Friday, April 07, 2006

Baigent and Tabor

Michael Baigent is an embarassment wherever you look. He lost his lawsuit against Dan Brown, as foreordained, and continues making a fool of himself in The Jesus Papers. Laura Miller of -- a gift from the review-gods -- explains a few things here, contrasting Baigent's Papers with James Tabor's recently-released Jesus Dynasty. I'm not wild about Tabor's book, but almost anything serves as an antidote to Baigent.

From the review (click past the ad to read the full thing):

"The most intriguing discovery to be found in The Jesus Papers will probably only interest those of us who pursue the odd and somewhat pitiful hobby of crank-watching; it's finally clear from reading this book that it was Baigent -- rather than co-authors Leigh and Henry Lincoln -- who actually wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The voice, which grows more and more authoritative in tone as the foundations of its arguments dissolve into piffle, is unmistakable... The style of The Jesus Papers, a masterly counterpoint of bluster, false humility and self-righteousness, matches that of Holy Blood, Holy Grail like a fingerprint. ..

"In ambition and organization, The Jesus Papers can't hold a candle to Holy Blood, Holy Grail, but because it's a less seamlessly constructed edifice of bunkum, it gives you a clearer picture of how Baigent et al. managed to hoodwink millions of readers...

"Readers who have only recently learned, via The Da Vinci Code, of the complicated history of the New Testament, are much better served by books like James Tabor's [The Jesus Dynasty] than by conspiracy-mongering like The Jesus Papers. Like Baigent, [Tabor] doesn't believe in the literal truth of the resurrection, but unlike Baigent, he keeps his religious beliefs to himself...

"Like all efforts to re-create historical events from the New Testament, The Jesus Dynasty is by necessity highly interpretive and contestable, but it's certainly more grounded than the fantasies of The Jesus Papers. Tabor is primarily interested in recovering the history of Jesus' immediate family -- his mother, four brothers and two sisters -- who, he maintains, played a far more important role in the young religious movement than is generally known...

"If [Tabor's] book can't win at least a few readers away from The Jesus Papers this Easter, then, well, there is no God."


Blogger RC said...

I think Baigent really took advantage of the the Da Vinci Code to propel his name and book and that this book is ridiculous.

--RC of


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