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April 15, 2024

Review in Haiku: Holy Blood, Holy Grail

By Katrina Stonoff

Intrigue, clues, secrets:
Knights Templar seek a king's throne
for Christ's descendants.

If the title of this book is familiar to you, you might have read it in the newspaper. Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln are the authors who sued Dan Brown for stealing their idea and using it to become a multimillionaire with The Da Vinci Code.

I read Holy Blood, Holy Grail because my Book Club was discussing Da Vinci Code, and I didn't want to read it again. But then ... joke's on me ... they ended up changing the date of our July meeting, so I was out of town when they discussed the book.

HB,HG was interesting though. It tells of the authors' search to make sense of a series of odd articles and other things: inexplicable notices on tombs, unexpected details in famous works of art, genealogies that appear out of nowhere.

You follow, rather laboriously, their thought processes as they find secret documents and talk to mysterious people, collecting information that cannot be confirmed.

Eventually (and I'm assuming this isn't a spoiler since it's been so widely discussed), they conclude that Jesus Christ (yes, that Jesus Christ) was married to Mary Magdalen and had children by her, that He founded a dynasty that married into virtually all the royal families of Europe. Oh, and that a very wealthy and powerful secret society dating back to the 1100s or so (if I got it right) still fights to put Christ's descendants on a throne (preferably France's, nevermind the revolution, but they'll settle for just about any European throne).

I'll cut to the chase. I think it's very possible Christ was married and had children. I was raised to believe he experienced everything we experience, and to miss out on parenthood ... well, that's a pretty big part of my life for him to know nothing about. So yeah, I think the conclusions are possible.

But the authors don't build a very good case. First, their most compelling evidence was all found in Secret Dossiers "deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale," but most authorities appear to accept that the Secret Dossiers are a hoax.

Second, even if the documents were valid, the logic displayed here is faulty. They take some pretty incredible leaps, on the order of, "Person A lived in a specific village and was interested in the occult, and Person B's housekeeper was from the same village, and since Person B was clearly related somehow to this specific family, it proves the Knights Templar were a secret society whose sole purpose is to protect Christ's descendants."

Well, OK. It wasn't quite that bad, but some of the logic certainly stretched credibility for me. And there were a number of times they'd argue an unlikely point as possible (i.e. could not be proven false) ... and then use that exact point (now described as a foregone conclusion) to prove an even more unlikely point.

I must say, however, that I am intrigued by the consideration of the word, "Sangraal," normally translated as "Holy Grail." In early texts, there was no space between words or between sentences?


You get the point. Anyway, the authors argue that "sangraal" was divided into "san graal" (meaning "holy grail") when in fact the letters should have been split like this: "sang raal" (meaning "royal blood").

Definitely intriguing. But hardly proof that Christ was married and had children, much less that everyone from Crusaders to FreeMasons to European royal families has been working for centuries to put his descendents on a throne.

Article © Katrina Stonoff. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-06-11
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