What do I think of Joe Marino’s book published by Cradle Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Joe is your normal teenager years ago who loves his music and really has no interest in religion. That all changes one day when he’s in a bookstore and gets a book on the Shroud of Turin out of curiosity. Before too long, he winds up in a monastery lecturing on the Shroud where he is said to be “wrapped up in the shroud.”
If that part seems strange, it’s not over yet. Sometime in his correspondence he comes across a lady named Sue Benford, who is also fascinated with the Shroud. Then, this monk winds up leaving the monastery life and marrying her and being a team with her talking about the Shroud. I have been told that their research is what really called into question the veracity of the C-14 dating that placed the Shroud in medieval times.
This book is mainly Marino’s journey into the Shroud of Turin. A lot of it can be really fascinating. Some stuff, I’m still skeptical of. That’s okay as well. You can be skeptical of some of the experiential stuff and the material about the Shroud can be entirely valid as it doesn’t rely on that. Marino doesn’t even fault you if you’re skeptical of that stuff.
There are also several appendices. This is a rare book in that the appendices altogether are almost as long as the book prior is. I read through them and found them interesting, but if you want just the story you only need to read through the first part.
Sometimes, the language gets technical, but it isn’t too technical, though the appendices can be an exception. You also get a look at the inner politics going on at Shroud meetings. While it is true that politics isn’t everything, everything is sadly politics.
There were times that something would seem to get picked up and I wondered what happened with it later. Marino mentions being a big brother to a kid named Greg at the start through the Big Brothers program. I found myself wondering at the end of the book if Marino ever spoke with Greg any more and knew how he was doing. I would have liked to have seen that covered.
I also would have liked something on the more theological perspective of the Shroud. Suppose we demonstrate the Shroud is authentic to someone. So what? What does that mean? What difference does it make? Why should we care if it is authentic? What does it matter today if Jesus rose from the dead? Marino is a former monk, but it would have been nice to get some of his theology on this topic, especially since he talks about how seeing the Shroud is life-changing for some people. Why? What hope does it give? I have my answer, of course, but maybe others need one.
If you care about the history of the modern period on the Shroud, this is likely the best book to go to. If you are skeptical of some of the experiences, that’s fine. They aren’t really essential to the research on the Shroud. You can still get a lot out of this. In the end, you might find yourself wrapped up in the Shroud as well.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)