The Sangreal Documents:

Do They Exist?

by Gary C. Burger, MDiv

Interestingly, many of the folks that visit my blog (GaryBurger.Blogspot.com) and website (www.NewMediaMinistries.org) come looking for information on The Sangreal Documents. Perhaps you, yourself found this article by typing into a search engine one of the following words or phrases: Sangreal, Sangraal, San Greal, San Graal, Sang Real, Sang Raal.

Dan Brown's Sangreal Documents

According to Dan Brown's character Robert Langdon, the Sangreal Documents were documents the Knights Templar excavated from under the ruins of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem in the twelfth century (The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 37, p. 157 - 161). The contents of these documents were supposedly so threatening to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church that the Knights Templar were able to blackmail the Church into giving them tremendous power and wealth. However, on Friday, October 13, 1307, Pope Clement implemented a covert operation to round up, torture and execute all of the Knights Templar. However, the knights hid the documents in a new location before Popes forces captured and executed them. Only the secret society known as the Priory of Sion knows where they hid them. In addition, the Sangreal Documents, according to Brown contain the Magdalene Diaries and the Purist Documents. He does not elaborate on these very much.

The origin of the idea

Sangreal is a compound of San Greal (or Graal), which translated, means Holy Grail. That in and of itself does not pose a problem. That is the normal, historical meaning in the medieval legends. What does pose a problem is the possibility of it meaning something else as well. Why were these documents supposed to be so threatening to the Church? Brown as it turns out is promoting a theory argued by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln in their best-selling book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. They point out that one can also divide Sangreal to make sang real (raal), which translated, means royal blood. If so, this would give a clue as to the contents of the Sangreal Documents. These authors, including Dan Brown, claim that the Sangreal Documents tell a more complete story than the New Testament Gospels and the Church has told--namely that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child, thereby continuing his royal bloodline. The reason this would threaten the Church is that Jesus fathering a child would somehow prove that He was not divine which the Church says He is. The Church says it derives its power from a divine Jesus in Heaven not a dead man. If this is all true the Church and its authority is built on a lie-and that is the suggestion Dan Brown tries to make with his book.

For those who for one reason or another hope the Church and its traditional views and authority would crumble like a house of cards if the truth is discovered it is tempting to believe that the Sangreal Documents or ones like them actually exist. Dan Brown is not the first to write them into a novel. He seems to have actually stolen the idea from novelist Lewis Perdue who wrote The Da Vinci Legacy. Perdue came up with the name Da Vinci Documents. In another novel, Daughter of God, Perdue calls them the Sophia Documents. Brown invented the term Magdalene Diaries. For more on this read: Dan Brown Charged with Plagiarism (opens in new window).

Do the Sangreal Documents exist?

What should we make of all this? Do the Sangreal Documents or documents like them really exist and if they do, could they possibly tell us that Jesus and Mary had a child? If they did have a child, would this mean that Jesus could not have been more than a mere man-leaving the Church without authority from above to tell people how to live their lives and find spirituality?

At this point, we must be perfectly clear: the Sangreal Documents, the Magdalene Diaries, the Purist Documents and any like them documenting a bloodline of Jesus and Mary do not really exist. No historically reliable documents exist by any name or by any author which tell of Jesus and Mary Magdalene having children. Dan Brown, inspired by Lewis Perdue made them up or at least made up the name based on Baigent's, Leigh's, and Lincoln's spurious theory. Again, it must be emphasized any document like these by any name well as the very idea of such documents is purely fiction. Now, fiction writers have the right to make up people, places and objects for their literary purposes, and unfortunately, some readers will believe they are real. I cannot help the person who just has to believe the Sangreal Documents are real, but it is my goal in this article to help the person who simply wants to know the truth.

Do similar documents exist?

Although the Sangreal Documents and other similar ones do not actually exist, is it possible that a real-life Robert Langdon could find something like them--specifially, documents that claim Jesus and Mary had a child together. There is good reason to conclude it is not very possible. Dan Brown's argument for Jesus and Mary having a child is full of fallicies. Please read my article: Assertions about a Marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene (opens in new window) for a full explanation. In other words, there is really no good reason, based on the best of historical research, to believe that any documents like them would exist-at least authentic ones that tell the truth. If a real-life Robert Langdon discovers a set of documents that say what Brown and others like Lewis Perdue say they would say, we would know the author forged them. It would be easy to spot the falsehood.

Now, some would say to this, "But of course the history books were written by those who would cover up the truth to secure their own power. Therefore, we cannot know the truth from the usual sources. The truth has to come from unusual sources-ones that have been kept hidden from the authorities." As with all conspiracy theories, there is enough truth to make the theory sound at least plausible. After all, the Roman Catholic Church covered up the misdeeds of priests who were pedophiles. They certainly did and were wrong to do so, but that is a very different kind of problem. In order to discover the truth about Jesus and Mary we are not dealing with the modern Roman Catholic Church and its problems. We are not dealing with the problems of the Roman Catholic Church during the Crusades, Middle Ages and the Inquisition. We are not even dealing with the leaders and writings of the Church of the second and third centuries--before Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire (and took a very bad turn). We are dealing with the very first, eyewitness followers of Jesus and what they preserved and why they preserved it. They vigorously passed on what Jesus said and did and worked hard to protect it from distortion by those who wanted to usurp Jesus' message for their own gain. The New Testament documents (written in the first century) tell this plainly, accurately and passionately.

Conclusion

At the heart of the matter lies the question, Do the New Testament Gospels give us an accurate picture of what Jesus said and did or not? If not, then humanity followed lies for the past nearly 2000 years and we have every reason to look for the truth from other sources. However, if they are the most accurate and most reliable historical records available and there is every good reason to believe they tell us the truth, then any other documents will lead us away from the truth. False documents like the Sangreal Documents, if produced, would only lead us away from the truth. We have no good reason for believing in the alternative history Dan Brown created or stole from others who made it up. It is beyond the scope and purpose of this article to explain the good reasons we have for believing the New Testament Gospels are reliable records of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Please read my other articles about the reliability of the Bible.


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