Pastor Joe Basile of Fresno has been on the hunt for the DNA of Jesus.
What he found is a secret, but a two-hour TV show about the quest will be shown on History (formerly The History Channel) at 9 p.m. Sunday.
The name of the program is “The Jesus Strand: A Search for DNA.”
Basile is the lead pastor of Encounter Road Church in Clovis and Visalia. He also does a TV broadcast on CW (KFRE, Channel 59.1) at 7 a.m. Sundays. He is the former lead pastor of Fresno First Baptist.
The search for Jesus’ DNA took Basile and scientist George Busby of Oxford University to five countries: England, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Israel.
Here’s what History has to say about the program:
“Using the latest advances in DNA technology Oxford University geneticist, George Busby, and biblical scholar, Pastor Joe Basile, are investigating the world’s most famous holy relics including the Shroud of Turin, The Sudarium of Oviedo and the newly discovered bones of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.
“Their journey takes them to holy sites around the world from Spain and Italy to Israel and the shores of the Black Sea. By extracting and analyzing samples of each of these holy relics they hope to retrieve a sample of DNA that possibly belongs to Jesus or a member of his family. They believe that if they can find a strand of Jesus’ DNA it could help identify who among us today are descendants of Jesus and provide us with new insight into the man many consider to be the most important person in history, Jesus.”
Basile says, “Anytime you’re talking Christian historical relics,” there’s going to be skepticism about authenticity. “We vigorously debated every relic.”
History publicist Kristen Hynes says it’s believed this is the first time anyone has made a concerted effort to search for Jesus’ DNA. Basile, who has a degree in Bible studies from Trinity International University in Chicago, served as the Biblical history expert for the project.
“The goal was to combine science and faith,” Basile says. “We used the Bible as a map.”
What did they learn?
“People will be excited by our findings,” he says. “We discovered more than I thought we would.”
He and Busby were in Europe and the Middle East for 25 days in January “pretty much working around the clock,” Basile says.
Sunday night – Easter Sunday – he plans to watch the show with friends.