Apr 17, 2017 01:27 PM EDT
Easter Sunday has just been concluded and along with it was a renewed interest in finding the identity of Jesus Christ. One of the most controversial of these, aside from the Shroud of Turin, was the discovery of bones believed to be that of John the Baptist's, Jesus' cousin. Could this lead to discovering Jesus's DNA?
In 2010, a Bulgarian archaeologist named Kasimir Popkonstantinov declared that they have excavated the remains of John the Baptist from a sixth-century church on the island of Sveti Ivan in Bulgaria.
The ancient reliquary has an inscription on it which says, "May God save you, servant Thomas. To Saint John." Inside were five small bone fragments whom the archaeologist believed to be the saint's. He was quite positive about it because for a church to be consecrated in fifth century Europe, it needs to carry a relic from a saint.
The finding brought an excitement to the scientific world because if these bones were indeed John the Baptist's, his DNA will bring a clue to who Jesus is.
The bones were subjected to carbon dating and conducted by Tom Higham, a scientist at Oxford University. The carbon dating results did not confirm nor deny that those were indeed John the Baptist's but it did say that they were those of a man who lived at the same time as Jesus' - 2,000 years ago.
One of the reasons why there's no specific identification was because there was no DNA database for Christian saints to make the comparison with. However, a monastery in Montenegro claimed that they have the right hand of John the Baptist while another in Egypt said they have some of the saint's part in a crypt. Higham said he can test them to see all of them matched with DNA from the bones in the Bulgarian church.
Andrew Millard, an archaeologist from the University of Durham, said that the scientists will have a difficult time to definitively say whether or not the bones belonged to the saint. Even until this day, no one really knows whose bones are those and it would take a little faith whether those could have been part of the DNA of Jesus and his family.
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