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The Bones of St. Peter. The Fascinating Account of the Search for the Apostle's Body. Hardcover – 1 Mar 1983


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Victor Gollancz Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Mar. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575032391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575032392
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 771,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Renard on 3 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The bones of St Peter is a very good account of the original story of the archaeology that took place beneath St Peters and covers the 'dig' in detail, including some of the stranger aspects of the very unscientific archaeological aberrations that took place. It also makes a plea for further scientific analysis that was not available or not as reliable at the time eg DNA analysis etc. Its one disappointing failing is that it lacks any real analysis, photographic or detailed comparisons between the alleged remains of St Peters Head held in St John Laterano and those skull fragments found in the Storeroom of St Peters. Its main line being an edict that "there were no inconsistencies". For those interested in such things this is a bit incomplete and would have been easily achievable at the time. The other unsatisfactory aspects is the graffiti analysis which suffers a bit from 'if one looks hard enough, one will find' and relies on limited expert opinion. If modern criminal cases have shown anything it is that this is a slippery slope. In summary, although given the timing of the archeology means there is a real lack of modern scientific information, this is a fair and well written representation of what is known to have taken place, including the deviation from acceptable archaeological methodology. At a time when Vatican sanctioned DNA and Isotopic analysis has been carried out on the remains of St Paul (also in Rome)despite the inherent destruction of the 'relic' - it begs the question as to when the next book on the Bones of St Peter will be written. One feels, on finishing the book unsatisfied in a modern sense, with its 'proofs' and that there is more to the 'story' of the alleged relationship of St Peter and Rome still to be discovered and examined.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Alexander on 22 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a book which I could not put down. It is very readable and well illustrated, and it needs to be to enable a good understanding of the excavations beneath St Peter's. The geometry can be confusing, even with some knowlege of the basilica, but the ineptitude of the excavations make this a facinating 'detective' story. It reveals much about ancient/early Christian Rome and the twentieth-century Vatican.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an ideal read if you are considering a visit to The Vatican Scavi. An accessible read and very informative. Has added to my conviction that the papal altar at St Peter's is built over the burial site of the man who walked on the shores of Gallillee with Jesus.
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By suetrebleclef on 21 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book arrived quickly, in good order, and as described. A fascinating read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A neglected subject, fascinating treatment. 9 Jan. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating and well written account of one of the best known, yet little understood, archaeological mysteries of the century. The discovery of the first-century grave under the present basilica of St Peter's is a detective story which is usually given a confessional treatment, if it is noted at all. Walsh does a brilliant job of untangling the threads of the excavation, without making assumptions about the religious aspects of the find. He leaves the reader in little doubt that what was discovered was what Christinas from the second century on certainly believed to be the grave of the apostle Peter. As for the bones, he makes a reasonable case for those being revered in the time of Constantine, without claiming that they are, or are not, those of the Prince of the Apostles. Whatever one's faith, this is a book to be read in one sitting. Anyone going to Rome should definitely read this before visiting the site.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A most exciting find for lovers of Christianity 23 April 2008
By Jean E. Pouliot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have taken a "Scavi" (excavation) tour of the necropolis under Saint Peter's basilica. Relatively few tourists are afforded this pleasure, some might say "grace," but it is one of the most staggering experiences of my life, and was over much too quickly. To tread the very soil that was Vatican Hill 2000 years ago was a privilege and awe-inspiring.

But once the tour is over, the begin to arise. Just what did I se? How do we know that this is Saint Peter's very tomb? Walsh's book answers many of these questions, and more. Through the book, you will learn the history of the internment of Saint Peter, or at least what can be gleaned from the evidence. From a poorly-marked 1st-century criminal's grave to a 2nd-century "trophy" or victory marker, to a more ornate altar structure once Christianity was legalized, the location of Saint Peter's purported Have been tracked with some care since his martyr's death circa 64 AD. The first basilica, raised in the 4th century over the site, filled in the Roman necropolis where he lay, sealing off the site for centuries. By the time this crumbling structure was razed and the current St. Peter's was built in the 16th century, the existence of St. Peter's tomb seemed little more than a legend. Walsh details the refinding of the necropolis in the late 1930s, and the digging that eventually uncovered the tomb and St. Peter's remains. Walsh is at his most fascinating when describing the attempts of Professor Margherita Guarducci to decipher the graffiti scratched into a wall near the tomb. By carefully noting how certain letters ere written, written over, and connected with lines, she could unravel the accumulated messages left by pilgrims of the first centuries of the Christian Church. She identified several occurrences of graffiti in which the letter P was drawn with an E emerging from its upright -- representing both the first letters of Peter (Latin, "Petrus") and also resembling the key to the kingdom entrusted to him by the Lord.

A fascinating and informative look at a little known, very important and under-appreciated historical and religious site.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Standing next to Peter 2 Dec. 2005
By A. Bormes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very readable, exciting book. Previously, I had only heard bits and pieces of the story of St. Peter's bone, but never really was able to place the pieces into a coherent whole. I read this book before going on the Scavi tour - the tour into the tombs below St. Peter's Basilica in Rome - it made it all the more powerful. It was beautiful to not only spiritually stand next to Peter, but also to physically to stand next to Peter. Thank you for such a great book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Wish I could find it again! 14 Jun. 2001
By ADRIANA M. NANCE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book years ago at the public library and was fascinated by it. I have been trying (unsuccessfully, I might add!) to find my very own copy ever since. It is truly wonderful reading and I recommend it highly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating account 7 Mar. 2009
By I. Holder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating account of the search for the the final resting place of the first Pope's body. Combined with photographs and diagrams, the author's easy-to-read text reveals a truly interesting, and entertaining even, search.
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