Templars and the Shroud of Turin

I’ll give you a weekend update, but first, via a Steven, we have this Times Online link with the latest on the lengthy saga of the Shroud of Turin:

Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, said the Shroud had disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and did not surface again until the middle of the fourteenth century. Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Dr Frale said its fate in those years had always puzzled historians.

However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times…

They had rescued it to ensure that it did not fall into the hands of heretical groups such as the Cathars, who claimed that Christ did not have a true human body, only the appearance of a man, and could therefore not have died on the Cross and been resurrected…

Now, I’m not a medieval historian, and I’m basing this on a second-hand account, but this doesn’t make much sense.  Historians seem to be of an accord that the Knights Templar were not present at the siege of Constantinople in 1204.  In addition, the Cathars were located in the south of France, which is pretty far from Constantinople.

Thus, the story presented by the Times is that an organization that wasn’t at the siege grabbed the shroud to protect it from a religious movement that also wasn’t at the siege.

I’m hoping that more will be published on this so we can get a better sense of what’s going on.

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 6:04 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. That would be interesting to know. The entire saga of the Shroud of Turin frankly has me completely confused — it was carbon dated from the Middle Ages. No, it’s from the first century. No, it’s from the middle ages. It’s a bloodstain. No, it’s paint. No, it’s some sort of heat technique. No, it’s some sort of miraculous light thing. I’m not even sure what each side is claiming now, much less who’s right!

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