Well, I posted in the dirt brown thread, mentioning Holy blood, holy grail . Rather then try and hijack the thread I decided to make a new one and if it dies, it dies. I’ve read Holy blood, anybody else read it? Judging from earlier posts on Dan Brown, JaxBeachBoy has Oh, and Mephisto. Anyone else?
I’ve got to go in a minute, but first I want mention what it contains: conspiracies, the idea that the Vatican has no legal claim to the land it uses, gnostics, heresies, princesses, pirates, and weddings. Err, maybe not the last two. Those might have been from another book that get mentioned an awful lot around here.
Oh yes, before I go, I want to give a shout out to LorieSmurf, who actually read my post in the earlier thread.
The closest I came was playing the computer game Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned. This is a game I highly recommend for Dopers – it’s a game that includes cites and comes with a suggested reading list!
The story of the game seems to be rooted pretty firmly in the conspiracy theory laid out in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, although it adds a few extra elements…like vampires.
Sorry this doesn’t have more to do with the book, but I didn’t want you to think your thread was being ignored.
Oh yeah, Gabriel Knight! I played that game, but around the second disc, all my filews crashed and I never did finish it.
P.S. Why be sorry.? It’s on topic. It has the same plotline as “Holy blood.” Heck, even Dan Browns book is on topic with a charector, Leigh Teabing, named after two authors of the above book. Leigh Teabing = Leigh +Baigent, Michael.
I read HBHG a little while after it first came out here in the UK, and at a time when bookshops were still making a big fuss with piles of copies for sale. I thought it was very cleverly deceptive, and could be admired for that reason and that reason alone.
HBHG seemed to me to hinge on two related techniques of literary sleight of hand.
The first is to parade basless speculation as near-documented history. Specifically, to employ the tone that one would use if describing what actually did happen, when in fact one is only describing things that could have happened. We know, for example, that something was removed from Rennes Le Chateau before church authorities raided it as part of their purge of the Knights Templar, but we have no historical evidence whatsoever about what was removed. The HBHG authors breathlessly exclaim that it could have been something pertinent to their theory, such as treasure or a secret pertaining to the Grail. But this is pure, 100% speculation based on no factual evidence at all. They might equally well say it could have been a collection of broken beer barrels, or a pirate copy of Star Wars deposited by a time-travelling being from the future using technology we don’t yet understand. Could doesn’t tell us anything about did or was.
The second literary trick is to advance a purely speculative statement in one chapter, then refer back to it later as if it were much more solid than it really was. For example, they might spend part of Ch 3 suggesting that a priest from Rennes could have discovered an amazing secret. Then in Ch 6 they might refer back and say, “We have already seen the evidence suggesting the priest found a special secret at Rennes…” when in fact there is no such evidence and the earlier passage was in fact pure speculation. But how many readers will bother to check back and spot the discrepancy? Multiply this technique a hundred-fold, and you end up with HBHG.
Yeah, imagine reading this hefty number. It’s what I am reading now.
“If there were beings who had always lived beneath the earth, in comfortable, well-lit dwellings, decorated with statues and pictures and furnished with all the luxuries enjoyed by persons thought to be supremely happy, and who though they had never come forth above the ground had learnt by report and by hearsay of the existence of certain deities and divine powers; and then if at some time the jaws of the earth were opened and they were able to escape from their hidden abode and to come forth into the regions which we inhabit; when they suddenly had sight of the earth and the seas and the sky, and came to know of the vast clouds and mighty winds, and beheld the sun, and realized not only its size and beauty but also its potency in causing the day by shedding light all over the sky, and, after night had darkened the earth, they then saw the whole sky spangled with stars, and the changing phases of the moon’s light, now waxing and now waning, and the risings and settings of all these heavenly bodies and their courses fixed and changeless throughout all eternity, – when they saw these things, surely they would think that the gods exist and that these mighty marvels are their handiwork. I have come to my conclusion, I leave it to you to decide wheter to accept what I have said. Now dance, monkey boy, dance. Then go across those moving plaforms, least you never escape this book.”
– Cicero, On the nature of the gods, paraphrased from Aristotle’s lost
On philosophy. The translation is that of Rackham in the Loeb edition.
I am so embarassed that I didn’t notice the Teabing - Baignet anagram.
Yeah, I read HBHG. Ianzin’s analysis is spot-on. In addition, there’s a 3rd logical fallacy - they tell us that they’ve found these wonderfully mysterious documents deposited in a library by the Priory of Sion. Then they base all their analysis and conclusions on the contents of those documents.
Hold on…I’ve just found in my bookcase a long-lost geneaology of the crown heads of Europe! And it says…wait…that I’m the King of Romania! Cool!
I read HBHGyears ago when a friend of mine in the SCA (who has a templar persona) suggested it to me. I agree that for the most part it’s theory masquerading as fact, but it is interesting.
Another couple similar books I’ve read are Hiram Key and The Second Messiah, both by Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas. Pretty much the “conspiracy theories” surrounding the Freemasons, the Templars, the RC church, and just about anything else you can think of that’s related. The research is slightly better, but while fascinating I’m not sure I’d categorize them as “nonfiction”.
With some wonderful pictures (enough that it’s on my list of places to visit should I ever manage to make it to Europe), Rosslyn: Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail by Tim Wallace-Murphy & Marilyn Hopkins is another conspiracy book that is absolutely enthralling (IMHO).
The whole Freemason/Templar/Grail/Shroud stuff is my favorite “conspiracy” theory to philosophize over. I’ll read almost anything I can get my hands on about it. I do have my own opinions about some of the theories, but as I’m not a researcher with “proof”, I’ll stay out of GD with them.
I read **Holy Blood, Holy Grail ** back in mid 80s. I picked it up at my local university bookstore, and had somehow missed that there might have been controversy over it. I was actually just bored during a long break between classes. Not exactly deep, but I thought it was entertaining.
I’ve also read the Da Vinci Code, not long after it first came out. As I started reading, something started to ring a bell, and then heyyyyyyyy, this is all sounding awfully familiar. Unlikely many on this board, I didn’t mind it. I also went on to read Brown’s other books. I don’t think I’d read any more, since he basically repeats the same plot over and over. For pretty much the same reason, I gave up reading Grisham, oh around about the time of The Pelican Brief.
I read “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” a couple of years ago, by which time I’d already heard about Pierre Plantard (de Saint-Clair)'s exposure as a fraud. Since he was the guy who claimed to have found the Priory of Sion manuscripts, I’m sure that my experience reading HBHG was very different from how it would have been if I had not already known that the PoS was a hoax. I still enjoyed it for some of its real history, and admit that I have a soft spot for Magdalenic cults, Holy Grail references, etc. (which is one reason why I found the Da Vinci Code so disappointing – it should have been good given its source material!)
Yes, I wonder what poor Henry Lincoln (the third author of HBHG) had done to Dan Brown that the latter chose not to “honor” him with a reference?
In addition, Brown’s Louvre curator, Sauniere, bears the same last name as the priest at the center of the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery, and the first name of Brown’s Chief of Police (Bezu Fache) is the same as one of the Cathar fortresses (Le Bezu in the Pyrenees), which may also have been used by the Templars.