Treasures from Heaven: Relics From Noah's Ark to the Shroud of Turin

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A fascinating examination of the most famous religious relics of all time
Since the early days of the Church, Christians have venerated religious relics. In this fascinating book, Steven Sora tells the story of Christianity's most treasured artifacts-the Ark of the Covenant, Noah's Ark, the True Cross, the Spear of Destiny, the Shroud of Turin, and the Holy Grail-as well as lesser-known objects such as the Veil of Veronica and the bones and blood of Biblical figures such as St. ...
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Overview

A fascinating examination of the most famous religious relics of all time
Since the early days of the Church, Christians have venerated religious relics. In this fascinating book, Steven Sora tells the story of Christianity's most treasured artifacts-the Ark of the Covenant, Noah's Ark, the True Cross, the Spear of Destiny, the Shroud of Turin, and the Holy Grail-as well as lesser-known objects such as the Veil of Veronica and the bones and blood of Biblical figures such as St. Luke. After describing when and where these relics first came to light and what miraculous powers people believe they possess, he discusses what modern science can tell us about these much-revered objects-and what science still fails to explain.
Steven Sora (Easton, PA) is the author of The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar: Solving the Oak Island Mystery and the forthcoming Secret Societies of America's Elite: From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Whether you believe in the relics, every sacred nail, body part or cloth has a pretty good tale associated with it. This is a well-written collection of many of those tales." (The Dallas Morning News, August 19, 2005)

A handy compendium that covers major known but undiscovered Judeo-Christian religious relics, ranging from the bones of saints and prophets to artifacts associated with the Crucifixion.
With no real new ground to break here, Sora does a creditable job of enumerating relics that have had an impact on the faithful and on the religious establishment, assembling interesting apocrypha and updating their status. He's forthright on the phenomenon the Catholic Church calls "multiplication," otherwise known as fakery: enough pieces from the True Cross extant "to rebuild Noah's Ark," multiple heads of John the Baptist, etc. Yet records of miracles and paranormal events associated with numerous relics, replete with a host of unbiased witnesses, continue to persist and continue to resist debunking. When confronted with disproving the Shroud of Turin—supposedly the winding sheet of Christ's corpse—several scientists of indisputable world repute, the author points out, have leaned toward authentification. In fact, three separate radiocarbon dating tests indicating origin in the medieval period constitute the principal negative data; whereas cloth type, pollen accrual, etc., point to timely origin in the Middle East as do the blood type and DNA extracted from the Shroud. Enduring controversies, however, continue to be associated with a wealth of fascinating historical and cultural material like. There's the Ark of the Covenant, for instance, which leads Sora to plausible hiding places in Ireland, Scotland, France, and Ethiopia (where its supposed residence is celebrated annually), as well as Jerusalem. The once dormant relic trade itself may be energized again thanks to the Internet. While one smuggler simply FedExed saintly remains to the US not long ago, an opponent of spurious relic trading who is quoted by Sora finds eBay, despite its attempts to ban body parts of any nature, a "charnel house of holy bones," with offerings often described in perfect churchly Latin and men of the cloth among alleged buyers.
Nonreligious, readable and occasionally fascinating. (Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004)

“…offers stories behind the most sacred.” (Publishing News, 08/10/04)

Publishers Weekly
As Sora indicates in this unfocused book, relics have been around for centuries, and the Catholic Church has used them not only in its quest to canonize saints but also to foster private spirituality devoted to particular saints and their activities. Sora explains that not all relics are created equal, and that they are divided into three classes. A first-class relic includes any object that can be attributed to Jesus, or any bone or body part of a saint. Any item that a saint used-a Bible, a veil-is a second-class relic. Finally, an object can become a third-class relic simply by touching a higher relic: a glove that might have touched a Bible that Saint Teresa of Avila carried would become an object of devotion. Sora offers a mini-guidebook to several major relics of the Church, describing how they likely originated, where they are now and what kinds of miracles have been associated with them. He ranges over well-known relics from the Shroud of Turin and the skull of John the Baptist to Noah's Ark and the blood of the Gospel writers. While the book contains some inviting moments, Sora disappointingly provides no clues about the broader significance of relics or any reasons why he chose these over thousands of other relics that people venerate. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A handy compendium that covers major known but undiscovered Judeo-Christian religious relics, ranging from the bones of saints and prophets to artifacts associated with the Crucifixion. With no real new ground to break here, Sora does a creditable job of enumerating relics that have had an impact on the faithful and on the religious establishment, assembling interesting apocrypha and updating their status. He's forthright on the phenomenon the Catholic Church calls "multiplication," otherwise known as fakery: enough pieces from the True Cross extant "to rebuild Noah's Ark," multiple heads of John the Baptist, etc. Yet records of miracles and paranormal events associated with numerous relics, replete with a host of unbiased witnesses, continue to persist and continue to resist debunking. When confronted with disproving the Shroud of Turin-supposedly the winding sheet of Christ's corpse-several scientists of indisputable world repute, the author points out, have leaned toward authentification. In fact, three separate radiocarbon dating tests indicating origin in the medieval period constitute the principal negative data; whereas cloth type, pollen accrual, etc., point to timely origin in the Middle East as do the blood type and DNA extracted from the Shroud. Enduring controversies, however, continue to be associated with a wealth of fascinating historical and cultural material like. There's the Ark of the Covenant, for instance, which leads Sora to plausible hiding places in Ireland, Scotland, France, and Ethiopia (where its supposed residence is celebrated annually), as well as Jerusalem. The once dormant relic trade itself may be energized again thanks to the Internet. While one smugglersimply FedExed saintly remains to the US not long ago, an opponent of spurious relic trading who is quoted by Sora finds eBay, despite its attempts to ban body parts of any nature, a "charnel house of holy bones," with offerings often described in perfect churchly Latin and men of the cloth among alleged buyers. Nonreligious, readable and occasionally fascinating.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471462323
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/26/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVEN SORA is the author of The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar: Solving the Oak Island Mystery and Secret Societies of America's Elite: From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones. He has written more than eighty articles on topics ranging from photography to travel to mysteries.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

1: The Enigma of the Holy Shroud.

2: The Sacred Face: The Veil of Veronica and the Sudarium of Oviedo.

3: The True Cross and the Relics of the Crucifixion.

4: The Spear of Destiny.

5: The Skull of St. John the Baptist.

6: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

7: Christianity’s Most Sacred Women.

8: The Bones of Contention—the Relics of the Apostles.

9: The Gospel Writers (Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John).

10: The Miracles and the Relics of the Saints.

11: Noah’s Ark.

12: The Ark of the Covenant.

13: The Holy Grail.

14: The Modern Relic Trade.

Epilogue: Relics—the Last Word.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    The authenticity of many Holy Land artifacts is thrown into doubt

    Steven Sora does a remarkable job detailing many of the most important antiquities our world has ever known--but what of authenticity? In a clandestine meeting of leading Israeli archaeologists are shown a remarkable artifact. It's a stone tablet, apparently from 1,000BC. The writing on its face describes repairs to the temple of King Solomon. It is the first archaeological evidence ever found of this legendary building. For authentification, the tablet was taken to the Geological Survey of Israel. Here, after a battery of tests, including radiocarbon dating, scientists officially pronounced the stone to be genuine. The tests even revealed microscopic particles of gold in the outer layer of stone. These were apparently the result of the tablet surviving the fire which, according to the bible, destroyed the temple when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 586BC. The stone tablet was offered for sale to the Israel Museum, home to many of Israel's greatest treasures. Rumors suggested the asking price was as high as $10million. But the museum needed to know where the stone had come from. Even its owner was a mystery. To make matters more complex, the stone itself had disappeared again. The Israeli Antiquities Authority wanted answers. A nine month search for the mysterious stranger who had first appeared with the stone eventually led them to a private detective who had been hired by a well known antiquities collector, Oded Golan. Golan insisted he too was just a front man for another collector. But the authorities were suspicious. He was known to be the owner of the James Ossuary, another extraordinary artifact which had appeared a couple of years earlier. This was a burial box with an inscription linking it to Jesus' brother. The authorities raided Golan's apartment and recovered both the ossuary and the elusive stone. It was time to establish once and for all if both were genuine. So they set up a committee of linguists and scientists to examine them. Looking at the stone, several linguists said 'fake'. Some of the Hebrew, they claimed, was not ancient. Other experts claimed that so little is known of ancient Hebrew that it's impossible to be sure. The committee turned to geology. Dr Yuval Goren, a geo-archaeologist and head of the Archaeological Institute at Tel-Aviv University, soon found evidence that a team of sophisticated forgers had led the earlier experts astray. The patina on the stone had in fact been manufactured artificially. The charcoal particles which produced the convincing radiocarbon date had been added by hand. The gold fragments hinting at an ancient fire were a clever final addition. The authorities presented their conclusions. They announced that the stone tablet, and the James Ossuary, were elaborate fakes. But who was producing these fakes and how? Dr Goren decided to piece together how the stone tablet had been made. He tracked the origin of the stone itself -- apparently a building block taken from a Crusader castle. It was even possible to work out how the fake patina had been manufactured and the ingredients used. What was clear was the team of forgers included experts in a range of disciplines. When the police took Oded Golan into custody and searched his apartment they discovered a workshop with a range of tools, materials, and half finished antiquities. This was evidence for an operation of a scale far greater than they had suspected. Investigators have established that collectors around the world have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for artifacts that came through Oded Golan's associates. Dozens of these items have now been examined by Dr Goren, and all have been revealed to be forgeries. Police now suspect that artifacts made by the same team of forgers have found their way into leading museums around the world. Some archaeologists have now concluded that everything that came to market in the last 20 years without clear provenance should be considered a fake. Many of these object

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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