Various oddballs have claimed to be on the verge of cloning Jesus Christ – despite the fact that no one has cloned a human being yet, never mind the son of God.
But could we track down the DNA of the Messiah? George Busby of the University of Oxford worked on a History Channel documentary called ‘The Jesus Strand’, which premieres on April 16.
Writing for The Conversation, Busby said, ‘In 2010, Kasimir Popkonstantinov discovered what he believes are the bones of one of the most famous of all saints: John the Baptist. I was interested in what DNA analysis could tell us about these bones, and other ones.
‘When Kasimir later opened the reliquary, he found five bone fragments. The epitaph on the smaller box, probably used to carry the bones when travelling, was the key piece of evidence that led him to believe that the bones could perhaps be those of John the Baptist.
‘The finding is hugely important, partly because John the Baptist was both a disciple of Jesus and his cousin – meaning they would share DNA.
Busby says that it’s still not clear that the DNA is from John the Baptist – but he spoke with other scientists who have extracted several different DNA samples from the Turin Shroud. Another team is working to extract DNA from the James Ossuary, a first century chalk box which may have held the bones of Jesus’ brother.
Busby says, ‘Let’s assume for a moment that contamination could be completely ruled out and that DNA analysis demonstrated that DNA from the Shroud was a familial match to DNA from the James Ossuary – and that they are both related to the Bulgarian bones. Could this then have been the DNA of Jesus and his family?’
The Shroud of Turin is believed to be by many as the burial cloth of Jesus, and the center of a debate between skeptics, historians, and archeologists. The cloth of approximately 4.5 meters in length was the alleged shroud placed over the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial. It has remained as an object of fascination for both the Christian faith and science. Its origin is controversial, while some place the shroud of Turin more than 2,000 years ago to adjust the story to a supernatural origin, others believe it dates between the 13th and 14th century, based on a radiocarbon dating carried out on the linen in 1988. In addition, despite thorough scientific analysis, so far no one knows for sure how the image of a crucifixion victim is shown on the shroud although many say it is the work of Leonardo da Vinci.
Interestingly, researchers are working on extracting the DNA from the so-called James Ossuary—a first century chalk box which supposedly may have help the bones of Jesus’ brother.
Busby added, “Let’s assume for a moment that contamination could be completely ruled out and that DNA analysis demonstrated that DNA from the Shroud was a familial match to DNA from the James Ossuary – and that they are both related to the Bulgarian bones. Could this then have been the DNA of Jesus and his family?”