by Ian Wilson ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 1, 1998
A stubborn but unconvincing apologia for the author's persistent belief that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial shroud of Jesus. Wilson has penned two other defenses of the shroud (The Turin Shroud, 1978, and The Evidence of the Shroud, 1986), but both of those hooks were published before 1988, when scientists determined through radiocarbon dating that the shroud was made from 14th-century linen and so could not be Jesus' burial clothing. After a decade of reformulating his theory, Wilson is back, as vociferous as ever. This book is testimony not so much to the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin but to the veracity of Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance: When presented with evidence that their beliefs are impossible or their predictions unrealizable, individuals will cling to their long-cherished convictions that much more tenaciously rather than relinquish them. Wilson just refuses to let this issue die, attempting instead to cast doubt on the scientific procedures that first declared the shroud to be spurious. Any imagination utilized in this book is reserved for the subject matter, not the writing style. Most chapters have rhetorical questions as titles: ""Cunning Painting--or Genuine Gravecloth?"" (Genuine.) Or: ""Carbon Dating, Right or Wrong?"" (Dead wrong.) Wilson is particularly interested in the imprint of Jesus on the shroud, which he claims is ""a 2000-year old photograph of him as he lay in death."" Despite his own intense certitude, Wilson tries to be evenhanded, never openly excoriating those who hold other views. In the last chapter, he invites readers to examine their own hearts on the matter, and raises a far more interesting question than that of the shroud's authenticity: Why should we care? The book is unlikely to persuade the skeptics Wilson is clearly trying to reach, but never fear; he will almost certainly write more on the subject.
Pub Date: June 1, 1998
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998
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