What do you guys think of this book? Would you recommend any book that talks about similar topics (Merovingians, Jesus possibly marrying the Magdaline and having descendents, etc., etc.)
If you're serious, you'd be better off examining the Grail as a pre-Christian contact Celtic myth that was brought into Arthurian mythology.
There are a multitude of problems with the theory, starting with a total misunderstanding of the nature of sources like the gnostic gospels. If you're interested in details, I can summarize them, but essentially the whole theory is ridiculous.
Can't speak for the book in question, but I think John Robinson made a pretty good case for a Templar/Freemason connection in Born in Blood and Dungeon, Fire, and Sword...
Reading it now, bogged down in lots of historical detail.
Gnosticism is built around the premise that secret knowledge is required for salvation. That secret knowledge may be any number of things--in Valentinian gnosticism, for example, it was a series of passwords that got you past the angelic guardians of the heavenly spheres. One thing they had in common was an excessively platonic emphasis on the distinction between spirit and matter, with matter being essentially irrelevant to the spirit at best, and at worst a hindrance. As a result, the physical world was irrelevant, as was history. The authors of the gnostic gospels were not interested in presenting a historically accurate portrayal of Jesus--focusing on the actual events of the past was a violation of their basic religious beliefs, attitude and mindset. Instead, they did what many ancient authors did, and simply presented their teaching pseudonymously. If you read the gnostic gospels, including the gospel of Thomas, you find the disciples (a bunch of Palestinian fisherman) getting into discussions with Mary Magdaleine about technical details of neo-Platonic metaphysics. How likely do you think that would be? But it makes perfect sense when viewed from the perspective of the book's purpose.
In short, the canonical gospels actually intend to be history, while the gnostic gospels do not. So why accept the gnostics as the "real story" while rejecting the canonicals?
And this doesn't even begin to get into issues of dating, Roman accounts of Christians and what they believe, etc.
We touched on the Templar/Mason thing in a previous thread. I looked at Dungeon, Fire and Sword, at least, and didn't particularly find the case convincing or even clearly made. I should probably check the other book, but as of now, I still see no reason to accept the linkage, much less the other ideas in HB, HG.
Glenn,We touched on the Templar/Mason thing in a previous thread. I looked at Dungeon, Fire and Sword, at least, and didn't particularly find the case convincing or even clearly made. I should probably check the other book, but as of now, I still see no reason to accept the linkage, much less the other ideas in HB, HG.Hey, to each his own, then.Peace,TFS
No serious historian takes gnosticism seriously.
You are absolutely correct about the diversity of gnostic views. And I did not intend the earlier comments to suggest that they were all the same. However the word "gnosis" is used in the lot of them in the sense I used it above, even though the nature of the gnosis may differ from one to the other. Further, I know of no gnostic system that affirms the goodness and importance of this world or the relevance of history from a spiritual/religious perspective. Can you give me a counter-example? If I am right, then using a source from a tradition that defines this world and history as spiritually irrelevant is a bit short sighted, as well as a misuse and misunderstanding of what the text itself was intended by its author to teach. Whether you accept them or not, the canonicals present themselves as history in a sense much closer to our use of the word (NOT identical, but closer) than the gnostics do.
The gnostic gospels are also by scholarly consensus later than the canonicals, and further their teachings are far removed from what the Romans said Christians believed--which correspond pretty closely to what you see in the orthodox fathers (I know I'm introducing an anachronistic term here, but what else can I call them?). Add to that the paucity of texts of the Gospel of Thomas, suggesting that it wasn't widely accepted among early Christians compared to the New Testament, and the utter lack of other supporting evidence of a bloodline coming from Christ. Add to that the absence of the resurrection in the gnostic gospels generally (again, note the rejection of the significance of the physical body), which, whether you accept it or not, was something early Christians died for believing. The preponderance of evidence suggests that the various forms of gnosticism were not connected to the mainstream Christian movement(s) but adopted its/their concepts, people and terminology in a syncretistic synthesis with other ideas drawn from Neo-Platonism and other sources.
Added a bit after the original post: This is not intended to mean the influence didn't go both ways to some extent: there were gnostic influences in the early church, and some of them continue into modern Orthodox and Catholic theology. But that doesn't make the basic gnostic views representative of the early Christian tradition or mainstream.
Interesting thread regarding the Gnostic deal (something of which I know next to nothing about)...
If memory serves,I seem to remember an interview with the author of Da Vinci on the Art Bell show a few months back.He may have said that the Tibetan Buddhists have far greater historical archives on Jesus (while he visited Asia during the lost years) than that of the Vatican Church.Any truth to this?
"He may have said that the Tibetan Buddhists have far greater historical archives on Jesus (while he visited Asia during the lost years) than that of the Vatican Church."
That would open up several very intriguing avenues to explore, if true. But I'd definitely like to see solid proof of this--any historical claims made by Dan Brown have to be taken with a grain of salt IMO.
the art bell show is a good place for that type of "information"; right in between the reincarnation of the empress josephine and the UFO abductees.
Better than no "thought" at all.Strrrrrretchtch them thar mental muscles.All any new information (good,or bad) can really amount to is that which we do not expect to hear,or have considered before.Take it,or leave it.
The Tibetan Buddhist connection has been used to explain what Jesus did in his childhood, about which there are no records in the canonical gospels. There was a famous book about it a few years back. Unfortunately, according to the sources I've read on it, Buddhism didn't make it to Tibet until centuries AFTER Jesus lived. So much for that theory....
Very few of Jesus' ideas are original. Hillel (70BCE-10CE) and Rabbi Akiva (50CE-135CE) both expressed very similar ideas and were considered far-left Rabbis in their day (and given the time period they lived, were contemporaries of Jesus). However, they did not declare themselves the Son of G-d (a concept not found in Judaism).
"The early Tibetan nation was without a ruler until 127 B.C.E., when according to legend an Indian king named Rupati fled over the Himalayas after his defeat in Mahabharata war and reached the Yarlung valley. There, he was enthroned as their king by twelve wise Bön priests, who, believing that he had descended from heaven gave him the name Nyatri Tsenpo. From this time, the Tibetans evolved a distinct but simple civilization founded on the idea of the inter. dependence of man and nature. In the pre-Buddhist period Tibet's indigenous religion and culture was Bon, a fragment of which, though radically transformed through its contact with Buddhism, is still preserved among Tibetan communities in exile.
Buddhism became Tibet's state religion only later. Introduced for the first time in 173 C.E., during the reign of King Lha Thothori Nyantsen, it was gradually assimilated, disseminated and finally integrated into the Tibetan way of life due initially to the efforts of the religious kings."
so if Jesus made it to Tibet in his lifetime, he was there approximately 150 years before buddhism.
What teachings are common to Hillel, Akiva and Jesus? Were those ideas found in any other religion/teaching before their time? It seems very little is original to anybody, but I'm no expert. Just curious.