The Holy Shroud: A Brilliant Hoax in the Time of the Black Death

The Holy Shroud: A Brilliant Hoax in the Time of the Black Death

by Gary Vikan
The Holy Shroud: A Brilliant Hoax in the Time of the Black Death

The Holy Shroud: A Brilliant Hoax in the Time of the Black Death

by Gary Vikan


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A towering figure in the art world unravels the mystery of the world’s most controversial relic.

The history of the Christian church is strewn with holy relics and artifacts, none more controversial than the Shroud of Turin, the supposed burial cloth of Christ. In The Holy Shroud Gary Vikan shows that the shroud is not the burial cloth of Jesus, but rather a photograph-like body print of a medieval Frenchman created by a brilliant artist serving the royal court in the time of the Black Death.

The Shroud was gifted by King John II to his friend Geoffroi de Charny, the most renowned knight of the Middle Ages, who shortly thereafter died at the disastrous Battle of Poitiers while saving the King’s life. Though intended as nothing more than an innocuous devotional image for Geoffroi’s newly-built church in the French hamlet of Lirey, it was soon misrepresented. Miracles were faked, money was made.

But while other scholars, and even the Catholic Church itself, have never confirmed the authenticity of the Shroud, the question always remained - how did that image get there? Combining copious research and decades of art world experience with an accessible, wry voice, Gary Vikan shows how one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of Christian relics came into being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643134321
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/05/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,123,814
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gary Vikan is the former Director of the Walters Art Museum. An internationally known medieval scholar, he holds a PhD in medieval art and has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Carleton College, Goucher College, and the Salzburg Global Seminar. He is the author of Sacred and Stolen and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Timeline xv

1 Hooked 1

2 Too Easy? 9

3 Banished to the Basement 22

4 Through the Looking Glass 27

5 Body Violated 33

6 Abort 43

7 But for That Call 48

8 Blue Jesus 54

9 Elvis and the Shroud 62

10 Right, but So What? 66

11 Pummeled 72

12 Thanks, Mel 79

13 Solved at Last! 85

14 Insulting Jesus 91

15 Bodies in the Rhone 96

16 Lirey Comes to Life 103

17 Lie and They Will Come 113

18 What They All Knew 120

19 Before the Lying 129

20 The Liars 138

21 Our Delusions 145

22 Members of the Jury 151

Conclusion 161

Scientific Addendum 165

Acknowledgments 181

Bibliography 185

Sources for Quoted Passages 201

Index 203

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