Today I read an excerpt at Beliefnet from a book called the Jesus Papers. In it Michael Baigent proposes that Jesus survived the crucifixion. Mr. Baigent is one of the co-authors of 1982's Holy Blood, Holy Grail (a major source material for Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code). The Book’s full title is The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Coverup in History.
Laura Miller puts to whole thing in a candid quote: “’Holy Blood, Holy Grail,’ the source for ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ is a masterwork of paranoid pseudohistory. Now its author is back, arguing that Jesus faked his own death and ran off with Mary Magdelene. Verily, there's a sucker born every minute.”
The NBC Dateline special with Michael Baigent the other night presented little that one could call new with regard to the resurrection. As a matter of fact, Baigent’s material in the excerpt and the Dateline special is mostly a rehashing of the same old stuff that contends Jesus just got beat up real bad and pretended to die and on the third day he dusted himself off, pushed a stone away and declared he resurrected.
Technically this is referred to as the “swoon” theory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Namely, it is the idea that he didn’t die on the cross but only appeared to. Mr. Baigent’s Jesus Papers explores this idea, interprets scripture from this point of view, but doesn’t seem to take it in any new directions. His main innovation appears to be the claim that he has seen physical proof of Jesus’ survival in the form of letters written by Jesus himself dated around 45 A.D.
The letters are secret, of course. Baigent won’t reveal the name of the owner, and confesses to not being able to read Aramaic, in which the letters were written. He hasn’t had the documents validated, in fact, even the photos he took of the alleged documents have mysteriously disappeared. There was never even any discussion of why documents of such import to Western history would be in the hands of a private collector rather than available for study by scholars. Can’t you just hear Mr. Baigent saying “trust me”?
Like yesterday’s post on Jesus’ ice walking, the resurrection is a cover up. I don’t get it. Why not just say, the Bible is a lie! The future is science or the market or something… anything but the truth!
In short, Michael Baigent is an embarrassment wherever you look. Reported today, he even lost his lawsuit against Dan Brown, as foreordained, and continues making a fool of himself in all his writing.
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32).