Scholar: Resurrection Of Christ Was An Optical Illusion

article-2121149-000BD5CF00000258-954_468x445Basically, the claim is that Jesus’s rising from the dead circa 2,000 years ago happened much in the same way as his being spotted in potato chips today. The Daily Mail writes:

A sensational new theory about the Turin Shroud claims to destroy the core belief of Christianity – that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Art historian Thomas de Wesselow is convinced the Shroud is real and did touch Christ’s body. But the Cambridge academic insists that the image on the cloth fooled the Apostles into believing Christ had come back to life, and the Resurrection was in fact an optical illusion.

His theory is that 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. ‘They saw the image on the cloth as the living double of Jesus,’ he said. ‘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.’

32 Comments on "Scholar: Resurrection Of Christ Was An Optical Illusion"

  1. Jin The Ninja | Apr 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    call me romantic, and though i’m not a catholic anymore, i still like the metaphysical implications of resurrection and the legitimacy of the shroud.

    •  you spelled “dumb” wrong…

      • Jin The Ninja | Apr 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

        b/c i momentarily suggested it might be more interesting to have the story of the shroud/resurrection be more than a myth? i didn’t realise having an interest in metaphysics was akin to ‘dumb.’ but then again what does a materialist really know anyway?

    • Anomaly_of_Anomie | Apr 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

      For me, the resurrection of christ reflects metaphorical personification of Spring and reincarnation. Many of christianity’s rituals and holidays combined with earlier euro-pagan beliefs and culture.   

      • Jin The Ninja | Apr 8, 2012 at 3:32 am |

        while in catholic school, i often tried to subvert the narrative of the church with its pagan history every time we’d have to do a major paper or project-once i linked catholic symbology to the major arcana (and brought my deck o cards in to show), another time i did a presentation about goddess-worship within the catholic faith as a pagan tradition. another time i used the book of esther as a background to a multi media project and painted over it with a red wash symbolising menstration and rebirth. the response was ALWAYS worth it.

        • sounds like stuff that’d seriously piss them off.  I mean pointing out that major parts of their theology were borrowed/stolen from other religions is tantamount to calling them liars and plagiarizers.  It’s like saying “Not only are you lying, you’re not even smart enough to make up your own lie”.  

          Did you get booted out?   

  2. Right…the disciples imagined he appeared to them and spoke to them and ate broiled fish with them…all from seeing this image…somehow they conviced 500 people that he was alive…and the Jewish authorities wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to produce the body of Jesus and crush the imaginary resurrection…LOL!  I’d say this version takes a lot more faith than the Gospels… 🙂

    • Calypso_1 | Apr 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

      Were those the disciples that wrote eyewitness accounts of what they saw?   

    • Well according to some other non-cannonical legends, the Jews did produce the body to prove them wrong. It wasn’t in the tomb because they buried it in a farmers garden since they didn’t want them to make his death place into a shrine.

      But then of course people were probably idiots and said “That’s not the real body” and went on believing in their fake savior who never did jack for anybody.

  3. “A sensational new theory about (blank) claims to destroy the core belief of Christianity”
    How many times have I heard that in my 40+ years?

  4. Why is this news? It’s already been proven that the Shroud of Turin was a hoax made many several centuries after the supposed death of Christ.

    • Yeah, I seem to recall that not more than 15 or 20 years ago, the Catholic Church gave up the claim that it was legitimate and was on the verge of destroying it.

      It puzzled me to later see articles affirming its authenticity. Apparently new rounds of testing cast doubt on the test that cast doubt on the date of the shroud.

      Or something like that…

      • I think that what you’re trying to get at is that carbon dating showed that the shroud dated from medieval times.  But, there’s some question regarding whether or not the cloth they took was from the original shroud, or from a piece added later, when they repaired the shroud.  

    • gelikeasics | Apr 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

      most images of christ are derived from the shroud, hence the bearded white jesus hippy thing, a useful tool for control

    • Lizard_eater | Apr 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

       >Why is this news?

      Because many Disinfo contributors and readers are eager to disprove religion, particularly Christianity. Yet, as Nietzsche observed over 100 years ago, they still cling to Christian morality (e.g., they say wealth and material success are evil/corrupting).

    • Its news because behind every theory lays a man selling his book..

  5. rus Archer | Apr 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

    How much do you wanna bet that nobody even believed in the literal jesus christ until hundreds of years later? I mean, come on, people living 2000 years ago would’ve KNOWN about Tammuz, Osiris and the how many other resurrecting godmen. It’s only morons hundreds and now thousands years later trying to explain what “really” happened to a mythical character. Absurd. Even trying to discredit Christianity in this way gives them too much credit and power over your thought life and behavior. Move on.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Apr 7, 2012 at 11:26 am |

      Sorry–but there’s hard literary and archaelogical evidence of Saul/Paul preaching Jesus as Messiah within 40 years of his death.  A death historically verified by multiple independent sources.  It is simply an undeniable fact:  the scriptural Jesus was based on a flesh-and-blood historical figure.

      Which is NOT to say that Jesus actually was the Son of God, literally rose from the dead, or actually said any of the specific things attributed to him in those writings.

      I understand non-Christians and non-believers generally wanting to put Jesus in a more naturalistic context.  I think that’s vitally important for understanding his cultural legacy and the ways it has been understood or perverted over the millenia.  But flat-out denying historical reality as a cheap shortcut serves neither science nor philosophy.

      • rus Archer | Apr 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

        Hard evidence that someone preached something does not = evidence that what they preached has any basis in physical fact. Paul’s teachings don’t even agree with the teachings of the supposed Jesus nor his supposed actual disciples. Evidence of belief and Paul’s teachings and followers = not the issue. Where is the hard evidence of the man? Seriously, aside from the gospels (written how many years after his death?), what real “hard” proof to we have of this guy?  And up until Constantine, we didn’t even have a believing consensus on whether he was man, god, man/god, physical, spiritual or what (Did Jesus leave footprints?)? This whole hunt for the historical Christ degrades spirituality from every direction.
        If we want to take this physical Jesus stuff seriously, maybe we should check with his supposed descendents and run some DNA tests.
        We could probably find much more evidence of stories and beliefs about other god heroes but we don’t go trying to prove they have basis in physical historical fact. While we’re at it, I want physical proof of Tammuz, Nimrod, Odin, Krsna…

        • What supposed descendants?  According to official church doctrine, Jesus never married or had children.

            As far as I know, it’s just the Da Vinci code fans  who claim he did & I haven’t heard them put out any specific names.    

          • rus Archer | May 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

            nah, the descendants of christ thing goes way way back
            there’s some church i think in jerusalem? made up of his supposed family

    • Have you read any of  Bart Ehrman’s stuff?    Based on your post, I think you’d like him.  In one of his books, he deals with the resurrecting Godman issue.  Sorry, can’t tell you which one because it’s been a long time and I lost a lot of my stuff, including his books, in a move.  

      It’s been a long time.  So, this is going to be rough.  But, basically Christians start telling their stories.  The mainstream people say “Yeah, we’ve heard that before.  Except the guys name was Osiris (or whatever)  & it’s a myth”  The Christians say “No, this time it’s true”  The mainstreamers say “You’re all idiots”  Christians then tried to explain the similarities between their story and the older myths by saying that Satan knew that Jesus was coming and decided to fool as many people as possible by counter fitting his story in advance.  

      • rus Archer | May 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |

        never read him, but i know the explanation
        maybe zeppelin should’ve used that against willie dixon
        “he made a pact with the devil, learned our music and ripped us off in the past!”

  6. What did Thomas stick his finger in then? A piece of hokum cloth? This story just intends to profit from the Easter holiday by rubbing it so contrawise it instigates a controversy driven press train. The academic’s inflammatory thesis is no less a marketing tactic than the exclamations of “bursting flavor” they put on cereal boxes. I bet a multitude will buy his book just to disprove its claims, and that’s entirely what he hopes for.    

    •  I’m not defending this guy and his professed obliteration of Christianity because of whatever story he has around the Shroud of Turin.  However, my understanding is that the veracity of the gospels is FAR from verified, including authorship, internal consistency within the gospels, and when they were written.  So doesn’t it seems a little silly to criticize this guy’s spurious evidence because it contradicts your spurious evidence?

  7. A “new theory” that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? What’s new, & what’s theoretic, about that?

  8. jesus is just a new spin on a god from the ancients. recycled control mechanism.

  9. From experience I can say that being a skeptic just isn’t fun. Nor is it necessary, when you get down to it. If proving that you’re surrounded by self-deluded and insecure morons is where you get your jollies, then by all means, go for it, but you should probably count out how many jollies you are, in fact, procuring from this course of action.

  10. Where’s the loincloth Jesus was buried in?  The one that contained a miraculous skid mark which upon seeing the Apostles coined the phrase “Holy Shit!”

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