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The three versions of the Holy Grail Legend.

This article is part of the “Benefits of solving ancient mysteries” series. Today we will look at the three different versions of the Holy Grail legend. And examine which one of the three, if any, holds the most merit, and if there are any potential benefits to solving this mystery.
Okay, my friends. Here we go:   
Version number one!
The Holy Grail is the cup that contains the blood of Jesus Christ.

The legend say’s, that when Jesus was dying on the cross, his blood, dripping down his body, was collected in a cup of some sort. Now, what is the likelihood of that actually happening? Not very great, I can assure you. Try to imagine the actual scenario that would have had to unfold.
As the bible tells us, during the trial of Jesus, all the Apostles and other followers, with the exception of a few women, ran away and went into hiding. Anyone, follower or not, who witnessed what just had happened to Jesus, would have had to be out of his mind, to grab a cup, walk up underneath the cross and collect the dripping blood. Remember, there were Roman guards guarding the scene. They wouldn’t have taken such an act lightly. Such an attempt would have most likely been a suicide mission. Furthermore, an event like this, would have undoubtedly been mentioned in the bible, since any person committing such an act, would have certainly been lifted to saint status. But again, there is nothing in the scriptures at all, in regards to such an event. So, likelihood of occurrence: Pretty much … nil!

Version number two.

The Holy Grail is the cup that Jesus used at the last supper.

Again, try to picture the event. Jesus, the apostles, some other followers and most certainly the host and his family, participating in the Passover supper. Afterwards, the Bible tells us that Jesus and the apostles left. Sooner or later all the other participants would have left as well. Then, like after every meal before and after, the women and possibly some servants, would have proceeded to clean up the table, wash the dishes and store them away as usual. Now, what is the likelihood that, even only a few days later, anyone could remember which cup Jesus used at the Passover meal? Keep in mind, that at this point in time, no one anticipated what would happen over the next 2000 years. For them, it was just another Passover supper. No one would have had any reason to take notice of a particular cup or bowl. So, again, likelihood of occurrence: very slim.

Version number three!
This version suggests that the Holy Grail is not a cup at all.

It actually suggests that it is the womb of Mary Magdalene, carrying the child of Jesus. Now, we have all seen “The Da Vinci Code”, or read Dan Browns book. Anyone, who had paid closer attention, will remember that Dan Brown was sued by two other authors, being accused of using their book as the basis for his own novel. To make a long story short: they lost the lawsuite. The book that Dan Brown supposedly had based his story on, was - Holy Blood, Holy Grail- written by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. So, why is this important to version number three? Because I have read the book 20 years ago and I can tell you right now, that it IS part of the Da Vinci Code story and it is the original basis of version number three. Frankly, this book did make me take notice, already back then.  Here is the scenario in a nutshell: After the first crusade, 9 Knights (7 of them related) petitioned the church to let them establish an order, so that they can stay in Jerusalem and guard the travel routes of the pilgrims that will now be able to travel to the holy land. Their wish was granted and they made their headquarters on top of the temple mount. Hence the name:  The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. Those first 9 knights remained in the holy land for the next several years. What they were really doing, was digging below and around the temple mount. We have archeological evidence for that. Then, suddenly after seven years, they rushed back to the Vatican (which was holding a conference just at that time). Only a few days after they had talked to the church leaders, they had a truck load of money, which they used to further establish their order. Not only that. They also established a money exchange system for pilgrims traveling to the holy land. One could deposit a certain amount of money in one of the Templar’s local headquarters and receive a coded document in return, which could then be exchanged back into money (coins) at the holy land headquarters of the order. They basically invented the credit system we use today. The intriguing thing is, that they were the only ones who were allowed to charge interest (in the dark ages it was forbidden by the church to charge interest, since it would be un- Christian like). They basically had carte blanche, allowing them to travel freely throughout Europe. They were only accountable to the pope. Not to any king, queen or any other head of state. So, the story goes that they got all this from the church, because they discovered a secret. Many believed that secret to be the Holy Grail and the church paid them “hush money” for it. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Why would the church be trying to hide the Holy Grail, if that is what the Templars really found. Had the Templars come back from the holy land with one of the vessels from version one or two, the church would have most certainly paid them handsomely for it. However, then the cup would have gone on display, just like the Shroud of Turin. Why pay hush money for something that could actually be of great benefit to the Catholic Church?  Well, maybe they didn’t bring back a cup, but rather a document that would be very destructive to the church. So, the story of version number three becomes a bit more intriguing. We also have several passages in the bible which tell us that Mary and Jesus where always close. Mary Magdalene was always around when the rest of the followers hightailed out of the vicinity. She was there during the last supper, during the trial and crucifixion and she was the one who discovered the empty tomb. Looks to me that there is a bit more going on than her being just another follower. This looks more like real love to me. There are also some other ancient religious texts outside the bible, that tell us about the closeness of Jesus and Mary. Those texts, while also written around the time of Jesus, never became part of the bible, as decided by the Council of Nicea in 325A.D. I wonder why that is. I don’t want to bore you with any more details, but I guess you can see by now that our grail version number three has a bit more substance to it than the other two. However, it doesn’t prove anything and each one of us has to make up his or her own mind about this.
Okay, now, this series is called the Benefits of solving ancient mysteries. Well, let’s see if there are any benefits. At first let’s acknowledge this: if any one of the three versions would be proven, it would still not prove that Jesus was the son of God, neither would it be proof of any miracles, or the existence of God himself. I am not saying that there is no God. Everyone has to decide for themselves what to do and what to believe. It’s a question of faith. All that I’m trying to say is, that the proof of any of the three versions would only solve the mystery itself. Version one or two would most certainly strengthen the church. Version three might rock its foundation, and history and the teachings of the church will have to be reexamined and rewritten. But I doubt that it would completely destroy the church. So, the benefits of all of this would be that we would have uncovered the truth about something and therefore have become a bit wiser and learned some more about our history. Society can always benefit, if some light has been shed onto something. It would help us and encourage us to keep on exploring and solving more ancient mysteries, in order to reap the benefits, which in all cases will be more knowledge about our world.
While I’m aware that this is a fairly lengthy article, I still had to be a bit short on the details. I didn’t make any of this up, just offered my viewpoint on the subject. If anyone one of you would like more details, you can Google for it, watch the history channel (you can find all episodes related to this subject on their website), or just visit your local library. However I’ll be happy to help you find what you are looking for. Just leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to provide you with the pertinent resources. If I get enough requests, I’m happy to write a follow up article as well.
As always in closing, please allow me to ask for your help to find a way, on how we all can use our individual passions to improve life for all people on this planet. Again, please don’t hesitate to contact me, if you need help, or send me your suggestions and comments. Either visit my blog at:  http://commentsharer.blogspot.com., or leave me an email at:  optime-77789@mypacks.net. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Together we can change the world! 

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6 comments:

  1. Hey there! I received your post on Writer's Digest Community about writing regarding the topic of Ancient Mysteries. I think there are two major reasons why you haven't been able to find a group of us. The first is that "Ancient Mysteries" is more of a lens through which to write within a genre (for instance, Dan Brown is a Thriller writer, writing through an Ancient Mysteries lens). Since most of the groups on WD Community are genre-specific, you won't just find a "group" of Ancient Mysteries writers. Also, in my personal experience, Ancient Mysteries writers don't often convene in public circles. You find them, definitely, but you find them singularly and not often in public writers groups. Take those points as you will, but that's just been my experience. I'm really interested in your blog and your writing. You've obviously developed a passion for the topic and spent a great amount of time researching. If you'd like, you can email me jennikerner@gmail.com or visit my website http//:jennifermkerner.com. -JenniferMK

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey there. i, also, received your messge on WD, so tought I'd check you out. It's a great topic, and I agree with what Jen said. You might try Mystery Writers Cafe as a more general group... although there isn't much activity there. You could also start up your own group and be the moderator (for any subject you choose related to writing). It's really easy.
    This is a subject that relaly interests me and in the future I plan on writing a thriller involving an ancient mystery. NOt quite there yet, and hopefully no one will beat me to the subjet. ;)
    Anyway, I enjoyed your article on the Holy Grail, even tho I do not believe there was any such romantic love between Mary and Jesus. It's so easy to make things up into what sounds good or interesting.
    I'll check back on your blog. Happy writing!

    PK Hrezo
    http://pakazo.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too come here via WD. Very interesting, and I've joined by email subscription.
    A note about ancient mystery writers: I doubt that it's the name for us. I use puzzle thriller, and there's another guy who calls the genre religious fiction. I'll find him and ask him to join, if you like. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code comes under General Fiction, would you believe. But if you are thinking of books such as The Splintered Icon by Bill Napier, The Night Villa by Carol Goodman, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, The Codex by Lev Grossman, and others of that kind, the name for the genre has not been decided yet by the publishing industry. I tend to like puzzle thriller. I have written one, and it comes out later in 2010. It's called According to Luke, and deals with a controversial alternative biblical interpretation, which takes the protagonist on quite a chase.

    Now - about benefits. That could rouse a good debate, that would take us into the philosophy of belief, the history of religion and a number of other areas. In my book, the protagonists come up against this question of benefit, but to see what they decided, you are going to have to read the book.

    About the Grail. Dan Brown gives a semantic/linguistic explanation of how it got to be called a grail in the first place, but it is rather loose and does not stand much scrutiny from experts. The Templars were notorious for coming up with stuff to baffle and intrigue the illiterate majority. The churches too were known to take up on myths and legends and give them that stamp of authority in order to keep the masses under control. There were a number of rulers in Byzantine times who would have loved a return to paganism, for political reasons, since the church leaders looked like they could summon the masses and take control if disagreements crept in to the relationship between church and state.
    So history is full of reasons why certain myths were propagated and others suppressed. The grail is one of these. I could go on and on, but this reponse is no place for this... perhaps I should open a discussion. I'll find somewhee on this already busy site! Thanks for the invitation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I too come here via WD. Very interesting, and I've joined by email subscription.
    A note about ancient mystery writers: I doubt that it's the name for us. I use puzzle thriller, and there's another guy who calls the genre religious fiction. I'll find him and ask him to join, if you like. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code comes under General Fiction, would you believe. But if you are thinking of books such as The Splintered Icon by Bill Napier, The Night Villa by Carol Goodman, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, The Codex by Lev Grossman, and others of that kind, the name for the genre has not been decided yet by the publishing industry. I tend to like puzzle thriller. I have written one, and it comes out later in 2010. It's called According to Luke, and deals with a controversial alternative biblical interpretation, which takes the protagonist on quite a chase.

    About the Grail. Dan Brown gives a semantic/linguistic explanation of how it got to be called a grail in the first place, but it is rather loose and does not stand much scrutiny from experts. The Templars were notorious for coming up with stuff to baffle and intrigue the illiterate majority. The churches too were known to take up on myths and legends and give them that stamp of authority in order to keep the masses under control. There were a number of rulers in Byzantine times who would have loved a return to paganism, for political reasons, since the church leaders looked like they could summon the masses and take control if disagreements crept in to the relationship between church and state.
    So history is full of reasons why certain myths were propagated and others suppressed. The grail is one of these. I could go on and on, but this reponse is no place for this... perhaps I should open a discussion. I'll find somewhee on this already busy site! Thanks for the invitation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Werner! I love thought provoking posts. I look forward to following your musings!
    There is one thing no one can argue; Dan Brown sure did write something that engaged a huge component of the population. Whatever side you were on it got the brain pumping and adrenaline rushing just from having to think. We get stuck in a rut culturally without having to engage, and sometimes a quick pop culture phenomenon helps to break the monotony.
    So, I have two thoughts that tend to come out when looking into ancient mysteries. They relate to most, but seem to be pretty heavy when related to Christian themed mysteries. Probably due to the strong influence the faith has had on our collective conscious. But that’s a tangent I don’t mean to follow at the moment.
    Both of my thoughts have to do with the issue of Truth. The first has to do with the tangible reality of the truth. We as a culture have a strong inclination toward wanting our truth to be something we can see, feel or hear. Many are inspired to search for truths in the past and I think the reason it is so engaging is because it is near impossible to know for absolute certainty. They’re looking for that grand discovery that says “Jesus was here…Yes, that Jesus”. But these kinds of discoveries are nearly impossible to find.
    Take the theory you mention about the Templar Knights running off to the Vatican because of an ancient document that proved the Grail was the relationship that existed between Jesus and Mary. First, what is the likelihood that such a document could survive the test of time? It has happened, as we have seen with the Dead Sea Scrolls and other such awesome discoveries, but it is extremely rare and must be in the strictest of conditions.
    Then we have to wonder, what if they discovered something like this, could they have read the language? How many Templar Knights spoke the ancient languages? Literacy wasn’t big in the medieval ages. The Templars were monks, but I’m skeptical that they knew this language enough to both decipher it and know the magnitude of what they held.
    But hey, it could happen! Stranger things have happened, but that’s the thing about searching for ancient mysteries, it really is the journey that matters.
    Since I am on a role, I have always been intrigued by the concept of Truth. For many of us Truth is something we can prove to an extent that we feel confident enough to argue it is a fact. So many of these grand searches for the historical Jesus is backed by a desire to prove he actually existed. If he did exist it could help add credibility to the case for Christianity and the reality of the Bible as a historical truth. This is actually a search that has been taken up by those that want to prove and disprove its’ validity. Interesting really, but that’s humanity for you.
    But there is another concept of Truth. In this truth whether or not Jesus was a real breathing man is not really relevant. The Truth of the story has been a part of the collective reality that has shaped the faith, led and comforted many, been a dangerous and contentious antagonist for others. But the Truth is not physical or really tangible; it is something that really is untouchable. This isn’t a case that just exists in Christianity; we find it in many faiths and even in our scientific world. For instance, I know that somehow the Truth that we live in a ginormous universe with galaxies and planets and stars, and black holes, is considered a fact. But I don’t understand the physics and math behind it, and really, it is a intangible to me. But really, I don’t question it.
    And now, I have to stop because I have a tendency to get a little long winded. Anyway, I really enjoyed this and look forward to many more to come!
    H.L.
    Oh, and I’m from the WD group too!

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  6. Hi Heather. Thank you so much for this incredible rich and insightful comment. It is clear that you too have a passion for ancient mysteries as well as an understanding of the entanglements between truth, faith and science. As you have surely noticed, I could have written a 50 page article, fill in more details and background information. But this wasn't the intend of this article. I just simply wanted to share my way of looking at this mystery, without coming down to much on one side or the other, of the arguments. I'm just intrigued by all mysterious legends and try to make some decently intelligent comments about them. I'm glad that you enjoyed this article and I'm thankful for the time you spent to comment. I'm sure we will see more of you in the future. Welcome to the Commentsharer. Thanks again.

    Sincerely,

    Werner

    ReplyDelete