teichner. "That part of the hand is not strong enough to bear the weight of the body."
He said the Shroud illustrates signs of the events of Good Friday through Easter Sunday. "You start off with the flagellation, and that's very clearly presented on the Shroud, with these very, very distinct marks of the flagrum," he said. "You can then see the crown of thorns. He then is beaten and you can see on his face underneath his eyes there's a swelling. His nose looks as if it's been broken." There is also the mark of a puncture of a spear, with "dribbles of blood coming down."
But now here's the provocative part: De Wesselow's take on the resurrection - what he says happened on Easter Day when Mary Magdalene and two other women went to Jesus' tomb:
"They go to the body, they lift off the cloth, and they notice this strange shadowy form on the cloth itself," he said. "Immediately, they would have had this perception of it as a living presence in the tomb with Jesus."
"They didn't see Jesus come alive again?"
"No, I think what they saw was the Shroud," De Wesselow said. "Once they saw the Shroud they understood that he'd not been resurrected in the flesh, he'd been resurrected in the spirit."
According to de Wesselow, each supposed sighting of the risen Christ was actually a sighting of the Shroud. He's convinced it was what sparked the rapid spread of Christianity, as it was taken from Jerusalem to Galilee, then to Damascus, where he believes Paul saw it and became a Christian.
Cue the tape. . .