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Elements of historic speculation tend to be presented as proved facts
on 3 December 2012
Robert Lomas is not the first writer to point to the fact that most immediate followers of Jesus honoured him not as a god but as a prophet of a revitalised, purified jewish faith. That Jesus was in fact a sort of Jewish fundamentalist (in the positive sense: going back to the essential values of the Jewish faith). That the dogma of the divine nature of Jesus was devised by people who had not known him, and that it ultimately triomphed only when the Roman emperor thought that it was in his interest that it should so. That, even if you set aside the gospels that were discarded, for mainly political reasons, by the council of Nicea such as it was manipulated by Emperor Constantine, and if one only reads the 4 'official' gospels, it cannot be asserted that Jesus ever claimed to be God. That the Turin shroud cannot be Jesus' picture, since it was only woven in the late middle ages. Robert Lomas is not the first one to put this case, but he does so in a coherent and convincing way. So far so good.
Speculation begins when the writer asserts that the shroud MUST be a picture of the last Grand Master of the Templars because of the carbon datation of the shroud, the body posture and damage that has been inflicted on this body as a result of torture, and finally the links between the Templars and the aristocratic families in whose keeping the shroud was for many years. Robert Lomas concludes that Jacques de Molay perfectly passes the test of "whose picture is that".
Robert Lomas fails to see that this is a mere possibility, while there may be many others. The 14th century was not characterised by exceptional religious tolerance and openness, and, at and around the time of jacques de Molay's torture and execution, there must have been many people who were subjected to a very similar treatment.
Whose picture is it? We shall probably never know, and Free Masonry will probably never pierce that mystery.
Still it is rather pleasant reading.