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Is There A Holy Grail? No

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For hundreds of years, men and women have traveled all over the world in quest of the Holy Grail. This grail quest is part of the narrative of the book, The Da Vinci Code, a work of fiction, written by Dan Brown. In this book, the author claims that there is a Holy Grail and that it is the royal bloodline descending from Jesus and Mary Magdalene as well as Mary Magdalene's tomb containing documents. However, this claim is false; not only is this not the grail, but there is no such a thing as a Holy Grail of any type. It is a legend that was invented and written in the Middle Ages and has evolved since. Also, Dan Brown's beliefs about Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper revealing the Holy Grail are inaccurate. Moreover, the author says that the Grail is mentioned in the Bible although it is false.

The Holy Grail is a legend that was invented more than a millennium after Christ's death. As Simon Cox puts it in his book Cracking the Da Vinci Code, The "earliest known story" was Le Conte du Graal, written by ChrÐ"©tien de Troyes "around 1190" (75). To put more emphasis on the fact that the Holy Grail is a pure invention, Tony Robinson says in the documentary The Real Da Vinci Code that Troyes found the idea of the grail for his Conte du Graal while looking at a landscape that looked like an enormous chalice. In this story, the nature of the Grail is not even named since ChrÐ"©tien died "before finishing the tale" (Duchane 159). Since there was no ending for that story, other writers embellished it and continued the story "in versions that are called The Continuations" (Cox 75). Similarly, in the article In Search of the Holy Grail in Rosslyn Chapel, Dania McLean states that "the Holy Grail made its first appearance in the twelfth century" (326). Mr. Cox, Mr. Duchane and Mrs. Mclean all agree to say that before Troyes, no one had mentioned the Grail in any form.

As the legends and myths about the grail multiplied, its very nature evolved, changed and recently became Mary Magdalene and her bloodline. In 1210, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote another legend on the grail called Parsifal in which the grail is a "stone cup brought down from heaven by angels" (Duchane 159). Later in other stories as Simon Cox states, the "Holy Grail has been depicted as a cup or a chalice, a relic containing the blood of ChristÐ'... a spear, a secret book (and) a severed head" etc. (74) The same author adds that the most usual idea of the nature of the grail is the chalice that Joseph of Arimathea used to recollect the blood of Jesus. Joseph then transported this chalice to Britain. Brown claims that "the royal bloodline of Jesus Christ is the source ofÐ'...the Holy Grail" (249). Not only is this false, but it is completely the contrary. Cox says that it is a recent idea that the grail is a representation of the bloodline coming from Jesus (77). Thus, the first legends of the Holy Grail are the source of the idea of the bloodline of Jesus.

Also, Brown's claim is based on the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This book was the first to represent Mary Magdalene and Jesus as a couple and thus, the source of the Holy Grail. According to James L. Garlow, author of The Da Vinci CodeBreaker, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln say more precisely that the Holy Grail is "Mary's womb and the royal bloodline of Jesus that exists even today" (105). This claim is made in the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. However, the authors declare that much of their information do not come from consistent sources, but rather from "myths" and "legends" (105). For instance, they based their theory on the Dossiers Secrets which proves to be a hoax written by Pierre Plantard.

Dan Brown's claim that Mary Magdalene and Jesus' bloodline is the Holy Grail is based on an incorrect interpretation of Da Vinci's Last Supper fresco. Dan Brown, through his character Leigh Teabing, bases his assumption on the fact that since there is no "chalice" in The Last Supper, but rather multiple cups of wine on the table, one for each disciple, something else must be the Holy Grail. In fact, Teabing sees The Last Supper as the first communion ritual. According to Brown's Teabing, because there is no goblet similar to the ones used by the Catholic Church, than it is not John that is next to Jesus, but Mary Magdalene. In addition, Teabing believes Mary Magdalene is the Holy Grail. However, Leonardo's fresco depicts Judas' betrayal and not the Eucharist or "the definitive arrival of the Holy Grail" (Brown 236). Even if the painting had represented the Eucharist, Jesus would not have used a valuable cup since for him, earthly possessions were not important.

Furthermore, Dan Brown believes that the Holy Grail legend appears in the Bible. Brown says that the Bible celebrate the Last Supper "as the definitive arrival of the Holy Grail" (236). However, there is absolutely no allusion to the "chalice" or even the "Holy Grail" in the New Testament. The only item in the Bible about a cup being



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