Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Relics of Jesus
The Shroud of Turin is perhaps the most well-known Christian relic; its authenticity was questioned due to radiocarbon dating analysis performed in 1988, the accuracy of which has itself been subsequently questioned. The earlier measured sample was generally agreed to have been thrown off by contamination on the shroud, though retests are also debated, and it remains a controversial item.
Other alleged relics include:
- Pieces of the True Cross, including the half of the INRI inscription tablet, preserved at the ancient basilica S. Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome. Very small pieces or particles of the True Cross are preserved in hundreds of other churches in Europe.
- The Calvary of crucifixion, a small rock called Golgotha, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Inside the church is a pile of rock about 3 m high, believed to be what is now visible of Calvary.
- The Iron Crown of Lombardy and Bridle of Constantine, said to be made from nails used during the crucifixion
- The Holy Prepuce or foreskin of Jesus, removed during his circumcision
- The Spear of Destiny or Spear of Longinus, used to pierce Jesus' side when he was on the cross, to ensure that he had died.
- The Crown of Thorns which was placed upon the head of Jesus at his crucifixion by Pontius Pilate
- The Holy Chalice which Jesus used for serving wine during the Last Supper
- The Holy Grail which is said to have been used to collect Jesus' blood during Crucifixion
- Veronica's Veil, used to wipe the sweat from Jesus' brow as he carried the cross
- The Seamless robe of Jesus, which is kept at the cathedral of Trier
- Letters Jesus himself has written to Abgar, the King of Edessa declining an invitation to visit his palace.
- The "Icon Not Made by Hands" that Jesus allegedly sent to the King of Edessa to cure him of leprosy.
- the Sudarium of Oviedo
- the Holy Sponge
- the Holy Umbilical Cord
- milk teeth
Naturally, there are no alleged relics of his bones, because of Christianity's belief in Jesus' bodily resurrection.
Many modern Christians, however, do not accept any of these as true relics. Indeed, this skepticism has been around for centuries, with Erasmus joking that so much wood formed parts of the True Cross, that Jesus must have been crucified on a whole forest.
In 2002, an ossuary with the inscription Ya`aqov bar Yosef akhui Yeshua` ("James son of Joseph brother of Jesus") came to light under questionable provenance and was thought by some to be historical evidence for Jesus's "brother" James. On June 18, 2003, the Israeli Antiquities Authority published a report concluding that the inscription on the ossuary is a modern forgery based on their analysis of the patina. It appears that the inscription was added recently and made to look old by addition of a chalk solution. The dealer, Oded Golan, was arrested at his Tel Aviv home July 21, on suspicion of forging ancient artifacts. He was released on July 25; as of August 8 charges had not yet been filed against him. Allegedly, authorities found forgery equipment and partially completed forgeries in Oded Golan's home.
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