For almost seven and a half centuries a piece of cloth was venerated because it bore the image of the crucified Christ, but in 1988 results of carbon dating showed that the fabric could not pre-date 1260. Now new evidence conclusively proves that it is not a fake... yet neither is it the image of Jesus Christ.
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas have been able to identify precisely where and when the shroud came into existence and to name the people involved. Using the latest scientific techniques they explain the strange molecular chemistry that created this artifact.
The epic story behind the shroud begins with the crucifixion of Jesus when, as the authors show, his hidden teachings were driven underground. Following the destruction of the Jerusalem Church and the slaughter of the Jewish nation in 70AD, a few surviving priests from the smouldering city of Jerusalem headed to Europe to await the moment of return prophesied in teh Gospel of St John. Precisely one thousand years later their bloodline descendants re-entered the holy city to claim their ancient heritage and form a new order of priests of the Temple - the Knights Templar. There they recovered the lost teachings hidden below the tumbled ruins and devised elaborate Tarot cards with cryptic meanings to protect their secret cult.
But their secret could not be contained for ever and in 1307 they were arrested. Their last leader was crucified in a bizarre parody of the crucifixion of Jesus, and the image of his suffering slowly materialised on the cloth that had once swathed him. As the Black Death devastated Europe the Church reached the lowest point of its existence, and the desire for a new saviour, prophesied since ancient times, gripped the minds of people.
And now they had the image of their new saviour, the Second Messiah.
In solving the riddle of the shroud this book unravels a far deeper mystery: how this medieval artefact links directly to Jesus.
The guardians of this great secret tried hard to hide it from the world and even their own members. But they failed to destroy the evidence... hidden in abandoned rituals of Freemasonry.
"... dragged to a large wooden door he was made to stand on something like a footstool and his right arm was yanked in a straight line above his head where it was held in place by a rough nail driven between the radius and u1nae bones, just above the wrist. His left arm was pulled out sideways and nailed at full stretch. Then the footstool was kicked away, causing the right shoulder to dislocate instantly as the full weight of the body was transferred to the vertical arm. Finally a third nail was hammered between the second and third metatarsal of the right foot and the knees bent upwards so that both feet could be pinned flat to the door, one over the other. In a desperate attempt to ease the pain in his arm the crucified man tried to stand on the iron spike that now skewered his feet but the angle of his knees made even this small relief impossible. The experienced inquisitors found the use of a door to be both convenient and effective as it provided an excellent means of applying controlled agony. The simple act of opening the door, swinging it to and fro a little and occasionally slamming it shut, sent horrendous shock waves through their near-demented victim."
"... The concealed rituals of Freemasonry leave no doubt. This was the suffering of the last high priest of Jerusalem; the man they considered to be the Second Messiah!"
"The Second Messiah" ARROW ISBN 0099227320
Jacket Illustration/Design: Greg Clark