Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?
• Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross?
• Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists?
• Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best-kept secrets of Christendom?
• Is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?
According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible — they are probably true! so revolutionary, so original, so convincing, that the most faithful Christians will be moved; here is the book that has sparked worldwide controversey.
"Enough to seriously challenge many traditional Christian beliefs, if not alter them."
— Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Like Chariots of the Gods?...the plot has all the elements of an international thriller."
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Edition description:||DELTA TRAD|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 8.12(h) x 1.12(d)|
About the Author
Michael Baigent was born in New Zealand in 1948 and obtained a degree in psychology from Canterbury University. At one point he gave up a successful career in photojournalism to devote his time to researching the Templars for a film project. Since 1976 he has lived in England.
Richard Leigh is a novelist and short-story writer with postgraduate degrees in comparative literature and a thorough knowledge of history, philosophy, psychology, and esoterica. He has been working for some years as a university lecturer in the United States, Canada, and Britain.
Henry Lincoln is an author and filmmaker and has written for television.
Read an Excerpt
In 1969, en route for a summer holiday in the Cévennes, I made the casual purchase of a paperback. Le Trésor Maudit by Gérard de Sède was a mystery storya lightweight, entertaining blend of historical fact, genuine mystery, and conjecture. It might have remained consigned to the postholiday oblivion of all such reading had I not stumbled upon a curious and glaring omission in its pages.
The "accursed treasure" of the title had apparently been found in the 1890s by a village priest through the decipherment of certain cryptic documents unearthed in his church. Although the purported texts of two of these documents were reproduced, the "secret messages" said to be encoded within them were not. The implication was that the deciphered messages had again been lost. And yet, as I found, a cursory study of the documents reproduced in the book reveals at least one concealed message. Surely the author had found it. In working on his book he must have given the documents more than fleeting attention. He was bound, therefore, to have found what I have found. Moreover, the message was exactly the kind of titillating snippet of "proof" that helps to sell a "pop" paperback. Why had M. de Sède not published it?
During the ensuing months the oddity of the story and the possibility of further discoveries drew me back to it from time to time. The appeal was that of a rather more than usually intriguing crossword puzzlewith the added curiosity of de Sède's silence. As I caught tantalizing new glimpses of layers of meaning buried within the text of the documents, I began to wish I could devote more to the mystery of Rennes-le-Château than mere moments snatched from my working life as a writer for television. And so in the late autumn of 1970, I presented the story as a possible documentary subject to the late Paul Johnstone, executive producer of the BBC's historical and archaeological series Chronicle.
Paul saw the possibilities and I was sent to France to talk to de Sède and explore the prospects for a short film. During Christmas week of 1970 I met de Sède in Paris. At that first meeting I asked the question that had nagged at me for more than a year: "Why didn't you publish the message hidden in the parchments?" His reply astounded me. "What message?"
It seemed inconceivable to me that he was unaware of this elementary message. Why was he fencing with me? Suddenly I found myself reluctant to reveal exactly what I had found. We continued a verbal fencing match for a few minutes and it became apparent that we were both aware of the message. I repeated my question, "Why didn't you publish it?" This time de Sède's answer was calculated. "Because we thought it might interest someone like you to find it for yourself."
That reply, as cryptic as the priest's mysterious documents, was the first clear hint that the mystery of Rennes-le-Château was to prove much more than a simple tale of lost treasure.
With my director, Andrew Maxwell-Hyslop, I began to prepare a Chronicle film in the spring of 1971. It was planned as a simple twenty-minute item for a magazine program. But as we worked, de Sède began to feed us further fragments of information. First came the full text of a major encoded message, which spoke of the painters Poussin and Teniers. This was fascinating. The cipher was unbelievably complex. We were told it had been broken by experts of the French Army Cipher Department, using computers. As I studied the convolutions of the code, I became convinced that this explanation was, to say the least, suspect. I checked with cipher experts of British Intelligence. They agreed with me. "The cipher does not present a valid problem for a computer." The code was unbreakable. Someone, somewhere, must have the key.
And then de Sède dropped his second bombshell. A tomb resembling that in Poussin's famous painting "Les Bergers d'Arcadie" had been found. He would send details as soon as he had them. Some days later the photographs arrived and it was clear that our short film on a small local mystery had begun to assume unexpected dimensions. Paul decided to abandon it and committed us to a full-length Chronicle film. Now there would be more time to research and more screen time to explore the story. Transmission was postponed to the spring of the following year.
The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem? was screened in February 1972 and provoked a very strong reaction. I knew that I had found a subject of consuming interest not merely to myself but to a very large viewing public. Further research would not be self-indulgence. At some time there would have to be a follow-up film. By 1974 I had a mass of new material and Paul assigned Roy Davies to produce my second Chronicle film, The Priest, the Painter and the Devil. Again the reaction of the public proved how much the story had caught the popular imagination. But by now it had grown so complex, so far-reaching in its ramifications, that I knew the detailed research was rapidly exceeding the capabilities of any one person. There were too many different leads to follow. The more I pursued one line of investigation, the more conscious I became of how much material was being neglected. It was at this juncture that chance, which had first tossed the story so casually into my lap, now made sure that the work would not become bogged down.
In 1975 at a summer school where we were both lecturing on aspects of literature, I had the great good fortune to meet Richard Leigh. Richard is a novelist and short-story writer with postgraduate degrees in comparative literature and thorough knowledge of history, philosophy, psychology, and esoterica. He had been working for some years as a university lecturer in the United States, Canada, and Britain.
Between our summer-school talks we spent many hours discussing subjects of mutual interest. I mentioned the Knights Templar, who had assumed an important role in the background to the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. To my delight I found that this shadowy order of medieval warrior-monks had already awakened Richard's profound interest, and he had done considerable research into their history. At one stroke months of work I had seen stretching ahead of me became unnecessary. Richard could answer most of my questions, and was as intrigued as I was by some of the apparent anomalies I had unearthed. More important, he, too, saw the fascination and sensed the significance of the whole research project on which I had embarked. He offered to help me with the aspect involving the Templars. And he brought in Michael Baigent, a psychology graduate who had recently abandoned a successful career in photojournalism to devote his time to researching the Templars for a film project he had in mind.
Had I set out to search for them, I could not have found two better qualified and more congenial partners with whom to form a team. After years of solitary labor the impetus brought to the project by two fresh brains was exhilarating. The first tangible result of our collaboration was the third Chronicle film on Rennes-le-Château, The Shadow of the Templars, which was produced by Roy Davies in 1979.
The work we did on that film at last brought us face to face with the underlying foundations upon which the entire mystery of Rennes-le-Château had been built. But the film could only hint at what we were beginning to discern. Beneath the surface was something more startling, more significant, and more immediately relevant than we could have believed possible when we began our work on the "intriguing little mystery" of what a French priest might have found in a mountain village.
In 1972 I closed my first film with the words, "Something extraordinary is waiting to be found . . . and in the not too distant future, it will be."
This book explains what that "something" isand how extraordinary the discovering has been.
January 17, 1981
Table of Contents
|Part 1||The Mystery|
|1||Village of Mystery||31|
|Rennes-le-Chateau and Berenger Sauniere||31|
|The Possible Treasures||39|
|2||The Cathars and the Great Heresy||48|
|The Albigensian Crusade||49|
|The Siege of Montsegur||55|
|The Cathar Treasure||57|
|The Mystery of the Cathars||61|
|Knights Templar--The Orthodox Account||65|
|Knights Templar--The Mysteries||78|
|Knights Templar--The Hidden Side||86|
|Part 2||The Secret Society|
|5||The Order Behind the Scenes||111|
|The Mystery Surrounding the Foundation of the Knights Templar||115|
|Louis VII and the Prieure de Sion||118|
|The "Cutting of the Elm" at Gisors||119|
|The Prieure at Orleans||125|
|The "Head" of the Templars||126|
|The Grand Masters of the Templars||127|
|6||The Grand Masters and the Underground Stream||131|
|Rene and the Theme of Arcadia||138|
|The Rosicrucian Manifestos||141|
|The Stuart Dynasty||145|
|Charles Nodier and His Circle||150|
|Debussy and the Rose-Croix||127|
|The Two John XXIIIs||159|
|7||Conspiracy Through the Centuries||162|
|The Prieure de Sion in France||164|
|The Dukes of Guise and Lorraine||166|
|The Bid for the Throne of France||171|
|The Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement||173|
|Rosslyn Chapel and Shugborough Hall||183|
|The Pope's Secret Letter||184|
|The Rock of Sion||185|
|The Catholic Modernist Movement||187|
|The Protocols of Sion||190|
|The Hieron du Val d'Or||195|
|8||The Secret Society Today||201|
|The Lost King||205|
|Curious Pamphlets in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris||207|
|The Catholic Traditionalists||210|
|The Convent of 1981 and Cocteau's Statutes||214|
|M. Plantard de Saint-Clair||220|
|The Politics of the Prieure de Sion||227|
|9||The Long-haired Monarchs||234|
|Legend and the Merovingians||234|
|The Bear from Arcadia||237|
|The Sicambrians Enter Gaul||239|
|Merovee and His Descendants||239|
|Clovis and His Pact with the Church||242|
|The Usurpation by the Carolingians||253|
|The Exclusion of Dagobert II from History||257|
|Prince Guillem de Gellone, Comte de Razes||259|
|The Grail Family||265|
|The Elusive Mystery||269|
|10||The Exiled Tribe||271|
|Part 3||The Bloodline|
|11||The Holy Grail||283|
|The Legend of the Holy Grail||285|
|The Story of Wolfram von Eschenbach||292|
|The Grail and Cabalism||303|
|The Play on Words||305|
|The Lost Kings and the Grail||306|
|The Need to Synthesize||309|
|12||The Priest-King Who Never Ruled||316|
|Palestine at the Time of Jesus||322|
|The History of the Gospels||327|
|The Marital Status of Jesus||330|
|The Wife of Jesus||333|
|The Beloved Disciple||338|
|The Dynasty of Jesus||344|
|Who Was Barabbas?||350|
|The Crucifixion in Detail||352|
|13||The Secret the Church Forbade||360|
|The Gnostic Writings||378|
|14||The Grail Dynasty||383|
|Judaism and the Merovingians||387|
|The Principality in Septimania||389|
|The Seed of David||395|
|15||Conclusion and Portents for the Future||398|
|Appendix||The Alleged Grand Masters of the Prieure de Sion||415|
|Notes and References||449|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The amount of meticulous research that went into crafting Holy Blood, Holy Grail is simply breath-taking. This book uses a wealth of historical documents and ancient evidence to support its controversial theories on the Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene and I highly recommend it. Also highly recommended are two other fine Grail books, one non-fiction and the other fiction, and both are by Michael Bradley, a renowned Grail expert who served as a researcher for the Da Vinci Code movie. Bradley's Swords at Sunset is a non-fiction work that traces the Grail to North America, while his fictional novel, The Magdalene Mandala is a wonderfully written thriller with a twisting plot that moves at break-neck speed. It also has well drawn characters and in the view of many is superior to the Da Vince Code. For anyone like me with a growing interest in the Grail, do yourself a favour and discover Holy Blood, Holy Grail; Swords at Sunset and The Magdalene Mandala and Love's Eclipse of the Heart. You'll be very glad you did.
Great book, food for thought. Yes, some people might be appalled. However, it does not hurt to look at history/archeology/etc. through different eyes. Scientists can get near sighted, where "amateurs" might see a bigger picture. Don't take everything literal. Great starting point to look into it yourself, I for sure did. And no, I did not quite arrive at the same conclusion. As for this not being an easy read, this goes without question. How can a book with this subject matter be an easy read? If you don't like to think, then don't buy it.
I read this after, of course, The Da Vinci Code, and I was interested to see how much of the premise of that book was lifted whole cloth from this one. I found it mostly very readable and extraordinarily well-researched (if the bibilography is truthful and accurate...I haven't looked at any of those sources yet). The detective work is exciting, and the complex history presented very engagingly. It is, though, an intellectual house of cards: conclusions are based on a chain of hypotheticals. Each 'possibility' is ever more remotely linked to the previous one. The authors' technique of declaring a scenario 'incredible,' and then proceeding to assert its truth, is at first persuasive but finally transparent. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book a great deal and am going on to read related history.
Good book well informed
This book throws light upon the lineage of the Holy Family. It's a very well-researched book and an excellent reference for the royal lineage. I believe that if one stays focussed through the first half of the book which can get very dry at times, one is in for a treat on various perspectives into the truth behind the stories that act as the foundation of Christian faith. Although the authors don't claim any of the perspectives to be true, it gets one thinking about the different possible interpretations of the Christian mythology.
Interesting. Slog in places. Preposterous conclusions.
A relative sent me a copy of the book several years ago (before The Da Vinci Code, which plays off this book's claims). It's utterly ludicrous, but a textbook example of how to play a con game with the public using little-known or half-remembered episodes and characters from ancient and medieval history. The trick is to come up with a fictional past that people will want to believe in (in this case: Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and just as you always suspected, the whole church establishment is a fraud). Then write a tedious narrative full of mystifying language about how we, the authors, were inexorably drawn to believe this theory in despite of all our dry-as-dust scholarly colleagues with their timorous reliance on careful sourcing. All this padding is essential; it adds heft to your book, which increases its air of authority. But be sure to spice it up here and there with quick-moving passages that assert really wild and sexy claims (like, a lineal descendant of Jesus will someday assert a claim to rule all of Europe). These will be the only parts most readers will absorb, so give them arresting subheadings. Readers will underline these passages and email their friends, then ask their ministers about them. Soon one or two scandalized churchmen can be counted on to rail against your book on TV. You'll be invited to appear as well, for the sake of balance, and all you have to do is act the role of a maverick but dedicated scholar. Then the paperback comes out, graced with a lengthy introduction in which you express, with cherubic innocence, your shock at all the uproar about your humble and sincere efforts to uncover the truth. History Channel, here we come.
I tagged this "nonfiction?" because I found it difficult to believe anyone would read this without thinking they were reading an alternate history novel dressed up as a historical thesis, complete with footnotes. I actually enjoy those conjectures--like what if Gandhi had faced a German conqueror in India or what if the South had been allowed to secede or win the Civil War or what if a Romanov had survived the assassination. (In fact I OWN all those stories in book form.)Because the authors of THIS book actually believe this, I tried to seriously follow their trail of the Grail. Not convincing.
I purchased and read this book before The DaVinci Code erupted into the popular culture. I stumbled on to it quite by accident. This book helped to fuel my interest in Christian Mythology. The whole premise of this myth has been debunked by numerous scientists, historians, and theologians. But isn't that exactly what makes a good conspiracy even more intriguing? There are few proposed conspiracies that can abduct the good reason of people like this particular Holy Grail myth. Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln weave a dense tapestry of intrigue as they follow this presumably valid conspiracy of the bloodline of Jesus. Their search begins with insignificant people from virtually unknown locales and gradually discover the involvement of some of the most famous names in history. This has been uncovered as an elaborate hoax perpetrated by an eccentric gentleman in France. Still, there is much there to make one wonder if there isn't just a bit of truth to the myth. If you are a fan of mythology or conspiracy, check this out. It's not a short read and is dense with dates, places, and names but that is what makes it one of the greatest mythologies in history.
If you are truly interested in the questions raised in "The DaVinci Code," it is well worth your time. There is a lot of history, speculation, and half-truths in the book. You have to evaluate it for yourself.
a really interesting read, slow going and in some parts a little far fetched but overall i enjoyed this.
An interesting insight into the mystery of the holy grail. Remarkable ideas, which have been featured in other works including The Da Vinci Code, with facts to back them up. A very interesting and thought-provoking book.
I found this book (and the sequel) while browsing at Powell's City of Books. Pinned under a shelf full of Dan Brown books was a card saying that if I liked his books, I should check out Holy Blood, Holy Grail in the non-fiction religion section, so I bit and picked up this, the sequel (The Messianic Legacy) and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln start off with the discovery of French documents that purport to outline a secret history of Jesus after the resurrection wherein he and Mary Magdalene fled to France and settled down, had kids, and fathered a line of French kings that exists to the present day.Each chapter follows a general pattern: take a document or set of documents, engage in wild speculation about how, with the right set of eyes, you can see how it fits into the grand scheme of things, and admit that it is speculation but that it could be true. Then, begin the next chapter with some variation of, "now that we concretely established X from the previous chapter as true, we will now examine the next bit of evidence". Rinse, repeat.Although it's all pretty silly, and it was later revealed that the documents they rested their theories on were forgeries, they are far more imaginative than Dan Brown could ever hope to be, so if you're into that kind of conspiracy theory fiction, read the original rather than subjecting yourself to The da Vinci Code, as it is pretty much a fictionalization of Holy Blood Holy Grail.
If you are deeply religious DO NOT read this book. It WILL offend you to your very soul.For the rest of you - you just might find yourself thinking and analyzing what you thought you knew about your parent's religion
I read this after I had read 'The Davinci Code' interested in the true story behind it. What I came out with was much more than I had expected. The idea that Christ fathered a child (to me) is not unheard of. Controversial yes, but not unbelievable. In my opinion it makes perfect sence.
I'm only about a third of the way through, so I suppose it gets better - but this is dense, plodding, (very small type), and it manages to include *every single one* of the fallacies commonly employed by writers of crank paperbacks, all at once. (seriously - somewhere I have an essay catagorizing them all with examples from *one chapter* of this book.)The occcasional tidbits of fact slipped in (such as the mystery of what Sauniere found and the cutting of the Elm) are fascinating, though. Too bad they're weighted down with tons of unreliable speculation, so I have no idea what I can believe without checking the sources. Instead of playing on the reader's idiocy to try to convince them it's all God's honest truth, somebody should write this (admittedly fascinating) story as fiction.Only, you know, do it well.
Interesting, if not all that convincing. Those who were recommended this book because of The Da Vinci Code should beware. This is not a novel. It is a hypothesis layed out with a lot of facts and conjecture. A fairly dry read that builds from one assumption to the next with some odd logical leaps.
A fascinating look at hidden history with just enough evidence to make it look plausible. As with all matters of religion, one's opinion about the veracity of the claims within this book are most likely preconcieved, but it's a fun read that speaks to the consiracy theory in all of us.
Reads like a good mystery or thriller. What is chilling is that it is non-fiction. At times it may be hard to follow with the flowery British writing.
I first read Holy Blood, Holy Grail back in 1995 long before the Da Vinci Code was even conceived, and I was much inspired by it. Even though the authors are not "official" historical scholars, and despite various arguments being based on rather poor (or non-existing) historical evidence, a lot of the theories are actually plausible and interesting. And most of those theories are not unsubstantiated, despite what some critics have said. Holy Blood, Holy Grail is thoroughly annotated, and it's main problem seems to be, not the lack of sources, but rather the lack of source criticism.I say, if you read the book mostly for the historical theories, then skip the parts about the bloodline and even the Prieure de Sion. Those parts are entertaining and well written, but (unfortunately?) proven wrong to some extent. However, their theories and descriptions of early christianity and the Knights Templar carries much more weight, and leans on more respected sources. This book is really not as ridiculous as some people have claimed it to be!
Intellectually challenging read suggesting that the holy grail is actually the bloodline of Jesus carried on into modern times. Read it. It is much more satisfying than The Da Vinci Code.
Interesting and extremely thought-provoking theory. Major weak point is that the authors will make certain assumptions (admitting that there's no concrete evidence to support them), then use them as though they were rock-solid facts.
While the authors don't convince on the historical case, the book reads like a mystery novel or a thriller. I enjoyed it on that basis alone. That Magdalen's womb was literally the vessel of Jesus' blood(line), represented symbolically by the Holy Grail, is as charged (and heretical) a metaphor as there could be for the Christian church. But heresies and conspiracy theories are exciting material for thrillers; the authors might have done better by calling it a novel, as Dan Brown did: then they could have hired him instead of suing him over it--but maybe that's just good marketing at this point.
The "underpinning" for "Da Vinci Code". Generally unconvincing and unscholarly.
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