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From Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the Indiana Jones films, the age-old fascination with holy relics has inspired pilgrims, crusaders and thriller writers alike.
But now Oxford University is dispatching some of its most distinguished academics on the quest, setting up a new research unit – with expertise ranging from genetics to theology and much in between – dedicated to studying Christian relics.
The group, which looks destined to be nicknamed the Da Vinci Code department, will attempt to separate the myth from the reality of venerated items across Europe and beyond which have inspired devotion and macabre fascination in equal measure.
In what is thought to be the first research body of its type in the world, the unit, based in Keble College, will bring together experts in radiocarbon dating, genetics, osteology – the study of bones – chemistry, geography and archaeology with leading authorities in ancient Greek and Hebrew, Byzantine studies, ecclesiastical history and theology.
Tag Archives | Da Vinci Code
No one’s suggesting that Dan Brown literally murdered Michael Baigent, but the author of The Da Vinci Code and his publisher, Random House, pushed back so hard against the co-author of Holy Blood, Holy Grail‘s copyright infringement lawsuit that it killed him, says Baigent’s friend Graham Hancock, in The Independent:
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Dan Brown and his publisher Random House have been sensationally accused of sending a rival author to an early grave.
Michael Baigent was left destitute after losing the case he brought against Random House for copyright infringement in 2006. Writer Graham Hancock says the protracted legal battle “cost Michael Baigent his life” – the 65-year-old author died earlier this month of a brain haemorrhage. Baigent was the co-author of a 1982 non-fiction book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which investigated the same conspiracy theories upon which Brown’s later novel, The Da Vinci Code, is based. With Richard Leigh, Baigent’s book explored the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had had a child together.
Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia write on CNN World:
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Pope John Paul II used to beat himself with a belt and sleep on a bare floor to bring himself closer to Christ, a book published Wednesday says.The late pope had a particular belt for self-flagellation and brought it with him to his summer residence, according to the book, Why He is a Saint: The True Story of John Paul II.
“As some members of his own entourage were able to hear with their own ears, both in Poland and in the Vatican, Karol Wojtyla flagellated himself,” the book says, using the name the pope was given at birth.
“In the closet, among the cloaks, a particular pant-belt hung from a hook, which he utilized as a whip and one which he always had brought to Castel Gandolfo,” the book says.
The book was written by a Vatican insider, Slawomir Oder, with Italian journalist Saverio Gaeta of the Catholic weekly Christian Family.
The legendary Henry Lincoln, who many people credit with starting the whole bloodline of Christ theory that caused such a furor upon the publication of The Da Vinci Code, has taken to blogging. He now lives full time in Rennes-le-Chateau and his latest blog post relates his often hilarious interactions with tourists:
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At Rennes-le-Château, I fear, change has become inevitable. But some changes, it seems, are beginning to spread confusion. I have, for instance, often been asked for directions to the Devil’s Armchair. My response is now frequently met with: “But I thought that was the Seat of Isis … !” (And vice versa.) Well … yes!
This seems to be one of the unlooked-for effects of the Da Vinci Code. The goddesses seem to be taking over. So … Isis now sits in the Devil’s Armchair … the Fourtou Cave has become ‘the Magdalen’s Grotto’ … and more than one excited visitor expects to be shown the house she lived in – or the cave where she was buried – or the garden she planted – or any other whimsical piece of wishful-thinking that you … they … anyone … may conjure up.
The Telegraph has compiled a list of the twenty absolute worst sentences written by Da Vinci Code and Lost Symbol author Dan Brown.
Edinburgh professor of linguistics Geoffrey Pullum says “Brown’s writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad,” and he’s right, woo-ee, there are some stinkers.
Angels and Demons, opening sentence: “Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.”
The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: “Five months ago, the kaleidoscope of power had been shaken, and Aringarosa was still reeling from the blow.”
The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: “As a boy, Langdon had fallen down an abandoned well shaft and almost died treading water in the narrow space for hours before being rescued. Since then, he’d suffered a haunting phobia of enclosed spaces – elevators, subways, squash courts.”