Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Ultimate Game of What-If?

For a crime novelist whose main character is a bone detective, it’s the ultimate case, the greatest game of what-if: What if an ancient skeleton were unearthed, accompanied by the claim that the bones were those of Jesus? How would the bone-sleuth—specifically, my bone sleuth, Dr. Bill Brockton—corroborate or refute the claim? What forensic techniques would he harness? And who, besides him, might be interested in the bones—interested enough to kill for them?

Read more about the ultimate game of what-if in today's guest blog post over at Omnivoracious.


  1. Jon,
    What about the fact that the Shroud's picture is a negative and the likeness can only be seen in a negative photograph? Having seen actual pictures of the cloth and having researched early art--I must conclude that we have no explanation for the negative image; as no examples of it in art of that period have ever been found.
    Additionally, the history of the travel of this piece disclosed plant material common to the era in which it would have been made--early first century. Lucius B. Gravely, IV

  2. Thanks for the comment, Lucius.
    Saying that the picture on the Shroud can "only be seen in a negative photograph" ignores the fact that the image - the actual, faint, reddish-brown image on the fabric - has been seen and has been revered for centuries. Sure, a modern photographic negative is more DRAMATIC than the actual image, but that doesn't make it more REAL. The image on the Shroud makes artistic sense, given what the Shroud is claimed to be; that is, if a medieval artist were indeed trying to create the appearance of a cloth that had been folded around a man's body, it's reasonable to think that he'd make the image darkest on the highest areas of the body (the forehead, nose, cheekbones, and chin, for instance), since the cloth would be in closest contact with those. As for the plant material: the claims of Holy-Land pollen grains and plant images have long been disputed by skeptical scientists. The Max Frei pollen samples seem suspect and, even if they're genuine, don't really prove a Holy Land origin; the floral images (like the supposed coin images) seem like wishful thinking - like seeing the Virgin Mary's "miraculous" image in the scorching on a grilled cheese sandwich. So, respectfully I hope, you & I will disagree...