Richard Dawkins, Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Child Abuse


In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins wrote,

“Once, in the question time after a lecture in Dublin, I was asked what I thought about the widely publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland. I replied that horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.” (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Bantam Press, London, 2006, p 317)

He was not talking about victims of sexual abuse, but every child who was raised in a Catholic family.

While I agree that many Catholics have had bad experiences with their church, to say that simply being raised Catholic is worse than sexual abuse is absurd and offensive to victims of sexual abuse. I’m sure there are a lot of sexual abuse victims who would love to have been raised in Catholic families.

If Dawkins were correct, there would be no difference between a classroom of children in a Catholic school and a classroom of children from abusive and dysfunctional backgrounds. Any teacher will tell you this is not the case.

However, Dawkins does not have a problem with only the Catholic Church. He quotes the psychologist Nicholas Humphrey saying,

“So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible or that planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon.” (The God Delusion, p 326)

Dawkins and Humphrey think that if Christian parents raise their children to believe the Bible is true, this is the moral equivalent of knocking their teeth out. This is intolerant demonization of those who do not share their beliefs. What is the alternative? Are they supposed to raise them according to what Richard Dawkins believes?


Apart from murder, accusing someone of child abuse is about as bad as you can get in Western society. Physical and sexual abuse of children are crimes and its perpetrators belong in jail. If Dawkins believes Christian parents, who bring up their children as Christians, are worse than paedophiles, does he think they should all be in jail? He seems to be advocating a return to the policies of the Soviet Union where it was illegal for Christian parents to teach their children “the literal truth of the Bible.” In The Delusion of DisbeliefDavid Aikman writes about the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union,

“As happened under the rule of every single atheist regime henceforth, the grounds for arresting people of faith seldom were what they themselves believed privately; rather, they were arrested on the grounds of what they were teaching their children and others. According to Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelagounder the Soviet penal code Article 58-10, which dealt with”counter-revolutionary agitation and propaganda” and went into effect in 1927, teaching a child about religious belief was a crime, and the sentence for instructing son or daughter in the Lord’s Prayer, for example, was ten years in the gulag.” (David Aikman, The Delusion of Disbelief, Saltriver, Illinois, 2008, p 111-112)

In support of his charges of religious abuse, Dawkins cites some Catholics, the Exclusive Brethren, the Amish, Pastor Keenan Roberts and his travelling Hell House show (which I would not have heard of if it were not for Dawkins) and an Incan girl who was sacrificed 500 years ago (The God Delusion, p 319-331). I agree these examples could be called child abuse, but what about all the children who were raised by Christian parents and grew up to be happy and well-adjusted adult believers?

Dawkins used the same technique in the 2006 documentary The Root of All Evil? where he travelled around the world and found some obnoxious religious extremists to interview, as though everybody, who believed in God, was like them. These included Michael Bray, a supporter of a pro-lifer who killed an abortionist. In The God Delusion Dawkins contrasted opponents of abortion, who kill abortionists, with supporters of abortion as though they were the only two choices – nothing about the 99% of pro-lifers who think the concept of pro-lifers, who kill, is absurd (The God Delusion, p 296)


Dawkins did interview Alister McGrath for The Root of All Evil? . McGrath is an Oxford professor with qualifications in theology and science. One would think that he would have something intelligent to say on the issues which Dawkins raises.

However, McGrath does not appear in the documentary. In an article “Do stop behaving as if you are God, Professor Dawkins”, McGrath explains,

“Most of us are aware that we hold many beliefs we cannot prove to be true. It reminds us that we need to treat those who disagree with us with intellectual respect, rather than dismissing them – as Dawkins does –as liars, knaves and charlatans.

But when I debated these points with him, Dawkins seemed uncomfortable. I was not surprised to be told my contribution was to be cut.

The Root of All Evil? was subsequently panned for its blatant unfairness. Where, the critics asked, was a responsible, informed Christian response to Dawkins? The answer: on the cutting –room floor.”

Destroying the evidence which disproves your hypothesis –this is the atheist idea of science.

Someone reading The God Delusion might suspect it is really a satire, written by a Christian to send up atheism and make it appear absurd. I’m afraid not.

Dawkins was an Oxford professor. He is not stupid. Yet, when it comes to his non-belief in God, he makes absurd arguments which anyone with some common sense will be able to see through. Likewise, I admit that many atheists are of above average intelligence, but their intelligence and critical thinking seem to go out the window and Dawkins’ flawed arguments are unquestioningly accepted. Their atheism seems to turn them stupid.


Dawkins makes the point that we should not label a child a “Christian child” or a “Muslim child” just because their parents are (The God Delusion, p 327-340). I suppose there is some truth to this. One of the differences between Christianity and”other” religions is that if you are born into a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist family, it is assumed you are a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, but if you are born into a Christian family, you are not a Christian. You are dead in your sins. You have to decide to become a Christian.

In 2009 Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association ran a poster campaign “Please don’t Label Me” showing tow happy, well-adjusted children which they hoped would not be labelled, poisoned and abused by the influence of religion.


It turned out these two children Charlotte and Ollie Mason were from a Christian family. Apparently, they did not look like abuse victims to Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins’ approach of selecting some cases of religious child abuse is also flawed in that I can do the same thing and find cases of child abuse by atheists.

One of the United States’ most famous atheists was Madalyn Murray O’Hair who in 1960 brought a lawsuit against the Baltimore City Public School System because she objected to her son William Murray having to listen to Bible reading in school. In 1963 the Supreme Court ruled that Bible reading in schools was unconstitutional.

In his book My Life Without God William Murray portrayed his mother as a violent, angry sexual deviant, alcoholic, anti-Semite and Marxist who tried to defect to the Soviet Union but they did not want her. Murray described what was going on at home while their lawsuit was before the courts,

“To make things worse, the soapbox the media had built for Mother had caused her to become even more vehemently attached to her views, and she thought or spoke of little else. There were no breaks from her surging tide of ideas and hot words. All of this drew Grandfather and Mother into horrible, foul-mouthed fights. Their hatred for each other became so intense that one night she ordered Jon Garth and me never to speak to him again.

It was later that week that she hatched the plot to end my grandfather’s life. This plot has caused me much internal pain and misery to this very day.

Mother had decided that Grandfather was the root of all the problems of the family and that without him there would be peace and harmony in a home under her unquestioned rule. To this end she instructed me to murder my grandfather [Atheist wanted to kill her father; a psychologist would have a field day here, MN]. She told me that he was old and that no matter what he died of, it would be ruled old age or heart attack. She showed me the rat poison she had purchased and told me how much of it I needed to put in his coffee, “He’s just a rat anyway,” she said. “You put sick animals to sleep, and this is no different.”

“If you love me, you’ll do it,” she whispered to me.

I faced unbelievable conflict. I could not do this to an old man who represented the only stability I had in my life. Any meaningful relationship that could have ever existed between my mother and myself ended with her request that I commit murder for her.

I didn’t obey her, of course, but this incident only added to the strained atmosphere of our home.

Yet another incident ripped the family further apart. We were all sitting at the dining room table having dinner. As usual the conversation centered on the prayer issue. Grandfather got fed up. “This godless crusade you’re on is just a way to get your name in the papers, Madalyn,” he said.

Mother’s face turned red as she tried simultaneously to eat and argue. She sputtered every profane insult known to man at him.

Suddenly my disgust with this endless arguing at the table could not be restrained: “Why don’t you lay off him?” I shouted at Mother. “What do you care what he thinks? It won’t make any difference to your case in court! Why do you have to fight like this at home?”

She turned and just glared at me for a moment. Then she grabbed a cup of fruit cocktail and hurled its contents point-blank into my face. I wiped the juice from my face with my napkin and picked the larger chunks off my lap and shirt. I no longer could contain my anger and hurled a piece of fruit at her. This was one of the firs times I had defied her in a physical way, and my audacity inflamed her. She lunged at me, and as I tried to fend her off, she sank her teeth deeply into my arm. I cried out in pain, and as she recoiled, the blood began to ooze from several puncture wounds. Grandfather cursed her roundly and took me to the doctor for a tetanus shot.”(William J. Murray, My Life Without God, Harvest House, Oregon, 1992, p 79-81)

At least she did not tell him the Bible is true. That would have been as bad as knocking his teeth out.

I am not suggesting that all atheist parents are dysfunctional child abusers because of Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Then I would be no better than Richard Dawkins. Nevertheless, the truth about the hero of the atheist movement must be an embarrassment to the new atheists.

William Murray does not seem to have been too committed to the atheist cause at that time. His mother was using him to promote her cause,

“All I wanted to do was merge into the teenage masses at school and do my share of girl watching and chasing. But hard as I tried, Mother would not let me be normal.” (My Life Without God, p 58)

It looks like bullying and harassment from the”Christian” students, who had forgotten Jesus’ commend to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-44), because of his mother’s crusade, turned him into a true unbeliever (My Life Without God, p 73)

After years of supporting his mother and the atheist cause, being on the run, his marriage break up and struggle with alcoholism, in 1980 Murray became a Christian. He writes,

“I drove to my apartment and read the book of the Bible written by the great physician, Luke. There I found my answer – not the book itself, but Jesus Christ. I had heard many times in various places that all one needed to do was to admit guilt and ask Jesus in. I had not made that one step, to ask Him into my heart. And I knew I must. On the morning of January 25 I got down in my knees and confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my life. God was no longer a distant “force”. I now knew Him in a personal way.

Within days my life and attitudes began to change. I read in the Bible that anything asked in Jesus’ name in prayer would be answered. My hatred began to vanish as the love of Christ took over my being. I no longer intensely hated my mother. Now I really wanted to be able to love her, whereas before I had only wanted revenge. I began to see my mother for what she truly was, a sinner, just like me. She blamed God and mankind for her personal sins and inadequacies rather than herself. She had demanded things of God, and when He had refused her demands, she fought with Him openly.

Now I looked back at the devastation. My family, and particularly my mother and myself, had left a path of ruin behind us, ruined ideals, ruined lives. We had marched over both on quest of a victory that could not be won.” (My Life Without God, p 301-302)

Atheists would point out that the reverse has happened and people, who have had abusive experiences with religious families, have become atheists. However, I have never heard of any converts to atheism being so forgiving of their abusers.

Murray wrote a letter to the Baltimore Sun,

“This story began with a letter of defiance to the editor of this paper in the fall of 1960. It is my sincere hope that the story ends with this letter of both apology and forgiveness. First, I would like to apologize to the people of the City of Baltimore for whatever part I played in removal of Bible reading and praying from the public schools of that city. I now realize the value of this great tradition and the importance it has played in the past in keeping America a moral and lawful country. I can now see the damage this removal has caused to our nation in the form of loss of faith and moral decline. Being raised as an atheist in the home of Madalyn O’Hair, I was not aware of faith or even the existence of God. As I now look back over 33 years of life wasted without faith in God, I pray only that I can, with His help, right some of the wrong and evil I have caused through my lack of faith. Our nation, our people, now face a trying time of moral chaos. It is only with a return to our traditional values and our faith in God that we will be able to survive as a people. If it were within my personal power to help return this nation to its rightful place by placing God back in the classroom, I would do so. I would also like to publicly forgive those who assaulted me and destroyed my property during those years that the case of Murray vs. Curlett moved through the courts. I do this as I know that a loving God has already forgiven them.” (My Life Without God, p 303-304)

His charming mother commented, “One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of the mother, I guess. I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times … he is beyond human forgiveness.”

In 1995 Madalyn, her son Jon Murray and William Murray’s daughter Robin Murray O’Hair disappeared. In 2001 it was learned that they had been kidnapped, tortured, murdered and dismembered by David Waters, an American Atheists employee.

Reading about Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s life, I am reminded of Paul’s warning,

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

I once heard a joke, “Why doesn’t God do anything about the shootings in American schools?” “Because God isn’t allowed in schools.”

William Murray believed that the moral decline in American schools and society as a whole since the 1960s could be attributed to his mother’s campaign (My Life WithoutGod, p 303-304). Many new atheists believe that if we got rid of religion, nearly all our problems would go away and we would all be nicer people. The tragedy of Madalyn Murray O’Hair shows this is not true.

Jews, Edomites and Khazars


In the Old Testament God gave promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob  that He would bless, prosper and multiply their descendants (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-20, 26:1-5, 17:1-16, 22:17-18, 28:13-15, 35:10-12). Many modern anti-Semites argue that these promises do not apply to modern Jews who they claim are not the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites of the Old Testament. The Jews are supposedly either Khazars or Edomites or both.


British-Israelites believe the British and other Western European nations are descendants of the “lost tribes” from the northern kingdom of Israel which was conquered and deported by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC.

Some British-Israelites believe the Jews are their fellow Israelites, descendants of Jacob. There is even a Jewish British-Israelite, Yair Davdiy.

Other British-Israelites, who are usually part of the Christian Identity movement which believes Jesus only died for white people, believe the Jews are not descendants of Jacob, but Edomites, descendants of his brother Esau.

Their main evidence for this belief is that around 120 BC John  Hyrcanus, the Jewish high priest forced the Edomites to convert to Judaism. The Jewish historian Josephus writes,

“Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country , if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of  living in the country  of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.” (Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 13:9:1)

Anyone, familiar with Jewish history, would find it baffling that they would conclude from this that the Jews are Edomites. By the time of the second century BC, as well as in the land of Israel, Jews had migrated to Alexandria, Antioch, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome, and arguably the majority of the Jews still lived in Mesopotamia and had never returned from the Babylonian exile. These were “real” Jews, descendants of Jacob/Israel.  They did not all disappear when the small nation of Edom/Idumea converted to Judaism.

jews 001

(This map is taken from Atlas of the Jewish World by Nicholas de Lange, Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1987, p 23. it shows the distribution of the Jews around 300 BC)

Josephus did not believe all the Jews were Edomites. His biggest work The Antiquities of the Jews was a history of the Jews and it did not begin with the conversion of the Edomites. He covered the same ground as the Old Testament and said the Jews were descendants of Jacob. Josephus wrote that because Herod the Great was an Idumean/Edomite, he was a “half-Jew” (The Antiquities of the Jews, 14:5:2). This suggests that the Jews, descendants of Jacob, did not regard the Edomites as equal or fellow Jews in spite of their conversion to Judaism.

In his other major work The Jewish War Josephus described  how the Idumeans or Edomites joined with the Jews in the revolt against Rome. An army of 20,000 Edomites went to the aid of Jerusalem, but at first, they would not let them in. When they did enter, they sided with the Zealots and killed several thousand inhabitants of Jerusalem (Josephus, The Jewish War, 4:3-25). During the revolt against Rome some Jewish factions were more concerned with fighting each other than the Romans.

Josephus did not say the conflict in Jerusalem was Edomites killing Edomites as Christian Identity proponents would presumably believe. In spite of their conversion to Judaism 200 years earlier Josephus  still believed the Jews and Edomites were separate groups and he thought the Edomites were “a most barbarous and bloody nation.” (Josephus, The Jewish War, 4:5:1)

Nevertheless, Christian Identity proponents believe the word “Jew” means “Edomite” and the Jews, who interacted with Jesus in the Gospels, were really Edomites, rather than the descendants of Jacob, the subject of the Old Testament. Christian Identity proponents claim they are Christians, yet they do not see the Bible as their source of truth and authority. (The fact that the Christian Identity movement is full of racists and criminals also casts doubts on the genuineness of their Christianity.) The way they carry on about the Jews supposedly being Edomites, you would think it is as important as Jesus dying for our sins (if we are white). The Bible does not say Jews are Edomites. The New Testament does not even tell us that Herod the Great was an Edomite, which we know from Josephus.

When the Samaritan woman called Jesus a Jew (John 4:9), he did not correct her and say, “I’m not an Edomite.” Jesus went on to say that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). I don’t think he meant “salvation is of the Edomites”.

At Pentecost there were “Jews, devout men , from every nation under heaven” in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5), including “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs” (Acts 2:9-11). Edom does not get a mention. Peter called them both “Men of Judea” (Acts 2:14) and “Men of Israel” (Acts 2:22).

In Romans Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Again, I don’t think he meant the gospel was first for the Edomites, rather than the descendants of Israel to whom the old covenant had been given.

In Galatians Paul referred to both himself and Peter as Jews (Galatians 2:14-15).

I have heard some Christian Identity proponents cite John 8 as proof the Jews are Edomites. Jesus was debating the Pharisees (John 8:13) and said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The Pharisees replied, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone.” (John 8:32-33) Their reasoning is that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but the Edomites were not slaves but they were still descendants of Abraham through Esau, so the Jews knew they were Edomites.

However, the Edomites had been in bondage to King David, “He also garrisons in Edom, throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David’s servants” (2 Samuel 8:14, see also 1 Chronicles 18:13). “Ebed”, Hebrew for “servant” can also be translated as “slave”.

In John 7 the Pharisees and chief priests say that “no prophet has arisen out of Galilee” (John 7:52). In fact, about half a dozen Old Testament prophets came from the Galilee region. Jesus went on to tell the Pharisees their father was “the devil and the father of lies” (John 8:44). If Jesus says their father is “the devil and the father of lies”, it is not very wise to believe what they say.

Jesus was clealry talking about spiritual freedom, how the truth sets us free from the bondage of false ideas.

Twice in Revelation Jesus warns the churches about the “synagogue of Satan” who “say they are Jews and are not”  (Revelation 2:9, 3:9). Christian Identity proponents take this as referring to all Jews and  it means they are Edomites. This is flawed reasoning. There cannot be false Jews unless there are also real Jews. Those false Jews in Asia Minor, who “say they are Jews and are not”, were more likely Gnostics, rather than Edomites. Elsewhere, there must have real Jews, descendants of Jacob.

Many Christian Identity proponents quote the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 or 1925 as saying “Edom is modern Jewry” or “Edom is in modern Jewry”. It is even supposed to be Volume 5, page 41 of the 1925 edition.

However, the 1906 edition is online. Its entry on Edom can be found here and it does not say “Edom is modern Jewry” or “Edom is in modern Jewry”.

Likewise, on the  The Christogenea Christian Identity Forum  one contributor said he bought the 1925 edition and could not find the quote. It looks like some Christian Identity supporter made up the quote and others have been repeating it  without bothering to check if it is authentic.

The Christian Identity movement believes the Old Testament conflict between Jacob and Esau is still going on today. The white nations are the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob, while the Jews are really Edomites, the descendants of Esau. They believe they are being oppressed by an international Jewish conspiracy. However, if they are Israel and the Jews are Edomites, their hatred of the Jews disobeys God’s command to Israel, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother.” (Deuteronomy 23:7)

In Who is Esau-Edom? Charles Weisman writes that the Old Testament prophecies about judgement upon Edom (Obadiah, Ezekiel 25) mean that God will use the white race to destroy the Jews,

“It is Jacob [the white nations] that God will se to destroy and kill Esau-Edom [the JEws]. In Obadiah’s prophecy it says that “Jacob shall be a fire”. This is not a purifying or refining fire. This fire will both “kindle” and “devour” Esau who is regarded as “stubble”, a substance which can be easily burned up and destroyed.

It is interesting that the Jews have chosen the word “holocaust” meaning the whole of something which is burned. The whole house of Esau  is described as being burned up – a true holocaust is about to occur. The Jews cry “never again” in reference to the Holocaust story but the fact is it has not yet happened. This destruction will happen to the Jews and at the hand of Israel, the white race, as verified by Ezekiel.” (Charles Weisman, Who is Esau-Edom?, Weisman Publications, Minnesota, 1991, p 115)


Those of us who are not so eager to participate in genocide should not worry. The fact, that the nation of Edom no longer exists, suggests that theses prophecies about Edom’s judgement and downfall have already been fulfilled.


Another theory is that modern Jews  are descendants of the Khazars who once lived in the Caucasus region including parts of what is now Ukraine, Russia and Kazakstan. In the 8th or 9th centuries the Khazars converted to Judaism. Modern Jews are supposed to be the descendants of the Khazars who emigrated to Eastern Europe after the fall of Khazria in the 11th or 12th centuries. This theory was popularized by the Jewish writer Arthur Koestler in The Thirteenth Tribe published in 1976.


However, it poses a problem for traditional “Christian” anti-Semitism which blames the Jews for killing Jesus. If modern Jews are the descendants of the Khazars, then they have no connection to the “Christ-killers” of the New Testament.

On the other hand, the Khazar hypothesis is used by anti-Zionists of both the Left and Right to argue that the Jews of modern Israel are descendants of the Khazars and have no ancestral claim to the land of Israel.

Modern Jews can be divided into four groups;

(1) Middle Eastern or Mizrahi Jews who lived in the nations of the Middle East.

(2) Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in the 15th century.

(3) North African Jews who have lived along the coast of North Africa for 2000 years,

(4) Ashkenazi Jews of Germany and Eastern Europe. (Harry Ostrer, Legacy, A Genetic History of the Jewish People, Oxford University Press, 2012, p 20-22)

At best, the Khazar hypothesis can only be applied to the Ashkenazi Jews of Germany and Eastern Europe. It cannot account for the Middle Eastern, Sephardic and North African Jews.

In a 2013 book DNA Science and the Jewish Bloodline Texe Marrs claimed that recent DNA studies had confirmed the Jews are Khazars, rather than descendants of Israel.

dna science

“Now comes the ultimate, definitive DNA study, by Dr Eran Elhaik and associates at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, John Hopkins School of Medicine.   Entitled The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses, and published by the Oxford Journal on behalf of the  Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, the study confirms Oppenheim’s research and the many scholarly books.

Dr. Elhaik and the prestigious John Hopkins University School of Medicine conclude in their report: “The Khazarian Hypothesis suggests that Eastern European Jews  descended from the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that settled the Caucasus in the early centuries CE and Converted [sic]  to Judaism in the eighth century … Following the collapse of their empire, the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe. The rise of European Jewry is therefore explained by the contribution of the Judeo-Khazars.” ” (Texe Marrs, DNA Science and the Jewish Bloodline, RiverCrest Publishing, Texas, 2013, p 49-50)

This is not a quote from the conclusion of the article.  it is from the Abstract which appears at the beginning and summarizes the article. The complete Abstract reads,

“The question of Jewish ancestry has been the subject of controversy for over two centuries and has yet to be resolved. The “Rhineland Hypothesis” depicts Eastern European Jews as a “population isolate” that emerged from a small group of German Jews who migrated eastward and expanded rapidly. alternatively, the “Khazarian Hypothesis” suggests that Eastern European Jews descended from the Khazars, an amalgam of Turkic clans that settled in the Caucasus in the early centuries CE and converted to Judaism in the 8th century. Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman Jews continuously reinforced the Judaized Empire until the 13th century. Following the collapse of their empire, the Judeo-Khazars  fled to Europe. The rise of European Jewry is therefore explained by the contribution of the Judeo-Khazars. Thus far, however, the Khazar’s contribution has been estimated only empirically, as the absence of genome-wide data from Caucasus populations precluded testing the Khazarian Hypothesis. Recent sequencing of modern Caucasus populations prompted us to revisit the Khazarian Hypothesis and compare it  with the Rhineland Hypothesis. We applied a wide range of population genetic analysis to compare these two hypotheses. Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis and portray the European Jewish genome as a mosaic of Caucasus, European and Semitic ancestries, thereby consolidating previous contradictory reports of Jewish ancestry. We further describe major difference among Caucasus populations explained by the early presence of Judeans in the Southern and Central Caucasus. Our results have important implications on the demographic forces that shaped the genetic diversity in the Caucasus and medical studies.” ( Eran Elhaik, “The Missing LInk of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses”Genome Biology and Evolution (2012), First published online: December 2012, p 2)

As we can see, Elhaik described two hypotheses, the Khazarian and the Rhineland. He wrote, “Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis  and portray the European Jewish genome as a mosaic of Caucasus, European and Semitic ancestries.” In other words, Elhaik concluded that European Jews had both Khazarian and Semitic Jewish ancestry, although he admittedly believed they were more Khazarian than Semitic.

Marrs left out  the passage in the Abstract which said, “Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman Jews reinforced the Judaized Empire until the 13th century.”

Elhaik also, “After their conversion to Judaism, the population structure of the Judeo-Khazars was further reshaped by multiple migrations of Jews from the Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate to the Khazarian Empire.” (p 4)


“Greco-Roman and Mesopotamian Jews gravitating toward Khazria were also common in the early centuries and their migrations intensified following the Khazars’ conversion to Judaism.” (p 19)

Historians do not know how many of the Khazars converted to Judaism. Nevertheless, after the ruling class converted, Khazaria  became a safe haven for Jews from persecution. In The Thirteenth Tribe Arthur Koestler quoted the tenth century Arab historian al-Masudi,

“In this city [Khazrian -Itil] are Muslims, Christians, Jews and pagans. The Jews are the king, his attendants and the Khazars of his kind. The king of the Khazars had already become a Jew in the Caliphate of Harun al-Rashid and he was joined by Jews from all the lands of Islam and from the country of the Greeks [Byzantium]. Indeed, the king of the Greeks at the present time, the  Year of Hegira 332 [AD 943-4] had converted the Jews in his kingdom to Christianity be coercion … Thus many Jews took flight from the country of the Greeks to Khazaria.” (Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe, Omni Publications, California, 1976, p 60)

Thus, many Jews with Middle Eastern ancestry migrated to Khazaria where they would have intermarried with the Khazarian Jews. Their descendants would have had both Israelite and Khazarian ancestry. Even if the Khazarian hypothesis were true  and the Eastern European Jews came from Khazaria, they would still be descendants of Jacob.

One would not learn anything about Jewish migrants to Khazaria from Texe Marrs’ DNA Science and the Jewish Bloodline which gives the impression that Eran Elhaik proved modern Jews were Khazars and had no connection to the Jews of the Bible.

However, that may be giving too much credibility to the Khazar hypothesis. Elahik has been criticised for taking samples from Georgians and Armenians because the Khazars are no longer an identifiable ethnic group.  Marcus Feldman, Director of Stanford’s Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies commented,

“If you take all of the careful genetic population analysis that has been done over the last 15 years … there’s no doubt about the common Middle Eastern origin [of the Jews]. … He [Elhiak] appears to be applying the statistics in a way that gives him different results from what everybody else has obtained from essentially similar data.” (Rita Rubin, ” ‘Jews a Race’ Genetic Theory Comes under Fierce Attack by DNA Expert”, The Jewish Daily Forward, May 10, 2013)

In The Jews of Khazaria Kevin Alan Brook agrees the Khazars converted to Judaism and some would have migrated to Eastern Europe, but the says the majority of the Ashkenazi Jews till came from Germany. A “small Turkic Khazarian element” assimilated into the Ashkenazi Jews, but they did not account for all the Ashkenazi Jews (Kevin Alan Brook, The Jews of Khazaria, Second Edition, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, 2006, p 226)

Yiddish, the language of the Ashkenazi Jews, is not a Turkic or Slavic language, which would suggest an Eastern or Khazarian origin, but “is primarily based on medieval High German, and this is especially observable in its vocabulary” (The Jews of Khazaria, p 203). Many Ashkenazi Jews have surnames derived from towns in Germany, suggesting they came for Germany rather than the Caucasus (The Jews of Khazaria, p 202-203).

Marrs also claims that the genetic research of Ariella Oppenheim of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem also proves that modern Jews are descendants of the Khazars, not Israelites,

“Scientific DNA studies were conducted first in 2001 by Ariella Oppenheim, a Jewish genetics researcher of Hebrew University in Tel Aviv [sic]. Her findings: Almost all who today identify as “Jews” are not the descendants of Abraham but are, in fact, of Turkish/Mongol stock. The Jews are Khazarians, not Israelites.” (DNA Science and the Jewish Bloodline, p 20)

“In 2001, Dr. Ariella Oppenheim of Hebrew University, a biologist published the first extensive study of DNA and the origin of the Jews. Her research found that virtually all the Jews came from Turkish and Kurd blood. Not only that but Oppenheim suggested that the Palestinians – the very people whom the Jews had been persecuting and expelling from Israel’s land since 1948 – might have more Israelite blood than did the Jews. In sum, the vast majority of the Jews were not Jews; some of the Palestinians were. Some of the Palestinians even had a DNA chromosome which established they were “Cohens” – workers at the ancient Temple and synagogues of the Jews.” (DNA Science and the Jewish Bloodline, p 49)

Marrs does not explain how if the Jews are Khazars with no connection to the Middle East, it is possible to identify a chromosome which showed that some Palestinians were descendants of  Jewish Temple priests.

“Cohen” is Hebrew for “priest” so Jews  with the surname Cohen, Cohan or Kohen  are presumably descendants of Jewish priests from the Temple period. Geneticists have identified the Cohanim Modal Haplotype (CMH) which can be found in about 45% of Ashkenazi Jews with the surname Cohen or its derivatives and 56% of Sephardic Jews called Cohen, suggesting members of both groups were priests in the Jerusalem Temple (The Jews of Khazaria, p 222). However, it can also be found in some non-Jews in the Middle East.

Ariella Oppenheim is one of six authors of the 2001 article Almut Nebel, et al., “The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East”, American Journal of Human Genetics, Vol, 69, p 1095-112, 2001. I am not sure why Texe Marrs singles her out.

Ariella Oppenheim co-authored two previous articles on Jews and genetics published in 2000. They say the genetic evidence shoes the Jews came for the Middle East.

“The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.” (M. F. Hammer, et al., “Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 97, No. 12, June 6, 2000, p 6769)

“Our findings corroborate previous studies that suggested a common origin for Jewish and non-Jewish populations living in the Middle East.” (Almut Nebel, et al.,  “High-resolution Y chromosome haplotypes of Israeli and Palestinian Arab reveal geographic substructure and substantial overlap with haplotypes of Jews”, Human Genetics, , 107 , 2000, p 637)

They suggest the genetic similarity between Jews and Palestinians is because these Palestinians are descendants of Jews who converted to Islam (p 631, 637).

A 2009 program on Israeli television “The Case of Palestinian Jews” says about 85% of Palestinians are of Jewish origin and about half of them know it. It looks like the older Palestinians know, while their children go out and throw rocks at Israeli soldiers.

Early Zionists Israel Belkind, Ber Borocher, Itzhak Ben-Zvi and future Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion believed the Palestinians had Jewish ancestors (Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, Verso, London, 2010, p 182-189).

If the Jews are related to the Palestinians, then the Jews must also have their roots in Palestine, rather than Khazria.

Marrs’ claim that the 2001 article “The Y Chromosome Pool as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East” shows that “virtually all the Jews came from Turkish and Kurd stock” or are “of Turkish/Mongol stock” is misleading. ( I would like to know what the Mongols from Eastern Asia have to do with the Jews.)

The article says, “Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbours.” (p 1095)

However, they do not believe this is because the Jews are descendants of the Khazars who converted to Judaism in the 8th or 9th centuries. They concluded that “the common genetic Middle Eastern background predated the ethnogenesis in the region. The study demonstrates that the Y chromosome pool of Jews is an integral part of the genetic landscape  of the region and, in particular, the Jews exhibit a high degree of genetic affinity to populations living in the north of the Fertile Crescent.” (p 1106)

In other words, the Jews or Israelites, Kurds, Turks and Armenians all emerged from the same group. Abraham may have come from this region in the northern Fertile Crescent (Legacy, p 94)

Cleary, their conclusions do not support the Khazar hypothesis.

The Da Vinci Code Deception Part Three

This is part three of an article I wrote in 2005 about The Da Vinci Code.

(4) The Priory of Sion Hoax

In The Da Vinci Code Sophie Neveau learns that her murdered grandfather Jacques Sauniere was the Grand Master of a secret society, the Priory of Sion, which Dan Brown believes really exists. The following supposed information about the Priory of Sion can be gleamed from The Da Vinci Code;

The Priory “was founded in 1099 by a French king named Godefroi de Bouillon.” (1) Godefroi’s family had been in possession of a secret since the time of Christ, so he founded the Priory to pass down the secret to succeeding generations. The Priory believes Mary was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion and afterwards she went to France and gave birth to a daughter Sarah (2). Their descendants married into the Merovingian dynasty. After the last Merovingian king Dagobert was assassinated, his son Sigisbert escaped and the line survived through him down to Godefroi de Bouillon who founded the Priory of Sion (3).

Documents found in the National Library in Paris are supposed to confirm the existence of the Priory of Sion and identify its Grand Masters. Dan Brown writes,

“After all, previous Priory Grand Masters had also been distinguished public figures with artistic souls. Proof of that had been uncovered years ago in Paris’ Bibliotheque Nationale in papers that became known as Les Dossiers Secret… [The] Dossiers Secrets had been authenticated by many specialists and incontrovertibly confirmed what historians suspected for a long time: Priory Grand Masters included Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Sir Isaac Newton, and more recently, Jean Cocteau, the famous Parisian artist. “ (4)

The Priory is a “pagan goddess worship cult” and “has a well-documented history of reverence for the sacred feminine” (5) and “believes that Constantine and his successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever.” (6)

The Priory practice the hieros gamos or sacred marriage ritual which believes that man can only achieve knowledge of the divine through intercourse (7).

“The Priory of Sion, to this day, still worships Mary Magdalene as the Goddess, the Holy Grail, the Rose and the Divine Mother.” (8)

“Theirs is a threefold charge. The brotherhood must protect the Sangreal documents. They must protect the tomb of Mary Magdalene. And, of course, they must nurture and protect the bloodline of Christ – the few members of the Merovingian bloodline who have survived into modern times.” (9)

None of this is true. Before The Da Vinci Code was published, it had already been established that the Priory of Sion was a hoax. This chapter will show how the Priory of Sion hoax developed and how the case of a French country priest trafficking in Masses got turned into a story about Jesus and Mary Magdalene having descendants.

The Case of Berenger Sauniere


Berenger Sauniere was a French priest who was born in 1852. The name of the character Jacques Sauniere in The Da Vinci Code is based on him. In 1885 he was appointed parish priest of Rennes-le-Chateau, a village in southern France. The church and village were run-down and in 1888 Sauniere began a rebuilding program. He renovated and redecorated the church, gave the village a proper water supply, built a new access road and built a new house for himself, the Villa Bethany, including the Tower of Magdala which contained his library.


In 1909 the local bishop Monseigneur Paul-Felix Beauvain de Beausejour wondered where Sauniere got the money to afford all this and he began to investigate him for trafficking in Masses.

Sauniere would advertise in newspapers or write to people offering to say Mass for them for a fee, however he did not say all the Masses he was paid for. Rene Descadeillas writes,

“Moreover, at certain periods, the cure of Rennes received a large number of postal orders each day – as many as 100 or 150 – for small amounts of cash ranging from 5 to 40 francs. Some of these were postal orders paid to him in Rennes; many were addressed ‘poste restante’ to Couiza, where he went to convert them to cash. Others were in the name of Marie Denarnaud. In fact, one of the postmistresses who cashed them was still alive in 1958. These postal orders were very diverse in origin. Many of them came from France, but there were also many from Belgium, the Rhineland, Switzerland and Northern Italy. A large number were from religious communities. These postal orders were intended to pay for ‘mass intentions’. Abbe Sauniere was trafficking in masses.” (10)

Some of Sauniere’s records of his trafficking still exist. It has been calculated that between 1893 and 1915 he received a minimum of 100,000 requests for Masses (11).

In July 1910 Sauniere was found guilty of trafficking in Masses by an ecclesiastical court. The authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail claim, “Sauniere appealed to the Vatican which exonerated and reinstated him.” (12) This is not true. He did appeal but in October 1910, he was found guilty again. He was investigated again and in December 1911 he was suspended as a priest until he would account for his income, which he never did. He remained suspended until he died in 1916 (13).


Sauniere’s housekeeper Marie Denardaud inherited his estate. In 1946 she sold the Villa Bethany to a business man Noel Corbu who turned it into a hotel. In 1956 Corbu invented the story that Bernard Sauniere had discovered a lost treasure which he used to finance his building program. Corbu told a local newspaper that while Sauniere was renovating the church, he found some parchments in wooden tubes inside a pillar supporting the altar. These led him to a treasure worth 50 billion francs. (14).

This story cannot be true because the pillar, which is now in the local museum, is not hollow. There is a hole, but it is only 7 cm deep, too small for the wooden tubes to fit. (15). There is no mention of Sauniere finding any parchments before 1956 (16). Everyone attributed Sauniere’s wealth to his trafficking in Masses. Corbu appears to have made up the treasure story as a publicity gimmick for his hotel (17). Judging by the number of people visiting the Rennes-le-Chateau area ever since looking for the lost treasure, he succeeded. One of these visitors was Pierre Plantard who added the next piece of the hoax.

Pierre Plantard

Pierre Plantard was born in Paris in 1920. In the 1960s Plantard would begin to claim to represent a powerful and influential secret society, the Priory of Sion, which was almost 1000 years old and had over 900 members. However, it is clear from French police investigations of Plantard carried out in the 1940s that he had a tendency to invent phantom organisations to make himself appear influential and important.

davinci code_0004

(Pierre Plantard in 1982 in The HolyBlood and the Holy Grail, photo by Michael Baigent)

In 1940 France surrendered to Germany and the southern half of France was administered by Vichy France, a German puppet government headed by Marshall Henri Petain. In December 1940 Pierre Plantard wrote to Petain claiming there was a Jewish Masonic conspiracy and that the Jews had started World War II, which sounds like the sort of thing the Nazis said. (18)

The French police investigated Plantard. Their report, dated 8 February 1941, described Plantard as “anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic” and concluded, “In fact, Plantard, who boasts of having links with numerous politicians, appears to be one of those dotty, pretentious young men who run more or less fictitious groups in an effort to look important.” (19)

In 1941 Plantard attempted to set up an organisation called French National Renewal. A police report on this organisation, dated 9 May 1941, says that it “seems to be a ‘phantom’ group whose existence is a figment of the imagination of M. Plantard. Plantard claims 3245 members, whereas this organisation currently only has four…” (20)

In 1942 Plantard founded another organisation called Alpha Galates with a similar structure to the future Priory of Sion (21). Its journal Vaincre contained articles about chivalry and the renewal of France, as well as theosophical, esoteric and anti-Semitic themes (22). One of the influences on Plantard’s thinking appears to have been the Italian fascist philosopher Julius Evola (23). Part of a 13 February 1945 police report on Alpha Galates says,

“Plantard seems to be an odd young man who has gone off the rails, as he seems to believe that he alone is capable of providing French youth with effective leadership…… According to the information we have gathered, this organisation had not up to that time engaged in any activity. It has had about 50 members, who resigned one after the other as soon as they sussed out the President of the association and worked out that it was not a serious enterprise.” (24)

On December 17, 1953 Plantard was sentenced to six months in prison for fraud and embezzlement (25)

In 1956 Plantard and three others founded the Priory of Sion. This was not a secret society, but a tenants association, and was named after a hill in France, not Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Plantard was the treasurer. Its first president was Andre Bonhomme. Paul Smith writes,

“Andre Bonhomme definitely existed – I have spoken to him myself – as have many other researchers – and he has constantly confirmed that the original Priory of Sion had nothing to do with Berenger Sauniere, Rennes-le-Chateau, politics or secret societies – the story goes that one day, when someone commented on the state of the lodgings – it was decided to form a society devoted to the cause of Low-Cost Housing: and the Priory of Sion was created! It was actually named after the hill of Mont Sion located outside the town of St-Julien-en-Genovoise. They produced an amateur journal called “Circuit” devoted to the cause of Low-Cost Housing, that simply comprised of A4 ages stapled together, and containing a crude text that was both stencilled and printed.” (26)

The Priory of Sion’s statutes, which were registered in 1956, stated that all Catholics over 21 were eligible for membership (27). This does not sound like the “pagan goddess worship cult” with the secret, which could destroy its enemy, the Catholic Church, described in The Da Vinci Code.

In October 1956 the Priory’s journal reported that the Priory was now in the business of transporting children by bus to nurseries and schools. Then, in December 1956 Plantard was sentenced to 12 months in prison for “abuse of a minor” (28). The first version of the Priory of Sion disbanded after that.

In the late 1950s or early 1960s Plantard and a friend Phillipe de Cherisey visited the Rennes-le-Chateau area, met Noel Corbu and heard his story about the parchments and treasure supposedly found by Berenger Sauniere (29). Plantard had already come up with idea of claiming to be a descendant of the Merovingian kings (30) and in the early 1960s he reformed the Priory of Sion which was now supposed to be a secret society founded in Jerusalem in 1099. Plantard and de Cherisey decided to build on Corbu’s story of the coded parchments, which Sauniere was supposed to have found, and fabricated their own versions of them (31). One of these parchments contained the hidden message, “TO DAGOBERT II, KING, AND TO SION BELONGS THIS TREAURE AND HE IS THERE DEAD.” (32) This apparently connected the treasure Sauniere had supposedly found to the Merovingian king Dagobert II.

They also fabricated the documents, which became known as Les Dossiers Secrets or the Secret Dossiers. These consisted of articles, letters and genealogical charts and were intended to supplement and explain the coded parchments and to substantiate Plantard’s claims about the Priory of Sion and the Merovingians. Between 1964 and 1967 they planted these documents in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. (33)

One of these documents, Genealogy of the Merovingian Kings, says that the Merovingian king Dagobert II (676-679) had a son Sigisbert IV who was the ancestor of Godefroi de Bouillon and the Plantard family. (34). Godefroi supposedly founded the Priory of Sion in Jerusalem in 1099. Sigisbert IV is clearly the link in Plantard’s plan, connecting Godefroi to the Merovingian kings. However, Sigisbert IV and his mother Giselle de Razes never existed (35). Plantard invented them and falsified the genealogy in order to claim to be a descendant of the otherwise apparently extinct Merovingian line.

Godefroi was not a French king as The Da Vinci Code claims (36), but only the Duke of Lower Lorraine. The Order of Our Lady of Zion was established at Mount Zion in Jerusalem around 1099, but Godefroi does not appear to have had anything to do with it (37). This was supposed to have been the Priory of Sion, which survived to the present, but it was simply a Catholic monastic order, not a secret society, and was disbanded in 1617 (38).

Another of these documents The Secret File of Henri Lobineau contains a list of the supposed Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion including Leonardo da Vinci. Dan Brown claims that the Dossiers “inconvertibly confirmed what historians suspected for a long time” about the Priory’s Grand Masters (39). This is not true because no one had ever heard of the Priory of Sion and its Grand Masters before these documents were “discovered”. In fact, this list of Grand Masters appears to have copied from a list of the supposed Grand Masters of an esoteric society called the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), a branch of the Rosicrucians, founded in the United States in 1915. Plantard simply added a couple of French names like the artist Jean Cocteau (40).

At first, Plantard and de Cherisey intended to use the coded parchments for a radio program, but this did not eventuate (41). Then, Plantard attempted to write a book on the subject but he could not get it published (42). They approached an author Gerard de Sede to write the book for them and showed him the documents in the Bibliotheque Nationale which de Sede believed were authentic (43). In 1967 Gerard de Sede’s book The Gold of Rennes was published.

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

In 1969 Henry Lincoln an English scriptwriter, whose credits included three Doctor Who stories, read de Sede’s book and decided to make a series of documentaries about Rennes-le-Chateau for the BBC series Chronicle. These were The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem in 1972, The Priest, the Painter and the Devil in 1974 and The Shadow of the Templars in 1979. While he was working on the third documentary, Henry Lincoln met Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. They went on to write The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail which was published in 1982. This book contained the earlier themes of Rennes-le-Chateau, the Secret Dossiers and the Priory of Sion. However it did not mention how in 1971 there was a dispute over royalties for The Gold of Rennes and both Plantard and de Cherisey had said that the coded parchments were forgeries (44).

davinci code_0001

Dan Brown says in The Da Vinci Code that the Priory of Sion believes that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that the Priory’s purpose is to protect their descendants (45). However, before The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was published, neither Noel Corbu, Pierre Plantard, Gerard de Sede, the Secret Dossiers nor Henry Lincoln’s documentaries had said anything about Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married and their descendants. The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail introduced the idea that Jesus and Mary were married and their descendants, symbolized by the Holy Grail, married into the Merovingians, but they did not get these ideas from Pierre Plantard and there is no evidence that the Priory of Sion believes this.

In fact, Plantard said he did not believe it. In a 1983 article, “Jesus Christ, his wife and the Merovingians”, by de Cherisey, Plantard said,

“I admit that “the Sacred Enigma” [The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail] is a good book, but one must say that there is a part that owes more to fiction than to fact, especially in the part that deals with the lineage of Jesus. How can you prove a lineage of four centuries from Jesus to the Merovingians? I never put myself forward as a descendant of Jesus Christ.” (46)

If someone were to write a non-fiction book, saying Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and were the ancestors of the Merovingians, I would assume they would have some historical evidence to base their claims on. However, as we have seen, the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail have openly said that there is no evidence Jesus and Mary Magdalene had any children. I have read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail several times and I cannot see how they could have logically come to their conclusions and made the jump from a story about the Merovingians, lost treasure and a secret society to believing that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and the ancestors of the Merovingians. There is no evidence which could have led them to that conclusion.

The ideas about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Holy Grail and a secret society which knows the secret can be found in a novel about the prophet Nostradamus, The Dreamer and the Vine, by an astrologer Liz Greene, published in 1980, two years before The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. This is significant because Liz Greene was the girlfriend of Michael Baigent and the sister of Richard Leigh (47).

davinci code_0005

Henry Lincoln had not mentioned the supposed marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in his documentaries about Rennes-le-Chateau. It was only after he joined forces with Baigent and Leigh that it became part of the Rennes-le-Chateau/ Priory of Sion legend. It looks like they got the idea that Jesus and Mary were married from Liz Greene’s novel and added it to the story for The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, presumably in order to make it more interesting and controversial and sell more books. It worked. Pierre Plantard had only claimed to be a descendant of the Merovingians. The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail had made him into a descendant of Jesus Christ.

Although Dan Brown says that the Priory of Sion worships Mary Magdalene and the sacred feminine and practices the hieros gamos sex rite, there is nothing in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, the Secret Dossiers and the claims of Pierre Plantard to suggest this. These ideas come from Margaret Starbird who read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and built on their claims by adding her feminist ideas about the hieros gamos, the sacred feminine and Mary Magdalene as the goddess in her 1993 book The Woman with the Alabaster Jar.

    In 1997, The Templar Revelation by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince claimed that the Priory of Sion were Mary Magdalene goddess worshippers (48). They even wrote, “The Priory of Sion believe that Mary Magdalene is one and the same as Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus, and the one who anoints Jesus’ feet.” (49). How do they know the Priory of Sion believes the two Marys were the same person, especially since, as we shall see, four years before The Templar Revelation was published, Pierre Plantard had admitted in court that the Priory of Sion was a hoax? Picknett and Prince appear to have read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and thought that the Priory of Sion believes Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married – something which they never said. Because Picknett and Prince argued that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were the same person in order to make their claims Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a sexual relationship more convincing, they seem to have assumed that the Priory must also believe this.

Like Margaret Starbird, Picknett and Prince wrote that Jesus and Mary practiced the hieros gamos (50), but they did not explicitly say that the Priory of Sion does. However, Dan Brown read their books and appears to have assumed that the Priory of Sion also practices the hieros gamos. These authors have no evidence the Priory of Sion believes these things. They are reading their own speculations into this fictitious secret society and assuming that because they believe them, the Priory of Sion must also believe them.

The Decline and Fall of the Priory of Sion

In The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail the authors wrote how they suspected someone with their own vested interest had been leaking information about Rennes-le-Chateau and the Merovingians. This turned out to be Pierre Plantard (51). They describe when they met Plantard in a Paris cinema in 1979 and he told them that the Priory of Sion had the lost treasure from the Temple in Jerusalem. They do not appear to have questioned this claim. (52)

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail does not mention how Plantard originally told them in this meeting that the coded parchments were forgeries. They do acknowledge this in the sequel The Messianic Legacy,

“In 1979, when we first met M. Plantard, we were told both of the ciphered texts were in fact forgeries concocted in 1956 by the Marquis de Cherisey for a short television program. We challenged this assertion. The staggering effort required to devise the ciphers seemed inappropriate, indeed ridiculous, for such a purpose. M. Plantard conceded that the forgeries were based very closely on the originals.”(53)

     davinci code_0006

Plantard had already said the parchments were forgeries in 1971. Based on his past attention-seeking behaviour, it seems that because of the interest the authors were showing in him and the Priory of Sion, he decided to now claim there still were authentic documents.

Jean-Luc Chaumeil, an associate of Plantard, who arranged the meeting with the three authors (54), says he also told Henry Lincoln the coded parchments were fakes. Paul Smith writes,

“I first met Jean-Luc Chaumeil in Paris in September 1982 – and the meeting was an eye-opener! There he showed me a lot of evidence that the Priory of Son was a hoax, that the parchments as allegedly discovered by Sauniere were really Philippe de Cherisey fakes, and that Plantard was an outright charlatan. Not only this, but Chaumeil had actually informed Lincoln of all this prior to the publication of ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’. Jean-Luc Chaumeil was a very disappointed man.” (55)

Plantard gave Chaumeil the original coded parchments. In a 1996 BBC documentary The History of a Mystery, Chauneil showed that Plantard had written across one of the parchments in red ink, “This is the original document, faked by Philippe de Cherisey, which Gerard de Sede used in his book the Gold of Rennes.” (56) The parchment, with the writing saying it is a fake is also shown in the 2004 documentary The Real Da Vinci Code (57).

Philippe de Cherisey has also said that he told Henry Lincoln that the Secret Dossiers were fakes (58).

Thus, even before The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was published, the authors should have at least been suspicious about the Priory of Sion and the coded parchments. At worst, they knew it was all a hoax, but published it anyway. (59)

A split developed between Plantard and Chaumeil presumably because Chaumeil knew the Priory of Sion, which was now receiving so much publicity after the publication of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, was a hoax, and also because Chaumeil had become aware of Plantard’s criminal record which he began to publicise. (60)

In July 1984, apparently as a result of Chaumeil’s activity, Plantard announced that he had resigned as Grand Master of the Priory of Sion for health reasons and the actions of “our English and American brethren” who most likely only existed in Plantard’s imagination. In The Messianic Legacy, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln add, “And there was one other motive which, he stated, contributed to his decision – namely, the publication, ‘in the press, in books and in duplicated pamphlets deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale’ of various ‘false or falsified documents’ pertaining to him.” (61) Plantard appeared to be saying that the Secret Dossiers were forgeries.

After Plantard resigned, the Priory of Sion disappeared. (62)

Philippe de Cherisey died in 1985. The Templar Revelation reports that in 1984 de Cherisey again said that he had faked the coded parchments (63). He had also written an unpublished manuscript called Stone and Paper in which he explained how he faked them (64).

In 1988 Gerard de Sede also said that de Cherisey had faked the parchments and claimed that he had known it when he wrote The Gold of Rennes in 1967 (65).

Although Dan Brown claims that the Secret Dossiers “had been authenticated by many specialists” (66), both Plantard and de Cherisey have acknowledged that they forged the Secret Dossiers and the coded parchments.

Even Lynn Picknett, one of The Da Vinci Code‘s main sources, now believes they are fakes. In her 2003 book, Mary Magdalene, Christianity’s Hidden Goddess, she wrote,

“Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that Sauniere was a member of the Priory of Sion, or even its hapless tool, for research shows that the organisation has only existed since the 1950s. And the coded parchments that the priest was believed to have found were, it has been revealed, fabricated by two of its founders. Indeed, the Priory as a whole seems to have a penchant for fakery and elaborate practical jokes, which even includes smuggling faked documents into the Bibliotheque Nationale in order to impress the likes of Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln.” (67)

Readers of The Da Vinci Code will not learn this, but in 1989 Plantard returned with a third version of the Priory of Sion, distancing himself from the earlier versions and the Merovingians. This time he said the Priory of Sion had been founded in 1681, not 1099, and he made the strange claim that the Priory’s secret was a black rock of immense energy (68). He repeated his earlier statement that the coded parchments had been forged by Philippe de Cherisey (69).

Plantard produced a new list of the Priory’s supposed Grand Masters. One of these was Roger-Patrice Pelat who was a friend of French President Francois Mitterand.

In 1993 Pelat was involved in an insider trading scandal and committed suicide. Because there appeared to be a connection between Plantard and Pelat, Judge Thierry Jean-Pierre, who headed the inquiry into the scandal, ordered a search of Plantard’s house. The police found documents which said that Plantard was the true king of France. Plantard subsequently admitted that he made the whole thing up. The judge let him go with a severe warning. No one in France took the Priory of Sion seriously after that. Plantard died in Paris in 2000. (70)

It is interesting to see how the Rennes-le Chateau story grew. It started out with a priest trafficking in Masses. Noel Corbu added the coded parchments and lost treasure. Pierre Plantard added the Secret Dossiers, the Merovingians and the Priory of SIon. The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail added the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The Woman with the Alabaster Jar added goddess worship, the sacred feminine and the hieros gamos.

Ten years before The Da Vinci Code was published, the Priory of Sion had been exposed as a hoax, yet Dan Brown still claims it is a real secret society. In fact, many people in the English speaking world still believe there is some secret to Rennes-le-Chateau or that the Priory of Sion is real. A documentary Did Jesus Die?, which was shown on the ABC’s Compass program on April 11, 2004, still claimed that Berenger Sauniere found coded parchments which made him rich (71). Two books published about The Da Vinci Code in 2004, Cracking the Da Vinci Code by Simon Cox and Da Vinci Decoded by Martin Lunn still claimed that the Priory of Sion was a real secret society and the Dossiers Secrets were authentic and said nothing about Pierre Plantard’s 1993 admissions (72).Their only excuse is that most of the research debunking the Rennes-le-Chateau story and the Priory of Sion is in French and has not been published in English. I read several books about the supposed bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene during the 1990s and did not hear that Pierre Plantard had admitted the Priory of SIon was a hoax in 1993 until 2004.


(1) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 21

(2) Ibid., p 342

(3) Ibid., p 345

(4) Ibid., p 280

(5) Ibid., p 15

(6) Ibid., p 172

(7) Ibid., p 409-410

(8) Ibid., p 342

(9) Ibid., p 345-346

(10) Jean-Jacques Bedu, “Rennes-le-Chateau – Autopsie d’un mythe (1990) pp 115-148”

(11) Ibid.

(12) The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, op cit., p 30

(13) Bill Putnam and John Edwin Wood, The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, Sutton Publishing, UK, 2003, p 16-17

(14) Ibid., p 10-13

(15) Ibid., p 92

(16) Ibid., p 9

(17) Ibid., p 16, Paul Smith, “Priory of Sion Parchments and Steven Mizrach”,

(18) Paul Smith, “Pierre Plantard’s Letter to Marshall Petain dated 16 December 1940”,

(19) Paul Smith, “Police Report on Pierre Plantard dated 8 February 1941”,

(20) Paul Smith, “Police Report on ‘French National Renewal’ dated 9 May 1941”,

(21) Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy, Corgi Books, London, 1987, p 390

(22) Ibid., p 387-389

(23) Robert Richardson, “The Priory of Sion Fraud”, New Dawn, July-August, 2000, p 59

(24) Paul Smith, “Police Report on the Statutes of the Alpha Galates dated 13 February 1945”,

(25) Paul Smith, “The Real Historical Origin of the Priory of Sion”, , Paul Smith, “Pierre Plantard’s Criminal Convictions – A Chronology”,

(26) Paul Smith, “Priory of Sion Debunked”,

(27) The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, op cit., p 210

(28) “Pierre Plantard’s Criminal Convictions – A Chronology”, op cit

(29) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 119, “Priory of Sion Parchments and Steven Mizrach”, op cit.

(30) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 117,119

(31) Ibid., p 118-122, “Priory of Sion Parchments and Steven Mizrach”, op cit.

(32) The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, op cit., p 26

(33) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 236-237

(34) Ibid., p 101-102, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, op cit., p 237-281

(35) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 77, “The Priory of Sion Fraud”, op cit., p 59

(36) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 217

(37) The Real History Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 95

(38) The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 48, The Da Vinci Hoax, op cit., p 232-233

(39) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 280

(40) Paul Smith, “Pierre Plantard Profile”, , Massimo Introvigne, “The Da Vinci Code FAQ, or Will the Real Priory of Sion Please Stand Up?”,

(41) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 120-121

(42) “Priory of Sion Parchments and Steven Mizrach”, op cit.

(43) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 123, “Priory of Sion Parchments and Steven Mizrach”, op cit.

(44) Patricia Briel, “Pierre Plantard, founder of the Priory of Sion, an oddball in search of royal descent”,, “Pierre Plantard Profile”, op cit.

(45) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 342, 344-345

(46) Philippe de Cherisey, “Jesus Christ, his wife and the Merovingians”,

(47) Cracking The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 73

(48) The Templar Revelation, op cit., p 197,215, 257, 341, 475

(49) Ibid., p 307

(50) Ibid., p 348, 398

(51) The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, op cit, p 94-95, 230

(52) Ibid., p 235-236

(53) The Messianic Legacy, op cit., p 301

(54) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 115

(55) Paul Smith, “Debunking the Mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau”,

(56) The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau, op cit., p 124

(57) The Real Da Vinci Code, op cit.

(58) “The Da Vinci Code FAQ, or Will the Real Priory of Sion Please Stand Up?”, op cit.

(59) Ibid.

(60) “Pierre Plantard Profile”, op cit., “Priory of Sion Debunked”, op cit.

(61) The Messianic Legacy, op cit., p 371

(62) Ibid, p 378

(63) The Templar Revelation, op cit., p 25

(64) Jean-Luc Chaumeil, “The Message of a Sacred Enigma”,

(65) “The Da Vinci Code FAQ, or Will the Real Priory of Sion Please Stand Up?”, op cit.

(66) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 280

(67) Mary Magdalene, op cit., p 110

(68) Paul Smith, “The Secret of the Priory of Sion”,

Paul Smith, “The 1989 Plantard Comeback”,

(69) Noel Pinot, “An Interview with Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair”,

(70) Paul Smith, “Pierre Plantard, Judge Thierry Jean-Pierre and the End of the Priory of Sion in 1993”,

(71) Did Jesus Die?, ABC Video, 2004

(72) Cracking The Da Vinci Code, op cit, p 49-51, 130-133, Martin Lunn, Da Vinci Decoded, Disinformation, New York, 2004, p 23-47

(5) The Art of Leonardo da Vinci

Dan Brown does more than simply get Leonardo’s name wrong. The Da Vinci Code makes several false claims about Leonardo and his art.

He says that “Da Vinci has always been an awkward subject for historians, especially in the Christian tradition.” (1) Judging by the approximately 5000 books which have been published on Leonardo, he is only “an awkward subject for historians” in Brown’s imagination. (2)

Brown writes that Leonardo produced “an enormous output of breathtaking Christian art” and accepted “hundreds of lucrative Vatican commissions” (3). In fact, there are only seventeen paintings by Leonardo and four of these were not finished. He only accepted one commission from the Vatican (4).

He writes that “Leonardo was a well-documented devotee of the ancient ways of the goddess.” (5) There is no such documentation. Leonardo’s notebooks do not say he believed in the “goddess”, but suggest he was an agnostic or atheist (6). Other historians have suggested that while Leonardo was clearly critical of some practices of the Catholic Church, he may have been nominally Christian or simply believed in a Creator God (7). Smart as Leonardo was, I doubt he, or anyone else during the Renaissance, would have understood what the New Age feminist term “goddess” meant.

In a newspaper article “Breaking the Code” Hillel Italie refers to books debunking The Da Vinci Code as “anti-Da Vinci books” (8). This is misleading, not simply because such books are not anti-Leonardo (get his name right), but also because there is no evidence Leonardo believed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, so he would not have hinted at it in his art. There is no “Da Vinci Code”.

Dan Brown apparently believes Leonardo was a goddess worshipper and believed Jesus was married because he believes Leonardo was a Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. As we have seen, when Pierre Plantard invented the Priory of Sion, he came up with a list of its Grand Masters largely by copying it from a list of the supposed Rosicrucian Grand Masters. This list included Leonardo da Vinci, however Leonardo was not a Rosicrucian either, because the Rosicrucians first appeared in 1614 and Leonardo died in 1519. In 1982 the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail made up the idea that the Priory of Sion believed Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had descendants. Readers, who believed the book, would have assumed that Leonardo, being a Grand Master of the Priory, believed Jesus was married. Other books, like The Templar Revelation and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, added their own ideas about goddess worship and the sacred feminine. So, Dan Brown assumed that Leonardo was a Priory Grand Master who, as well as believing Jesus was married, was a goddess worshipper and believer in the sacred feminine, and he described him as such in The Da Vinci Code. Brown’s claims about Leonardo’s art have been taken largely from The Templar Revelation, especially the first chapter entitled, “The Secret Code of Leonardo da Vinci” (9). Its authors believed Leonardo was a Priory Grand Master, so he must have had heretical beliefs about Jesus and goddess worship, so they projected these ideas into his art.

There is no historical evidence Leonardo believed any of this. It all started with Pierre Plantard claiming to be a descendant of the Merovingians and his fake list of Grand Masters.

The Last Supper

In discussing The Last Supper, Brown has Teabing say, “Our preconceived notions of this scene are so powerful that our mind blocks out the incongruity and overrides our eyes.” (10) In fact, it looks like Brown is trying to plant his own “preconceived notions” in his readers’ minds, so they will hopefully now interpret Leonardo’s paintings in a way they would have never considered without reading The Da Vinci Code.


Brown claims that in Leonardo’s The Last Supper, the figure between Peter and Jesus, which is believed to be the Apostle John, is actually a woman, Mary Magdalene (11). It is true that the figure to Jesus’ right does look somewhat feminine, although Brown’s “hint of a bosom” (12) is actually caused by a crack in the wall (13).

However, we know this person is a man because Leonardo said it is a man. Leonardo’s notes, which he made planning The Last Supper, still exist. He wrote about Peter and John, “Another speaks in the ear of his neighbour, and he who listens turns towards him and gives him his ear.” (14)

Brown has Teabing say, “Believe me, it’s no mistake. Leonardo was skilled at painting the difference between the sexes.” (15) This is a rather silly statement if you think about it. Any artist, who is not skilled enough that viewers cannot tell if he has painted a man or a woman, should get another job. It is also not applicable to Leonardo. The subjects of his paintings were sometimes sexually ambiguous. When I first saw Leonardo’s St John the Baptist, I thought the curly haired, smooth faced figure was a woman until I noticed the hairy chest. Likewise, anyone looking at the angel Uriel in Virgin of the Rocks would think it was female unless they knew Uriel was male.


davinci code_0009

davinci code_0008

Dan Brown says Leonardo was “a flamboyant homosexual” (16). This is an exaggeration. He was accused of sodomy and probably was gay, but he was hardly “flamboyant” (17). Leonardo’s suspected homosexuality is a more likely explanation for the effeminate-looking young man in The Last Supper and other paintings, not that it is really a woman, let alone Mary Magdalene.

Rather than being “skilled at painting the difference between the sexes”, in some case, the only way to tell if the figure in Leonardo’s paintings is a man or woman, like the angel in the Virgin of the Rocks, is to know who it is supposed to be. The Last Supper portrays the scene after Jesus has just told his disciples one of them would betray him. The Gospel of John records,

“When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” “(John 13: 21-25

We can tell from this passage that the Apostle John, who wrote it (John 21: 20, 24), was sitting next to Jesus with Peter apparently on John’s other side. If Dan Brown is right and the figure is Mary Magdalene, then where is John? The Last Supper shows the scene in verse 24 where Peter has motioned to John to ask him to ask Jesus who will betray him. John has leaned over from Jesus to Peter who is asking him.


While Brown claims that “The Last Supper practically shouts at the viewer that Jesus and Magdalene were a pair” and “Jesus and His Bride appear to be joined at the hip” (18), Lynn Picknett interpreted the painting very differently. She argued that “Mary” leaning away from Jesus reveals a rift between them over Jesus’ supposed role in the death of John the Baptist (19). John is simply leaning over to Peter so he can ask him to ask Jesus who will betray him. Clearly, these writers are just reading their own theories into the painting and claiming it says whatever they want it to say.

Dan Brown claims The Last Supper reveals Peter’s hostility to Mary Magdalene who Jesus wanted to be the head of the Church instead;

“You can see that Da Vinci was well aware of how Peter felt about Mary Magdalene… In the painting Jesus was leaning menacingly towards Mary Magdalene and slicing his blade-like hand across her neck. The same menacing gesture as in Madonna of the Rocks!” (20)

In fact, Peter has placed his hand on John’s shoulder while asking him to ask Jesus who will betray him. Judging by John’s peaceful expression and the way he is leaning towards Peter, John did not find Peter’s hand at all “menacing”.

Earlier, Dan Brown described the Madonna of the Rocks, better known as the Virgin of the Rocks,

“The painting showed a blue-robed Virgin Mary sitting with her arm around an infant, presumably Baby Jesus. Opposite Mary sat Uriel, also with an infant, presumably baby John the Baptist. Oddly, though, rather than the usual Jesus-blessing-John scenario, it was baby John who was blessing Jesus …. and Jesus was submitting to his authority! More troubling still, Mary was holding one hand high above the head of the infant John and making a decidedly threatening gesture – her fingers looking like eagle’s talons. Finally, the most obvious and frightening image: Just below Mary’s curled fingers, Uriel was making a cutting gesture with his hand – as if slicing the neck of the invisible head gripped by Mary’s claw-like hand.” (21)

davinci code_0008

Brown’s suggestion that there is something suspicious or heretical about the baby John the Baptist blessing Jesus is a result of his getting the babies mixed up. The baby John is not blessing Jesus, but as Brown said it should be, the baby Jesus is blessing John (22). Admittedly, the babies do look alike, but in the second version of this painting, the baby John is holding his John the Baptist staff to clearly identify him.

davinci code_0013

The “most obvious and frightening image” of Uriel “making a cutting gesture with his hand” is simply Uriel pointing to John the Baptist with his index finger. It is nothing like Peter’s whole hand resting on the Apostle John’s shoulder in The Last Supper, although Brown claims they are “the same menacing gesture.”(23)

davinci code_0008


Brown’s main source for his claims about Leonardo’s art, The Templar Revelation, suggests that a raised index finger in Leonardo’s art is the “John gesture” and symbolizes John the Baptist, as in his painting St John the Baptist (24). Thus, when Uriel is pointing at the baby John the Baptist, it is simply a horizontal version of the “John gesture” identifying the baby.

None of the hand gestures, which Brown describes in Leonardo’s art, are menacing or threatening. Brown is trying to persuade his readers there is something sinister in these paintings when there is none, or maybe he has a phobia about hand gestures and regards them all as threatening.

The Mona Lisa

davinci code_0014

Brown claims there is a “hidden message” in the Mona Lisa and it is “in fact, one of the world’s most documented inside jokes. The painting’s well-documented collage of playful allusions had been revealed in most art history tomes, and yet, incredibly, the public at large still considered her smile a great mystery.” (25) According to Dan Brown, the Mona Lisa is supposed to be a self-portrait of Leonardo in drag (26). A poster advertising The Da Vinci Code consists of a picture of the Mona Lisa with the caption, “Why is this man smiling?” The Mona Lisa must be the most looked at painting ever. How many of the millions, who have seen it, though they were looking at a man? Actually, it looks like more like Dan Brown with a wig and dress on than Leonardo.

Lillian Schwartz, a computer graphics expert, first suggested that the Mona Lisa was Leonardo in 1987 when she noticed the similarity in the positioning of the facial features with a self-portrait of Leonardo. The simple explanation for these similarities is that Leonardo used the same art principles of proportion, known as the Golden Rectangle, in both pictures (27).

No art expert or historian believes the Mona Lisa is a man. “Most art tomes” do not reveal “the painting’s well-documented collage of playful allusions.” Like his claim that historians have written books, saying Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, Brown is again passing off the opinions of unqualified lay people and esoteric writers as those of academic experts.

There is no mystery about who the Mona Lisa is. Art historians believe it is a portrait of Lisa del Gherhardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine merchant who commissioned the painting. “Mona” is a contraction of “Madonna” meaning “Madame”. In Italy the painting is still called La Gioconda. (28)

Furthermore, there are several paintings, The Naked Giocondo or Mona Lisa Nude, by Leonardo’s students which may be copies of a lost original. They appear  to be of the same woman, Lisa del Giocondo, but she is topless, has breasts, and is definitely not Leonardo or any other man in drag.


Brown also claims the name Mona Lisa is an anagram of AMON L’ISA, the Egyptian god Amon and goddess Isis “whose ancient pictogram was once called L’ISA” so the name is “an anagram of the divine union of male and female” (29).

However, Europeans did not learn to read Egyptian hieroglyphics until the Nineteenth Century, so Leonardo did not know what the ancient pictogram for Isis was. Another anagram of Mona Lisa is “no salami’, so we should not read too much into the meaning of anagrams.

Brown’s theory that the name Mona Lisa reveals Leonardo’s interest in “the divine union of male and female” cannot be true, because Leonardo never called it the Mona Lisa. He never named any of his paintings. It was given the name Mona Lisa by Giorgio Vasiri in 1550, 31 years after Leonardo’s death (30)


(1) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 72

(2) The Da Vinci Hoax, op cit., p 245

(3) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 72

(4) The Da Vinci Hoax, op cit., p 246

(5) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 135

(6) Douglas Mannering, The Art of Leonardo da Vinci, Optimum Books, London, 1981, p 40

(7) The Real History Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 58-59, The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 64-65

(8) Hillel Italie, “Breaking the Code”, The Sunday Examiner, March 20, 2005, p B5

(9) The Templar Revelation, op cit., p 21-42

(10) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 328

(11) Ibid., p 327-328

(12) Ibid., p 327

(13) Laurence Gardner, The Magdalene Legacy, Harper Collins, London, 2005, p 263

(14) Edward MacCurdy, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, George Brazilller, New York, 1939, p 1015

(15) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 327

(16) Ibid., p 72

(17) Charles Nicholl, Leonardo da Vinci, The Flights of the Mind, Penguin, London, 2004, p 115-124

(18) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 329

(19) Mary Magdalene, op cit., p 234

(20) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 334

(21) Ibid., p 191

(22) The Da Vinci Hoax, op cit., p 254-255

(23) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 334

(24) The Templar Revelation, op cit, p 31

(25) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 165

(26) Ibid., p 167

(27) The Magdalene Legacy, op cit., p 239-240

(28) The Art of Leonardo da Vinci, op cit., p 52, The Da Vinci Hoax, op cit., p 260-261, The Real History Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 173

(29) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 168

(30) The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code,
op cit., p 67


The chain of evidence in The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail is a chain of broken links.

There is no historical evidence Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child.

The only evidence Mary Magdalene went to France are legends which originated over 1000 years after it was supposed to have happened and do not mention any child of Mary called Sarah.

There is no historical evidence that her descendants, which no evidence says existed, married into the Merovingians.

There is no genealogical link between the Merovingians and Godefroi de Bouillon and Pierre Plantard because the supposed link Sigisbert IV never existed.

The Priory of Sion is a modern invention, not a 1000 year old secret society, and did not believe Jesus was married and had descendants, and did not believe in the sacred feminine and goddess worship. Leonardo da Vinci could not have been one of its Grand Masters.

Dan Brown has admitted one of the goals of his novel is to promote his religious ideas about the sacred feminine. In The Da Vinci Code, he writes, “Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith – acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove.” (1) This definition definitely applies to the beliefs in The Da Vinci Code.


(1) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 451


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.