Over the summer I read Michael Baigent’s new book, The Jesus Papers. He is the guy who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which helped influence Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. On the cover of the book he says he has incontrovertible proof of the greatest cover up in Christianity. He goes on throughout the book to tell us all about a set of papers found, which he has seen, written by Jesus. The papers are an explanation of what Jesus means when he claims to be the son of God. He does not mean the physical son, but in spirit, and by following his teachings anyone can be a son of God. That’s all well and good, except Baigent does not tell us who has these papers, if anyone has ever translated them, how he knows they are from 34 CE and so on.
His basic thesis leads one to believe that he has the proof, he can show us, but no, we have to trust him on faith. It would be like saying “I have proof of who really killed Kennedy!” And then when you have every one’s attention going “Oh, well I heard from this guy that Kennedy was killed by a group of….well let’s just say it’s a conspiracy!”
The interesting parts of his book though are in the middle. He gives lots of information about the Inquisition and how it never disbanded, but instead kept changing it’s name. He also lets us know that the current Pope was the head of the renamed Inquisition. I really cannot remember why he pointed all this out, he kind of loses his train of thought for awhile, the book could have been summed up in ten pages, instead of however long it is. Also, the fun part is his discussion of where Jesus learned his mysticism. He gives a fun insight into what Jesus’ early life may have been like, but unfortunately he is not a Biblical scholar, and neither am I, therefore I cannot tell you if some of his conclusions regarding language are extremely far off.
I can tell you this though, it’s an entertaining book, but like the Da Vinci Code it is not to be confused as 100% true. Biblical Archaeology Review has a pretty good review of it this month which bashes the book, mainly from it’s archaeology points, first being that no papyrus has been found in Jerusalem because of the wet climate. Baigent claims the guy found his papyrus in the basement of an old house.
Has anyone else noticed the high number of fictional and even nonfiction religious books out there? I saw there is a book about Mary Magdalene, I believe it is a work of fiction, plus all sorts of books discussing the Judas gospel. I really have nothing to say about it, just thought I would point it out. Well leave me your comments, tell me how you feel about this kind of stuff. I find it fascinating. Not the books, but the way people read them and either get upset or start to truly believe in what they read.