The Jesus Papers – Book Review

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Friends,

Recently I read, The Jesus Papers; by author Michael Baigent. This is a very provocative novel similar to Dan Brown’s; The Da Vinci Code. It’s written from a historian perspective rather than a novel format.

The story begins with the introduction; May 28, 1291, The Holy Land: Acre, the Crusader Kingdom’s last port city, lay in ruins. The Arab armies of Khalil al-Ashraf, the young Sultan of Egypt, had first besieged and then attacked the city. The last capitol of the Christian Kingdom was finished. This was a battle between The Marshal of the Templars and the Sultan.

The Jesus PapersMichael Baigent gives the Templars credit for introducing the power of money over the sword by means of checks and safe financial transfers from city to city and country to country. They helped open a space for the middle class, according to Michael.

He and Richard Leigh wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail. They believe in an important bloodline, a dynasty; that of the Jewish royal lineage, the line of David. They believe the line of David lives in Southern France; a descendant from the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The wedding at Cana was Jesus and Mary’s wedding. When Jesus turned the water into wine, they were Mr. and Mrs. Christs, according to Michael and Leigh.

In Chapter 1 Michael writes, during his twenty-year search, he believed when Jesus was crucified, he either had a child by his wife or she was pregnant.

He also writes, both kings and high priests were anointed and were thus a meshiha, a messiah.  In fact, he writes, from as early as the second century B.C. the term “messiah” was used to name a legitimate king of Israel, one of the royal line of David, who was expected to appear and to rule. According to the Gospels, through his Father, Jesus was of the Line of David; through his mother, he was of the line of Aaron the high priest.

Michael restates several times in this story; in his novel Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the wedding at Cana was Jesus and Mary’s wedding. He believes at the crucifixion, Mary already had Jesus’ baby or was pregnant with Jesus’ baby. He claims; if Jesus was unmarried and celibate, Paul would have told us. He admits there is no proof to support his allegation; only circumstantial evidence. He cites the 1977 publication, Nag Hammadi; the Gospel of Philip. Also The Gospel of Mary as his evidence.

His book centers around the concept; The Church is at pains to conceal secrets about Jesus. One incident he cites; Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. He believes Matthew’s account is filled with cover-ups. He explains his theories in detail in the story.

Michael Baigent also questions Jesus’ death on the cross. In this book, he analyses details in the bible and cross references them with his own understanding of history. He believes God’s Word is impregnated with cover-ups—thus the cover text; Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History.

He believes the Church is covering up Jesus’ life on Earth and offers no solid proof to support his claims.

To be fair, I reread John 2: 1-11-NIV; Jesus Changes Water to Wine. “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six, stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Many believe God’s Word is flawless and perfect—without cover-up; and to be followed as written—not manipulated or twisted.  Countless would disagree with Michael Baigent or anyone else’s theory that the wedding in Cana was a wedding between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And that Mary was either pregnant or had Jesus’ child before the crucifixion.

Hosts would also disagree with Michael’s conclusion that if Jesus was unmarried and celibate, Paul would have told us. Because something isn’t stated, doesn’t presume it to be factual.

Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, was entertaining fiction about the same  hypothesis. I read the book and watched the movie, enjoying both. I’m a big Tom Hanks fan.

Michael Baigent’s story, The Jesus Papers, is about the same topic while also fiction;  without Dan Brown’s writing skills.

My rating: 2 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

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