Friday, 27 March 2015

avignon quintet or bombshells and broomsticks

As I am approaching the conclusion of the excellent and engrossing podcast series on the history of the Crusades that I’ve been enjoying immensely, at first whilst only during my commute and then, what with all the cliffhangers, listening to an episode whenever I had the chance, I decided to supplement my lessons with a departure into what most would disapprove of as poor scholastics—PfRC being the go-to source it is for all manner of experts.
Sorry to disappoint, but I found a paperback edition of the 1982 collaboration by Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh—Holy Blood, Holy Grail whose basic premise is probably more familiar to readers from the derivative thriller and subsequent film, Da Vinci Code. I am about half way through already and I am reserving judgment, because although the sourced materials have been violently discredited and there’s quite a bit of cautioning rhetoric that sometimes tends to excuse speculation and leaps and the Priory of Sion has been disowned as the work of a hoaxer, it does seem methodically well investigated and assiduously imaginative. The basic theory, elaborated and championed in other works of lesser-repute, posits that Jesus survived the crucifixion in human form and traveled to France, where Jesus and Mary Magdalene raised a family. The original Frankish Merovingian kings were descendants of that royal bloodline, but the Church seeing its power and influence undermined suppressed this account (not just as heresy but never letting it see the light of day) and installed their own pretenders to the thrones of Europe. It does not seem entirely implausible, especially given the Church’s historical insecurity, misogyny and the fact that at least some of the royal households claimed their legitimacy on being descended from Jesus’ half-brothers and -sisters. As I said, I am just getting into the thick of the argument, so we’ll see. In any case, we are probably wrong to judge the authors too harshly, since surely there’s no better way to get investigators off the trail than a red-herring, forged documents or Hollywood success and I am sure they were under retainer of the Priory.