The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ

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9780552155403: The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ

In the course of their investigations into Leonardo da Vinci and the Turin Shroud, the authors found clues in the work of the great Renaissance artist that pointed to the existence of a secret underground religion. More clues were found in a 20th century London church. These were the beginnings of a quest through time and space that led the authors into the mysterious world of secret societies and such bodies as the Freemasons, the Knights Templar and the Cathars and finally back to the ideas and beliefs of the 1st century AD and a new view of the real character and motives of the founder of Christianity and the role of John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. They reveal a secret history, preserved through the centuries but encoded in works of art and even in the great Gothic cathedrals, whose revelation could shake the foundations of the Church.

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About the Author:

Lynn Picknett is a writer, researcher, and lecturer on historical and religious mysteries. Her seminal book, written with Clive Prince, The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ, inspired the New York Times bestsellers The Da Vinci Code and The Secret Supper. They are also the authors of The Sion Revelation: The Truth About the Guardians of Christ's Sacred Bloodline. She lives in London, England.

Clive Prince is a writer, researcher, and lecturer on the paranormal, the occult, and historical and religious mysteries. With Lynn Picknett, he is the author of The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ and Turin Shroud: In Whose Image? He lives in London, England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE: THE SECRET CODE OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
It is one of the most famous -- and enduring -- works of art in the world. Leonardo da Vinci's fresco The Last Supper is the one surviving piece of the original church of Santa Maria delle Grazie near Milan, being on the only wall that remained standing after Allied bombing reduced the rest of the building to rubble in the Second World War. Although many other admired artists such as Ghirlandaio, and Nicolas Poussin -- even such an idiosyncratic painter as Salvador Dali -- have also given the world their version of this significant biblical scene, it is Leonardo's which has, for some reason, captured the imagination more than most. Versions of it are seen everywhere, encompassing both ends of the spectrum of taste, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Some images may be so familiar that they are never truly examined, and although they lie openly before the viewer's gaze and invite closer scrutiny, at their most profound and meaningful level they actually remain totally closed books. So it is with Leonardo's Last Supper -- and, unbelievably enough, with almost all of his other remaining works.
It was the work of Leonardo (1452-1519) -- that tortured genius of Renaissance Italy -- that was to draw us on to a path that led to discoveries so breathtaking in their implications that at first it seemed impossible: impossible that generations of academics had simply not observed what leapt to our startled notice -- and impossible that such explosive information had lain patiently waiting all this time for writers like us from outside the mainstream of historical or religious research to discover.
So, to begin our story proper we have to return to Leonardo's Last Supper and look at it with new eyes. This is not the time to view it in the context of the familiar art-historical assumptions. This is the moment when it is appropriate to see it as a complete newcomer to this most familiar of scenes would see it, to let the scales of preconception fall from one's eyes and, perhaps for the first time, really look at it.
The central figure is, of course, that of Jesus, whom Leonardo referred to as 'the Redeemer' in his notes for the work. (Even so, the reader is warned against making any of the obvious assumptions here.) He looks contemplatively downwards and slightly to his left, hands outstretched on the table before him as if presenting some gift to the viewer. As this is the Last Supper at which, so the New Testament tells us, Jesus initiated the sacrament of the bread and wine, urging his followers to partake of them as his 'flesh' and 'blood', one might reasonably expect some chalice or cup of wine to be set before him, to be encompassed by that gesture. After all, for Christians this meal came immediately before Jesus' 'Passion' in the garden of Gethsemane when he fervently prayed that 'this cup pass from me...' -- another allusion to the wine/blood imagery -- and also before his death by crucifixion when his holy blood was spilled on behalf of all mankind. Yet there is no wine in front of Jesus (and a mere token amount on the whole table). Could it be that those spread hands are making what, according to the artists, is essentially an empty gesture?
In the light of the missing wine, perhaps it is also no accident that of all the bread on the table very little is actually broken. As Jesus himself identified the bread with his own body which was to be broken in the supreme sacrifice, is some subtle message being conveyed about the true nature of Jesus' suffering?
This, however, is merely the tip of the iceberg of the unorthodoxy depicted in this painting. In the biblical account it is the young St John -- known as 'the Beloved' -- who was physically so close to Jesus on this occasion as to be leaning 'on his bosom'. Yet Leonardo's representation of this young person does not, as required by the biblical 'stage directions', so recline, but instead leans exaggeratedly away from the Redeemer, head almost coquettishly tilted to the right. Even where this one character is concerned this is by no means all, for newcomers to the painting might be forgiven for harbouring curious uncertainties about the so-called St John. For while it is true that the artist's own predilections tended to represent the epitome of male beauty as somewhat effeminate, surely this is a woman we are looking at. Everything about 'him' is startlingly feminine. Aged and weathered though the fresco may be, one can still make out the tiny, graceful hands, the pretty, elfin features, the distinctly female bosom and the gold necklace. This woman, for surely it is such, is also wearing garments that mark her out as being special. They are the mirror image of the Redeemer's: where one wears a blue robe and a red cloak, the other wears a red robe and a blue cloak in the identical style. No-one else at the table wears clothes that mirror those of Jesus in this way. But then no-one else at the table is a woman.
Central to the overall composition is the shape that Jesus and this woman make together -- a giant, spreadeagled 'M', almost as if they were literally joined at the hip but had suffered a falling out, or even grown apart. To our knowledge no academic has referred to this feminine character as anything other than 'St John', and the 'M' shape has also passed them by. Leonardo was, we have discovered in our researches, an excellent psychologist who amused himself by presenting the patrons who had given him standard religious commissions with highly unorthodox images, knowing that people will view the most startling heresy with equanimity because they usually only see what they expect to see. If you are commissioned to paint a standard Christian scene and present the public with something that looks superficially like it, they will never question its dubious symbolism. Yet Leonardo must have hoped that perhaps others who shared his unusual interpretation of the New Testament message would recognize his version, or that someone, somewhere, some objective observer, would one day seize on the image of this mysterious woman linked with the letter 'M' and ask the obvious questions. Who was this 'M' and why was she so important? Why would Leonardo risk his reputation -- even his life in those days of the flaming pyre -- to include her in this crucial Christian scene?
Whoever she is, her own fate appears to be less than secure, for a hand cuts across her gracefully bent neck in what seems to be a threatening gesture. The Redeemer, too, is menaced by an upright forefinger positively thrust into his face with obvious vehemence. Both Jesus and 'M' appear totally oblivious to these threats, each apparently lost in the world of their own thoughts, each in their own way serene and composed. But it is as if secret symbols are being employed, not only to warn Jesus and his female companion of their separate fates, but also to instruct (or perhaps remind) the observer of some information which it would otherwise be dangerous to make public. Is Leonardo using this painting to convey some private belief which it would have been little short of insane to share with a wider audience in any obvious fashion? And could it be that this belief might have a message for many more than his immediate circle, perhaps even for us today?
Let us look further at this astonishing work. To the observer's right of the fresco a tall bearded man bends almost double to speak to the last disciple at the table. In doing so he has turned his back completely on the Redeemer. It is this disciple -- St Thaddeus or St Jude -- whose model is acknowledged to be Leonardo himself. Nothing that Renaissance painters ever depicted wasaccidental or included merely to be pretty, and this particular exemplar of the time and the profession was known to be a stickler for the visual double entendre. (His preoccupation with using the right model for the various disciples can be detected in his wry suggestion that the irritating Prior of the Santa Maria Monastery himself sit for the character of Judas!) So why did Leonardo paint himself looking so obviously away from Jesus?
There is more. An anomalous hand points a dagger at a disciple's stomach one person away from 'M'. By no stretch of the imagination could the hand belong to anyone sitting at that table because it is physically impossible for those near by to have twisted round to get the dagger in that position. However, what is truly amazing about this disembodied hand is not so much that it exists, but that in all our reading about Leonardo we have come across only a couple of references to it, and they show a curious reluctance to find anything unusual about it. Like the St John who is really a woman, nothing could be more obvious -- and more bizarre -- once it is pointed out, yet usually it is completely blanked out by the observer's eye and mind simply because it is so extraordinary and so outrageous.
We have often heard it said that Leonardo was a pious Christian whose religious paintings reflected the depth of his faith. As we have seen so far, at least one of them includes highly dubious imagery in terms of Christian orthodoxy, and our further research, as we shall see, reveals that nothing could be further from the truth than the idea that Leonardo was a true believer -- a believer, that is, in any accepted, or acceptable, form of Christianity. Already, the curious and anomalous features in just one of his works seem to indicate that he was trying to tell us of another layer of meaning in that familiar biblical scene, of another world of belief beyond the accepted outline of the image frozen on that fifteenth-century mural near Milan.
Whatever those heterodox inclusions may mean, they were, it cannot be stressed too much, totally at variance with orthodox Christianity. This itself is hardly news to many of today's materialist/rationalists, for to them Leonardo was the first real scientist, a man who had no time for superstitions or religion in any form, who was the very antithesis of the mystic or the occultist. Yet they, too, have failed to see what is plainly set out before their eyes. To paint the Last Supper without significant amounts of wine is like painting the critical moment of a coronation without the crown: it either misses the point completely or is making quite another one, to the extent that it marks the painter out as nothing less than an out and out heretic, someone who did possess religious beliefs, but ones which were at odds, perhaps even at war, with those of Christian orthodoxy. And Leonardo's other works, we have discovered, underline his own specific heretical obsessions through carefully applied and consistent imagery, something that would not happen if the artist were an atheist merely engaged in earning his living. These uncalled for inclusions and symbols are also much, much more than the sceptic's satirical response to such a commission -- they are not just the equivalent of sticking a red nose on St Peter, for example. What we are looking at in the Last Supper and his other works is the secret code of Leonardo da Vinci, which we believe has a startling relevance to the world today.
It may be argued that whatever Leonardo did or did not believe, this was merely the foible of one man, and a notoriously odd man at that, one whose story was one of endless paradoxes. He might have been a loner, but he was also the life and soul of the party; he despised fortune-tellers, but his accounts listed monies paid to astrologers; he was a vegetarian and caring animal-lover but his tenderness rarely extended to humankind; he obsessively dissected corpses and watched executions with an anatomist's eye; he was both a profound thinker and a master of riddles, conjuring tricks and hoaxes. Given such a complex outlook, it is perhaps only to be expected that his personal views on religion and philosophy were unusual, even quirky. For that reason alone, it may be tempting to dismiss his heretical beliefs as irrelevant to today. While it is generally admitted that Leonardo was hugely gifted, the modern tendency to arrogant 'epochism' seeks to undermine his achievements. After all, when he was in his prime, even the technique of printing was a novelty. What could one lone inventor of such a primitive time possibly have to offer a world that is endlessly informed by surfing the Net, and which can, in a matter of seconds, communicate through the telephone or the fax machine with people on continents that had not even been discovered in his day?
There are two answers to that. The first is that Leonardo was not, to use a paradox, a run-of-the-mill genius. Whereas most people know that he designed flying machines and primitive military tanks, some of his inventions were so unlikely for his day that those of a more whimsical turn of mind have even suggested that he might have actually had visions of the future. His designs for a bicycle, for example, only came to light in the late 1960s. Unlike the painfully protracted trial-and-error stages in the development of the early Victorian bicycle, however, the da Vinci roadracer had two wheels of equal size and a chain and gear mechanism. But even more fascinating than the actual design, is the question of what possible reason he could have had for inventing a bike in the first place. For man has always wanted to fly like the birds, but having a driving desire to pedal along less than perfect roads precariously balanced on two wheels is completely mystifying (and does not, unlike flying, figure in any classic fable). Leonardo also predicted the telephone, among many other futuristic claims to fame.
If Leonardo was even more of a genius than the history books allow, there is still the question as to what possible knowledge he could have had that would impinge in any meaningful or widespread way five centuries after he lived. While it might be argued that the teachings of a first-century rabbi might be expected to have even less relevance to our time and place, it is also true that some ideas are universal and eternal, and that the truth, if it can be found or defined, is never essentially undermined by the passage of the centuries.
It was not, however, either Leonardo's philosophy (whether overt or covert) or his art which first attracted both of us to him. It was his most paradoxical work, one that is both incredibly famous and at the same time least known, which drew us into our intensive Leonardo research. As described in detail in our last book, we discovered that it was the Maestro who had faked the Turin Shroud, which had long been believed to have been miraculously imprinted with Jesus' image at the time of his death. In 1988, carbon dating tests proved it to all but a handful of desperate believers to be an artefact of late medieval or early Renaissance times, but to us it remained a truly remarkable image -- to say the least. Uppermost in our minds was the question of the identity of the hoaxer, for whoever had created this amazing 'relic' had to be a genius.
The Turin Shroud, as all the literature -- both for and against its authenticity -- recognizes, behaves like a photograph. It exhibits a curious 'negative effect', which means that it looks like a vague scorchmark to the naked eye but can be seen in fine detail in photographic negative. Because no known painting or brassrubbing behaves in this way, the negative effect has been taken by the 'Shroudies' (believers that it is truly the Shroud of Jesus) to be proof of the miraculous qualities of the image. However, we discovered that the image on the Turin Shroud behaves like a photograph because that is precisely what it is.
Incredible though it may seem at first, the Turin Shroud is a photograph. We, together with Keith Prince, reconstructed what we believed the origi...

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Descrizione libro Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the course of their investigations into Leonardo da Vinci and the Turin Shroud, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince found clues in the work of the great Renaissance artist that pointed to the existence of a secret underground religion. More clues were found in a twentieth-century London church. These were the beginnings of a quest through time and space that led the authors into the mysterious world of secret societies and such bodies as the Freemasons, the Knights Templar and the Cathars and finally back to the ideas and beliefs of the first century AD and a devastating new view of the real character and motives of the founder of Christianity and the roles of John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. They reveal nothing less than a secret history, preserved through the centuries but encoded in works of art and even in the great Gothic cathedrals, whose revelation could shake the foundations of the Church. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780552155403

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Descrizione libro Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the course of their investigations into Leonardo da Vinci and the Turin Shroud, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince found clues in the work of the great Renaissance artist that pointed to the existence of a secret underground religion. More clues were found in a twentieth-century London church. These were the beginnings of a quest through time and space that led the authors into the mysterious world of secret societies and such bodies as the Freemasons, the Knights Templar and the Cathars and finally back to the ideas and beliefs of the first century AD and a devastating new view of the real character and motives of the founder of Christianity and the roles of John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. They reveal nothing less than a secret history, preserved through the centuries but encoded in works of art and even in the great Gothic cathedrals, whose revelation could shake the foundations of the Church. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780552155403

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Descrizione libro Transworld Publishers Ltd. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ (Revised edition), Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, In the course of their investigations into Leonardo da Vinci and the Turin Shroud, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince found clues in the work of the great Renaissance artist that pointed to the existence of a secret underground religion. More clues were found in a twentieth-century London church. These were the beginnings of a quest through time and space that led the authors into the mysterious world of secret societies and such bodies as the Freemasons, the Knights Templar and the Cathars and finally back to the ideas and beliefs of the first century AD and a devastating new view of the real character and motives of the founder of Christianity and the roles of John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. They reveal nothing less than a secret history, preserved through the centuries but encoded in works of art and even in the great Gothic cathedrals, whose revelation could shake the foundations of the Church. Codice libro della libreria B9780552155403

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