The list opens with obscure French noblemen, but goes on to read like the contents table of an introductory course to Western civilization. Leigh: Obviously when we first saw the names, names like Leonardo, Botticelli, Newton, we were skeptical. On the other hand if you wanted to concoct a list of illustrious figures, why include so many non-entities? And why not bring in more? Why not have Goethe on the list for example? Why not have Shakespeare? A generation ago, Leigh poured over these enigmatic papers, matching them point by point to documented French history and local legends -- including the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and a girl named Sarah.
It all points, he says, towards a cataclysmic possibility. Leigh: That there were progeny or at least one child from this union and that a bloodline continued. Could these cryptic documents reveal some ancient knowledge and could they hold the key to finding the heirs of Jesus living among us today?
Where did the idea of a ‘Holy Grail’ come from?
In the book, they are startling truths that have been protected and passed down through the ages by the members of an elite secret society called the Priory of Sion. But does the Priory of Sion exist? A similar story was first told in in a non fiction book called "Holy Blood, Holy Grail. To separate fact from fiction in both books, you have to understand the true story at the heart of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," one that began more than a years ago, in a tiny village in the south of France called Rennes le Chateau.
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It all centers around a man named Sauniere. But soon after he began renovating a church, all of that changed. He became rich, which left many in town wondering how he came by his fortune and what secrets it might hold Lincoln : The priest, in repairing his church, supposedly found some parchments. These parchments contained secret messages.
Secret messages, it was said, that led the priest to a buried treasure. But when the authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" analyzed the parchments, they came up with a different theory: Sauniere had stumbled onto not gold and jewels, but evidence of a secret society that had been guarding the descendents of Jesus and Mary Magdalene for centuries.
The Da Vinci Code and Actual History - Evidence for God's Unchanging Word
The clues, they say, are there in the parchments. To find out more about the Priory, the authors headed to the French National Library, and soon, made another discovery, a list of Priory leaders, or grand masters.
Leigh: We checked all of these, even those that seemed irrelevant to the main story, and they all checked out. But that wasn't all. The same files contained papers filled with elaborate family trees, genealogies and codes that seemed to directly tie a line of French kings and queens to the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Leigh: If we read the clues they provided correctly they claim, one, Jesus was married. At some point subsequent to the crucifixion Jesus' wife or widow, as the case, might be escaped either pregnant or with child to the South of France.
Around AD this blood line supposedly intermarries with the royal line of the Francs. Could this radical -- even sacrilegious -- story be the real secret the priest stumbled onto all those years ago? And did he use that knowledge to extort money from someone, the Church perhaps, to keep silent? The authors followed the documents further and it wasn't long before those family trees led them to the doorstep of an eccentric Frenchman named Pierre Plantard.
The Real Code of Leonardo da Vinci
Lincoln : Pierre Plantard was a charming man. I liked him very much. Plantard was the soft-spoken son of a butler and a cook, who'd lived an unremarkable life as a low ranking government paper-pusher. But when the authors interviewed Plantard, a grander story emerged. Plantard said that the Priory of Sion was real and that he was a member. Leigh: When we first established contact with members of Priory, Plantard was their official spokesman. Lincoln : Can you tell us whether the Priory of Sion still exists today. Plantard: At this moment Priory of Sion still exists. Lincoln: Monsieur Plantard, you have supported the Priory of Sion.
Plantard: We have supported Sion and Sion has supported us.
Secrets behind 'The Da Vinci Code'
Who are we? Plantard: We. I am speaking of the Merovingian line. The same royal line described on the family trees— which raised the possibility that Plantard wasn't just a member of the priory, but also perhaps, a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And in , they laid out the following theory in their non-fiction book: The Priory of Sion was a real organization that had been protecting the untold story of Jesus, Mary and their French descendants for centuries.
Archeologist Bill Putnam is one of several scholars, historians, and journalists who have called The Priory of Sion nothing more than a modern-day con. By comparing the Priory documents to other paperwork, Putnam concluded that the grand master list, the family trees, the secret "Sion" and "PS" codes were all a hoax, fabricated by none other than Pierre Plantard. Putnam: He's a very strange man. He's a very strange man. One might call him a fantasy worker. Putnam says the deception began when Plantard heard legends about the French priest and his unexplained wealth and decided to fabricate coded parchments that would appear to explain the mystery of the priest's fortune.
Putnam: He creates a body called the Priory of Sion and argues that this had been in existence for 1, years. Next, Putnam says, Plantard planted the list of priory grand masters and those family trees linking him to French royalty in the French National Library. And if you're wondering how that priest, Sauniere, amassed that mysterious fortune, it had nothing to do with unearthing secrets about the Holy Grail. It turns out he was accused of selling mail-order prayer services for the dead -- a scandal that got him suspended from the pulpit.
It appears all other explanations for the mystery are simply fiction. Unless, of course, like some true believers, you think the fake documents, the Sauniere mystery, and Plantard's story are just another smokescreen. Perhaps the Priory of Sion has managed, once again, to avoid detection— still carefully guarding its holy secret about Mary Magdalene.
Lincoln : The simple facts are there are no facts. We just don't know. Worshipers there for Good Friday services heard a sermon condemning the book. It was an extraordinary reaction to a secular work of art and not the only response from church leaders. Last month in Genoa, an Italian Cardinal told Catholics not to buy the novel, calling it, "a sack full of lies against the Church.
Aspects of the organization are painted as secretive and ruthless, portrayals that Opus Dei members and many Catholics say is flat out wrong. Father Williams: I haven't met one yet I know members of Opus Dei who are wonderful very good normal people, believing Christians, wonderful members of society.
And I think they have been hurt by this. Phillips: I guess if you're inclined to be suspicious of an institution like the church this is certainly going to feed that. Father Williams: It is a mysterious institution. You can fit a lot in there. You can create conspiracies because of the richness of its history and this fascinates people. Dan Brown declined to comment on accusations that the book is anti-Catholic or anti-Christian. He does, however, address the issue on his Web site, which reads:.
This book is not anti-anything. It's a novel The vast majority of devout Christians understand this fact.
At a lecture in New Hampshire recently, the author spoke for the first time about the controversy his novel has created. Brown: I think these books are absolutely wonderful. These authors and I obviously disagree but the dialogue that' sbeing created is powerful and positive. Return to Sign In. Username required. First Name. Last Name. Address Line 2. Discovery Series monthly readings. Our Daily Bread daily devotions. Our Daily Bread Ministries updates.
Sign In. Our Daily Bread Ministries Toggle navigation. Facebook Twitter Email. What Is The Truth? Does The Da Vinci Code deserve to be thought of as historical fiction? To what extent has the church devalued women? Was Constantine a lifelong pagan? Seperating Fact From Fiction 8. Test The Spirits.
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