Cracking the Da Vinci Code


Albany: Of Scotland. The current heir of the Royal House of Stewart is invested with title "The Count of Albany."

Apostles: Literally meaning "sent ones." In the Gospel of Luke, the inner circle of Jesus’ 12 helpers were called apostles before his crucifixion. After his resurrection, the criteria to be an apostle is that you had to have been following Jesus before his death, and be an eye-witness after he rose again. The claim to apostleship by Paul of Tarsus was in dispute because his first contact was a vision of Jesus long after his ascension into Heaven.

Apostles Creed: A summary statement of the teachings of the New Testament about the nature of God, Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

Apostolic: That which is by nature consistent with the teaching of the New Testament.

Aquarius: A sign in the Zodiac given special importance by esoterics as the harbinger of the "New Age" as, in this new millenium, it gains ascendancy over the Age of Pisces.

Arius: Presbyter of the Church in Alexandria, he held that Jesus Christ existed before all other things in Creation, but that God created Jesus Christ. The Church held that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, in the Divine Logos, was of one substance with God the Father. Esoterics who claim that Arius, just like themselves, believed that Jesus was only human, do not do credit to the actual convictions of Arius.

Arthur: Legendary King of the Britons, and the inspiration of many tales by medieval French and British authors, and contemporary authors all over the world.

Arthurian Cycle: Inspired by romanticists with Christian worldviews, tales of King Arthur and his knights continue to be written into the contemporary age. Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur in the 1400’s brought the earlier narratives together and inspired the later writers.

Asherah: The Canaanite equivalent of Isis and the female counterpart to Baal. The worship of these idols is decried by the Old Testament prophets, and is certainly no secret. The prophets criticized those kings that returned to the Canaanite practices and introduced these ritual defilements even in the Temple itself. It is precisely because the ancient Israelites continued to worship these Canaanite deities, that they were punished, defeated, and dispersed by God. The Old Testament does not keep these pagan practices a secret; instead, it brings them to light and criticizes them as being harmful to the soul, the body, and the land.

Astarte: Other near-eastern spelling for Asherah.

Astrology: The belief that astral bodies carry spiritual influence and omens of the future in their motions through space.

Baphomet: "Goat idols" decried by the Old Testament prophets.

Bible: The primary source for the Christian faith. Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Bibles are made up of the Old Testament, which tells the faith history of ancient Israel until the building of its second temple; the Apocrypha, which tells the political history of Israel to the time of the Romans; and the New Testament, which tells the story of Jesus Christ and how he fulfilled God’s promises to Israel, its prophets and its kings by dying for the sins of the people and then rising from the dead.

Brown, Dan: Best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code and other novels.

Cabala: Esoteric Jewish traditions that attempt to "decode" the writings of the Old Testament.

Catholicism: See Roman Catholic Church.

Celtic Church: The ancient missionary efforts of Irish Christians led to the establishment of the Celtic Church. In the early Middle Ages the Celtic Christians submitted to communion with Rome and the authority of the Roman bishop. There is no connection between the ancient Celtic Church and esoteric beliefs about the alternative history of Jesus. Anything today called the "Celtic Church" which is not in reference to the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland and which teaches esoteric philosophies has no connection to the historical practices and teachings of the Celtic Church.

Constantine: Emperor of Rome in the early 4th Century. Converting to Christianity, he made the Christian faith legal, protecting it from further persecution. He convened the Council of Nicea in 325. He moved his administrative capital from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople.

Constantinople: Renamed from Byzantium, it was the administrative seat of the Eastern Roman Empire until it fell to the Turks in 1453. It was renamed Istanbul.

Council of Nicea: Convened to settle a number of issues from a widespread Church that no longer faced the spectre of persecution. It formulated the Nicene Creed as an articulation of the teaching of the apostles and began to formalize the collection of apostolic writings which we call the New Testament.

Da Vinci Code: The novel by Dan Brown. Also, referring to the art work of Leonardo Da Vinci, which esoterics believe holds several layers of meaning for the initiate.

Da Vinci, Leonardo: Artist and genius of the 16th Century. Painted "The Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper."

Dead Sea Scrolls: Primary documents of ancient Judaism recovered in the 1940’s.

Doctrines of Mary: Post-biblical beliefs about Mary that were dogmatized by the Roman Catholic Church and, to a lesser degree, by the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox communions. The Roman Catholic doctrines include that Mary remained a virgin after giving birth to Jesus, and that Mary ascended directly into Heaven without dying.

Eastern Orthodox: In 1054, the communion of churches that did not follow the formal leadership of the Pope in Rome, but continued with each other under the less formal authority of the Patriarch in Constantinople.

Eco, Umberto: Best-selling author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. An Italian scholar on symbolism and an expert on medieval world-views.

Esoteric: As used by self-proclaimed "esoterics," it is that world-view which recovers pre-Christian beliefs in God/Goddess dualism, polytheistic practices, astrology, and the alternative history of Jesus which is available to initiated adherents of "esoteric" societies.

Eusebius: A participant at the Council of Nicea, he was an historian of the first three centuries of the Church.

Foucault’s Pendulum: A novel by Umberto Eco which lampoons the esoteric belief systems.

Freemasons: An esoteric society with secret initiations and rituals, sharing many of the lesser and greater mysteries as the Knights Templar.

Gardner, Sir Laurence: Author of Bloodline of the Holy Grail.

Gnosticism: A dualistic belief system rooted in Platonic philosophy which attempted to co-opt the story and person of Jesus Christ into its categories.

Grail: Meaning either vessel or, given entymological connections raised by the esoterics, "blood."

Grail Lore: The legends surrounding the hunt for the ultimate relic that no one has yet claimed, the cup of Jesus used at the last supper before his death on the cross. The esoterics incorporate these legends, imbuing them with a different set of allegorical meanings in keeping with their alternative history of Jesus.

Grail Quest: The hunt for this relic, and/or the allegorical meanings and search for deeper truths that are represented in the quest for the Holy Grail.

Gregory the Great: Pope in the 6th Century who brought administrative unity to western Europe in the vacuum of power left by the Roman Empire’s collapse.

Holy Grail: In the mainstream, this is the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. In post-Biblical traditions, Joseph of Arimathea is said to have taken the cup and collected some of the blood of Jesus from the cross, (a tradition happily omitted by Mel Gibson in his movie The Passion). In this tradition Joseph then brought the cup with him to Briton. Esoterics believe the Holy Grail means "royal blood" and refers to the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Hospitlars: An order of knights established during the Crusades.

Ishtar: The Babylonian equivalent of Isis.

Isis: The Egyptian counterpart to Osiris, and considered to be the paradigm for Goddess worship and the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine.

Istanbul: In Turkey, formerly Constantinople and Byzantium.

Jesus: Revered by Christians to be the incarnation of God who reconciled humanity by assuming in his own person the curse and penalty for sins. Through Jesus we can have the relationship with God that had been intended for us since humanity’s creation.

Joseph of Arimathea: A member of the ruling council in Jerusalem, he did not consent to the crucifixion. He offered his own family tomb for the body of Jesus. Post-biblical and esoteric traditions have him sailing to Great Britain.

Knights of the Round Table: Noble subjects of King Arthur who are heroes in the romantic tales of the Arthurian cycle.

Knights Templar: An order of knights formed during the Crusades, they were given favorable treatment until their power threatened that of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1308 the Templars were subjected to the inquisition. Contemporary Knights Templar are esoteric in their beliefs and try to establish historic continuity with their forebears.

Mary Magdalene: A woman from whom seven demons were expelled, she was a close follower of Jesus (Luke 8:1-4). She was also the first eye-witness to the empty tomb, the announcement of angels, and the resurrected Jesus, as all four gospels attest. The esoterics try to change her significance to make her the mother of the children of Jesus Christ.

Mary Mother of Jesus: A young Israelite virgin in whom Jesus Christ was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. This special role caused her to be venerated through extra-biblical legends and practices that became official Roman Catholic dogma. (See Doctrines of Mary.)

Merlin: A priestly office of the Druids.

Monotheism: The worship of one God in whom the fullness of all things dwell, including male and female, which equally reflect the glory and image of God.

Nag Hammadi: A location in Egypt in which Gnostic writings were discovered, including the Gospel of Thomas.

Nicene Creed: The formulation of beliefs by the bishops at the Council of Nicea which summarized the teachings of the New Testament about the nature of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Orthodox, Eastern: See Eastern Orthodox.

Orthodoxy: Those beliefs which reflect the faith of the whole Church since the time of the apostles.

Osiris: The Egyptian male counterpart to Isis.

Pagan: Pre-Christian animistic or polytheistic practice.

Pendragon: An office of political and ceremonial authority in Celtic society.

Pisces: A sign in the Zodiac which astrologers believe held prominence from approximately the time of the birth of Christ to approximately the turn of the Third Millenium.

Plato: A Greek philosopher whose articulation of a dualistic world-view has influenced western intellectuals of all stripes.

Polytheism: The worship of many gods.

Priory of Sion: Supposed by Dan Brown to be associated with the Knights Templar, its existence has been debunked as a hoax by numerous journalists and scholars.

Qum’ran: The location at which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Jewish sect located at Qum’ran did not constitute the center of religious faith and practice in that period, despite the claims of Sir Laurence Gardner.

Roman Catholic Church: The communion of Christian orders and groups that revere the Pope in the Vatican as the vicar of Christ in apostolic succession from the apostle Peter.

Rosicrucians: Knights of th Rosy Cross, a spin-off society from the Knights Templar.

Rosy Cross: See Rosocrucians.

Sacred Feminine: That which esoterics venerate in the person of the Goddess, who is the Isis of Egypt, and who is embodied by priestesses in sacred rituals. Esoterics of the Holy Grail believe that Mary Magdalene was herself a priestess who embodied the Sacred Feminine.

Stewart Royal House: The Kings of Scotland and England who were deposed twice. Charles the First was beheaded by the Republicans under Oliver Cromwell. After Cromwell’s disastrous tyranny, parliament invited Charles the Second, but he had not learned from the excesses of his father, and so he was removed by Parliament and replaced by William of Orange in the Whig Revolution. The current heir is Sir Michael James Alexander Stewart, who is currently the president of the European Council of Princes, and believed to be the heir of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Tarot: Cards used by fortune tellers, which esoterics of the Grail Quest believe to tell the alternative history of Jesus Christ.

Templars: See Knights Templar.

Vatican: The Papal State and administrative headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

Virgin Mary: See Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Whig Revolution: The ousting of James II from power in favor of William of Orange.

William of Orange: Invited by parliament to replace James II.

Zodiac: The twelve astrological signs. The Babylonian Zodiac is used by esoterics.


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