15 February 2005

More on the grail

The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) has an article on the Priory of Sion [Wikipedia] brouhaha. Remember? Dan Brown and Jesus' blood and secret societies? Anyway, in the current issue, Massimo Polidoro did some investigating to see if there was anything behind the legend that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixtion and lived his remaining days at Rennes-le-Chateau [Wikipedia] in France. The research is as fascinating as the fiction.

(Oddly, a previous article I had posted that debunked the Priory mystery was written by Massimo Introvigne. Apparently, Italians named Massimo have something to prove.)

The CSICOP article closes with an Umberto Eco quote from my favorite novel of his, Foucault's Pendulum [Amazon]:

Believe that there is a secret and you will feel an initiate. It doesn’t cost a thing. Create an enormous hope that can never be eradicated because there is no root. Ancestors that never were will never tell you that you betrayed them. Create a truth with fuzzy edges: when someone tries to define it, you repudiate him. Why go on writing novels? Rewrite history.

It is a classic postmodern story of people fabricating a fantastical reality that, although untrue, they desperately want to believe. I recommend it even though it is sometimes a dense read.

[ via Arts & Letters Daily -> Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal ]

[ posted by sstrader on 15 February 2005 at 1:44:20 AM in Culture & Society ]