Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Holy Blood , Holy Grail

Before the Da Vinci Code there was “Holy Blood , Holy Grail” that made it to the list of the most controversial books in the 2nd half of the 20th century. This book is a must for conspiracy theorists and religious skeptics. It was destined to be remembered in the 21st century as source of inspiration to Don Brown and his controversial masterpiece “ The Da Vinci Code” , it is not only the hypothesis on which the novel is built upon but one of the main characters' name “Leigh Teabing” is believed to be a tribute to the Holy Blood Holy Grail’s authors Michael Baigent”Scrambled” and Richard Leigh. Since I have read "The Da Vinci Code" and followed the controversy it caused , I wanted to read the that book. I saw documentaries where its authors were speaking about the alleged Jesus bloodline and other controversial theories.
I have finished at last reading “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” , I read its latest hardcover illustrated edition issued in 2005. I read it out of curious and out of the fact that as a Muslim I believe in Prophet Jesus and I wanted to know what that book really claimed and has been causing all that controversy.  Already it is not the first time I read a book for Leigh and Baigent as I read their book on the Dead sea scrolls which elaborates more on the Essenes and how Jesus can be a member from that Jewish sect. 
First of all what I love in this book is that despite their belief in the authenticity of their info , the authors insisted that what they are saying is a hypothesis that can be wrong despite all that evidence that they gathered. The authors are not like Erich von Däniken and the ancient aliens theorists who consider what came in the “Chariots of God ?” is not a hypothesis but rather a reality and they will have the last laugh when the ancient aliens come back to Earth !! I like that sort of historical investigative journalism.

Second of all despite the fact that “Priory of Zion” is a big fraud yet the important hypothesis of the book that is Jesus was a mortal man who married Maria Magdalena and got an offspring that continued to live till our day was not that affected because if you look to it the material that really matters , you will find that it is not that so called secret society and its history. 
Now as a Muslim who believes in prophet Jesus son of Mariam there were many interesting points in the book that made me stop , first of all Muslim sects expect Indian Ahmadiyya do not believe in prophet Jesus’ death , we believe that prophet Jesus was lifted to heavens and will return back to kill back the anti-Christ. The Ahmadiyya believes that Jesus died in Kashmir in an old age while searching for the lost tribes of Israelites where he was buried in a tomb under the name of Yuz Asaf . Strangely the Ahmadiyya believes Jesus was crucified unlike the rest of Muslims wtoo here he fainted and later woke up in his tomb. “Thank for Dear Bassem Sabry for the Ahmadiyya’s tip” . I believe Yuz Asaf or son of Joseph could be a Jew who came to Kashmir and died there.
We also do not believe that Jesus planned or staged his crucifixion as our authors in that book suggested that there were substitute for Jesus on the cross, they were not clear in explaining what we believe in. Now we do believe that Jesus was not crucified but it was not a staged act in a very complicated scheme , we believe that Jesus was lifted to heavens to be saved from crucifixion. I think the authors confused with one of the Quran interpretation that as a result of his treason Judas Iscariot was transformed in to Jesus lookalike to be arrested and crucified instead of the real Jesus who was lifted to heavens.
Another point that made me stopped is about Jesus’ birthday , it seems that the Orthodox Church is right about the 7th of January.
I wish that there was more about the character of Mary Magdalena especially I remember that after the Da Vinci code’s controversy we found out that she was not that prostitute but a lady who was unknown reason officially defamed throughout the history by the Catholic church.  I remember that an Orthodox churchman spoke about her on TV and said that she was fine lady , in fact a rich lady who was sick and was healed by Jesus and then became one of his important followers ever. No one gave an explanation to the defame this lady through out the history in that way.
Strangely I got an old Islamic book for prophets tale published in Lebanon in 1970s, the book was originally written in medieval and despite being based on the Quranic version of world’s creation and prophets’ tale , it included more details I assume from other religions, legends and sometimes myths . The book identified Mary Magdalena as a fine lady from Magdala who suffered from constant bleeding that prevented her from marriage , according to the book she was very shy and respectable. There was nothing further about the relation between these two except that Mary Magdalena was chosen from all the other disciples to come down from heaven to because she was grieving like no other on his alleged crucifixion.
To be honest I felt bored at first reading about the Middle age Europe history and genealogies of the European and French royal families. I do not believe that the Templars’ leaders are the decedents of Jesus as they were war criminals who killed other Christians not to mention Muslims and Jews, I do not believe that the crusader Kings of Jerusalem wanted peace on earth or the region !! Already did not they claim that they were searching for the Holy grail under the Al-Aqsa Mosque !!??
The views of the authors about the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” surprised me because usually the western authors consider it as a hoax but here they believe in its authenticity yet they think the protocols were not speaking about the Jews but rather the alleged priory of Zion.
The Holy grail romances I think was a mix between European Celtic folklore and religious beliefs , we saw that in our folkloric legends and myths even in our greatest literature pieces of arts “ The Arabian nights”. The Holy grail could be the Christian version of the old Celtic deities’ grails or chalices that found its way to the King Arthur roundtable.
That theoretical re-construction of events in Palestine during the Christ’s time till the Masada siege because it was from a modern political and social perspective more than from a religious way was great.
Again the book is interesting yet what weakens in it is not the hypothesis from the time where Jesus walked on this earth but rather the  hypotheses of priory of Zion and other secret occult societies.
The Holy grail whether an object or a metaphor for the alleged Jesus bloodline will not stop playing with the imagination of the people whether believers or non believers.


  1. Interesting post with many links and I will try to read Holy Grail, Holy Blood.
    Well done.
    A Sudanese commentator.

  2. who cares ? please start reading deeper books woman, not this .BC gossip

  3. Readers Beware.
    Pseudo-scientific conspiracy books sprinkled with a few factual events tend to sell well and make a lot of money for their authors.
    The Canadian.

  4. @Sudanese commentator , thanks I am happy that you like it

    @SS , can you suggest deeper Books !!??

    @The Canadian , I agree with you that conspiracy books got few factual events but this book especially the chapters discussing the history of the Church and the gospels depend upon historical facts most people ignore
    The first part of the book about the priory of Zion is waste of pages , real waste of pages and time to the level I felt sorry that the authors dedicated all that time and effort of their life following a French man's scheme

  5. I'm happy that you're happy with a comment by a Sudanese commentator - however all of the other many 'comments' by the other Sudanese commentators still stand...


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