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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Catholics, Protestants, and the Shroud of Turin

If anyone can identify this picture, please write to me.
I found it unattributed on the web and I'd love to know more about it.
I am scheduled to give a talk about the Shroud of Turin on Wednesday, April 30, at six pm, at the CCMC on the WPUNJ campus. Details here.

I mentioned this upcoming talk on Facebook. A Lutheran friend wrote,

"Shroud? I think it's from the era – not THE McCoy. My citations are from scripture. A separate cloth was used for the face. I'm not into my faith being affirmed by objects. They are temporal."

I was shocked and offended. I hadn't even mentioned the talk to her – she lives too far away. I had certainly never implied that anyone should base her Christian faith on the Shroud of Turin.

I posted a question – do Protestants view the Shroud differently? My Facebook friend Joe responded, "The face of Jesus has been claimed to have been found in everything from sliced tomatoes, to clouds, to tree bark. There are no sketches of the way Jesus looked from antiquity, so even if this is the face of some human, how does anyone know it is Jesus? I don't claim to speak for all Protestants, but I am skeptical of all such claims."

I wrote to Barrie Schwortz, one of my personal heroes, and the Shroud spokesperson par excellence.

In spite of his pressing schedule, Barrie took the time to write back and gave me permission to quote him. Barrie wrote,

"I actually have a special introduction to my presentations for non-Catholic Christian venues which I call: 'The Top 5 Reasons Why Some Christians Are Shroud Skeptics.' It addresses the primary reasons why some Christians deny or ignore the Shroud (and I've probably heard them all over the past 20 years). Here are the issues I discuss in the form of a 20 slide PowerPoint presentation:

1.The Shroud is a "graven image.“

2.The Shroud is just another Catholic relic.

3.The Gospels state that Jesus was tied with linen strips, yet the Shroud is a single large cloth. It further states there were 2 cloths in the tomb.

4.The Man of the Shroud has long hair, which is forbidden in the Gospels.

5.The Prophecies say the Man's beard was plucked, yet the Man of the Shroud has a full beard.

Properly addressing these issues has been very successful in Protestant churches (i.e. Lutheran, Methodist, Evangelical, Messianic, non-denominational, etc.). I was fortunate to have some help from my board member, Diana Fulbright, who is a Biblical scholar who reads and writes Greek, Latin and Aramaic. She helped me with the biblical references to answer the last two on the list."

I am very grateful to Barrie Schwortz for all that he does, and for this illuminating reply. I love it that Barrie is of Polish-Jewish ancestry. Barrie's mother is from Wisznice. Barrie, like me, grew up with immigrant parents. 


  1. Thanks to Lisa Osborne who discovered the title of the picture used in this blog post. You can see it here:

  2. The apostels where poor, and didn't cut there hair because of the power they got
    from Jesus to heal the sick. The shroud is not Catholic and also not Protestant,,
    But Jewish, so they got it all wrong.

    1. AngelWynton "the Shroud is Jewish." Yes! Thank you.

  3. Hi Danusha. I 've posted this at shroudstory, but you might not see it there: The picture is a photogravure from 1894 of “Luther at the Diet of Worms” by the Belgian artist Émile Delperée (1850–1896).