What do I think of Mark Antonacci’s book published by LE Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In talking to my wife about reviewing this book I said this book could be more accurately named “Everything You Wanted To Know About The Shroud of Turin But Was Afraid To Ask.” It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive book on the Shroud of Turin than this one. Want to know about the flora on the shroud? It’s here. Want to know about the coins? It’s here. Want to know about medieval painting and how it was influenced by the shroud? It’s here. Want to have an interpretation that seeks to work with the NT data? It’s here. Want in-depth scientific argumentation relating to the shroud? It’s here. Want to know about the suspected history of the shroud? It’s here. Yeah, but what about that Carbon-14 dating that placed it in the medieval period? Talked about in abundance.
Antonacci has several chapters in this book dedicated to each subject so if you want to know about one thing in particular, you can go there. He goes through all the items that a medieval forger would have to be able to accomplish which quite frankly seems entirely unlikely. He answers the objections such as if this is the shroud, why isn’t it talked about in the New Testament and why did it seem to just suddenly show up in the medieval period? Why is it that the carbon-14 testing that was done on the shroud came out the way it did? Over and over, the question is asked if it is plausible to believe that a medieval forger did all of this.
When it comes to my view on the shroud, I would not really use it in an argument sadly because it does have that reputation due to the carbon-14 dating and I do not know enough science to argue the point, but when I see a case like Antonacci’s, it does look unlikely that a forger could have done all of this. There are too many details that are often in fact minute details that make a powerful case. If this is the real deal, it’s another argument along with other powerful resurrection arguments.
Also, as you would expect with a work like this, it comes with a plethora of pictures. Normally, I don’t care for pictures when I read, but in this case, they are a necessity. The images of the Shroud themselves are fascinating to look at.
The reader should be warned that the scientific data can be awfully heady and a reader like myself can be prone to get lost in it. If you are a scientifically minded person, then you probably won’t have too much of a problem with it, but if you are not, it will be a struggle, but there’s probably not much way it could have been simpler. Such is the nature of the beast.
Finally, if there’s something the book definitely needs, it’s a bibliography and an index. Antonacci has extensive endnotes for his work, but if you want to know specific books cited, you have to go through the work. An index would also be helpful so you could look up a specific section you were interested in. I hope future editions of this book include both of these.
Still, this is likely the most comprehensive work on the Shroud of Turin out there and critics of the shroud need to take it seriously.