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Holy Grail, The

Many today consider the Holy Grail to be the cup used by Jesus and his disciples during the Last Supper; some also believe Joseph of Arimathea held the cup to catch the blood from Jesus’ side as he died.

In 1170, Frenchman Chretien de Troyes wrote a poem called Perceval, seemingly based on Celtic myths, in which the grail is simply a jeweled dish. As the story was retold and rewritten, a distinctive theme emerged. Before the twelfth century, there were no legends about the grail; by the thirteenth century the tale had become intertwined with Arthurian legends, the characters from Chretien’s story developed into supposed historical figures from the Gospels, and the grail had become the Holy Grail.

The Da Vinci Code’s Leigh Teabing says that the French word for ‘‘Holy Grail,’’ Sangreal, is actually an incorrect rendering of the words Sang Real, which would mean ‘‘Royal Blood.’’ This idea is based on a suggestion made in Holy Blood, Holy Grail that at one point the word may have been miscopied and divided in the wrong place; the writers admit this is an unlikely possibility.

The pieces begin to fall into place for The Da Vinci Code characters once they begin to consider ancient pagan symbols for females (chalice) and males (blade). However, there is no historical evidence to connect the ancient chalice and the Holy Grail, since the grail’s concept can only be traced back as far as the twelfth century (DVC, 162, 238, 250). See also chalice; Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.

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