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Monday, October 11, 2004

The Davinci Code snippet

[Teabing] opened the book to a colorful graphic that spanned both full pages. "I assume you recognize the fresco?"
He's kidding, right? Sophie was staring at the most famous fresco of all time--The Last Supper--Da Vinci's legendary painting from the wall of Santa Maria delle Grazie near Milan. The decaying fresco potrayed Jesus and His disciples at the moment that Jesus announced one of them would betray Him. "I know the fresco, yes."
"Then perhaps you would indulge me this little game? Close your eyes if you would."
Uncertain, Sophie closed her eyes.
"Where is Jesus sitting?" Teabing asked.
"In the center."
"Good. And what food are He and His disciples breaking and eating?"
"Bread." Obviously.
"Superb. And what drink?"
"Wine. They drank wine."
"Great. And one final question. How many wineglasses are on the table?"
Sophie paused, realizing it was the trick question. And after dinner, Jesus took the cup of wine, sharing it with His disciples. "One cup," she said. "The chalice." The Cup of Christ. The Holy Grail. "Jesus passed a single chalice of wine, just as modern Christians do at communion."
Teabing sighed. "Open your eyes."
She did. Teabing was grinning smugly. Sophie looked down at the painting, seeing to her astonishment that everyone at the table had a glass of wine, including Christ. Thirteen cups. Moreover, the cups were tiny, stemless, and made of glass. There was no chalice in the painting. No Holy Grail.
Teabing's eyes twinkled. "A bit strange, don't you think, considering that both the Bible and our standard Grail legend celebrate this moment as the definitive arrival of the Holy Grail. Oddly, Da Vinci appears to have forgotten to paint the Cup of Christ."
"Surely art scholars must have noted that."
"You will be shocked to learn that what anomalies Da Vinci included here that most scholars either do not see or simply choose to ignore. This fresco, in fact, is the entire key to the Holy Grail mystery. Da Vinci lays it all out in the open in The Last Supper."
Sophie scanned the work eagerly. "Does this fresco tell us what the Grail really is?"
"Not what it is," Teabing whispered. "But rather who it is. The Holy Grail is not a thing. It is, in fact ... a person."


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