Turin and Manoppello: "Resurrexit sicut dixit" | Paul Bade | CWR
Many people still look at me as if I were telling them, without embarrassment, that the Cathedral in Cologne has three towers, when I recount for them for the first time the story of the sudarium of Christ of Manoppello. “Is it possible" I always read in their eyes "that throughout our whole life we have overlooked something?" Yes, it is, I have to always say. But they should not feel alone, because all of us often neglect the most important thing in the most important passages.
Or, which of us has not heard at least once from our pastor, or our bishop, the phrase "He saw and believed" during the Easter homily? This phrase is a critical passage in the Gospel of John which we have heard since childhood. Yet, in Christian exegesis it becomes almost invisible, as if it weren’t there at all. Like a "third tower" in the Cologne cathedral. This is understandable. After all, what does this phrase mean? The empty tomb, by itself, is not the thing that would bring about believing. A half an hour before, in the same place, Mary Magdalene - according to John - had only seen that “the Lord has been taken away”. Nothing was there for believing.
It was therefore necessary for the linguistic genius of a Martin Luther to point out this contradiction. Recently Pastor Clausnitzer from Worms showed me a translation of the Bible dating from 1545, where Doctor Martinus supplemented this fundamental passage of the Gospel of John (20: 5-10) in this way: "After him came Simon Peter, who entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths on the ground and also the cloth that Jesus had on his head, not with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in and he saw and believed (he had been taken away, as Magdalene had said). Yet they did not understand the scripture that he would have to rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes"
Being the genius of the language which he was, Luther had clearly seen here in the text that John had not said everything. Therefore he attempted to resolve the apparent contradiction as if it were a damaged parchment -- that it was necessary to lightly "mend” this passage and also supplement it. After him, the only comparable cunning was that of Rudolf Bultmann, who, in order to resolve the many contradictions of the Gospels that he could not explain, concluded that here his Rabbi Jeshua was not raised from the dead, but only in the kerygma, i.e. in the preaching of the disciples, they only said that he had risen.