Est. May 2008

01 April, 2014

The Really-Real-This-Time-We-Promise Holy Grail

Christ drank from it.  King Arthur hunted for it.  Monty Python parodied it.  Indiana Jones found it – and then left it behind.  Two authors claimed it was an allegory for the uterus of Mary Magdalene.  Europe alone has around 200 of them.

But not to worry, folks!  Two intrepid Spaniards have finally found the real, honest-to-goodness Holy Grail, ‘somehow inside a medieval goblet that has been on display in Spain for 1,000 years’.

Yeah.  Color me skeptical.


Here’s a picture of it (courtesy of The Blaze):


That top part is supposedly the real, honest-to-goodness cup that Christ drank from at the Last Supper.  At least that’s what these two researchers are ‘claiming’.  In fact, they’re ‘claiming’ a lot:
Margarita Torres, a medieval history lecturer at León University and Jose Ortiza del Rio, an art historian, penned a new book claiming that years of research has led them to conclude that Christ’s chalice is somehow inside a medieval goblet that has been on display in Spain for 1,000 years, Daily Mail reported.

-and-

Torres and del Rio’s theory, which they document in their new book, “The Kings of the Grail,” certainly seems wild, though the two say they have evidence from two Egyptian scrolls that corroborates their claims.

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The documents, written in Arabic, reportedly say that Muslims stole the chalice from Jerusalem and that it was given to Christians in Egypt. Then, they claim it was somehow sent to King Fernando I of Castile as a gift, disguised with jewels and other adornments.

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The historians admit that they cannot prove the chalice touched Christ’s lips, nor can they pinpoint the first 400 years of its history. That said, they claim to have used a scientific dating method to determine that the chalice was likely made between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. (emphases mine)
Yeah, that’s a lot of ‘claims’; there’s even a ‘reportedly’ and a ‘somehow’ in there, too.  And take a good, close look at that last sentence; they admit they can’t prove this is the actual cup, but … it’s the actual cup because…because…why?  Oh, right…the manuscripts.  And the dating method they ‘claimed’ to use.  Oh, and:
”The only chalice that could be considered the chalice of Christ is one which went via Cairo to León, and this chalice did so,” Torres told the Irish Times.
Ohhhhhkay.  Moving on.

Here’s another bit of trouble for this ‘claim’: the cup they’re talking about – the upper one in the picture – is made of agate (hat tip Breitbart).  After a diligent search of Internet sources, I found out that agate was considered to have magical as well as medicinal properties, as well as having been made into jewelry (since even then it was considered a semi-precious gemstone).  But I found nothing indicating agate was ever used for dinnerware.  That’s not to say it wasn’t, it’s to say I didn’t find anything to that effect.

But that non-finding actually makes sense.  Agate, even then, was considered to be a semi-precious stone; it was used a lot in jewelry.  That would indicate it was likely expensive – very likely out of the financial reach of the average 1st-Century Jew living in Jerusalem.  Making a drinking vessel out of it would require great craftsmanship and quite a few man-hours cutting, grinding, and polishing, which would raise the price further.  That increased price would likely reduce an agate cup to strictly ceremonial use – you’re not going to be using it for day-to-day drinking purposes, not with the money you shelled out for it.

Now, go back to the idea that agate was alleged to have magical properties.  Use a cup carved out a of magic stone for ceremonial purposes and what does it look like you’re doing?  Practicing sorcery or witchcraft.

That’s a stoning offense. 

I really don’t think 1st-Century Jews were going to set themselves up for that.  Do you?

So you’ve got a cup made out of a magical rock which would have likely been out of reach for the man whose house Jesus and His apostles ate the Passover in.  Is it possible?  Yes.  Is it probable? 

I highly doubt it.

I think you’re likely looking at a cup made of clay, or maybe wood.  Something the average Joseph would have in his cupboard.  Something that would have probably been used daily.  Something that, quite likely, ended up on the midden heap outside Jerusalem one day, broken and no longer usable. 

Not a cup of agate.

(and no, this was not an April Fool’s joke)

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