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The Messianic Legacy: Startling Evidence About Jesus Christ and a Secret Society Still Influential Today! Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1989

3.7 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (May 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440203198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440203193
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a bit baffled by the animosity expressed in the reviews of this book. I can only conclude that it is the result of poor marketing pulling in the wrong audience, since when I read the sensational cover blurbs I, too, almost put the book down. Upon committing and actually reading the work, however, I was pleasantly surprised and very much enjoyed the authors' perspectives.

Frankly, there was nothing terribly earth-shattering inside. The book is largely a plausible and enjoyable exploration of Jesus as Messiah with an attempt to clarify what a Messiah really was (& is). This includes some discussion of specific problems of translation and misinterpretation. While this is hardly revolutionary scholarship, I must admit that I appreciate having specific instances of ambiguity pointed out to me by someone in a position to translate. One example of this is the authors' discussion of the association of Jesus with Nazareth, a town that did not yet exist in his time. They conclude that this is actually a reference to "Nazarean", which would tie Jesus to a radical political sect of the time. This political aspect of the Messianic is also expanded to include fascinating but brief perspectives on other candidates, including Constantine, Napolean & Hitler.

There are interesting--if truncated--discussions of Christian history, providing a thread of continuity to what is typically presented as very spotty, periodic and localized events liberally dosed with mythology and agenda. I was particularly interested to discover the importance of the Celtic church as a repository of scholarship during the middle ages, something I was unaware of. In contrast to the other reviewers, I noticed no glaringly hideous inaccuracies in the authors' presentation.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a sequel to the book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" you might expect a little something different then what you get out of this book. That is not to say this book is necessarily bad - just of a different type than its predecessor. (While being of a different type, it is of the same general theme.)
The book is, in some ways, three separate books. Part One concerns itself more with the time of Jesus and the idea of apocalyptic and Messianic thinking. Part Two concerns itself more with the modern "search for meaning" and how religion plays a part in this but that this, by necessity, brings back some of the Messianic thinking of Jesus' time. Part Three centers on an alleged secret society, the Priory of Sion. Even with these differences there is a thread that runs through the parts - namely that of providing an end to the "search for meaning" by the restoration of a dynastic bloodline via the use of Jungian archetypes. It just so happens that this dynastic bloodline happens to be that of the lineal descent of Jesus. The secret society comes in because they are planning to do just this, according to the authors - restore a bloodline from the Merovingian Kings that, in turn, is claimed to have been descended from Jesus.
All of it makes for interesting reading and I would say that Parts One and Two are, for the most part, very well put forth along with some social commentary that is thoughtful and well-put. (You can tell, if you have read "The Elixir and the Stone," that Bagient and Leigh's authorial hands are more in the first two parts than anywhere else.) What saddles this book, somewhat unfortunately, is Part Three which stands on much less stable ground than the material from the previous two sections.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When it comes to writing about history from 2000 years ago through the Dark Ages, a lot of speculation is necessary. Literacy was low so there weren't many written records to begin with, and the church, etc., had a lot of control over what information could be dispensed. As a result, a lot of speculation over this period is necessary. Baigent, et al., recognizing this, for part of the book examine Biblical history using the oldest surviving records as a basis point instead of church doctrine or the latest translation of a translation, etc, of a pieced together, largely edited, and largely oral history called the Bible. Therefore, while their speculations may be as historically sound as anyone else's, some will denounce them as blasphemous. The rest of the book then seeks to at least verify that their interpretations of the Bible have existed long throughout history by trying to determine the beliefs of certain secret societies who claim to be guardians of "The Truth".
However, now instead of being impaired so much by a lack of records, the authors are forced to speculate about the secret societies' beliefs. Despite tracking down sources within a secret society, the authors' job is made difficult by the fact that such societies not only keep their secrets secret, but also fractionalize, engage in internal political struggles and have their own debates about dogma.
Like Foucault's Pendulum, which this inspired, this book is ultimately a detective novel about various writers trying to get inside the minds of secret societies and running into various obstacles. It may dissapoint readers who want all their answers handed to them (and the authors don't even pretend to have them), but life is not that simple. Sometimes knowing what the right questions are is just as important. This is a fun, interesting, thought-provoking, mind-expanding book.
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