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Historians to appear in History Channel documentary on the Holy Lance

Author: Arts and Letters


Two Notre Dame scholars, Thomas F.X. Noble, director of the University’s Medieval Institute, and Paul Cobb, associate professor of history, will be featured in a documentary film on the Holy Lance Thursday (Dec. 21) at 9p.m. EST on the History Channel.

The film, “The Spear of Christ,” is one of the History Channel’s “Decoding the Past” series. It concerns the weapon mentioned in the New Testament account of a moment during Christ’s crucifixion (John 19:34) when “one of the soldiers stabbed his side with a lance, and at once there was a flow of blood and water.”

According to accounts as early as the sixth century, pilgrims to Jerusalem venerated an object believed by local Christians to be the same lance, and varying and controversial reports have been given of the relic’s authenticity, whereabouts and significance ever since. “The Spear of Christ,” shot in several countries, examines the histories of four surviving artifacts—in Vienna, Poland, the Vatican, and Armenia—each of which has been proffered as the Holy Lance.

Noble is an expert in the Carolingian world, late antiquity, papal history and medieval Rome. Cobb is an expert in Islamic social and cultural history, comparative history, the Crusades, historiography and biography, and Christian-Muslim relations.

Contact: Thomas F.X. Noble at 574-631-6604 or or Paul Cobb at 574-631-3035 or or Ken Winikur, producer at Northern Light Productions, at 617-789-4344×203 or

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on December 18, 2006.