St. Mary's Church, Beaconsfield and an audience of 150. A full size replica is suspended above the screen. To discuss a talk at your venue please click here.
A Grave Injustice - The Naked Truth about the Shroud of Turin. A presentation by David Rolfe.
Is the Turin shroud a fake from medieval or even earlier times? And, if genuine, does it really show us the face of Jesus brought down dead from the cross, wrapped for burial and laid in his tomb? David Rolfe, with the help of his ﬁlm A Grave Injustice, provided a large audience in St Mary's Church with forceful answers to both questions: the shroud must be considered genuine and the image it bears must surely be that of the cruciﬁed Jesus. With a bare two days left before Good Friday Rolfe's presentation could hardly have been better timed.
The shroud has been controversial since it apparently ﬁrst emerged in the late fourteenth century in Lirey, a small town south-east of Paris and was swiftly condemned as a fake by a local bishop. For the last 400 years it has been kept in a chapel in Turin as the property of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been damaged by ﬁre and repaired more than once. Reverence for the shroud has varied in intensity over the years but, Rolfe told us, had become faint by the mid-twentieth century. His earlier ﬁlm, The Silent Witness made in 1978, re-awakened international interest in and veneration for this remarkable piece of linen. With pressure mounting to verify its age it was subjected to carbon dating analysis in the 1980s - and, to widespread publicity, declared to be of medieval origin.
The Grave Injustice ﬁlm embodies Rolfe's ﬁght-back against this ﬁnding. Its main target is the carbon dating scientists which it vigorously criticises and condemns for lack of proper scientiﬁc methodology. The ﬁlm then makes a number of important claims in favour of the shroud’s authenticity: for example, its herringbone weave, used in the ﬁrst century but not in the Middle Ages. The image imprinted on the linen bears all the marks of a man cruciﬁed in ancient times, particularly of nail wounds in wrists and ankles (rather than in hands and feet as generally depicted by medieval artists). More than this, marks of other wounds match New Testament descriptions of Christ's passion - lacerations on the back apparently caused by whips of a type used in the Roman empire; bloody injuries on the head that could well have been caused by a crown of thorns; a large wound in the side such as might be inﬂicted by a typical Roman lance head.
David Rolfe declared that he has ’a passion’ for the subject of the shroud and its authenticity. This impressive ﬁlm and talk shows why. It gave us much to think about.
Reprinted by kind permission of Beaconsfield Community Magazine
David Rolfe - Film and TV Career
David Rolfe graduated, with honours, from the London Film School in 1971 and began a career making sponsored documentaries for industry around the world and the Middle East in particular. Alongside these he made trailers and specialised sequences for major distributors. These included Paramount Pictures for whom he made the opening title sequence for The Great Gatsby.
In 1978, he won a BAFTA for the film The Silent Witness based on new research into the Shroud of Turin which revealed remarkable and persuasive evidence for its authenticity. In 1982 the success of that film led to him being selected to produce and direct Channel 4’s first foray into religion with a three part series entitled “Jesus - The Evidence”. It was the first religious programme broadcast in the UK made outside of the auspices of Church advisors and Rolfe was given an unprecedented budget and a team that included the world’s most eminent New Testament scholars. This religious theme continued with producing and directing ITV’s religious strand of the ‘80s - Credo - which tackled subjects as Animal Rights, Terrorism and Multi-Faith Britain and Christian Salvation. In 1987 he directedanother award-winning documentary, produced by Harry Dean, on the depletion of the ozone layer by CFCs. This film contributed to their eventual ban in 1996. In 1988, Rolfe directed an LWT Special, presented by Michael Maclay, which predicted the imminent collapse of communism a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and another in the same strand, produced by Glenwyn Benson, on the emerging evidence of a permanent “Underclass” in the UK.
More lyrical programmes followed, with Mike Birkhead, as an independent in the 90’s with the landmark crossover series “Postcards from the Country” for BBC’s Natural History Department.
(For a full list of credits see his British Film Institute Filmography.)
In corporate production, in the early 90’s, with business partner, Paul Kent, Rolfe made the film which introduced the UK commercial world to a more coaching style of management - Coaching for Performance. Both then becamejoint founders of Performance Consultants which went on to spread this new way of management across the country.
In 2001, after divesting himself of his production company, Rolfe indulged his secondary passion for boating by inventing and patenting a new class of boat with an integral road trailer. It was voted Boat of the Year at the London Boat Show and went into production in the UK and Australia where it is known as Ezyboat.
In 2009 he returned to his early interest in the Shroud of Turin and made Material Evidence for the BBC, presented by Rageh Omaar, and then, in 2010, the official film - “Shroud - Passio Christi Passio Hominis" used by the Archdiocese of Turin for the last two expositions.