Introduction to Image Of The Risen Christ

by Dr. Kenneth E. Stevenson

Some may ask, "Why write another book about the Shroud of Turin when you have already written two others?" Good questionÑI thought it was time to take another look at this important subject as the new millennium begins and in light of the new research and theories developed in the last few years.

I begin by encouraging an open-minded look at both the old and new data on the Shroud. I want to avoid both the tendency to look at the Shroud as a relic on one side and a closed-minded unbelief on the other. I need to be cautious, carefully following the data wherever it leads. While I wish to arrive at carefully reasoned conclusions, I also need to be sensitive to alternative theses. Open- minded-ness requires a critical but fair investigation of all worthwhile views.

How do I intend to promote this open-mindedness? I propose a careful re-evaluation of some of the major conclu-sions in my study of the Shroud. I will pay special attention to issues with direct bearing on the question of authenticity. For example, how authoritative are the results of the carbon dating? Can they be challenged in any valid way? Concerning the cause of the image, have any worth-while hypotheses surfaced since the late 80s? Or do any older theses of image development become more important in light of the doubts cast by the carbon-14 dating results? The fundamental approach, and one of the most important features of this book, will be to set the data (both old and new) before you so that you can arrive at your own conclusion.

To be sure, oneÕs own presuppositions play a crucial role in how one views and analyzes the Shroud and the evidence and theories surrounding it. I am likewise influenced by my own thoughts on this subject. Religious persons tend to accept the authenticity of the Shroud despite the objections, while critics and atheists usually reject its authenticity regardless of the evidence in its favor. But these radically opposed views are examples of bias, not of an honest wrestling with the data to arrive at an objective conclusion.

I ask you to reconsider your own biases and view the data as carefully as possible. I want to help by laying out the major options. Of course, after my own studies on the Shroud, I have reached my own conclusions, which I will share with you. But these are not necessarily the last words. I want no one to accept blindly my conclusions but rather to arrive at a personal evaluation through careful examination of the evidence.

The Approach of This Book

Part 1 of this book will take you back to the 1980s and to my books Verdict on the Shroud and The Shroud and the Controversy that I co-authored with Gary R. Habermas. WeÕll explore some of the basic facts about the Shroud, its amazing history, how science relates to the Shroud, and just who was really buried in the Shroud. Because an entire generation has grown up since the publication of my first books, I thought it was time to educate them and allow them to form their own opinions based on science, evidence, and faith. The generations who in the early 80s looked at all the Shroud evidence and findings will want to again revisit all the factsÑpast and presentÑto see if their original opinions are still valid or if they need to re-evaluate and form new opinions.

The Shroud and the Controversy was published in 1989. That book discussed updates and findings since the publica-tion of my first book, Verdict on the Shroud. In particular, Carbon-14 (C-14) dating was discussed along with various other tests and theories. Some of this information will again be presented as background for new information.

Part 2 will present interesting new findings and theories of the 90s.

Part 3 will discuss the significance of the Shroud in the lives of believers and non-believers and will present my conclusions from the past and my conclusions now, over twenty years later, and how they have been influenced and changed by new evidence and by my faith.


***These fascinating few excerpts were taken from the new book Image Of The Risen Christ - $13.99.
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