If “The Da Vinci Code” wasn’t enough, now Michael Baigent – author of the apparently forgettable “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” and one of the plaintiffs in the suit claiming that Dan Brown stole their work – has just published a new book entitled The Jesus Papers – Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History. Now I think we know a bit more about what’s behind his lawsuit; by strategically putting himself in the limelight just before the release of his new book, he’s probably doubled or tripled his initial sales. Not that I’m cynical, or anything. (Also curious that it’s released the same day as The Da Vinci Code comes out in paperback.)
The Publisher’s (HarperCollins, who will seemingly publish almost anything) blurb states, “What if everything you think you know about Jesus is wrong? In The Jesus Papers, Michael Baigent reveals the truth about Jesus’s life and crucifixion.” The “shocking new truth” is apparently that Jesus never died on the cross after all; it was apparently a cover up engineered by none other than – Pontius Pilate! Who would have guessed? (Apparently all of the blood & stuff was borrowed from Jim Caviezel.)
Now, claims that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross are not new. What is apparently new is the assertion that letters written by Jesus himself have been found where he reveals the scheme, and also clarifies that he was not divine. (It makes you wonder why he never bothered to tell that to Peter or the other apostles who died claiming that Jesus was God.)
The Publisher’s blurb also claims, “As a religious historian and a leading expert in the field of arcane knowledge, Baigent has unequaled access to hidden archives …” Baigent apparently has a Masters Degree in “Mysticism and Religious Experience.” Now, that’s credibility. I saw an interview of Baigent by Lester Holt, which was actually quite revealing. Baigent apparently has not actually seen these “incontrovertible” documents, but he’s assured that they exist. (So, now he’s taking journalism lessons from Dan Rather.)
Furthermore, Baigent makes reference to hints of this in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), which he claims were not written until the 2nd Century. It’s obvious that his research methods are not that dissimilar to Dan Brown’s in that they both seem to completely ignore any credible source or authority, and instead rely only upon other “arcane” sources.
Again, this book is certain to be a hit with those insistent upon becoming foolish, but will change nothing in the real world.
Well, if nothing else, I guess we now know the plot of Dan Brown’s new book… (okay, that wasn’t quite fair – even Brown says that he would never suggest that the resurrection didn’t happen).
So, another forgettable book by … what was that guy’s name again?