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Book Review - The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln

T he Holy Blood and the Holy Grail is the book that initially got me interested in Templars. It is not a book on templars as such - it is a book on a much larger affair that includes the Templars, a secret society called the Prieuré de Sion, loads of heresies, the Catholic Church, and yes, Jesus Christ, all involved in a global conspiracy. This book is not pure history: it is also an entertaining mix of information and insinuation.

T his book has its origins in a television documentary the authors made for the BBC; this story included an obscure rural parish priest in southern France who found two ancient parchments in his church during its renovation. Subsequently, he suddenly started pouring loads of money into the parish. The origin of the funds was never satisfactorily explained, but while looking into this, the authors found the trail of evidence they followed all the way to Jesus Christ.

T he real centerpoint of this book is not the Templars, but the Prieuré de Sion. This is apparently a society purporting to have proof of the bloodline of Jesus continuing to the present day. Until 1188 the Templars were the military wing of the Prieuré, but in that year the two separated at a curious ceremony referred to as "the cutting of the Elm", and the Templars became autonomous. The book then mainly focuses on the wealth amassed by the templars, as this wealth is later linked to the fortune found by Abbe Berengér Sauniere, the priest.

T he problem with this book is that it is not written as history, but rather as a well-documented detective story. Most of the main sources are such as the Dossiers Secrets, a folder of documents made available to the authors by modern-day members of the Prieuré, but which are not researched by other historians, therefore losing some credibility. On the other hand, if the material of the book and its conclusions are real, then it is most valuable indeed that the book has been published. As it is, it is a very entertaining and well-written piece of pseudohistory, loaded with insinuations and allusions, a thought-provoking piece of prose. It is to be recommended, even if it needs a pinch of salt.

Armory Bailey Barracks Chapel Dungeon Library Pub

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