Cloning Jesus From Blood Of
The Shroud Of Turin?
By Madeleine Bunting
The Guardian
Scripps Howard News Service
LONDON ( -- A movie based on the idea of cloning Jesus Christ from DNA material found on the Shroud of Turin was dismissed by churches Thursday as "fanciful."
Filmmaker David Rolfe is planning to make a "spine-chilling" science fiction thriller about international power games and a cloned Jesus. Rolfe, who has done research on the shroud, maintains the "'Jurassic Park'-style idea" has some plausibility. He claims that the cardinal of Turin has called for the return of blood samples taken from the shroud and given to scientists for testing.
"Obviously, the church itself would not sanction or instigate cloning from the shroud, but they can't rule out the possibility that someone else might try it," Rolfe said. "Someone in possession of the shroud might just put together enough DNA from the blood on it to clone, 'Jurassic Park'-style, the person to whom the blood belonged, whoever it may be."
Rolfe believes an arson attack last year on the Turin chapel that houses the shroud could have been a bungled attempt to steal it for this very purpose.
But spokesmen and theologians described the idea as pure fantasy.
The Rev. David Hilborn, theological secretary to Britain's Evangelical Alliance, pointed out that carbon dating tests on the shroud in 1988 had concluded that it was medieval fabric.
"The shroud has been pretty conclusively debunked, but leaving that aside, you cannot clone Jesus Christ anyway. God does not have DNA," Hilborn said. "If you cloned cells from the grave clothes, you might get someone who looked like Jesus, spoke like Jesus, but it would be a mere physical similarity. He would not be the lord and master of the universe."
A spokesman for the Church of England said the possibility of cloning Jesus Christ potentially posed "huge theological questions" as to the nature of individual personality in an age of genetic science, as well as the age-old questions of the Incarnation -- how Christ was both fully God and fully human. "So far, mercifully, cloning Christ is hypothetical," he concluded.
Monsignor Kieran Conry, a spokesman for the Catholic Church, dismissed the idea as fit only for a kids' cartoon. "You'd only get one side of the story -- Jesus's humanity," he said.
The Edinburgh institute that cloned Dolly the sheep was similarly dismissive about the possibility of re-creating a human being from organic matter that had long been dead. Harry Griffin, assistant director of the Roslin Institute, said: "You need live cells rather than DNA for cloning, and will continue to do so for the imaginable future."
But Michael Clift, general secretary of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, believes in the potential of Rolfe's plot scenario. "We would have the body of Christ," he said, "but whether we would have the mind or the consciousness of Christ.-- we are in the wilds of fantasy."
On a personal note, Clift added: "I believe that if you had the body of Christ, you would have the mind of Christ also. I have always thought that when the Second Coming happens, it will be a wonderful surprise."

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