Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

And another thing

Possibly the most irritating thing (a tough call, certainly) about the Da Vinci Code is its assumption that you can change one thing and have everything else be as it was.

Jesus was said to have died on the cross and risen from the dead(from quite early on, well before Constantine: "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain - 1 Cor. 15") and a religion was founded on it, and while it's flagging a little now it's had quite a good run. Brown has the idea that you can have an alternative religion waiting in the wings that's founded on a tradition of Jesus not dying on the cross or rising from anything and not in fact claiming to be god. Which is surely a non-event, either as a ripping yarn or as a theology.

If Jesus was no more than a shithot teacher, why would his descendants been revered? Why would anybody give a fuck about whether Sophie is a descendant of Jesus or not? The sons of famous rabbis and famous ayatollahs get respect only if they take up the family stall in the same business; if they go into government service they can't also claim the allegiance of the synagogue or mosque, depending. And we have lots of descendants of Mohammed and Confucius,and while it's certainly a feather in one's turban or a coral button on one's little cap it's not really something that has people adopting them as rulers without other factors intervening (such as, in the case of prominent blood-of-Mohammed and blood-of-David and blood-of-the Merovingians descendant Elizabeth II & I, being the niece of the oldest son of her grandfather).

Why would we be interested in the opinions of a pretender to the throne of Jerusalem? or even to a pretender to the conjoint crowns of Jerusalem and France, seeing that both jurisdictions have decided to go republican? Would Robespierre and Danton have come to a different decision if they'd believed that Louis was the descendant of Christ, or if there was a Merovingian candidate? Come to that, would Charles Martel have come to a different decision about kicking the Merovingians off the throne if he'd thought they were of Christ's blood (diluted, to be sure, by one hundred and eighty trillion over the course of seventy generations)? Hardly.

Taking everything that Brown says as gospel, the notable thing about the secret doctrine and the secret line is that it lost every fight at every point. Constantine ditched it, the Merovingians lost their throne to the hired help, the Templars were wiped out - from a social Darwinian point of view the secret doctrine seems a peculiarly ill-adapted meme.


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