As Christians prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, a Cambridge professor is claiming that a piece of cloth lies at the heart of their religion. Art historian Thomas de Wesselow has devoted much of his career to studying the Shroud of Turin. He believes it is the shroud of Jesus, and that the vivid image of a man on the burial cloth convinced Christ's disciples that he was still alive, the Telegraph reports. "They saw the image on the cloth as the living double of Jesus," he explains. “Back then, images had a psychological presence. They were seen as part of a separate plane of existence, as having a life of their own."
"Once its likeness to Jesus had been recognized, it would almost certainly have been seen and interpreted as signifying a newly created vessel into which his person had been transferred, a successor to his earthly, physical body, which was returning to dust," the professor writes in his book The Sign, released this week. De Wesselow believes the image on the shroud was formed naturally when chemicals from Jesus' body reacted with the linen. (Read more Shroud of Turin stories.)