Holy Blood, Holy Grail : The Secret History of Jesus, the Shocking Legacy of the Grail
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."
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January 14, 1983
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Excerpt from Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent
In 1969, en route for a summer holiday in the C'vennes, I made the casual purchase of a paperback. Le Tr'esor Maudit by G'rard de S'ede was a mystery story--a 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 S'ede 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 puzzle--with the added curiosity of de S'ede'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-Chateau 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 S'ede and explore the prospects for a short film. During Christmas week of 1970 I met de S'ede 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 Sede'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-Chateau 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 S'ede 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 S'ede 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.